Monday, April 11, 2016

Three Days in NYC: The Travel Guide

Aaron and I were blessed with a whole week off together for spring break. After a crazy series of events involving two planned trips and a big basketball game, we ended up taking the trip that we planned to the Northeast. We've been adding states to our list with state sign photos (and have now successfully seen almost 35 of the 50 states together). First on our list for this trip? Flying into Baltimore and driving to New York City. If you're like us, and trying to see several Northeast states and cities in one trip, then you may be a little pressed for time. New York City is huge and there's so much to see, so where do you start? Here's a guide to the top things to see in NYC, and how we saw them on a budget in only a few days.



DAY ONE:

We stayed on the Jersey side of the Hudson because we had free nights at the Jersey City Hyatt Regency. It was amazing, with a beautiful view at night of Manhattan, and the PATH station was literally right outside the hotel door. We paid $5 a person total per day to ride the PATH over to Manhattan and back, and didn't have to purchase any other transportation at all in the city. Because we were on a big road trip and seeing several northeast states, we did have a rental car, and parking was considerably cheaper on the Jersey side.

Our hotel at night on the water: the Hyatt Regency Jersey City

World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial and Museum

We took the PATH over to the World Trade Center stop and found ourselves in the middle of one crazy looking transportation hub: the Oculus. Neither one of us had ever seen the 9/11 Memorial or Museum, so we knew it was worth paying the money to do it ($24/person). After grabbing a couple quick, cheap slices of pizza at Pronto Pizza, we headed over to the memorial: reflecting pools where the towers used to stand. Pretty unreal.

Pronto Pizza New York City
Some serious slices from Pronto Pizza
9/11 Memorial Reflecting Pool
One Reflecting Pool and Memorial (free to see outside the Museum). Names of all victims are on the sides.
 The museum was amazing, though several parts of it were a little hard emotionally. As a married couple in our twenties, we had the realization that we'd never really been to a museum before that was about something we actually remembered happening. We also recognized that people a few years younger than us don't remember 9/11 happening, which is crazy to think about. Overall, the museum was well worth it, with a whole bunch of wreckage and artifacts that everyone should see at least once. We spent about two hours there, and could have spent longer.
9/11 Museum
Artists painted the canvases to depict what they remember the sky to look like that day.

Brooklyn Bridge

Since we were already on the southern end of Manhattan, we decided to go ahead and walk over to the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Some folks continue all the way over to hang out in Brooklyn, but we didn't for the sake of time. Pretty awesome to see a bridge that's so old and still structurally sound (and pretty too!)

Brooklyn Bridge

Little Italy/Chinatown

If you're already over near the Brooklyn Bridge, Little Italy and Chinatown are only a hop, skip, and a jump to the northwest. We walked through both neighborhoods, and grabbed some delicious gelato at Mo il Gelato on Mulberry St in Nolita. It was seriously about as good as what we had in Italy last summer!


Soho/Noho

If you're looking to save some money and forgo metro passes, be prepared to walk when you come to NYC. We just kept right on walking through Soho and Noho, mainly spending time window shopping and finding a place to charge my phone for a while. There are lots of unique shops and boutiques here.

Greenwich Village

This area was very trendy, crowded, and a lot of fun. There were several really great food options and lots of comedy clubs. We saw a nice man walking his dog on the street and asked him for restaurant recommendations. He told us we needed to go to Monte's, so we did. And boy was he right! It was packed and delicious, and we watched some March Madness while we enjoyed Chicken Parm and Ravioli before calling it a night and heading back to Jersey.

The view from our hotel each night (insert heart eyes emoji here).

DAY TWO:

After heading over on the PATH again, we did a daytime walk through Times Square. I found a Groupon for Open Loop Bus tours, so we headed over to the redemption center to board the bus. Our day one walk had covered a lot of the bottom half of NYC, but we knew if we wanted to see Central Park and a lot of the other northern sights, it would be nice to rest our feet on a bus for a while. It was chilly, so it was a little cold up top, but we bundled up and made it work. Open Loop wasn't quite as glamorous as Big Bus Tours, but it was way way cheaper and we still learned a lot from our tour guides and drivers. You can get unlimited downtown and uptown loops for $39 for two, so we hopped on and got a tour of the rest of the city.

