New York is a majestic city with countless sight attractions to enjoy and experience. Many have tried to see everything there is to see in New York in a limited amount of time. Trust me; this is mission impossible. As long as you accept this one fact, you will be able to enjoy the city to the fullest. My personal experience indicates that New York is best seen in 5 consecutive days – not too much, neither too short. The perfect time to get to know a city as diverse as The City That Never Sleeps.
My first advice would be to purchase the 7-day Unlimited Ride Metrocard. It costs $30, and it is all included. If this seems like too big of an investment, worry not. This metrocard enables you to explore NY in ways that you could not imagine if you haven’t already been there. The metro is the cheapest and most reliable transport in the Big Apple.
Now that you have opened all New York’s doors, the world is your oyster. Let’s start exploring.
This may sound a bit cliche, but if it is your first time in New York – make sure to visit the Statue of Liberty. The journey is short and extremely low cost – take the free ferry Staten Island service from the neighborhood of Manhattan. Try to take all your photos while still on the boat. Do not count on getting of it, climbing on top of the Statue of Liberty and then taking your photo. I am sorry to tell you this, but you are better off making ferry photos. Waiting on the immense line to go on the top of the statue is agonizing and I do not recommend it to anyone.
Enjoy your time on the little Staten Island and once you are done, hop on the next ferry that will take you back to Manhattan.
It is your first day, so let’s suppose you are full of energy and want to explore the area in detail. Some great nearby places to see are Castle Clinton, Battery Park, and the famous Metropolitan Museum of Art. The legendary Wall Street area is also located in the neighborhood, so if this is your thing, make sure not to miss out on it.
My day 2 was dedicated to seeing New York from up above. What better place to do so than the perfect bird’s eye view the Empire State Building has to offer. It’s best to start your Day 2 New York adventure by taking a leisurely stroll up 5th Avenue, which also happens to be one of the best and most expensive shopping streets in the world. No one said to do shopping there. But walking down this evergreen movie avenue has something special to it.
The Chrysler Building is just 15 minutes walking distance from the Empire State Building. This makes it your perfect final destination. Once you are done with sightseeing but still don’t want the journey to end, head to the Rockefeller Center or St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Remember that with your unlimited metrocard you can take the metro anytime you wish. For such a long destination list it is always good to have a shortcut plan. Just in case.
If you are looking for a distraction that will both make you fall in love with New York even more and will not cost you a thing, Brooklyn Botanic Garden offers a free entry every Tuesday from 10 am till noon. Just so that you can compare, the standard admission price is $10. Even if you are not there on a Tuesday, it is most than worth it visiting. What you will find once you cross the gates are gardens within gardens, within gardens. And these are not all the same style. You will find Japanese, Rose and Shakespeare-themed gardens.
After visiting the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, head to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. There you will be welcomed by an abundant amount of public art and curious free activities.
Here you have it – some interesting ideas about what you can do in NY on a tight budget.
Visit the New York Public Library. Two things to keep in mind before going. First, the name “public library” has nothing to do with whatever expectations you might have about this place. Second, you don’t need to be a book nerd to enjoy your visit to the library. Just by standing in front of the New York Public Library you will feel like entering into a palace. There are two huge lions guarding the entrance, which makes the building very easy to spot. Especially for newcomers. Pay a visit to the Rose Reading Room and the Map Room.
After the library, stop by the Grand Central Terminal. Always full of life, adventure and people running everywhere in a hurry is a very typical New York feeling. Once at the station, just take a walk. Or simply stop and observe all the coming and going hustle around you. You will be taken away by the combination of true American spirit and gorgeous ornate chandeliers and zodiac ceiling, which make for a perfect movie scene.
Central Park has been the icon of New York city for many years now. I have saved it for last because, well, the desert always comes last. Whether you want just to take a leisurely walk, meet new people, cross one of the most picturesque bridges I have seen or even explore a castle, Central Park has it all. It is no coincidence it has been the favourite place of New Yorkers for years.
For a perfect finish of your day, make sure to visit Times Square by night. It is magical. Once there, try to locate the TKTS booth and get a ticket for a Broadway show. Even if you haven’t planned to see anything – do not miss out on it! The Broadway shows are the soul of New York.
The United States is a beautiful country, but unfortunately applying for a visa it’s not the easiest thing in the world. Check out my post about US visas for Filipinos to learn more about how I got my US visa. If you are not from the Philippines and your country is part of the Visa Waiver Program, than you are in luck. You can easily submit an ESTA application form online and receive your visa waiver in less than 72 hours before your trip. The ESTA for USA is a travel authorization, with a validity period of 2 consecutive years.
I hope this information will be useful to everyone who plans to visit New York.