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april04 Feb 16th, 2008 07:44 AM

NYC Itinerary help for family trip
We are planning our family trip (husband, 14-yr old daughter, and me) to NYC in June and would appreciate suggestions/help. We will be there for 11 days, but plan on taking a 3 day side trip to Vermont & Montreal to see friends. We are taking a red eye from San Diego to Newark, arriving at 7:00 am. We are considering staying at the Salisbury Hotel near Central Park, mainly due to the price and location. Has anyone stayed here??

We do not have a set itinerary but are planning on being in NYC from Thursday-Tuesday, heading to Vermont until Friday, and back to NYC for a few more days before flying back to San Diego on Monday.

While in NYC, we are planning on the following:

Statue of Liberty / Tenement Museum
Day in Central Park / Museum of Natural History
Tour of Yankee stadium
Broadway shows
Times Square
Walk across Brooklyn Bridge
Empire State Bldg, etc.
And of course self-walking tours of other Manhattan areas.

When and how should we purchase our Broadway tickets. Daughter would love to see Legally Blonde, Wicked, or Lion King. However, our budget will probably limit us to 2. Are there matinees for Broadway shows?

Has anyone done the Yankee stadium tour?

Must see "neighborhoods"??? Chinatown? Greenwich Village?

After crossing Brooklyn Bridge, any other suggestions other than pizza and ice cream?

Also, after our side trip to Vermont, we are considering staying at the Sheraton on the Hudson in Weehawken, NJ. It offers free parking (since we will have a rental car from our road trip that we will return to the airport on Monday) and is a 5 minute ferry ride from Midtown. Has anyone stayed here or had experience with the ferry service.

Again, we are in the planning stages and would really appreciate any suggestions. I am trying not to make the itineray real "structured" so that we can also have a relaxing time. Although I know once we hit the ground we will want to see as much as possible!! :)

BudgetQueen Feb 16th, 2008 07:55 AM

Your "side trip" needs more than 3 days. I would look at 5.

Wicked and Lion King are always sold out shows with never any discount tickets. You need to consider booking these now. There are matinees on Wed, and Sunday.

You also might want to change your timeframe around and head back to NYC for only 1 day, and rent the car for only as long as you need it, rather than parking it unused for a few days. I assume you want it so to drive yourself back to EWR??

april04 Feb 16th, 2008 08:39 AM

Thanks, BudgetQueen. That does seem like a better idea. We thought that we might just hang onto the car an extra day or so, just in case we want to do any other "exploring".

Also, I think that I will go ahead and book our show tickets now. Someone had mentioned that you could show up the day of a show and see what tickets are leftover and available. Does anyone suggest this? Is it a total chance or are you likely to find something. Maybe more so on a matinee???

tchoiniere Feb 16th, 2008 09:28 AM

I would get tickets now to avoid disappointment if you don't get them. Tours of ballparks are generally good as they offer stuff that you cannot normally see, like clubhouses, press boxes, etc. What about going to a game along with the tour?

Agree that you need more than 3 days for your side trip.

nytraveler Feb 16th, 2008 10:34 AM

A couple of other thoughts:

do Top of the Roc instead of the Empire State Building. You can buy advance times tickets (no waiting versus hours at the ESB) and IMHO the views are at least as good. If you ascend late afternoon you can see the city both in daylight and with everything lit up.

The Salisbury is a good choice - reasonable price for a lot of room (for NYC) and a nice neighborhood.

I would explore several of the residential areas in the evening - since you can get food as good or better at much lower prices in neighborhood places. And there's nothing as typical of NYC as doing some shopping, having dinner in a cute place with a sidewalk cafe and people watching then some more shopping - window or real - you'll find some shops open until 11 or midnight. Try the upper west side, Village or lower east side.

For Wicked or Lion King doubt you won;t get discounts - and buying tickets now will give you the best choice of seats. (Although for me Lion King is really a children's show - and I would think a teen would prefer Legally Blond - or Hairspray, which you can get on discount.)

As long as you're doing the statue of Liberty (and do buy ferry tickets in advance for as early in the day as you can get) - go ahead and see the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, which is brilliant. It's the same ferry - and you will stop at Ellis Island on the way back to South Ferry. If you see both it will take all day - partially due to long lines (security line - airline type to get onto the ferry, then another long line to wait to get into the base of the statue).

Also consider going to the Met - the greatest cultural institution in the Western Hemisphere. Check you the web site to pick out 2 or 3 departments that might interest you - since to do the whole thing would take days.

hikrchick Feb 16th, 2008 10:39 AM

Regarding the ferry from Weehawken to NYC: I've gone to NYC this way for the past 10 years. It's very convenient. The Sheraton is right on the water in a nice area with several restaurants. If you get room facing east you will have a lovely view of the NYC Skyline. There is a shuttle bus from the hotel to the ferry. You get it at the front desk. On the way back I think they give you a phone number to call when you are boarding the ferry and the van is there waiting for you when you disembark.

The ferry runs every 10 or 20 minutes depending on the time of day. On weekdays the last boat is at 12:08 a.m. On Friday and Saturday nights it's at 1:08 a.m. The terminal is clean and brand-new. The ride takes about 7 or 8 minutes. Tickets are about $7 one way I think; it's just gone up in price.

I like it because as a woman alone I always feel safe there.

you can find more information on their web site:

Hope this is helpful.

ellenem Feb 16th, 2008 01:39 PM

Yes, do consider that you will be spending $42 for three of you to go back and forth on the ferry when you compare Weehawken hotel prices to those in Manhattan.

