24 Hours in New York City: Guide to a Local’s Travel Fix

24 Hours in New York City: Guide to a Local’s Travel Fix

Do you love to travel, but due to life’s commitments don’t always have the time? Do you like exploring new places, but can’t always afford a week away? I think many of us can relate, and that’s ok! There are many ways to feel like you’ve been on vacation without traveling too far or breaking the bank. For my family, a recent solution came with a night spent in New York City. Hotel and all.

For those of you who read this blog you know that my family and I live in the suburbs of New York City, about 35 minutes outside of the city. You also know that one of my favorite topics to talk about is local travel; one doesn’t need to go far away to experience the thrill of discovery and exploration. And one doesn’t need to spend a million dollars to have a vacation either.

Fall is always a hard time for us to travel, much as it is with a lot of people. The kids are back in school, studies have begun, and people are convening for all sorts of events after the summer holidays. Fall, calendar-wise, is busy. My girls also play soccer and don’t like to miss weekend games, and in fact I coach soccer, and I don’t like to miss games either. So we are generally around for most of the Fall, and don’t have much time to travel. What’s a travel-loving mom to do?

24 hours in New York city for local travel fix

Photo credit: Lauren Auriemma


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For us, the answer is day trips. Or in the case of a recent outing, a night trip! Being outside of New York half an hour away, I never really thought to spend the night at a hotel in the city. We’re so close. Why would we? Well, I’ll tell you why – because it was fabulous! Here’s what happened…

It was recently my daughter’s 10th birthday. For the past couple of years it’s been tradition to see a Broadway show every November for her birthday. I was late in the game this year and couldn’t find any decent Saturday or Sunday tickets to School of Rock, her musical of choice. And then it hit me: Election Day (a no-school day) at my girls’ school was on a Tuesday. Boom. Next thing I knew we had purchased tickets to School of Rock for that Monday night. No school on Tuesday = Monday night becoming a Saturday.

The great thing was, being a Monday night, tickets were cheaper and we saved a considerable amount of money on 4 tickets. But the really great thing was, I realized – why spend the night at home if we could spend the night in the city? The show was at 7:00 p.m., we wouldn’t get home until 11:00, and then have to pop back on the train again the next morning. You see, we had plans with my brother in New York on Election Day. So I figured, we might as well spend the night, and make a night and day of it.

With the busy Fall we’ve had and not being able to get away, it was the perfect solution to all our travel cravings – a night out in the Big Apple! Being tourists in our own backyard. It was a great way to get away from the every day and have that exciting feeling of being somewhere different, and it also didn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Walk through Central Park for 24 hours in New York City travel fix.

I did a search for hotels on Trip Advisor and found a great deal at a perfectly nice hotel in Midtown, the Park Central Hotel. We’re not talking amazing, but the rooms were modern and clean, the beds some of the most comfortable of any hotel I’ve been to, and a nice, big lobby to greet us. It was $159 before taxes – for NYC that is a steal! Especially for 4 people! My other go-to site (or actually, app) is Hotel Tonight. But for 4 people you are not guaranteed 2 beds so I didn’t want to take the risk.


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Anyways, there are ways to stay in and experience New York without breaking the bank. It’s just all about timing. And there are ways to feel like you’ve escaped the mundane hum-drum of the every day: our night consisted of dinner at Trattoria Dell’Arte (a New York pre-theatre classic), a walk through the theatre district, a Broadway show, dessert after, and TV in bed. Pure bliss!

The next morning we (my girls and I – husband went off to work) went out for breakfast at a local diner and then headed up to the American Museum of Natural History. There are some interesting exhibits going on right now, plus the museum is located on the edge of Central Park, so we figured we could have a quintessential New York fall day consisting of a museum, stroll through Central Park to see the changing trees, followed by lunch. We met up with my brother and nephew and did just that.

The whole day was made easy by the fact that we spent the night in the city. No train, we could just walk out of the hotel into the streets of New York like a tourist and go play! It was a totally different take on our time spent in the city, and a special way to celebrate my daughter’s birthday.

When we came back home, it felt as if we had taken a mini vacation. We’re not in the city all that often, so for my girls it was an amazing way to experience the buzz of New York. So if you’re in need of an escape, but don’t have the time or money for a longer vacation, consider a night out in the city. Not just in New York, but whichever city you may live near. It can make a world of a difference!

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24 hours in New York City for local travel fix.

