NEW YORK: Great winter rates for New York hotels
Visit the Big Apple this winter for great out-of-season deals on hotels and packages. By avoiding the crowds and busy summer you can visit New York City in style, enjoy up-to 40% off accommodations, which leaves you more money for shopping - just in case the weather turns really bad! Book here now for early deals.
When to visit based on priceAlthough New York City is busy all year, the best time to find lower rates is between December and March, wit the exception of Christmas and New Years.
Key attractionsPlan to be very busy on your trip to New York City. Here are a few top places and sights to visit, of many.
The Statue Of Liberty, famous world wide, should be on every visitors list for their first visit. Taking the ferry over gives you many opportunities for viewing and photographing the “Lady Liberty”. Climbing the steps to get a good look at New York City is quite the experience, however, only for the fit.
Taking the elevator to the top of the Empire State Building is so much fun. Arriving at the top, and walking around the observation deck, you just may want to keep an eye out for any bi-planes looking for King Kong.
Day or night it’s always fun to walk around Times Square, looking at the giant live screens up high, people watching, and of course, shopping.
Central Park is one of the most excellent places to relax, read a book and enjoy this fantastic park in the center of the busy city life. If you truly want to experience the park, and get a tour, try one of the horse drawn buggy rides.
Having funSpend a day at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Here you will spend hours in fascination aboard the Aircraft Carrier Intrepid, A National Historic Landmark. You will get to watch actual movie footage of battles fought by this war carrier, see artifacts and more. After spending time on the water, jump on the Space Shuttle Enterprise. With many exhibits, artifacts and films learn everything and more about space travel. And when you think that’s got to be all, step aboard the submarine Growler, which was at one time, a “top-secret” missile command vessel.
A visit to New York City should always incorporate a day at Coney Island for some fun and adventure. With three miles of sandy beach, amusements, and its famous boardwalk, it’s more fun than you can fit in just one day. Take a step back in time and stroll the wood of the boardwalk, while reliving your past with a pile of cotton candy.
ShoppingIn New York City, as we all learned on televisions infamous show, Sex in the City, Manhattan is the only place to shop, in the world. What really needs to be added to that statement is, “with a heavy purse”. Here you will find all the best in designer clothing and accessories, from you skinny jeans to eight-inch stilettos.
Madison Ave will find you storefront at Jimmy Choo, Chanel, Gucci and Armani. If your looking for a local “on fire jeweler”, it’s Judith Ripka on Madison also.
Home to legends in department stores, Fifth Avenue still holds the key, with Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor, Henri Bendel, Tiffany and Company and Bergdorf Goodman.
Lastly, you’ll find some eclectic shopping on Elizabeth Street, from art-driven boutique shops, to glass items for the home. There are perfume boutiques to local artist sculptures and much more.
NearbyFor all of you that were glued to the TV during the hit HBO show “Boardwalk Empire”, a visit to Atlantic City is “in the cards”. Close enough for a day trip, located only two miles south; why not visit this icon of the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s era. Walk the boardwalk; try some cotton candy or salt-water toffee, and try your luck in the casinos. Many of the original buildings and businesses are still standing and in operation today. Among them, The Ritz, some of the “Rum-runner houses and more. Another excellent attraction,is a 6-story high elephant once used as a bootleggers tavern, with great views of the beach.
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Local expert's tips
New York City “Family Vacation” when it’s all about the kids!
Everybody takes the subway, and for families, kids are only $2 a fare, and real little kids that can walk under the turnstile? They ride for free. The rest of the family should really look at buying Metro Cards “Pay-Per-ride” where you can save a bundle of cash. Of course everyone needs to ride in a “Yellow Cab” especially the kids, who will appreciate watching TV in the back seat! Last of all, you and the family can get the best photos and views of the city from the water. There’s some pretty exciting “water taxi’s” that you definitely should take advantage of, especially in the summer. I highly suggest the large bright yellow catamarans offering a “hop on-hop off” service.
Some fun activities for the family include a ride on the Shark Boat, literally a jet boat with a shark painted on the bow. For almost an hour you will enjoy screaming around the New York City Harbor, eventually getting to the Statue of Liberty. This of course is another one of those exciting adventures for summer heat.
What child hasn’t heard of King Kong and the ending at the top of the Empire State Building? Just think of the tale you can tell on the elevator about the possibility of Kong being at the top? When the elevator doors open, your children will experience possibly the best view of the city below, day or night. The “selfies” are incredible taken up there.
If the weather is in your favor, Central Park is a super place to hang out with the children. Picnic lunches are in order for sure to keep the budget happy, and you can surly sneak a blanket out of your hotel for the day, that will fit in a backpack. If you head to the southeast part of the park, you will discover the Tisch Children’s Zoo and the Central Park Zoo. Located in this are is the famous children’s carousel, as well as the “boat pond” The boat pond is a great alternative to the game boy or “smart phone” games. Your kids can rent remote-controlled boats from the concession stand and race them.
However, for one of the best experiences of my childhood, I can highly recommend a day at the Bronx Zoo, the largest urban animal park in the U.S., founded and opened back in 1899. When I say, “spend a day” I mean it, because there are well over 4,000 animals to visit here, from Congo Gorillas to Serbian tigers, roaming freely in massive enclosures.
