New York City is one of those unique travel destinations that entice people to visit year after year. According to this article published by Kanetix.ca, New York is the highest travelled to province in the United States by Canadians in 2009. There’s so much to see that even tourists with an insatiable appetite for the new and exciting leave sated. A week-long visit is barely enough time to become acquainted with the city.
Getting to truly know its rhythm and pulse takes years.
A first-time trip to the “Big Apple” greets the visitor with a feast for the senses. The lights never dim; the buzz of activity never dies; the personality of the city is almost palpable around the clock. Some find New York City to be uncomfortably noisy and chaotic. Others feel right at home, on the cusp of discovering the best foods, plays, stores, and nightlife.
It’s a lot to absorb. In addition to popular places to visit, such as the Empire State Building, there are layers to the city that hide some of its most interesting aspects. It’s worth digging under the surface. The guide below will take you on a brief tour.
5 “Must Do” Activities While You’re In New York City
If you’re planning a first-time visit, set aside time to enjoy the most popular attractions. Enjoy the view from the top of the Empire State Building. Take a ferry to the Statue of Liberty. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge. And visit Central Park, Rockefeller Center, and Wall Street. They’re worth seeing at least once.
But also make time to enjoy a few activities that are off the beaten path.
Here are five ideas to get you started:
1 – Visit SoHo
SoHo is a shopper’s paradise for those with wide-ranging tastes that are constrained by a budget. You’ll find a plethora of shops, offering everything from brand name perfumes and hard-to-get wines to first-run book prints and vintage musical instruments. Plan to spend at least a few hours (and a few dollars).
2 – Eat At The Hester Street Fair
You’ll find the fair open for business every weekend on the Lower East Side. Interspersed with the countless vendors hawking their wares are food vendors who sell lasagna, specialty ice cream, baked goods, pizza, and more. You can even enjoy an impromptu back massage or pedicure.
3 – Take A Canoe On The Hudson River
Several water sports companies take people onto the Hudson River in canoes. It’s a great opportunity to get out onto the water without climbing aboard a large ferry. The canoes typically seat several people, a few of whom will be experts in navigating the Hudson. The experience lasts approximately half an hour, which makes it ideal as a pre-lunch activity.
4 – Visit The Guggenheim
Arguably, the Guggenheim is among the most well-known attractions for tourists visiting New York City. But most people tend to skip it, opting to visit other popular sites. Set aside two hours and enjoy the impressive art collection you’ll find there. Also, take a few moments to observe the Guggenheim’s exterior which was designed by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
5 – Enjoy Live Slam Poetry
Slam poetry is an event during which local poets take to the stage and recite their own works. They compete against each other, relying on judges to rate their performances. The judges are sometimes members of the audience.
There are numerous places in the Big Apple where you can enjoy the competition. Visit the Nuyorican Poets Cafe on East 3rd Street, the Bowery Poetry Club on Bowery, or The Moth on Crosby Street.
Great Places To Stay If You’re On A Budget
Because New York City attracts so many visitors, there are hundreds of hotels. Some, like the St. Regis and Four Seasons, are costly by most measures. Other hotels provide a pleasant experience while allowing you to stretch your dollar a little further.
For example, you can often find rooms at the highly-rated Hyatt Place Secaucus/Meadowlands for under $200 a night. Rooms at the Pan American Hotel on Queens Boulevard can be reserved for approximately $150 a night.
If your budget is a bit more relaxed, accommodations at the Ramada Plaza New Yorker on 8th Avenue can be booked for $300 a night. The same price can reserve a room at the Broadway Plaza Hotel on Broadway and Hotel Belleclaire on West 77th Street.
Although many hotels become completely booked during the heavy travel season, you won’t have trouble finding alternatives. Also, keep in mind that many hotels offer discounts and special promotions that are not well-advertised.
New York City Restaurants: Let Your Taste Buds Guide You
New Yorkers eat out a lot because there are so many places that offer delicious food. The variety of culinary delights makes eating out a favorite pastime. From Italian food and French cuisine to steak and potatoes and seafood, every appetite can be satisfied, often with a quick trip around the block.
If you have a hankering for pizza, visit Lombardi’s on Spring Street in SoHo. If you’d like to enjoy Thai food, you’ll find a great menu at Sripraphai on 39th Avenue. Trendier restaurants include Babbo on Waverly Place, Blanca on Moore Street, and Mission Chinese Food on Orchard Street. Highly-rated restaurants in the city that are easier on the pocketbook include Perla on Minetta Lane, Tertulia on Sixth Avenue, and the Momofuku Noodle Bar on 1st Avenue.
Be open to trying new foods when you visit the Big Apple. While some dishes might taste unfamiliar to you, the experience won’t disappoint.
How Much Will It Cost To Visit New York City?
The cost of flying from Canada to New York City and back again will depend on several factors. The time of year you’re planning to travel will definitely play a role. So too will the city from which you’re flying along with how far in advance you book your flight.
For example, a round trip ticket from Vancouver will normally cost approximately $600. But bear in mind, airlines often hold promotions that result in dramatic price cuts.
Plan on spending $600 to $700 for airfare.
Your hotel will cost between $150 and $300 a night, though you can certainly spend more by staying at the higher-end hotels.
Given a week-long visit, plan to spend $1,500 to $1,800 on accommodations.
The cost of meals will depend largely on where you eat. A conservative estimate is to spend $15 for breakfast, $10 for lunch, and $25 for dinner each day. Hence, your food bill for a week-long visit will be at least $350. Plan to spend $400 to $500 to be safe. You can save a substantial amount of money by eating meals provided by street food vendors. They’re known for preparing delicious dishes.
You’ll also need to budget for the activities you’ll enjoy during your stay as well as cab fare to get around the city. Plan conservatively to spend $50 a day for these items, or $350 for the week.
Visiting New York City isn’t cheap, but does offer an unforgettable experience. If you are a Canadian planning to visit New York City, you should know the reasons for purchasing travel insurance when travelling outside of Canada. If you’re like most borers who visit the Big Apple, you’ll find yourself drawn there over and over as time passes.