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Can someone help me plan my New York trip!

(45 Posts)
Glitterb Thu 23-Jan-20 10:55:28

I am due to fly to New York in 3 weeks for my birthday, we will be spending 4 nights there in total.
Completely aware it is going to be freezing and we have planned to take good coats etc
We are staying in Times Square and do have breakfast included
I am starting to panic about planning each day’s itinerary without wasting loads of time aimlessly walking about!
We have bought a attraction pass already and would ideally love to do the following 9/11, top of the rock, empire state building, central park, Brooklyn bridge, high line (weather permitting) and possibly some shopping! Would love to do some fancy cocktails one night (possibly valentines night?)
Does anyone have any good tips? Or an example of an itinerary that could be useful
Thanks in advance!

OP’s posts: |
SJaneS48 Thu 23-Jan-20 17:11:03

You probably don’t need to do Top of the Rock as well as the Empire State! Check the terms for Top of the Rock, we bought advance non VIP tickets, turned up first thing and were given a time slot 2 hours ahead. We’d done the immediate area (up near Central Park) the previous afternoon so felt like dead time! I’d look at the map and plan your day in zones. Other than what you’ve listed, you get a good view of the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island ferry, just keep to the right hand side going out! It’s free and there is a half hour wait time before the next ferry back. The ferry port at Staten Island has been tarted up a lot since I first did the journey back in the 90’s and there is a discounted shopping mall outside if you are so inclined!

We went in October on a family trip so no bars but the previous time I went was about 18 years ago and I spent a lot of time in bars and clubs, mostly in the Village. That’s sometime ago though - check out online Time Out New York, they list the 50 best bars in NY which could be useful!

Have a great trip!

Imonaplane Thu 23-Jan-20 20:20:17

Top of the Rock is great - you can see Central Park and the Empire State Building. We did a boat trip which took us round the Statue of Liberty and we really enjoyed that. The hop on hop off bus tour is also very good.

Macca84 Thu 23-Jan-20 20:52:58

I was there a few weeks ago. I say definitely do both top of the rock and empire state, 2 completely different views and both fabulous. I went up empire state around 8:30pm - no queues! If you buy an unlimited subway pass you can basically get most places within 10 minutes. Getting a cab everywhere will be expensive and take forever - the subway was great! Use google to check normal and current queue times - I saved countless hours this way. Have an amazing time!

hairycabbage Thu 23-Jan-20 21:24:42

I too am going in 3 weeks. I have a daily itinerary planned but fully expect to change this when I'm there- it's just nice to have a rough outline.
So far I have:
Booked tickets into the crown on Statue of Liberty with boat trip
Booked theatre tickets
Bought an Explorer pass and planning on doing totr, Empire State Building, 911 museum, The Ride
If you're on Facebook I can recommend an amazing group.
Also I recommend the Ulmon app as you can plot all the attractions you want to see and it gives a geographical overview so you can plan which ones to do on the same day.
Lots more tips available if you need them... I've become a bit obsessed!

Glitterb Thu 23-Jan-20 21:28:31

@hairycabbage absolutely throw any tips at me!

Thank you all other posters! I definitely have some great ideas! Xx

OP’s posts: |
NagaisAce Thu 23-Jan-20 21:31:44

Buy the bus tour tickets then you visit all the sights without having to pay for taxi of subway. We went last summer and got 3 day ticket for approx 60 dollars. Great value.

NagaisAce Thu 23-Jan-20 21:34:13

Top of the rock is brill.woodbury comin is good for designer shopping but exch rate is not good.
Century 21 near WTC is also worth a visit.

hairycabbage Thu 23-Jan-20 21:34:36

Unless there's anything specific, here are a couple of my plans:
I got a Revolut card, which you can top up with money and set an exchange rate you'd be happy with and it automatically converts to dollars when it reaches it. Saves you checking the rate constantly and it can be used in the same way as a credit/ debit card.
Definitely going to get a subway weekly pass.
If you want to go to the theatre, TodayTix seems cheapest in advance- I couldn't face queueing up for rush tickets.
I'm considering a pedicab tour of Central Park but not sure yet.
I really want to do some shopping so going to Jersey Gardens for this.
Apparently the subway is the easiest way to and from the airport. We've booked a transfer on arrival but think I'll use subway for the return trip.

