As August draws to a close, many of us try to get the most out of our last few days of summer vacation. Because summer always seems to go by too quickly, the end of August starts a fury of panic to have fun before the daily grind of the school year begins again.
If you are looking for the biggest bang for your dwindling vacation time, consider a day trip to New York City.
I know what your thinking... that trip is too far of a drive, too expensive, and too much stress and hassle for just one day. But all it really takes is a little bit of planning and research.
Visiting the Big Apple is easy by bus. There are several bus lines, like Greyhound and Peter Pan, that depart regularly from South Station in Boston to New York City. There is also a bus line that goes directly to New York City that leaves from Tewksbury.
C & J Bus line has daily departures from the Tewksbury Holiday Inn on Andover Street.
This bus line starts in Ogunquit, ME, then stops in Dover and Portsmouth, NH, and Tewksbury, before proceeding directly to NYC.
The trip takes about four hours and arrives at the centrally located Port Authority Terminal, located at 625 8th Ave. NY, NY.
C & J’s coach buses feature leather, reclining seats with plenty of legroom, free Wi Fi, a bathroom, and complimentary drinks and snacks. There is also a luggage compartment and overhead storage if you are planning on staying longer than a day.
Reservations are required, and can be made online at www.ridecj.com.
Before you book your bus tickets, you need to research and plan where you want to go and what you want to see, keeping your budget in mind.
There are so many things to do and see in NYC, and it may be hard for you to narrow down what you want to accomplish in a relatively short period of time. If you are trying to see as much of the Big Apple as possible, and the four hour bus trip wasn’t too much “bus” for you, then you may want to consider an organized bus tour of the city.
Do your research to find the tour that is right for you, but many offer a “hop on, hop off” option. This option allows you to get on and off the bus at different sites throughout the city, and is great for someone who wants to explore a wide range of places in the Big Apple, but may be unsure of navigating such a big city.
Many people come to NYC for the day to take in one of the many Broadway and Off Broadway shows. If there is a particular show you want to see, it is best to buy tickets in advance.
However, if you are open to seeing a variety of shows, there are several ways to purchase discounted tickets to current, popular shows.
TKTS Booths, Ticket Lotteries, and Rush Tickets are your best options for getting discount Broadway tickets. But because the tickets are sold on the day of the show, your choice of shows may be limited.
After you take in a show, be sure to take a walk through Times Square. Located in the heart of the theatre district, Times Square is the home of the famous New Year’s Eve ball drop, and offers lights and sites, as well as many dining and shopping options.
If the hustle and bustle of Times Square is a bit much for you, try the tranquil setting of New York’s Central Park. This 1.3 square mile park has pedestrian paths, a zoo, carousel, reservoir, and plenty of trees and open spaces. Several walking and bike tours are available, but it is best to research them in advance.
Another peaceful option is a visit to the New York Public Library. Guarded by its iconic stone lions, this historic building was dedicated to the city of New York in 1911. This library houses over million books that sit on 75 miles of shelves. You could “literally” spend your entire day at this library as it is also the home to many historical artifacts.
If you are interested in the history and knowledge New York has to offer, you may want to spend your day at a few museums. There are so many museums in NYC, I couldn’t list them all, but a few notable ones include the National 9/11 Tribute Museum, the American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of the City of New York, and the Brooklyn Museum.
For art lovers, you can visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Met Breuer, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Solomon Guggenheim Museum. Keep in mind that it usually takes several hours to visit each of these museums, so don’t try to pack a visit to too many of them in a day visit.
The museum of Ellis Island sits in the shadow of the symbol of American freedom and diversity, the Statue of Liberty. This pair make for a wonderful sightseeing tour.
You must make reservations in advance to visit both, and be sure to specify in your reservations if you would like access inside of the statue or crown. Access to both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty is by boat, so remember when planning your trip, that this visit will take up most of your day.
Tours of other iconic NYC sites like Radio City Music Hall and NBC Studios are also available and you should make reservations in advance online.
To get panoramic views of the city, visit one of three observation decks; the iconic Empire State Building, the World Observatory at the Freedom Tower, or the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center. Tickets are required for each of these sites, and it is best to purchase them in advance to avoid waiting in long lines. You can research online the price and hours to find the view that is right for you.
To enjoy beautiful, unobstructed views of Manhattan’s skyline, you can take a ride on the ferry. The East River Ferry costs only $2.75 a ticket per person, and the Staten Island ferry is free, and also boast a great view of the statue of Liberty.
If you prefer to travel by the seat of your pants, and don’t want to plan too much of your trip, there is plenty to see and do in NYC as long as you don’t mind a fair amount of walking. There is a lot to see just walking down iconic streets like Wall Street, Broadway and 5th Avenue.
Don’t be afraid to take a little bite out of the Big Apple. A carefully planned day trip to New York City could be the perfect ending to your fleeting summer vacation!