View from the Open Loop bus. Apollo Theater in Harlem

Central Park

Just as beautiful as it looks in the movies. The area includes a few small lakes, a zoo, and lots of area to roam and explore. Both the west and east side of the park are pretty "swanky" areas with expensive homes and lots of fun museums to visit! 


Empire State Building

I had been here once before, so we didn't go this time. But you can go up to the viewing deck and get some pretty amazing views of the city! 


Rockefeller Center

As featured in the popular movie Home Alone, this is a really cool area. We saw a few people ice skating, or doing some shopping. You can also be an audience member on shows like "The Tonight Show" here! 

Broadway

We hopped off the bus here and grabbed a bite to eat at a small diner just across from Ellen's Stardust Diner. Ellen's had a line a mile long, so be prepared if you're heading that way! It seemed pretty cool, we were just too hungry to wait. Broadway is full of lots of fun restaurants and of course all of the theaters where you can see Broadway musicals! We thought about seeing a show, but they were all pretty much sold out. (I did see Phantom of the Opera and Chicago on Broadway back in 2007- both were amazing!) We settled for a piece of NYC cheesecake and a Dr. Pepper to go, which we later enjoyed along with the gorgeous view from our room.

Times Square

After dinner, we walked back through Times Square and saw all the lights in all their glory. There are some fun shops to check out like the Hershey Store, as well as lots of chain restaurants. Several movie theaters are just blocks away.

Times Square

DAY THREE:

We got our car from the parking garage and drove down to Liberty State Park in New Jersey (just a couple miles away). Departing from the Jersey side to see Ellis Island and Liberty Island was a breeze! It wasn't crowded at all and we didn't have to wait long for a ferry. Be sure to order your tickets from Statue Cruises: it's the cheapest and they are the official website.

Our view of Manhattan from the Jersey Side (Liberty State Park)

Ellis Island and Liberty Island (Statue of Liberty)

I'd been to NYC before, but I had never officially listed Ellis or Liberty Islands. We paid the $7 to search the registry for family ancestors, and found my great-grandpa's name, which was pretty cool. The museum on Ellis Island is really interesting- they guide you through what the experience was like for people entering the country. We took lots of photos on the ferry over to Liberty Island, and actually grabbed burgers there at the Crown Cafe. It was delicious, y'all, and not totally overpriced like I expected!


We were done here probably around 2pm, and would have gone back into the city to see a show and eat dinner, but we headed off to Boston. Check back next week to see why Boston is probably my favorite city from the whole trip (and what all you can do there!) For other tips on how to travel cheaply and effectively (as well as what you should see along the way), check out the travel tips and using points sections of the blog!

Currently,
Kelsie

Other Travel Posts You May Like:

I'm linking up with  Motivational Monday, Modest Mom Blog,  What Joy is MineTell it to Me TuesdayBliss and Faith,  Sweet Little OnesTestimony TuesdayIntentional TuesdayTwinkly TuesdayWomen with IntentionA. Liz Adventures The Diary of a Real HousewifeMomfessionals,Life in Leggings, and Quintessential Mommy.

69 comments:

  1. I liked this post very much!It is very useful post to me.Wonderful guide.This was truly useful to me. You’re so inspiring, thank you for that! click here

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    1. Thanks, Ronald! I'm glad you were able to find a use for it!

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  2. This was a full trip! I've only ever driven through NYC, but I'd love to go back one day. I'd always thought of the Statue of Liberty as a touristy thing I'd prefer to skip, but it sounds interesting. I'd love to search the registry, too.

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    1. It was great! We went hard during the days and then went back early to our hotel and enjoyed the fact that we were still on Central time in our minds ha. It was cooler than I thought, honestly, and was very reasonably priced!

