The Ultimate New York City Guide

[separator type=”thin”] It´s Mother´s day today in some parts of the world – and I would like to celebrate my mom by showcasing some of our MANY memorable moments from The Big Apple. Of course, the whole three week trip, is for us something we will never forget. Just my mom and I, which I see twice, three times a year, my mom who I love so much. Just the two of us, travelling the world, being on the trip of a lifetime!

If you missed out on the first part of my three week vacation, you can see snapshots from London here, which was my first stop, and when I got my first hairextensions here.

London – New York

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New York City Pass

the best New York City tip

In New York we had two full days, a half a day on the arrival there, and the morning before taking the shuttle buss to New Jersey to go on board Quantum of the Seas. We were totally turists, and got to see A WHOLE LOT during this time. We were efficient, but at the same time it wasn´t crazy-mad-dash-stress. And there´s a reason for it:

The best thing that mom purchased in New York for the two of us, was a New York City Pass. For three days, two persons, it cost about $400 (3 000 Norwegian kroner). Here are just some of the benefits this pass gives you as a turist in New York:

  • SAVE TIME: You skip mile-long queues at so many of your typical tourist attractions for Fast Track New York City Pass holders
  • SAVE MONEY: This pass saves you a lot on admission fees to attractions, food and shopping, in one of the most expensive cities in the world
  • 80+ ATTRACTIONS: There are over 80 different attractions this card will get you into for “free”, like Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Brooklyn Bridge, round-trip of New York City with Hop-On Hop-Off busses, Madame Tussauds, Empire State Building, 9/11 Memorial Centre and many more

Your time in New York City will be your limit for what you get to experience on your visit here. And of course, what your wishes are for places that you want to visit and experience!

If you want to truly get the most out of your stay here, especially if this is your first time in New York, I strongly recommend you to purchase a New York City Pass. No kidding, it´s worth every dollar.

Even if I ever get to travel to New York again, I´ll get a NY City pass. There is so much more to see, that we just didn´t have the time to explore. But no regrets, with the schedule we made together this time, we got to see everything that we wanted to see, and so much more on the way!

Read more about the New York City Pass here. 

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Without further adue, let me guide through some of the incredible moments my mom and I shared in New York:

Sleeping

We stayed at The Westin hotel, which is situated smack-down in the middle of Times Square. Someone on the cruise asked me if our room was tiny, as many hotel rooms can be in NY – but this was not the case for us. As you can see! Two double beds, big room and ensuite, minibar, TV and such. Our view was towards Madam Tussauds, and just outside the hotel was the pulsating life of Times Square.

We ate breakfast at Shula´s Steak House in the hotel, which is regarded among the finest steak house in America. I guarantee you that the breakfast here is delicious too!

Visit The Westin Hotel and Shula´s Steak House here

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Times Square

It was F.R.E.E.Z.I.N.G. when we were in NY. Freezing and windy. Our first purchase? Thick-knitted hats, scarves and gloves from a random vendor of such necessities on this trip 😀 Best investment for us tourists, we had places to be, things to see, after all! There´s no such thing as bad weather…

Best shopping experience in Times Square? Aéropostale! I came to the cruise vacation with a full-packed luggage, but no bikinis. At Aéropostale, I found 4! Which I loved, and bought.

Best food experience in Times Square? Hard Rock Café. Because I had money from my grandmother, which she gave to me before I left London, and I wanted to buy something special with them. Something that I would always remember was from her. So I bought dinner for my mom and I, at Hard Rock Café. We were freezing and hungry after half a day of sightseeing. It just seemed like the perfect time, place, and with the perfect person to spend the money from my grandmother. We took pictures to remember the experience, and to print and frame for my grandmother <3

We also ate at Planet Hollywood in Times Square, yummy! We got 10% discount here because of the NY City Pass. 🙂

Best transportation from here to where you want to go, as a first-time-NY-tourist? The Hop-On Hop-Off Bus.

Click here to see the many offerings in Times Square.

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Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

We went literally everywhere with this buss. You pretty much jump on it where you want, and get off where you want. We did the night tour as well, saw the New York City bright lights <3 After one and a half day we had pretty much taken all the buss routes, so the rest of the day, we used the buss to get from A to B, while still enjoying the vibrating view. We went to:

Garment District * Empire State Building * Chrystler Building * SOHO * China Town * Little Italy * Battery Park * Lower and Upper East side * Brooklyn * East Village * Harlem * United Nations-building * Rockefeller Center * all around Central Park * Metropolitan Museum of Art * the Guggenheim Museum * Apollo Theatre * Broadway * Yankee Stadium and the Bronx

And saw everything there was to see on our way to these places, such as high-end fitness center Equinox (an own personal favourite), Macy´s, Juillard, Trump International Tour and more.

Here is a map of all New York Pass Attractions, that you can also get to with the Hop-On Hop-Off bus.

 

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Brooklyn

We visited Brooklyn a whole three times! Very much enjoyed it every time. First time we visited was on the night tour with the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour. The second time was when we took the bus to get to Battery Park to get on the roundtrip with the City Ferry, which took us… well, you guessed it: Around Brooklyn 😀

Although we took the buss more than once to the same place, the guide on the bus is a different one each time, each with their own personality and way of describing the places you visit. We learned for example on the night tour, which was our first time on the bus, the word “gentrified“. This is what happened to areas such as Brooklyn and Harlem, and is happening to other areas today. Gentrified means a renewal of urban areas that “inevitably leads to displacement of the occupying demographic” (Wikipedia). The areas get more and more expensive to live in, thusly driving out those who cannot afford it, making room for a wealthier community.

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City Line Sightseeing Cruises

Definitely worth a go, especially on a sunny day. Works similar as the Hop-On Hop-Off-bus, where you are able to get on and off the boat at different locations. We took a full round around the coastline of New York City and Brooklyn.

Whether you want a 30 minute speed-ride, 2 hour sunset cruise, or a 3 hour full Island Cruise – read more about your cruising-options with the New York City Pass here.

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New York City by night

The city that never sleeps. It is truly beautiful, with its broad variety of sights, sounds, smells. We experienced New York by night from the top of the Empire State building (floor 86, not over 100, because there was a heavy fog over the city), and with the bus tour by night.

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9/11 Memorial & Museum

This is a truly touching experience. It is overwhelming how beautifully New York City is praising the lives of the lost ones in the tragedy that is 9/11. 9/11 Memorial and Museum is definitely a place to visit when you´re in New York. This site is for me, a tribute to life, not death. Take the time to appreciate life, beauty, cherished moments, loved ones, friends, family. It is truly an amazing place, both on the outside, with a huge waterfall into the earth, and inside, with a museum that takes you back to this tragic day. But it is done so beautifully, in honour of the many brave souls, the lost lives, the unsung heroes, everyone.

Take the time to visit next time you´re in New York.

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Statue of Liberty

The first time I caught a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty is when I got teary-eyed, and realised for the first time that I was actually in New York. Before that, I think I was caught up in all the impressions. It was suddenly in front of me, the Statue that I had seen so many times on TV. Now I was actually there myself. The sun was shining, I was there with mom, it was simply magical.

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Our three days in New York were unforgettable. All thanks to my mom! And to the fact that she discovered the New York City Pass right before we left for NY. Without it, we would´ve never been able to see so many places in such a short time. I definitely recommend first- and second-time travellers to New York to check it out!

Read what others have said about the New York City Pass here.

I hope you enjoyed this tip! If you did, and even found it useful, please share the blogpost with your friends!