I’ve been to New York City three times now and it never disappoints. I’m always in awe of all the incredible architecture, the hustle and bustle of thousands of people on the sidewalks, the never-ending options of amazing food and delicious drinks and of course, just being on vacation away from home!
I’m no expert, and I try to save money as much as I can, but I love New York City, and this is how I’m getting around the city and how I’m checking out the sites! This is definitely a photo heavy post – sorry! I took nearly 1000 photos and tried to narrow it down!
1. Rent an apartment
Okay, so this year was a first time thing, but we rented an apartment in the East Village, rather than stay in a hotel. It was so much fun. We felt like real New Yorkers for the week! We were able to have our own space to hang out, while our own bedrooms to hang out in too. We were able to buy pizza and beers on the way home, and we had an awesome little tavern across the street. Too perfect.
I think about on average we were walking 7 miles a day. Can you believe that!? That’s more movement I’ve had in the last few months combined! Since our apartment was kind of a walk from the closest subway station, we would leave the apartment in the morning and not come back until late at night. And we were walking all over that city! My feet never hurt so bad from just standing! (Also, another reason I never wore my new heel ankle booties, because I knew I couldn’t even last all day flat footed).
3. Take the Subway
Traveling like a local! I know the subway is dirty, and I was definitely afraid of it when I first went on it a few years ago, but it is just so fun to me! And such an easy way to get around! I love the energy down there when people are rushing to and from work or school. We always get the 7 day pass with the unlimited rides, which ends up being about $30 or so, and we definitely rode the subway all over and definitely paid that card off and then some!
4. Look for deals
By deals, I’m mostly talking about food and drink deals! Like brunch deals. One day when we were walking around we passed by a cute little tapas and wine bar that just started serving brunch. Get this: One brunch entree and one complimentary drink (alcoholic or not) for $13.50. Ummmm…that’s pretty good for NYC right?! We were stoked! And the brunch was absolutely amazing! The bloody mary’s were pretty amazing too! BUT there are also a TON of free things to do all over the city!
5. Wander down streets
Since we would spend most of the days walking around, seeing all the sites, we would get hungry a lot. Or thirsty. Whatever. Anyway, we would be walking down an avenue and then break off down a street and walk past an awesome looking pub or a cute little restaurant. We’d check out the menu first, since they’re usually posted outside. $18 for a sandwich? Uhhh keep walking. $12 nachos and happy hour is kicking in in 20 minutes? Let’s go! Sometimes these places were the best places and we’d meet the most awesome servers that would give us a round on the house for being so awesome. Ha! 😉
6. Plan out your days
Since my friend, Kaitlyn, and the boyfriend had never been there, I knew we had a lot to see and do. I’m over here thinking how can 10 days be enough?! And the boyfriend was over here thinking what the hell are we going to do for 10 days?! After the first night out, we went home and us girls wrote down everything we wanted to see and do. (Let’s face it, the boys were really just along for the ride!). After we got all of our destinations out, then we grouped them by the areas of the city. Sometimes we did a lot of hopping on and off the subway, and sometimes we would just go to one museum for the day and then head to dinner and then home. But knowing what we were going to do everyday was so nice and easy!
7. Get a pass
I’d never done this one before, but this time we got Explorer Passes for everyone. Tip: Don’t book through Expedia. They suck royally and it took me a half hour on the phone to get nowhere with them. Just go straight to the tour guide source. There’s no shame in it, and it’s the same exact price. You have to go to the tour guide spot to pick up your actual passes anyway. We got the five attractions for $119 and then you don’t have to worry about purchasing any tickets later, just get in line! There’s a long list of attractions that you can choose from and we chose: Top of the Rock, Empire State Building, Natural History Museum, Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, and the ferry ride to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Then we paid our own way to go the 9/11 Memorial Museum, and we got the college student discount!
8. Plan some low-key days
We packed so much into our first few days, that the second half of the trip we would do one thing during the day and then just wander, hang out, eat, and drink. Actually vacationing and relaxing. So much fun. It was fun being go go go to see all the sights, but also refreshing to have days where we saw something amazing, and then chilled for the rest of the day!
9. Leave time for last minute excursions
Go with the flow! We were sitting in a bar checking out Instagram when Lo Bosworth (if any of you have watched Laguna Beach or The Hills) posted that she was going to be at Birchbox in Soho! Kaitlyn and I got completely stupid excited and ran to the Subway and headed straight there! After a ton of sweating and talking about how nervous we were we finally got the guts to say hi to her!! It was absolutely amazing. She has a podcast, Lady Lovin’, that we’re obsessed with so it was awesome to meet her!
Weirdly enough this trip, my only ride in a taxi was to and from the airport. How do you guys travel around the Big Apple? What do you like to do?