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How to get the most out of your New York City visit
Are you planning a trip to New York City (NYC)?
Are you looking to get the most out of your New York city visit without breaking the bank?
Afraid it’s going to be too expensive to really enjoy your time?
Well, first let me tell you, I was blessed and honored to live in NYC for 8 years.
(I realize that might sound weird but I was there during and after 9/11 so it holds an important place in my heart)
I lived in Queens but worked in the City.
So, needless to say, I spent plenty of time in both and traveling in between.
I want to share some of my suggestions on free, cheap or worth the money things you can do during your New York City visit so that you’re not breaking the bank and just showing you how to visit NYC the right way!!!
But let me warn you first. These will probably not be the normal things you’ve seen and will be kind of an odd list but I assure you, you will enjoy them immensely!
Let’s talk food first! 🙂
The food in New York City really is better than anywhere else!
The joke there is that there must be something in the water.
Now, I couldn’t tell you if that’s true or not, but even the simplest thing like a bacon, egg and cheese bagel sandwich (one of my favorite treats) was amazingly wonderful!
So let’s start:
Want a delicious, fast yet extremely affordable place to eat during your New York City visit? Then the Neptune Diner is where you want to go.
It’s a cute little corner diner with more seating inside than would be suggested by looking at it from the outside.
The service is friendly and, like I said, the food is delicious. And because they are open 24 hours you can get breakfast or dinner at any time of day or night. What’s better than that!
Now, it’s not in the city but a short 25 minute subway ride into Queens. So, on the way you’ll get some great views of the city and experience the subway at the same time :).
Just take the N/W subway to Queens and get off at the Astoria Blvd. stop, it’ll be right there on the NE corner.
(P.S. There’s somewhere else you’ll need to visit while you’re in the area, make sure you keep reading!)
Another great place to find great food for a great price.
There are lots of different types of delis around, ones with salads; meats; cheeses. One of my favorites was this really, really small one. Like it could may fit 5 people comfortably! But talk about fast, delicious, cheap, friendly service.
Yes, you must try a slice of pizza during your New York City visit. Just find any pizza shop you see along the street. And no 🙂 not a brand name pizza place. Trust me on this, you won’t be disappointed!
But I don’t like thin pizza? The slices are too big?
Well, they are also usually very inexpensive so get one to at least say you’ve had one. Grab one that’s just plain cheese or pepperoni and fold.
Yup, you heard me correctly 🙂 fold. Fold it side to side not bottom to top and you’ll fit right in.
(it’s the perfect way to eat your pizza on the go!)
Oh yum….please have one for me if nothing else 🙂
Now switching gears completely, let’s talk about nails!
Want/need to get your nails done?
Don’t think you could afford a manicure, let alone a pedicure in NYC?
Well, you’re right, maybe not in the City but certainly in Queens you can and I promise you something. In my opinion, you will get as good, if not better service in Queens as you would at a high-end salon in the City.
I’ve treated myself to many a mani/pedi in my day and even the most expensive I’ve had has not compared to the service I got at the salon near where I lived in Queens!
Magic Nail Salon is located on Ditmars Blvd. between 36th and 37th Streets. It’s only one stop down from Astoria Blvd. stop where the Neptune Diner is located. You can either hop back on the subway or take a quick 10-15 minute walk through the Astoria neighborhood to the salon.
The service and the outcome will amaze you! So much better than, like I said, any I’ve gotten anywhere else. And not only that, but guess what, for a mani/pedi it was only $16!!!!
Right, you say, but that was almost 20 years ago. Correct, so I had to call, and guess what the price has only gone up slightly – up to $22.
So no reason not to treat yourself!!!
Free street samples
If you walk around NYC long enough you will find people handing out free samples out on the streets. Don’t be shy or embarrassed.
Companies are trying to promote their products and so are giving them away.
A great way to not only get free stuff but sample something new.
Yes, there are free concerts that you might find during your New York City visit.
I usually heard about them during the summer, and even managed to attend a few, including Alanis Morissette and Prince!
Some of them do include very early mornings but so worth it to see a favorite artist free!
And of course, there are almost always local artists out on the streets or, my favorite, the ‘impromtu’ performances in the subway stations/platforms. A treat to be sure.
Central Park Zoo
Yup, there is a zoo located right inside Central Park! And let me tell you, it’s wonderful.
It’s small but they have sea lions, snow leopards and penguins. :), just to mention a few.
It’s very affordable and they even have a children’s zoo!
A definite worth your money experience.
Want to see a Broadway show but you can’t afford $100+ ticket?
Well, guess what, you’ve got several options including a lottery that will help you see that awesome Broadway show without the price tag.
What’s a lottery?
Basically what that means is, you need to show up at the appointed time at the show’s theater. Typically it’s an hour, two or so before the show you’d like to attend. You put your name in a container and a short while later they will draw names. If yours is called then you have to pay for your tickets up front (and a lot of times in cash) and you’ll be ready to go.
I did this a few times and got lucky so I’d say depending on the day you want to go (during the week if it’s playing then would be your better bet), this would definitely be a fun and cheap option.
And if you don’t want to chance it there is always TKTS which is a large general ticket booth located right in Times Square. Or, of course, the online option works too.
My preferred methods and what I would suggest to you is to walk or take the subway.
Depending on how far you will be traveling will help determine your mode.
Honestly, I suggest walking as much as you can.
You’ll see more and therefore be able to experience more.
When asking for directions you will get cross streets rather than a physical address, especially in the city. For example, if you noticed above, I mentioned that the nail salon was on Ditmars between 36th and 37th, not an actual address.
Now to get to Queens or any of the other boroughs or going more than maybe 10 to 20 short blocks (there is a huge difference between short blocks and the long block!) I would suggest taking the subway. Check out the MTA’s website to get fare information. If you know you’ll be using the subway a lot an unlimited Metrocard will be your best value.
It’s always important to be careful when traveling to any big city and NYC is no exception.
Like I mentioned, I lived there for 8 years and never had one incident.
But I was extremely cautious and self-aware!
I always carried my backpack in front on the subways and had the zippers pinned shut so someone would have to work to get them open.
If I was walking around at night and happened to be by myself I would have my keys in between my fingers just in case.
Like I said, I never had any problems and to help you not have any problems either, here are just a few items you can use to help keep your items safe.
-A money holder that can be worn around your neck.
–Passport holder with RFID protection so you never have to worry about someone stealing your information!
-Talking about RFID protection, let’s protect your credit cards and other information without having to carry around the passport holder with this awesome men’s wallet and women’s purse. Oh, and by the way, the purse is slash proof, has great organization and clips on some of the zippers to protect them from being opened by anyone else.
-How about a wrist wallet that will keep your hands free to be able to take all the pictures you want or check out souvenirs 🙂
And if you’ll be traveling with kids and/or are looking for some great, new travel accessories check out my Resources page for some other great options!
Need a new packing list or want an updated one? Check out my Never Forget Anything Again packing list!