Tag Archives: USA

A mini guide to New York on a budget

new york

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.

Chop’t Salad
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 in Nolita.

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.


Veggie pizza from Dominos Pizza at 943 1st Avenue. Right by the United Nations headquarters if you’re in the neighborhood.

Dominos Pizza
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.

brooklyn bridge

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.

central park

Central Park, a forest in the middle of a metropolis.

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.


Experiencing sub zero temperature in New York – A survivors story

I went to the big apple in February this year with the boyfriend to celebrate Valentines day and his birthday. It was my first time in New York and also my first time visiting the states. When I arrived I immediately felt like I’ve been there before. The countless movies, video games and TV series set in the city I’ve seen a thousand times growing up made me almost think New York was a make believe city. Like it was something built for Hollywood. And I never thought I’d be able to save up money to go since it’s a long way from Sweden and quite an expensive city so I almost felt like I was walking in a dream or at least in a movie set being there.

I felt like Carrie Bradshaw walking along 5th avenue drooling over the expensive designer shops, or Holly Golightly looking in at the jewelry at Tiffany’s. Hell I could even identify with Godzilla at some points even though the huge skyscrapers and tall buildings makes you feel so small. It’s quite surreal actually.

To choose February as the month to go to New York might not have been our smartest move though. It was not only cold, as you’d expect February to be, it was the coldest month the city had experienced since 1934. They even had warnings going out on the news a week before our departure about snowstorms stopping up traffic. Luckily no blizzards swiped us away during our stay, but we sure were worried the weather would ruin the whole vacation before even arriving.

I pictured the scene from the movie The Day after tomorrow in my head where the Statue of Liberty is covered in snow up to her torch and the Hudson river turned into a ice skating rink on the flight over.

So being from Sweden where the weather is so unpredictable year around some winters you can get snowed in in the morning and go out and get a tan in the afternoon, I packed for the worst and filled up my suitcase with winter wear. I know one of the days I had four layers on and two pairs of gloves. You could easily tell the tourists apart from the locals just looking at what they were wearing. The New Yorkers were fierce, especially the women, they wouldn’t let any record cold ruin their style.
Jay-Z was right in his song Empire State of Mind when he said “Caught up in the in-crowd, now you’re in-style and in the winter gets cold en vogue with your skin out” because even though it was hitting sub zero temperatures (that’s like -17 °C) New York girls were still rocking trench coats, stilettos and mini skirts with no tights.

But walking through Central Park in the white landscape and seeing the squirrels play in the snow was beautiful and all the city lights still warmed you up at night. They even turned the Empire state building red with pulsating lights resembling heartbeats for Valentines day.

I’m so happy we were able to go there, the food was amazing, the people there were so surprisingly friendly and helpful being such a big and busy city and let’s not even begin talking about all the shopping. Visiting New York was a dream come true. But next time I’ll be going to New York I think I want to go when the weather is a bit nicer and you don’t have to be afraid of freezing to death haha.


This was the middle of February and it was cold as hell. It was the coldest weather I’ve ever experienced, so cold that it hurts your face, but I was happy.