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(18 Posts)
Applejack87 Fri 27-Dec-19 09:20:54

Hi we’ve booked NY in April with our 13year old we will be there for four days then hiring a car to DC. We would like to do a boat trip around the Statue of Liberty , is it worth going in ? Empire State Building & the high line , should we book these in advance or on the day , Also can anyone recommend things to do in DC please ?

OP’s posts: |
TabbyMumz Fri 27-Dec-19 09:23:49

Book statue of liberty in advance, you wont get near it otherwise. Well worth the visit. We didnt do Empire State, we did top of the rock instead, it was brilliant.

hardheadedwoman Fri 27-Dec-19 09:26:33

You don’t need to pay for a boat trip to see the Statue of Liberty, take the Staten Island Ferry which goes past it, you’ll get a great view and it’s completely free and goes every 30 mins or so.
Only worth paying for a boat trip if you want to actually go up inside the statue

JessicaPeach Fri 27-Dec-19 09:30:27

We've done stated island ferry and we've done a boat trip which was about $18. I actually really enjoyed the boat trip and going onto the island, it's much better than the ferry.

They release tickets 6months in advance to go to the pedestal and crown, you can look online now and see if there's any left.

Applejack87 Fri 27-Dec-19 09:59:13

Thankyou all so much for your informative replies . Is it stairs inside the statue or is it a lift ?

OP’s posts: |
crustycrab Fri 27-Dec-19 10:03:35

You don't book the high line. Just walk it whenever you happen to get there.

My advice is plan a proper itinerary using a map. NYC is massive and you can easily end up walking aimlessly for hours.

It's all in the planning. Group attractions into days based on the area they are in

Eg. Day 1 - Wall Street and charging bull, 9/11 memorial, battery park, Staten Island ferry past Statue of Liberty. Ferry to DUMBO and walk back across Brooklyn bridge. TriBeCa for food and Ghostbusters firehouse. Subway to Rockefeller centre for TOTR at sunset.

Buy an unlimited subway pass each too, great value

catmack16 Fri 27-Dec-19 10:22:08

Museums in DC. Most are free so you can do the bits you are interested in and not attempt all of them. Air and Space is good, though the Space Shuttle is at the extension site near Dulles airport, also Museum of the American Indian, Portrait Gallery but there are lots to choose from. A boat trip down the Potomac to Alexandria and back from Georgetown might be worth doing. Wandering round the Mall and looking at some of the Memorials. Pedalo hire on the Tidal Basin.

TabbyMumz Fri 27-Dec-19 10:51:25

Definitely lifts inside statue of liberty, but not the last bit to the top (I dont think). The boat trip does Ellis Island too, so well worth it.

crustycrab Fri 27-Dec-19 10:56:19

Also, don't hire a car from New York to DC! Absolute madness and a ridiculous expense.
Parking in both cities is a nightmare and eye wateringly expensive.

Get Amtrak from Penn Station. In DC everything (except parking grin) is free. There is a free bus (the circulator) that will take you everywhere you need to go. See all the monuments on the red circulator as well as the White House and then go down to the harbour. Research the smithsonian website to choose which parts of the museums you'd like to see. Air and Space is popular.

If you are particularly wanting to drive in America for a short road trip type experience, hire a car at Union Station after you've seen the sights in DC and drive out to Shenandoah national park. You could visit some caverns (grand caverns or luray) or drive part of the skyline drive, hikes etc.

But Amtrak is the only sensible way to travel between NYC and DC

wraithberry Fri 27-Dec-19 11:16:25

DC is amazing for kids! Is your 13 yo into science and aeronautics? There is a lot of walking. We used Uber to get around, none of the hassle of self driving such as figuring out maps and parking.