NagaisAce Thu 23-Jan-20 21:34:50

Woodbury common

Iambloodystarving Thu 23-Jan-20 21:35:15

East River ferry is a cheap ticket and goes up the river. You get an amazing view of the architecture and skyline. You can get near to 9/11 and Wall Street and then go to UES wherever you want.
A bit of time to wander is lovely especially around the village - east or west.
Pearls Oyster Bar in the East Village do an awesome lunch.

NagaisAce Thu 23-Jan-20 21:36:10

There is a bus near the taxi rank. 19 $ I to the city. Taxi will be over 60.

bananaskinsnomnom Thu 23-Jan-20 22:07:45

My advice is to hit the big things like Empire State/ tope of the rock/ Statue of Liberty / 9/11 early in the morning! However I did go in peak Christmas holidays.

I went two years ago, arrived at Empire State at 8:15am. Essentially, the queue was made up of early bird Europeans (lots of Germans!) There was barely a queue anyway. I went straight inside the building, straight through security, bought my ticket, was at the top within 20 minutes of arrival and there was plenty of space to walk around and no having to push and wait to get pictures!
When I got back down, the waiting time had reached two hours, and the outdoor queue was huge doing a large zig zag.

Top of the Rock, if you want to do both like me, does give you a time slot to come back, so less urgent to go first thing but still quieter first thing. It will say on a screen what time slot they are currently selling. It’s amazing in there.

9/11 museum is brilliant, and very moving. I got very goose bumpy and it’s a very well thought out museum. I got there around 9/half 9 I think and did wait about 45 minutes to get a ticket then went in. A very worthwhile trip. Are you going with children? The main exhibit does state that’s its not suitable for children under 10. Not sure if it’s a ban on children.

I didn’t have an attraction pass that you can get, might be worth looking into.

You didn’t mention Statue of Liberty, I’m assuming you don’t necessarily have it on the radar? You can see it really well from the Staten Island ferry which is free.
If you want to do the whole Ellis Island and see the statue, and you have a reserved ticket, arrive at least an hour before your time slot. If you don’t, try and get one online before you go! If you can’t, prioritise for an early morning start (get there before the first ferry!) like I say, I was in extreme peak so it may not be so bad for you, but the line when I got there for people without tickets was 3-4 hours. And the New York attractions pass doesn’t count as a reserved ticket! It’s a great trip, but it will take half your day!

I did 9/11 and Statue of Liberty/ battery park on the same day. Subway will take you right down there and won’t cost much. 9/11 is on route to the Battery, so hop back on the subway and go down to Battery Park. It’s worth doing those together.

I then started the next two days with Top of the Rock and Empire State. From Times Square, The Grand Central Station is on the way to Empire as is the Old Public Library for quick photo stops.

If you like cake, The Magnolia Bakery is worth a stop! Google map it, I think it’s by Radio City but I’m having a total mind blank. There are some nice shops by Top of the Rock and Radio City.

Don’t shop in Times Square it’s a nightmare! Head to 5th Avenue

Macy’s and Bloomingdales I personally didn’t find them all that great - Macy’s has lovely window displays which are great to see but tbh inside it’s a bit of a mess - go in yes,but at the end of the day it’s a department store!

Bryant Park has a good market to visit!

Are you planning on seeing a show? I wouldn’t bother going to the booths that sel the cheaper last minute tickets in Times Square - the wait for these tickets is often a couple of hours which is a waste to get a slightly discounted back row seat. If you have a show in mind, go directly to the theatre and see what they have. I managed to get the Christmas Show for $45 in the stalls straight from the box office. See what they can do.

I hope you have a great time! Just don’t underestimate the cold! It got to minus 16 degrees C when I was there and the wind was like ice being thrown at you! Plus you’re in high time for snow! Warmest coat you’ve got, leggings under jeans, comfy warm boots, hat, ear muffs. Lip salve (the cold completely cracked my lips) I wore two pairs of gloves and ended up forking out for Ugg mittens because my skins was still cracking in the cold.

bananaskinsnomnom Thu 23-Jan-20 22:13:23

Have a great time!

Also, avoid Times Square for meals! You’ll be waiting a long time! I don’t really have any restaurants to recommend but just love a bit further out for eating!

I used the bus from the airport to Port Authority! I think 19 plus tip. Taxi will be 60 plus tip. Look up on the map where your hotel is in relation to PA and this could save you alot

bananaskinsnomnom Thu 23-Jan-20 22:27:49

Oh also I’m someone who found their subway system confusing! I had to work out my stations and routes the night before and wrote it down (colour and number I think!) direct and local trains.....some people will say its easy, it made my head spin!

