Why buy a New York City Explorer Pass instead of a New York CityPass?

The New York City Explorer Pass and the New York CityPASS are two of the biggest multi-attraction passes in New York. Both products offer discounted admission to some of the city’s top attractions, but they’re in fact quite different. Taking into account factors like available attractions, flexibility of use, and savings potential, the New York City Explorer Pass comes out on top.

We’ll begin with a comparison of the two products and then get into specifics about how you save.

Included New York Tourist Attractions 

New York City Explorer Pass 

Because the product includes more than 50 attractions, it’s impractical to list them all here. Instead, check out a selection of their most popular offerings.

New York CityPass

  • Empire State Building
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Top of the Rock OR the Guggenheim Museum
  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island OR Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum OR Intrepid Museum

The New York City Explorer Pass includes all of the same attractions (or comparable attractions) as the New York CityPass without any either/or choices. This is especially a big bonus in a market like New York, where some of the biggest attractions are positioned as exclusionary choices with the CityPass, including the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, and the Top of the Rock. It’s also unlikely that visitors will want to see both the Empire State Building and the Top of the Rock (the more popular of the two), but you’d want to choose the Top of the Rock anyway to maximize your savings.

How You Save 

The New York City Explorer Pass can save you up to 45% on combined admission prices, and their website offers real customer savings testimonials that often exceed that percentage. Customers saved hundreds of dollars per family!

One of the most popular aspects of this pass is the flexibility in attraction choice. You can select what you want to see as you go along, with your choice of 3, 5, 7, or 10 attractions, no need for either/or decisions. See what you want over the course of 30 full days!

There are also simply more ways to save with this product. Dozens of attraction combinations will save you the maximum advertised value, or even more!

The New York CityPass advertises that it can save you up to 42% on combined admission prices (so no real difference there), but your savings percentage is heavily dependent upon which attractions you choose.

You’re also more limited in attraction choice, taking into account the exclusions and the much narrower selection to begin with. You only have 9 consecutive days to visit each attraction, which doesn’t end up being a lot of time when you’re interested in making multiple trips to NYC.

In order to make the most of the pass, you have to choose certain attractions. If you want to maximize your savings, you have to see both the Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building, something that most visitors to NYC don’t choose to do. You also need to opt for the sightseeing cruise over the Statue of Liberty – and who wants to do that?

How Do I Use Them?

Both products serve as your admission ticket to the included attractions, but they otherwise work in different ways with different benefits.

The New York CityPass is a booklet of paper tickets that you order online or buy in person. You bring the booklet to each attraction, they tear off the appropriate ticket, and then you dispose of the book when you’re done.

The New York City Explorer Pass offers more delivery and usage options. If you choose a physical card (it looks like a credit card), it can be shipped or picked up in person in New York. Many customers choose to keep the card as a souvenir after their trip!

Or, if you prefer to be a little more high tech (or are a last-minute planner), the instant delivery option is a big win. Get the pass e-mailed directly to you immediately after purchase, and display it on a smartphone for admission. If you don’t have or don’t want to use a smartphone, you could also just print it out. This is a really popular option with customers.

What’s the Real Difference? 

The major difference between these two passes has to do with your preferred style of travel. If you like more flexibility and freedom in planning your itinerary, you’ll likely prefer the wider range of attraction choices and greater duration of the New York City Explorer Pass. You also don’t have to deal with exclusionary choices or a more restrictive path to greater savings.

If you only have a few specific attractions in mind, then New York CityPass may be a decent option. However, this also limits you in terms of choosing between those few attractions, in which attractions you need to choose to max out your savings, and flexibility in purchasing.

Extra Details

The New York City Explorer Pass features a number of diverse walking tours and bus tours, providing better opportunities to really get to know NYC culture. From food tours to T.V. and movie tours and beyond, you’ll find plenty to enjoy.

Both products come with additional discounts on things like dining, shopping, and entertainment. They also both come with a free area map.

The New York City Explorer Pass also includes a free, full-color guidebook that’s packed with useful info about each attraction, various neighborhoods you may encounter, and even free attractions.

Both products offer skip-the-line benefits at selected attractions.

The New York City Explorer Pass even includes a number of attractions in Brooklyn and the Bronx, allowing you to more fully explore all that NYC has to offer.

