Like we say in Pakistan, “Whoever hasn’t seen Lahore hasn’t seen anything” – Same goes for New York for a vacation in the United States. While planning a trip alongside the east coast of America, New York City should be on top of your bucket list, regardless of the kind of a person you are.
Unlike my husband, I personally choose tranquil destinations over busy cities, but New York City is something else. The endless attractions keep pulling you back towards this beautiful city of lights. Whether you are a solo traveler, a group of friends on a road trip, or a family on vacation, New York has surprises for everyone.
If you’re visiting in the summertime or fall season, combining Niagra Falls short trip with New York City is like a cherry on top.
Suggested One-Week Itinerary | Best of New York City’s Attractions, Things to Do, Eat, and Places to Relax:
Morning: Big Bus sightseeing tour downtown
- Get a 48 Hour Sightseeing unlimited hop on-hop off pass which will cover downtown, uptown, Brooklyn tour, ferry and lots more.
- Adult ticket – $59, Kids- $49
Afternoon: St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Rockefeller Center. Climb on top of the Rock observation deck to see breathtaking views of NYC
- Rockefeller observation deck ticket: Adult- $36, 6-12yrs- $30, Kids under 6-Free
Evening: Times Square- needs no explanation 😀
Morning: Big Bus sightseeing tour uptown
Afternoon: Met museum/Guggenheim Museum
- Ticket for Met museum is for $25, but you can choose to pay less if you like by just requesting the staff
Evening: Central Park + Zoo/Strawberry fields/Boathouse
Morning: Ground Zero (Former World Trade Center Memorial), Oculus Subway Station and Wall Street
- There are about 10 iconic NYC subway stations that are worth a stop. Some of them include the Fulton Station, Grand central, Oculus, and Museum of Natural History.
Afternoon: Ellis Island Immigration Museum and Statue of Liberty Cruise
Evening: Brooklyn Bridge and dinner in front of the magnificent Manhattan skyline
Day 4 Niagra Falls Day Tour
Morning: Leave for Buffalo as early as possible: ideally by 6 am.
- It’s a 6-7 hour drive. Because our kids can never sit in one place for such long road trips, we took a flight
- Choose your hotel that is closer to Niagra falls so that you get more time to enjoy
Afternoon: Niagara Horseshoe Falls Observation Deck and Maid of the Mist ferry ride
- Niagra falls observation deck ticket: $1/person
- Maid of the Mist ferry ticket: $19/adult, $11/child
Evening: Relax and takeaway food for eating in the parks alongside the falls and rapids
Morning: Niagra falls Cave of the Winds walking tour
- Ticket in summer peak season is for about $19/adult
- Because I personally wanted to spend more time around the falls and did not want to go back in just one day, I saved this walking tour just as a reason to come back the next day to soak in the scenic views
Afternoon: Three sisters island and Goat island walking tour
Evening: Head back to New York City
Morning: Madame Tussaud’s wax museum
- Silver entry ticket: $29/adult
Afternoon: Grand Central Station
Evening: Bryant Park & NY public library
- Enjoy various board games, carousel, reading corner and street food
Morning: Madison Square + Flatiron building
Afternoon: Lunch at Chelsea Market
Evening: Highline Park
Where to Stay in New York City
Ideally, the closer your hotel to lower Manhattan and Times Square is, the better. However, due to the top rated tourist areas being extremely expensive, your option number 2 should be anywhere near the southern boundaries of Central Park New York. There are various neighborhoods such as Chelsea, Soho where you can find apartments rentals or even hotels with good deals.
A decent 3 star hotel nightly rent in Manhattan starts from $350/night, which is not reasonable at all. That is why a pro tip for visiting New York City is to book your hotel at least 4-6 months ahead and look for nearby subway stations at walkable distances.
Sadly we got into a fake apartment scam on www.homeaway.com, which also wasted a couple of our precious days. Thank God later we got a last-minute deal on AirBnB for an entire house in Queens, which actually saved our NYC vacation plan. The house was at a 40min train ride to Manhattan downtown, but since it was spacious and super clean, we didn’t complain much about the far-fetched location.
Best Way to Commute in New York City for First Time Travelers
This one’s too obvious of course. Well in case you didn’t know, the subway is the most convenient and cheapest form of traveling in NYC, which is why getting a 1-week subway Metro card is a great idea. This 7-day metro card costs about $32 with unlimited rides. For more details click here.
Hailing yellow cabs or Uber might seem convenient at first, but once you get stuck in a traffic jam you will know why people use the subway. Although every station is not accessible by wheelchair or stroller, pedestrians and tourist always lend a hand to carry strollers downstairs.
Must Eat Foods in NYC
- The Lobster Place Chelsea Market
- Magnolia Bakery cupcakes
- Russ and Daughters bagels
- Los Tacos No. 1 – Cactus tacos
- Halal Guys
- Amorino Gelato and Desserts Chelsea Market
- Sushi and Sashimi at Tao