Here's what we saw while staying in DC:

Day 1: Washington Monument, White House/Senate House, Lincoln memorial, Jefferson memorial, WW II memorial, National Air & Space Museum

Day 2: National Air and Space Museum hangar (Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center); this is some way out but worth it for the Lockheed Blackbird, the Enola Gay (Hiroshima bombing) and the Space Shuttle 'Discovery'

Day 3: Smithsonian National Zoological Park and Smithsonian Natural History Museum

Day 4: Mount Vernon (George Washington's estate) and Alexandria

I can't remember when but we squeezed in the Arllington National Cemetery (where JFK and Jackie O are buried) somewhere in there as well.

clarec86 Fri 27-Dec-19 11:21:17

I'm in New York now. Spent Christmas here with my husband. Empire state was rammed and it's a very small space once you're up there. I believe there is more room at the top of the rock. The statten island ferry is free. Take that and you will pass by the statue of liberty and have the most wonderful views of the city. We found that going out at 7am was the best time to see everything with no crowds. We were able to take photos of all the famous landmarks with none of the crowds and really take in all the views. It's so busy here that you barely have time to take it all in. A walk over the Brooklyn bridge is well worth it. You can always take the subway back if you're too tired to walk back. Tribecca and soho is really cool. Less crowds too. Make sure you tip enough too. We left a 15% tip in a diner near grand central station and the waiter brought it back to us saying it wasnt enough and that we had leave more. I was mortified. You would never get this in the uk. Bring your most comfortable shoes. You will be walking a lot! The subway is a little daunting at first but we found an app called city mapper which helped us figure it out. Avoid buying trinkets like magnets etc from the time square bubble. You can get all these for a dollar in central park and along the Brooklyn bridge and other places. Madison square garden tour is really interesting. You will also find lots of cool roof top bars in the hotels which you can go to for free. There is a cool one at the radisson on the corner of 35th west near Macy's. It has the best views of the empire state building. You're going to get mithered a lot. About hop on hop off tours. Excursions etc. Just tell them you have already done it as you walk by. They will leave you alone then. Otherwise they just keep on following you. Century21 is a good store for all designer goods for really cheap. My husband bought a leather jacket which was marked down from $280 to $65. The dollar pizza is delicious for a quick lunch on the go. The 9/11 museum was interesting to see. The memorials are beautiful and it's so quiet round there. New York is wonderful. You will have a great time.

Applejack87 Fri 27-Dec-19 12:03:46

Thankyou all so much for your replies and advice it’s greatly appreciated

OP’s posts: |
Geoffreythecat Fri 27-Dec-19 12:38:39

There aren't lifts inside the Statue of Liberty inside just steps, the lifts are only inside the pedestal below. It's quite a climb, over 350 steps, but definitely worth doing.

There's a bar - the Rainbow Room - at the Top of the Rock which offers as good a view and you don't have to pay to go to. Lots of other roof top bars also worth a visit as has been mentioned, especially 235th, which has the best view. Remember that under 21s may only be allowed in bars before 7pm.

Washington Square Park often has performers by the fountain. A rowing boat is is a great way to see Central Park. West Village is lovely to walk round, also Hudson Yards which has a sculpture you can go up.

Across Brooklyn Bridge, in Dumbo, there are restaurants and a park, with a great view of Manhattan. You can also take the PATH to Hoboken for a wonderful view.

One of my DCs has lived in New York, so of you want food recommendations, or anything else do say.

Chemenger Fri 27-Dec-19 12:41:59

I would highly recommend Ellis Island, you can get a National Park boat trip which includes both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I didn’t go up the Statue of Liberty but it was interesting to walk round the plinth. There’s an audio guide you can get on your phone.

baggies Fri 27-Dec-19 13:14:36

We didn't book for Empire State Building. Only a small queue and moved quickly. The staff manage it really well.
We thought Highline was wonderful. Free and you can take as long as you like. Places to sit and eat along the way.
It's worth hiring bikes to cycle around Central Park. We walked around on our first trip and tired long before we saw much. Fairly cheap to hire and the bike people did us a deal.
As a previous poster said wear comfy shoes. We walked nearly everywhere as it's the best way to see and experience NewYork.
Also plan your itinerary before you go. Trip Advisor New York forum is a really useful site to post your planned itinerary and get feedback from seasoned travellers and native New Yorkers.
Have a fabulous trip!

SJaneS48 Fri 27-Dec-19 18:48:23

We went October half term with our 11 year DD & hired an apartment in Brooklyn. In terms of info that isn’t above, here goes!