Last Thoughts

Deciding between a New York City Explorer Pass and a New York CityPass? Taking into account factors like flexibility, convenience, and ways to save, the answer seems clear. The New York City Explorer Pass is truly the best way to maximize your fun and your savings on your next vacation.

24-Hour Guide to Manhattan

Historic landmarks, world-renowned museums, the flashing lights of Broadway- New York has a few things to offer its 50-plus million tourists each year. But it could take a lifetime to uncover all the sights sounds, smells and tastes of America’s biggest city. Just ask one of its 8.5 million residents, New York is a tough nut to crack.

Some travelers just do not have that kind of time. They need to experience the highlights of New York in a quick, jam-packed trip of a lifetime.

For those who have an extra-long layover or find themselves just driving through, here’s a 24-hour guide to conquering (or at least beginning to experience) New York’s glitziest borough: Manhattan.

Grand Central Terminal Audio Tour
Travelers taking the train in from one of the region’s nearby cities should take it all the way to Grand Central Station, New York’s transit mecca and the largest train station in the world. Unbeknownst to many New Yorkers who pass through every day, the terminal is over a century old and packed with juicy secrets. Grab a headset from a GCT Tour window located on the main concourse for an audio-guided trek through the station. Those who are short on time can opt for the 30-minute express version.

Bagel Time
It’s breakfast time, which in New York means it’s bagel time. Head west on 42nd Street from Grand Central and south on Fifth Avenue to walk through part of New York’s famed high-end shopping district. Turn west again on 35th and walk 2.5 city blocks to Best Bagel & Coffee. Fuel up here or grab some lox to go and get to Penn Station at 34th Street and 7th Avenue. Hop on the IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line 1 Train going north. Next stop: Columbus Circle.

Central Park Bicycle rentals
Welcome to Central Park. Several bicycle rental companies are waiting near Columbus Circle at the corner of 59th Street and Central Park West. Snag an hourly rental and head deep into the trees or follow the trails to the zoo on the east side of the park near 65th Street. Take in a Zen moment at the Strawberry Fields memorial honoring Beatles legend John Lennon at the Columbus Circle corner of the park when it’s time to return the bikes.

Empire State Building
Get back on the same subway line, this time headed south to 34th Street Herald Square. Look up and find the Empire State Building. Now book it! It’s almost 11:30 a.m. and that’s when the lines start to get really long here! Take the elevator up 1,250 feet for the highest view of New York City (the radio antenna sits at a city-high 1,467-feet).

Empire State Building

Grub Time
That bagel and coffee are wearing off and it’s time to eat again. A 12-minute walk or 7-minute subway ride on the M1 or M2 south will bring visitors to the heart of the Flatiron District with several lunch options. For pastrami and sour pickle fans out to see where Harry Met Sally, head back to the subway at Herald Square and take a 15-minute ride on the F line to 2nd Avenue. Five blocks east on Houston Street, enter Katz’s Delicatessen. Take a ticket and DON’T LOSE IT until lunch is OVER. For foodies who are looking to spend their 24-hours eating and drinking through Manhattan, check out the Food on Foot tours instead.

9/11 Tribute Center
If there is any place during this 24-hour, non-stop day of sight-seeing to really slow down and take everything in, it’s here. Visit the Gallery or take the 1-hour 15-minute guided tour of the 9/11 Memorial, led by survivors, first responders, and family members of loved ones lost on that tragic day in American history. Gallery visits are $15 per adult and $5 for children ages 8-12 and guided tours are $25 for adults, $10 for children. Tours are often booked out days or weeks in advance, so book ahead of time.

Staten Island Ferry
From the 9/11 Tribute Center, take the 1 Train south to the tip of Manhattan, South Ferry Station. For those with time and energy to walk, there is a photo opportunity with the Charging Bull on Wall Street between the two stops. Ferries depart from the Whitehall Terminal in Manhattan every half hour. No tickets are necessary, but there may be lines to board. Ferry-goers will get great views of the Statue of Liberty and of the Manhattan skyline. Passengers must get off the ferry on Staten Island but are generally allowed right back on the same boat headed back.

