Weekends in New York

By Dom Bewley

The Big Apple is one of the most visited cities on the planet. On average, over 30 million people visit New York every year. That's...a lot of people. How many people do you know, like twelve? Times that by a gazillion, and you're only scratching the surface - probably. Math is hard. So the big question is, why do so many people flock to New York's shores every year? It probably helps that it's one of cinema's most photographed cities, with nearly half of the biggest blockbusters ever taking place - at least in part - in the Big Apple.

The other reason is that there is so much to do and see there; a skyline full of literal iconography that you can visit, the 24-hour nightlife, the shopping, the restaurant scene. New York has it all. It's no wonder then, that so many people spend their weekends in New York. But with so much on offer, planning is vital. That's why we've curated this itinerary just for you. So fetch your best traveling hat, dust off those walking boots, and go grab a coffee. Here's our guide to weekends in New York!



You'll need some energy to power your day, so kick things off at Andrews Coffee Shop - your classic, all-American diner. But this isn't just any old breakfast experience, as many consider Andrews the best in the city! Pancakes, waffles, french toast, eggs, the list goes on.

Then, when you're fueled up, let's get the big guns out of the way. First, we'll hit up the world-famous Empire State Building, which boasts the best views in the city from the top. But beyond viewing New York from 102 floors up, you can also explore 12 galleries that explain the history of the building, as well as the building's very own art gallery!


From there, it's time to get some lunch. You're spoiled for choice here, but we'd recommend Upland, a charming brasserie that offers a delightful fusion of Italian dishes with a Californian twist. They have sandwiches, pizza, pasta, and many more on offer, and why not pair your meal with a nice glass of wine? You're on vacation, after all.

Next, head to Central Park for a wander around one of the world's most famous green spaces. Then, when you've explored enough (and burnt off some calories to boot), head to the nearby American Museum of Natural History. You can spend hours looking at ancient fossils, life-sized models, and learn all about the history of Earth. A little culture never hurt anyone, right?


Next, as afternoon turns to evening and the city's neon lights take hold, fill your bucket list quota in one fell swoop with a trip on The RIDE. This bus slash viewing platform has you sitting in stadium-like seats as two hilarious guides give you insight into NYC's biggest sights and sounds. You'll pass Times Square, the Chrysler Building, Grand Central, and Carnegie Hall, to name but a few, learn about their history, and get a front-row seat to New York's quirky nightlife to boot!

Then, grab a spot of dinner at COTE Korean Steakhouse, which offers some of the best slabs of meat in the city. Then, if you fancy it, check out the local watering holes. Attaboy down in SoHo offers a cozy atmosphere and delicious cocktails in a tucked-away location. Or, if you're looking for some amber relief, try The Dead Rabbit near Battery Park. This delightful taproom has a whole host of craft beers on offer, as well as other liquid delights should they take your fancy. Now, get some rest and prep your body for another day of fun!



Big day ahead of us, so start smart with a late breakfast at Trinity Place on Broadway. This converted bank vault makes for quite the unique dining experience, and you can pick up a breakfast flatbread to fill you up for the trip ahead.

And what trip is that? Well, you might be wondering why we're starting the day so close to the coast? That's because there's one very important NYC landmark we haven't checked off yet. We're talking about the Statue of Liberty, or "Lady Liberty" to her friends. To get there, you'll need to board a ferry across the water. Then, once you're there, you can tour Ellis Island, get up close and personal with the old gal, and learn all about her history and how she came to be. Then, when you're all statued out, hop back on the ferry back to the mainland.


Lunchtime! Head over the Brooklyn Bridge to NYC's swanky suburb, and grab a panini at Pisillo Italian Panini. They have tons of variants to try no matter your taste, each named after an area of Italy. Try the Milano, trust us.

Then, if the weather is good, go check out Coney Island and hop on some of the rides at Luna Park. Just a stone's throw from central Brooklyn, it's a great way to get a bit of beach time on your city vacation.

Or, if the weather isn't good, go check out Brooklyn Museum and the nearby Botanical Gardens. The museum boasts a massive collection of artifacts from al over the world, including ancient Egypt, Africa, and Europe. The gardens provide you with 50+ acres of exotic plants and indoor greenhouses to wander.


Time for a final meal and a tour of Brooklyn's brilliant nightlife! We recommend dining at Vinegar Hill House. The name might not sound appetizing, but once you flick through its brilliant New American menu, you'll be set. The pork chop with cheddar jalapeno grits might just be the best thing you've sampled all year.

And now, to end this merry adventure, it's time to explore Brooklyn's bar scene. Want to put a spring in your step and end your vacation on a yee-haw high? Check out Skinny Dennis - a honky-tonk saloon with a burgeoning beer menu backed by live country music. Or, if cocktails are your things, you're spoiled for choice! We'd recommend Sweet Polly or Clover Club to sate your mixology needs.

And, sadly, that's the end of our guide to weekends in New York! There's so much more to see and do; you'll just have to catch it all next time.

