Top Tips To Help You Survive New York City

Posted in Travel
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New York can be quite a daunting place if you’ve never been before, or aren’t used to large cities. It’s busy, like really busy and you have to walk with purpose and not wonder aimlessly otherwise you will get people barging into you/ tuting your way. With four trips under my belt now I’m by no means an expert but I’ve learnt a few things which might help those of you heading there.

Other than for one initial set of photo taking try to avoid time square anytime after about 11am (especially between 9pm and midnight). The entire area is ridiculously busy and there’s almost always some kind of work going on meaning sidewalks are limited in space. If your route home is meant to go through time square head a block or so either side and you’ll save time (and sanity)! If you walk through allow yourself at least triple the amount of time as generally a ten-minute walk will take you about half an hour battling through people.

If the next place you want to do is 10, 15, even 20 or so blocks away it really isn’t that far. A block sounds like a lot but it really isn’t and even 20 blocks can be walked in less than half an hour. You don’t need to take the subway or a taxi to get from location to location, heck I even walked from about 93rd to 35th one day.

For those of you planning to head to Sephora I’ve been to a huge amount of them and the best ones are always 34th street (between 7th and 8th Avenue), it’s reasonably busy most of the time but it’s huge (two stories) and I’ve rarely ever gone in there and not found what I want. The Columbus Circle Sephora is also amazing, especially if you want a more relaxing look as it’s quieter. Avoid the Broadway and Time Square ones as they’re always super packed, messy and missing so many products as they can’t restock quick enough. If you need inspiration on what to buy check out my massive haul.

new york city

Where possible avoid using the subway. Yes it is a great system and runs all night but it can be confusing with multiple entrances to the same station and different lines, but most of it’s bloody hot. Regardless of the time of year you go the stations themselves are boiling and sweaty and if you’re waiting 15 minutes for a train it’s so not worth it.

If you do use the subway be wary not to bend your ticket (or MetroCard) in any way, even the smallest bend will mean the barriers will not accept it and not every station has an advisor on there to help out. Once my nan had to pay twice as the machine wouldn’t accept her slightly bent ticket and there was no one there to talk to so she had to buy another ticket. Once you are through though you don’t need them to exit the other side.

If you have a plan for your trip, or even a rough idea of where you want to do, add notes to your phone of where things are such as Madison Square Garden (34th Street between 7th and 8th) so you can quickly navigate to places without constantly having to pull out a map. The streets are crowded enough and if you have the notes on your phone which you can quickly glance at you’ll get to places quicker and have less hassle.

rockafeller at night

Book as much as you can beforehand to avoid super long queues at destinations such as One World Trade Centre Observatory, Empire State Building/ Rockefeller and things like exhibitions and museums (MoMa especially). By doing this you can print them off before and head straight in without the ticket buying queue and you’ll know exactly what time to go.

If you’re going to go up the Empire State/ Rockefeller (of which I’d recommend the later way more so) do it either first thing (pre-10am) or really late (post 11pm) otherwise you will experience long queues. Sunset viewings are very popular and anywhere between 8 and 1030pm you will be hanging around queuing forever, opt for a slightly later ascent and you’ll walk in a lot quicker.

In the same way you shouldn’t walk through Time Square try to avoid eating anywhere within a few blocks of it. Queues will be longer and the food won’t be as great. Look further out to find some places that you could find locals in as opposed to just tourists. Check out my food diaries for some food based inspiration.

Do you have any tips for New York?

August 1, 2016
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  • Kaye Ford

    Reading this just makes me want to go back to New York so bad! x

  • These are all really good things to know. I think New York would scare me with the sheer size of it all!

  • LaaLaa

    Very good tips, NYC looks beautiful but for tourists I’m sure it can be overwhelming without planning and help sometimes x

  • I have loved all your posts about NYC, and this has to be one of the best, I am terrible for wandering slowly when somewhere new. This is such a helpful post and hopefully one I can use if/when we ever go x

  • Kacie Morgan

    I wish I read this post before I went to New York back in sixth form – my first trip abroad and I was so unprepared!

  • Charlotte

    I would love to visit New York City one day! Great post, it is better to be prepared when visiting a strange city. x

  • I would love to go back to New York. The city that never sleeps. xx

  • I love NYC! I like to go to the broadway shows. Lion King is my favorite!

    xoxo, Candice

  • I think you are right, walking does sound better than the Subway even if it can be daunting. I would love to go to New York one day x

  • Thanks for the helpful tips! I’m glad you have learnt how to make the most of your time there xxx

  • Really useful tips – I think it’s always good to try and avoid touristy places for food if possible as they do tend to be overpriced x

  • Wow, just reading this gives me palpitations.. I just forget how big New York is! Such useful tips; I wouldn’t have any idea about this stuff!

  • It’s such an overwhelming city to visit isn’t it! Great read.

    Ashleigh x – UK fashion, lifestyle and travel blog

  • I didn’t realize that about the bent subway cards. That is sooooo good to know. I can’t believe how much you walked though!

  • I seem to be the only person who prefers the view from the Empire State Building. Although, this might be because I had it almost to myself as – like you suggested here – we went really late. Around 1am-ish. Ah take me back!

    I’m bookmarking this post for my next trip :)

  • Hungry_Healthy_Happy

    I actually found the subway really easy to use after the second time. It was confusing at first, but I found the tube confusing at first haha.

  • I would really like to visit the big apple one day! Your tips are really useful, it’s always good to know things like this before a big trip!

  • Amy

    I love New York, it’s one of the best places I’ve ever been. Definitely bookmarking this as I hope to make it out there again soon!

  • Beth

    I would love ti visit New York one day. Those are fantastic photos. My Taid has visited before and he loved it there.

  • Laura

    I really hope to visit NYC some day so will book mark this post for then! xxx

  • Really great tips! I will be coming back to this for the next time I’m in NYC.

  • Hannah Heartss ❄️⛄️

    So many great tips, will keep them in mind for when I go x

  • Tanya Brannan

    What a great bunch of tips! New York is somewhere on my wish list and I have noted all these tips already!! x

  • Ali

    Great tips thank you! I am dying to go to New York, I’ve wanted to go forever!

  • Melanie Edjourian

    Great tips, I could have done with this last time I went. No matter I shall bookmark for next time 😉

  • Mandi

    Great tips, I have never been to New York, but I hate crowds in any situation, so we always tend to go to places very early or very late.

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