“The Big Apple” Vacation ideas for lovers
To start with, do your research on hotels and get yourself a suite for a good discount, downtown if possible near Broadway or Times Square. Eliminate the stress of renting a vehicle and fighting traffic, and instead take a shuttle, cab or UBER to your hotel. Most hotels will arrange for roses and champagne on ice in your room if they know your arrival time.
Start you romantic adventure with maybe cocktails in a sexy environment, and our suggestion is the Mulberry Project Bar. Speaking of “Old Blue Eyes”, if he was still around, you would probably bump into him here. This awesome place is hidden in plain view, in “Little Italy”, at 149 Mulberry Street, behind an “un-marked” door with a red light over it. Just hanging in a secluded booth inside this “speakeasy type” bar is fantastic, but check out the small back patio too. This bar reminds me of one like it in New Orleans off one of the side streets I found, a great piano/cigar bar.
Another experience for couples that haven’t experienced it is a trip up to the top of the Empire State Building at night, holding hands in the elevator. Arriving at the top, you will experience the romance as you walk around the observation deck, hand in hand, viewing the city lights below. Just think of the epic love story that ended here, when Faye Reye lost the love of her life, King Cong.
It almost a given, and I recommend this to everyone visiting the Big Apple, and that’s time in Central Park, No matter what time of year, strolling the paths, during the daylight of course, is extremely romantic. You can however, beat even that, buy taking a horse and buggy ride through the park, especially in the evening, says before dinner? I especially love doing this in the winter months, because you get to snuggle up together under a blanket!
For another great suggestion to enhance the evening, why not start with a sunset sail out and around the Statue of Liberty? There’s something warm and fuzzy, besides the cocktails served on the cruise, to wrapping your arms around each other, gliding through the water, watching sunset over the city.
Another excellent adventure takes you to the train station, Grand Central Station, Main Concourse to be exact. No you aren’t going on a trip, other than back in time, to the 1920’s. No longer just a train station, this terminal is now a major shopping and dining destination here in New York. Stroll about, window shop, and randomly choose one of the thirty-five or so restaurant/bars for lunch or dinner. One of my personal favorites is on the lower level concourse, the Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant. Notice I am directing you to oysters? Romance don’t you know.
The Loeb Boathouse is another romantic restaurant where not only can you eat overlooking the water but much more. How does renting a rowboat, and serenading your love interest on the calm waters sound? Not a singer or rower? You can also envision being paddled along a canal in Venice, by renting a gondola and attendant.
Finding yourself hitting New York City in the winter months enables you an iconic romantic interlude, on ice! Bundle up and head out to the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink for a few turns around the ice. They rent skates, play awesome music, and for the best romantic time, keep in mind, its light up after dark.
Hot tips for NYC Family Vacation in 2017
Another of my personal favorites, and one that will certainly open your children’s eyes, is the Intrepid Sea & Air Museum. Something else that was added a couple years ago, the Space Shuttle Pavilion just adds frosting to the cake. The Intrepid is a war veteran aircraft carrier that kids get to experience to the fullest. Your children will get the opportunity to experience life aboard an aircraft carrier as well as on board the Space Shuttle.
Weather dependent, another great way to get rid of some sugar highs, and at the same time enjoy perfect photo ops, is a stroll over the Brooklyn Bridge. There’s a pedestrian walkway the entire one-mile stretch, and along the way, you will enjoy the views of Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the famous Manhattan Skyline.
Obviously the best time to enjoy Coney Island is during the summer months, but its also the busiest and definitely crowded waters. That being said, any time of year is a good time on the pier, where you can spend lunchtime woofing down hot dogs, and the afternoon trying not to “re-experience” that on the rides.
For that emergency: All parents have experienced that moment when your small child crosses his or her legs, looks in your eyes and says, “I have to go potty!” New York city is not child friendly with bathrooms, and really not adult friendly either. Your best bet is to keep an eye out for museums, libraries and large shopping stores
. Suggestions for “child friendly” hotels in the Big Apple include the Doubletree Guest Suites and Embassy Suites. Both of these hotels are suites only, offering separate bedroom for adults and living room with bed-sofa. You have a full kitchen, so can actually have your own food, beverages and snacks. With full hot breakfast offered in both for families starting their day, to evening happy hour for a “cool off period” for adults, a perfect scenario.
There are specific sites that should be in your to see and do, including the Statue of Liberty, the top of the Empire State Building (Dad, wear your gorilla suit?), and for the children, the best museum experience is the American Museum of Natural History.
And then the really cool experience, especially on a warm summer evening, is a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. Actually you can enjoy this all day long, and the experience and photo op with the family is sweet. There are great views of the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan and New York Harbor. You won’t believe the pictures you can take of the Manhattan skyline after dark.
Why not go “off the beaten path” when visiting New York City?
No, you aren’t in vintage Chicago during the days of “Prohibition”, but still will feel the ghosts of the past. Why not take a trip back in time and for an evening cocktail head to one of the two original “speakeasies” still in operation today from that period in time. The Backroom Bar still operates today, with vintage décor and furnishings. You will experience those days of illegal booze the way they did back then, sipping cocktails out of teacups!
How about taking a fun water voyage for and experiencing history and maybe even enjoys a picnic lunch in the sun. The best part is the whole day experience can be free, with the exception of purchasing a picnic lunch before heading out.
Take the free ferry to Governors Island located about half a mile from Manhattan mainland. Jump on the ferry from either Manhattan or Brooklyn offered during summer months, and maybe bring a rented bike out for a ride > There’s also an man-made beach, as well as historic buildings from the 18th Century, including Fort Jay and Castle Williams. And don’t worry if you forgot your picnic lunch, you’ll find food trucks on the island.
