taza’s new york city guide: tips and tricks for your time in the city!

see MORE

love-taza-nyc-travel-guide-tips

in addition to my new york city neighborhood guides, i thought it might be nice to put together a little post on how to get the most out of your time visiting new york city, since there are quite a few tricks and tips we’ve discovered over the years of living here.  of course there is so much to take advantage of in this city, and it truly changes every week, that this is just a starting off point, and focuses more on manhattan where we live.   if i missed anything here that you have found to be helpful, please do share in the comments below!

ON GETTING AROUND THE CITY:

we think the subway system is the best way to get around town. if you’re planning on using public transportation, you can get a metro card at any subway station. you can get an unlimited day pass, unlimited week pass or just put a bulk amount of dollars on it and use it as you go. it will depend on how frequently you plan to use the subway as well as how long you’ll be in town.  you can also use it for the bus.  there a quite a few apps with subway maps and bus routes and several estimate wait times. hopstop is a great site and app to help you navigate which route is fastest, even during rush hour times. you can see options for all kinds of transportation.

in addition to taxi cabs (they are available when the light is on, and already occupied if the light is off), is uber. while uber can be incredibly helpful by letting you request a car and have it on its way before you even get out to the curb, we’ve been frustrated with their service a couple of times which makes it hard to recommend. but when you can’t find a regular taxi and are in a crunch, it can be handy. (be sure to  watch out for peak times when they increase the rate!)

another great way to see and get around the city is on a bike! there are several bike lanes and bike paths around the city, which make it safer and more practical nowadays. we use our own bikes, but citibike is a great bike sharing system available in the city with thousands of bikes parked all over the place which you can use 24/7.  if you’re wanting a particular bike or needing a child/infant seat, etc, here is a list of other bike rental shops around manhattan.

and this was an interesting article on jaywalking in the city.

ON SEEING BROADWAY SHOWS, PLAYS, ETC IN THE CITY:

so you can’t come to new york city and not see a broadway show or play while you’re here! you just can’t! and if you do come and don’t see a show, don’t you dare tell me so!

if you have time the day of, you can get half price tickets at the ticket booth in times square. but  todaytix  is an app that gives you the best prices for the show you’re wanting and you don’t have to deal with long lines. it’s pretty great. i know broadway shows can be pricey, so look for matinees since they cost less. and there are also plenty of off-broadway productions going on all the time too.

and i know it always sounds like i’m just trying to give a plug for my old stomping ground, but i truly believe some of the best dance, music or theatre happening in this city is taking place at juilliard each semester and it’s one of the better kept secrets.  many of the shows are free, or just require requesting tickets far in advance, so it’s worth checking out the performance calendar before your trip.

ON GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR NEW YORK CITY FOOD EXPERIENCE:

if you know anything about me, you know i love food. and the food in this city is just so good, it’s up there in the top three reasons i just can’t picture ever leaving.

i highlight many of my favorite restaurants and eateries in my neighborhood specific guides, but you might also try zagatnymag, or yelp for restaurant and food reviews. and open table can be helpful for finding a restaurant with availability at a certain time or taking reservations in a certain neighborhood.

you must check out restaurant week if you happen to be in the city when it is taking place! worth it. i promise.  also, there are countless street fairs in the city beginning around now through the warmer months which are fun to check out because street fair food is always a good idea. here’s a list of upcoming festivals and fairs around manhattan.

and the wun wun app is probably the most genius discovery we’ve made since they deliver anything in the city, to anywhere you request, at any time.  so, say you’re in central park and you feel like having a donut  (because why not?!) from some place far downtown? you can request it, and have them deliver it the specific spot you’re at in central park right then and there. i mean……

ON TRAVELING AROUND THE CITY WITH LITTLE ONES:

one of the most important tidbits on being out all day in nyc with kiddos is navigating all the public restrooms! we’ve come to learn where almost every public restroom is on the upper west side, which ones are clean and usually open, which ones to avoid entirely, which will have that long long line… i thought i had it down before potty training, but that experience took us to a whole new level with figuring out the city’s bathroom situation.

