A weekend trip to New York City (NYC) isn't just something you throw together at the last minute. It takes planning, research, countless hours of poring over to-do lists, destination guides, and travel videos if you want to plot your dream vacation to the big city.
There's a reason they say, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere." You need a strategy to get the most out of your trip to New York.
Luckily, you could use your TD travel credit card points and benefits to help plan an unforgettable trip to the Big Apple. Here's how to plan a great getaway and some advice that could also save you some money.
Finding a place to stay in New York City
It's much more convenient and enjoyable to stay near the things you want to see and do, and that means making some tough choices when it comes to location.
Pick one borough: Everyone knows that New York is large, but not enough people respect just how large it actually is. Manhattan alone is roughly 19 kilometers from north to south, and if Brooklyn was its own city it would be the fifth largest in the U.S. Plus, every single block in every neighborhood is packed with world-class things to see and do.
The best way to choose a neighborhood to stay in is to make a list of everything you want to do. List every museum, concert, show, scenic walk, iconic bar, restaurant, and film location. Now find those places on the map. Whichever borough contains the most of your “must-see" items, wins.
This will almost always be Manhattan, but that doesn't always mean it's the clear winner. Brooklyn and Queens also have great off the beaten path place to stay. Narrow your search to find a place that's within walking distance of many things you want to see to save time on the train and potentially hundreds of dollars in cab fare.
Be open to compromise: Skip the room with a great view if it costs $100 more each night. New York is filled with stunning views of the skyline and dozens of chic rooftop bars to enjoy them from. Don't pay extra for a room with a coffee maker or kitchen facilities as you can always get a (great) bite to eat any time of night. Plus, waiting in a line of busy New Yorkers for a morning coffee and bagel is practically its own reason for visiting. Booking a slightly less expensive hotel room with fewer amenities will force you to experience New York City. You'll be glad you did.
And if you use your TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* Card when you book your hotel online through ExpediaForTD.com you can earn 9 TD Points for every dollar you spend.
There's more to NYC than Midtown Manhattan: Most tourist hotels cater to people visiting New York to see a Broadway show, the Empire State Building, Times Square, and Rockefeller Center. While it's convenient to stay near these attractions, the saturation of other tourists means it's likely more expensive.
You can find much nicer hotels for potentially better prices just a few blocks south of Midtown (search below 34th St.). If you decide to look north of Midtown, be warned that you might not find many places until you get above Central Park (100th st), which is pretty far away from a lot of the more popular things to do.
Luckily, New York City has one of the biggest public transportation networks in the world and a literal fleet of cabs and town-cars available to take you anywhere, any time.
Learn your subway line: Get to know the subway line, station, and connections near your hotel. New Yorkers navigate based on which subway line is closest, so if you're meeting friends or simply want directions, the closest subway stop is your North Star.
Purchase a weekly subway pass: Riding the subway will save you money on cabs, and it's a great way to get to know the real New York. Purchase a 7-day MetroCard pass (even if you're only visiting for a few days) as it gives you the freedom to jump on and off the train without paying for every ride. If you're going to make mistakes, don't pay extra for them.
Get used to walking: New Yorkers walk. Seriously, for a real New Yorker, 15 blocks is practically next door. Subways are quicker but they can be confusing, and taxis add up. If you want to see New York at your pace and on a budget, there's no better way to get around New York than with your own two feet, especially in the spring or fall.
Wear comfortable (but fashionable!) shoes so you can pound the pavement all day or meet some new friends at a local happy hour. You're going to be on your feet a lot no matter how you get around, so pack the right shoes.
What about Brooklyn?
Brooklyn Heights: Located at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights is New York's first suburb, and home to some of its most iconic residents and historical places.
The views from Brooklyn Bridge Park are iconic, but the activities are the real draw. Ride the carousel, catch the water taxi to the beach, eat at “the best pizzeria in New York" or just stroll along the Brooklyn Promenade.
You can even redeem some of your TD Points for a hotel night, or a snack on one of the rooftop bars in the area.
Williamsburg: Known to many as the epicenter of hipsters, Williamsburg is almost painfully cool. Take the L train to Bedford Avenue and window shop the chic boutiques, Indy book stores, and (yes) record stores. If the sun is out head north for a lively game of kickball at McCarren Park.
Host to concerts in the summer, outdoor movie screenings, and the ever-popular Saturday Smorgasburg flea market/foodie fest, Williamsburg is a must-see New York destination.
When you visit New York with your TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite* Card you could earn additional points and rewards that can be redeemed for your next trip to the Big Apple.
*Trademark of Visa International Service Association and used under license.