5 days in New York City

NY Top of the Rock

Exploring New York City on Foot

I met my friend Monika in New York and we explored the metropolis together. We managed to walk 55 km and took 81.000 steps while exploring New York. It was beginning of march, so it had between -7 and +7OC and it was windy and sometimes very cold. But we were lucky because the sky was sunny and blue most of the time. And the best thing about traveling in the off-season: there are only a few other tourists! You can take beautiful pictures, the main sights are not overcrowded, there are no waiting lines – so it’s very relaxed.

What I like the most about NY are the awesome views over the city and the skyline. In this blog I will show you our best pictures of New York. I’m backpacking, so I travel on a tight budget. NY is quiet expensive but if you walk a lot and take your time to look for affordable food, you can save money. At the end of the blog I will give a short cost break-down.

On our first day, we strolled on the Broadway & 5th Avenue until we reached the Central Park: We passed the Rockefeller Center, the Time Square, churches and numerous other buildings and shops.

NY Sightseeing
NY Night Time
NY Central Park

The next day, we walked around the financial district (southern Brooklyn) until the harbor, where you can see the Liberty Statute and have a nice walk next to the river.

NY South min
NY South min

From the harbor in the south we walked to the City Hall where you can enter the Brooklyn Bridge. It takes around 20 minutes to walk to the other side of the bridge.

NY Brooklyn Bridge min

After leaving the Brooklyn Bridge we walked to the Brooklyn Heights, from where we had an amazing view over the skyline of Manhattan.

NY Skyline Brooklyn Heights
NY Skyline Brooklyn Heights

We started our third day at the Chelsea Market where you can find a vibrant atmosphere with nice restaurants and a market for artists. The food there is quite expensive – but walking around is for free 🙂

Close to the Chelsea Market is the beginning of the High Line, where an unused old Railroad was reconstructed into a Park. The Highline leads you through Manhattan and is about 2 km long. We really enjoyed walking there because of the great view and the relaxed atmosphere.

NY Heigh Line min
NY Heigh Line
NY Heigh Line

On day 4 we walked to Ground Zero, which is a beautiful memorial of the 9/11 tragedy. On the same plaza you also find the 9/11 Memorial Museum and the One World Trade Center.

NY Ground Zero min

The One World Observatory is one of our favorite places in New York. It is located at One World Trade Center, which is the highest building in NY. In the elevator and before entering the platform two short but very cool animation movies are shown to you. The Observatory is inside and has floor-to-ceiling windows, so there is a breathtaking 360-degree view over NY.

NY One World Observatory
NY One World Observatory
NY One World Observatory min

One hour before sunset we went to the Top of the Rock Platform which is located on top of the Rockefeller Center. The view there is great but we prefered the One World Observatory, because the view better and it’s not that crowded.

NY Top of the Rock
NY Top of the Rock

We started our last day in NY with something special: On Sunday Morning we attended a Gospel Choir in the Time Square Church. This was an amazing experience, because the atmosphere was so cheerful and exhilarating and everyone was singing and dancing together. The Time Square Church was a theater before it was converted into a church, so the building is also very beautiful. The Gospel Choir sings for around 40 minutes and after that the mess starts. Visitors are asked if they want to stay for the mess or only for the choir and depending on your response you will be seated. The choir is free but you can give a donation to the church. You can find the times of the services on the website of the church.

NY Gospel Time Square Church min

Evenings in New York

If you are looking for nice place to have a dinner or drinks, I recommend going to the Madison Square Garden. There is a Shake Shak take away restaurant where you can sit down and eat in the garden and at night there are many lights hanging in the trees and the ambiance is really lovely.

NY Night Time

You can't leave NY without going to a rooftop bar and enjoying the view over the city! The bars are usually quite pricey, but if you check out the Happy Hour times before going there it is affordable 🙂 We went to the 230 FIFTH Rooftop bar which is a really nice place with a great view! Happy Hour: Mon to Fri 4-7 pm.

NY Night Time

Our hotel: The Arlo Nomad Hotel

As my friend was visiting me for a few days on my big trip, she really wanted to stay in a beautiful hotel in NY and she chose the Arlo Nomad Hotel. This hotel is very well located and has great rooms, but of course this comfort has its price and is not as cheap as a hostel.

NY Hotel Arlo Nomad
NY Hotel Arlo Nomad min
NY Hotel Arlo Nomad

Cost Breakdown

  • Accommodation is quite expensive in NY. We stayed at the Arlo Nomad Hotel and liked it a lot. It’s is a new hotel, very well located in Manhattan, with stylish and modern interior design, a nice bar and common area and the price for the room is fair for what you get. The best about this hotel is the amazing view in the rooms thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows.
  • Subway: Single Ticket: 3 USD (valid for 2 hours), Day ticket 9 USD, 7-day ticket 31 USD
  • Food: It’s not that easy to find healthy and cheap food in NY. But we found a few smaller restaurants and chains that offered eg. fresh salad, soup and sandwiches for 5 to 10 USD.
  • Top of the Rock entry: Adult: 34 USD, Child: 28 USD
  • One World Observatory: Adult: 37 USD, Child: 28 USD
  • 230 FIFTH Rooftop bar: Cocktails around 8 USD in the Happy hour between 4-7pm.
  • Sightseeing: High Line, Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Heights, Ground Zero & Gospel Choir are for free. A local friend told me that almost all museums are for free. They ask for a donation at the entrance but you don’t have to pay it.

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