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New York(19 Posts)
I'm going to New York in December. It's a once in a lifetime type trip for 3 of us. (We are on tight budgets)
I'd love any recommendations if things to do/places to eat (I'm vegan so any vegan friendly places would be great but not essential)
Following as I'm going on November 30th and trying to do a rough itinerary!
On Restaurant Row, (46thSt between 8th and 9th Avenues), close to Times Square there is a cafe, Pure Ktchn which has a good range of vegan food. Not at all fancy and good value.
If you are interested in theatre (plays rather than musicals) the half price ticket booth in Times Square has a special (much shorter) queue dedicated to plays only. There is usually something amazing on in NY. Do not be tempted by “New York’s answer to The Mousetrap”, it is total rubbish.
I’d google vegan restaurants, NY then take a look on Tripadivisor at the reviews of a couple. I’m a pescatarian and finding non meat options isn’t that hard. Food isn’t particularly cheap but the portions are huge. Various of the food trucks you’ll find across the city have vegan options (although I’d imagine they’d be cooked on the same equipment as meat so....).
As first glance, NYC doesn’t seem to have that many free/cheaper options but they do exist! There is an NY attractions pass you can buy which will get you into a number of the bigger tourist attractions - we didn’t get this so don’t know the cost. Alternatively you can book various of the attractions online ahead and spread the cost over the next couple of weeks.
We got show tickets through TodayTix, it’s an app I use a lot for West End Shows and has numerous NY discounted show options where you can select your own date, seat etc. Just download it and change the location to NY - their reps meet you outside the theatre with your tickets.
Taking the ferry over to Staten Island is free and gives you a great view of the Statue of Liberty. The High Line (converted over head rail line) is also free and is a great wander on a sunny afternoon with lots of benches and art by some pretty well known artists. MoMa (museum of modern art) won’t break the bank & houses one of the best modern art collections I’ve ever been into. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park etc etc.
One easy (but more hard work!) option re eating and saving on costs would be to rent a studio apartment and partially cook yourselves. We rented one in Brooklyn which was in a lovely old brownstone and was cheaper than many not so great looking Manhattan hotels. There are many legal restrictions on renting apartments in NY (it’s estimated 45% of AirBnBs in NY are illegal) so you’d have to look carefully at this as an option). The owner & family lived in the rest of the building we stayed in, separated from our lovely & very tasteful studio by an MDF door making it a legal let (booked through HomeAway who’s legal team I spoke to) but this is a bit of a grey area with changing legislation so if this is something you look at to save on costs, it isn’t without a small element of risk and do your homework. Quite a few other Mumsnetters have done it though and it was definitely the cheaper and nicer option!
Skip the Empire State and Rockefeller. Instead take the free ferry to Staten Island for amazing views.
Cheap last minute Broadway tickets can be bought from the TKTS booth under the red steps in Times Square. There are also a couple of other booths in the city. The newest one, at Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium (Broadway at 62nd Street) is only 15 blocks from the main booth but it’s far less crowded—and it’s indoors, which is a big plus in the winter. The other is at South Street Seaport (corner of Front and John Streets).The two non–Times Square locations sell matinee tickets a day early.
The Rockefeller Christmas Tree is easily accessible from the Concourse level of Rockefeller Center. There’s also an ice skating rink there.
I'd definitely spend half a day at the 9/11 museum and World Trade Centre memorial. Go in the afternoon and then head to Winter Garden afterwards. Winter Garden is magical after dark at Christmas time. It's really close to the 9/11 museum and has lots of restaurants for an evening meal. You could spend the morning of this day seeing the Statue of Liberty, as they're not too far away from each other.
Macy's is within walking distance of Grand Central. It's busy at any time of year but especially at Christmas, so be there for when it opens. You can walk from Macy's to Grand Central via the NY Public Library. If you time it well, you could have lunch at the Dining Concourse at Grand Central. In the afternoon you could catch the train from there to the Botanic Gardens which is great at any time of year but has the very famous model railway at Christmas time.
Take a stroll through Central Park to the Alice in Wonderland statue.
The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art is an amazing museum.
If you’ve got any time left, walk across Brooklyn Bridge and warm up with a hot chocolate at Jaques Torres.
Watch some YouTube videos, my favourites are Sarah funky and herebebarr. They give great tips and advice.
The Met isn’t cheap but check if they still do “pay what you want” days.
Walk the High Line. Go over to Brooklyn and walk back across the bridge. Take very warm clothes and hats. It will be very very cold!
