IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR New York CIty Vacation
For more info, check out my New York City Travel Guide.
New York Pass
I highly recommend purchasing the New York Pass. www.newyorkpass.com The pass gives you entry into a ton of different places, some even with fast pass/no waiting in line entry. Most of the places you’ve listed to go to are covered with the pass. It also comes with an AWESOME guidebook. I’ve used it for both of my trips there, and probably wouldn’t do it any other way. It’s super nice because you don’t have to keep up with or buy a bunch of different tickets—just show the pass. Feel free to ask me specifics about it. If you purchase the New York Pass, you will still need to purchase the following ahead of time if you decide you want to do them: Tickets for 2nd visit to Top of the Rock, Tickets for One World Observatory, and you can purchase the Carriage Ride tickets ahead of time. You can get these through me.
I highly recommend using the subway for getting to and fro. It is super-fast, and with the maps app on iPhone or Android it is easy to navigate. Your map will tell you EXACTLY where to enter the subway station from the street and which train to take, and give you walking directions to/from the subway from your starting point and to your destination. It is important to enter the station from the street as the directions say, because it takes you to the correct side of the platform that way you are at the train going the right direction. Again, feel free to ask me more about it. The A & Q lines will be the routes you’ll take most, so familiarize yourself with them.
For show tickets, download the TodayTix app. Don’t fiddle with getting Broadway show tickets from anywhere else. These are discount tickets PLUS no lines (you’ll see a long line in Times Square at TKTS—those people need this app!). You can purchase most show tickets up to 1 week in advance.
For the best views of the city, my recommendation is the Top of the Rock. This is the top of Rockefeller Center. You’ll see Central Park AND amazing views of the Empire State Building. Now, you need to go to ESB, because that’s just what you do ;) but for the best views Top of the Rock is my pick. I have it on your itinerary to go during the day and night. If you decide to do both, you’ll need to purchase tickets for the 2nd visit. One World Observatory—it’s ok… I mean just another tall building to go to the top of. I would skip the visit to the top, and just admire the building from the outside. You will be able to see it well because there is nothing butted up to it like ESB. Plus you’ll see it anyway going to the 9/11 Memorial.
Statue of Liberty
For the Statue of Liberty, I highly recommend making this your very first attraction of the day, and even getting there a little early to get your ferry ticket (included in the pass but times/space is 1st come 1st serve). We went first thing, and by the time we left it was PACKED! The pass comes with tickets to go on the ferry to Liberty Island. If you want to go in the statue you’ll need to get tickets from www.nps.gov/stli/index.htm Now, when we went Ellis Island was not open, but the ferry will take you there as well if it is open. Staten Island Ferry—free! But I haven’t done it. Not sure that I would put it high on my list since you’ll probably go to Liberty Island (Statue of Liberty). If you decide not to actually go to Statue of Liberty, hop on the Staten Island Ferry for views of Lady Liberty, and just come back.
Restaurants I recommend: Serendipity (frozen hot chocolate—make reservations now), Rolf’s (delish German food that decorates INSANELY for Christmas—make reservations now), Paris Café (near South Street Seaport AMAZING views of the Brooklyn Bridge from here & lots of history, believe several presidents have dined here—it is casual), Gallagher’s (Times Square—this is where we spotted Mark Ballas). Note: Some restaurants only accept cash, so be sure to plan for that accordingly.