Oh, what an exhilarating, exuberant and exhausting city New York City is. One of the most iconic global destinations in the world, NYC is a magical place to be from dawn to dusk and in both sun and snow.
With over 8 million people currently living in NYC and hundreds of iconic places to sleep, dine and visit, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start your day.
If you are in New York City for less than 24 hours (like I recently was), it is extremely helpful to have a plan of attack before taking on one of the most stimulating cities in the world.
Bus: A one way ticket from the surrounding DC area to NYC will cost around $20 and be around a five hour journey.
Car: Taking a car to NYC allows you to be flexible with your time in the city, but is an expensive option. Prepare to pay numerous tolls on before entering the city. To avoid paying around $50 a day for parking in the city, either park on a neighborhood street for free or park outside the city and train in.
Plane: If you arrive by plane, you can take a bus, subway or cab into the city. Just allow for around 40 minutes-1 hour before you can expect to be in Manhattan.
Where to stay:
Accommodation is expensive in New York City. And the rooms will most likely be smaller than you’d expect. If you are looking to save a buck, look to rent an apartment in Brooklyn or the outskirts of Manhattan on AirBNB. But for a shorter stay, splurge on a more luxurious and conveniently located hotel to make the most out of your visit and give you the proper nights sleep to tackle the concrete jungle.
The Jane: I discovered this hotel recently while researching for unique NYC accommodation that wouldn’t completely break my wallet. Located in Chelsea, this historic hotel opened its doors to the Titanic survivors who arrived in New York. The old school charm is still apparent today, as bellman in traditional uniforms greet you upon your arrival. The rooms themselves are quaint in size but large in character: with bookshelves full of antique reads, quail fabric of walls and the captains rooms equipped with an outdoor terrace and marble stone bath tub, a stay in this hotel will give you an authentic New York experience.
How to get around:
Subway: Its not a trip to New York unless you have experienced the madness of a subway ride. While logical to residents of the Big Apple, first timers may find navigating the system a little overwhelming. But give it a go and you might discover a hidden gem on NYC.
Biking: If you are planning on exploring anywhere from Chelsea to the Brooklyn Bridge, there are bike paths set up along the Hudson River. It is also a great way to find unexpected places in the city and you will most likely beat the time it would take you in a car! And if you are brave enough, you can also take on the chaotic Manhattan streets with your bike, just beware of those aggressive cab drivers.
What to see:
NYC is one of those places where you can spend years exploring and still not have time to see everything! If you are in the city for only a short amount of time, make sure to check out these iconic locations:
9/11 memorial: One of the most tasteful memorials I have ever seen, the tribute to the victims and heroes of this day is an absolute must-do for anyone in the city. You can even make a day out of it by going to the World Tower observatory for a unique view of the city and exploring the memorial museum.
Federal Hall: Located on Wall Street across from the New York Stock Exchange is an important piece of American history. It was on the balcony of the federal hall that the first President of the U.S. -George Washington-took the first oath to office. The original bible the oath occurred on can be found inside the building.
The Brooklyn Bridge: Whether you decide to walk across it or admire from afar, make sure to check out the stone bridge that has become an essential part to New York’s culture.
The Met: Whether you decide to explore inside (admission cost is a donation of your choice) or just have lunch on the steps (xoxo gossip girl), this museum offers a combination of ancient culture and city culture.
Rockerfeller Center: Home to some of the most iconic television production studios in the US (SNL and the Today Show to name a few), you can keep an eye out for celebrities and admire the bustling center.
Grand Central Station: The location of the romantic climax in hundreds of movies, this train station is to be experienced for the architectural beauty, chaotic rush hours and emotional reunions/goodbyes.
The Empire State Building: A trip to New York is not complete unless you have seen the Big Apple from a birds eye view and The Empire State Building is the best place to do it. Avoid the lines by ordering your tickets online or going either first thing in the morning. However, the best time to get a view of the city is at sunset, just be prepared to share the view with hundreds of other people.
It is important to remember that NYC is a city where it can really take months, even years, to see and experience everything. So remember to just enjoy the moment and be willing to also get lost while there because you will probably end up finding some incredible NYC magic.