Grab a Slice
It’s time for dinner and this 24-hour guide has yet to stop anywhere near a slice of New York style pizza. A short walk from South Ferry Station toward Hanover Square is Adrienne’s Pizza Shop at 54 Stone Street. Since there’s nowhere to go but north, there are a string of places to grab a slice on the way up to New York’s iconic Times Square.

Times Square, Broadway
After a full day of stuffy subway cars and walking long city blocks, it’s time to take a load off. First, snap a few photos in Times Square to properly mark this 24-hour trip that has flown by. Then head over to one of the city’s top Broadway shows. Whether it’s a long-time favorite like the Lion King or Fiddler on the Roof, or one of the popular, newer additions to the theater scene like Book of Mormon or Finding Neverland, finishing the day at the theatre will be the perfect ending to 24-hours of non-stop, Big Apple fun.

 

New York may be the city that never sleeps, but after this quick trip, you will be happy you still do.

Top 10 reasons to go to New York City

Art museums
Some of the world’s most famous art can be found within the numerous art museums in New York City. Some of the most famous New York museums include The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Two lesser-known but intriguing places to visit are The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCa) and The New York Tattoo Museum.

US history
One visit to New York City can teach you a great deal about the United States. Visit Ellis Island, the gateway to America for millions of 19th-century immigrants who arrived to its port seeking freedom and opportunity, and enjoy the same first view of the Statue of Liberty that the immigrants beheld when first arriving on America’s shores. You won’t want to visit NYC without viewing its impressive skyline from the astounding heights of the Empire State Building, once the tallest skyscraper in the world.

Unique shopping opportunities
Famous for opulent department stores like Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, New York City is a shopper’s dream: from couture fashions costing thousands of dollars to small vintage and thrift shops where you can find designer jeans for the price of a sandwich, New York is not only a fun place to shop, it is the place to shop…for just about everything!

Cultural diversity
A city of immigrants, New York retains its unique cultural flavor as much today as it did centuries ago. This unique blend of ethnicities and cultures has influenced every aspect of city life: you can find art, cuisine, clothing and literature in just about any language. Check out Little India, Chinatown and Borough Park (also called Boro Park), home to one of the largest Orthodox Jewish communities in the world.

Parks and Public Spaces
Central Park is a great first choice to take the family- you could spend hours, if not days enjoying the 873 acres of the park. Children will enjoy The Central Park Zoo, and there are no less than 21 children’s parks within the park! Athletic families will appreciate Central Park’s walking and bike tours, and everyone will enjoy concerts in the park. You could even take a cue from the locals and pack a picnic for a leisurely family lunch in the park. Other parks to visit include Bryant Park and Madison Square Park.

Festivals and concerts
Musicians have long flocked to New York City to become famous, or at least make a living playing music. Consequently, NYC is one of the best places for music lovers of all genres. Music is in the air in New York City. At any given time, you can find exuberant street musicians playing in parks, cafes and even in the subway station. There are always multiple concerts taking place in venues such as Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden.

Top-notch theatre performances
Broadway is the place to catch a live, world-class show. This thespian hotspot runs throughout Manhattan into Westchester Country, and it is considered the cultural axis of the American theatre industry.

Diverse dining opportunities
There are literally thousands of restaurants in New York City. You can sample foreign fare from around the globe. While some of New York’s most extravagant restaurants can cost over $200 per person, you can also enjoy the relatively inexpensive, famous New York take-out, as well as street vendor favorites like kosher hot dogs and tacos.

Great urban bicycling routes
There are five major urban bike route options in New York City, ranging from five to fifteen miles in distance. Try the scenic North Country and South County Trailways, located just outside city limits in Westchester County.

New York Nightlife
The late-night social scene starts well after 10:00pm in New York City. Famous clubs include the 40/40 Club, The Bowery Ballroom and Table 50. Most nightclubs charge a cover, and many have a dress code. It seems as though a new club is opening every other day in New York, so if you like to dance you can find everything from dubstep to salsa music on any given night of the week.

Summer Is the Season…for Broadway!!

Visitors to New York City this summer will have a lot of activities on their lists. From the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building to the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the cultural wonders of the Big Apple could literally keep you busy for months. However, summertime is a special time in the City for one more reason: the end of the Broadway show season means discount tickets.