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  3. I love NYC! Looks like a great time and such a good guide for a short trip there!

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    1. It's super fun for sure!! Thanks for reading :)

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  4. Great tips! I live in NYC and these are some of the things I take people to do when they come to visit!

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    1. Thanks, Chelsie! I'm so glad I hit on some of the favorites :)

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  5. Oooo I am so jealous of your trip! NYC is my FAV. Looks like a great time. There's so much to do there - you hit so much in such a short period of time!

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    1. It was awesome, Chrissa! We were thankful we were able to fit so much in. We headed on to Boston and also had a great time there before exploring the rest of the Northeast.

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  6. Kelsie- I LOVED reading this. We went to NYC almost exactly a year ago; May of 2015! It was always my childhood dream to go so when Trevor and I went, it was the most excited I ever was in my life for anything. I am actually tearing up thinking about it! The 9/11 memorial was probably my favorite part besides seeing Times Square in person. So emotional. I felt honored to be there. I would do ANYTHING to go back. We had so much fun.

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    1. Ah, that's awesome Chelsea!! So fun- I'm so glad you had a blast there. I agree- the 9/11 memorial and museum was seriously awesome. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  7. Looks like fun. Seems like you hit up all the must see locations. I hope to visit there one day.

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    1. It was fun for sure! You should definitely plan a visit. We were able to do much more than I expected in a short time, and the bus tours definitely help that. Or just lots of walking!

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  8. I spent 4 days in NYC last summer and went to a lot of the same places! They were a jammed packed few days but so much fun!

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    1. Awesome, Jill! I think you can get a lot more done in the city than you think, especially if you are willing to load up those days!

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  9. You got a lot done! I grew up on Long Island so I would go into the city for a day pretty often. Saw a lot of Broadway shows!

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    1. We did get a lot done- it was a lot of fun! Broadway is awesome!

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  10. you managed to fit a lot in only 3 days! I had to pack NYC into one, but decided to spend a good chunk of the day at the MET, just means I have to go back again one day!

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    1. We did for sure. I can see how it would be hard to fit it all into one day!

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  11. looks like you had such a nice time. i have been to nyc once and only for a day so we had to cram such a crazy amount of stuff in. however, my visit was pre 9/11 so I went to the World Trade Center and got to go to the top of the Statue of Liberty

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    1. We did have a great time! That's cool that you did get to see those places pre-9/11. One day would definitely be hard to fit in.

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  12. Sounds like you were able to squeeze in quite a bit during your time in NYC! There are so many fun things to explore, I miss living up there!

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  13. LOVED following along your adventures on Instagram and so glad you're posting more here! My hubs and I want to see NYC after our little is born and is a little older. Thanks for the tips!

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    1. Aww, yay! Thanks so much, Mandi!! We really enjoyed the northeast a lot!! I hope you're able to make a trip to NYC soon and put the tips to good use!

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  14. visiting NYC again this fall this was great to read!

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    1. Awesome, thanks Neely! Glad you were able to dream about a trip and plan with the post :)

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  15. Oh my this is amazing! I can't wait to go to NYC

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  16. I love New York and really enjoyed this travel guide! Love that it also had some budget conscious tips. How neat that you got a local restaurant recommendation your first night in Greenwich Village ... I have found recommendations from locals is a group way to find the best restaurants when traveling. - Trish

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    1. Awesome! Thanks, Trish. And yes, my hubby was totally asking everyone and at first I was like don't bug them, but then I realized that they probably knew the best options!

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  17. mmm, Pronto Pizza, that brings back memories!

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  18. I'm a huge NYC fan!! I love your itinerary! I've definitely done some quick trips there in the past! You can really pack in a lot of things while you're there!

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  19. Wow you really did a lot in 3 days!!! I grew up in NYC and loved it but I never really did any tourist type things while i was there. Glad you enjoyed your trip

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    1. We did for sure, and really enjoyed it!

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  20. Great post! It seems like you all really packed a lot into your NYC trip. What a great list of things to do!

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    1. Thanks, Carly! We did and had a great time!

