I’ve got to say, my first trip east felt like a whirlwind. I’d never seen so many people in one place before! It was amazing how different NYC looked from California – the pace of life seemed slower and more relaxed than on the West Coast. The city itself is also much smaller overall but it packs such an incredible punch for its size that you can’t help but marvel at all New York has to offer when visiting your very first time.
When you visit New York City for the first time, it can be hard to figure out what is right and wrong. You might think that everyone will have a weird accent or speak in slang only native residents understand– but don’t worry! I’ve been there too, so here are some tips on where to start.
1. Pack Comfortable Shoes
If you’re like me and have few precious vacation days to spare, it might be tempting to pack your schedule with as many must-sees as possible. That also means you’ll do a lot of walking because in New York City, the best way for seeing all that there is to see is by getting out on foot.
I’ve walked a lot over the past few days, and I’m not kidding about these shoes. One day it even got up to 25k steps! Its crazy how many people take this opportunity to snap great OOTD’s but for me what you wear on your feet is just as important – there are lots of nice sneakers available in the market that can complete any outfit.
Walking is easy when you have the best shoes for it, like mine. I wore my comfy ones on a day where they cut us lines to get an observatory tour of the Empire State Building by climbing 86 flights of stairs from ground level. It was so much easier than waiting in line! The next time that walking across Brooklyn Bridge doesn’t seem appealing consider giving your feet some love with these babies – I promise you won’t regret it!
2. Be conscious of where you’re walking
New Yorkers are a notorious bunch, but my experience as an out-of-towner was not too shabby. I only had to deal with two people who couldn’t be bothered by my questions in the four days that I spent here; these were both men walking down 47th Street on their way from work and muttering something about tourists getting in their way!
There’s a quick fix to that though, and it’s common etiquette in many different places around the world: Always keep right. When you’re walking down the sidewalks or stairs, stay on the right so you don’t get in anyone else’s way! You can avoid running into people coming from behind too by doing this simple thing.
You won’t want to miss taking in the beautiful architecture of these city streets. Most people forget that they’re here for a reason and just keep walking, but if you stand off to the side away from human traffic while snapping pictures then your experience will be complete!
3. Take the subway
I love taking the Metro in NYC. It’s so easy to get around, especially if you have an unlimited pass! The best thing about it is that instead of paying for each ride individually, which can be a little expensive depending on where you go and how often you take the train, with this flat rate going anywhere ticket ($2.75) all my rides are covered upfront without any additional charges at my destination station too – I just swipe when entering and leave by walking out or popping back through one of those turnstiles as instructed during traveling time 🙂
I feel like most people don’t truly experience New York City unless they use public transportation–and why not? It’s convenient. It also runs 24/7; so if you want to party until late into the night (or early morning), there are plenty of opportunities– just make sure not to miss your stop.
A regular Metro card costs a dollar, and you can refill it at stations. You have to reload them as often as necessary so that they will last for the number of people who want to use one card (you might not be able to do this on your own). A single Metro Card is good enough for 2-5 riders according to where you are traveling in Boston; but if someone leaves early or transfers lines, then their credit goes unused.
The Unlimited Metro Card is a great investment if you plan to ride the subway often during your visit. This was my first time in NYC, and I picked up an unlimited pass card at Jamaica Station after getting off of JFK Airtrain.
The 7-Day Unlimited Pass costs $31 and you can ride all you want (even the local buses!) as long as you don’t use it on the same station within minutes of each swipe. They’re trying to prevent having someone else’s 7 Day Card because not only is this a value card, but if they did that then people would be saving money by using other cards without paying for them! Doing some math, if at least two times in every day are spent riding around town with your pass over those seven days we’ll save cash so easy it won’t even feel like work anymore.
When in the subway, please do not run! The platforms are so narrow that they can be dangerous. Most trains come every few minutes but not during non-rush hours which is why you should check train schedules if you’re catching a meeting. Everybody tends to wait for the next train near its head at the entrance of where people walk on and off onto each platform after noticing how crowded these areas get especially towards rush hour whereas most other parts of each station remain less congested with more space available – instead go down as far as possible into your desired destination’s section or area before waiting around patiently like everyone else does (which will help reduce crowding).
4. Learn to navigate the subway
You’ve decided to ride the subway, good for you! Before going anywhere in NYC, it’s best to familiarize yourself with “the lay of the land. Keep an offline map on your phone just in case service is bad underground and always remember that not all trains go everywhere so be aware which train goes where before boarding. You may have seen a map like this one but don’t worry if you haven’t because they’re pretty simple once broken down into sections:
- Color-coded lines – every line represents another route through different parts of NY;
- Number-specific stop stops along each station are numbered based on how far away from Times Square or Downtown these locations will get you.
- Letters – You’ll also see letters that show where each stop will be located so all maps have an A-Z index too!
