If you don’t follow any of my social media (which, by the way, you totally should) then you may not know that recently Dom and I went to New York!
I surprised Dom with flights for our 3 year anniversary (last December) and we’ve been saving up since.
TOP TIP: if you’re saving for something special, set up a separate savings account so you won’t touch the money in your everyday account. I do this for everything (holidays / christmas etc.)
For this holiday, Dom and I each put £100 into our New York savings account every month – which meant we had plenty to ensure we could properly enjoy ourselves and not worry about how much we were spending!
We were there for just over 5 days – which was plenty of time to explore Manhattan.
Here are our top things to do / see:
First thing’s first: getting there.
There were plenty of airlines that flew from London to New York, some a lot cheaper than others (e.g. WOW air), but in the end, we went with trusty old BA. Besides – if you want a meal and carry on luggage, then you’re actually looking at similar prices. Plus, a lot of the cheaper airlines stop in their originator country (e.g. WOW stops in Iceland), which adds quite a few hours to your travel time.
(FREE) things to see
Manhattan is my favourite city ever. I love how everything is within walking distance, and there truly is so much to see! I found the below map online and added the pins and tags (so they may not be 100% geographically accurate but bear with me)
- Central Park – you just can’t go to Manhattan and not visit Central Park. It’s truly awesome. in the middle of the most famous city in the world is a massive park that shuts out the hustle and bustle. Go and explore the trails on foot (but take a map or a phone as you may get lost) or pay a few $ to rent a CitiBike and cycle round the park.
- Times Square – another classic! Go and sit in the middle of Times Square and just take it in – it’s the best place for people watching (we saw a proposal!!) and watch the billboards as they do their thing. You can, again, dish out a few $ and treat yourself to a big, warm, salted pretzel and a beer – as we did!
- The Highline – I’d never heard of this before – but an old railway line on the west side of the city has been converted into a beautiful garden walkway. I would highly recommend a trip to the Highline – not only for its spectacular design, but also because it beats waiting for traffic every block!
- Chrysler Building + Grand Central – there’s a reason I’ve put these two together – they’re literally neighbours! I wouldn’t say these are absolute MUST-SEEs in Manhattan, but they’re pretty iconic buildings. If you have the time, it’s worth a wander over from Times Square just to amble through the market in the station and take a look at the beautiful Chrysler.
- Flat Iron + Washington Sq Arch – again, these two are besties. Flat Iron has to be one of my favourite buildings of all time – it’s so unique and amazing. The Washington Sq Arch is actually something I’ve seen so many times on Gossip Girl so I just had to find it. Turns out, you can also get a pretty cool shot of the Empire State through it too!
- Ground Zero – this one will take your breath away. The memorial to the 9/11 Twin Tower attacks is so poignant and beautiful, you can’t help but stand silently and take it in. The names of the victims are carved into the waterfall walls, and they place white roses in their names when its their birthday. Heartbreaking.
- DUMBO – which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge (taking in the sights of the incredible island that is Manhattan) and wander over to the most beautiful view of the Manhattan Bridge. While you’re in Brooklyn – head to Grimali’s for pizza, under Brooklyn Bridge – you won’t be disappointed!
And the two you should dish out the $$ for:
- Top of the Rock – for the best view of the Empire State Building, head to the top of the Rockefeller Building. It’s not too expensive – at around $35 – and I would ALWAYS recommend doing this over going up the Empire State! PLUS it has the famous Radio City Music Hall at its base.
- OneWTC – (One World Trade Centre) this is another incredible observation deck, with views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Staten Island on one side, and views of Manhattan Island the other.
Things to do ($$$)
If you’ve got the time and have saved up the cash, I would definitely check out the MSG website to see what’s on while you’re there – we went for an NBA (basketball) game, but they also do NHL (ice hockey) games and music concerts (Elton John was there a few days after we left!)
Come From Away is also coming to London early next year – and I would highly highly recommend going to watch this award winning musical. On 9/11 the world stopped, and this is the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland, Canada that welcomed them.
Other bits you might like (food and drink-wise):
- 230 Fifth – my absolute favourite rooftop bar, with breathtaking views of the Empire State, delicious margaritas and dressing gowns for when it got a bit chilly. Once we’d found it, we went every day (it opens at 2PM – the perfect time for your holiday drink in my opinion)
- Bills (in the base of the Rockefeller centre) – treat yourself to margaritas, chips and dip, (more) giant Pretzels and a milkshake (if you can save room for it!!)
- Tonic in Times Square – if you’re a sports fan (or just like food and beer), head over to this three-floor sports bar. They show every sports available all at the same time, along with platters of chicken wings and pitchers of beer – perfection!