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  21. Seriously impressed by what you were able to pack in three days. I don't think I'll ever forget my first time in Times Square--awestruck. I never thought about the museum that way but you're totally right. I'll need to make a trip. Fab post!

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    1. Haha, thanks Hannah! I agree- it's such a cool space. Thanks so much for reading and being so kind!

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  22. This is a great guide. You guys really packed a lot into 3 days. I've never been to NYC but it's definitely on my list, including a Broadway musical. I've seen a ton in Chicago but it would be near impossible for me to leave New York without seeing one there.

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    1. Thanks, Christine! We did for sure. It's awesome!

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  23. I have a trip planned for new York soon. I hope to have as much fun as you did. Looks like you had a blast :)

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    1. Oh yay! Hope this was helpful and you have a blast!

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  24. You guys packed so much in to a quick trip! I love these ideas -- I'm intrigued by all the good food you ate, especially the gelato! I totally looked it up just to see what it's like as I sit here munching on broccoli. (Cue eye roll now.)

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    1. Thanks, Brittany! I'm so glad you checked out the gelato place. It was seriously SO good. There were a ton of options in Little Italy, but I was kind of picky on price and how it looked (spoiled after Italy ha). Yay for veggies!

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  25. It looks like you had a full three days! I've never been to New York, but I've always dreamed of going. I'm glad to see that there's so much to do (even with only a little time).

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    1. We did have a full three days! It's really fun!

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  26. I missed being in NYC so much! Thank you for reminding how amazing this city is!

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  27. Ben and I love NYC! When we lived in CT we used to go every year for our anniversary!! It was the best!!! Looks like yall hit itright!!

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  28. WOW! you fit a lot into 3 days. My first time in New York I had about that long (maybe a little longer) but I was on a "heal my heart" trip with a friend so there was a lot of shopping and bar hopping to be done in the evening.

    One thing I didn't get to do which I regret was visit the NYC library. next time! At least I got to wander on Sunday Morning through Central Park

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    1. We had a great time! Yay for shopping and bar hopping ha.

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  29. Why do I always forget there is a Little Italy in NYC? Must visit that section next time I go. I love Italian food.

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  30. It's my biggest dream to go to NYC one day! I can't believe we didn't when we lived in Canada, only a 1 hour flight away, now we're in Europe and it's longer, but I will get there eventually! Thanks for all those tips, I want to go NOW!! It must have been amazing!

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    1. It's so fun! You should make it happen for sure!!

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  31. Looks like you had a blast! We went to NYC for restaurant week last summer and had such an awesome time. Every time I go to NYC, I fall in love with it all over again. Last year was the first time we did the 9/11 museum and it had be blubbering like a baby. So overwhelming!

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    1. We did have a blast. I was totally fighting tears there too!

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  32. As a born and bred New Yorker, my advice is to check out the outer boroughs on your next trip to New York City! It's off the beaten tourist path and you can visit some great museums, restaurants and parks with amazing city views!

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    1. Awesome! Thanks for the tips. That's what we plan to do if and when we go back!

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  33. We love NYC! We were just there back in December for a weekend. My stepsister has never been before so we tried to do some tourist attractions for her. The first say we did Rockefeller Center, Times Square, the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center Memorial, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Macy’s, Grand Central Station, Central Park, Columbus Circle, Bryant Park, and then ended the day with drinks at the Marriott Marquis. The second day was a little more low-key. We went out to lunch and went to the Nutcracker Ballet where my dad proposed to his (now) fiancee. We then went out to a celebratory dinner :) it was definitely a fun weekend.

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  34. I was able to spend a weekend in NYC after I graduated from college and it was one of the best trips of my life. I didn't do much of what you did, but I wanted to go for the shows and toured the theatre district and I went stagedooring after the shows and ate cheesecake and Schmackary's cookies so it was perfect for me. :)

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  35. I love this! Thanks for putting everything together into such a great list. Pinning for a future trip to NYC... I don't know when that will be yet, but it will probably happen sometime. :)

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