We’re so fortunate living in Central PA, because we truly are central to so many fun day trip locations! We can visit Baltimore, Philly, Pittsburgh, D.C., the Poconos, NYC and more… all within only about 1-3 hours! I could probably write 10 different posts on how to spend a day in New York City, because we’ve done it so frequently, but today I’m going to share with you our most basic outline of a day. Because sometimes the most basic ones can be the most enjoyable!
I recently took a bus trip to NYC with some of the other girls in my family. We were going to celebrate my niece’s 14th birthday, so much of the agenda was set by her, but I promise that it’s a day that everyone will enjoy!
This is the big question
stress when traveling into the city and one that really should be thought of ahead of time.
- You absolutely could just drive yourself in, but it’s my least favorite option! Aside from the fact that I just am not comfortable driving in that traffic, it’s not cheap either. You’ll pay on average, about $40 to park your car for the day. It’s another $15 just to get through the Holland Tunnel to enter the city plus any other tolls you may have depending on which route you come in on. The cost of gas isn’t cheap either, friends.
- Your other option is to take a ferry into the city! There are many different stops, but we drive to Weehawkin, NJ to catch the ferry. You can park your car there, they have nice restrooms and an information center, the ferry is always on time and it’s an exciting way for your kids to start their day! The cost varies based on age, but it is less than $10 per person and could be free if your kid is younger than 5. It drops you off in Manhattan where a shuttle then takes you to various stops including one right in Times Square if that’s where you’re heading. They pick you up at a designated time to shuttle you back where you ride the ferry back to your car. It’s incredibly convenient and affordable.
- We have also taken Amtrak to Penn Station. There are ways to find reduced tickets, but we average about $85 per person for a roundtrip ticket. It’s not cheap, but it’s relaxing and a stress-free way to start your day. Once you arrive at Penn Station, it’s easy to find your way around on foot.
- We have also taken local bus trips. In fact, that’s what we did for our most recent trip! Ours was $35/person. Again, easy and stress-free and not a bad cost considering how much you pay for tolls and parking if you drive yourself!
We chose to stay in the Times Square vicinity for our day in NYC. It makes it easier in times of schedules and transportation, and there is plenty to do in that area so you won’t get bored!
- My niece wanted to see a Broadway play, so we bought our tickets ahead of time to see Aladdin. The Genie was fantastic and we really were laughing out loud at parts! If you haven’t purchased tickets ahead of time, you can always stand in line at the TKTS booth right in Times Square. You’ll find heavily-discounted tickets for sale for shows on that day! Be a little spontaneous and try a new show you never would have thought you’d enjoy! It might become your new favorite!
- Check out some of the stores in Times Square as well! They really are more than just stores with interactive exhibits and lots of photo opps!
- Sometimes, just the streets performers in Times Square are enough to keep you entertained. I’m not big on the Naked Cowboy or some of the copycat versions there are walking around. But it’s easy enough to avoid that. There are characters to get your picture with (for a “donation”), and always something to see. More my style, though, are some of the pop-up shops you’ll find. We stumbled onto a pop-up art exhibit that stretched for about 2 blocks and was amazing! Interactive exhibits, products for sale at VERY affordable prices and some of the artists were there to talk to. It was such a neat little discovery that we all loved.
- You’re also likely to stumble on a street fair if you go during the warmer months. Ours stretched for about 5 city blocks and was filled with food vendors, artists, dancers and more! Fun to just wander through.
Check out some of our favorite food stops on the next page!