“I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline.” – Ayn Rand
For me New York will always be that special place, a place where I feel both lost and found all at the same time and where I feel as though my dreams, goals and aspirations are all swirling around me at turbo speed just waiting for me to reach out and grab them. There is something about the city that never sleeps that allows every wild dream you’ve ever had, to somehow seem attainable and yours for the taking. I love New York and I could not wait to share this special place with my Mum. So here we are, a travel guide and love letter to the Big Apple itself. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you find it useful. I’ll be talking about visiting on a budget as well as sharing some tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way to help you save time and money whilst there. SO – settle in, grab a brew (and a biccy) and enjoy!
– Where To Stay –
First up I thought I’d start with the obvious and perhaps most important part of any trip – the hotel. some opt for hostels or air bnbs which is great however for me, a hotel is my go to unless travelling solo or in a large group. Firstly I want to quickly mention the hotel I stayed in last time I went to New York. Myself and my best friend Lee headed to NYC for Christmas 2017 and stayed at the ‘Innside by Melia New York Nomad’ it was midtown so it was a great location however it was very small and a really tight space for two people. They also severely over charged us whilst there (x3 of the orignal price) which was sorted eventually but caused lots of unwanted commotion. In my opinion it wasn’t the best value for money BUT you live and you learn! This time around I went with mother dearest and we booked a fairly new hotel – The Renwick by Hilton and I honestly can’t praise it enough. Situated right next to Grand Central Station and in walking distance of a lot of the main ‘tourist spots.’ The hotel was beautiful from the outside – in. The rooms were spacious and the bed – soooo comfy. In the morning you could head down to the restaurant and grab yourself a free coffee which saved a whole lot of money in itself. They had take out cups so both mum and I went down each morning to grab and go. The service was top-notch and all in all it was very affordable for the location and time of year. I can’t recommend it enough and will certainly be staying there again in the future!
– Saving Money Tips –
Hunting for a bargain is something that has been instilled in me from a young age. Us Winney’s know how to haggle and we love seeking out deals in order to make our money go a long way. First thngs first, if you’re heading to New York for the first tme and intend to do all the ‘touristy’ stuff I 100% recommend getting a CityPass. You save 43% on admission prices to the top NYC attractions and it cuts your waiting down by more than half. There are two types of pass, The CityPass and the C3 pass.
Spend Less. Experience More.
See world-class art, fascinating science, important history, and incredible views – from the sky AND the sea. One simple purchase. Nine consecutive days of validity, including the first day of use. Instant delivery with convenient mobile or printable ticket options.
The CityPASS Admission Includes –
- Empire State Building
- American Museum of Natural History
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Top of the Rock Observation Deck or Guggenheim Museum
- Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island or Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum or Intrepid Sea, Air & Space MuseumAdult £110.24Child £90.20
The C3 Admission Includes –
(Choose any 3 of these attractions.)
- Empire State Building
- Top of the Rock Observation Deck
- Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum
- American Museum of Natural History
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
- Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
- Guggenheim Museum
- Hornblower Sightseeing CruisesAdult £70.17Child £53.45
Not only does the CityPass save you money but it also saves you time as there’s no need to queue for tickets. You simply purchase online and receive mobile or printable tickets. You can use your pass right away or within a year of purchase. Once activated you have a 9 day period to visit all of your chosen attractions. I’ve been to NYC twice now, the first time round I used the full CityPASS and the second time opted for the C3 instead. My most highly recommended attractions would be – Top of the Rock, 9/11 Memorial & Museum and the Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise.
Another money saving tip would be to utilise the public transport! I love taking the subway whilst in New York, it’s not as nice as the London underground but there’s something about it that I just love. This time round I also caught a couple of buses, which is always a nice way of seeing a bit more of the city enroute to your destination. Both mum and I got a seven day metro pass which covered both bus and subway travel and cost us $32. For ease alone I would recommend this instead of getting individual tickets at each station. Other than that we walked most places. New York is made up of a grid system which makes it really easy to navigate. When the weather is nice it’s the perfect excuse to stretch your legs, you never know what you might see.
Next up on the money saving list is food. Now I will say, this is were we did save money because we didn’t relly go to restaurants. We instead went to the local deli’s and street vendors. The portions are huge so the times we did go for a nice meal we’d split a main or order small plates. A lot of restaurant’s also do pre-theatre deals which is always a good shout and there’s a decent pizza slice to be found on every corner so you really are spoilt for choice when it comes to cheap eats. Of course if you enjoy going all out on food then there are some amazing eateries in New York but for those of you that aren’t fussed (like us) then wonder around and eat like a local instead!
