My trip to NYC was awesome! Here’s a brief takeaway from my 4th trip to the Big Apple with a few personal suggestions. I am by no means an expert but this is what worked for us =) I of course added some pictures at the end!
A few personal tips…
- GETTING AROUND:
- If you want to get around and don’t mind a little exercise, try the CitiBike bike share program. You can pay $12 for a day pass or $24 for a 3 day pass. This gives you unlimited 30 min rides and helped us travel without waiting for the subway or a bus. You just have to make sure to check your bike in every 30 min, which means you dock the bike and pull up a new check out number. The process takes about 30 seconds and there are station on every other block all over the city. The free app is extremely helpful! **You will need to ride on the street with traffic which is a little overwhelming at first but you catch on.
- If you’re more into the subway scene then I suggest the pay-per-ride program. It’s $3 per ride plus a $1 for a metro card the first time you checkout (or if you lose it) but you can continue to reload it as needed. There were 3 of us and we all used the same card. Just make sure when you swipe your card you wait a second after the first person moves through the turnstile. If you try to move too fast the turnstile might not register that you’ve moved through but your card might be charged.
- Since I have an iPhone I can only speak of Maps but when you put in an address and select “transit” instead of drive or walk. This will break down your trip into walking to the subway and tell you which train to take. Really helpful!
- THINGS TO SEE:
- If it’s your first time in NYC and you want to be a classic tourist then I suggest you check out some of the tourist passes available. We used the Go City Explorer pass. Pay for the number of attractions you want (3, 4, 5, 7, 10), download the app, check out a list of places to visit/see and scan the barcode. We settled on 3 attractions which gave us admission to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, 9/11 memorial tour, and ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island. There are a number of other attractions/tours available.
- Statue of Liberty (Liberty Island)/Ellis Island tips
- GO EARLY! You will need to buy your ticket/scan your explorer pass, go through security and wait in line for a ferry. We got to Battery Park around 8:30 and walked right on.
- Set aside about 4-5 hours at least and pack a lunch. There’s food on both islands but #IMO it’s not all that great and a little overpriced
- If you want to visit the Crown and or Pedestal of the Statue of Liberty then you must buy advanced tickets and these are on top of your ferry tickets to get you to both islands. It of course depends on the time of year you go but if this gives you an idea of how far in advance I’m talking, we bought our Friends Tickets and started planning our trip for September 19-20 on August 2nd. Tickets for the crown and pedestal were already sold out for both of those days.
- Ellis Island has a free 30 min Documentary film called “Island of Hope, Island of Tears” which explains the process an immigrant went through. I recommend watching that before you go through the museum!
- Both islands have free Park Ranger led tours and/or audio tours available.
- 9/11 Memorial and Museum was an amazing thing to visit. I’m glad we had the opportunity. There is an app you can download for a free tour of the museum, which you can listen to in the museum or outside of it. You can also take a tour of the memorial outside, which is led by 9/11 survivors and/or victims of family members!