Weekend travel guide to the Big Apple: New York City

If you stand here long enough, you will meet just about everyone you know – about Times Square, NYC

One of the most visited tourist destinations in the world is New York City’s Times Square! And what better than visiting NYC Times Square than New Year’s eve! And that is why this post is coming at the right time – just in time for New Year’2016!

The good as well as the bad thing about New York city is that there is just too much to see. From Museums to famous buildings, lush green parks, iconic bridges, affluent shopping centers, flea markets: it has it all. That makes it difficult for someone who is here for just a weekend. Of course you can take the hop on hop off tourist sight seeing bus, that will take you to the right places without much thinking, but if you are the DIY types, I can help you prioritize and plan your trip so that you can cover everything that you want to see!

Day one


  • Times square: The glitter-azi of Times Square is un-paralleled. The New Year’s ball, the red stairway, the naked cowboys, the street artists who invite curious tourists to come get their caricatures in under 3 minutes, the long lines in front of the TicketMasters office, the huge flashboards of broadway shows and promotional events – Times Square is FULL OF LIFE 24×7! If you are in NYC, chances are that you will spend all your nights, right here on the Times Square red stairs. This is the part of the city that never sleeps.

    T is for Times Square! Notice the New Years Ball just above my head

    T is for Times Square!

  • Catch a Broadway show: Buy your tickets in advance to get them for cheap or rely on your luck to buy them at the last minute in black, but try not to miss a show of the classics like Mama Mia or Lion King or Jersey Boys or just any that you can get hold of in your budget.

    Just outside one of the Broadway Theatres

    Just outside one of the Broadway Theaters

  • Empire state building: The 102 floor building + the antenna spire was the tallest in world for 40 years following its completion. Now, it is only the 5th tallest in USA. But once on the 102nd floor, you can see the entire city from your view point. Best time to go would be around 9-9:30. We literally walked past, as there were no line ups. Just before after 10, the ticket lines were full again. Ticket costs: 32$/person (which includes the free audio tour). Address: 350 Fifth Avenue (between 33rd/34th Streets), New York
    In front of the Empire State Building

    In front of the Empire State Building

    At the 102nd Floor of the Empire State Building

    At the 102nd Floor of the Empire State Building

  • Grand Central Station: Grand central station is an opulent looking subway station. Its right in downtown NYC and at one point also served in connecting the Amtraks.
  • Flat iron building: Take some time out to sneak by the engineering marvel that the Flat Iron Building is:

Day two


  • Staten Island Ferry liberty island: The symbol of freedom stands tall in the Hudson river, right on the boundary between New York and New Jersey. You can go to the liberty island to visit the statue of liberty and even take an elevator to the crown of the statue (charges extra). Alternatively, you can take the staten island ferry that goes to the Staten Island, and spot the Statue of Liberty from the ferry. But be fast on your toes, as the balcony area of the ferry fills up pretty fast. Try to take a spot on the bench, as it could be a long ride and you dont want to be tired on the way. It sometimes rains on the way, so make sure you either check the weather or keep a raincoat. Staten island ferry cost: 0$, Liberty Island ticket: 18$ Address: Statue Cruises Kiosk, Battery Park, New York
    Having some fun - just before boarding the Staten Island ferry

    Having some fun – just before boarding the Staten Island ferry

    On the Staten Island ferry

    On the Staten Island ferry

    With NYC to the right and New Jersey on the left

    With NYC to the right and New Jersey on the left

  • Walls street: Very close to the Battery Park is the financial district of USA: The Walls Street. You can spot the major exchanges: New York Stock Exchange, New York Board of Trade etc.. and of-course the wolf of wall street! Cost: 0$
  • Brooklyn bridge: Brooklyn bridge is the oldest suspension bridge in USA and connects Manhattan to Brooklyn. The Brooklyn side is not as flashy as Manhattan, but there is a pretty slick flea market on that side of the bridge where you can find awesome food trucks and some of the cheapest everyday stuff to buy.

    Trying to steal a selfie with oldie Brooklyn

    Trying to steal a selfie with oldie Brooklyn

Day three


  • Central Park: If you are looking for Central Perk, you may just keep looking, but in the mean time take a walk around the biggest urban park in Manhattan. Enjoy the beautiful landscapes, intriguing street shows and artists and buy some cheap souvenirs. There is free entrance, but you need a lot of time to see the entire place, remember it extends upto 4 kms in length and upto 1km in breadth.
  • Museum of Modern Art (MOMA): The museum of modern art is just that – modern art but from leading artists like Vincent Van Gagh! Abstract, sometimes un-understandable, wierd! For instance there was an installation with a wooden stool with an axe hanging over it and the description said, “coz the artist felt particularly weird on this day”! Yeah, right! Ticket costs: 25$/ person with includes the free audio tour. Address: 11 West 53rd Street (between 5th/6th Avenues), New York
    At MOMA

    At MOMA

    IMG_3256

    Art at MOMA

Other things to see


If you have time, go for a walk to these interesting areas:

  • Madison gardens
  • Rockafeller centre
  • Museum of Modern History
  • Museum of Natural History

Eat here


I wasn’t going to write this section, because I never got the opportunity to explore food in NYC. But lucky lucky lucky, I am watching the brand new episode of “Unique Hotels and Restaurants” on the Discovery Channel, so here you go, I am going to just give you a suggestion on their behalf: PannaII : Indian restaurant on 93 1st Avenue #2, New York, NY. Ok, so I haven’t been here, so I can’t comment on the food, but check it out for its ambiance and I am just going to quote what a person just said about this restaurant, “It feels like you are sitting inside the Christmas tree”.

Budgets


Budgets and ticket costs mentioned against each of the visiting sites.

Safety


2 blocks away from Times Square, dark alleys in NYC are not as safe as you’d think. Try not to travel alone in the Subway at night after 9. Not to say that locals don’t do that, but they know their city better than you do. If you are in the Times Square Area +/- 2 blocks though, it is as alive at 3 a.m as it is at 11 a.m.

One weekend in NYC just doesn’t do justice to this hustling city. So, while you are here, make the most of it. I didn’t even feel like checking out pubs in the downtown area, as I couldn’t bring myself to leave the Times Square for even one evening. That place just reverberates with energy and life. Hopefully you will enjoy NYC as much as I did. And when you do, don’t forget to share your experiences in the comments section below.

Is Vancouver your next weekend destination? Check out the weekend travel guide here.

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