Flights & Hotels
Finally, a lot of money can be saved when it comes to booking your flights and hotel. If dates aren’t an issue then follow my lead and become best friends with the skyscanner app. This app has saved me hundreds over the years! It shows all available flights in a chart that you can easily filter to find the cheapest flights. I looked for the cheapest month which was March and ended up getting return flights Heathrow > JFK for £260 each with Virgin Atlantic – crazy cheap! Hotel wise, as I mentioned above we stayed at The Renwick which was £290 each for 4 night/5 days. I used booking.com as it’s my preferred site – I also have a £25 discount code for you guys to use (click here) which helps out a bit too.
So if like me you’re a theatre junkie, no trip to New York would be complete without a trip to the big white way – Broadway darling! My biggest tip would be to check out the Today Tix app as they can save you a whole lotta dollar when it comes to theatre tickets. Broadway ain’t cheap so always make sure to shop around and get the best deal! Today TIX is an app that offers discounted tickets on a huge variety of shows. You are also able set alerts for your favourite shows so that you know when a cheap ticket within the budget you’ve set becomes available. Big, popular shows such as Frozen (which we wen to see) are on there along with lot’s of off – broadway shows and concerts. You book the ticket on the app and then an hour before the show you meet the Today TIX Ambassador (wearing the red Today TIX jacket) outside the theatre to collect your tickets from them in person. It’s super simple and offers really REALLY great prices!
– Itinerary Must Haves –
I’ve visited New York twice now and it still remains my favourite city. There are some things that make the place magical and when I began to organise the trip for mum and I, there were a couple of things that went straight to the top of my list. No matter what your interests are, NYC has something for everyone and whether you’re in it for the tourist attractions or more off the beaten track treasures, every part of the city has something to give. It’s an amazing place where you’re able to discover something new each and every time you visit. Here’s just a few of the places I would recommend if you find yourself booking a trip.
– Where to Go / What to see –
There’s so much to see in New York and no matter how many times you visit you’ll always see something different each and every time. For this part of the post I’m going to cover those ‘must see’ iconic NYC attractions as well as some personal favourites of mine. If you’re a Big Apple veteran you’ve probably already ticked them off your list but – in my opinion, they’re always worth a visit.
Top Of The Rock
In my opinion, the best view of New York! Get there early to avoid queues, 10am makes for the perfect morning view. Amazing to do on the first day to really get you into that New York state of mind.
30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112
Ellen’s Stardust Diner
Worth the wait (there’s always a queue but it moves quickly.) The epitome of stageyness. Singing waiters with Broadway credits. The food is standard but the talent amazing! Opt for a breakfast or brunch for a shorter wait time.
1650 Broadway, New York, NY 10019
There’s so many shows on offer from long-running classics to the newest hits. Seeing a show on Broadway is a must!
Don’t Tell Mama
Easily my favourite bar is NYC. The drinks are flowing and the cabaret/piano bar comes alive with both staff and quests getting up to sing. The voices are some of the best I’ve ever heard and they free pour meaning the cocktails are lethal but gorgeous!
343 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036
The best place to stroll on a sunny day. Check out the boat house for a fancy meal or a hot cup of coffee and end with a boat ride. There’s also an outside theatre, a model boat area and sveral other sports areas for you to explore.
Below the Highline you’ll find Chelsea market, a haven of street eats, independant stores and vintage finds. Take your time and get lost in this amazing treasure trove.
75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
A derelict train line now re-born into a walkway above the city. Makes for a beautiful walk passing various street artists along the way.
New York, NY 10011, USA
New to the city, the Vessel is a free (but you have to book in advance) viewing platform that is situated next to the new Hudsen Yard shopping complex.
20 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001
Take the subway to Brooklyn and walk your way back over to Manhatten. Brooklyn Brige is stunning and the views of the city coast are stunning.
Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY 10038, USA
Circle Line Tour
A fantastic way to see the city and hear some of its diverse history. The tours are led by native New Yorkers that tell many an anecdote of their beloved city.
Pier 83, W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036
9/11 Museum & Memorial
Heartbreaking and inspiring all at once. Pay your repects and remember the day that changed everything.
180 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007
Grand Central Station
The most magestic train station I’ve ever seen. If like me you’re a Gossip Girl fan it’s a real pinch me moment. “Spotted at Grand Central Station…xoxo.”
89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017
Radio City Music Hall
At Christmas time a trip to see the famous Rockettes is a must however I’d also highly recommend the Radio City backstage tour. An incredible insight to the history of the building!
1260 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020
So there we have it, my ultimate guide to visiting New York. Whatever your budget I hope this post has proved you’re able to do so much whilst there. I can’t wait to go back again and find even more amazing places to add to my recommendations list but for now, that’s it. I hope you’ve enjoyed the post and the pictures. If you fancy watching my New York vlogs, both can be found over on YouTube – Christmas 2017 with Lee and my most recent spring 2019 with mum. Thank you once again for stopping by, let me know if you’re planning a visit or if you have any places you think I should check out when I’m next there. Until next time…