Hi everyone! I’m super excited to share this post because I had the BEST time in New York City (otherwise known as the City that Never Sleeps) and I can’t wait to share some of my experiences with y’all! There is so much to do in Manhattan alone that I know it can be overwhelming trying to plan a trip for the city so I’m here to help. I’ve narrowed down my list into 6 things to do in New York City.
1. Broadway Show
I know this is kinda a given, but I can’t stress enough how AMAZING it is to experience a Broadway show in NYC. Even if you’re not a play or musical fan, a broadway show is so worth checking out. These performers work so hard to put on a good show and you can tell. I saw the wonderful show “Waitress”, which is a musical, and the talent showcased by the actors in it was unbelievable!
Here are some tips on getting tickets for a Broadway show:
• The Ticket Lottery
The ticket lottery is where you can enter a lottery to win suuuuuuper discounted tickets (I’m talking like $10!). But as the name implies, it’s a lottery. Nothing is guaranteed, but it’s worth a shot. There are two types of lotteries you can enter. One is digital and one is in person.
The digital one can be done through a specific show’s website or through a broadway ticket app, like the TKTS one. Typically these can be entered each day for a chance to win a discounted ticket.
The lottery that can be entered in person is at the box-office of the show you want to see. It can be entered the morning of the show, but be sure to check if your show does an in-person lottery beforehand.
Not all shows participate in lotteries, but many of the big (and expensive) shows do. Also, you may only win 2 tickets so if you’re with a big group, that’s something to consider. This website breaks down lotteries even further if you want more information.
• TKTS booth
The TKTS booth is located in Times Square and offers discounted tickets for the day of a show. The discounts aren’t as big as ones offered in the lottery, but you definitely have a better chance of getting them. The TKTS app helps you to know what shows will be on sale and if there are any left, but you can’t buy the tickets through the app. You have to go to the booth in person. The line may look long, but it moves pretty quickly.
There are only a few tickets for each show so you better be sure to get in line early if you have a specific show in mind. Also, it’s only open for a few hours so it’s best to get there for its opening.
• Show Website
We found cheaper tickets for “Waitress” through the “Waitress” website for the next day. The TKTS office will offer you the cheapest prices for the day of the show, but not necessarily for the week. It’s best to be flexible with the dates you want to see a show and shop around online so you know what the online prices are beforehand. There might be some associated fees when buying through a website (we had to pay $30 in “ticket insurance”!), but sometimes it’s the better option, especially if you need them for a specific day.
2. Boat Tour of Statue of Liberty and Bridges
We were able to go on a boat tour around the Statue of Liberty and a few of the bridges that connect Manhattan to the rest of New York and it was great! We did the express ride so it was only about an hour and a half and about $30. It gave us a clear view of the Statue of Liberty, brought us under a couple of the bridges (including the Brooklyn Bridge), had a great tour guide offering facts and history of what we were seeing, and sold snacks! I didn’t want to spend loads of time exploring the Statue of Liberty and all of its surroundings so this was a great option for me. We used the Liberty Cruise company and it was super easy to buy our tickets online.
3. Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a little on the pricier side, but it was well worth it. We went at night that way we could see the skyline with all its lights, but I’m convinced it is gorgeous any time of day. You can buy your tickets right when you walk in (which is what we did) if you haven’t already bought them beforehand.
They make a bit of a show of taking you to the top of the building and it’s actually pretty cool. They have all kinds of facts and videos showcasing the Empire State Building. The line can get pretty long, but all the forms of entertainment they have along the way make the line seem like it’s going fast.
The last tip I have for this is to make sure you take lots of pics because it’s so pretty!
4. Ellen’s Stardust Diner
Ellen’s Stardust Diner was so much fun! This place is a little diner close to Times Square that is famous for its singing waiters. They have someone singing (and putting on a show!) the whole time you’re eating. Part of the fun is when your waiter or waitress gets their chance to sing and you get to cheer them on. The food is pretty good, but you’re really paying for the environment.
5. NBC Studios Tour
This one was a lot of fun! I didn’t even know there was such a thing as an NBC Studio tour until I was researching things to do in NYC. The NBC Studios tour brought us all through different parts of the studio. We went at the beginning of September so we were able to go inside of the SNL studio, the Jimmy Fallon studio, and see a lot of other studios from afar. They give you a behind the scenes look at everything and even let your group act as studio crew and make your own show. It was a cool added bonus we didn’t know would happen.
NBC Studios is located inside of Rockefeller center. Tickets for the tour of it can be bought inside the studio’s gift shop. Also, if you’re a fan of “The Office”, there is a replica of Michael’s office that you can take a picture with inside the gift shop.
6. Food Tour
There is so much food to try in NYC! I couldn’t get enough of it. I tried some of the best pizza in the country there. As well, bagels are a MUST while there. We went to a little cafe close to Penn Station and it was delicious! 10/10 recommend. Also, the famous Magnolia Bakery is definitely worth a try. They have the absolute best banana pudding I’ve ever tasted. Take some time to walk the streets of New York and try all the food it has to offer!
I hope some of these NYC tips were helpful! I hope to be able to write more about my experience visiting New York City so be on the lookout for future posts.