New York City. The Big Apple. The city that never sleeps. Concrete Jungle where dreams are made of. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. The city so nice, they named it twice. The capital of the world.
There's a reason all these statements and more refer to NYC. It has been, and remains, one of the most famous and most visited destinations in the world, year after year. The best part is, if planned properly, it can be an affordable vacation and for someone living in the North American continent, it can be done in just one weekend.
How to get There
NYC is best accessible by 3 major airports; two in New York (JFK, LGA) and one in New Jersey (EWR). Compare prices for all three before choosing. See my post on "How to Find the Best Flight."
If visiting from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, New Hampshire or New Jersey, The Peter Pan Bus Line is an option. Mega Bus is also a popular option, serving Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Vermont, Illinois, Ohio, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Ontario and Washington D.C.
Where to Stay
I've stayed both in the city, directly on times square and outside. It's really cool to step out of your hotel and feel the energy of Times Square, no matter the day of the week or time of the night. Unfortunately, inexpensive hotel deals are hard to find and the rooms are usually quite small. Staying at the right place, outside the city, can make a big difference in your vacation budget.
After reading some good reviews, I decided on my second trip to stay at the Hilton Newark Penn Station in New Jersey.
This hotel is located in Downtown Newark and is connected to the Pennsylvania Train Station. Once inside, you don't have to exit the hotel to get to the train station. Simply use the pedestrian overpass, inside the hotel, to walk directly into Penn Station. Trains depart every few minutes and in less than half an hour, you'll be in NYC. A one way ticket is $5.25 or you can get a weekly ticket for $46.50. The trains drop you off in the New York Penn Station and from here you can take the subway to wherever you're going in the city.
I flew into Newark (EWR), which ended up being the least expensive flight and the closest in proximity to the hotel. They even offer a courtesy shuttle from that airport. If taking the shuttle, take the Airtram to P4 and call the hotel for pickup. The rooms are a comfortable size, complete with a 32" flat screen TV, work desk and complimentary WiFi.
How to get Around
Definitely the most popular option. 4.3 million people ride the New York City Subway System every day. Click here to see a subway map and here to see the schedules. You'll need a MetroCard, which you can load money onto. A one way ride is $2.75 or you can get a 7 day unlimited pass for $31. Up to three children, 44 inches tall and under, ride for free when accompanied by a fare paying adult. Click here to see all fares and where to purchase your card.
The MetroCard can also be used for the NYC Buses. The local bus rides cost the same per ride, or unlimited, as taking the subway. They also accept tokens and exact change, but do not accept bills. An express bus ride costs $6.50. On local buses, up to three children, 44 inches tall and under, ride for free when accompanied by a fare paying adult. On express buses, infants under the age of two ride free if sitting in the lap of the accompanying adult.
This is the most convenient, but most expensive way to get around NYC. Over 10,000 yellow cabs service the city. Fares are as follows:
What to Wear
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NYC is good to visit year-round. The city is always alive.
Summers in NYC are warm and humid; July being the hottest. The daytime temperatures average in the 80's Fahrenheit (high 20's C) and just slightly cooler at night. Breathable cotton and light-material shirts, tank tops, shorts, cotton pants, dresses and skirts are best. Comfortable walking shoes or sandals, a hat and sunglasses are also recommended.
Fall in NYC is comfortable and less humid. The daytime temperatures in September average in the low 70's (low 20's C) and by November are much cooler in the mid 50's (low teens C). Nighttime temperatures average around 60 degrees (15 C) in September and by November it drops to average around 40 degrees (4 C). It's recommended to wear long or quarter sleeve shirts, pants, warm dresses with leggings, light jackets, scarves, cool sweaters, blazers, boots or closed toe shoes.
Winter in NYC is cold, wet and sometimes windy. There's also the possibility of snow. Daytime temperatures in December average in the low 50's (low teens C) and drop to low 40's (4-7 C) in January and February. Nighttime temperatures in December average in the high 30's (around 3 C) and high 20's (around -2 C) for January and February. This is when you take out your warmest clothes. Long sleeve shirts, sweaters, pants, bulky jackets, coats, scarves, gloves, warm socks and boots are recommended.
Spring time in NYC is still a little wet and chilly, especially in the evenings, but warms up towards the end. Daytime temperatures in March average in the high 40's (around 9 C) and warms up to the high 60's (low 20's C) by May. Nighttime temperatures in March average in the mid 30's (around 2 C) and warms up to the low 50's (low teens C) by May. Check the weather before your trip because you may need to pack the clothes recommended above for either Fall or Winter.
New York City is a must see! So start planning!
Look out for a future blog featuring my recommendations on things to do in NYC.