Tatiannatomasina Thu 23-Jan-20 22:31:29

Woodbury Common, premium outlet. The bus takes an hour to get there but I go every time I am in New York and I shop till I drop. Bought some amazing bargains.

dancinginthekitchen Thu 23-Jan-20 22:37:45

We went for 5 nights just before Christmas a couple of years ago. Went up the Empire State Building rather than Top of the Rock, walked round Central Park spotting all the film locations, the Met is great and so is the Guggenheim if just for the fantastic building. We visited Tiffany’s - they don’t mind you just wandering round and Bloomingdales (but shopping isn’t really our thing); Bryant Park, Little Italy is great, Staten Island Ferry and Statue of Liberty, and the Tenement museum. We walked everywhere and to my mind saw a lot more of the city - the hidden surprising bits - than we would have done if we had used the subway. Google ‘walking tour New York’ and you will find several suggested routes - we used one written by a New Yorker rather than a tourist guide. We went to the 9/11 memorial and museum at the end of the day - no queue at all and not many people so you got to see everything and take your time. Do walk over the Brooklyn Bridge after dark and see Manhattan all lit up - it was fantastic! We also went to Wall Street, Central library, central station, ate burgers in a bar (DH choice), had coffee and breakfast in a diner (DH again!) and sat in a lovely wine bar near the Rockefeller centre and watched the Christmas Tree (my choice !!). I hope you have a lovely time

ecuse Thu 23-Jan-20 22:51:51

Peter Lueger for steak - but you need to book in advance.

And there's a cute place in Soho that serves only variants of macaroni cheese (S'mac)

My fav museum is the Lower East Side Tenement Museum - not the most famous but absolutely the most interesting. Lots of reconstructed rooms in a tenement and stories of the real immigrant families that lived there at different times.

Circle Line ferry tour is lovely.

You can wander across Columbia University campus which is beautiful and quite recognisable from movies, TV etc.

St Patrick's cathedral is lovely, as is Grand Central Station if you like architecture.

nauticant Thu 23-Jan-20 22:55:18

The highlights of our trip were:
the MET
a ranger led tour of Central Park
a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise all the way round Manhattan
the Intrepid Museum.

For distinctly underwhelming I offer you the High Line, an eye-wateringly expensive Broadway show in a surprisingly crummy theatre (maybe 3 times the cost of the Met), and Katz's Deli.

We saved loads of money and hassle by getting a pass to use the subway. But you do need to figure out how to use it properly.

One big surprise of the trip was how pleasant all the service providers were. I'd expected to be continually told off but not a bit of it.

poorremus Thu 23-Jan-20 23:00:33

Only have one trip to base this on, but for me the wandering about was the best bit. We (DP and I) found a fabulous diner on the way back from Greenwich Village. We only went in because we were hungry and it was the best afternoon of our time there.

dancinginthekitchen Fri 24-Jan-20 07:00:13

Forgot to mention The Strand bookshop - if you love books this is a must visit - they boast of 23 miles of books!!

FeltCarrot Fri 24-Jan-20 07:05:50

Plan your trip in chunks. Eg, we stayed on 34th so the first afternoon/evening we did ESB, Grand Central , Chrysler
2nd day Staten Island Ferry, 9/11 Memorial, Brooklyn Bridge
3rd day High Line, Chelsea, Greenwich
4th day Central Park.
(Obviously did lots in between but I hope you get the gist!)

SJaneS48 Fri 24-Jan-20 07:14:39

@nauticant, I think perhaps whether you enjoy the High Line or not might depend on the weather! We went on a very sunny October afternoon and it wasn’t rammed so we took full advantage of the benches, ice cream stalls etc and just wandered and enjoyed the art. If it had been bloody freezing, very cloudy or raining it would have been less of a nice time!

VanCleefArpels Fri 24-Jan-20 07:20:02

Went recently - nothing to add to pp comments except that Uber is a great cheap way to get around - personally I find the subway confusing unless it’s a direct A to B!

SJaneS48 Fri 24-Jan-20 07:20:09

Also second TodayTix for discounted Broadway tickets. I use the app a lot for the West End and bought our Broadway show through it. Yes you might chance on cheap on the day tickets buying at the theatre but you might not. Their rep meets you outside the theatre with the tickets. It’s a bit overrated as a show but Hamilton have a daily lottery if you download their app (just switch locations). If you do add a show to your list, avoid the theatre bar - the prices are ridiculous!

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