most coffee shops have public restrooms. the bookstores, the grocery stores, all the restaurants. sometimes store owners are firm in their bathroom for patrons only policy, which i completely understand, and always try to abide to. but in a moment of desperate emergency crisis with a little one, i’ve never been turned away. people are kind all over this city and it’s one of the reasons i love it here.

while i’ve never tried it, a few of my girlfriends bring a potette port a potty with them to use around the city if they are in the middle of potty training a toddler and have to be out all day.

carry hand sanitizer in every pocket, bag, stroller compartment…. just make it super handy and available so you can get to it easily and often.

here is a map we made last fall showing all the elevators at the subway stations around manhattan.  as for using a stroller versus an infant carrier, it’s all up to you and your child and your normal situation or routine. my kids nap so well in the stroller, and when we’re out all day, i’m thankful we took it.  a carrier is another great option if you and your body can manage, since it makes the subway an easier ordeal.

car seats are not required or available in nyc taxi cabs, but you can request a car with one using uber family.

OTHER HELPFUL APPS AND GUIDES:

i swear they keep making this city easier and easier to live in.  we now have google expressamazon’s prime now app for manhattan, which delivers anything on amazon prime to your doorstep (or hotel doorstep?) within an hour, as well as amazon fresh and other delivery services for much of manhattan. i mentioned this app above as well, but the wun wun app is also great for other items you might need in addition to food.


there is so much to do and see in this incredible city, and it’s ever changing from week to week.  of course this list is just brushing the surface in terms of all you can get out of new york city, and i’ve only focused on just manhattan here, so i’m surely forgetting something, but hopefully it is helpful to some of you!

okay, what tips did i miss that you have found helpful with getting the most out of new york city?

  1. Carly

    Hotel lobbies are great when you need a restroom in a pinch!!

  2. Emily S

    Thanks for sharing the Wun Wun App! I hadn’t heard of it before but I can see where that would come in really handy!

  3. Hi Naomi! Awesome guide. Along the lines of amazon fresh, etc, you guys should also try Instacart – one hour grocery delivery! We use it all the time in SF and love it.

  4. marie

    Thanks for writing this! I’ll definitely keep this post in mind when I visit NYC with my hubby and kids. NYC is one of our future holiday destinations and we’re saving money for that. ;)

    http://smittenbyangels.blogspot.com

  5. Kari

    Thank you for this! I’m taking my husband and toddler to NYC at the end of this month and I’ve been a little nervous about it. These tips are so helpful in easing my mind about visiting the city. The fact that you live there with littles is also helps me believe I will enjoy my visit. Thanks again!

  6. Gillian

    Love this! My hubs and I live upstate and we make frequent trips to NYC. I just put together a little weekend trip planning guide myself! One of the best apps I tried on our latest trip was CabSense – it shows you which street corner closest to you is best for hailing an empty cab. Super handy when you’re in an unfamiliar neighborhood and not sure where taxis can easily stop and find you!

    Planning A Weekend in NYC – Palmer Street Press

  7. Lara

    The hubs and I are heading to NYC for a quick trip in June (after a work conference in DC)! A two of my aunts live there so we go pretty frequently. Love, love, love it there and would move there in a heartbeat if my husband loved it as much as I do! :-)

    (And the one rule that my aunt always gives us… don’t step off the curb until you are sure all cars have stopped! She’s lived there for over 50 years, so it’s probably pretty sound advice! HA!)

  8. Sarah

    The few times I’ve visited the city for vacation I’ve found that if I can group my site seeing into areas I can make the most of a day. Like spending a day down in Battery Park, World Trade Center, and maybe a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge for some pizza (Grimaldi’s of course) and ice cream. The next day I might spend all my time up near Central Park and those near by neighborhoods. I’ve found that when I group activities that I want to do in the same areas per day I can get a lot more done without a ton of traveling and subway stops. I feel like this really helps me maximize my time there, and get the most out of my trip. I don’t want to waste a minute while I’m in the city.

  9. You are awesome! This has definitely been pinned for future use. I’ll be in NYC the last weekend of April :)

    Warm Regards,
    Alexandra
    http://www.littlewildheart.com

  10. Dani

    Thanks for the tips! Any unique things you and Josh used to do before kids? I never know what to do after dinner other than a show!