There are Broadway matinees, but not every day--check schedules carefully.

mclaurie Feb 16th, 2008 02:43 PM

Legally Blonde is usually available on discount so you could buy advance tickets for either Wicked or Lion King now and plan on getting Legally Blonde when you arrive. usually has a discount code you can print and bring to the box office or you can buy a few months in advance (now it would be too early for June) online or by phone but there are a few transaction fees. You could also try for day of tix from the TKTS booth (info at which are a bit cheaper still but you run the risk of being disappointed.

For Wicked, there's a daily lottery for inexpensive seats, but even if you win the lottery, each person is only allowed 2 tickets so for 3 of you, not a good idea. has a section on their website about rush and lotter tickets (look on the lower right of the page).

I also think 3 days is not enough for Vermont and Montreal. Do you realize how far they are??? Get an idea on or

I don't think I'd select the Sheraton Weehawken for your purposes. The ferry is expensive and it's only really convenient during the week when it stops right outside the hotel. On weekends, you need to use that shuttle bus to the ferry.

The Travel Inn is a budget hotel in Manhattan that has free parking if you really want to keep the car. If you want to stay outside Manhattan, keep the car and perhaps do some other exploring or shopping, I'd look at the Hyatt Regency in Jersey City which is near a PATH train ($1.50/person each way) to Manhattan or, decide what it is you want to see (the Rockefeller estate, Kykuit?) and pick something near that. If you don't mind driving the car into Manhattan and parking it, there's a Holiday Inn in Ft. Lee, NJ that's very near the George Washington bridge, very inexpensive and evidently nice. Drive the car over the bridge, park the car on the upper west side for the day and do your thing.

Whatever you decide, is a chain of garages around Manhattan that are affordable and can be reserved.

offlady Feb 16th, 2008 02:45 PM

I disagree about Lion King. It is a great show regardless of age. The costumes and set decor are visually outstanding and the music is great. We were able to get tickets for this show on the same day, but that meant standing in line outside the theater waiting for the unsold tickets return to the box office. If you can get tickets in advance, I'd do that. There wasn't any discount for purchasing those tickets on the same day, although we got great seats in orchestra section 12th row.
We've also seen the road version in our hometown, and it was worth seeing it a second time.

EricH Feb 16th, 2008 03:45 PM

Don't tour Yankee Stadium. Go to a game and get there early, so you can walk around.

nytraveler Feb 16th, 2008 05:42 PM

Agree to try to see a game in the Stadium if the Yankees are in town when you are. Otherwise do a tour.

About the Lion King - to each his own we took a small niece and nephew (7 and 9) otherwise we would have left. But - I'm not a Disney fan.

dmlove Feb 16th, 2008 05:58 PM

I have to agree with nyt about Lion King - our great expectations were not met! Yes, the sets are cool, and I suppose the music is too, but all in all, I didn't find it "wow".

Flying_Mom Feb 16th, 2008 06:25 PM

Try the lottery for Wicked. Everyone that puts in for the lottery needs a photo ID.

BudgetQueen Feb 17th, 2008 05:29 AM

For clairfication, for the lottery for Wicked, it is for the 28 front row seats at $26.50 per seat. It is 5:30pm for the 8pm show and 11:30am for the 2pm show.

As already mentioned you only get 2 seats per lottery win. IF you do get 2 lottery wins, you would have no problem purchasing one ticket, or reselling the second. But I have seen HUNDREDS of people in line for these.

If you can do without seeing it and am OK with it, this does offer a cheap option to see an excellent show.

BudgetQueen Feb 17th, 2008 05:29 AM

The lottery is also cash only.

Austin Feb 17th, 2008 06:44 AM

Lion King - My teen (and I) liked it even more than Hairspray.

Statue of Liberty - I'd take this off my list. See if from the ferry. The security lineto get in alone takes a little over an hour, and you can only go part way up. You really don't see anything differently than if you watch from the ferry. We all wished we hadn't gotten off the ferry.

april04 Feb 17th, 2008 10:34 AM

I think the ferry ride from Weehawken sounds convenient, yet expensive. Especially considering that we will have additional transportation costs once we are in the city. Is there a "pass" or weekly ticket that you can purchase for the subway? Is this the best way to get around, even in the evenings?

Also, someone had suggested the Hotel Newton to us on the upper west side. Would anyone else suggest this over the Salisbury?

We also will not be getting off at the Statue of Liberty. We were considering the free water taxi for our view. But we would still have to get to Ellis Island.

Along with the street vendors and deli's, we are looking for a affordable and interesting restaurant choices. Has anyone been to the Fraunces Tavern? Worth the trip?

Also, I think we will purchase our Legally Blonde tickets now, since that is the show that she really wants to see. Other than that, Wicked and Lion King are not at the top of her list. Surprisingly, she would like to see Young Frankenstein or Mary Poppins. Any good reviews for Grease?

Thanks everyone for all of the helpful tips!!

ellenem Feb 17th, 2008 01:44 PM

Everything you need to know about the MetroCard, the fare card for NYC subways and buses is at the sire below. There are pay-as-you-go cards as well as unlimited ride cards.

ellenem Feb 17th, 2008 01:53 PM

the site below

nytraveler Feb 17th, 2008 05:49 PM

The Newton is clean and reliable but VERY basic. The Salisbury is in a more central locations and is definitely a more pleasant hotel. I would only do the Newton if you can get a price that is way less - and allows you to do other things.

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