New York cheap flights

12 Secrets to Finding Cheap Flights to New York City

New York City is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world. However, sometimes getting there can be a bit expensive.

Though there are three major airports near NYC, affordable fares are not guaranteed. Fortunately, there are some tricks to seeking out the cheapest flights to New York City. Read more »

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NYC Filming Locations

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NYC Filming Locations

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have always made their home in the sewers of New York City, so it shouldn’t surprise you that a lot of their films have been shot here.

This post will provide a list of TMNT filming locations that you can visit in NYC.

We’ll also include a self-guided tour which includes some popular destinations that Ninja Turtles fans might enjoy. Read more »

NYC Public Library Tours

New York City Public Library

This post is about how to plan a visit to the New York Public Library’s main branch building, including how to get here and what you will see, and guided tours.  Read more »

High Line Reopen

The High Line is Now Open

The High Line is open as of July 16, 2020. This post explains the latest guidelines on how to visit the High Line. 

Be sure to check out our post Things to Do on the High Line when you do visit. 

 

 

We have an audio tour of the High Line narrated by one of our professional guides where you can hear some of the same great stories and historical facts you would on our live tour. 

Listen to an audio sample

 

Read more »

6 Simple Ways to be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown

This post has been sponsored by Free Tours by Foot, but all my opinions are my own.

The travel world may be at a halt, but that does not mean that travel is cancelled! It is just redefined. Instead of seeking to get on the next flight to another country or state, travel is now “let’s get out the apartment and walk” or  “let’s hop on a bus and be transported to a new neighborhood.”

I live in New York City, which is considered to be “The Capital of the World,” receiving over 60 mlllion tourists a year! Yet, I am often running to catch a flight to my next travel destination. This pandemic has made me pause to think: have I explored enough of my own city? I realized that I have frequently been a tourist in my own city without knowing it!

However, you do not have to live in a metropolis like NYC to be a tourist in your own hometown. There are many benefits to exploring home aka planning a staycation! Convenience is everything! You do not have to worry about packing for a week long trip, getting up super early to catch a red-eye flight or deal with the hassle of airport security. Saving money is HUGE!

While being super convenient, you still get all the benefits of travel — feeling refreshed and learning something new! You are guaranteed to make a new discovery in your own backyard, which can give you the same feelings of awe when looking at a new landscape in another country. Now that I have convinced you to be a tourist in your own hometown, here are six ways you can plan the best staycation!


1. Visit tourist attractions.

Franny visiting a tourist attraction     

How many tourist attractions can you name in your hometown? OK, how many tourist attractions have you visited? Fun fact, I have been to the top of the Empire State building twice! Once, when I was 6 years old and once 20 years later…a VERY different experience! Clearly, I put off revisiting this iconic building for a LONG time even though it is a subway ride away.  Yet, 4 million visitors from around the world come to my backyard to see it. There is a reason why certain attractions are popular tourist attractions, so it is worth putting aside your pride to find out why! I literally felt on top of the world when I finally took that elevator ride to the 102nd floor. Concerned about costs? Groupon often has coupons for these popular tourist attractions!


2. Organize a photoshoot.

Franny at Hudson Vessel for a photo shoot

Everyone: “Why would I create a photoshoot?”

Me: “Why not?”

This is a sure way to make you feel like a tourist. It also is a great way to capture (and create) memories for FREE.

All you need is a willing partner or a Tripod. Capturing iconic sites not only makes great Instagram posts, but also great framed pictures for the home.

Last summer, I decided to take my fiancé to the Hudson Vessel. I noticed on Instagram that EVERYONE — most especially non New Yorkers — were taking photos with it. Meanwhile, I am a borough away. It turned out to be a fun date outing as we explored both the Vessel and the High Line nearby.


3. Join a walking tour.

Franny on a walking tour

It is one thing to know all the major tourist attractions in your city, but it is a whole different story to know the history behind such attractions.

As a history nerd, learning the origins of street names and the historical contexts behind certain traditions peak my interest. A great way to learn this history AND deeply explore a neighborhood for a short period of time is by taking a walking tour.

As an avid traveler, I always recommend taking a free walking tour when exploring a new city, if available. One of my favorite companies is Free Tours by Foot.

At this point, I have taken 7 tours from this company over the past 3 years in various cities around the country including Boston, New Orleans, and of course in my hometown of NYC.

In my hometown, I have enjoyed the Holiday Lights of Manhattan Tour, Dyker Heights Christmas Lights Tour, and the East Village Food Tour.

I always learn so much and am able to take great photos. The best part is that it is FREE — it is donation based! They are so good that you will be inclined to give your guide a tip!


4. Become the guide.

Franny playing tour guide

What better way to be a tourist in your own hometown than by showing a tourist around?

About 10 years ago, I became the “tour guide” for a group of friends I met at a summer pre-med program in Boston who attended school in Louisiana. Considering Boston is only about 4.5 hours away, we decided to take a weekend where I showed them around New York City.

During this time, I also had friends who were residents of New York join along. One of my friends, who is from Detroit, but attended Columbia University with me in New York, said that during her 4 years, she had never done any of the touristy things and enjoyed herself so much!

We took the Megabus (the cheapest option since we were broke college students) to New York City and spent the weekend exploring Manhattan and Brooklyn.

We did a wide range of things from wandering Times Square, taking the New York City subway, frolicking the Metropolitan Museum of Art, riding the amusement park rides at Coney Island, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, and eating a Junior’s Cheesecake! Showing my friends around helped me rediscover some top gems in my own hometown through the lens of a tourist that I had forgotten.


5. Book a room.

Franny's staycation near the Oculus

You do not need to wait until you travel to another state or country to book a room!  Treat yoself!

When I want the ultimate staycation, I love to book a hotel room. T

here is nothing like waking up in a hotel room, even if it’s just for one night. It is helpful to book a hotel stay that is centrally located to where you want to explore. For example, most recently, I booked a hotel stay in the Flatiron District for my fiance’s birthday where we were walking distance to Eataly.

It is SUPER convenient for grabbing dinner on a snowy January evening!

A couple of years ago, we booked a hotel in Lower Manhattan where we were conveniently situated to explore the 9-11 Memorial & Museum and the Oculus and eat at the Instagrammable spot Blacktap known for their massive, over-the-top milkshakes!


6. Attend an event.

Franny at Diner en Blanc

Have you attended an event in your hometown that is well attended by outsiders? This can be a whole vibe!

It is a great way to meet new people, provides an excuse to get cute, and is an awesome way to have a fun time. Invite friends to join as well and grab a meal before or after you have a whole day planned out.

I have attended my fair share of events in my hometown which include Curl Fest, Target First Saturdays, Dinner en Blanc, Central Park SummerStage, Feast of San Gennaro, and Global Citizens Festival!


I hope that I have convinced you about the fact that there is so much beauty in touring your hometown. This summer is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of exploring your own backyard as we engage in cautious travel!

Now, take these tips and plan the perfect staycation.

Maps of Lower Manhattan

This post contains a compilation of several maps of Lower Manhattan, specifically the Financial District, to help you navigate and find out what there is to see and do in NYC’s Financial District. Read more »

Things

Wall Street Walking Tours

This post reviews and compares the various Wall Street tours available to you, including our free, self-guided version, our guided, pay-what-you-wish tours, and tour focused on finance and the stock market. Read more »

Lincoln Center

Lincoln Center Tour Discounts

This post provides information on how to take a tour of Lincoln Center, what you can expect to see, how much the tours cost, how to get discounts on tickets, or even take a tour for free. 

Lincoln Center is home to the renowned Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet, Lincoln Center Theater, Chamber Music Society, and more. Read more »