Walk in Central Park. There’s a skating rink there. For a holiday of a lifetime, going up the Empire State or Top of the Rock is a must in my view. Shopping will be wow! Macy’s is meh! More like a jumble sale! The classier shops are on 5th Avenue. It’s free to look! Walk there from Central Park.
Time Out will have recommendations for vegan restaurants I suspect.
Also have a wander round SoHo and then go to the Tenement museum in the Lower east side. I would also go to MoMa and the Guggenheim, not least to keep warm. Not sure if the tours will be happening at the Radio City Music Hall. If they are, it’s a delightful building and well worth a visit.
Staten Island ferry gives you more views. I think going to the theatre can be expensive if you don’t really value the play. Musicals are great in NY but tickets are never cheap so not a budget option in my view.
Staying in Harlem or Brooklyn reduces costs but not travelling costs to attractions.
@BubblesBuddy Unfortunately the Met no longer do ‘pay what you wish’. Definitely consider getting a multiple-attraction pass. The 9/11 Museum is free 5-8pm on Tuesdays.
Brooklyn Bagel is your best bet for an authentic New York Bagel with cream cheese made vegan. I’m not vegan but my favourite is toasted everything bagel with spinach tofu spread. Although a Cinnamon raisin with plain tofu spread is a classic.
Subway fares are the same if you're travelling from Brooklyn or Manhattan to any attraction - time differences though aren't obviously & it took us 20-30 minutes to travel in so while you save money staying outside there are longer travelling times. Not an issue for us as we're used to a commute but if you are not...
If you don't buy an attraction pass, Top of the Rock is cheaper than the Empire State. It is a pain though - unless you buy a VIP ticket, it does involve a time lag. We bought tickets online, went first thingish (9.30) and were given a time slot over 2 hours ahead and had to kill 2 hours in Central Park and shop browsing, both of which we had done the previous afternoon. So plan geographically where you want to go wisely.
We went most recently last month but I have been in December nearly 30 years ago and it's a rather magical city all dressed up for Christmas in the snow!
I live in New York! For vegan food, check out Dirt Candy and By Chloe. For higher end vegan there's also Candle 79 and the Blossom restaurants.
For amazing views for free, take the 7 train 2 stops out of Manhattan to Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City. There's a Waterfront Bar/Cafe called Coffeed and you can take in the amazing views with a coffee to keep you warm.
One of my favourite places
Walk! Don't get the hop on hop off buses, you can wall from Central Park to Brooklyn bridge in a few hours. Much more fun
we stayed in an Air B&B in New Jersey. 20 minute bus ride into Manhattan, or a (more expensive) ferry ride from Hoboken. There’s a train that goes from World Trade Centre to Hoboken for a few dollars and takes minutes. I loved the commuting. Chelsea Markets is worth a mooch. We walked everywhere, or took the subway.
I didn’t spend a huge amount when we were there which surprised me.
Oh! How could I forget - the Cinnamon Snail. The best vegan food bar none.
Chelsea market is about half way along the free High Line. Wrap up warm because the wind can be biting. I really would not walk from Central Park to the s Brooklyn Bridge. Not in really cold weather. Just get the subway to Brooklyn and walk back over the bridge.
I have always stayed in Manhattan due to convenience but I know Brooklyn and Harlem are cheaper if you are on a budget. However travelling times are increased. So you have to weigh up what you want.
Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Heights for a wander, the High Line is a nice walk with a stop off at Chelsea Market. I’d go to Central Park for a walk and go ice skating too. Greenwich is nice to look around and has some good vegan restaurants.
Go to Moo Shoes if you can! Vegan shoes and bags! Plenty of good vegan restaurants too, we only really went to veggie/vegan places like the Butcher’s Daughter, Dirt Candy (which is amazing and probably non-veggies would like it), Spicy Moon and Urban Vegan Kitchen. There are lots of By Chloes if you just need to grab something quickly - we didn’t go in them though.
Look up freetoursbyfoot - I’ve done 3 of them and absolutely loved them. Donate whatever you want. Walk everywhere, rent public hire bikes and cycyle along the Hudson to Wall St and into Chinatown. NYC doesn’t have to cost a lot. Loads of cheap food options.
Wholefoods supermarkets do great hot vegan meals which are also very good value and no tip needed. Purchase and eat upstairs
Also great for value coffee and cake / they do have vegan cakes - again sit upstairs or take with you
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