Last week my family and I headed on our travels to ‘The Big Apple’, being our first time in the USA it was a huge experience for us from the super-sized meals to getting a stamp in our passport! I spent a lot of time putting together an itinerary so we knew where we wanted to go and how to fit it all in, we were prepared to really experience being in the city that never sleeps. For those who are heading to New York soon or have it on their bucket list, hopefully these day by day itineraries will help you get a feel for how much you can do in a day in the big city. And for those who are just here for the pretty images, don’t you worry, there will be plenty!
We flew from Manchester airport with Virgin Atlantic to John F. Kennedy Airport around 2pm (BST) arriving at JFK around 4pm (EDT). Once we arrived we hopped in an official yellow cab which had a set fair of approx. $70 including tolls and tips. We got dropped right outside our hotel Hampton Inn Manhattan/ Times Square Central, and were greeted by the lovely staff as we checked in. From our whole time at the hotel we could not fault them one bit, they offered complimentary drinks and cookies 24/7 in the reception which we definitely made use of! Once we dropped our bags off we out into the big apple for the first time. The hotel was so perfectly located we were virtually at the foot of Times Square as soon as we stepped out the door. So off we went in the flood of people following the light of the billboards bringing us to the gorgeous square full of hustle and bustle. At a first glance Time Square is CRAZY there is so much to look at and take in at once, each time you visit you see something new you hadn’t noticed before, it’s an incredible experience. We then stopped off at Applebees for some dinner which we all ate half asleep considering the time difference and it was around 1am at home, nevertheless it was delicious! Jetlag got the better of us and we headed back to the hotel for well needed sleep once we had finished eating.
We woke up early and went to breakfast to be amazed by the waffle making station, true American style. My dad was watching the local news in the lobby while waiting for us girls to get ready and he saw that it was memorial weekend while we were in NYC which meant that they had events on during the day over at The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum which is the home to the space shuttle, Concorde and of course the Intrepid aircraft carrier. So we went down for a walk along the pier looking at all the vehicles and memorial events.
Prior to coming to New York we bought Explorer Passes allowing us access to 5 places of our choice, we used these passes to gain access to The Big Bus Tour. We got on this near the Intrepid Harbour and made our way to Brooklyn Bridge, we managed to see many sites including Empire State Building, The Flatiron Building and Times Square while on the bus, the tour guides were fun and extremely knowledgeable about the town which is evidently a big plus haha! We got off the bus in Downtown Manhattan near the Brooklyn Bridge so that we could walk across taking tonnes of photos taking in the surroundings.
Once we reached Brooklyn we headed towards Washington Street to get the iconic photo of Manhattan Bridge perfectly aligned with the Empire State Building. We saw multiple models having photo shoots and music videos being filmed in this location which my inner media-enthusiast found interesting watch! We then headed to Jane’s Carousel, it was great to see but I was slightly mislead because I had been told prior to my trip it was free, but it turns out it isn’t. Never the less, the DUMBO area of Brooklyn is gorgeous, albeit still hustle and bustle, the scenery is gorgeous. I’d happily sit there all day taking in the skyline, bridges and water, it’s the perfect place to sit back and take in the beautiful city you’re surrounded by.
At this point we got a little bit lost on the way back, we attempted to get back to a Big Bus Tour stop, but failed miserably trying to find it. We then found a Subway station to take us back… but that was closed! So it was a hectic hour trying to make our way back to Manhattan that didn’t involve paining our feet even more than they already were! Eventually we got on the Subway and stopped for some delicious Pizzeria Rolls at Villa* in Times Square.
We got back on the hop-on-hop-off bus following a different route around Midtown Manhattan. We got off outside Grand Central Station which was stunning, the perfect place to stand and people watch. There were multiple couples having professional photos taken in wedding attire, whether it be actual wedding photos or staged that’s up to your imagination. Getting back on the bus we headed towards Central Park and saw the surrounding areas realising how big Central Park actually is spanning 2.5 miles between 59th Street and 110th Street!
At this point we were more than ready for bed but we’re in the city that never sleeps, so we couldn’t retire for the day in the afternoon! Instead we went back to the hotel for a nap and freshen up before heading out to dinner at Dallas BBQ* with fishbowl sized glasses of Pepsi and huge chicken wings we had bag up the leftover and save for later!
After another stroll around Time Square to walk off our dinner we headed back to the hotel to rest up for the next busy day of sight seeing and eating double our body weight in food!
Make sure you don’t miss out on the rest of the week too!
*A detailed blog post about places to eat in New York will be going live on Sunday at 3:00pm (BST)