Planning a trip to New York can be overwhelming. How can one cram in all the amazing sights and experiences, from iconic landmarks to must-try food places in a 3-5 day trip. Here is a compile of popular things to do in and around NY city based on my experiences:
- Statue of Liberty: You could get a good view of statue from the Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. But I would suggest taking a ferry/cruise ride to the ‘Statue of Liberty island’. You can check out the schedule and ticket pricing at www.statuecruises.com.
- Empire State Building: It is a 102-story skyscraper located in Midtown Manhattan with public access to its observatory at 86th as well as 102nd floor giving a nice birds eye view of the city. The tickets to the observatory are a bit on the higher side with $32-$52. You can find more details on their website.
- Central Park: If are looking for a place to forget the city life and enjoy nice quiet place for picnic, biking, playgrounds, fountains, jogging etc, it is Central Park. It can be disappointing if you are expecting anything more. My advise: plan to visit here on a weekend and not for more than few hours.
- Times Square: It is the most happening part of NYC with flashy lights, shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, late night malls and food joints. Do visit this place, preferably on a weekend night. You will not more people gather at a single place anywhere else in the entire US. It will remind you of metropolitan city in India.
- Ground Zero (World Trade Center memorial)
- Charging Bull @ Wall Street
- Brooklyn bridge
- Rockefeller center
- Museum of modern art, only if you are into arts
Transportation: Avoid taking a rental car for your stay at the city as parking is tough and expensive. You will be better off hiring a yellow cab which are cheap and in abundance. Also try subways to roam around as they are faster and cheaper option. Another option is to take a 1/2 day pass for the city tour on open roof buses for $30-$50 dollars.
Food: Lexington avenue is full of Indian restaurants with a lot of veggie options. Sarvana bhavan, Madras Cafe, Vatan, Junoon, thekathirollcampany, Grimaldi’s pizza, Utsav etc are some of the famous ones. Also do try out the kathi rolls and biryanis at roadside food trucks.
Niagara Falls: Its a must visit attraction if you are planning a visit to NYC. It is about ~400 miles (or 7 hours) drive one way. But trust me, it will be total worth it. They have a lot of activities but ‘Maid of the mist’, ‘Cave of the winds’ are an absolute must. If possible, get your canadian visitor visa stamped before the trip. The view from Canada side is breathtaking esp during nights. There are lots of indian restaurants near the falls too.
You can also take a package tour from taketours.com or tours4fun.com which are quite popular. I have personally heard good things about taketours.com but haven’t tried the other options. There are some local tour operator as well which offer cheaper rates.