New York was a whirlwind adventure like I have never experienced before. I completely started to understand all the phrases such as “Bright lights, Bit city” or “The city that never sleeps”. It’s almost intoxicating what this place does to you. Although I will absolutely say I do like a more quiet place to live, and a lot less people around! There were a few times (i.e.: Halloween!) where there were just so many people it was a little overwhelming. When you step back and take a breath though you get lost in the excitement all around you. I already want to go back to New York and I did not want to leave. Since this was my first time adventuring there, I thought I would give some of my top tips and must-see places for any first timers going themselves, or wanting to in the future. Trust me when I say, this is only a snippet of the amazingness and I will absolutely be back talking about different aspects of this trip. I was in New York for a total of 10 days and could have stayed longer and done more! We also packed those 10 days full of things to do and saw many things in those days, thanks to the subway!
1. Apartment digs– We rented an apartment for the four of us for our time there. It was cheaper and really put you in the full mood like you were living there! The only thing we would have changed was being a bit closer to a subway station; we were a bit far from an entrance so it made wanting to go home and freshen up for dinner not very appealing. We usually stayed out all day until we wanted to return home.
2. Explorer Pass: This is a pass we got to see five attractions while visiting, they have different packages for the amount of things you would like to see and you can pick from a list of activities. This gives you a discount and you show your card at the attraction to get your ticket. This was super useful and worth it!
3. The Subway– Fan. Freaking. Tastic! I did NOT think it was going to be a fan of the subway at all. I figured I would be nervous and not understand it, I was completely wrong. It totally did help having Allison there who has done it before but if you just whip out your phone or map your’e golden!! Not saying it’s totally easy, you definitely have to pay attention but it is totally worth it and gets much easier understanding after a couple times through. Also, make sure to get a metro card! We loaded our cards for 7 days and that is unlimited rides! Side note though… It is freaking hot down there!! That is definitely when I was wishing I wasn’t wearing so many layers!
4. The Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island– Purely amazing. It blew my mind just how big our Lady Liberty actually is! We did the boat tour that takes to the statue where you can get off, take pictures and eat lunch if you would like and then it takes you over to Ellis Island where you can go through the museum and look up your ancestors! It was incredible! Allison was actually able to find some of her ancestors, which was amazing!! I was in awe the whole time there. Side note: Get there early!! We got up early that morning and got over to Battery Park by 9:30 and we didn’t have a wait at all! From what I hear and Allison’s previous experience you can wait for hours if you get there any later. 5. 9/11 Memorial Museum– This one speaks for itself I think. The fountains you can walk up to and see anytime you would like and not have to pay. As for the museum, that was part of our explorer pass. Make sure designate a lot of time to get through here. It was the most quiet museum I had ever been in and it felt like more of a memorial. You walk around while videos are playing, hearing sirens and commotions of things that day, or video recordings of people on the planes leaving voicemails to their loved one, and your heart breaks. Seeing all the wreckage from the planes and the buildings is surreal. This is a must see for so many reasons. That night at a bar the four of us started talking about everything we saw that day and what we were thinking; I would be lying if I said I don’t get tears in my eyes talking about it 6. The Bars– Especially Irish Pubs! These ended up being some of our favorites! By the end we realized we had gotten to go to so many! We had so much fun taking a break from walking around, we spent time trying different beers, fun foods and talking about everything we had done so far and what we still had to do! A couple of our favorites included Connolly’s which we went to our first night in times square, it is amazing, the cutest little Irish pub with great service and amazing food! McGees which is actually the place they used to model How I Met Your Mother after, that is one of our favorite shows and it was so fun to be there! We spent hours there enjoying happy hour and having so much fun checking out their fun HIMYM inspired drink menu! Last, but definitely not least, McSorley’s which is the oldest Irish pub in Manhattan. It was one the day it was pouring rain on us and we were franticly looking for somewhere to go, we realized it was right around the corner! It was meant to be. The people there are amazing and it’s so simple. They have a menu written on a chalk board of maybe 5-6 things and two beers, a dark and a light. They also serve them in two’s! He brought them over and said, “Thats what we do here!”. The food was amazing, we started with a cracker and cheese plate which was literally a plate full of cheese and a sleeve of crackers. LOVE IT. They know what they’re doing and they do it well. Trust me, I could go on and on about all the places we went and how amazing they where, these were just a few of my very favorites 🙂 7. The Empire State Building/Top of the Rock– These are both must do’s! A lot of people say to do Top of the Rock instead because its an amazing view AND you get to see the Empire State Building which is very true but I say do both if you’re able to. We did the Top of the Rock during the day and Empire State Building at night, it was indescribable! Both were such incredible views and there is something really amazing about seeing the city at night with all those lights! Both of these were included in our explorer pass as well. 🙂 8. Central Park– So beautiful and way bigger then I was expecting. We went there twice and each time I couldn’t get enough of the views. Also, on the way walking there you can pass the LOVE sign. Total photo opp!
10. Times Square– This was the one thing I wanted to see most. I grew up seeing it on tv and loving it; it did not let me down! You really do get the New York feel though because omg is it crammed with people and makes me happy I don’t have to drive there! You brave NYC drivers, you!
11. Grand Central Station– Hello incredible! I have said this before but I could not believe just how grand it really was!! Honestly was one of my favorite sites from the trip. A must-see since you can just go right in, it doesn’t take too long. Just long enough to take in the amazing-ness!
12. Brooklyn Bridge/Brooklyn– We walked this on our first day there, it was one of my favorite moments! Walking across was amazing, then I fell in love with the park in Brooklyn and then we went to all the shops. We stopped for pizza at Juliana’s and the line is 45 minutes or more usually to get in and guess what… WORTH IT! I will honestly say best pizza of my life! It has a super cute cozy feel and amazing staff as well. While there make sure to check out Juliana’s and the one competitor right next door! Little story behind it:)