Why Everyone Should Go to Broadway at Least Once

You don’t need to be Rachel Barry or even know who she is to appreciate the cultural wonder that is the American Musical Theatre. Whether or not you can stand random breaks into song, it’s worth it just to see the storied theatre spaces themselves that grace the Great White Way.  This includes the Gershwin on West 51st Street, the Imperial on West 45th Street, and the Marquis Theatre on Broadway itself.

However, not all Broadway shows are musicals besides and going to Broadway in the summertime gives visitors the best opportunities to see some of last season’s hottest shows at a discount rate, before the new season begins in the fall.

A Special Hint

There is one, specific time when Broadway tickets are at their lowest: the first 10 days in July. For whatever reason (maybe Independence Day?) this period is the slowest every year. Theatre owners would rather fill seats than play to near-empty house, leaving ticket discounts of up to 50% for pre-purchases.

For an added bonus, those willing to go to a theatre on the day of a performance may be able to snag rush and standing room only tickets for as low as $25-$35 and still get decent seating because of the lull in audiences. Students (with a valid ID) are actually subject to more rush ticket opportunities – definitely a path worth considering.

What’s Hot This Summer

For the summer of 2012, there are many great shows playing in New York that are worth seeing. A personal favorite, Wicked, is currently at the Gershwin. For those less inclined to music Tennessee Williams’ perennial hit A Streetcar Named Desire is at the Broadhurst. Other favorites, both old and new, such as Phantom of the Opera (Majestic), Mama Mia! (Winter Garden) and The Book of Mormon (Eugene O’Neil) are all great bets as well.

New York in Summer: Go North to the Hudson Valley

Summertime vacations to the Big Apple are a rich time to explore all the many treasures that the City has to offer. From ferry rides to Broadway, a tourist could spend a year in New York and never get bored. However, even with all that action, there is plenty more entertainment and fun waiting for visitors due north of the City in New York’s acclaimed Hudson Valley. Whether merely a day trip on Metro North railroad or a weekend spent outside of the city limits, visitors to the New York metro area may be surprised with what memories they can make a little way north.

Shopping at The Commons

Though Fifth Avenue is known worldwide as the center of shopping in New York City, that center comes with a hefty price tag. Buying an outfit from Saks, for example, can run in the triple digits.

Hudson Valley in Autumn

If coming to New York means shopping, taking a short bus ride outside of the city to the Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets in Central Valley can mean more bang for the proverbial buck with all the style New York is known for. In addition, many tourist passes, such as the New York City Explorer Pass come with the option of a bus trip to the Commons in the purchase price.

While most outlet malls are staples for larger, cheaper brands like Gap and Columbia, Woodbury is also home to all the most sought-after designers from the City’s streets. Woodbury Commons offers shoppers over 220 outlet stores and features designer labels like Gucci, Dior, Jimmy Choo, and Lacoste. With its proximity to New York, many of the styles featured at the Woodbury outlets are far more current than other outlet stores in different parts of the country. However, the prices will match to bargain hunting anywhere else.

Shakespeare en plein air

Broadway is an amazing sight to see for anyone travelling to New York. Many people make annual pilgrimages to the Great White Wayfor the express purpose of enjoying their favorite modern stage productions. However, for fans of a more Renaissance version of the theatre, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival held each summer at the Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison, NY is a must-see.

Each season for the past 25 years, the actors of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival present two different shows, one comedy and one tragedy, on the historic grounds of the Boscobel mansion, a restored Federal period home which was constructed between 1804 and 1808. The theatre is set up outdoors and visitors are invited to enjoy a picnic on the grounds overlooking the Hudson River prior to the show.

The 2012 season at the Boscobel will feature the timeless Romeo & Juliette along with the comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost. Each show runs on alternating days (except Mondays) from June 12 through September 2, 2012. Adult tickets start as low as $27 and children’s tickets begin at only $18.50 for performances during the week. Additionally, there are packages that include a picnic dinner, wine and cheese tastings, and family nights.

New York: Don’t Set Limits

When it comes to visiting, the sky is the limit. There are New York attractions, shows, and tours  enough to keep you busy long after your time to visit has expired. However, expanding your sights past the city itself can open additional doors for fun, adventure, and even a little shopping.

