Things To Do
TV Show Recordings (Free)
Sign up here and fill out profile etc. The ballot for tickets normally opens up about a month and a half or before the show date. The website has a good twitter that keeps updated. I managed to get tickets to see The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Late Night with Seth Myers.
New York Crime Walking Tour
This was the best tour we did on the trip. We booked this last minute after deliberating about it for several days. I am so glad we did. This tour covers so much more than the title would lead you to believe. There were 5 people on the tour.
The tour was done by John (who was an NYPD cop). Just walking around with him and his knowledge was so interesting. His insight into the way the criminal system in USA was very insightful.
The breadth of this tour should not be taking for granted (quick summary below):
- Wall Street – White Collar Crimes (also see the Charging Bull)
- Court Houses & Jails – How the system works
- Gun Culture
Grand Central Terminal
It is worth a quick stop off to just go into the main terminal, it is really impressive.
We did a tour of it. I would highly recommend for anyone. I am a bit of a transport geek, so perhaps I have a slight bias. However, Ben knows his stuff inside and out. You can tell he breathes the place. It was very interesting and fun! There were 5 people on the tour. I would also recommend his other tours. I wish we were able to do his Highline & bagel tasting tour – maybe next time! On the tour, someone did mention a crime thriller book based in the station called Terminal City by Linda Fairstein.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Tour
This tour is for anyone that is into rock and roll. The tour mainly focusses on artists from the 70’s such as The Ramones, Jimi Hendrix & Led Zepellin. However, does look at so much more artists such as Charlie Parker (jazz saxophonist) & the early Madonna years. The tour also looks at famous music venues and discusses promoters. There were around 6 people on our tour and our guide Bobby Pinn (stage name) was very engaging and passionate.
Joe’s Pizza – Best pizza we had there. Pizza by the slice. There are a couple of them all over.
Sticky Fingers – Amazing chicken strips place. I would go back just to go to it.
Revolut Bank Card
This is a card you can top up and use like a normal bank card anywhere in the world. It has great exchange rates. I used it when booking stuff online in dollars and the exchange rate is almost identical to the one on google. My main bank would normally have a worse rate and charge £2 for the pleasure.
The price of broadway shoes are not cheap. However, A lot of shows do lottery tickets if you enter online. E.g. you might get lucky and see Hamilton for $40 (usually $300). We did not find this successful. We did in London for The Book of Mormon (creators of South Park), so we might have just had bad luck. However, a fair few shows have selected days that if you go to the box office in the morning around 10am they do cheaper tickets for select days (e.g. half price). This worked out for us.
Empire State Building / Rockefeller ‘top of the rock’
I done both, but I am not saying it is a ‘must’ to do them both. I would recommend Rockefeller to be done during the day. On one side you get good views on Central Park from high up which is impressive. We did it at night, which was a mistake as its pitch black square! Don’t buy any passes from guys outside claiming they’ll help you skip the line – its a scam.
I would highly recommend checking ticketmaster to see if any bands are playing around the time you are there or see what the comedy clubs have going on. Just be aware that comedy club norm is you pay a ticket price and have to buy 2 drinks minimum per person at your table.
We went to one of the designer outlets you had to get a bus a fair bit away too. You will see advertised. It was ok. If you only have a few days, then I wouldn’t waste time going as the bargains aren’t that great to justify going. – Worth mentioning that the one we went to was in NJ as I think the most popular/ common one people go to in NYC is Woodbury.
Shopping – Macys
If you’re going to shop in Macys, you can get 10% off with an International Savings pass. You’ll need to bring your passport and a copy of the pass (printed or shown on mobile). More info here https://www.visitmacysusa.com/voucher/savings-international-visitors
Also, save an image to your phone of a US > UK sizing chart – saves you having to constantly Google shoe/ clothing sizes.
We walked to most places (remember to bring a good pair of walking shoes!!!). Manhattan is pretty much a grid system, so fairly easy to get around. Weekly unlimited passes are available for the MetroCard (similar to an Oyster card – can be used on the subway, transit buses). We also got a couple of Ubers which were reasonable. Try to avoid the yellow taxis (unless you’re going for the photo opportunity) – the fares can be pricey.
Check out https://onlocationvacations.com/category/daily-filming-locations/ – list of all movies/ tv series filming in New York.
If you want a good photo at any of the top photospots (e.g. Strawberry Fields in Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge) , try to go earlier in the day when there are less tourists around.