I went to New York last May, and it was such an amazing experience that it feels like a shame to exclude it from my blog! I thought that it might give anyone looking to plan a trip soon a little New York inspiration!
We booked the whole trip through British Airways – flights and hotel. This was because British Airways allow you (if you book far enough in advance) to pay a small deposit and then pay up your trip until about six weeks before you depart. For us this was easier because we just paid a bit of our wages towards it over the course of about six months. I know you can get excellent deals to New York if you shop around as well, so if paying up doesn’t appeal to you there are plenty of flight and hotel bargains around. My new favourite app is the HolidayPirates app, and they have had a few great New York deals up recently so give that a wee nosy if you are after a cheap deal.
TRYP Times Square South
We stayed at TRYP Times Square South, on West 35th Street. It was a really great hotel, very modern, with a fantastic tapas bar at the main entrance! The hotel was inexpensive, but nice, and within walking distance of Times Square and lots of fantastic restaurants and bars. We walked to most of the places we visited in New York City, and this was an excellent base. The room were a good size and had plenty of room for all of my junk – I’m terrible for over-packing.
The Museum of Natural History
It was raining on our first day in New York, which we were initially a bit disappointed about, so I suggested visiting a museum. I know New York has loads of incredible museums to choose from, but I thought the Museum of Natural History might interest Chris the most. He wasn’t terribly keen at first, but once we got there and he saw just how enormous the place is (we couldn’t even fit it all in. You will need a whole day if not more!) he was hooked.
We managed to get tickets for a couple of the exhibitions at the museum, which I would really recommend as they are unlike any exhibition I have been to in the UK. We saw the space show, narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, and learnt about butterflies at the IMAX cinema. Got a little closer to butterflies than I would like to normally, but still an excellent show.
Top of the Rock
Instead of going up the Empire State Building, we decided to go to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck. It really is a fantastic place to go if you want views over the whole city, as you can see from the photos below!
We visited in May, and hadn’t prebooked tickets. The queue was no where near as bad as I was expecting, and we got tickets fairly quickly. We did have a little wait until it was our turn to go up to the Observation Deck however, so if you can prebook tickets and arrange your day around the time you are going to the deck it might save on wasted waiting time. I was just grateful for a seat after walking around all day! God I sound like my mum…
Staten Island Ferry
There are loads of tours available to Liberty Island that offer excellent views of the Statue of Liberty, but to save a bit of money we took the free ferry to Staten Island, which also goes past. I’ve been on a tour before and I thought the views from the ferry were just as good. The ferry can get a little busy with tourists though, which is something to keep in mind when you are fighting for a photograph!
Central Park Zoo
I love this place so much! We actually went here on my birthday, which was lovely, and it was another day that started with heavy rain. This ended up working out really well for us because there were no queues for tickets to the zoo, and just as we got in the rain stopped and the sun came out. We almost had to zoo to ourselves and got to wander around at our leisure. By the time we left the queue for tickets was huge and the place was bouncing.
There are feeding times and shows at the zoo, and we managed to watch the penguins being fed (I’m a huge penguin fan!). If you are looking for a chilled day in Central Park definitely consider heading to the zoo. You can also get tours around the park, or you could just bring a picnic and soak up the atmosphere because it’s an incredible (massive) place.
Chris and I aren’t massive foodies, and although we had some fantastic food in New York I won’t even attempt to recommend anywhere as you will certainly get a much better recommendation on another blog! I will recommend buying a 99 cent pizza slice however – the slice was the size of my head and the best value meal I’ve ever had. I could probably eat ten dollars’ worth, but I doubt I’d move very far afterwards!
Also, if you can, buy a pretzel from a food vendor. They are on the corner of most streets and the pretzels are great if, again, massive.
And if you are into your cupcakes, the ones in Magnolia Bakery are worth the hype. Getting to them can also involve a wander through Bloomingdale’s which is a win in my book!