Preparation is key, or so they say anyway! For my first trip to New York I wanted to make sure I was maximising my time in the city that never sleeps. What should you do before your visit? Here’s what I recommend.
Click here to read my post on how to spend three days in New York.
New York CityPASS
First of all, I’d buy the New York CityPASS. We got our CityPASS for around $122 (£92 / €103) each and it includes entry to up to six of the best tourist attractions in NYC. You get access to the Empire State Building, American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Then you have three choices to make: Top of the Rock Observation Deck OR Guggenheim Museum, Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island OR Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises and finally, 9/11 Memorial and Museum OR the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.
Quick Tip: The sweet point for saving money is to visit four attractions. Only buy the New York CityPASS if you know that you’ll have time to go to at least four places.
For the three choices you have to make you do have the choice of paying a small additional fee to upgrade your ticket to both. The price of upgrading to both options differs depending on which one you choose to go to. I was in the fortunate position of not having to do that but I did manage to hit the four attraction ‘saved money’ point.
I’m a big fan of checking out Groupon before visiting a new destination, see my tips for Dubai here. With the cost of activities in NYC there should be no surprise that it features here too! A few months before I went to New York I registered myself for the Groupon NYC newsletter. Every day I’d receive information on the best deals in New York. There are tickets for bar tours, bus tours, cruises, museums, so many options! You will also receive regular 20% and 50% off vouchers after signing up.
We opted for Hop On, Hop Off Bus Tour tickets through Groupon. The tickets we bought were for both the Uptown and Downtown routes and it also included entrance to Gulliver’s Gate for just $98 (£74 / €83) for the two of us. Normally this would cost $59 (£44 / €50) per person, per tour so it gave us a fairly hefty saving. More money to spend on Broadway or sports tickets!
Broadway / Sports
I’d recommend researching what’s on at the time of your visit and booking tickets quickly. You’ve got the option of watching a show on Broadway, watching the New York Knicks or New York Rangers at Madison Square Gardens, wearing your Yankees hat to a game or watching the New York Giants play American Football. Here’s my visit to Miami Dolphins to give you an idea of what it’s like to visit an NFL match.
Due to the tourist attraction of most of these events it definitely pays to book tickets as early as possible. Try and avoid ticket tout websites unless you really, really have to. Most of the tickets can be purchased through the official websites. Also check Groupon just in case! They regularly run deals for sports matches in New York. The cost of tickets for musicals and sports can vary from $10s to $100s, especially if it’s a more popular event.
Download Some Apps
I’d recommend walking and seeing more of the city but for those longer journeys then using Uber is the best way to get around. The price of travelling around NYC can be quite expensive but the cost of Uber is so much cheaper than the yellow cabs. To get your first ride on Uber for free (up to £5), register using this link.
Another app to download before you visit NYC is Urban Daddy. This app finds you places to eat and drink in New York. You can enter what kind of place you’re looking for, who you’re with and what area you want to go to amongst other criteria. There are also a few really nice rooftop bars that the app recommends. However many of these places have a dress code so take dressier clothes. You won’t get in with shorts on!
That should be you set for your trip to New York! Let me know if there’s anything else you’d recommend doing before a visit to the Big Apple.