Our suggestion for an excellent sunset photograph, or even getting on “your Spiderman”, is taking the Aerial Tramway from Manhattan out to Roosevelt Island.
To justify the “Spiderman” comment, Spiderman rode this tram in his last movie.
The ride is fun, and views from the tram “picture perfect”, and although not mush on island, it’s a great place for a private picnic on the beach.
Since I brought up the Spiderman thing, there’s another “off the wall” attraction for you “superhero’s” to check out. It’s the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Store in Park Slope. Purchasing your “can of courage” or “invisible paint”, will donate to the non-profit writing lab for youngsters.
If you feel the need to “get your burger on” we have the best-kept secret for your food desires. Located within the Parker Meridien Hotel, is the “Burger Joint”, located hidden from view behind floor to ceiling thick curtains? The only clew that it is there would ne the neon burger sign, and your nose. Walls filled with graffiti, old 1970’s posters and such, jump in line and step back in time.
Fun and inexpensive ways to explore New York City on Vacation
Transportation can eat up your budget unless you are careful, and if you take the advice of most native New Yorkers, forget about that rental car, and use public transportation to get around town. Just look at the many professionals who work in the city, and don’t even live here, but choose to take the train every day to and from work. This city is a public transportation haven.
Now lets take a look at specific transportation that you can use to visit and see the sites, namely your two feet. That’s right, if you want to get some exercise or just take your time and learning about New York City, there’s a company just for you. Expert guides, who provide a plethora of information to you, guide its called, Free Tours By Foot, and you into specific areas. The choices include a variety of exposure to some of the most interesting areas, including Greenwich Village, Chinatown, Street Art Districts, and many different tours in both Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Please keep in mind that as we said, these are “free” tours, but if you feel the tour or tours you walk were enjoyable and informative, these tour guides rightly deserve a good tip.
If you are reading this article, for sure you are carefully planning your visit to the Big Apple. In planning for your trip, it’s a great idea to actually print out or purchase a detailed map of the city and cites within it. That way you can locate specific places and cites within certain areas that can be visited within a day. Examples would be a visit to Wall Street and the Statue of Liberty, or Times Square and Central Park within one day.
You can also gain a lot ore of “real” New York City experience, by looking to other neighborhoods to visit instead of the usual “tourist traps”. Just spend a few hours in Greenwich Village, visiting shops, grabbing a cup of coffee, talking to locals, and you will see what me mean.
For cyclists you can get around the city quite well, as long as you use the specific bike lanes. Check into the NYC “bike share” program, Citi-Bike and grab some wheels. Two very popular bike routes will take you along the Hudson River and East River.
When it comes to dining, there are a fair amount of extremely expensive restaurants in town, no doubt. That being said, you don’t have to break the food bank during your vacation to satisfy your hunger. One of my personal suggestions, that I bring up in many larger cities are the Food Trucks, and New York City has some awesome choices. New York has always been known for its “street food”, where business people are often seen grabbing a dog at a cart, or woofing down a slice of pizza, my favorite. Now you can search on your smart phone, sites like NewYorkStreetFood and find the closest to you.
Visiting Chinatown and or Little Italy also gives you the opportunity of experiencing ethnic neighborhoods, and the local foods. There’s nothing quite like outside dining on the sidewalk of Little Italy, slurping down an awesome plate of pasta while sipping a nice glass of red.
How to stay “on budget” during your New York City vacation
Once you have arrived at the airport your money savings task begins, and in fact it’s the right place to do just that. Deciding before you leave home whether or not you will be leaving the city, because not having to rent a vehicle can be a major cost savings. Not only saving on the rental fee, but gas and parking fees that can be mega. That being said, one cost saving you can realize is using the MetroCard that will give you a cheaper access to the busses and subway system.
Hot Tip: In most cases you may find that taking the Super Shuttle is a cheap alternative.
There are a couple other cheap transportation options around town that you should take advantage of. One is doing the “Hop On, Hop Off” self-bus tour. It would be an excellent way to get an idea of the different area’s downtown. A nice thing about this tour, especially if you are visiting for the first time, is you can get off and then get on another bus.
If you want to get perhaps the best photos of the city, and take advantage of free transportation, check out the Staten Island Ferry.
Your meals can take a serious chunk of change from your budget; so cost savings is key here, without starving of course. You owe it to yourself to check out some of the fine dining in New York City, especially Little Italy and Chinatown. Of course, Chinatown you can certainly get away with cheaper dining. However, I personally recommend some awesome Italian dining in Little Italy. My favorites are the restaurants where you can dine outside on the sidewalk tables, and people watch.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, what I miss more than anything from my days living in NYC, is slice pizza! You’ll notice business men and women walking the streets downtown eating a slice at lunchtime, from a hole in the wall” pizza joint.
They enjoy this lunch because its good, and its cheap, and you should take note and follow suit so stay on budget.
Another food experience that has taken over the country is the Food Truck experience. This isn’t about hotdogs and burger from a generic truck, but actually fine dining and cheap. You can find just about any cuisine these days, easily by just downloading a “food truck app”, and in fact there’s one specific for NYC.