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wollman rink

New York in December

Few cities know how to celebrate the holidays quite like New York. If you’re lucky enough to be in the city during December, you’ll notice New York’s most iconic landmarks transformed with lights, decorations and events in time for the holidays. Whatever you’re into, whether it’s festive Broadway shows, holiday markets, sightseeing or all three, it's easy to get into the spirit of the season with so many things to do in New York in December. Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center The sight of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is as impressive as it is famous. A New York City icon, the tree reaches up to 100 feet tall and lighting it has been a NYC tradition since 1933. The ceremony usually takes place in either late November or early December, so if you’re travelling to New York around this time, you’ll enjoy a festive treat. As well as this annual event, you can take advantage of the many shopping and dining options available nearby. Why not lace up a pair of rental skates and glide around the ice rink at Rockefeller Center? Admission: viewing the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center is free and open to the public. Address: 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111Opening times: open 24 hoursWebsite: https://www.rockefellercenter.com/ Holiday window displays Every holiday season, world-famous New York City department stores compete to create the best holiday window display. This window display competition creates a great tourist activity that's apt for the holiday season, and it's free! There are five major department stores to check out: Bloomingdale's, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, and Macy's Herald Square. These department stores are all located fairly close to one another in the Midtown area, along Lexington Ave, Madison Ave, Fifth Ave and Broadway. Radio City Music Hall Radio City Music Hall is perhaps most famous for the Christmas Spectacular and the Rockettes. Ask any local and they’ll agree that no holiday season is complete without this high-energy and highly entertaining performance, with the Rockettes performing eye-high kicks to the beat of festive holiday music. After viewing the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, continue the holiday festivities at the Bryant Park Holiday Market. Just head eight blocks downtown to check out the Market at 6th Ave and 42nd Street. Address: 1260 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020Opening times: the Apollo Theatre Box Office is open Monday to Saturday 10AM - 8PM Empire State Building Lights The celebration, which takes place throughout November and December, will include a seasonal Fifth Ave window display, holiday concerts and surprise appearances by celebrity guests. Decorations in the building's signature Art Deco style adorn the 34th Street Observatory entrance and iconic Fifth Ave lobby, making the interior of the Empire State Building shine like its world-famous tower lights. From the ground floor to the sparkling antenna, ESB spreads holiday cheer throughout every corner of New York City and the world. Visitors can enjoy the attraction’s radiant heaters, which provide extra comfort on ESB's 86th floor exterior 360-degree viewing deck. Address: 20 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001Opening times: Open every day 3AM - 6PM Dyker Heights Christmas lights During the rest of the year, Dyker Heights is a small area of Brooklyn you might just wander through on your travels. But during the holidays, the area, especially the Kings County neighborhood, is transformed into an illumination-filled festive nightscape widely hailed as the best in NYC. Expect lifesize santas, sleighs, carols and a crowd of all ages. Take down a flask of eggnog and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Address: displays from 11th to 13th Ave (also known as Dyker Heights Blvd) from 83rd to 86th St in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. Time Warner Center If you find the Dyker Heights lights in Brooklyn mesmerizing, try the Time Warner Center lights display. The hanging stars change color every few seconds, and while it’s not as grand and elaborate as the ones in Dyker Heights - nothing is - it’s less crowded, it’s inside (although you can also see them from outside) and you can pop into Williams Sonoma to buy some Peppermint Bark. And, if you’re still in need of more holiday shopping, check out the holiday market right across the street, as well as many others. Address: 10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019Opening times: display times vary Central Park and Wollman Rink The City of New York gets Central Park all decked out for the holidays. Decorations and lights are put up all over and you may hear Christmas carolers during a holiday visit - a walk through Central Park is especially festive when it’s snowing. The park also offers horse-drawn carriage rides that contribute some rustic charm to a wintertime ride through the park. One wintertime activity that you should definitely take advantage of when you’re in the city for the holidays is ice skating at the Wollman Rink. The rink offers ice skate rentals and it’s located only minutes from the Central Park Zoo. Address: Wollman Rink: 830 5th Ave, New York, NY 10065Opening times: Woolman Rink: 10AM - 11PM / Rockefeller Center: 8.30AM - midnight Strasbourg-Alsace Holiday Market After viewing the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, continue the holiday festivities at the Bryant Park Holiday Market. Just head eight blocks downtown to check out the market at 6th Ave and 42nd Street. Or if you love shopping at the holiday markets but want to check out something new, try the Strasbourg-Alsace Holiday Market in Bowling Green Park. This is truly an under-the-radar holiday event. The market features table linens from Colmar, pottery from Soufflenheim, ornaments from Strasbourg and more. You’ll also find such delicacies as Alsatian craft beer, hot chestnuts and sausages. For more holiday markets, check out our deep dive. Opening times: these vary, but New York’s holiday markets are exclusively open from November - December. Address: 26 Broadway, New York, New York 10004
Suz Pathmanathan

