NYC Travel Guide for First Timers
So dang excited to be writing my first ever.. Travel guide! As many of you know we took a trip to the East Coast this summer. We spent a few days in Boston with family and then Jaydan & I took a train down to New York and spent four days there. I couldn’t help but writing about this magical city that I completely fell in love with. So much so, I’ve talked about it every other day since we got home. Jaydan’s probably getting tired of it but I just can’t wait to go back someday haha!
First off, New York is just so big and can be overwhelming when visiting the first time around. There’s so much you want to see and do but don’t even know where to start. We didn’t really have a plan before arriving and just kind of took it day by day which worked for us. I really just wanted to write a simple guide with some of our experiences, things we loved and what we would have done differently. So here it goes!
WHERE WE STAYED:
We asked around before booking a place to stay and were told the cheapest stay would be an AirBnb in Brooklyn. We looked into that and prices ranged from $35 a night up to $200 and so on. Which is a good deal for a studio one bedroom with two guests. We’ve stayed in a lot of Air Bnb’s and have loved each time. For this trip, we knew we’d be eating out and not doing much cooking so we didn’t really need a place with a full kitchen. Our main goal was to be in a good location that we could navigate around pretty easily. For that reason, we ended up going with a hotel instead and stayed at the Moxy in Manhattan. Which I’m so glad we did! It was a three minute walk from Penn Station where we arrived at so it was nice to get right to our hotel after the long train ride. The hotel itself was beautiful. Cutest modern rooms with a rooftop bar and free breakfast. Oh yeah.. The breakfast! Each morning you get a free breakfast sandwich from the eatery “Egghead” right outside the hotel. Which was really good. I’m not sure if we would stay so close to Times Square the next time around. It gets dirty and full of people, so you just have to prepare yourself for that. It really does feel like its own place and is definitely a must see. Overall, it was easy to get around in that area and so much fun to see at night. Truly the city that never sleeps.
GETTING AROUND THE CITY:
We mainly got around by taking the Subway and lots of walking. We found that taxi’s in the city were more expensive and even a little slower than the Subway. You can buy a card at the station and reload it when needed which is so convenient rather than buying a new one every time. One thing I wish I would have done was bring a travel sized sanitizer with us during the day. The Subways can be packed with germs and are usually full so most times you have to hold on to the poles. Having some sanitizer on hand would have been good just to be safe. I will say: You’re going to see a lot of weird stuff haha. But it wouldn’t be New York if you didn’t, right?! You can’t beat the experience though! We also used Lyft a few times when the weather wasn’t cooperating which was really helpful and affordable. For walking around just make sure you’re wearing comfy shoes. We walked 5 to 6 miles a day. (Good way to work off all the food we ate!)
We had a few places on our list that we for sure wanted to see which was: The Statue Of Liberty, Times Square, 9/11 Memorial and Central Park. We also ended up going to The Met, not planned but absolutely beautiful. The only thing we didn’t get to do was go on the ferry ride to see the Statue of Liberty. This is where I wouldn’t recommend buying into the touristy deals. We spent money on a sightseeing package that included the ferry ride to see the Statue of Liberty. We reserved a spot and waited in a long ling but they ended up cutting it off before us because the ferry was full so we didn’t get to do it (Even though we reserved it.) We were right on the Hudson and got to see it from afar so we kinda regretted spending money on the package. Honestly, the best way to explore the city is just to be in it. Walking around, stopping to get pizza, coffee or ice cream in Central Park. There’s truly nothing like it. Getting a feel for the city, the people and seeing how it ticks. I’m so grateful for the experience. Upper Manhattan is just beautiful to walk around in. Next time I’d like to spend time in Brooklyn and Queens.
Now onto food.. the best part amiright? They say to never eat at chain restaurants and ask locals where they would recommend. Well… We were guilty of eating at Five Guys in Times Square haha. (I know, typical Urwins and their cajun style fries 😜) We were on the go a lot so whatever was close we just went for it. We did make it a priority to have a nice dinner before we left so on our last night we ate at a local restaurant called Pig N Whistle close to our hotel which had the best food and drinks. Food can get kind of expensive so next time around we would budget a little more for that so we could go to nicer spots. Also have to recommend trying Shake Shack, best burgers and fries. And of course NY pizza which was my favorite. I do have to bring up the fact that coffee isn’t a big deal on the East Coast which we thought was so odd compared to what we’re used to in places like Seattle and Portland. They are really big on Dunkin Donuts apparently and there is pretty much one on every corner! So we had to look up some local shops. Our favorites were Allegro Coffee, Gregory’s, and Joe’s Coffee Co.
Well that pretty much wraps up everything! I hope you find some of these tips helpful and get to use them if you ever make a visit to the Big Apple. It truly is magical. The skyscrapers, the lights, the people, the food. I have a hard time putting it into words. The best place I’ve ever seen. It’s quirky, fast-paced, dirty and can wear you down especially if you’re visiting from a smaller city… BUT, if you allow it to show itself to you with all of its beauty and charm, I think you’ll fall in love with it too.