New York City: 2-Day Itinerary & 1 Very Small Budget ($60!)
If you NEVER book another trip to the United States, promise me you’ll first visit New York. And of course when I say New York, let’s forget about the rest of the state entirely and focus on New York City.
New York City, also known as the Big Apple (but only by people who don’t actually live there) is home to some of the very best tourist sight-seeing in the world. There is absolutely something for everyone.
Before we jump right into making reservations, let’s discuss a couple things. First, the flights to and from New York City are going to be average to expensive. The further geographically you are away and the closer the dates to booking, the more you are going to pay. The hotels are expensive, the food is expensive…and by now you might be wondering why I am recommending this as a budget activity at all.
BUT WAIT…here is how you can make your New York City trip cheaper. Instead of booking your trip to New York City directly, travel to New Jersey or Connecticut. Yes, I realize these are the neighboring states. Hear me out. Both NJ and CT have awesome hourly-run train systems into downtown New York City. They offer reasonably priced day passes with trains departing on the hour into Grand Central Terminal. If you stay in NJ or CT, you can then book cheaper accommodations and inexpensive dining options in these locations as well.
Best Time of Year to Travel:
Don’t forget that New York City has 4 full seasons of Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. New York City receives tourists year round, especially in December to see the famous New Year’s Rockin’ Eve ball drop. I visited New York City in the winter, and it was blistering cold but still very beautiful. Thankfully there are many buildings which allow you to warm up inside with a hot cocoa. Just remember to check the weather before you go and pack appropriately! Do I look as cold as I felt in this picture?
New York City is one of the easiest cities to get around. The geographical space is huge, so you will want to make use of a combination of the Subway system and your walking shoes. The city is in a numbered grid structure, so it is very difficult to get lost. If you start to head the wrong way, you can immediately correct yourself by the next block and turn around. The subway system is very inexpensive and everyone, including residents, uses it! Many celebrities have been spotted using the Subway, so be on the lookout. Subway Cost: $31 (Unlimited fares for 7 days +1 card fee)
I will give you one very important piece of advice: DO NOT RENT A CAR. Traffic is horrendous in the downtown areas, and you will not want to spend your whole trip stuck in grid-lock in a car. Parking is also expensive and not readily available. If that isn’t enough to deter you – New York drivers are aggressive and crazy. Even being a passenger in a vehicle gave me a bit of anxiety as our shuttle was cut off by almost everyone else on the road who were apparently in such a hurry. The freeways are another subject entirely as there are so many toll bridges and tunnels to get from the airport to the downtown area. I am almost convinced that the speed limits were just suggestions as well.
Top 8 Sight Seeing Recommendations:
Well let’s get to it shall we? You only need 2 days to see the very best that New York City has to offer. Here are my recommendations for a memorable trip:
1. Visit Grand Central Terminal:
One of the nation’s most historic landmarks, and it is also the busiest train station in the country! Many famous movies have filmed here. Cost: $0
2. Times Square:
Take in the lights and sounds! Times Square will make you feel like you are part of the action. I promise you’ll never be alone here, no matter what time of the day you are visiting. Cost: $0
3. Walk Through Central Park:
One of the largest green spaces in New York City! Definitely a rare thing for such a big city. Just make sure that you travel to Central Park early on in the day, or you will be viewing it in the dark – which is still pretty, but it doesn’t feel as safe. Cost: $0
4. Cross The Brooklyn Bridge:
I love this bridge. Run, walk, or ride across the bridge, and be sure to take your picture along the way. Cost: $0
5. Visit the 9/11 Memorial:
Be sure to remember our fallen brothers and sisters at this outdoor memorial site. This site is so emotionally charged and tragic that it moved me to tears. Many people are so moved that they share share their stories of where they were when “it” happened. Cost: $0
6. Statue of Liberty Ferry Cruise:
Be sure to take a ferry ride around Ellis Island. This will be the most expensive part of your trip to New York City, but it is well worth the views of the iconic Statue of Liberty. Cost: $18
7. Take a Taxi Ride:
A 5 to 10 dollar cab ride is sure to give you a thrill as the drivers weave in and out of traffic. When you are trying to signal a cab, be sure to raise you arm to hail one, just like in the movies. Cost: $10
8. Gawk at the Awesome Buildings and Skyscrapers:
There are just so many awesome buildings in New York City. My favorites are the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Flatiron Building, One World Trade Center, Rockefeller Center, Madison Square Gardens and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. My personal budget recommendation is to not pay the fees to enter these buildings and to enjoy them in the form of a walking tour. Cost $0.
Total 2 day Itinerary Cost = $60. What a bargain. Are you ready to go to New York City yet?
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