Just like in London, you’ll find loads of art exhibitions and museums to explore for free or a suggested donation. The Museum of Modern Art is free every Friday from 4pm to 8pm, and the New York Public Library has complementary tours throughout the day. Chelsea on the far west side of New York has the most art galleries in one area, and most of which are free to scout with exhibition opening nights on a Thursday evening. The intricately-designed Grand Central Terminal is another must-visit tourist spot which you’ll recognize from films like The Avengers and Men In Black. And, if you’re looking for a unique evening activity, try requesting tickets to a taping of a live comedy show like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
A visit to the world’s most iconic urban park is a must-do on any New York trip. It spans a huge 843 acres, and is made up of extensive walking tracks, lakes, ponds, 20 playgrounds and two ice skating rinks in winter – plus a packed schedule of free events and concerts. The park itself has been the backdrop for so many iconic films and TV shows, you’ll be getting a free locations tour as you explore. You’ll spot the settings of famous scenes from films such as Home Alone, Sex And The City, Enchanted, Spider-Man, Elf and Ghostbusters.
Getting a sky-high view or a dazzling panoramic snap of New York is the only way to prove you were there to your Instagram followers. If you walk across Brooklyn Bridge you’ll get a stunning view of Lower Manhattan from the other side, or you can take a trip on the Roosevelt Island tram which costs the same as a subway trip. Rooftop bars are a great way to enjoy a skyscraper backdrop with your drink, and there a plenty to choose from in Manhattan. There’s PH-D Terrace at Dream Midtown, Le Bain at The Standard and Upstairs rooftop bar at the Kimberley Hotel to name a few. And, if you’re planning on browsing the exhibits at the Met, head up to the Roof Garden Bar afterwards for views over Central Park.
Take a break from the bright lights and bustling city centre to stroll around the alternative nearby neighbourhoods. NoHo, Tribeca and the bohemian Greenwich Village are all within easy reach and packed with boutique shops and quaint eateries to explore. In Greenwich Village you’ll also find the High Line – a public park created from abandoned subway tracks which takes you from the Meatpacking district to 12th Avenue. If you want to experience New York like a true Manhattaner, grab a Time Out New York or check out the website to see what free events are going on around the city.
New York is a gastronomer’s paradise, so we wouldn’t blame you if you spent your entire holiday eating your way around the city. Luckily, there are dining options to suit all budgets and you don’t have to stick to hot dogs. Food trucks and pop-up eateries are all over the city and are a great way to grab homemade, quality food while you’re sightseeing. There’s a truck for just about every kind of food, from Philly Cheesesteaks and pizza to tacos and lobster – yep, Urban Lobster Shack is the place for lobster bisque and clam chowder on the go.
If you’re keen to catch a Broadway show, try TKTS booths or broadwaybox.com to find some discounted tickets. And, if you’re strolling along Broadway around show time, it’s worth nipping into the theatres to see if they’re selling leftover tickets or standing room for super low prices. When it comes to shopping, it is possible to get a whole new wardrobe even if you don’t have Carrie Bradshaw’s credit cards. Clothing and shoes under $110 are tax free in New York, and there are a few outlet stores where you can grab bargains on designer gear. Century 21 is a bargain designer store hidden in the financial district with savings of up to 75% off the likes of Armani, Pucci, Prada, and Missoni, and The Cosmetic Market near 5th Avenue is where you’ll find cheap deals on perfumes, make-up and high end cosmetics.
The luxurious, newly-designed Le Parker Meridien is just three blocks from Central Park.
Broadway, Central Park, Fifth Avenue - they're all within striking distance of the larger-than-life Riu Plaza New York Times Square hotel.
The Sanctuary Hotel New York does exactly what it says on the tin - it's a boutique-style retreat nestled in Times Square.
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