Exciting Day Trips from New York City
One of the favorite N.J. beaches to day trip especially by locals is Sandy Hook Beach. Locals love it because you can take the Seastreak ferry directly from Manhattan to the beach in about a half an hour. So many New Yorker don’t have vehicles so it is perfect for them, and you as well, knowing that it’s just “cost saving smart” to just public transportation. The cost of the ferry is only $5 and that includes beach fee and a shuttle that takes you to one of four beaches. For families with children beach E and D are your best bet. North Beach is very popular and gets crowded. Beware, Gunnison Beach is a “nude beach”, so if you aren’t visiting from Europe and used to nudity, you might want to avoid this one.
Atlantic City, Ney Jersey of course is a very popular destination for “day tripping”, with super beaches and its brand new boardwalk. Even if you have visited here in the past, it’s worth the trip to see what’s new and exciting since hurricane Sandy. Built into the boardwalk are two public-art sites, volleyball courts and more. Of course there’s still the gambling casinos, shows and excellent choices for dinner.
You may not think of New York in the same sentence for the work surfing, but in fact, Montauk, Long Island actually enjoys some fine surf. It’s also a great getaway for just hanging on the beach and watching the surfers, and grabbing some fresh seafood for lunch. If you surf, or are interested in learning, this is the place for you. Hit a surf shop and rent a board for around $40, or get a lesson is you have “extra” large bills with you to cover a couple hundred.
Hot Tips: For lunch try the local favorite food truck, Ditch Witch.
If fresh water, thrills and paddling are your desire then you certainly should head up to Weverton, NY where you can engage in extreme whitewater rafting on the Hudson. This isn’t for the weak at heart, but adventure lovers both experienced and the novice will have a ball. You can enjoy a day trip that starts in the Indian Lakes thru the Hudson River Gorge, plunging you into class II and IV rated rapids. Of course there’s a stop for lunch and maybe even some cliff diving I you are so inclined.
An extremely popular day trip for locals as well as anyone visiting this kind of area, is of course, the local wineries. Let’s take a look at some really close wineries you can taste at, out of the city on Long Island. You can either drive or if being “budget smart”, not renting a vehicle, take the trail to Long Island and take a tour or Wine Limo. Many of the wineries on Long Island do have food available, but it’s always smart to bring snacks or even a picnic lunch.
Some of our top pics are the Lentz Winery, and specifically its German wine, Gewürztraminer, pleasant summer wine. At this popular winery, you can in fact grab a bite from a food truck, if you dare.
Another ever popular winery to visit is Baiting Hollow, where on weekends there’s entertainment as well as vendors. Wines are reasonably priced and you get to rub elbows with others from the big city, looking for an escape.
Visit the newest “hotspots” on your next trip to NYC
attention, and tourists. If you are planning a visit to the “Big Apple” this year, we thought you might like to know some of the newest “hot spots”, clubs, restaurants and the like that are thrilling the local crowds.
Undoubtedly, the most visited location and usually top of the list would be Times Square for 1st time visitors. With all the action going on, shopping, shows, hot dog carts, it can be really keep you busy. But when the end of that day comes, and the feet are ready to give up their spot to your seat, there’s one new exciting place you should experience. We’re talking about Bar 54, located on the 54th floor of the Hyatt Times Square. Take a wind-sucking trip on the elevator and when you get off on the 54, experience why this is where the “high rollers” and executives bring their ladies. If you’re lucky, get a table on the balcony and enjoy the fantastic view of the city below. You can see Central Park and even New Jersey from up there while enjoying that “small plate” and martini. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can enjoy a couple “small plate” appetizers and a cocktail for dinner. After all, it’s vacation.
Maybe you find yourself in the East Village area, checking out NYU, and decide its time for a bite to eat and a break in your day. The newest “hot spot” for students and professionals alike is located in the Garden at The Standard East Village Hotel. The atmosphere created is quite laid back, with many the local well-known artists, models and actresses frequently spotted there. Café Standard located in the Garden offers food and drinks that won’t tax your budget, which is quite evident by the clientele.
Awesome Day Trips from New York City trip
One of the all time favorites that many of us that grew up on the east coast probably experienced as kids is the Howe Caverns in Howes Cave, NY. You need to leave early in the morning because it’s a 3 hr. drive, but oh what a beautiful one at that. A farmer discovered these spectacular underground caverns back in 1842. You’ll travel by boat 156 feet below the surface to an underground lake, discovering strange lit up rock formations. Taking this excursion in the hot summer months is quite the prize. If you happen to be there in late afternoon, the evening “lantern tour” is awesome. Bring your singing voice because the sound is something else.
If you long for a quiet day in the beautiful green mountains of New York State, a one hour drive will get you in Bear Mountain State Park. Pack a picnic lunch and you can spread a blanket by a river, or bring hiking boots and scamper about the Appalachian Trail.
For children as well as adults, there’s something heartwarming about a well-maintained animal rescue location. You can get to the Catskill Animal Sanctuary in about 2 hours by car, visiting with animals that are free to roam the 110 –acre property. Sheep, pigs, chickens, goats a more have been rescued and awaiting a hug or two. The Sanctuary is located in the town of Saugerties.
If it’s time to get away from the monster size buildings and maybe build a sand castle, then it’s off to one of the area beaches. You can relax, get some sun and fun, and not spend a lot of money today. Most beaches you can get to by jumping on a bus or train and checking out the local sand.
The new boardwalk on the ocean at Long Beach is a great getaway, especially if you’re into in-line skating. You can relax on the perfect white sand, jump into the refreshing ocean or just enjoy the people watching. If you choose to hit Long Beach, be sure to check out the ribs and ice-cold beer on tap at Swingbelly’s beachside.
