Back in November/December we ticked one off our bucket list and went to New York for a week. It was one of those places everybody raved about and I thought I'd never get to see for myself but in February last year we booked it and now a year later I'm able to write this post!
When is the best time to visit New York?
Summer time can be really hot and sticky but your pictures will be cracking, Christmas is expensive and busier but more magical and February is the coldest time to go but also the cheapest. We were divided between going in February so it was cheap or before Christmas so we could see all the Christmas lights and window displays. In the end we decided to go right at the end of November into the first week of December, it was much cheaper than a week or so on and Christmas was in full swing too so it was a win win.
Where is the best place to stay in New York? And how can I get a good deal?
If you book your flights and hotel separately, it works out far cheaper and means more money for shopping! I always use compare sites to find the best deal. We flew with Norwegian Air, our experience was very good and I would definitely use them again. We knew we wanted to be within walking distance of as many of our must-see places as possible but didn't want to pay through the roof. It is cheaper to stay further out but then you need to take into consideration taxis and the subway to get around, with those added in, is it still cheaper? I didn't find there was a lot of difference. We stayed at the Hyatt place, Midtown South which I booked through TripAdvisor and I'd definitely recommend it. Times square was a few minutes walk, we were 2 streets away from the Empire State Building and had the perfect view of it out our hotel window and our room was modern, the bed was the comfiest hotel bed ever, we had a huge TV and free WiFi.. and free breakfast.
Things to do in New York?
Walk over Brooklyn Bridge - the views of manhattan as you look back are Inst-worthy!, stand in the middle of Grand Central station, take a yellow cab just for the experience, ride the subway - also an experience, go up Top of the Rock - it's cheaper than the Empire State and your pictures over the city will include it. Winning!, go shopping in Macy's, take a stroll (and tons of pictures) in central park, take the Staten Island ferry for pictures of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty - it's completely free!, wander round Times Square, visit a Target store for cheap goodies - we went to the one in Brooklyn after walking over the bridge, find the Flat Iron building just to take pictures of it, same with the beautiful Chrysler building and walk the high line for some different views over the city.
Where to eat in New York?
Have a burrito from a market (we went to Herald Square market, twice, for ours and it was the best burrito we've ever had!) - we also tried Chipotle for the first time there but their burritos weren't quite as good.
Have donuts! I done research before I went and we walked quite far to a little place called Dough, sadly the service was poor and the donuts ended up in the bin but Tim Hortons, wowzers. Go in the morning when they're most fresh.
Bubba Gump is a must. I know we have one in London but apparently it's not as good? We had a window overlooking Times Square, the food was delicious and service fantastic.
Pizza duuude! The best pizza place we found (and ended up in 3 times, oops) was The Big Slice near the flat iron. You definitely should try a dollar slice somewhere too, we tried one near central park and it was actually much nicer and tastier than I'd expected.
iHop gave me mixed feelings, I had a small fry up that came with a couple of pancakes on the side. The breakfast was really good and the pancakes were fluffy but not as sweet as I'd have liked and came with a salty lump of what I presume was butter on top. Service was brilliant though.
If you've tried Five Guys in the UK and didn't think it was all that (like my other half!) you probably wouldn't try one over there but trust me, it's far superior. You wouldn't think they were the same company. Mmmm!
I also recommend Chick-fil-A, Wendys and bags of Dove chocolate promises in peanut butter flavour!
- Take comfortable shoes! - We walked over 50 miles in the week we were there.
- It's not as cheap out there as people say. $4.99 for a bag of crisps Dorito size.. $4.50 for a large bag of M&Ms.. And forget bringing home a suitcase full of Reeces Cups, they're cheaper over here!
- People in New York just aren't that friendly. Apparently everyone knows this - I didn't. Unless they're working for tips in general people are pretty miserable.
- Create 'My Maps' on Google. Pin all of your must-see places on a map for when you get there. It doesn't need data either as it uses GPS so it's free!
- Don't worry about not being able to use your social media accounts without running up a huge bill, almost everywhere has free wifi.
- Toilets.. I never saw a public toilet?! We had daily Starbucks pit stops to refuel and use the loo (and wifi!). Most of them have codes on the door which you need to get from staff.
- The subway is £2.50 per person per ride. We used it coming back from Brooklyn (we walked around 9 miles that day, there was no way I could have walked back!) the staff are really helpful although we still found it a little intimidating to use, definitely wouldn't have used it at night.
- Prices on items in shops/restaurants etc don't usually include tax - this is added at the til when you pay.
- If you find yourself being pestered by people trying to sell you tickets, try leaving the hotel not looking like a tourist.. The days I didn't take my bag or have my camera out we were left completely alone which we both found highly amusing!
- There are a lot of homeless people and beggers, especially at night and around main train stations. We visited Penn Station one night as we had planned to get the train back to the airport but it put us off.
- Don't go to the airport any earlier than you need to coming home, trust me. For a main airport, the facilities were very lacking. Coming in was pretty quick and easy and the staff very friendly.
In my next post I'll share some of our pictures from our trip :) xxx