New York, in case you didn’t already know, is one of my most favourite cities on the planet. I genuinely can’t put my finger on exactly what it is that draws me to this city so, I just know it has well and truly stolen my heart.
I thought I would share my love of this city for all you New York first timers (oh how little you know the impact this place will have) and give you a few of my top tips for first time visitors to the big, juicy, apple.
New York is a very busy city and millions of tourists visit every year. This therefore lends itself to being a city of queues. As this is your first time, you will no doubt want to do all of the big sites, like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State etc.
You will find though that pretty much everyone wants to do the same thing, and each place can only take a certain number of people at any one time. You could therefore find yourself queuing for most of the time you are in New York, instead of getting to explore this fabulous city, and all it has to offer.
I therefore cannot stress enough the need to pre-book the main sites. You can select exact times or even just select a day for most of the sites, which means you will skip the lengthy queue. Pre-booking is especially important if you want to see the Statue of Liberty, even more so if you want to go inside, as those tickets sell out months in advance.
It does cost a bit extra to pre-book but it is worth every, single penny in the time saved queuing. Trust me.
2. Group sites together
This follows on from my first tip and the need to pre-plan the key tourist sites in New York. If you have taken my advice and are going to pre-book, you should also consider which sites are close to each other and group them together. You can incur a lot of time and costs travelling back and forward across New York if you have failed to consider the locations of your main sites!
For example, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, World Trade Centre Memorial and the One World Observatory can be grouped together and make for a brilliant, jam packed day in New York. The same can be said for the Top of the Rock, Central Park, The Met and 5th Avenue shopping. You could even combine this with the Empire State!
If you fancy the Highline, why not combine it with a trip to Chelsea Market. Once you have decided what you want to do, get a map of New York and group them together. It will maximise your time exploring New York for sure!
3. TKTS Booth
If you just want to see something on Broadway, and are not bothered what it is, or where you sit, the TKTS booths are your best friend! Simply turn up at one of the booths (locations all over NYC), select a show and get some seriously discounted tickets for that day! I always use this option for shows in NYC and I have managed to see some fabulous musicals including Les Mis and the Phantom of the Opera, for an absolute steal!
4. Take advantage of the free things to do
New York is packed with free things to do. You can walk the highline (for free) walk across the Brooklyn Bridge (for free – personal highlight of mine), visit Grand Central Station and have a Serena Moment (Gossip Girl ref there!) and you can even get into some of the museums for free. Again, do your research and you will find you can see a lot of what New York has to offer without spending a penny, which is seriously great, as New York can be quite expensive!!
5. Have a proper diner breakfast
New York diner breakfasts are second to none. They are insanely oversized, full of foodie goodness and enough to keep you going throughout the day. By loading up on a huge breakfast (like the Lumberjack from Junior’s Diner) you can save money on lunch by just getting a quick sandwich or snack from one of the many grocery stores NYC has to offer. You can then take your lunch and sit in one of the fabulous parks! This was actually two tips in one!
If you want even more tips for first timers in New York, you can check out Episode 2 of my travel series The Holiday Hangover, as it is packed with even more top tips!
I hope these help in your up coming New York trip and that you leave with the same fondness I have for this fabulous city!
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