What Have a Great Time in New York: Attend a Live Taping

If you are visiting New York and want a once-in-a-lifetime experience, consider attending the taping of your favorite New York-based show. Oftentimes, the tickets are free and easy to apply for. However, the process of getting into a studio audience is a bit nuanced. Depending on the show you want to see, and whether it’s taped or live, becoming a studio audience member in New York requires various strategies.

Decide on the Show

Which show you may be able to attend depends entirely on personal preference and ticket availability. Clearly, it will be harder to see seasonal shows during the summer and holiday seasons when many hosts are on break, but live tapings of New York staples such as the Today Show and Good Morning America occur seven days a week, year round. Other shows, such as The View and Live! With Kelly are recorded live each day when in season. Finally, syndicated shows like The Rachel Ray Show, Letterman, and Dr. Oz are taped midweek during various times and then played a few weeks later.

To increase your chance of success, study the audience patterns of your particular show on its website as well as discussion boards and learn when the best times to attend are. Generally speaking, spring, summer and the holidays are tough since many tourists visit the city and gobble up stand-by tickets. Though interns have been known to “hand out” tickets to shows like Letterman at various tourist spots in the City, getting these is pure right place, right time luck. Your best bet, therefore, is attending “off season.” If you have the ability to visit in January and February, for example, you are more likely to get a seat fast.

Know Your Options and Show Up Early

Morning talk shows that film people “on the street” do not offer tickets, but rather rely on a first come, first served system of self-governance among their viewers. During special seasons such as Today’s Summer Concert Series, people will line up before dawn to see their favorite stars perform live for free, though, so the time you need to show up will change according to the show’s docket. Generally, the earlier the better though.

Live shows and many taped shows as well do offer physical tickets to viewers, but many are overbooked to accommodate no-shows and avoid empty studio seats. If you have a ticket to one of these tapings, do not arrive at the latest possible moment. Shows like The View suggest arriving no later than 9:30, but for a good seat you need to be there by 8.

Finally, if you cannot get tickets to your show of choice, you always have the option of arriving and standing on the stand-by line. Though stand-by members almost always get seated in the back of the studio, on days with inclement weather and those during the “off” season, your likelihood of getting into the audience is greatly increased. Stand-by is also first come, first served however, so showing up early is the way to go.

Be Patient

If you absolutely have your heart set on a particular show and are wary of the gamble of stand-by, the best option that you have is patience. Many shows such as Live! and The View have wait lists that stretch a year or more! Being flexible is the best way to get results.

The good news is, for those close enough or dedicated enough to travel to New York more than once, many shows will “give up” tickets faster to repeat customers. However, you generally need to wait between six months and a year before they will let you join the audience again, so pay attention to the fine print!

New York Holiday Traditions

New York Holiday Traditions

Tourists visiting New York City this holiday season have more than a couple options when it comes to sights, sounds and shopping. Christmastime in New York is truly magical. From the window displays on 5th Avenue and ice skating in Central Park to watching the Rockettes at Radio City and losing yourself in the 30,000 lights of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, finding activities on a cold winter’s day in the Big Apple is a simple as stepping outside your hotel door. New York is a city ripe with holiday tradition that you cannot miss. Here’s a rundown of the most famous “must see” attractions of the New York holiday season.

