Background Information: We went for six nights in Easter 2014. The sun shone for six of the days and we had one day of rain and snow. We stayed in the Broadway Plaza Hotel which is midtown and so was perfect for walking uptown or downtown. It was also right near a subway station which we used daily to get elsewhere. These lists come with the disclaimer that we didn't go everywhere in NYC. We booked a lot of this in advance and pack tonnes of trips into our seven days. These may not be the best things in NYC but they were the best things we experienced on a limited budget and from our midtown location. At the end of the post you can see a preview of the photo book we had made.
5 Free Things To Do in NYC
1) 9/11 Memorial - get your pass beforehand. Security is tight.
2) Walk the HighLine - an abandoned railway line which has been done-up so it's now a romantic half-mile walk through the city rooftops.
3) Central Park ($2 map is worth it).
4) The Staten Island Ferry - good views of the Statue of Liberty and is free.
5) Find the friends building (Grove Street in Greenwich Village) and the Ghostbusters firehouse (where Varick street and West Broadway cross).
5 Paid-For Activities (prices are approximate for each ticket)
1) WTC Tribute Center Tour (~$20) - people who were in the are on the day tell you their story and take you around the memorial. This was such a poignant and important addition to our visit to the memorial. You also get access to Tribute Center which has some exhibitions and donated items.
2) Go to a sports game. We did Nets vs Knicks (basketball) and Yankees vs Red Sox (baseball). (~$50)
3) Watch a Broadway show. We did Wicked in limited view seats. ($75-200)
4) Go up to an observatory. We did Empire State and Rockefeller. The Rock was better. (~$30)
5) Take the Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry. (~$20)
5 Reasonable Eateries
1) Square Diner (Next to Chambers St and the Ghostbusters firehouse) - the only true diner we found. Food was amazing.
2) Mustang Sally's (on 7th Ave and 20something st) - Great bar that serves delicious, cheap food.
3) Azalea (Next to Wicked theatre - the cast sometime drink and dine there) - Italian
4) Serafina (in the meatpacking district on Gansevoort Street) - delicious pizza at a good price.
5) Ellen's Stardust Diner (Broadway and 51st) - the waitstaff sing while you eat amazing food.
5 Things we saved for next time (or didn't have time to do!)
1) Katz Deli (from when Harry met Sally).
2) Get off at Liberty and Ellis Island.
3) Walk the Brooklyn bridge.
4) WTC Museum (opening May 24th 2014).
5) Get tickets to a TV filming (SNL, Letterman, Jimmy Fallon and GMA all film in NYC but you either get tickets beforehand or queue for ages) - got to the Rockefeller Center for information.
P.S. I know this is NOTHING to do with Education but I had to put it somewhere! Also I will go through and add links at some point!