New York City Travel Guide

Happy Sunday lovelies! As the colder weather approaches, I have been thinking and reflecting on the trip I took to New York City last January. I have to admit, this trip really gave me the travel bug and has encouraged me to pursue our next experience to Nashville! That being said I thought I would share a re-cap of our trip and all of the amazing things we did, along with some other things I wish we would have done differently.

HOW TO GET THERE

No matter how you slice it, NYC is a busy city, so no matter how you choose to get there it will likely be a hectic experience. We decided to fly into JFK Airport from Buffalo Airport. Living in the Greater Toronto Area, you would think that it would be easier to fly from Toronto Pearson International Airport. This was not the case for us. We found a great deal flying with JetBlue Airlines from Buffalo right into JFK, and since we are so close to Buffalo it was not much of an inconvenience. If you live in the GTA or the surrounding area, I strongly recommend checking flights out of Buffalo for any traveling you do. We were very easily able to park our car for the time we were going to be in New York across from the airport. This was really convenient since they had a shuttle that brought you from your car directly to your departing gate.

Once we arrived to JFK, we took a sequence of trains to get from the airport to the Subway where we made it to our hotel. Some people may choose to take a taxi or an Uber from the airport, and I would definitely recommend that depending on the amount of luggage you have. In our case, we each had one normal/full size suitcase and one carry-on. Marc carried a backpack, while I carried a small duffle that easily sat on the handles of my suitcase. Since we were not lugging to many bags, the walk was not to bad. However, the weather was rather cold and snowy, but none of this made the walk to unenjoyable.

** For our experience leaving NYC scroll to the bottom.

WHERE TO STAY

Being our first time in the big apple we wanted to stay in the heart of the action therefore, we stayed as close to Times Square as possible. We found a great deal on Hotels.ca for a three night, three day stay at The Riu Plaza New York Times Square. It was a beautiful room with great service! The only thing we will consider next time when traveling to New York is the noise. If you are a light sleeper I would highly recommend researching the area in which you decide to stay in terms of noise. I understand that New York is a very busy city, but being so close to Times Square made it very difficult for Marc to sleep, even with the windows closed, and we were also on a high floor. Next time, we would like to stay in Lower Manhattan or Soho.

WHAT TO DO

We had a whole list of things that we were just dying to do in NYC, but being there for a short amount of time meant we had to decide what was an absolute priority. Before you make any decisions on the tourist locations you would like to view, be sure to check out the New York City Pass. This allows you to visit many attractions for a discounted price. In the end we decided on these specific attractions to see during our time there. I included prices and details for those of you interested.

We got to New York City on a Thursday.

Times Square – Thursday evening – FREE

When we got to our hotel it was Friday in the early evening. We knew the first thing we wanted to do was to walk to Times Square and take in all of the amazing-ness! This worked out great because our room was so close to the square.

Times Square, NYC

Central Park – Friday morning – FREE

We took the Subway to Central Park which was much easier than I thought it would be. Keep in mind that you should ask the people working what the best option is for you in regards to purchasing Subway tokens/passes. In our case it was a better deal to purchase a weekend pass (3 day pass I believe it was called) since we took the Subway as our main mode of transportation while we were there. The people are very nice and will help you, they are used to tourists! The park was BEAUTIFUL and the area around it is fantastic as well. It is well worth it to take the time and walk around!

Shopping – Friday afternoon

As we were walking and taking in all of the sights we did some shopping as well. Shopping was not our main focus of the trip, so if you are looking for some great places to shop in New York I suggest you research that so you are well aware of where to spend your precious time.

Empire State Building – Friday night – PRICES VARYING PER PERSON. SEE HERE.

After dinner, and after dark we heading to the Empire State Building. We were particularly excited for this attraction because we had seen it in so many movies. We went up to the 86th floor, and the 102nd (which is an extra fee but well worth it) We did not however, buy the fast pass. If you are in a hurry and don’t have a lot of time in the city you may want to look into this, but we only waited in line for about one hour max.

9/11 Memorial Museum – Saturday morning – $24 PER PERSON

Saturday was our last day in the city, as we were flying out Sunday morning at 6am. I was very excited yet slightly hesitant to go to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. I had heard such great things about it, but I knew it was also going to be very profound. I strongly suggest that you visit this historic museum on the last day of your trip. I say this because the lasting effect of what is in the exhibits stayed with me for the rest of the day. I was a child when 9/11 occurred and I can vividly remember where I was and what I was doing when it occurred. The demonstrations of extreme loss and history are ones that will stay for me for a long long time.

9/11 Memorial Museum

Brooklyn Bridge – Saturday afternoon

From the museum it was very easy to walk to the Brooklyn Bridge. I absolutely loved walking from Manhattan into Brooklyn! It felt like a scene right out of Gossip Girl, and I think it might have been one of my favourite parts of the trip. We continued to walk around Brooklyn where the scenery of Lower Manhattan was absolutely breathtaking. It is true what they say,

The best views of the city are from Brooklyn.

Brooklyn

WHAT I WORE

As mentioned, we went to New York right after New Years in January, so it was cold. It was cold and snowy, and beautiful. We chose the attractions that best suited the time of year we decided to go, and we packed accordingly. Now, I cannot stress enough that layering was key. You can see that in some of the photos I am wearing suede boots with a small heel, and in others I am wearing Hunter Boots with boot socks. I was very happy with my choice in footwear for this trip, I wore my Hunters on the place and packed my other boots.

I brought one blanket scarf that was perfect and highly necessary, and a range of hats. Since we were outside most of the trip I still wanted to look nice and put together, so I used hats as my way of accessorizing. Most of the time, no one saw what I was wearing underneath my jacket so keep this in mind when packing. I did not bring a large jacket, although I would have used it, but I ok with the this grey puffer coat layered with a sweater and long sleeve underneath.

At night, when we went out for dinner and drinks I mostly stuck with denim, my suede boots and a cute but warm sweater! New York is said to be one of the fashion capitals of the world, but when you are going for the same purpose as me, warmth was a priority over being trendy.

HOW WE GOT HOME

You would assume that we would have taken an Uber at 3am to JFK, flown out on our scheduled flight at 6am, landed in Buffalo and picked up our car and drove home to the GTA, as planned in my perfectly calculated travel agenda. Wrong. SO SO WRONG. Everything about my timeline went fine except for the actual flight part. We got to the airport, got through security, got a coffee and something to eat and then sat down at our gate. We were in the boarding area for about fifteen minutes before big, bold letter flashed on the screen. CANCELLED. Unfortunately, there had been a tragic event that occurred at the Fort Lauderdale Airport the day before, and it was causing many flights to be delayed or cancelled.

Like everyone else, we called the airline and/or waited in line to find out they could not get us out of New York until Tuesday at 6am (it was Sunday morning at around 5am at this point) This was not a option for us, because we had to work! Thankfully, we were able to rent a car and get back to Buffalo that night. So, after we got our baggage we got into our rental car and headed home. By the time we got home, it was a twelve hour journey. Keep in mind, it was January, and we still had to return the rental and get our car from Buffalo, and then drive home. JetBlue was very courteous in the face of frustration and refunded our airline tickets. This made up for the cost of the rental car. I would strongly recommend that you have a backup travel plan regardless of where you go!

Thank you for reading about our experience in the Big Apple in the winter, and I hope it has helped anyone who is thinking of visiting NYC.

Until next time,

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