10 things to know before going to New York

New York, its skyscrapers and lights. The city that never sleeps is certainly one of those destinations that we all dream of discovering one day. But before we pack our bags to cross the Atlantic, it’s better to be prepared. Here are 10 tips that a wise traveller should follow!

New York

1. Prepare your city-trip with an original guide

New York is full of good addresses and secret places. To make sure you don’t miss out on anything on the spot, make a detailed program with the help of expert travel guides.

2. Airline tickets are affordable

Good news for our portfolios! Airline ticket prices to New York have become more democratic in recent years. If you book in advance, you can get a round-trip ticket for 350€ p./p. To pack your bags, you need a valid passport and an ESTA visa that you can order on the Internet. Don’t forget to exchange your euros for dollars too!

3. Book a hotel in downtown Manhattan

Before planning your trip to New York, think about saving some money! Life is extremely expensive and, if you want to stay in Manhattan, you will need to count about 200€ per night at the hotel. If your budget doesn’t allow you to do this kind of crazy, choose an Airbnb in Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem or the Bronx instead.

However, if you want to live the experience to the end (we only live once), set up your quarters at the Knickerbocker. It is one of the most beautiful hotels in the city and its rooftop offers a breathtaking view of Times Square. The rooms are spacious, modern and luxurious and Charlie Palmer’s restaurant’s little dishes are to be enjoyed!

Any other favorites? West House Hotel, near Columbus Circle and Central Park. Like the Knickerbocker, it is located next to a subway station (it is possible to buy a card valid for 7 days for $39). We particularly enjoyed their breakfast buffet made up of scrambled eggs, French toast, donuts and other sweet treats. To be enjoyed on the roof of the establishment, of course!

4. Cookies from “Levain Bakery” are essential

Food lovers, after a walk in Central Park, join the Upper West Side to taste Levain Bakery’s cookies. Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. We assure you: Levain Bakery cookies are well deserving of the honorary title of “best cookies in the world”.

5. Americans are the kings of hearty brunch

If in New York you can’t resist the call of a Shake Shak (a famous fast-food chain), you should also try the hearty breakfasts and brunches offered all over the city. Here are our favorite addresses:

  • Citizens of Chelsea: the frame is hot and their waffles are amazing!
  • The Butcher’s Daughter: the trendy address par excellence! We eat veggie and vegan there. The dishes are original and healthy.
  • Jack’s Wife Freda: a must-see address in the SoHo district. It often takes patience to try to get a table. Fortunately, the dishes served there compensate for the wait!
  • Five Leaves: In Brooklyn, we love the Five Leaves map and its gorgeous setting.
  • City Kitchen: a stone’s throw from Times Square, we stop at the City Kitchen. This food market, which is part of The Row Hotel, brings together several restaurants in the city in one place. You can have a big burger at Whitmans’ booth, eat a lobster sandwich at Luke’s, taste the flavours of Asian cuisine at Azuki or Kuro Obi and finish with a donut at Dough.

Please note that in the United States, VAT is not included in the prices displayed on restaurant menus. So don’t be surprised to see your bill increase by a few dollars! It is also customary to give a “tip”.

6. Better to visit the Top of The Rock than the Empire State Building

Looking for a breathtaking view? Climb to the top of the Top of The Rock rather than the rooftops of the Empire State Building. Do you want to combine several activities? You can also get a City Pass on the Internet.

7. Tickets for Broadway shows are on sale on Times Square

Do you dream of attending a show on Broadway? Wait until you get there to buy your tickets. Unsold tickets are sold out every day on Times Square at unbeatable prices.

8. The city is full of rooftops

New York’s most beautiful hotels often feature rooftops that offer breathtaking views of the skyscrapers. To get a kick out of it, go have a drink! Here is our list of favorite addresses.

  • Brooklyn Bridge Hotel: incredible view of the Brooklyn Bridge. Take advantage of your stay in the neighbourhood to go for a walk in Dumbo.
  • The Nolitan: one of the most beautiful hotels in Nolita, located near the SoHo, Chinatown and Little Italy districts.
  • Arlo Soho

9. Buy your tickets for a basketball (or baseball) game

Do you dream of attending an NBA game? Whether you like sport or not, the show is guaranteed. Popcorn, hotdog, music, cheerleaders and “Kiss Cam” will be there, just like in our best TV shows!

10. Attend a gospel mass in Harlem

No matter what your religious beliefs, attending a gospel mass in Harlem is an essential part of a trip to New York City. It’s like a Beyoncé concert! We dance and sing to the glory of God. Atmosphere guaranteed! Masses are given on Sundays only. Check the schedules on the Internet before you venture to Harlem, tip: the Bethel Gospel Assembly is worth a visit!

To do too:

  • Walk around Bryant Park, Highline, Washington Square Park, Madison Square Park, Central Park (by bike or on foot).
  • Take a picture of the “Freeman Alley” in SoHo, filled with graffiti, then shop in vintage shops.
  • Contemplate the pink front of the Pietro Nolita restaurant (next to The Butcher’s Daughter).
  • Check out the facade of Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment (Sex & The City) at 66 Perry Street. Then the one from Friends’ apartment at 90 Bedford Street.
  • Take a yellow taxi.
  • Buy fresh fruit from Union Square’s Farmer Market.
  • Think of yourself as Blake Lively, in Gossip Girl, at Grand Central Station.
  • Take a look at the New York Public Library.
  • Take a trip to the Financial District, stop on Wall Street, then take the ferry from Battery Park to see the Statue of Liberty.
  • Shopping on Fifth Avenue.
  • Admire the Flat Iron.
  • Lose yourself in the neighbourhoods of Chelsea, Tribeca and Greenwich Village.