5 Tips to Make the Most of a Quick Trip to NYC

I was recently invited to a conference called Social Media on the Sand at Beaches Resort in the Turks and Caicos Islands {more on that later}. Getting to the Caribbean isn't the easiest thing to do from the west coast, so my first thought was, let's look into flying into New York for a few days before heading to the conference. If I do say so myself, it was a genius idea. 

Not only did it break up the long, multi-leg flight, but it also allowed us a quick visit to New York City and an opportunity to quickly get onto the east coast time zone we'd be in for the next week. The last time I was in NYC was a quick stop in after a visit to New Jersey to visit my grandmother. It was 1984 and there was a complete restoration project of the Statue of Liberty happening. My most vivid memory isn't of the visit to the city, it was of being marched from room to room in my small town Indiana elementary school with polaroid pictures of the lady liberty in hand sharing my visit with every single classroom after that Christmas break trip. People in Indiana in the 80's did not get out much apparently.

With about 36 hours and six zillion recommendations from friends and family and of course the interwebs, we checked off many of the to-dos on our NYC bucket list. I've got 5 tips so you can make the most of a quick trip to New York City.

foggy new york city from top of the empire state building

How to See it All on a Quick Trip to New York City

New York City skyline

1. Stay Close to it All

Public transportation isn't something my husband and I use often, but we were told that it would be easy to figure out once we were in the city. We flew into JFK airport but then took the train into the city. We stayed close to Times Square and a block from a subway station so that we easily get to the places we wanted to be.

It really wasn't too difficult to drag our luggage onto the subway from the airport and the $7.50 ticket was much cheaper than the $80 Uber. Just beware of the turnstiles if you are hauling a suitcase. There are access gates on the side that a kind soul pointed us to.

couple in front of the Empire State Building

2. Download Helpful Apps

It wasn't until the first full day that I found the app Moovit. It was so helpful to find the subway lines and the best routes to get where we wanted to go and if walking, subway or taxi would be faster.

I also tried to use Yelp reviews for food, though I found that to be pretty overwhelming because there are so many restaurants in the city that it's hard to narrow down exactly what you are looking for.

The Empire State Building in tiles

3. Get a CityPASS

We were total tourists with only about 36 hours to fit in everything we wanted to see in a small period of time. I highly recommend getting CityPASS New York. The pass was downloaded to my phone so there was no need to wait in the purchasing lines at any of the attractions.

CityPASS Admission includes
1. The Empire State Building
2. American Museum of Natural History
3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
4. Top of the Rock Observation Deck or Guggenheim Museum
5. Ferry Access to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island or Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
6. 9/11 Memorial Museum or Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

We didn't get to all of these {we made it to 4 of the 6}, but we did make it to most of them and we were grateful to have the pass because not only did we get discounted admission, we had our own line queue for CityPASS holders that was much shorter. It was almost like we were a VIP at most of the attractions. 

We didn't have a lot of extra time to spare, so the convenience of the CityPASS was well worth it for a quick trip.

4. Research the Surrounding Areas 

Make a quick mental note or list of the places you want to see while you are in a particular area. For example, we explored Central Park before walking over to The Metropolitan Museum of Art and after we went to the 9/11 Memorial Museum we walked to Bryant Park and to Wall Street. You can pack more in if you plan well.

Sometimes we stumbled upon places we didn't know we wanted to see. If you see it, stop at it. I don't think I regretted any of our quick diversions. 

woman strolling over a bridge in Central Park

5. Make a Must-Do List

Seeing a Broadway show just seems like the thing to do when you are in NYC. We had heard from many of our friends who visit NYC often that you can buy tickets to Broadway shows fairly easily the day of so we did not plan ahead. Instead, we walked to the box offices of the various shows the day of the show and asked about tickets. There are also several last-minute ticket locations you can buy from as well like TKTS. 

woman looking at a Monet Painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

You won't see everything there is to see in New York City on a quick trip, but you will get a feel for the city in a short amount of time. These 5 tips will help you make the most of a quick visit.  Do you have anything you would add?

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