Another excellent choice would be a day at Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn where the boardwalk and amusement park have seen their day, but still offer some excitement. The real draw here is as always, the beach, where you are sure to view some of New Yorks finest looking men and women improving their tones. Of course there’s boardwalk food available, and although it’s probably not the best for you, it’s good, and what the heck, you’re on vacation, right?
Watching the “ball drop” in Big Apple, Times Square New Years Eve
When you get to the square, and actually get past all the security checks, and into the crowds, that’s when you really need to pay attention to you belongings, especially your wallet. Before the evening is over, you will be personally intimate with hundreds of other bodies, and as the crowd moves, so will you. That being said, this is an excellent environment for pickpockets, and something you should be aware of. Bring only what you absolutely need, a little cash, credit card, drivers license, and don’t stick it in your back pocket or little purse on a string. Having something on a lanyard, hanging around your neck or waist underneath your coat is probably the best. Know ahead of time, you can’t bring in bags, and as far as food, the options are limited. You can’t bring in booze so don’t tote it with you thinking you can bust open that bottle of champagne at midnight, because someone else will be, like a security guard that confiscates it.
It is suggested to eat well before you head to the square for the evening, but suggested you keep the alcohol and frankly, and liquids to a minimum. The main reason is as far as bathroom facilities, they are few and far between; so don’t plan on going until after midnight.
Plan on being very cold, because you will be. Layering of clothes up to a heavy lined coat is your best option, to the next best thing, a live grizzly bear to cuddle with for the night. Seriously, this could be the coldest night you have ever spent outside, not moving.
To avoid the crowds of course, you can start your day selecting and claiming your spot in the early morning as many do. Then just plan on having a never-ending delivery of hot coffee (or toddies) delivered to you to hold a spot. This can get kind of boring until around 6 PM when the square goes nuts watching the ball being raised into position.
If you want to miss the fun experience of being pushed and shoved for hours in freezing cold, there are other ways to view the ball falling and that memorable kiss at midnight. One would be to spend nearly a fortune on a hotel room overlooking Times Square, but that reservation would probably have to have been made years ago. The next best thing is to make an advanced reservation in one of the restaurants, night clubs that offers special evening to celebrate, including large screen TV’s set up to capture all the moments of the ball, concert performers and wild activities in the square.
And the best part of these choices, there’s no possibility of freezing to death.
Visiting NYC on Thanksgiving Weekend? Here are some tips
The main draw for most visitors to New York City on Thanksgiving weekend is of course, the Macy’s Parade in Manhattan, with it’s giant floating spectacular floats, marching bands, clowns and of course, the cheerleaders, and much more. For a small fortune you can book a hotel along the route of the parade, and watch it go by from your balcony, in your PJ’s. Or, you can be like everyone else, brave the early morning cold, and occupy your space on the sidewalk somewhere along the route.
Keep in mind that Thanksgiving is notorious for gathering families and mega dinners together. What this does, is to keep families at home, thus opening all the other fun activities available to you, without the crowds. From Broadway shows to the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty, the lines will be greatly reduced for you. Of course, you will just have to wade into the masses of people for your chance to ice-skate in Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, just for an outstanding “selfie”.
For a relaxing experience, where if you bundle up, can produce a fun outing, maybe with a cup of hot chocolate and a box lunch, there’s Central Park. Take a stroll around this historic 38-acre wooded park, find a park bench and people watch or just snuggle up. For a modest fee you can take your significant other for a iconic horse drawn buggy ride around the park. Please keep in mind that Central Park is a great place to stroll during the day, but not so much after dark.
Add an extra layer, and there’s the Coney Island Boardwalk, where it costs you nothing to stroll, grab some lunch and sit at a picnic table and experience a NYC “dog”. WE highly suggest you wait for that “dog” until after you ride the Coney Island Cyclone, and iconic attraction since 1927. Although this older ride may seem mild to some, wait until you are flying down at 60 miles an hour, on creaky wooden tracks!
Lastly, because all the crowds will be at Grandma’s house, taking naps after the turkey dinners, this is a perfect time to visit the Bronx Zoo, which is quite the experience. If you too have indulged in to much stuffing with that turkey, have no fear, you can ride the Wild Asia Monorail, and tour the zoo’s 38 acres of wildlife, from tigers, antelope and wild horses to spectacular elephants. There are many excellent choices to take a seat and commune with nature, and enjoy the fact that there is no tourist pressure.
Locals Tips for visiting New York City’s Time Square
You just can’t find such an eclectic bunch of people in one place like you do in Times Square. This is one of the best places to enjoy cheap entertainment, by people watching. Times Square offers, “stadium seating” just for this in Father Duffy Square, with its massive stone steps where you can relax and watch the masses walk by.
When it’s time for some lunch or dinner there’s no limit to the little “Ma & Pop” places offering everything from Italian to Asian grub. This is where New York City shines because New Yorkers eat on the run every day. If you’re staying in this area, you should definitely head over to Hell’s Kitchen on 8th and 9th Avenue, not only for the food choices, but because it’s the best place to mingle with locals over a great “craft beer”.
There are a few “rules of the road” when it comes to walking around in Times Square that will help you “blend in” to the culture of locals. Never walk more than two abreast, because you will alter the foot traffic, and will surly hear some colorful language. Be careful where you stop to take that photo because the tolerance level of local New Yorkers to that is pretty low, especially if you block traffic.
