Growing up in Upstate, NY (Buffalo - to be exact), I’ve always considered myself a New Yorker. Due to the nature of my career path, I’ve been traveling in and out of New York City alone for 9+ years… NYC is my second home and while I may not have true roots there, I have some incredible friends and favorite places that I like to visit whenever I’m there. Every now and then, I get requests for my tips and suggestions on New York City so I’ve decided to finally put together a blog post for it. I hope you enjoy! I will definitely be updating it as I experience more.
There are three airports surrounding NYC that will get you there, depending on what city you’re coming from you can find different routes / deals. From Buffalo, I usually fly on JetBlue to JFK Airport (JFK). You can also fly to LaGuardia Airport (LGA) or Newark Airport (EWR). Depending on time of day and where in Manhattan you’re going, it can take between 30min - 2 hours to get into the city.
If you’re coming from JFK, you can take a yellow taxi/Uber/Lyft (apx. $75) into Manhattan. If you’re looking to save some money, you can take the AirTrain ($5 upon exiting) to either the subways ($2.75) or the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) (between $7-10 to Penn Station depending on the time of day). It may seem overwhelming but trust me, it’s not that bad! People are usually pretty friendly in case you need to ask for help. I also use Google Maps and it gives you step by step directions of where you need to go.
If you’re coming from LGA, I usually just take a Uber/Lyft. I’ve only flew in/out of Newark a few times and pretty sure I took an Uber/Lyft from the PATH train. Definitely check out the airport websites and your hotel address prior to leaving so you have an idea of where you’re going! Under no circumstances should you get into any car with anyone that comes up to you and offers you a ride. Only use ride sharing apps or get into the taxi lines.
WHERE TO STAY
I’ve been all around Manhattan, the surrounding boroughs and Jersey. What area you want to stay is truly preference. When I’m there for vacation, I like staying in Midtown East because it’s so convenient from the airport and it’s easy to get around. You’re smack dab in the middle/ left side so you can easily go north, south and west from there. It’s also close enough to a lot of attractions (more on that later). However, you can’t really go wrong staying in Manhattan, it really just depends on what you’re going to be doing / seeing. I’ve also stayed in Long Island City and Jersey City (which can be more affordable options). I don’t usually stay anywhere fancy (I’m all about those Marriott / Hilton points) but here are some of my suggestions:
Royalton New York - trendy, authentic NYC experience, we stayed here for 1 night on our honeymoon.
Courtyard by Marriott New York Manhattan / Midtown East - not anything fancy but it’s clean, they’re nice there and it’s super close to the subways and my favorite bagel shop!
1 Hotel Brooklyn - never stayed over but I’ve been to a few events here. If you want to splurge and get an incredible view of Manhattan, it’s worth checking out.
You can also check out HotelTonight, Hotels.com and other booking sites to get deals.
WHERE TO EAT + DRINK
NYC has some of the BEST food options in the world so you may want to be thoughtful about your meal choices while you’re there, rather than just stumbling on the nearest restaurant.
Here are some of my favorite places:
BREAKFAST / BOOZY BRUNCH
Essa Bagel - The Half Pint (boozy brunch) - Bubby’s - Agave (need reservations like 2 weeks in advance) - Crooked Knife - Tavern 29 - Essex - Sons of Essex - Sarabeth’s
LUNCH / DINNER
Sit down: Aunt Jakes - Don Antonio’s - Marta - Wayfarer - Korali - The Meatball Shop - Ribalta - Rosa Mexicano - Fig & Olive -
Quick eats: The Nugget Spot - The Plaza Food Hall - Eataly - Sweetgreen - Le Pain Quotidien
The Kimberly Hotel - The Plaza Hotel’s The Palm Court - The Capital Grille (get a Stoli Doli) - Last Light at Sister City - Boom Boom Room - Please Don’t Tell (call at 3pm that day to make a reservation) - Employees Only - ART Nomad
WHAT TO DO
There’s SO much to do in NYC, it really depends on your preference and what you want to do! You can shop until you drop, sightsee, people watch, see a show, the options are endless. If this is your first time in the city, you may want to map out the locations / spots that you want to hit and plan your day / meals around that. You can also pick a place to start and walk/wander around, it’s very easy to get around in NY.
The Chelsea Markets - The High Line - Westfield World Trade Center - 9/11 Memorial (very somber but extremely well done) - Liberty Island - South Street Seaport - Rockefeller Plaza- Top of the Rock - St. Patrick’s Cathedral - Times Square (something to see but VERY crowded/touristy) - see a show on Broadway (Theatre District) - shopping on 5th Ave - Central Park (check out Literary Park) - The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Bryant Park - Little Italy / Chinatown - Washington Square Park - DUMBO, Brooklyn (great view of Manhattan)
OTHER TIPS + TRICKS
A couple other helpful resources can be found here:
Miles Away Podcast: You'll learn about the neighborhoods, hear about a handful of the most iconic — and points-friendly — hotels, Paul McCartney's favorite pizza spot and our own restaurant recommendations.
Download Google Maps + The NYC Subway app get navigate easily around town.
Are there any places that I missed? Would love to hear any recommendations! I will definitely keep this updated. In case you’re looking for more travel tips be sure to check out my travel section here!