Some stations service a lot of lines. As the first step, check out all the colors and see what trains run in those lines! Pay attention to numbers/letters because not any stop will be reached by every train that runs on this line – some trains branching off from other stops on different branches might take you there instead. Remember too that if you look at old map designs carefully enough, it’ll become clear which way most people are traveling along each branch depending upon where they’re going (the new maps have tiny letters or little numbers next to them).
New Yorkers have a complicated system of getting around the city. If you want to get from one place to another, you may need an UPTOWN or DOWNTOWN train depending on where your starting and ending locations are projected. Always open up a map before leaving home so that doesn’t end up in traffic for hours trying to go somewhere near-by! So, you’re lost in the big city and don’t know how to get where you need to go. If it’s above your starting station on the map, take an UPTOWN train. But if below start by taking a DOWNTOWN train!
If you’re waiting for trains, make sure to listen out and pay close attention when they announce which train is coming. You can also refer to the side of the train that displays its letter or number code so you don’t get on the wrong one by mistake! After your first try it will seem less complicated as well, I promise.
5. Consider tourist passes
The US has some amazing passes for tourists to take advantage of. For example, New York CityPASS offers discounts on attractions and transportation in the Big Apple while The New York Pass provides access to popular museums like MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well other perks found all over NYC such as discounted meals or a free ride up with Empire State Building’s observatory!
New York is home to many of the world’s most iconic attractions. From museums and landmarks to Broadway shows and more! The New York Pass offers you access to all these amazing experiences without having to worry about any limited entry times or waiting in line for tickets at every stop on your list. With a New York Pass, we were able to purchase 3-day passes with 20% off – which saved us $20 each person per day ($60) … not bad considering how much money it would have cost had we bought individual ticket prices throughout our trip
The NY pass website constantly has different discounts offered every day so when I was looking into things that this city could offer me my best friend convinced me to buy one because they are “way too cheap.”
One great thing about having access to so many events at once within the New York City area by using NYPasses is being able to be more spontaneous and quick as opposed to planning out every detail beforehand.
6. Research places to eat
New York is a city where you can never get enough of food and drink. If this sounds like your type of town, then I recommend that before coming here to have some research done about what it’s going to cost for these items in New York City because they are not cheap! There should be no problem finding something delicious wherever you go; there are too many places with great cuisine options on every corner including street vendors who sell food at an affordable price.
If you find yourself in the Big Apple, I suggest heading to one of these popular places for sweets. Some favorites include Magnolia Bakery and their banana pudding or Momofuku Milk Bar with their famous cereal milk ice cream. If cupcakes are more your thing – Bouchon has them so they should be on your list!
After reading up on NYC’s most popular dishes, I found myself in the following establishments: Coal-Fired Pizza at Julianna’s for New York pizza; Brooklyn Bagels and Coffee for bagels with Tofu Spread or Smoked Salmon (depending on your preferences); And finally Junior’s Cheesecake to satisfy my sweet tooth. These are a must-try.
7. Do your shopping in outlet malls
The first time I visited New York City, my expectations were not met. Determined to find a bargain on clothes at one of the many second-hand stores in Manhattan, I ventured into Saks Fifth Avenue expecting to see all kinds of discounted apparel for sale. To my dismay and disappointment, there was nothing but high-priced merchandise lining the walls from floor to ceiling with no sign of any kind that advertises seconds! New York is an expensive city and my options for socializing are limited with a lack of cash-burning opportunities.
There are tax-free establishments about an hour or two away from NYC that you might be interested in. You’ll find deals here to die for!
Woodbury Commons is a place for the elite. It’s home to many high-end European brands, and it’s not uncommon to find items that are up in excess of $1000 USD here! The mall itself has 5 levels with an enormous atrium on each level housing its own shops selling everything from clothes to handbags and shoes. If you’re looking for something more affordable then be sure to visit one of Woodbury Common’s 3 department stores; Macy’s, Nordstrom Rack or Sears Outlet Store where discounts can go as deep as 70%.
Instead of heading to New York City, head for The Mills at Jersey Gardens which is located in Elizabeth. There are mostly American brands but it’s still a huge mall and you wouldn’t be able to take care of all your shopping needs with just one day there!
You can take the NJ Transit from New York Penn Station to Newark Penn Station (about $5 per person one way), then take Bus #40 ($2.55 per person one way) and you’ll be right next door at The Mills! You should reserve all of our shopping for this trip beforehand, so don’t face any additional costs while out on the town looking for deals.
8. Have Fun
This is quite self-explanatory.
The best way to experience a city is by walking the streets, experiencing what it feels like to be there. Take some time while you’re in New York City and just stop for a moment. Look at all of the people around you, listen to their conversations as they walk past each other on sidewalks – these moments are why this place has been called one of “the most vibrant cities” in the world.
This post was created with our nice and easy submission form. Create your post!