Our trip to New York (part 1)

10 days travel itinerary New York tips and guide

The Big Apple 🍎, Capital of the World, Gotham, City That Never Sleeps 💤, N.Y.C., Empire City, Naked City, Melting Pot, Gothamland, Capital of Everything and Concrete Jungle are all names called to identify New York.

New York is the most populous city (more than eight million people) in the United States of America and one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the World. It’s the third most populous city in America (behind São Paulo and Mexico City). The city has a brutal impact around the world in many areas like commerce, finance, art, fashion, technology, entertainment and others.

🤔Curiosity: Did you know that the city gives its name to the state of New York, whose capital is Albany? (Few people know about this!)

New York has five boroughs: Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. The main and most visited borough is Manhattan, an island surrounded by the Hudson and East Rivers, where you can visit the main tourist attractions of the city like Central Park, the Empire State Building, Times Square, among many others. New York is full of things to see, visit, do and eat!

The planning

Like I told in this post, to plan this trip I researched on many websites and books 📚. Then, I divided the city into areas to make it easier to split the attractions by days. After all of this, I created a travel itinerary with more than two hundred pages (yeahhh, maybe I am crazy).

The dates

I went to New York 🗽 from August 13th to 22nd with my parents and my boyfriend. I flew with United Airlines from Porto to Newark Airport (direct flights). I reported the whole experience here.

The arrival and first impression

The entire process of the arrival to New York (the landing, immigration interview and the transfer to the hotel) was peaceful. When we left the transfer that brought us from the airport to the door of the hotel door we were shocked by the thermal sensation. It was a brutal heat 🥵 because of the humidity! But then we entered the hotel and it was horribly C-O-L-D 🥶 because of the air conditioning. The temperature differences were something we noticed a lot during the trip! Outside is hot but inside museums, attractions and restaurants it’s really cold. Obviously this would only happen in the hottest months!

The hotel 🏨

I did a lot of research to find a decent and clean hotel at an affordable price and well located. It was really hard (some hotels were cheap but the comments said there were mice 🐭)! I chose the HGU New York for my 10 days and 9 nights stay. I really liked it and if I return to New York I’ll stay there again.

The New York Pass

Given that I was going to be in the city for several days and that I intended to visit almost everything, I did the math and decided to buy the New York Pass. It paid off a lot in terms of value and another advantage was having a separate queue (fast track!) at some of the main attractions.

The Metro Pass

We decided to bought the 7-Day Metro Card Unlimited Ride ($33.00/each). This card give us unlimited rides on both bus and metro for 7 days. New York is huge so it’s impossible to do everything by foot. On the 7th day of the trip we bought the pass again, because the value paid off (taking into account the rides we would still need).


I will now tell you about, in general, what we did in the 10 days of our trip to New York. In other posts I will detail everything and give you useful tips, my favorite places and good places to eat.

🗓️ Day 1: Flight, Immigration, Grand Central Station and Times Square

The flight from Porto to New York was at 13.45h and lasted for about 8 hours. After landing, we had to pass the immigration area and then we came to the hotel. The check-in went well and we were very pleased with the hotel. Although we were very tired, right after we store our bags in the room 🛏️, we wanted to go out and explore the city. We went towards Grand Central Terminal and then we took a break for dinner at a nearby McDonald’s. After dinner, we walked to Times Square and were delighted! We took some photos 📸, entered in some stores but later we went back to the hotel because we were really tired (to many hours awake). First day, first impressions! We loved what we saw!

🗓️ Day 2: Central Park, American Museum of Natural History and Flatiron Building

First full day in the city! We woke up early and after having breakfast we entered through the upper right entrance (Duke Ellington Circle) of the Central Park 🌳. We walked a lot through Central Park and we visited the Conservatory Garden, the Loch, the Reservoir, the Shakespeare Garden and the Belvedere Castle 🏰. This last was a mystery because we searched a lot and we couldn’t see it, but we tried! Then, we  went to the American Museum of Natural History and we stayed there until lunch time. In the afternoon we continued the visit to Central Park (Ladies’ Pavilion, Hernshead, Strawberry Fields and The Dakota) but it started to rain torrentially and we were all wet. We returned to the hotel to dry off and later we went out to dinner at the Eataly next to the Flatiron Building.

🗓️ Day 3: Top of the Rock, Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, MoMA and Central Park

Probably one of my favourite days in the city. The weather was amazing, a blue sky and a bright sun ☀️ (hot but not ridiculous). In the morning we went to the Top of The Rock to see the views of the city. It’s incredible! One of the main advantages of Top of the Rock is the fact that you can see both Central Park and the Empire State Building. Then we visited the Rockefeller Center, some stores and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We had lunch at Bill’s Bar & Burger 🍔. After lunch we visited the Museum of Modern Art, also known as MoMA. The visit to the museum was quick because we didn’t like it very much. Continuing our journey, we went to the 5th avenue (LOVE Sculpture, Trump Tower, Tiffany & Co and the Plaza Hotel). As it was still early, we decided to enter Central Park 🌲 and visit the places we didn’t get to see the day before (Bethesda Terrace, The Mall and Conservatory Water). We had dinner at a restaurant near Times Square, Dallas BBQ.

🗓️ Day 4: Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Financial District, World Trade Center and City Hall Park

This day started really early because we had to take the first boat 🛥️, at 8.30h, to the Statue of Liberty 🗽 and we still needed to collect our tickets. In the morning we went up to the Statue of Liberty, visited the Ellis Island museum and returned to Battery Park, where we ate hot dogs for lunch. After lunch, we explored the Financial District 💵, I tried to take a picture alone with the Charging Bull (unsuccessful mission!) and then we went to the World Trade Center. It’s a place full of history where you can see a heavy atmosphere marked by 9/11 attacks. We visited the 9/11 Memorial & Museum and it was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had. Then we did some shopping 🛍️ at Century 21 (incredible prices for luxury brand items). The last stop of the day was at City Hall Park, a green park where the New York City Hall is located. On this day we dinned at Carmine’s, a very typical American restaurant with giant portions.

🗓️ Day 5: Coney Island, Madame Tussauds and Times Square

We were halfway through the trip, so I decided to plan a calmer day to rest the legs a little. We saw in the morning that it was forecasting rain 🌧️ for the afternoon so we decided to change the order of the attractions (go to Coney Island in the morning and in the afternoon to Madame Tussauds and Times Square). Coney Island is about 45-minute metro ride from Manhattan. It is a beach place where there are several amusement parks 🎡 (the most famous are the Luna Park and Deno’s), the pier and the New York Aquarium 🐠. We had lunch at Nathan’s Famous, a well-known restaurant on Coney Island where they say the hot dog 🌭 was invented (the hot dog and the fries were really good!). Then we returned to Manhattan, more specifically to Madame Tussauds museum. We were there for about 3 hours. After, we went for some shopping in this stores in Times Square. We had dinner at a restaurant called Bubba Gump.

To avoid making an even bigger post to tell you about the whole 10 days, I’ll write another post with the remaining 5 days (yet to be published)! In this next post, I will also attach the excel file with the complete New York travel itinerary in case you want to download it.

If you want to read all the posts that have already been published about New York click here.

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