I grew up in Colorado, where it takes hours to drive to another state. So when I went to college in Philadelphia, and then moved to DC, I love the fact that I can run through 3 states (ok, 2 states and a district) in a morning. Philly is only 2-3 hours, and New York City is 4-5 by bus/car/train. Which means, they are totally in day-trip, or weekend-trip range. I spent a weekend and a day in NYC in May, so here are my combined highlights and tips.
- Go early and stay late. Bite the bullet and set that alarm early. Getting on the road early in the morning means that traffic is light, there are seats on the bus/train, and you get to New York in time for breakfast/brunch. And when I say early, I mean like 6-7am. On the flip side, think about not leaving NYC until after 9pm, or 6pm if you’re there for a weekend and have work in the morning. You can always sleep on the train/bus.
- Walk around and take the subway. Part of a New York experience is walking and/or taking the subway. Pick a neighborhood or a section to walk. Take the time to look around, make detours, grab a coffee. Sometimes the distance between places you want to go will be too far to walk or just take too much time- instead of finding a cab, take the subway. Just remember your walking shoes!
- Decide your “musts” ahead of time and buy tickets/make reservations if possible. When I went with my friend for a weekend, our “musts” were restaurants that didn’t take reservations, so we left the rest of the day flexible, and visited my “must” of a museum Sunday morning. With my sister, seeing a Broadway musical was the priority, so we bought tickets ahead of time and oriented the rest of the day around that.
- Be adventurous and try unique things. I can go to TGI Fridays in lots of places, but Russ & Daughters only exists in NYC. So try the local beer or cider on a menu, go to a museum, or historic site, try the cuisine that you can’t find in your hometown.
- Pace yourself. I mean, if you only have one or two days, fill them up! But, New York will always have more than you can possibly do in a day or two. So instead of running from one thing to the next and only giving the Met, for example, an hour, give each thing you do enough time, even if it means there are still things out there you would want to do/see/visit. They will probably be there the next time you visit.
“Ok,” you say, “but what did you actually see and do in New York City?”
Between the two May trips here’s the rundown (and some pictures at the end):
Russ & Daughters (visit their café if you have time, or grab bagels to go from the original location)
Cardiff Giant (bar in Brooklyn)
Speedy Romeo’s Pizza
Braai (South African restaurant)
Run in Central Park
Sit in Bryant Park
Visit the Neue Gallerie
Have dim sum at the Golden Unicorn in Chinatown
See a Broadway show (An American in Paris)