Planning a trip to NYC is overwhelming. There’s so much to do in so little time. I did an extensive research before our vacation but I didn’t come across these helpful tips. So, here are 13 untold tips for tourists visiting New York. Believe me, I wish I have known them sooner!
*Disclosure: Business Traveler’s Wife receives compensation for purchases made using some of the links below.
13 Untold Tips for Tourists Visiting New York:
1. If you plan to go up to the Crown of the Statue of Liberty, you have to book in advance (at least 4 months)
We were too late when we bought our tickets. Tickets with Crown access were already sold out for the duration of our trip. It’s unfortunate because the ticket costs only $3 more than the normal ticket ($25).
2. Buy your tickets online
It’s cheaper and it’s less cash to bring. Usually, online tickets are cheaper because of the promos which are not offered at the actual site. Just make sure to purchase from official websites.
Check out the official city pass site below for discounts and promos:
Official New York CityPASS – offers discount on packages or multiple attractions (SAVE 40% OR MORE on the 6 top attractions)
3. The 7-Day Unlimited Pass (MetroCard) is very convenient and relatively cheaper for tourists
The cost of a Single Ride ticket is $3 while a 7-Day Unlimited Pass costs $31. If you plan to use the subway at least 10 times, you could already benefit from the unlimited pass.
In our case, we used the MetroCard at least 4-6 times per day for 3 days. It’s also more convenient since you don’t have load it every time or worry about the balance. Just swipe it and you’re ready to go!
4. Book your Broadway tickets in advance (for famous shows)
A big part of the New York experience is watching its famous broadway shows. It’s expected that tickets gets sold out quickly for popular shows. Secure your seat and book your ticket in advance!
Check for prices and availability as soon as you have decided to visit New York.
5. Allot at least 15 mins. for the likely chance of getting lost looking for the right subway station
I didn’t expect that riding NY’s subway would be so difficult. On our first day, we lost at least 15 mins. looking for the right subway.
Green lights/lamps designate entrances that are always open. Look very hard for these green lamps!
We got lost because the subway we were looking for turned out to have a very small post and the green lamp was on a canopy that was adjoined to a building. Confusing!
We also encountered an entrance that didn’t have an overpass/underpass to transfer to the opposite platform. Confirm if you need to go Uptown or Downtown.
6. Check out Federal Reserve Bank of New York at Wall Street
If our local friend didn’t tell us, we wouldn’t have known that the majestic building was the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
7. Allot 3 hours for 9/11 Memorial and Museum
The museum was larger than I expected. It took us 3 hours to absorb everything.
Coming from someone who wasn’t interested in going to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, I now consider it as a must-see. Not to offend anyone, but, I was under the impression that I wouldn’t be able to find a personal connection.
It was hard not to be moved by the memorabilia. It features last phone call recordings of flight passengers, recollection of survivors, pictures and videos captured during the event.
8. MoMA is free for all visitors every Friday from 4pm to 8pm
If you’re after the free admission, get ready to visit the museum with hundreds of other visitors. When we went there for the free admission, it was very chaotic. It was difficult to appreciate the art because it was very crowded. There were even several people taking selfies with the paintings. Oh, and if you’ll avail the free admission, be sure to line up outside the museum to get the Uniqlo Free Friday Nights Tickets. Backpacks are not allowed but you can store it at their lockers.
If you want to avoid the chaos, avoid going there on a Friday evening and pay $25 instead.
9. There is a ‘secret’ whispering gallery in Grand Central Station
Without any signs or markings, the archway in front of Oyster Bar & Restaurant is actually a whispering gallery.
10. There are several museums that always have free admissions or pay-what-you-wish
Two of the most popular in this list are American Museum of Natural History and Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Here’s the website that I found that lists these museums.
11. High Line is underrated
This is one of our favorite sights. It’s a beautiful elevated park that was once a railroad. I love its industrial-meets-nature vibe. I regret that we didn’t go here earlier during the day.
12. Plan every meal/dessert that you want to eat
There are so many food options in NYC, it can be overwhelming! You can easily be enticed by the restaurants near you.
I carefully planned our food itinerary to the point of locating the branch to the nearest NYC sight. For more tips on our food itinerary, you can check it here.
13. Bring your most comfortable shoes and a pair of flip-flops
I cannot stress too much how tiring it is to tour NYC. It was a big relief for my feet when I changed to my flip-flops at some time. My average no. of steps per day was around 30,000! Of course, it still depends on you on how many sights you’d want to go to. We opted to make the most out of our trip.
Bonus: Itinerary tips for tourists visiting New York, click here
In 3 days, we were able to visit 15 famous sights, try 10 highly recommended NY food, and stay at the luxurious St. Regis Hotel.
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