This booklet of passes has access to several New York attractions throughout the city. Included in the booklet is tickets to:The Empire State Building, Top of the Rock (or Guggenheim Museum) , 9/11 Memorial Museum (or Intrepid sea, air and space museum), American Museum of Natural History, The Metropolitan Museum as well as the Statue of Liberty/Liberty Island & Ellis Island (or boat tour). The cost is around $200 and is valid for 9 straight days. With these passes you will avoid waiting in lines and will save money in comparison to purchasing each individual pass separately.
Metro Card & Map
The quickest, cheapest and surprisingly easiest way to travel throughout the city is through the subway system. The first day we were in the city we purchased a metro card which was preloaded with 7 days worth of unlimited rides. Note that when purchasing one of these cards you will be able to chose how many days, or rides you would like to purchase. You will also be charged for the plastic card itself. For the card and a 7 day unlimited ride option we paid only $40 Canadian which was cheaper then our car ride from the airport. On addition to the metro card you will need to purchase a subway map. This is a must considering they are colour coded and make the journey to wherever you’re going much easier. Also reccomend mapping out your journey (where you would get on, off, switch trains, etc) ahead of time. And note that some trains only run certain times during the day.
Book Your Hotel Through a Travel Site
I was a bit skeptical about how this would turn out but the results were amazing. We used Hotwire to book our hotel which allowed us to select what star rating of a hotel we wanted and the location we wanted it. From there were provided with a variety of hotel prices which included a variety of different hotels. Once we have found a hotel price within the star rating we chose that we were happy with we were able to book the amount of hotel rooms we needed. Once the payment was processed we were provided with the name and exact location of the hotel.
A lot of people recommended staying out of the heart of Manhattan in order to avoid paying more on hotels, however staying central can actually be more cost efficient. We stayed roughly a ten minute walk away from Times Square which meant that we were in walking distance of pretty much everything we were after. Since we stayed close to everything we cut the costs of cab rides and cut the time cost of having to take the subway, or multiple subways, in order to see what we wanted to see.
|Left: Shows the rails and glass you see while on top of the Empire State Building.
Right: Shows the clear view from the Top of the Rock.
Top of the Rock vs Empire State Building
One thing that I was surprised about was the view from the Top of the Rock versus the view from the top of the Empire State Building. The top of the Empire State Building consisted of metal fencing which was unavoidable in photos of the view. The view from the Top of the Rock however consisted of clear glass which allowed for clear beautiful pictures while also providing a higher level that was open which I found to be the best spot for photos. If you only have time to check out one of these locations while in New York I would have to reccomend the Top of the Rock.
It’s a one way!
This may be considered common sense to some but for someone who doesn’t walk around a city daily it may be of some help. You may be tempted to stop when the cross walk sign says to, but if the street is a one way and theres no traffic coming you could say it’s safe enough to go. Would not reccomend this on a two way street since there tends to be cars coming every which way at all times on those.
Book a Car for the Airport
Although there are cabs everywhere in New York take a little caution when heading to and from the airport as there may be cheaper options. If there is more then three of you I’d reccomend hiring a car/ limo service for the journey (especially into Manhattan). Hiring a car will be more comfortable for larger amounts of people and will also allow for more room for your luggage. These cars often run for a flat rate which can be more cost efficient depending on your destination. As for the cabs, they are better for 3 people or less (4 can be an issue if large luggage is included) and can often be found charging flat rates only to the airport and not from the airport.
Airport Style Security
For every main attraction that you do in New York you will have to go through security similar to that of an airport. That means taking everything off and walking through a metal detector so you’ll have to keep this in mind when touring so that you can dress accordingly in order to make the process easier. We had to do this to go to the top of the Empire State building, Top of The Rock, the fairy to Liberty Island and Ellis Island.
Book Your Broadway!
Many sites and blogs tell you to wait and book your broadway once you’re there and at the last minute, in order to get the best deal. However, theres a good chance the broadway you want to see will be booked up weeks, maybe even months in advance. In order to ensure that you see what you want I would reccomend booking your broadway online before you get to New York. If you’re planning on seeing a more common, longer running broadway then you may have a better chance of getting in last minute which could result in you getting a better deal, but the risk is your call on this one.
Shop in SoHo
During a cab ride our driver told us how the shops in the SoHo area tend to be few dollars cheaper then the rest of Manhattan. Although we didn’t get to experience this personally since we had already done our damage around the Times Square area, it is definitely worth checking out!