Last year I won a trip to New Jersey. I decided to extend my trip a few days and had a friend take me on a quick tour of Manhattan, NY. And though the trip was just that, quick, I fell head over heels in love with the City that never sleeps, and it quickly became the apple of my eye. So this year, when I won another trip to New Jersey (this I'll talk more about later), I decided to make a bucket list of items I wanted to experience in New York and this time, I'd get my hubby to come with me.
Before our trip to NY, I had asked my husband to give me his list of to do's and I started to jot down mine. I went through maps, locations and also googled food ideas to gather a quick itinerary. Some of the things I googled were:
Things to do in NYC, What to eat in NYC and Must do in New York.
I came up with my list and correlated it to some of the hot spot recommendations. I went to AAA auto club and picked up free tour maps and books. I recommend this highly if you are a member. My hubby and I had quite a large list compiling and we were trying to figure how we could see what we needed to see on a budget. If we took a taxi and went to each place separately, it would cost a small fortune. So we decided on a "Hop on, Hop off" bus. There are many to pick from but the one we chose was the City Sights NY. We decided on the package that cost about $99 each and it included 48 hours of tours, which also included 4 different bus tours and a by sea tour that was valid for 4 days. All in all, we had only budgeted 2 days in NYC and realistically could have used a whole extra day to do the sea tour also. On this tour we checked off many things from our list and actually experienced many of them first hand by getting off the bus too. We also paid $20 extra for a pass to tour the top of the Empire State Building. If you are staying at a hotel, check with your concierge for discounts and also for an early morning pick up from the bus company at no extra charge.
My Top Ten NYC list
1. Hop on, Hop off bus (see all the sights, learn the area, hear the history, go back and visit your favorite spots)
2. Empire state building at night (if you are looking for romance, this is a must but be warned, take a jacket because it is cold)
3. Central park carriage ride. (you can negotiate price slightly, but they are more willing to give more time than money off)
4. Time Square. Find out if they have an opera at night and try to see one. It is quite spectacular and it is free.
5. Lombardi's Pizza in Little Italy. It is the oldest Pizza place in the US. Take a free tour to the ovens to see how the pizza is made.
6. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge. It's a nice jaunt and you are sure to work off your pizza!
7. St. Paul's Church, next to the new Freedom Tower. There is a free “911 memorial” on the inside. It is a must, then walk right outside to view the new Freedom Tower. Trust me, bring some Kleenex.
8. Battery Park. If you do not make it to the Statue of Liberty, you can see her beauty and take photos from here.
9. The Flat Iron District because of the vast history, great shopping and spectacular buildings.
10. The “View in the Marriot at Time Square. It is a spectacular 360 degree revolving rooftop restaurant and bar on the 48th floor. It will cost you $8 pp plus at least a drink each. The coasters come with a complete map to tell you what buildings you see as your view is constantly changing. This is a great way to learn what is where from the very beginning of your trip.
If you can make some other pit stops, I recommend: Fao Schwartz toy store and make sure you see the big piano, Serendipity 3 for a nice frozen Hot cocoa dessert, Mangia restaurant near the Waldorf Astoria and Central Park (it is a nice reasonable Italian restaurant with incredible food. They also have a deli area if you’d like to pack a picnic and eat in Central Park), Crumbs bakery in the Theater district for their style Cronut called a “Crumbnut”or you can head to the Dominique Ansel Bakery in Soho for the real thing but be prepared to be there at least 2 hours before opening to get one.