General advice on hotels:
Keep in mind September - December is the most expensive time to visit NYC. Great deals can be had July & August, and January – March. While last minute deals can be found, our experience can shown us that it’s best to book your hotel several months in advance while the hotels occupancy rate is low. Case in point, we booked a 2-bedroom suite for 2 couples on New Year’s Eve not too far from Times Square for $569 a night. That is an amazing deal. You have to know what to look out for.
The Crossroads of the World. Home to the famous New Year’s Eve celebrations and adjacent to the Theater District. Literally the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue between 42nd and 47th Streets. Named in 1904 in honor of the New York Times, who still has their headquarters here.
Very exciting, very crowded and very touristy. You will feel like you’re in the middle of it all. A hotel here will also put you within a 10- to 20-minute walk to Central Park and a 10- to 15-minute walk to Rockefeller Center & 5th Avenue shopping. Easy access to public transportation.
Not to be missed: A Broadway show, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, Ripley’s Odditorium, great ethnic restaurants along 9th Avenue between 42nd and 57th Streets, a drink at the View Lounge inside the Marriott Marquis hotel (*NYC’s only revolving, glass-enclosed rooftop lounge).
Some hotels in this area include: The Doubletree Guest Suites, Marriott Marquis, Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, The London NYC (*perfect location), W Times Square, The Casablanca (*nice boutique hotel), The Travel Inn (*good budget option), The Algonquin (*nice history), The Iroquois and Mansfield (* good romantic options), The Royalton (*trendy).
Manhattan’s Gold Coast. This is where New York’s wealthiest families lived in the very late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Think the Astors, The Vanderbilts and the Carnegies. Home to Museum Mile, high-end Madison Avenue Shopping, lots of galleries, beautiful old mansions and townhouses and great restaurants.
The Upper East Side has 2 sections: the more exclusive area bounded by 5th Avenue, Madison Avenue and Park Avenue between 59th and 96th Streets; and the more casual area east of Park Avenue also between 59th and 96th Streets. You will be no more than a 15-minute walk to Central Park.
Not to be missed: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, a stroll down Madison Avenue and the surrounding streets particularly between 60th and 79th Streets, a drink at Bemelman’s Bar in the Carlyle Hotel, an intimate cabaret performance also at the Carlyle Hotel, Dinner at Daniel, one of New York’s best restaurants.
Some hotels in this area include: The Carlyle (*JFK and Princess Diana stayed here), The Mark, The Surrey, Hotel Wales, Franklin Hotel (the last two being in the less-expensive area).
Home to several of the city’s major cultural institutions including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The American Museum of Natural History (where they filmed Night at the Museum), The New York Historical Society (one of the oldest museums in the country), ABC Studios (where they film Live with Regis and Kelly) and Columbia University.
This neighborhood has some of the city’s best and most beautiful examples of brownstones. James Dean lived here before he became famous. Humphrey Bogart grew up in this neighborhood as well. Lady Gaga is from here and John Lennon lived and died here. This is also the neighborhood where the Seinfeld was set in (Monk’s diner is actually Tom’s Restaurant and is located on Broadway and 112th Street – down the block from Cathedral of St. John the Divine).
Not to be missed: A stroll down the side streets between 62nd and 77th Streets between Central Park West and Amsterdam Avenues for a look at rows of beautiful brownstones, a visit to the Museum of Natural History and New York Historical Society, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine (the largest gothic cathedral in the world).
Some hotels in this area include: The Empire (*trendy – great rooftop lounge and pool open in the warmer months), The Lucerne, On the Ave, the Excelsior.
Home to the United Nations, Grand Central Terminal, Waldorf=Astoria Hotel and The Chrysler Building. There are many hotels to choose from here that offer good deals. This area is less touristy then Times Square, more residential, yet is still an excellent location in Manhattan.
Not to be missed: Afternoon tea or brunch at the Waldorf Astoria, The Morgan Library & Museum (owned by JP Morgan and a hidden gem often overlooked), Grand Central Terminal, a tour of the United Nations, a night on the town along Park Avenue South.
Some hotels in this area include: The Kimberly Suites (*an all-suite property), The Fitzpatrick, The Grand Hyatt (*adjacent to Grand Central), The Shelburne Murray (*a good bargain), The Waldorf=Astoria.
Filled with a plethora of shops, boutiques and art galleries located in old 19th century cast-iron warehouse buildings Soho is one of New York’s many iconic neighborhoods. It’s very fashionable and trendy but is not as quaint and picturesque as, say Greenwich Village. Here, shabby chic is the epitome of style. You’ll have fun exploring this still-industrial-looking neighborhood. Soho is also a national historic landmark for the largest concentration of cast-iron buildings in the world.
Not to be missed: Gallery hopping on a nice afternoon. Dinner at Raoul’s, a longtime neighborhood staple. Gourmet miniature cupcakes at Baked by Melissa. Browsing all the interesting things on display at all the sidewalk vendors.
Some hotels in this area include: Mercer Hotel (small boutique hotel with a great restaurant), Trump Soho (has an amazing spa), 60 Thompson (recently rated one of the best places to stay by Conde Nast), Hampton Inn Soho (great bargain in an amazing neighborhood).
Nowhere in New York City does the contrast of “old meets new” stand out as much as it does here. This neighborhood - originally the settling place for millions of immigrants during the mid-1800’s though the early 1900’s – has morphed into a young, hip, artsy enclave filled with galleries, of-the-moment live music venues, restaurants, boutiques and shops. Walking through these streets you can sense that the dreams of past immigrants have changed into the dreams of those looking to make it in the music or art worlds.
