We were there from 21st-27th October and it wasn’t too cold at all, we only had 1 day of rain then blue sky the rest of the week. It was only a bit chilly in the mornings but averaged around 18degrees each day.
Now that we’ve got a feel of the city, we’d choose to stay in SoHo/Chelsea area next time and also spend some time exploring Brooklyn/Williamsburg. We stayed at the InterContinental Times Square this time for ease as it had all the services a hotel should that made it an easy stay. We had a corner room on the 22d floor which gave us two floor to ceiling window views towards the Hudson river. There was a subway station literally right next to it that most trains went too, I think we only needed to walk back from a stop 8 minutes away once. A big bottle of water in the room was something ridiculous like $13 but just outside there’s a little cart selling the same for $3 and Shake Shack is just below the hotel too. It was 1 or 2 blocks away from the main hub of Times Square, walkable distance to Broadway shows, Rockefeller Centre and Empire State Building and endless food options around.
I did feel like I had to be street smart most of the time, making sure I had my bag zipped up, my hand on top of it on the subway, not having my phone in my back pocket etc. Just having your wits about you and some common sense. We didn’t get pick-pocketed or witness any violence during our visit.
We brought a City Pass to get into 3 attractions for $80USD [we used it on the Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building and 9/11 Memorial Museum].
Would recommend buying a MetroCard to travel on the subway. You can top them up at the offices and saves time buying single trips every time, although single trips are super cheap like less than $3 to get anywhere we went. Put your destination into GoogleMaps, press directions and then the train icon at the top of the screen to figure out what train to take.
Use Lyft not Uber, Lyft is cheaper and their workers are apparently treated better.
Remember to tip there! Its not an option, do your research so you know how it works. Have lots of small cash for taxis, waiters, door men etc etc… pretty much everyone who does a service for you.
Get up early to beat the crowds/catch sunrise. Get to places at opening times if you want less people around.
Make sure you’re buying from shops your taking photos in/outside of. For example I took some photos outside a cool looking convenience store but brought from them first. Same with inside vintage stores etc.
BEFORE YOU GO
You need an ESTA visa before entering America. Its cheap and easy to apply and you get approved [or declined] quickly that’ll go to your email.
Most my photo locations I find off Instagram or YouTube and keep a list of the pictures I want to take. I look up the location tag, the “influencers” that have been there, read travel blogs and watch a lot of vlogs.
I make a list of all the things we want to see/do/eat and then I do a rough itinerary to work out how we fit it all in and plan our outings with eating places around the same suburbs to save going back and forth across town [although we ended up doing a lot of that in NYC anyway lol].
For packing, I go into my wardrobe and write down everything I want to pack and then make them into outfits, adding and eliminating along the way. For a short get away like this one, I also add my outfit of the day to the itinerary to save me thinking time the morning of.
WHERE TO EAT
- The Butcher’s Daughter [plant based cafe]
- Sweet Chick [best fried chicken & waffles]
- Chelsea Market
- Jacks Wife Freda
- Milk ice cream
- Tacombi [cheap eats Mexican]
- Dough Doughnuts [some would say the best doughnuts in NYC]
- Dudley’s [we went for a delicious brunch but they also do dinner and cocktails]
- Supermoon Bakehouse [go for the aesthetic of the store and takeaway a delicious bakery treat]
- Please Don’t Tell [through Crif Dogs Hotdogs, speakeasy bar]
- Bluestone Lane [Australian owned cafe chain]
- Joe’s Pizza [cheap pizza by the slice]
- Shake Shack [Burgers, fries & shakes]
- Cha Cha Matcha
- Juice – by Chloe
- The Frying Pan
- Pershing Square [across from central station, American diner]
- S’Mac [best NYC mac and cheese]
- The Musket Room [NZ owned]
- The Skylark + The Press Lounge + Arlo Soho + Public + Cecconi’s Dumbo [rooftop cocktails]
WHAT TO DO
- Buy a NYC City Pass
- FlyNYON [doorless helicopter and I’d say is a must do]
- Empire State Building [although I’d rate Top of the Rock more for better views]
- Top of the Rock [views, get there at 8am]
- 9/11 Memorial
- Hudson river
- Chelsea Market
- Dumbo/Brooklyn Bridge [go early in the morning for less crowds]
- Central Park [figure out what you want to see in the park and enter the park close to that to save lots of steps, there are also a lot of “no wheels” zones where you have to get off your bike/skateboard etc and walk instead]
- Wall Street + Charging Bull sculpture [we found quite random, wouldn’t do it if we had our time over]
- Walk the High Line to the Vessel Sculpture and Hudson Yard shopping centre
- Times Square
- Grand Central Station
- Broadway show
- Sports game [we went to a basketball game at Barclays Centre]
- Soho [shopping, street vibes, food]
- Statue of Liberty [free Staten Island Ferry, go to right hand of the boat for best views although we actually saw a great view of it while flying over in the helicopter]
- Take activewear and do a class somewhere cool like SoulCycle. I 10000% regret not doing that.