Where to stay
The Pod 39 Hotel // 145 East 39th Street
We chose the pod, not only because of it’s low price (under $200/night), but because of its location. It’s right on Manhattan by the Grand Central Station. The rooms are small, I have to admit, but it’s clean, the staff were nice and the bed were comfy. That’s all you really need, who stays in the hotel when they’re in the city that never sleeps anyway?
Where to eat
Oh how I long for when the Mexican fast food chain come to Sweden. The food is cheap, spicy and served at a high pace. Perfect when you’re in a hurry and you can basically throw a stone and hit a Chipotle anywhere in New York. They also have vegetarian options. But remember, guac is extra.
A unique salad chain that serves salad and sandwiches in a fun and creative way with a lot of organic and locally grown things on the menu. A salad is around $7.
Rice to Riches // 37 Spring Street, Nolita
Maybe not for everybody but I find this place amazing. It’s rice pudding heaven! And with its tongue in cheek humor you don’t just come here for the food, you stay for the funny quotes and puns.
Another fast food joint, but hey isn’t that the American way? Dominos pizza is tasty and you get a lot of pizza for your money starting from $5 and up.
What to do
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
No need for a presentation here, Statue of Liberty is the cover girl for the city and Ellis Island is a must see. We decided to buy tickets that would get us up to the crown which is both more expensive and harder to get a hold on since 9/11. The stairs that led up to the crown was scary and seemed never ending but paid off since the view was amazing. I recommend you to buy the tickets online at least a month prior to your trip. We bought ours at http://www.statuecruises.com/ which included the boat trip and entrance to Ellis Island.
See a Broadway play
Going to a Broadway show is a must for a lot of tourist coming to New York and can be quite expensive. But if you chose a matinee show, book your tickets in advance and are okay with not sitting in the front row it doesn’t have to be.
We decided on seeing Chicago and we were not sorry. We had seen the movie version before and knew all the songs. The show had a lot of humor and sass and we couldn’t have asked for more.
Things to do that are free
The New York Public Library // 455 5th Avenue
Visiting the library might sound like a snooze fest if you’re not a bibliophile but the building itself is really beautiful, both the inside and the exterior. Plus if you’re a Sex and the city fan (like yours truly) you can experience where Carrie and Mr Big should have had their wedding as the first S.A.T.C movie was recorded right outside.
The Brooklyn Bridge
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is free of charge and a great way to get a good look at Manhattan from afar and it’s really something to see the incredible structures up close. Also it’s a free way to get to Brooklyn.
Take a walk in Central park
The park is huge and you could easily spend an entire afternoon here, or even a whole day if you bring a pick-nick and the weather allows it. Some of the parks high lights are the Alice in Wonderland statue, Minton Tile Ceiling at Bethesda Terrace and the 3,500-year-old Obelisk. In the winter time there’s a ice skating rink free of charge on Mondays.
If you’re a Beatles fan you must visit the Strawberry fields John Lennon memorial. A tip is to bring a map with you to the park because it’s easy to get lost.
Visiting Grand Central Terminal // 42nd Street and Park Avenue
Even if you’re not on your way to catch a train or in a hurry to the get to the subway the Grand Central is worth a visit. It’s one of the most famous buildings in America where numerous films have been recorded both outside and inside the station. You might recall the Avengers completely trashing it in the first Avengers movie or seeing the insides in two of Hitchcock’s films. When I was there I even saw a couple lying on the floor in the middle of the station watching the painted ceiling of the constellations together.
Some extra tips:
On the first Saturday each month some museums in New York are free like the Brooklyn museum of art and The Guggenheim museum.
Buy entrance tickets to the big tourists sites ahead online, you can often get them much cheaper and sometimes there’s a discount if you buy them in a bundle. But don’t fall for the “for an extra fee you get to skip the lines”, this seldom is as good as it sounds as a lot of people buy them thinking they will get in faster and end up having to queue with all the others that bought the same kind of expensive tickets.