With a staggering 61.8 million visitors recorded in 2017, NYC remains an ever-popular travel destination. The city is brimming with food, culture, history, and nightlife – so much so that knowing where to start can be a challenge. If you’re looking for tips on how to make the most of your trip, read on. These suggestions on where to stay, eat, shop, and sightsee in the city suit all budgets and are great starting points when planning a stay in NYC.
Where to stay
The Pod is a trendy budget hotel that offers bang for your buck. Expect comprehensive amenities, good food, free Wi-Fi, and iPads in the communal rooms. Rooms are available in various sizes; doubles start at $85. If you have a bit more to spend, try Yotel in midtown Manhattan. It offers luxury at an affordable price – including modern rooms, a gym and a 24/7 concierge. But if you want to go all out, book a stay at Gansevoort Meatpacking (near Chelsea and the High Line). With stylish and comfortable rooms, a gym, spa, salon, and an amazing heated rooftop pool, you’ll get a true taste of luxury in NYC.
Where to eat
Whether you’re hungry for brunch, lunch or dinner, head to the Cornelia Street Café in the heart of Greenwich Village. The menu is sensibly priced and includes culinary delights like quiche and sesame-crusted salmon, as well as vegan options. After you’ve eaten, venture down to the basement for jazz or poetry readings. A trip to NYC wouldn’t be complete without pizza. While there’s no shortage of pizzerias to patronize, Roberta’s in Williamsburg won’t disappoint: it’s cheap, wood-fired, and completely delicious. And when you’re in the mood for fine dining, Buddakan in Chelsea Market serves delectable Asian dishes and cocktails alongside stunning interior décor.
Where to shop
Whether you want big name department stores, vintage boutiques, or something in-between, NYC has it all. Designer stores can be found on Fifth Avenue, while a more wallet-friendly experience can be found inside Westfield Mall. If you prefer shopping vintage and handcrafted items, Artists and Fleas in Williamsburg is the place to be. You’ll find one-of-a-kind items and your purchases will support local artists. Bookworms also need to check out the Strand Bookstore on Broadway: it boasts a whopping 18 miles of new, used, and rare books.
What to see
If you want to skip the usual tourist attractions, the city has plenty of hidden gems to enjoy. Head to the Rockefeller Center and check out the secret rooftop garden most tourists miss. You’ll get amazing views of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. History-buffs will love the 19th-century Renwick Smallpox Hospital, now an abandoned building on Roosevelt Island. The wonderful gothic revival architecture and spooky atmosphere make it an unmissable destination. There’s also Grand Central Terminal Whispering Spot, an archway which allows two people standing at either end to converse by speaking into the wall. It’s a cool acoustic trick which has turned into the site of many marriage proposals. Also, make a visit to the lobby of 520 Madison Avenue (open to the public) to see a five-panel fragment of the Berlin wall.
These suggestions are great starting points for your NYC trip. Planning in advance means you’ll easily fit in every must-do item on your list. However, plan at least one spontaneous day. Walking the streets without a plan is bound to lead you to an otherwise hidden gem.
Now working as a writer, Jackie Edwards started her career in the hospitality and travel industry, but after becoming a mom refocused and decided to spend more time with her family. When she’s not writing, she volunteers for a number of local mental health charities and also has a menagerie of pets to look after.