When you’re visiting the city that never sleeps, your first instinct may be to cram a month’s worth of outings into one visit. But this local’s guide will help you make the most of your trip.
1: Don’t feel like you have to stay in Manhattan.
For many people, “New York City” is synonymous with its most famous island, so of course that’s where visitors often choose to stay. But prices in Manhattan are still quite high—the average hotel room is around $250 per day—and unless you’re determined to sleep at a famous spot like the Waldorf-Astoria, you can get better deals off the island.
INSTEAD: Book a few nights in Brooklyn.
The borough has experienced a boutique-hotel boom in recent years, and many of the options—including Williamsburg’s chic Wythe Hotel (pictured), and the Aloft Hotel in Downtown Brooklyn—offer stylish, comfortable rooms for a lower price than their Manhattan counterparts. Plus, both of those options are no more than 20 minutes from the city’s center (by subway, of course).
2: Don’t take taxis everywhere.
Yellow cabs may seem like a convenient way to get around, but they’re remarkably inefficient (you willget stuck in traffic). Plus, the city’s pilot program of green outer-borough cabs aren’t always easy to come by, and Uber will almost certainly overcharge you.
INSTEAD: Get acquainted with public transportation.
The subway will take you just about anywhere you’d want to go, and contrary to popular belief, it’s easy to figure out (be sure to familiarize yourself with routes to and from your destinations beforehand). If the weather’s nice, you also have the option of using Citi Bike, New York’s bike-sharing program.
3: Don’t expect to see it all on a bus tour.
You can’t miss the guides in Midtown hawking tickets for hours-long jaunts on those huge red tour buses that circulate throughout the city. But don’t get sucked in: They give you only the briefest overview of tourist attractions.
INSTEAD: Book a spot on a bike or walking tour.
Get Up and Ride cycling tours aren’t cheap, but they’ll take you to areas of New York that you may not have visited—plus, some tours (such as its brunch jaunt) offer food as part of the ticket price. For history buffs, the Municipal Art Society offers walking tours that show off the city’s architectural gems and hidden spots, often for less than $20.
4: Don’t spend a day trying to scale the Empire State Building.
The views from the top of this landmark are breathtaking, sure. But to experience them, you have to pay nearly $30 for a ticket, wait on a crazy-long line, and battle through groups of other people—all for a quick peek at the skyline from above.
INSTEAD: Get a skyline view from Brooklyn Bridge Park.
If it’s views you’re after, these ones can’t be beat. The waterfront space offers multiple vantage points from which to enjoy sprawling Manhattan skyline vistas. Claim a spot on a bench in Pier 5 to gaze upon Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, or head to Empire-Fulton Ferry to see Midtown, the Brooklyn Bridge, and more.
5: Skip the “dirty water dogs” and dollar slices.
Have you ever seen the water that a street dog is kept warm in? We have. It’s not pretty. And while a dollar slice might seem like an attractive option—it is cheap, after all—what you’ll end up with is a rubbery, lukewarm bread triangle that barely resembles real New York pizza. Which is awesome.
INSTEAD: Head to Smorgasburg.
The hip food market is home to dozens of local vendors serving gourmet eats. Stuff yourself silly with savory dishes—including, yes, hot dogs (from the excellent, inventive Asia Dog) and pizza (from Pizza Moto)—and be sure to check out stalls slinging locally-made artisanal foods, such as pickles and granola. This fall, it’ll move from the waterfront to a former brewery building in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Call our free concierge service on 1800 908 254 and one of our travel experts will be happy to assist you with your booking.
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