Best Restaurants and Discounts in NYC

Best Restaurants and Discounts in NYC Millions of people from far and wide visit New York City each year. Many are tourists making their way to New York because of the beautiful sightseeing opportunities or the world-renowned attractions like the Empire State Building. Some visit for New York's rich history or for the unmatched nightlife in the city that never sleeps. There's tons of reasons to visit NYC but one thing is for sure, when you're in New York, you have to take advantage of the amazing department stores and shopping opportunities. Discounts / Special Offers During your trip to New York City, you'll probably be visiting the most famous attractions that the city has to offer, but you'll certainly have some down time. The discounts or "Special Offers" that you receive with the New York Pass are excellent for those moments. You can take your family out to eat or take them on a shopping spree and be confident in the fact that you're saving money on your trip. All you have to do is present your New York pass at these Special Offer locations and you'll receive your discount on the spot. Restaurants You won't be able to wander too far in Manhattan without passing by a mouth-watering, authentic New York style restaurant. Places like Buca di Beppo and John's Pizzeria will help you experience that great New York flavor instantly. You can also use your New York Pass for discounts on your meal at Planet Hollywood, Mangia, Ristoranti Settepani and more. Broadway Tickets A trip to New York City just wouldn't be complete without viewing a good Broadway performance. Luckily Applause Tickets provides a wide variety of the top Broadway shows and you can save 10% off the price of tickets by purchasing with the New York Pass. Shopping Discounts There's always time to shop in New York. Especially when you can visit iconic department stores like Macy's or Bloomingdales where you'll find the best deals on designer brands. Between spurts of touring the city, make a stop at one of these legendary shopping centers to take advantage of discounts with your New York Pass. You can also use your pass for a voyage to Woodbury Commons and enjoy savings up to 65% with a VIP coupon booklet. For a full list of Special Offers that grant you discounts with the New York Pass, visit the Attractions page and scroll all the way to the bottom. Try fitting some of these locations into your itineraries and make the most of your time in the city while saving more money.
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New York City Bilingual Tours

Visiting New York City is an exciting experience for many tourists from all around the world. Within New York, you have access to tons of tours that can help you get familiar with your surroundings and find the best attractions. However, since the city is such a popular destination, it's only natural that many of the visitors to New York City speak English as a second language. Therefore, we've put together this list of NYC Bilingual Tours that you have access to with the New York Pass. These tours offer guides who speak more than one language and will help you understand the beauty of New York City so that you get the most of of your trip. We advise that you contact these bilingual tours prior to your reserved date to ensure that they are able to provide a guide in your preferred language on that date. NYC Bilingual Tours [caption id="attachment_1446" align="aligncenter" width="690"] Carnegie Hall | NYCAGO[/caption] Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Tour Perhaps the most essential bus tour that you can take of New York City, the Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off tour offers 3 different routes, packed with exciting attractions. In addition to the Live tour guides riding the bus, there are also audio recordings provided for passengers in 10 different languages. Passengers on the Big Bus have the freedom to get off the bus at any of the stops and use their ticket to board the next bus. This is a convenient way to visit attractions along the route and get to know some of New York's most interesting neighborhoods. New York Pass holders receive a 1-day ticket for the Big Bus which is valid within the bus' operating hours and not on a 24 hour basis. Carnegie Hall Tour World renown performance theater Carnegie Hall has hosted shows for the biggest stars since opening in 1891. The likes of Led Zeppelin and The Beatles have taken the stage at the historical hall where so many memories have been created. Experienced tour guides lead groups through Carnegie Hall to receive a backstage view of the performance hall when shows are not being conducted. If you're interested in taking a Spanish tour of Carnegie Hall, you can request one with a group by calling (212) 903-9765. Central Park Sightseeing Bike Tours When you visit New York City, stopping at Central Park is a must. This historic landmark was the first major landscaped park in the United States and has been host to countless blockbuster hits. Taking a bicycle tour through the park is not only an amazing source of exercise, but it's also a great way to explore the many treasures of the park. Central Park Sightseeing Bike Tours offers Spanish Tours at 10 am however, you must call them prior to request a bilingual tour. Their phone number is (212) 975-0785. [caption id="attachment_1442" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Grand Central Terminal | @papakila[/caption] Grand Central Terminal Audio Tour Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal is one of the world's most intriguing train stations known for having many secrets. The terminal is also known around the world for the amazing artistic display across its ceiling. Audio tours of Grand Central Terminal are given daily and provide you with the option of which language you would like to hear while discovering the many secrets of GCT. NYC Gospel Walking Tour Gospel music has deep roots in New York and the Gospel Walking Tour in Brooklyn gets you up to speed on the history of the genre in the city. The tour not only makes stops at iconic religious locations in Brooklyn, but also makes a pit stop at an actual church service where you can experience authentic Gospel music for yourself. The Gospel Walking Tour provides Spanish Tours between the months of March and December at 8 am [caption id="attachment_1440" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Yankee Stadium | @yankees[/caption] Yankee Stadium Tours The New York Yankees Classic Stadium Tour is the best way to get better acquainted with baseball's most iconic team. The tour takes you behind the scenes at Yankee Stadium and fills you in on the best historical gems from the franchise. You will also have access to bilingual tours given out daily at 1 pm. Please note that the classic tours are not given during games so please check the New York Yankees' schedule prior to booking your tour. If you interested in purchasing the New York Pass or finding more tours that are available, with the pass, visit NewYorkPass.com
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