New York City

Recently, I took a trip to the “Concrete Jungle”. I went for my birthday as a gift from myself (and my bo) and I figured I’d do some shopping. After all, New York is one of the greatest cities for shopping with all of their larger-than-life versions of the stores we have back home. (A three story Victoria Secret is the closest thing to heaven on earth as I know it, and let’s not forget Macy’s New York where one can easily get lost in.) But New York has so much more to offer than its shopping, so next time you’re in the city, make sure you get a good taste of the “Big Apple” with its unique food places and attractions. Here are a few spots I’ve tried along with some advice on how to get around and score the best deals in the “City That Never Sleeps” so that you aren’t exhausted and neither are your pockets.

Well first thing’s first, if you want to save, you have to plan. Me and my bo got our plane tickets a little over a month in advance through Expedia at a cheap rate of $176 coach/roundtrip. We flew through JetBlue, which I was a little skeptical about since I have never flown through them, but let me be the one to tell you… Best. Domestic. Flight experience. Ever. I was so pleasantly surprised with everything with this airline from my first checked bag only being an easy $20 to how they boarded the plane from back to front (instead of the twisted method of front to back that some airlines use) so that you’re not whacking people in the face with your bags as you maneuver down that skinny aisle to personal tv’s for every seat (with a great channel selection I might add) to how much space there was to stretch out. JetBlue definitely upholds their title of being the airline with “the most legroom in coach”. My honey and I were so comfortable. He was able to stretch his legs out and watch the football game and I was able to stretch my legs across his lap as I watched “Two Broke Girls”. We could’ve easily spent a few more hours on the plane. All in all, I’m a sticker for great service and getting the most out of my dollar, and I was so pleased with JetBlue I became a TrueBlue member as soon as I returned from my trip. So worth it.

But enough about that. Once you’ve booked your flight, you gotta figure out where to stay. With New York (and pretty much everywhere all over) the closer you stay to and within the city, the more expensive the hotels will be. Now I know how exciting it can be to stay in the middle of all the commotion of the city but it will be on you to decide if it’s worth it. I chose to stay at the W Downtown in the Financial District which was still close to attractions like the 9/11 Memorial and the ferry’s and one of my favorite stores Century 21. The rate I paid for a nice room (with a view) in a fancy hotel like The W outside of the city was equivalent to the rate you would pay for a standard room in say, a Holiday Inn within the city. And honestly, it was nice to wind down in a quieter, less busy area of NYC after spending all day in the hustle and bustle of the city. You just have to decide what’s worth it to you.

Now with getting around this big place, we all know taking cabs and uber rides can get pretty expensive. But why spend so much money on auto transportation when you have the very convenient New York subways right at your feet (or below your feet literally). While we were there, we didn’t spend a dime on a cab or uber even when it came to getting to and from the airport. We opted to take the air-train to Jamaica-Queens and then got on a subway straight to our hotel. It’s about the same amount of time, but so much cheaper. However, my bo and I did learn that if you’re going to be using the subway a lot to get around it’s more cost-efficient to purchase the 7-day unlimited rides ticket even if you’re just there for the weekend. (The 7day/unlimited pass was around $30, where we spent roughly $50 in subway rides over the three days that we were there. Plus it just gives you extra room for mistakes if you don’t quite know where you’re going and happen to get lost in the underground maze.)

As far as things to do in the city, the list can go on and on. There’s so much more to NYC than the classic Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building visits. We went and checked out the renowned Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, which we really enjoyed more than we thought we would. It was just so much fun taking pics of and with our favorite stars, and our ticket also afforded us this cool “4D Avengers experience” thing they’re doing right now. (I’ve never seen my boyfriend turn so much into a big kid.) My advice is to purchase the online “Late Saver” tickets. They’re the cheapest tickets at  only $25 per person and it grants you access to the museum anytime after 6 pm plus the extra 4D mini-movie.

Now on to the good part, FOOD. Here are a few good restaurants that are a must-try next time you’re in the city.  Whenever, I’m traveling, my go-to is Groupon to look for cool restaurants and places to eat that I wouldn’t otherwise come across on my own (and then the plus is that I’m getting a discounted rate for my meal. :)) Anyways, I came across this restaurant near our hotel called Ambrose whose specialty menu items were lobster rolls and beer. Sounded like a perfect meal to me! Previously, I had never heard of lobster rolls until then but let me tell you, Ambrose has the best. Mind you, Ambrose is the only place I ever had a lobster roll but it was just that good. Their lobster rolls have just the right amount of seasoning and butter and the bread is soft. To add to the “straight-from-the-harbor” character (and taste) of the dish, they serve the lobster rolls with Cape Cod chips. How cute! Another restaurant to add to your hit list is Bill’s Bar and Burger which is also located in the Financial District. They specialize in gourmet burgers and sandwiches which I must admit they do a pretty good job at. I got the “Onion Soup Patty Melt” which is a combination of Swiss cheese, American cheese, caramelized onions, and thousand island dressing on marble rye bread, and bae went big with the CNN’s Top 10 Burger awarded “Fat Cat” burger. Both are de-lish. Then of course, you can’t forget about breakfast. I found a cute little Irish brunch spot on Groupon called Nelly Spillane’s where we enjoyed impeccable service and classic brunch foods with mimosas- a perfect way to start your day. And last but not least… DESSERT. If you have a sweet tooth like me, you’ll love Sprinkles cupcake bakery with every cupcake flavor you can imagine.

I must say I enjoyed my little trip to the Big Apple, but I was so delighted to return to my quieter, less populated hometown. As much as I would love to be a true NYC gal, I don’t think I’m cut out for all the commotion and motion of the city so I’ll leave that to the pros. This chick has to have our beaches around her. But I’ll be back soon to explore the Concrete Jungle again Comment your fave places of NYC below and maybe I’ll check them out next time I go!