I am so very luck to have been to New York several times and I’m in the process of planning another trip, fingers crossed, for next year with my friend. It all sounds great but whether I can leave my darling Olivia for a couple of days is yet to be seem! Being so fortunate I often get asked for some recommendation of what to do, where to go or if ive any tips for the city so I thought I would compile a few that I can then make reference back to for anyone that’s interested.
Lets get started….
Viator is a great website for checking out different tours and things to do in NYC, I have used it a lot to book things. By far the best way to see all of it is definitely on one of the bus tours. They are excellent and they show you every part of New York and have very good tour guides, the fact they stop all over the place at all the major attractions is great and they’re hop on, hop off so once you have looked around you can just hop on the next one that comes past and they’re very frequent.The night tour is amazing to see the skyline from Brooklyn.
If you want to go around the statue of Liberty for free just get the Staten Island ferry across from the main ferry terminal get off at the other side and come back across on the next ferry. This usually takes 20-30 mins and you get good views.
If you are going to go to the top of the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock, I recommend going to top of the rock as it can have better views of Central Park and also means you have the empire state building in the background of your photos, the queues are also a lot less too. Its amazing going up it at night as you get to the city nearly how it appears on TV. You can usually get discount vouchers for money off the ticket price in the lobby of your hotel or go to the visitors centre in time square for loads of discount books.
If you want to go to the Ground Zero Memorial you need to book tickets in advance from here. They only request a donation towards the memorial and regeneration of the area which is really great to contribute to while being a visitor in the city.
- EATING OUT
First and foremost only eat in places that have an ‘A’ in the window as they have the best hygiene and their kitchens have been inspected by the city council.
Avoid eating in Times Square it can be really pricey and the foods not as nice as its mass catered for. If you eat around the student areas it can be a lot cheaper. I’ve eaten quite a bit around Christopher street, it’s really lively but also a really fun vibe as is the Washington Square area.
If you like the celeb hotspots visit Justin Timberlake restaurant Southern Hospitality . Its awesome food and you can book a table via Twitter. However, if it’s too busy to get a table try one of the other places around it in Hells kitchen. This is basically restaurant row and has a lot of different choices on offer so you wouldn’t be stuck for somewhere to eat.
My most favourite place to visit ever and my pregnancy craving was all for one diner called the shake shack at 8 ave and 44 th street. There is now one in London which I had to visit when I was 4 months pregnant 🙂 It’s a bit pricey for burgers and chips but it is a taste sensation and their caramel milkshakes are the best! Its used in loads of films too and has a fun family atmosphere.
If you want to grab a pizza slice on the go, there is a 2 Bros pizza practically on every block, its yum and you get a massive slice for $1! It is brilliant if you don’t want to spend a fortune on lunch and good for on the go .
For a really nice pizza or Italian food in general my go to place would be Johns Pizzeria . It was the best pizza and pasta I’ve ever while in NYC and it’s just off Time Square and really well priced for the location.
The best cheesecake in the city (im my opinion) is at Juniors. The original Juniors is located in Brooklyn but they have a Time Square location at West 45th St. between Broadway and 8th Ave. I haven’t eaten from the diner itself just got the cheesecake to take away but it’s definitely the best ive had from all my trips there.
- TV LOCATIONS
Sex and the City – Carrie’s house and famous stoop is located at 66 Perry St between 4th Ave and Bleeker St. You will spot it right away as there is a chain across it to keep people off the steps. If you are standing facing her house follow the road along to the right then turn right at the end of the street and that will bring you to the Magnolia Bakery used in the series. There is one just opened near the Rockefeller centre which is super busy but the original is better as its so quaint. I found there wasn’t a line at it early in the morning as the tours also visit there as well as carries house so this can mean at times there are queues right around the block to get in to it and its very small 🙂
Friends Apartment – This building is quite close to Carries house. Its located on the corner of Bedford and Grove. There is a nice coffee shop located under the building for a cuppa (unfortunately it’s not called Central Perk boo!). The street is really narrow so its misleading you can easily think you are in the wrong place!
Keeping up with the Kardashians – If you are a fan of the Kardashians (of course you are!) their store Dash is located at 119 spring street. The shop itself isn’t much to look at but I suppose you could say at least you seen it!
There is a great cupcake shop called ‘Georgetown Cupcakes’ right around the corner at 111 Mercer Street. They have their own tv show on Sky and the red velvet cupcake is the best ive tasted…and Linsday Lohan lives above it for some celeb spotting haha!
If there is filming going on around the city you will see white A4 pages attached to lampposts and trees to show when the street etc will be closed off for filming and it will also say what is being filmed if you don’t spot Lindsay Lohan at the cupcake place 🙂 My biggest celeb moment ever happened when I met Channing Tatum filming in NYC…what a dreamboat!
There are 2 different shopping outlet centres you can go to from NYC, Jersey Gardens and Woodbury Common. Jersey Gardens is a lot closer and you can there from the main bus station – the port authority for about $13 return, It would tend to be more high street shops as such like Hollister, American Eagle, Converse etc. Woodbury common is about an hour away and its $40 to get there and again you can do this from the port authority. It would be more designer shops. There is a UGG outlet there but I have never seen current season Uggs in it just so you are aware it’s not discounted even though it’s an outlet store. They also have a great Guess store for bulk buying handbags ( I may or may not do this every time :)). A lot of Jersey Gardens shops are located in the city so you can nearly get the same stuff just a bit more expensive because of the tax. In Jersey you don’t pay any government tax on clothes so things are a bit cheaper.
You can get as good a bargain in Macys. If you take your passport and go to their customer services department on the upper floor you can get an international discount card for an extra 10-11% off on top of sale prices etc. I found going to Macy’s at night good as it wasn’t as busy.
If you are going to the World Trade Centre site there is an amazing shop called Century 21 which is a bit like TK Maxx but only better. It can be really busy but you will get proper designer stuff for great prices. I couldn’t face the clothes but got a few handbags, scarves and a lovely Ralph Loren wallet for $10. You have to be prepared to rummage around. Its located 22 Cortlandt Street (bet. Church & Broadway)
In Time Square, If you buy something in American Eagle you get to have your picture on their Time Square billboard outside and have your own personalised message too, which I found quite fun.
If you are looking snacks, toiletries or medicine etc… Duane Reade is the place to go. There is literally one on every street and they sell everything from toothpaste etc to beer and their cosmetics are really cheap. I always get Essie nail polish for like $8 whereas here in the UK its £9.99/12.99.
When you are in the city you have to take multiple photos to post on social media bragging about your adventures naturally 🙂 In my opinion, Starbucks was the best for free Wi-Fi. You can find them literally on EVERY corner on EVERY block. You don’t even have to go into them, the wi-fi works outside of the window and from across the street! There is also free wi-fi in the Time Square area which can be really useful especially when looking up things whilst at the visitors centre.
I could go on and on about New York for days but these are just some helpful hints should you wish to avail of them on your travels. If you have any tips or must do’s please share I would love to hear them and add them into my trip planner for next time.