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Wander Mum
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25 Comments

  1. November 16, 2017 / 3:19 am

    I can imagine living 35 min away is pretty nice instead of living directly in NY! Day trips are the best, but I know what you mean about never staying the night. I feel that way about Nuremberg and Munich. I’ve never stayed the night just because but for other reasons why does make it nice because then you can squeeze more in! #FarawayFiles
    PS. Congrats on becoming a host! You’re a perfect fit!

  2. November 16, 2017 / 3:50 am

    That sounds like you and your kids had such a great time! Also being able to watch a Broadway Musical for my birthday every year sounds like a dream!!! #FarawayFiles

    • November 17, 2017 / 9:46 am

      Ha – yeah, she’s pretty darn lucky!!

  3. November 16, 2017 / 7:03 am

    I miss being able to take day trips to New York, or even a quick overnight! It’s not that far from where we lived in CT, but it feels like a world away when you’re wandering below the skyscrapers! #FarawayFiles

    • November 17, 2017 / 9:48 am

      Oh I know, it really does! It’s a different world being out of the city, which for me is a good thing – I love having access but after living there for 12 years I had had my fill ;).

  4. Clare Thomson
    November 16, 2017 / 7:38 am

    I just LOVE the sound of this, Corey. It makes it so much more special if you get to spend the night there too and more relaxing. We live an hour away by train from London and often miss out on evenings there because we can’t get a train home. Staying there is a wonderful idea. I bet your daughter had one of her best birthdays here. #FarawayFiles

    • November 17, 2017 / 9:49 am

      It was a really special birthday and perfect for her 10th – and made me feel less guilty as I still have not thrown her bday party yet!

  5. November 16, 2017 / 12:52 pm

    I much prefer a suburb. Love those autumnal colours

    • November 17, 2017 / 9:51 am

      I like living in the suburbs and having access to the city. Psychologically, I need to know it’s there ;).

  6. November 16, 2017 / 1:37 pm

    This is such a great post! As you know I am always a tourist in my own town! I love your idea of renting a hotel room and staying overnight we still need to do that here in our city. You hit up some of my favorite NY Attractions… we LOVE the Natural History Museum. Hoping I get your way sometime soon… #farwayfiles

    • November 17, 2017 / 9:52 am

      We are both lucky to live in fabulous cities with so much to offer. Hard to not take for granted sometimes!

  7. pigeonpairandme
    November 16, 2017 / 3:32 pm

    What a lovely idea! We live in London, and I’m always tempted to stay in a hotel right in the centre of town. Perhaps I should follow your lead and just go for it. I’m keen to see School of Rock, too! #FarawayFiles

    • November 17, 2017 / 9:53 am

      It was great! The lead (Jack Black’s character) was fantastic. Definately recommend!

  8. katherinefenech2017
    November 16, 2017 / 3:57 pm

    That’s a great outlook, I’ve been thinking about doing this in San Francisco for a while. I’m about the same distance away and while it’s great to visit on a Saturday, I think it’d be so much easier to stay overnight and have the whole weekend. #FarawayFiles

    • November 17, 2017 / 9:55 am

      Do it! It makes everything so much easier and you can squeeze so much more in too. It was so nice to come back and feel like we had been on a mini vacation.

  9. November 17, 2017 / 3:16 am

    Perfect solution to a busy fall (autumn) :). My excuse for staying in is always that I’m too busy at work, and this post is a reminder that there are always adventures on your door step. Great read and great pics 🙂

    • November 17, 2017 / 9:57 am

      Thanks so much. I hear you. Work can take over. Local travel can be underrated, but it shouldn’t ;).

  10. November 19, 2017 / 9:10 am

    NYC is my dream destination and this has been the most practical guide I’ve read in a while, Corey! How many days would you recommend staying there?

    • November 19, 2017 / 8:38 pm

      Thank you so much! Ah, you could spend a week in New York and still have so much to see. However, I often like to say 5 days is a good amount – NYC is expensive and it’s also a beast of a city, so I think 5 nights is the perfect amount for first timers. You can see a lot in 3 days, though if you can spend 5. Thanks for reading!

  11. November 25, 2017 / 4:05 pm

    What an awesome 10th birthday!! SUCH a good idea to get a hotel and not have to rush around as well as get a mini vacation. You’re giving me some ideas! Thanks for linking #citytripping

    • November 26, 2017 / 6:46 pm

      Thanks Elizabeth – it really was the perfect mini break!

  12. November 29, 2017 / 4:50 pm

    I think Fall is the perfect time to visit NYC – leaves are turning, weather can be wonderful and the color of the leaves is lovely! How lucky to have such a place so close to explore! #FarawayFiles, Erin

    • December 1, 2017 / 1:49 am

      Yes, we really do have the best of both worlds where we live!

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