My husband and I are heading to NYC this month. I've been to a few travel websites and I am somewhat overwhelmed. We plan to stay in the Midtown section of Manhattan, which seems to be fairly close to the places we would like to visit. However, we would consider staying somewhere else if it is convenient to get to the usual attractions/events and is a lot less expensive, yet still safe and clean.
Are the buses and the subway convenient, or a big hassle for people not used to using them?
We would like to see the usual attractions, most likely a show or two, Statue of Liberty, Time Square, museums, etc.
We would also like to visit places like Chinatown or Little Italy if these are worth visiting. Any comments?
Can people offer some tips on getting around, things we "must see" beyond what I stated above, etc.
Also, do they have some kind of "reservation" system for people for some of the sites, e.g. some attractions in a city close to my home allow you to reserve a ticket by paying ahead online, eliminating the need to stand in line for an hour or more before the place even opens.
Subways and trains are very convenient--buses, not so much. Traffic in town is just way too much and overwhelming if you are going very far on the bus.
As far as Chinatown and Little Italy--I go there all the time and usually eat in Little Italy at least once each trip, with a focus on getting my dessert at Ferrara's. Chinatown is right next door to Little Italy. Getting to either one does require about a 6 block hike from the local subway stops, but the blocks are short and you hike through a good part of town. Take the subway down towards Soho and get off there and head east, then south.
For me, the "must things" are the ones you mentioned--Times Square, a Broadway show, The Guggenheim and Metropolitan Art Museums and Bryant Park (which is right behind the main museum and one long block east of Times Square.
I also like going to a bar or restaurant off the side streets (like one between 40th and 45th street) from Times Square and taking in some atmosphere and maybe a lounge show. Also in this area is Junior's Restaurant, where you can order one of their cheesecakes (best on the planet)--it is at the corner of Broadway and 45th street. There is usually a line to get in. Down at 6th avenue and 38th street is Ben's Deli--and yes, they also have a line on the inside, but it moves quickly--and if want your food to go, there usually isn't a line. Lastly, you really do have to clothes and jewelry shop!!
It can be expensive on 5th Avenue, but you at least have to look. The jewelry mart (47th street between 5th avenue and 6th avenue) carries the better (somewhat expensive) stuff, but most prices are about 50% off anywhere else in the country.
Down on 34th street is Macy's, which advertises themselves as the world's largest store. Personally, I think Harrods in London barely beats them out for size, but I think you can't go too far wrong with 9 stories of stuff to browse through.
Thanks for all your suggestions. Gives me a much better idea on how to plan our trip to NYC.
I suggest taking the Subway---Just map yourself out---Make sure you watch all the stops .Do not want to miss your stop
I'm also going to New-York for the first time this summer with my family so we are planning our trip for the moment. My Dad already went to New-York once and advises to take the Roosevelt Island Tramway. It's an aerial tramway that flies over the East River and connects the Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It is an original alternative that offers you a different view of the city !
Moreover, it isn't expensive: you can use your subway card and pay 2.25$ the outward journey. It's a great deal cheaper than the helicopter tour!
Go to the Belgian beer cafe on 220 5th Ave close to Times Square.
Very nice atmosphere and excellent beers !
[ Edit: Edited on 19-Apr-2016, at 01:14 by Nathaly123 ]
Subway is super easy! I used it the first time I was in NYC and in some ways it is a more simpler than the London tube. On Manhattan island, they effectively run North to South. Buying a ticket is also very easy. However if you are a reasonably quick walker you can walk between Times square/Maceys easily and Times/Square up to 5th Avenue/Central Park/Rockefeller they aren't that far.
I would also recommend avoiding a yellow cab back to the airport, public transport runs to all of them and avoids the congestion!
Little Italy and Chinatown are just great to walk around and see so great for the budget! There is a lovely restaurant in Little Italy called Gennaro's which serves good Neopolitan food!
I prefer Soho to shop around than 5th Avenue, as the comment above 5th is super pricey unless uber expensive designer products are your thing! Soho is still pricey but also has cool designer boutiques and mix of cheaper shops!
Another 'Must See' missed out is the view from the Rockefeller Centre its called Top of The Rock and is $30. It offers (IMO) better views than the Empire State because a) you are not staring at the ugly Rockefeller, you also have a great view of the Empire State, Chrysler Building and down towards Wall Street and the Financial Districts, you can also see the Statue of Liberty on a clear day. If you turn behind you, you have a great view of Central park! It is an unbeatable 360 degree view!
Another suggestion if you are sports fans, is if you are in town try and see a Basketball game at Madison Square Gardens not far from Maceys and sometimes the tickets are not overly expensive!
Hope that helps! Have fun!
If you plan to go to one world trade walk back through china town it is just set back from the Manhattan bridge and pier 36
Union City / Secaucus are very good cheap alternatives.
It's just 10 mins bus drive to port authority.