New York is just an hour and half away from Toronto, so I am sure that I will be finding myself there again sometime soon. I am by no means an expert when it comes to visiting New York. My first time in the city was as a child with my parents. At that time, I did not get what all the fuss was about. I returned in 2014 and fell in love with the city. I got to do many of the ‘touristy’ things and see the sites that the city has to offer. This visit was short and sweet. Sometimes, it pays not a bad idea to join your husband on a business trip. I was in New York for just under 48 hours. Even with the tight schedule, I was determined to pack in as much as I could in that time.
This guide is not just for first time visitors but also for those who are just looking for ideas of what to do while in NYC.
You have just booked your ticket to New York… what next? You need to figure out where you are going to stay, where to eat and what to do.
Getting to NYC will depend on where you are starting from. From Toronto, we have several options for getting into the city. If you plan on flying in, you have the option of arriving in JFK (NY), La Guardia (NY) or Newark (New Jersey).
Where To Stay
When I travel, I like to stay in locations that are central and within walking distance to the top attractions. I have found that the hotels that are closer to the major sites tend to be the most expensive. As a result, I’ve learned to be creative when looking for hotels, choosing locations that are close to public transit or I put my walking shoes on and burn some calories. During this visit, we stayed at The Doubletree Hilton Metropolitan in Midtown. It is conveniently located on Lexington Avenue at 51st Street, in the heart of Midtown’s luxurious East Side.
The hotel is literally steps from the upscale shopping on Fifth Avenue, The famous Saks FIFTH Avenue, Bloomingdales, the United Nations and many other notable stores. Times Square is a 15 minute walk away and other attractions such as the Broadway theaters, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Central Park, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and The Museum of Modern Art are all within walking distance from the hotel.
The famous New York City Yellow Cabs!! This is probably the easiest way to get around. I say easy because they are everywhere and they will get you right to the door of your destination. You have to be able to hail them though (a skill I am yet to perfect) and put up with the attitude that some of the drivers can have (story for another day).
Uber– Another great option for getting around the city. Be aware that New York City traffic is not for the faint of heart. With Uber, you are hoping that the driver knows how to navigate the traffic.
Subway– If you are a wiz with directions, the subway can get you anywhere in the city while avoiding the traffic. If this is your first time in New York, I would recommend going with a local because it can get really confusing knowing where to get on so that you do not end up on the opposite end of the city.
Walking– I did A LOT of walking. And by a lot, I mean A LOT! This is a great way to burn calories from all the amazing food that you are bound to be consuming during your trip. I walked for miles without realizing how far I had walked. I was so consumed with taking in the city and the people watching lol.
Where To Eat
When it comes to food, you will be spoilt for choice in New York City. Whether you are looking for affordable options or looking to dine in luxury, there is a lot of everything for everyone. Just like Toronto, New York is a cultural melting pot, so naturally you’ll find the best food from around the world. Here are three great restaurants we ate at during our stay.
If steakhouses are your thing then this place will do the trick. The atmosphere is upscale but relatable. We’re live music fans so the band really provided us with a wonderful atmosphere. Of course, the food was delicious. Make sure to try the Dutch country chicken.
I’m not usually into Tapas so this was a bit of a leap of faith. That said, we went with a few friends and had a good time. It’s small space so do try to make a reservation if you can and definitely have a the sangria!
The famous Eataly. We’d heard lots about the grocery/restaurant/cooking class combo experience so I was excited to try it out. The food maybe wasn’t as good as the hype suggested but the overall experience was definitely unique and one I recommend. It does get super busy and filled with tourists so I recommend you be careful about when you go. Maybe skip the lunch time rush.
What To Do
- Head to the top of The Rockefeller Centre- here you will get one of the best views of the city.
- Go for a morning stroll through central park.
- Wander around Times Square- I personally think Times Square during the day is a bit anti-climatic. Go in the evening to get the full WOW effect of the lights and the billboards.
- Window shop along fifth avenue
- Watch a show on Broadway
- Visit the 9/11 memorial- I loved the murals and positive messaging all around.
Have you guys been to New York? Do you have any recommendations or tips to share? Leave a comment below to let us know.
Until Next Time,