My husband and I booked a trip to New York, LA, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe and San Francisco for our Honeymoon last year. It was amazing- we flew between New York and LA and drove around California. Here’s my experience and recommendations on what to do and visit. 

New York was the first stop on our honeymoon. Once we’d landed, we got the bus from the airport (Newark) to the bus terminal (Port Authority) and walked through Times Square on our way to the hotel. I already felt a lot more British than I ever do in the UK, people commented on our accent when we spoke and wanted us to speak more so they could hear it. When they say ‘how are you’ in shops, they actually want a response as opposed to just getting what you want and quickly leaving, like in the UK. American people are really friendly!

Because of the time difference, it was only 1pm New York time when we landed, so we actually gained the afternoon. My husband went to get our New York Pass tickets, which we’d ordered before leaving the UK and could pick up from about 5 minute walk from Times Square. They seemed a bit expensive, but after a bit of maths and looking at the benefits, such as queue fast-tracking and bus tours, we decided they were worth it. Then we went out for dinner and had burgers (cliche, I know). After, we walked to the Rockefeller Centre to go to Top of the Rock, which is an observation deck over the city. From there, you could see the Empire State Building, Brooklyn bridge, Statue of Liberty, Central Park and the Chrysler Building. Originally, we had the Empire State Building in our itinerary, but some friends recommended going to the Rockefeller Centre instead, purely because you got stunning views of the Empire State Building as well. They weren't wrong.  It was heaving, lots of people all doing what we were doing which was looking at the sunset. It was worth doing though, a great way to see the city. A couple got engaged while we were there which was quite cool!

People were trying to get photos of the sunset:

 

which meant I had this view to myself!

Photos: Top of the Rock, Rockefeller Centre.

On the way back it was obviously dark, so we got to see Times Square in all its big screen, flashing glory (and do our best Glee/Smash impressions). Apparently, most of the buildings aren’t necessarily occupied, but because of the billboards they earn millions anyway. Times Square is also full of people trying to sell you things or give to homeless charities. One guy claimed to be Scottish once he found out we were English, and to be fair, it was a pretty good accent, but he was clearly putting it on. In the UK, we tend to avoid these kinds of sales because they’re most likely fake, but the guidebook says it’s the opposite here and they tend to be genuine.

Photo: Times Square at Night.

The next morning we had American pancakes with peaches for breakfast (another cliche) overlooking Times Square and then headed up Broadway to Central Park. We slowly walked through the park, because it was about 30 degrees, and stopped for a drink in an outdoor bar. We saw the lake, where we think some other people got engaged too- they were on a boat in the middle. We thought about singing and skipping through the park like in the film ‘Enchanted’, but thought better of it when some American teenage girls were saying the same thing. We didn’t walk all the way through the park, we came out at the Natural History Museum.

Photo: Central Park Lake

We didn’t stay long at the museum (I’ve written another post about the museums we visited), but saw the dinosaurs and a space and planet earth exhibit. We grabbed a hot dog and walked back through the park to our hotel. By now it was really hot, so we were quite glad to spend the afternoon watching Matilda on Broadway (thank god for air con in theatres!). It was amazing, it took a while to get used to the fact that they were singing with (their interpretation of) British accents, but for such a simple concept of kids in school, the music and choreography was very well linked, which you don’t always see. The kids’ acting and performance was incredible- I honestly don’t think you get that in the UK to the same standard.

Photo: Matilda on Broadway

After Matilda, we wandered down to Grand Central station via 5th avenue. Then we got a cab to meet a friend for tea.

On our last day in New York we jumped on a sight seeing bus included in our pass. We drove through some of the districts like the Meat Packing District, Greenwich village, Little Italy, China Town and the Financial District and saw some of the architecture and buildings different from the humongous skyscrapers we’d seen near Times Square. We got off at the Statue of Liberty, got the ferry over to Liberty Island and then Ellis Island. There were lots of American tourists going to see the statue, all talking about how amazing it was to see the national symbol, which made me think we don’t really have anything like that for Britain where we get that excited and patriotic. It was also great to see views of the skyline of Manhattan. Ellis Island Museum was interesting because only a 100 years ago people were still being processed there on their way to america.

Photo: New York Skyline from Ellis Island

Next stop was to see the Brooklyn Bridge and the bus tour back up to Times Square via the 3 storey m&m shop. Jet lag had finally caught up with us, so we had an early dinner before packing for our LA flight the next day.

We managed to cram a lot into our 2.5 day itinerary. We planned it in advance, using the New York Pass website to make sure we got value for money. Ideally, we would have done the walking tour of Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Area included in the pass, and also have seen the National Memorial for September 11, which was more than feasible in the time we had, but we were limited by what I could physically manage due to my Adrenal Insufficiency. The New York Pass is a bit pricey on face value, but we thought it was worth it. Included were fast tracks to most of the attractions, discounted or free ticket entry to most attractions, city bus tours, walking tours and the app/guidebook which helped with planning and getting around. The fast tracks alone justified it in our minds- it meant we didn’t have to spend hours waiting in queues to purchase tickets. There was so much to see though- I’d love to go again and spend longer there!

Ok Then, What's Next?

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