New York City is a bustling metropolis with 1.6 million people populating the 87.5km2 Manhattan island alone. With so much to see on Manhattan alone, it can be intimidating to work out how to get from point A to point B while getting the most out of the experience along the way. Whilst most people who have lived in NYC their entire lives probably still haven’t seen everything there is to see, with some strategy and a few hot tips you can plan out your trip to make the most of your adventure!
Hop on Hop off bus
This is a great way to get a fairly quick but inclusive tour of Manhattan. These tours are great options for Day 1 or Day 2 of your trip to get a feel for the hustle and bustle of the city and all of it’s sights, smells, and sounds!! It also helps you to get an idea for places you may like to spend more time at, and even more of a bonus, it will take you past some places you may be happy to see from a bus, check off your list, and keep going onto the next thing (more time for shopping/Cosmos, etc!!).
There are a couple of main companies that run these buses, and with stops all around the city, if you strategically plan your accommodation to be near one of the drop off points you can save some $$ in taxi and subway fares as well
NYC Yellow Taxi
The iconic New York experience -an absolute must (mostly for logistical reasons!), the cabs are reasonably priced and the drivers vary from insulting and offensive to knowledgeable and friendly! Worth it for the experience factor. Just pretend you are Carrie headed off to hook up with Big and jump on in (although if you are off to meet Big he really should have sent his driver, he is off his game).
Hot tip: Make sure you check out google maps before you get in a cab to make sure the traffic is headed in the direction you are wanting to go. With so many 1 way streets and heavy traffic, walking one block across can save you lots of $$$ for minimal effort (also, #exercise).
Another cheap option to get around – if you don’t have the Uber app set up, all you need to do is download it, set up your details and use the app to order an Uber to your location based on your phone’s GPS. They send a text to let you know your car details, how far away it is, auto charge your credit card and send you a receipt! The Uber app also gets you to rate your driver, which tends to keep the cars clean and the drivers polite! Happy days.
Another iconic NYC experience, the subway system is comprehensive, efficient, and cheap. Use the subway to zip all over Manhattan, or if you are feeling more adventurous jump on the subway and head over to Brooklyn or beyond (channel your inner Dan Humphries).
Hot tip: Look for accommodation close to subway, and check out their multi trip/weekly options depending on how long you are in the city.
Hotter tip: For motivation on why you should ride the subway, check out the @hotdudesreading instagram account where you will find some VERY inspiring reasons 😉
After you have braved the subway over to Brooklyn and checked out Dumbo, grab a shake at the Shake Shack, get some epic pics of the Brooklyn bridge and jump on a water taxi for some amazing views of the city, and some wind in your hair. With the US flags on the back this was a really fun way to see a different side of the city.
You can then enjoy the ride for a few stops and hop back off on Manhattan.
Hot tip: The water taxis go most of the way around the island so definitely consider them if you are heading to or from another borough to mix it up from the subway.
Helicoptor tour of Manhattan
For the experience of a lifetime, head on down to the heli port at the south end of Manhattan where you will take off into the skies to have your mind blown.
For a first timer on a chopper, I spent the entire time gaping at view. Central Park from the air was a particular highlight, the contrast of the city and the park are quite simply incredible. The September 11 memorial is another particularly memorable view.
If you are going to spend up on a transport option, this one is pretty special, just make sure to take it all in and not spend the whole time taking photos!!
Circle Line Ferry
Circle Line Ferrys have been featured in hundreds of movies (think How to Lose a Guy in 10 days where they go over to visit the family) and is yet another must do. Personally the trip over was enough for me to check out the Statue of Liberty, I just turned on back around and headed back to the island! Lots of great photo opps of the statue and the island from the water.
Cold tip: If you are heading to NYC in winter, there are 3 relevant words for this ferry trip. LAYERS and FACE PROTECTION!!! The wind rips through you and brings the temp down ten degrees, instigating all sorts of frozen hands/selfie sticks/iphone loss fail situations. So layerr up and keep your tech close!