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 MuseumWe 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.
|Some serious slices from Pronto Pizza|
|One Reflecting Pool and Memorial (free to see outside the Museum). Names of all victims are on the sides.|
|Artists painted the canvases to depict what they remember the sky to look like that day.|
Brooklyn BridgeSince 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!)
Little Italy/ChinatownIf 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/NohoIf 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 VillageThis 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|
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!
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!
BroadwayWe 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 SquareAfter 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.
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!
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