Ice skaters having fun in New York Central Park

  1. 5th Avenue Christmas Displays
    It’s no secret that the streets of New York are a shopper’s mecca, from 5th Avenue’s finest stores to the diamond district to the incredible “deals” in Chinatown, buying holiday gifts in New York is a truly unique experience. However, the simple joy of window shopping can be just as fulfilling.All along 5th Avenue, some of the most famous department stores in the world, including Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman, and Barney’s, decorate their windows each winter to display the magic of the season and add some pizazz to your window shopping. There’s no shame in dressing up, walking the streets of New York and admiring the beauty and the immense work that goes into creating these unique windows each year. In a city full of glamour, this element stands above the rest.
  2. Skating in the Park
    Central Park is an institution in New York. During the summer months, businessmen, college students and stay-at-home moms alike can be found enjoying the sun on a blanket and reveling in some of the only “greenery” available in this concrete jungle. During the winter months, another great tradition begins: ice skating. Many people don’t realize that there are actually two ice rinks available in Central Park during the winter months. The Wollman Rink is located on the east end of the park near the zoo. It is open beginning in November with reasonable weekday rates for adults ($10.25) children ($5.50) and seniors ($4.75). Skating here can be a nice appendage to a day at the zoo (yes, they’re open in the winter, too) which is included in the New York Pass.The other rink, the Lasker Rink, is in the middle of Central Park, between 106th and 108th Street. Prices are cheaper here $6.25 for adults, $3.50 for youth, and $2.25 for seniors and do not vary according to the day of the week.
  3. The Radio City Rockettes
    Though the price of a ticket to the annual “Christmas Spectacular” are a bit high, $45-$179 at non-peak times or $55-$250 during peak, the experience of the Rockettes is well worth the splurge, especially if you have a special little girl to take to the show. As a child, going to Radio City at Christmas can be an almost ephemeral experience. Between the bright lights, the gold and silver decorations and the magical beauty of the Rockettes, the memories of seeing this show will last a life time.This year, Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular has been remastered to include the Rockettes in a 3-D video game-inspired number. Capitalizing on 21st century technology as well as the old tradition of precision dance, this element of the famous show catapults viewers into a virtual land of wonder sure to excite the child in us all.Even if you cannot make the show, consider touring Radio City during the holiday season as an option on both the New York Pass and the New York City Explorer Pass. The decorations themselves are worth a look.
  4. The Rockefeller Tree
    There are few annual traditions as iconic as the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Taking place on Wednesday, November 30th this year, the 74-foot Norway spruce looks stunning day and night. The decorations this year include 30,000 LED lights that stretch for 5 miles and a Swarovski crystal star. The multi-colored LED lights used this year are the “greenest” ever and the tradition of turning the donated tree into lumber for Habitat for Humanity will continue again at the end of the season.Pairing a trip to the famous tree with one of the many great tours available on New York’s tourist passes, such as the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, is a great way to spend the day and see this massive tree from more than one angle. Also, make sure you take the time to see the tree at night to get its full effect. Then, enjoy ice skating just below it at the Rockefeller Center rink or dine at the food court located just inside.

CityPass Recognized by International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA)

In May of 2011, the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) announced that it would recognize CityPass as a Silver Level Global Partner. As one of the leading organizations in the LGBT tourism industry, the membership of CityPass among IGLTA’s partners is an important step in both generating business through new markets for CityPass as well as extending an understanding and welcoming hand to all travelers who wish to see some of the best sights in 11 top cities at a discounted price.

Golden Gate Bridge

IGLTA partners with every tourism facet from airlines to hotels to travel agents and tour offices. It has been around since 1983 with the sole purpose of uniting businesses in the LGBT tourism industry with one another. Recently, they have expanded operations to help identify for the LGBT community those individuals and organizations who want to reach out to the ever-expanding LGBT market.

CityPass, as an active tourism option in both New York and San Francisco, has always been in the market for LGBT tourists and the Silver Level Partnership is merely a formalized step in reaching a market they have always embraced. As San Francisco Travel’s CEO, Joe D’Alessandro explained recently, the addition of an IGLTA membership, particularly at the Silver level and above, is a formal commitment to the LGBT travel market. CityPass is expressly pledging to make the LGBT travel experience in any of its 11 cities a valuable and warm one.

CityPass was founded in San Francisco in 1997 and has since expanded its market to New York, Chicago, Toronto, Boston, Hollywood, Seattle, Philadelphia, Houston, Atlanta and Southern California. Its passes are valid for 9 days (this is extended to 14 days in Southern California) and allows users discounted access to up to six of each city’s best attractions.

The Statue of Liberty and Manhattan

CityPass is known for allowing its users VIP entry to most of its sights and its versatility is unique in the travel pass industry since online purchase, though easy, is not necessary. All attractions that accept CityPass also sell them.

Geocaching in New York City – A New Way to See the Sights

Ever heard of geocaching?  Started in England over a decade ago, this high-tech treasure hunting game has really taken off in recent years with the proliferation of smart phones and GPS devices. “Cachers,” as they are called, range in age from infants to adults and use handheld GPS devices, a series of clues, as well as coordinates to find treasures, or caches, hidden outdoors. Though generally thought of as a rurally-based activity (many caches are hidden in parks, preserves and off of mountainous walking paths) geocahing is popular everywhere in the world, including New York City.

