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Traveling to New York City can be a little intimidating, especially if it is your first time. There is nothing like visiting New York City— no matter what season. However, I happen to prefer the fall.
I was recently blessed with an opportunity to fly from California to New York to do press coverage for Food Network’s New York City Wine and Food Festival. Knowing that my days would start off first thing in the morning and last into the late hours of the night, I knew I needed a hotel that would be in the perfect location for anyone visiting a city as big and as busy as New York City. After doing some extensive research, all arrows pointed to DoubleTree by Hilton Metropolitan.
The Hilton is such a respectable hotel chain and I knew no matter where I was at, I would be in great hands with them. Plus, how can I resist those delicious warm cookies you get when you check in? Not particularly the only reason to stay at a DoubleTree, but it surely adds a big bonus!
I am always a little nervous when staying at a new hotel, but from the moment I walked in I was greeted with smiles and made a priority. I was early for my check-in, so they graciously held my bags for a small fee of $1 per bag. Something to be expected when traveling to a big city. While waiting for my room I had time to explore and soon realized how close the DoubleTree really is to all the hot spots! Being located on 51st and Lexington really has some incredible benefits! The subway is literally RIGHT next door and I took advantage of that a lot during my Food Network events. Not only is it close to the subway, it is within walking distance from:
- 5th Avenue (Walking distance—Can we say shopping heaven?)
- Chinatown (3.2 miles)
- Park Avenue (walking distance)
- United Nations (walking distance)
- NBC Studio Tour (walking distance)
- Central Park (walking distance)
- Radio City Music Hall (walking distance)
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral (walking distance)
- Wall Street (6 miles)
- Rockefeller Center (walking distance)
- Theater District (walking distance)
- Grand Central Station (walking distance )
- New York Public Library (walking distance)
- Times Square (walking distance)
- Penn Station (1.2 miles)
- Madison Square Garden (1.2 miles)
- Natural History Museum (walking distance)
- Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) (walking distance)
- Statue of Liberty (6 miles)
- Yankee Stadium (5.4 miles)
Our room was located on the 19th floor with an incredible view. The rooms at the Doubletree Metropolitan had been recently renovated and are gorgeous with a modern feel. Our room was spacious, which is a rare thing in New York City, perfect size for a weekend getaway or a family vacation. There’s nothing like trying to cram a family of four into a small hotel room. Granted you will probably be spending most of your time site-seeing, but it is nice to know you can breath a little without getting into each other’s space.
Because of the popular location, taxi cabs drive by ALL. THE. TIME! Don’t be scared to use the doorman from the hotel to hail you a cab. They are great about doing so and can offer some great recommendations on places to eat.
Here are some great tips I learned during my trip:
- Download the HopStop app on your smartphone (iPhone, Android and Windows). This is THE app to have and was truly a lifesaver. You can type in your destination address and choose whether you want to take the subway, taxi or bus. If you choose subway it tells you step by step how to get to the subway, what train to take, if you need to transfer, where to transfer and how to walk to your destination once off the subway. If you choose taxi, it will give you an estimated price of the cab fare.
- The subway really is the cheapest and fastest way to get around the city. You can go virtually anywhere for $2.50 one way!
- Taxi cabs take credit cards! BIG PLUS for me as I never carry cash.
- No need to spend a ton of money at restaurants. If you are on the go, street vendor food is AMAZING. There are a ton of them, and the best advice I received was from Food Network’s Andrew Zimmern. He noted to always remember “hot food hot, cold food cold.” There is a reason why some vendors have a line and some don’t.
- Best Italian pizza joint? Numero 28, East Village. Hands down the BEST pizza I have ever had in my life! Doesn’t it look delicious?
- If you decide to venture out to Brooklyn, Grimaldi’s is great and cheap as well, but expect to be waiting in line (outside) for over an hour.
- If you are planning on visiting the National September 11th Memorial, you HAVE to make an appointment. Don’t expect to show up and be able to see it because they usually run out daily, so reserve your tickets early in the day or a few days in advance. You can reserve your free pass HERE.
- Bring comfortable shoes! No matter if you cab everywhere or not, there will be walking involved, so make sure you bring shoes that are comfortable.
- Taxi changes are horrible. So about two times out of the day there is a change in drivers and pretty much EVERY single cab driver is not active. I learned that between 4-5p.m., it is better to either walk or hop on the subway to get where you need to go.
- New York City is truly the city that never sleeps. So no matter if you are an early riser or suffer from insomnia, there is always something to do!
- When in doubt, ask the employees at the hotel. They are here to help you and I really am thankful for the amazing staff at the DoubleTree Metropolitan!
*Big thanks to DoubleTree by Hilton Metropolitan for providing me a room free-of-charge during my stay. All opinions are my own!