New York

I've started looking at plane tickets and hotels for our upcoming NYC vacation in August. I was hoping to get some advice from those who've been there. What's the best area to stay in - downtown, midtown or uptown? A friend described midtown as a "tourist trap" and said all the good food and art was in downtown. But we're probably only going to stay for 4 days, and I want to maximize my time. I definitely want to do all the typical touristy things - Broadway, the museums, Central Park. Is that something that could be accomplished in a day? As in, we have a hotel downtown, but we take a taxi ride to/from midtown one day to see the sights?

I'm also interested in finding some great places to eat. Any recommendations?

I'm searching all the typical places - yelp, zagat, tripadvisor - but I hoped one of you guys could give me the inside scoop. ;)


Dr. Faith said...

When I went to New York (granted this was in 2004) we stayed at a relatively inexpensive hotel that was just 1/4 mile east of Times Square. It was really small, but relatively inexpensive. I cannot for the life of me remember the name, but I'm pretty sure I have it somewhere, so I'll find it for you. Perhaps their rates are still reasonable.

For getting around it was MUCH more cost effective for us to use the Big Red Tourist Bus.

You can just hop on or off anywhere that you like, it stops at all the major touristy stuff and while you're on you get a narrated tour of the city. I thought it was FANTASTIC and after calculating how much a taxi would cost - the bus was way more economical for all the stuff we wanted to do.

I also found the hotel:

It is now $125/night (it was $80 in 2004), still "reasonable" for New York city standards. The Americana Inn (owned by the same people as The Travel Inn) is $95/night which is really good - and it got decent reviews on Yelp.

Anonymous said...

Once when I was in college, we went to NYC, staying in jersey and taking the train in every day -- I don't recommend this (unless you are a college student on extreme budget), but we still saw everything.

You won't need to stay in the area you sleep in. Make a list of what you want to do, and just start doing it--you should be able to hit it all.

Personally, we took the subway wherever we needed to go, and only taxis at odd hours.

Little Miss Moneybags said...

I would not stay downtown. Pretty much everything closes in the evenings and on weekends, so you won't have many options for a quick breakfast or be able to run to a drugstore if you need aspirin or something.

Midtown does have a lot of tourist trap areas (particularly in the theater district) but if you stay a little further east, it's more business-oriented. When I moved here we stayed in the Marriott on Lexington and 50th for $99 a night, a priceline deal. The Upper West Side and Upper East Side are vastly different from one another in terms of price and atmosphere. I personally feel it's easier to get around from the UWS, but I lived there for years so maybe that's why. There are also a couple hotels near the train in Astoria, which is a 15 minute ride to midtown.

Take the subway as much as you can--get a weekly pass (even though you won't be here a full week) and don't lose it, and you won't have to pay for travel again.

Why don't you post a list of the sites you'd like to see, and I can recommend a place to stay that would be central and/or easy access? (Also, I'd love to meet up with you for coffee if you have the time!)

asgreen said...

It is probably easiest to stay in midtown. You can access everything via subway pretty easily. Unless it is late at night don't take cabs. You'll end up spending a lot of money and the subway is pretty easy to figure out. Use to figure out what to take to get where.

In terms of places to eat. Well there are so many! or the new york magazine site are good places to look for food if you know which neighborhood you want to eat in.

If you have time take a ride on the staten island ferry. It is free and you get amazing views of the city. It is totally find to just ride it over and get back on another one to ride it back.

If you are going to do central park I suggest one of the free walking tours:

I've been meaning to do one, but haven't yet.

Definitely take some time to just explore neighborhoods downtown. Bring a map though as once you are off the grid it can get confusing!

Feel free to email me alwaystheplanner @ gmail dot com if I can help in any other way.

Oh and while you are hear, get some pizza! =)

undercover vixen said...

i would stay in midtown, just not right smack in the middle of timesquare. You're only there for 4 days, you can't really live like a local (loads of which live in bk and queens and the bronx which doesn't make sense for you trip). There are good deals and it's convenient to everything. I'd take the subway not taxis, unless it's late...or unless a lot of u are together and can split the cost. There is so much traffic in the city that the subway can be faster.
I would recommend this restaurant in soho called l'orange bleu(e). can't remember if it has the e at the end or not..u can google it. It's a moroccan restaurant with a french twist... very nice atmosphere and not too pricey

Grace. said...

If you're in to Museums, the New York City Pass is a pretty good deal at $79. The Museum of Natural history is my personal favorite, along with the Met. I never would have taken the Circle Line tour without the pass but it turned out to be really interesting. Also, for breakfast, definitely try SaraBeth's--there's one at 91st and Madison and another on the Westside. Also H & H bagels (they have an eastside and westside location--funniest thing about them? They have often been voted the best bagels in NYC. But the owners are Puerto Rican and the H's stand for Hernandez and Hernandez! I think of that as the ultimate NY story!

undercover vixen said...

ooo, so i discovered your blog through analytics (thanks for listing me) and I figured i'd get to know more about you.
I tagged you in this post,

Have fun thinking up interesting stuff. I'm going to go browse through your archive

Sunflowers said...

Thank you sooo much for all the comments, everyone!! :D

@Little Miss Moneybags: I'd love to meet for coffee! :)

I'm going to do more research this weekend and figure out the places we definitely need to see. You'll all be hearing from me again soon! ;)

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