There are many performers who earn their living on the streets of Broadway, and if you see one of interest, go ahead and take that photo, but be sure to give them a little cash for that photo.
Remember, you are in Frank Sinatra’s “City that never sleeps”, so get out and enjoy it while you are there because it’s an experience you will never forget.
Hot Tips for visiting New York Cities Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
There are a handful of hotels that line the parade route, and if you’re lucky enough you can get a room with a view of the parade below. Your views could be perfect of the start of the parade in Central Park West if you are booked at Trump International Hotel. The Manhattan Residence Inn right on Times Square is another hotel offering and many rooms will have a direct viewing of the parade below. The Courtyard in Herald Square is another hotel that offers parade viewing. Although these hotels can be kind of expensive during the holidays, if you get a larger suite room, invite all your friends for a “sleep-over” and split the costs.
Now for a few of those “hot tips” about viewing the Macy’s Parade. The first one is extremely important, getting the best viewing position on the street, in case you didn’t pop for the exclusive room above. With that many people attending, you will be fighting for a spot on the street, so plan to arrive and claim a spot pretty early, like 5 AM, and we’re not kidding. The parade starts at 9 AM, and many people camp put all night to have the best spots. Dress in layers, and plenty of them. You will be getting there before dawn, standing or sitting in place like a winter football game. Keep that in mind when planning for adults, and especially kids. Bring hot beverages for everyone to help keep warm.
Download the updated parade route before you go, and don’t wait until morning of the parade to find your spot, find it the day before, and select a few possibilities in case someone is in your spot when you get there.
Helpful hint: Download the parade app on your smartphone. It offers the route as well as other useful info.
It’s a great idea to plan ahead for many things having to do with attending this parade, and one you might not have thought of is lunch. Yep, after sitting or standing all morning watching the parade, over 3 million people will be asking themselves, “where’s the beef”? Be smart and ahead of the game, and have reservations nearby set up in advance, so you won’t be waiting in a line forever.
Keeping your “Cool” on Vacation in summertime New York City
One way that would certainly cool you off, and is quite often done is to carry a wrench with you and open a fire hydrant, sending massive volumes of coolness flying through the air. We really don’t advise this because the Fire Department discourages this for good reason. Although, if you come across one already open, doing a little rain dance in the water could prove quite the relief.
Lets take a look at some other, more realistic and legal methods of keeping your cool.
One of the most obvious is to get out of the sun, and the best way to do that if seeking the shade of a large tree. Your options abound in downtown New York City, with Central Park, City Park, Fort Tryon Park and of course the New York Botanical Gardens. High noon with your packed picnic lunch and a couple brewskies on a couple towels from your Cheaphotels.com discounted room, and you can well imagine a relaxing chill.
You can grab those same towels; pick up a beach umbrella and head to one of New York’s beaches for the day. With a lot more than just a beach, the old time favorite and still popular today is Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn. Keep covered up with lotion, stay in the water or under the umbrella and cool down. For a little entertainment and a cooling breeze, jump on the roller coaster and Ferris wheel.
Two other choices for a day at the beach are the Rockaway Beach and Manhattan Beach. Both offer something for all family members, and lots of cool refreshing water.
The real key to keeping cool during the heat of day while vacationing in New York City, especially with small children, is head to the air-conditioned museums. Among the best options are the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Peabody Museum (Dinosaurs), and Museum of Moving Image.
Lastly, even though we all know, or should know that it’s a myth that a cold beer will lower your body temperature. That being said, you mind is telling you the best way to cool down in summer, is an ice-cold brew, or something tropical with a little tiny umbrella in it, to keep the cocktail cool we believe.
For the best locations to cool off, nothing this side of air-conditioning can beat a great shaded rooftop bar. There are many to choose from, and if you ask around, you certainly can come up with some suggestions. You might even get lucky and arrive during Happy Hour for discount drinks.
New York City The Five-Borough Budget Tour
Conquer all five boroughs of the greatest city in the world with a budget that, to be honest, most locals use too.
(Rule #1: Buy a 7-Day unlimited MetroCard. Not only is it good for all NYC Subways, you can use it for MTA buses as well. You can also pay it forward and help a rider who’s short of fare!)
New York City is all about the views. The higher you go the price goes with you. To get the best views of the city, you’re going to have to pay–unless you visit the Queens Museum. For $8, it offers an impressive view of the entire city…well, sort of. The Panorama of the City exhibit is actually a miniature model of the Big Apple. But don’t let “miniature” fool you. It encompasses over 9,300 ft2 where you can study the skyline and get a sense of the city’s layout. You’ll need when you feel disoriented coming up from the subways.
Speaking of those views, grab a breathtaking one on the Staten Island Ferry. Not only is it FREE but you get an up close and personal view of Lady Liberty as well as Downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. Stroll up and down the refreshing boardwalk and visit “Postcards,” a memorial sculpture dedicated to SI residents lost in 9-11. Have breakfast or lunch at The Gravel Grill, a hometown diner with great prices and impeccable service. The only Smartphone there was plugged into a speaker playing an 80’s playlist. Hop back onto the Ferry that departs every half hour and your back in the city before you know it.