    • TAZA

      ha! feels forever ago but we loved ending up in a new and different area or neighborhood and just walking all of it, exploring. we also liked going to more jazz clubs or music venues.

  11. love your jumpsuit to the core. This NY travel guide is so simple and informative too. Thanks for sharing Naomi. You are amazing.

    Janika
    crazysketchbook.blogspot.com

  12. April

    I’m going to New York in a few weeks and this guide is super helpful, as are the rest of your NYC Guide Series! :)

    Thanks heaps, love finding new blogs through travel searches xx

  13. now i just need to book my flight!

  14. Julia

    Thanks for the awesome guide! I’m dreaming of the first time I get to visit New York City, and seriously hope it’s within the next few years. Then I will be referring back to these tips and tricks for sure :)

    ExploresMore.com

  15. OMG I wish I would have known about your cool little site when I was in NYC last year. I feel like now I need to go back just to do all this awesome amazing things!!! I do regret not being able to catch a Broadway show. Next time for sure!

    XO
    Jessi

    http://www.dailydoseofmiel.com

  16. fiona

    this is amazing! thank you so much. i have been to nyc two times and i plan going this year again. great tips!
    x fiona THEDASHINGRIDER.com

  17. Deby

    Awesome tips! Planning a trip next summer. What about places to stay for 4 adults?

    • TAZA

      i didn’t comment on this because i don’t really stay in hotels in the area since we live here, so i’m not sure what’s the best there. i’d definitely recommend staying somewhere with easy access to a subway line and a place that isn’t too far from the areas you want to explore. it’s worth it!

  18. Heide

    One of the places on earth I would like to visit is New York because I want to be a New York Times best selling author. Ha! Though I have not finished writing any books. Haha! Anyway, your guide is really great. And I agree, whenever I travel to a different country, I usually take the train. It’s usually easier to navigate, and cheaper.

    Stay Wonderful Always,
    Heide
    Kintsugi of Life

  19. Kat

    BUT WHERE’S THE JUMPSUIT FROM

    • TAZA

      it’s from kate spade saturday!

  20. This is great! I want to plan a New York trip soon. I have never been so this will come in handy!

  21. Olatz

    Thanks a lot for the guides. You inspire me, to do One of my dreams (visit New York).
    I just left NY two days ago, i came with my family, and we move around the city in subway, amacing experience for us. Now we are on trip visiting other places. We’ll back on sunday to take a plane to come back home (spain), and We’ll visit probable Coney Island,to be near AirPort ;-)

    Bye
    Olatz

  22. Pingback: City travel guide | Travelguide

  23. Sarah

    Awesome app suggestions! I just wanted to let you know that the unlimited day pass for the metro card no longer exists :( They only have 7 day or 30 day passes now. Hope that helps!

    • TAZA

      thanks for this! had no idea!

  24. Pingback: naomi bulger: Wednesday link bonanza

  25. Claire

    super helpful post! so glad i just found your blog through cupcakes in cashmere!! i’m going to be living in Brooklyn for the majority of July, and i’ll for sure be getting help from your neighborhood guides. I can’t wait to go through your blog and see what other tips you have. :)

  26. Lauren McAuliffe

    Hello Taza! I just love following the adventures of your growing family in NYC. My mom and I are going to visit in just a couple weeks and I CANNOT WAIT! Your blog helped me fall in love with the city! I was wondering about a few things: Do you know where to find sample sales? (Cause it’s NYC ;) Also, any tips on where the best shopping is? And, are there any things you would recommend that are special for a mother daughter trip to NYC? Thanks so much! And thank you for sharing little pieces of your life with us so we can celebrate authentic, beautiful life!

  27. Debs in Cali

    Hi Taza,
    Somehow I stumbled upon your site. I love it! Where can I take my two boys 10 yrs, 13 yrs. to listen to great jazz music. My kids play jazz piano and guitar. My family is visiting NYC for the first time and are thrilled!

  28. Tammy

    Wow! I am so glad that my friend told me about your site. I am traveling to NYC for the first time in LESS THAN ONE WEEK!!! You have given me so much information that will definitely come in handy. Gotta go. Lots to read!!
    Thank you!!!