With organizations like the Metro New York Caching Society along with literally millions of people walking the streets on any given week, New York is a ripe concrete jungle full of hidden treasures you never thought were there. Whether you’re an experienced cacher and frequent poster on geocaching.com forums, or a newbie looking for a great way to walk around New York on your next visit, geocaching in the Big Apple may be a great option for you.

However, aside from the regular rules of always leaving something of equal or greater value that that which you take from a cache and making sure to sign the log book and register your Travel Bugs online, there are additional precautions and considerations that you need to take when caching in New York. Here are the two most important to note:

  1. Remember the buildings
    If you are used to relying on your GPS coordinates to help you find a cache, it is important to note that the sheer number of really, really tall buildings in New York can often block or distort a signal. For those not willing to give up the crutch of the GPS, finding parks and other more open areas is a great first choice. More daring cahcers or those who know the city a bit better may be willing to use coordinates as merely a guide and then let the clues do the rest.
  2. Beware the muggles
    As any good geocacher knows, those who do not participate in our little game are called muggles. Since New York is so populous, the added element of appearing discrete is even more important when caching in the city. There have been incidents when a bomb squad was called because a muggle found a cache and there are a lot of people, especially in more crowded areas that will get suspicious and nervous if you are hunting around too much. It is therefore even more important that cahcers in New York practice discretion and respect that a lot of people will not understand what it is you are doing, even the police.

Geocaching in New York City is an amazing way to spice up an already diverse vacation. The added benefit of walking in some of the amazing parks peppered around New York as well as the additional adventure of avoiding the muggles while you cache can really add to the fun for the whole family. Geocaching is definitely a great option for all those looking for a little more adventure in the City that Never Sleeps.

10 Cities to Consider for Your Next Vacation

When it comes to choosing a destination for your next vacation, many different factors come into play.  Climate, activities and cost are all aspects to consider when deciding where to travel to next, and with choices ranging from Oahu to Chicago to London, there are many cities worthy of a trip!  We’ve compiled this list of 10 places to consider visiting on your next trip to make your decision making process a little easier.

1. New York, New York. NYC is a city full of good food and fun, with more activities to do than you can imagine.  There are plenty of sights to see no matter what age you are!  From amazing zoos (Bronx, Queens and Central Park) to a tour of the Empire State Building to visiting the NBC Studio, there is truly something for everyone.  If music is your passion, there is much history to be enjoyed in New York City, so considering checking out Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden. And of course, don’t miss all the amazing museums New York has to offer, including the Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

The weather can vary – in the summer, temperatures and humidity levels are high, while the winter months will offer blustery days.  Fall days will provide a crisp feeling in the air, and picturesque streets with multicolored leaves covering the city.  Spring showers may bring flowers, but the fickle weather in spring has proven to be unpredictable. And though the city is beautiful in every season – you will want to visit when you are most comfortable walking city streets to see the sights.  Overall, NYC has amazing activities that are fun for the whole family – no matter when you decide to visit!

beach party Luau on Big Island Hawaii after sunset

2. Oahu, Hawaii. Hawaii is a beautiful state, and the island of Oahu has a lot to offer a tourist.  Since there is so much to do, it is recommended to invest in a Go Oahu card to enjoy activities and attractions at a discounted rate.  You can easily see all the sights of the island by taking a tour, including the Pearl Harbor and Honolulu City Tour or the full-day Grand Circle Island Tour.  And while in Oahu, you won’t want to miss the sea life native to the area, so be sure to check out Sea Life Park.  To see the sea life up close, consider kayaking, surfing or snorkeling!

Weather on Oahu is very stable – with most months averaging temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees, though the rainiest season is winter.  Even if it rains on your Hawaii parade – you will surely enjoy your trip full of gorgeous scenery, fascinating plant and animal life.

