It’s the city that never sleeps, and for good reason.
New York City is a non-stop hive of entertainment, with attractions galore for both day and night.
The best thing you can do is pick a hotel in a central location, and pack in your days with as much as possible.
Even with two weeks up your sleeve, you won’t get close to seeing everything that the city has to offer, but you will have taken a decent bite of the Big Apple.
We stayed at Staybridge Suites, which is located midtown on West 40th Street in the Garment District, only a five-minute walk from Times Square and the Broadway theatre district.
It was also conveniently close to the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden and Grand Central Terminal.
I’ll say it right up: New York doesn’t come cheap.
But one thing worth spending money on is tickets to Broadway shows, and many other New York attractions open their doors for free on certain days or certain times of day.
For example, museum lovers can check out the Museum of Modern Art for free between 4pm and 8pm every Friday, while the 9/11 Memorial Museum has free entry between 5pm and 8pm on Tuesdays.
A lot of attractions – including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Aquarium – are also “pay what you wish”, meaning you can get in for as little as $1, or as much as your generosity allows.
As with most things in life, some of the best attractions are free.
The iconic Times Square is impressive during the day, and even more so at night, when the flashing billboards light up the buildings and street performers take over the streets.
For great views, talk a walk along the Brooklyn Bridge, or try out the High Line, a 2.3 kilometre linear park built on an elevated section of a disused city train line.
Then there’s Central Park, which spans 843 acres and features a zoo, the Wollman ice rink (transformed into a carnival for summer), Belvedere Castle, the Carousel, and lakes, walking trails, fountains, and street performers galore.
It’s impossible to get around in one day, but if you want to experience this city in real style, try a horse and carriage ride, or take the free Staten Island ferry if you want a close-up view of the Statue of Liberty.
This is a commuter ferry, so don’t expect any tour guides with entertaining commentary, but it’s a great way to experience what life is like for a homegrown New Yorker.
Arguably the best way to get around is to purchase a New York pass, which is valid for between one and 10 days, giving tourists the ability to the hop on, hop off buses, and also free entry to more than 80 New York tourist attractions, including the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Centre.
If you like walking, you can do a lot of New York on foot, and the subway is easy enough to navigate. It’s not worth your money to catch taxis to get around, but give the experience a go at least once, just to see how the drivers manage navigating their way through traffic bedlam.
Then there’s the shopping. Be prepared to do some serious damage to your credit card along Fifth Avenue, the Soho district, and in Macy’s – the largest department store in the world.
For fast American food, try Shake Shack, which is famous for its burgers, fries, shakes and frozen custards.
It was not unusual to see people lining up for their Shake Shack fix before the restaurant’s 11am opening, and it’s almost impossible to get a seat inside – despite the fact that there are 17 New York outlets.
For drinks with a view, the Refinery Hotel offers a great range of cocktails, tapas, and an impressive view of the Empire State Building.
New York is a city that lives up to the stories and the hype.
And with $1500 return airfares and beautiful summer weather, you’d be crazy not to go.