- We did Top of the Rock not the Empire State as it was marginally cheaper. I booked online the day before and you had a standard or VIP option (immediate entry I think). As the VIP option was twice the price I went standard. We got there about 9 and were given our tickets & time slot which was 2 hours ahead. This was a pain as we’d done the immediate area the afternoon before. It’s interesting but involves quite a bit of waiting and queuing. We went inside the ground floor level of the Empire State & it didn’t seem half as busy so might have been the better option time wasting wise!

- If you are really familiar with the Natural History Museum in London (and I’ve spent more half term days there than I can count!), skip the NY one. It’s a nice building but you have to queue for ages and we all thought it wasn’t as good as the London one.

- We were going to do the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island boat trip but when we got there they told us it was going to be about 3 hours all in (we hadn’t got tickets but the queue wasn’t awful). We were pushed for time and just did the free Staten Island ferry instead which gives you a great view of the Statue of Liberty. You are stuck on Staten Island for half an hour but it’s miles more developed than when I last did this trip and there is a shopping mall outside the ferry station.

- The High Line is great! I also liked walking Brooklyn Bridge

- Food isn’t cheap. The food vans you’ll see everywhere are ok and you can pick up world food for between $8-10 a head. I liked the Halal Guys who seemed to be everywhere.

- We did the 9-11 Memorial Park but not the museum. When you are in the area, it’s worth a visit and is pretty touching

- As above, take comfortable shoes! On average we were doing 15-25000 steps a day. Again, as above plan your day according to zones

- Have small change for tips

- If you want to book a discounted Broadway Show in advance rather than pick up an on the day discounted ticket, download the TodayTix app and switch the location to NY. Don’t buy snacks and drinks in the theatre, the prices are eye watering!

- Food prices at JFK are pretty silly so buy plane/airport snacks in advance

Have a great time!

Notenoughbookshelves Sat 28-Dec-19 09:40:38

We did Liberty Island and went up the pedestal. There is a new museum on the island. It’s well worth doing. Book the earliest slot you can to avoid queues but allow plenty of time to get there.

We did Top if the Rock so we could see Empire State. Book the sunset tickets so you can see night and day.

High Line superb and free, no need to book. Stop off at Chelsea Market too.

Plan your 4 days carefully round areas and your must dos. We were there for a week and didn’t do everything we wanted.

Battery Park,Liberty Island & Ellis best part of a day.

Central Park will suck up a lot of time but so worth it. Go boating, not sure about bikes as you’ll miss a lot.

Katz Deli a must if in lower east side near The Tenement Museum which needs pre booking

Usernamealreadyexists Fri 03-Jan-20 23:38:48

If your DC likes cycling, download the Citibike app and cycle along the Hudson to Battery Park. You can plan your trips on the app and it routes you through roads with cycle lanes. It is safe and so much fun. I would never cycle in London but feel safe in NYC as the lanes are so well designed. Anyway, along the river is fun.

Visit the new Vessel building in Hudson Yards and climb to the top. It’s beautiful and close the start of the High Line.

Walk, walk, walk without having a real plan. There is something fascinating at every corner.

The Guggenheim is the most stunning stunning museum and one of the smaller ones. You could walk through C Park to the Upper E Side.

Visit Taiyaki in Chinatown for ice cream.

Yes ESB or TOTR worth doing once.

Agree with suggestion to download TodayTix app. I booked a fab show on the day for a great price.

Visit Hrand Central Station and the NY Public Library next to it.

Cable car to Roosevelt Island is cool.

Walk/cycle across Brooklyn Bridge to DUMBO or Williamsburg Bridge to Williamsburg. Get the water taxi back E 34th Street. V cheap ($2.75) and great views.

Katz’s Deli - do not underestimate the queues. I didn’t bother. I went to Eileen’s for cheesecake instead.

Food is as cheapnor expensive as you want. I was eating on the go and it worked out cheaply.

Agree to good walking shoes. A must. I clocked up 60 miles in 6 days.

Avoid hotels with urban fees - total rip off.

Spend time in Washington Sq. Amazing performers and a happy atmosphere.

If your child likes maths, visit MoMath.

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