Visiting New York City for the first time can be so overwhelming especially if you don’t have plenty of time to spend on your trip. Consisting of 5 boroughs, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, The Bronx and Staten Island, there is so much to do and so many things to see. From our recent trip, I learned a few little tips and secrets on how to enjoy your short stay in the city.
First, let me start by making it easy for you to choose on which borough to stay, stay in Manhattan, unless otherwise you have a place of a relative or a friend somewhere else. While staying in a hotel in Manhattan can be very costly, it will be the easiest and closest access to many of the places you want to see and the things you want to do. For sure, like me, you want to see the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 memorial and museum, the Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Center, hang out in times square and shopping in Macy’s or in Soho or Chinatown or watch a famous broadway show. All of these are in Manhattan.
So before we headed on our trip, we decided that we were going to get the New York City Pass.
How Does The New York Pass Work?
The New York Pass is a ‘smart card’ – like a credit card with a computer chip inside – which allows you completely cash free entry to over 80 New York tourist attractions. It’s a bit like an all-inclusive holiday – once you’ve bought your New York Pass you don’t have to pay to get into any of the attractions covered by the pass and the more sights you see, the more money you save.
So we got ours from our hotel, the Wellington Hotel. A long ticket for the city sight seeing tour bus ride will be given to you and a voucher which you will have to exchange for a city pass at your first attraction stop. So here’s a suggested itinerary for you.
You always want to start your day with a good breakfast, right?
In NYC, there are plenty of breakfast places which sad to say, we kind of failed to experience because my husband would just want to eat at the cafe down the hotel. I suggest you go around and check places, coz hotels and food near times square are expensive and you don’t want to be paying much for a breakfast you would hardly appreciate.
After breakfast, catch your city sight seeing tour bus going to your first attraction. (We stayed at the 7th ave – near times square). I suggest, go see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island for your first stop.
Be prepared for the long lines, so a bottle of cold water and umbrella or a brim hat in the summer time is a must.
After marveling at the beauty of the Statue of Liberty, by the time you get back to the city, you probably have a little extra time before it’s lunch time to stroll the next nearby attraction which is only a walking distance from the terminal, the Wall Street.
Or your other option would just to stay at the Battery Park, cool off for a little bit and grab a bite when hungry. You just gotta try their food cart vendors and their hot dogs which our friend called dirty dogs.
Your next stop will be the 9/11 memorial and museum. It will be a 4 min taxi ride or a 15 min walk from the battery park.
You can’t go here without going inside the museum. The museum will be the highlight in visiting this spot in Manhattan.
After a long tiring day, it’s time for dinner before heading back to your hotel to retire for the night. You can walk to the 9th ave and a stretch of restaurants that are not locals of New York, such as Thai, Persian, Mexican, South American can be found.
So you have been to the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island as well as the 9/11 memorial and museum, on the second day, after breakfast you should be ready to explore more of Manhattan. If you are a shopping addict like me, you go shopping in the morning and do the Empire State Building Experience in the afternoon or in the evening like around 8 pm where the lines of visitors going to the top shouldn’t be bad anymore as what the tour guide suggested.
Shopping at Macy’s in New York will blow your mind. It’s the biggest Macy’s in the United States consists of 7 floors having the whole 2nd floor for the ladies shoes.
New York as one of the most fashionable cities in the world, has tons of shops from the cheapest deals to high end boutiques. Everything is there. If this quote, “Shop don’t ask why” is your motto while in NYC, you will literally shop til you drop.
Some things I suggest when visiting New York City for the first time
Yes, 2 days in NYC is never enough. But in 2 days you can explore and experience and enjoy the city as well. Hope these things help in your first visit to NYC.