My husband and I traveled to New York City last month to celebrate our 12th anniversary. I did an internship in Manhattan after college (I was living there when he proposed to me, in fact!) and have visited a few times since, but this was our first time back in the city together and we had a serious to do list.
I’m a total planner when it comes to trips, so I spent a couple weeks figuring out what to do in NYC. It had only been a few years since I’d visited New York but so much changes so quickly there! (Happy to see they finally got wifi in the subway stations :))
While planning for our NYC trip, I discovered 5 apps that made my life SO MUCH EASIER by saving me time, money, and mental space. Check them out for your next visit to New York City:
Um, duh Lyndsey, doesn’t everyone already have this app? Yes, I’m sure you do — but I had to give it a shout out because it is sooo handy for navigating public transportation in NYC! Not only will it pull up all nearby subway & bus stops and transfers, but it tells you the exact time the next couple trains / buses are coming AND even tells you which direction to walk (i.e. “exit the NW corner”). This made it SO easy to get around the city — we used it constantly. We both got 7-day unlimited Metro Cards, which practically paid for themselves the first day and we never had to worry about keeping track of rides or transfers. We could ride subways and buses anywhere we needed to go. I also used Google Maps to save all the restaurants we wanted to try, so I could pull that up to find a nearby spot no matter where we were.
This museum should definitely be on your must-see list in NYC because it’s so moving and informational. Before you go, though, make sure you download the audio guide — it’s free in the app store, but takes forever to get it on the museum’s wifi (I learned this the hard way) — and bring your own headphones. Or, you can pay to rent a headset. The audio guide is a must-have to get the full museum experience.
One thing I really wanted to do on our trip was ride bikes in Central Park. There are plenty of bike rental tours and booths near the park, so if you want to go in a group or get an official rental you can pay upwards of $25/person. OR, you can rent a Citi Bike for cheap! We got the app and found available bikes in front of the Plaza Hotel, at the SE corner of Central Park — you can buy a day pass for $12, or just pay $3 for rides up to 30 min. We only needed a couple hours in the park and then we returned them — I think we ended up paying $12 but never had to swap bikes. It was so fun and easy, and we did it all through the app. They have 750(!) bike stations around NYC, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to find a bike anywhere you’re going.
Most people have heard of the famous TKTS booth in Times Square, where you can buy last-minute and often cheaper tickets for Broadway Shows. (FYI they also have less-crowded booths at South Street Seaport and Lincoln Center.) However — did you know they have an app? You can check ticket inventory in real time (instead of walking over there to discover the show you want is sold out!), plus pricing and info on ALL shows (Broadway, off Broadway, dance shows, etc.) happening in NYC.
Of course there are SO many amazing food places to try in NYC — it would be a shame to waste a meal on mediocre food just because you don’t know what’s good! That’s why Yelp is so handy. I compiled a list of 50+ NYC restaurants before our trip, based on recommendations from friends & my own research, but I loved checking reviews ahead of time, finding tips on best things to order, and being able to find menus & websites easily. Or, if you don’t have a specific place in mind, use the map to find something nearby.
Hope these are helpful for your next NYC trip! Leave a note in the comments if I’ve missed any must-have apps for New York City.