3. Los Angeles. Los Angeles, LA, The City of Angeles, LALA Land… whatever you call it, the city is a great place for a vacation trip!  If roller coasters, funnel cake and people watching are among your favorite pastimes – Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Knott’s Berry Farm are all within a reasonable distance from the city.  If movies are of interest to you, LA is the perfect place for you!  Don’t miss Universal Studios, Warner Brothers Studio Tour and Sony Pictures Studio Tour for a behind the scenes look.

The weather in Los Angeles varies a bit – with the best months to visit reported as April through June and September through October. In the summer you can expect sunshine and high temps, while the fall is cool, winter chilly and spring full of showers.

4. London. If your budget allows for a trip overseas, consider visiting the city of London.  There is so much to see, including the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Windsor Castle, Thames River cruise and much more. The London Zoo and the London Aquarium are great activity options for children and adults alike.

With rainfall being common – the highest temperatures are naturally in the summer, but winter temps rarely plunge below freezing.  London is a city with much to offer from beautifully designed buildings to precious views – it is worth the trek!

Tower Bridge - London

5. Boston. Though the weather can be fickle in New England, Boston is an amazing city to visit any time of year. With winter bringing snow, sleet, and all kinds of precipitation – you must be prepared to visit in wintertime – though the snow on the trees and buildings is very picturesque.  Spring showers are frequent, summer months are full of sunshine and warm weather, with autumn breezes blowing colorful leaves around your feet.

With some much history surrounding it, the city of Boston offers a great deal of activities.  Between the Freedom Trail, the Trinity Church, museums, memorials, breweries and of course, Fenway Park, you will be busy every day of your trip!

6. Chicago. Known as the “Windy City,” be prepared for the weather in Chicago!  While winters are cold, summers can be humid.  Spring and fall can also be chilly but offers great scenery for sightseeing!

With the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum and architectural tours at your disposal, you definitely won’t be bored during your stay.  And if you are, be sure you add SkyDeck Chicago, Hancock Observatory and the Navy Pier to your list of must-sees!

7. San Francisco. If you love beautiful sights, amazing seafood and unique culture, then the city of San Francisco is for you!  You’ll enjoy the view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Twin Peaks and the entire city – especially if you ride the cable cars.  If you’re a foodie – you’ll be in heaven, as the San Fran streets are full of restaurants and cafes.

San Francisco temperatures are on the cool side all year round, with summer temps averaging between 60 and 70 degrees – though winter weather does not bring temps much lower than 45 degrees.

8. Las Vegas. If you and your travel buddies are over 21, Las Vegas is a city you have to visit at least once!  Vegas is full of bars and clubs – if that is your kind of vacation, but there are also a great deal of entertainment options.  With shows ranging from The Lion King to Cirque du Soleil to David Copperfield, there is surely an event that will suit your interests.  And don’t miss the roller coasters on the strip – including theStratosphere Tower and The Roller Coaster at New York-New York!

With more than 300 days of sun a year, chances are you will be able to enjoy at least one sunny day on your trip! And since the weather is usually warmer and drier than other parts of the country, don’t forget your sun screen!

9. San Diego. Beaches, museums, parks, and more – San Diego has it all!  With so much to do, San Diego is a great city to visit with family and/or friends!  The beautiful weather – withtemperatures barely reaching below 50 degrees – allows for outdoor activities all year round.

When making your San Diego itinerary, don’t forget to plan for the San Diego Zoo, the USS Midway Museum, Torrey Pines State Reserve and SeaWorld San Diego!  With so much to do, your San Diego trip will be full, but if you have time, try to plan for the amazing beaches in San Diego as well!

10. Seattle. Though Seattle is known for its sometimes dismal weather, contrary to popular belief – it does not rain all the time!  While it does rain often, summertime (specifically the last half of July and the first half of August) is the driest time of the year in Seattle and winter is the wettest season.

And if it is raining – have no fear. There are plenty of indoor activities in Seattle that will make your vacation worthwhile, like the Museum of Flight, the Seattle Public Library and the Original Starbucks – a must visit for coffee lovers!  If you are visiting and the skies are clear, don’t miss Pike Place Market, Kerry Park and the Space Needle!

With 10 great recommendations of cities to consider for your next vacation – start planning today!  Whether you decide to visit Boston, explore Hawaii with the Go Oahu card or drink coffee in Seattle, we’re sure you’ll have a great time.