The best zoo in the city is the Bronx Zoo. Even though general admission is only $17, the Total Experience Ticket is well worth the extra $17. It gets you into rides and attractions you’d have to pay for otherwise. It sounds off-putting but that’s the way New York works. It’s capitalism at its best. In any case, the zoo is beautiful and unlike many zoos this one is not depressing. The animals actually have more living space than New Yorkers themselves. Be sure to ride the monorail and visit the gorillas. They are full of New York attitude!
There is always something happening at Prospect Park. Especially at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park. Year-round events like roller skating in the warm months and ice skating in the cold months come with the best prices and availabilities you’ll find in the city. If skating is not your thing there are plenty of other activities in the Park. When the sun sets and you are looking for something fun and unique to Brooklyn, head on over to the Brooklyn Night Bazaar in Williamsburg. Admission is free. There are food and culture vendors, arcade games, mini golf and live bands. Skinny jeans are not necessary, nor are they frowned upon if that’s your fancy.
Nothing can be more rewarding than a visit to one of the greatest art museums in the world. The Metropolitan Museum of Art or “The Met” for short is humbling and inspiring, immense yet personal and all for a suggested donation. For those on the strictest of budgets, the best museum in the city at name your own price rates–what can be better than that? There’s also a rooftop garden café and martini bar where those aforementioned views can be had showing beautiful Central Park and the famous Midtown skyline.
So what are you waiting for? See the sights without the price and conquer the boroughs of New York City!
How To Save Money on Broadway Shows in New York City
You are in the heart of New York City and the atmosphere is intoxicating with the energy of the city and the sights and sounds of one of the most exciting urban centers in the World. What do you do? You walk down Broadway and you look at the Marquees and begin to ponder sitting in on a grand performance. The popular musicals, the poignant plays and the performances that everyone is talking about are all on stage in New York City. How can you afford a New York City show while travelling on a budget?
How to Save Money On Shows In New York City
The Theatre Development Fund (TDF) in New York city has set its mission to make sure that the theatrical arts are sustained, maintained and assisted in bringing live theatre to as wide of an audience as possible. That is where the budget traveler comes in as tdf offers discounts to shows on and off Broadway. As long as you have the patience to wait until the same day you are going to see a show and are willing to wait in a potentially long line you can hope to get anywhere from 20% to 50% off on a show. Before you go you can get an idea of what type of shows are available daily by taking a look at their real time show listings on the web or utilize their TKTS mobile phone app. The process is simple, you get to the ticket booth early in the day and find a show that looks promising and hope to save money on the ticket price.
TDF TKTS Dicount Ticket Booth Locations
• Times Square – This location has the “Play Express” window that allows you to use a previous ticket stub to bypass the long line to make another purchase. They also offer full price tickets for future performances of some Broadway Shows as well as tickets to non-discounted shows. Location: Times Square: Broadway and 47th Street.
• South Street Seaport – This location offers same day discount tickets and next day matinee discount tickets. Location: 199 Water Street on the corner of Front and John Streets at the rear of the Prudential Building.
• Downtown Brooklyn – This location offers discount tickets for same day tickets as well as next day matinee shows. This location also sells full price tickets to Brooklyn Performing Arts events. Location: Corner of Jay Street and Myrtle Avenue Promenade, 1 MetroTech Center
Rush Tickets - These tickets are generally sold on the same day at the box office of the particular show you wish to see. While policies differ for each performance these tickets are often reserved for students. Some productions offer “General Rush” tickets and these are limited discounted tickets available a couple of hours before the show for the general public regardless of age. To take advantage of these budget friendly tickets it is generally better to check with the individual show that you wish to see. For student rush tickets, a proper identification card is required.
Standing room only tickets (SRO) – These tickets are available for shows that sell out and the policies differ depending on the production. However, if you do not mind standing for an entire performance you can see a show for a heavily discounted price. You will still wait in a line to purchase tickets and each production will have a different policy for SRO tickets.
The Best Free Museums in New York City
The Museums OF New York City That Cost You Less
When visiting New York City museums I should note that suggested contributions are a way to help some people see a museum that they otherwise could never afford. New York City has plenty of them but it is best to use your discretion when deciding how much you will pay to see an exhibit. Let’s face it; museums are not cheap to operate so utilizing this resource as a way to help those who truly cannot afford to explore some of the treasures that these Museums hold is a privilege that should not be obused. With that said, a family of four wanting to see a few museums in New York City can find it very hard to afford each and every spot. The suggested donation helps with that but it is always wise to pay as much as you can so as to preserve the programs and exhibits for more people to enjoy.
Metropolitan Museum of Art: ( Suggested donation) This is the epitome of an art museum with a collection of art that is among the largest in the world. If there is a period of time that you want to study they will in fact have something in this vast collection. This is easily one of the most visited attractions in New York City.
American Museum of Natural History: ( Suggested donation) It is hard to explain just how much this museum packs into a space but if it is about science and the evolution of species you will find it in this grand collection. Science and exploration are placed at center stage in this can’t miss museum.
Carnegie Hall/Rose Museum: (Free) If you enjoy the history of music and the entertainers that have made their way through this iconic hall you’ll be fascinated by the artifacts that they have on display. Some special exhibits rotate through the exhibit as well as approximately 300 artifacts to form a permanent collection.
Guggenheim Museum Soho: (Free) Before you get excited this is not a huge collection like you might expect from the larger Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on the Upper East Side but it is free and the permanent collection of Andy Warhol pieces are worth a visit if you are in the neighborhood.
New York City Fire Museum ( Suggested donation) This museum, housed in an old firehouse, is a celebration of the men and women who risk their lives on a daily basis in the city. Great for kids who love the idea of standing next to a fire truck and it is filled with plenty of intriguing information about the firefighting profession.
Staten Island Institute of Arts & Sciences: ( Suggested donation) You hop on the Staten Island Ferry (free) and you visit a museum that is kid friendly with plenty of exhibits that engage the mind. The draw with this museum is that if you are coming from Manhattan you actually can make an entire day of it and still keep the cost down. Bring along your camera because the Staten Island Ferry will go right by the Statue of Liberty, so you’ll cross that off of your list as well.
Saving Money On Food In NYC
New York City is a big bustling swarm of people and activity and the thought of finding cheap food would seem like either a waste of time in a culinary Mecca such as this or impossible because of the size and scope of the area. Well, the truth is some of the best restaurants in the world can be found in Manhattan but you have to be realistic when talking about how much money you really want to spend on food. Instead consider exploring and experiencing New York City via its vast collection of cheap food options that lend a little insight into this diverse population.
6 Places to Eat Cheap in Midtown Manhattan
Trying to come up with 10 spots around the city is easier but there is a better chance that you will find yourself in this part of town if you are visiting museums, theaters, attractions or Central Park. Also, cheap is a relative term when it comes to New York City.
HB Burger 127 W. 43rd St.– The burger is worth visiting this place for but the truth is the entire menu is cheap and you can actually have a sit down dining experience close to Times Square. If you are a visitor in New York, you will be visiting Times Square, don’t fight it.
Chicken Bar 717 8th Ave. 45th and 8th – First, this spot is near to so many hotels in midtown that I have to mention it and if you are travelling with kids this is a good spot for a slice of pizza and a kid friendly meal. It is not gourmet but it is slightly above fast food but cheap.
Istanbul Kebab House 712 9th Ave – This is cheap and good. The falafel is worth trying but the chicken dishes are a must. This is close to Times Square and you can easily grab some food to go and take it a back to your hotel or make the trek toward the park and have a picnic.
Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien 119 W.56th btw 6th and 7th – You’ll like this place because the burger is above average and the menu consists of affordable items. You will also like it because it is located in a nice hotel so it doesn’t feel like you are going completely cheap while you are on vacation. You can overeat and then walk over to the park or to the Museums from here.
FIKA 41 W 58th St btw 5th and 6th – Get your dose of coffee and some pretty excellent pastries. It is not entirely cheap but it is convenient if you are near the park. I would not suggest this spot if you are traveling with kids but two adults looking for a quick bite will appreciate the quality ingredients.
Obika Mozzarella Bar 590 Madison Ave. btw 56 and 57 – If you are a fan of Mozzarella, how can you not find your way here. You’ll find good sandwiches and salads for a reasonable price. This is not fast food so you will pay more than you would for a snack from a cart but you get significantly better quality.
The Tip: Eating in New York City can be affordable if you employ the simple task of doing a little research as you walk down the street and if you venture out of your comfort zone. Use your mobile phone to check out the places you plan on walking to. You do not have to stick with hot dogs and pizza just to save money in between Broadway shows and New York City museums.
5 Things To Do In New York City This Summer
Visiting New York City does not have to be expensive and if you schedule your day correctly you can combine free attractions with popular tourist destinations that fulfill your inquisitive, adventurous spirit while making the most of your time and budget.
Visit Times Square and take in the spectacle that seems like the center of the universe. The lights, the traffic and the people watching are unlike anything you have ever seen. Find one of the many common areas and stop and take it all in. You’ll also find discount tickets booths in Times Square and from this spot you are walking distance to Broadway and Off Broadway performances as well as food options that range from cheap street side carts to chain restaurants to fancy fine dining restaurants.Spend an afternoon roaming the great urban space that is New York City’s Central Park and you’ll rethink what opinion you may have had of the city as a place that is pure hustle and bustle. Walk across the great lawn or take a seat near The Pond and Hallet Nature Sanctuary and capture a glimpse of what New Yorkers are always willing to rave about, that is, NYC is far more evolved than most visitors ever get to see. These attractions as well as tours of the park given by the Conservancy are free with advanced reservations.
The iconic statue in New York Harbor is recognizable even those who have never landed on Manhattan island. The Statue of Liberty offers tours and the Statue of Liberty Ferries get you to Liberty Island and an advance reservation will get you to better prime viewing locations. If you would rather not spend the money but still want get a good view head to the Staten Island Ferry and take some great photos from the free ferry while going across the harbor. Great pictures, a good experience and there is no cost to you.
9/11 Memorial is open daily and is free to visit. The museum houses a collection of artifacts from 9/11 as well as presenting stories from those affected by this worldwide event. The museum does charge an entrance fee but the surrounding area is free to explore. The museum’s collection includes photographs, artifacts and video to help tell the story of the World Trade Center and the ramifications of the attacks on the country.
The American Museum of Natural History is not cheap at first glance but if you consider how much time you can spend in the museum and the endless exhibits and activities available you might consider this to be the best deal in New York City. If you are a fan of dinosaurs and fossils this is the main reason why you could spend hours in the museum. The collection is impressive and you’ll find this to be money well spent. The permanent collections are all very impressive and should serve as the foundation for your visit but the list of temporary exhibitions will also inspire you to explore the entire museum with greater depth.
There are numerous passes available throughout the city for discounted admission to the top attraction in New York City. These passes usually offer large discounts and help you budget your list of things to do.