Not to be missed: Katz’s Delicatessen (an old-world standby for their pastrami, reuben or corned beef sandwiches on rye bread). A stroll down Orchard and Ludlow Streets (to check out all the little shops, galleries and music venues). Economy Candy Store (an old-fashioned spot).
Some hotels in this area include: Hotel Rivington (a great see-and-be-seen spot in the heart of the Lower East Side), Thompson LES (an excellent luxury option).
land, air and sea. Go to the observation deck of the Empire State Building during the day and the Top of the Rock observation deck at night. Take a dinner cruise or a twilight sightseeing cruise to glimpse the magical Manhattan skyline at night. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset.
learn to see New York with new eyes. Appreciate new perspectives and gain new insights into the city. Travel through the streets with a tour guide who has a knowledge and passion for observing the city through the intimate lens of a camera. Call or e-mail us for arrangements.
even local New Yorkers can learn a thing or two about their city. Go off the beaten path and check out some of the city’s lesser known places, such as: The New York Historical Society, Morris-Jumel Mansion, Federal Hall National Memorial and the Museum of the City of New York. Get a local expert to mix in a few hidden gems into your New York itinerary.
If you have time, try to get out of Manhattan and discover the city’s other boroughs. Check out the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens and have dinner at the Astor Room in the Kaufman Astoria Studios (this was where the film industry was located before it moved out to Hollywood); then go and have a drink at the Ravel Hotel’s rooftop lounge.
In Brooklyn, take a stroll through the streets of Brooklyn Heights, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in New York City; afterwards head over to the Brooklyn Museum and view one of the best Egyptian Collections in the world. For dinner, savor an old-school Italian meal at Gargiulo’s in the Coney Island neighborhood (you’ll think you’re in a Godfather movie).
Of course Staten Island and The Bronx have a lot to offer as well. Ask your concierge how to get the most out of a visit to these to less visited boroughs of NYC.
for some great pizza at Grimaldi's, grab some homemade ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, then head on over to explore the quiet, beautiful tree-lines streets of Brooklyn Heights (the first designated historic district in the United States).
an alternative to Midtown’s more tourist driven 5th Avenue. You have all the big name shops like Calvin Klein, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren (his flagship US store located in an old mansion) and many others. Plus… you also have some excellent art galleries and amazing turn of the century mansions and townhouses that were home to New York’s elite. Be sure to wander through some of the side streets in between 5th, Madison and Park Avenues. If you like you can end your walk through this area by dropping into the Frick Collection or the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
(2245 Broadway between 80th and 81st Streets)for some freshly made salads, cheeses, sandwiches and other delicious snacks and then walk just a couple of blocks over to Central Park and have a picnic. Be sure to grab a sheet from your hotel room to bring with you! An alternative to this would be to go to Agata & Valentino (a specialty Italian food market) on the Upper East Side (1st Ave and 79th St) and then enter Central Park from the Upper East Side.
Hire a student to get a spot for you at Bryant Park and watch some outdoor movies. Bring some wine and cheese and enjoy the show! Every summer HBO sponsors an outdoor film festival in Bryant Park. It can get very crowded and people get there around 5pm to snag a good spot for movies that start at dusk (around 8:30pm). So, save the time and hire a student who will get there nice and early and save a spot for you! Give us a call and we’ll show you how to go about setting this up.
Many of the scenes that you have seen from movies such as Goodfellas, The Godfather and Donnie Brasco were inspired by true events that transpired on the streets of New York. Discover where all the action went down. Your guide will have some chilling photographs on hand to bring this bloody history to life for you. On this tour, created by our staff, you will also see many of the city’s popular attractions so you can combine a regular sightseeing tour with a little mafia history and have a unique sightseeing experience. Call or e-mail us for a booking.
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Why choose Romancing Manhattan Tours? Because we’re YOUR New York City experts, and we’re here for YOU.
Mario Batali – celebrity chef
“Despaña on Broome Street has remarkable products as well as some delicious tapas and some interesting wine.”
Tim Gunn – fashion expert
“Elizabeth Street. A real hotbed of wonderful design. And great for a stroll.”
Fern Mallis – Fashion Week in NYC (senior VP of IMG Fashion Organizers)
“Best places to discover up-and-coming designers: 1) Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2) Small boutiques on the Lower East Side 3) Parsons and FIT senior class fashion shows 4) Walking around the Meatpacking District ”
Simon Doonan – creative director of Barney’s New York
“You’d be insane not to check out the flea markets around 25th Street. You never know what you’ll find – you might even find me!”
Sean “Diddy” Combs – actor, musician, producer & designer
“Have a drink overlooking the park (Central Park) at the Mandarin Oriental (hotel).”
Itzhak Perlman – musician
“Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall are a must. If you go to New York, you’ve got to go to these two places.”
Matt Lauer – anchor, NBC’s Today Show
“I’m a huge fan of the city’s art galleries. If you want a little bit of culture, go downtown and just walk around the galleries. It’s free.”
Jonelle Procope – president & CEO of the Apollo Theater Foundation
“Where to hear live music: 1) The Apollo 2) Minton’s Playhouse 3) BAM 4) Lenox Lounge 5) S.O.B.’s ”
Cynthia Nixon – actress, Sex and the City
“Best things to do for free: 1) go to First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum” 2) Take your kids to the Sony Wonder Technology Lab 3) Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.
The Children’s Museum of the Arts in SoHo is a really creative place where you can see wonderful art by children and also do fun hands-on activities.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda – Tony Award-winning creator and star of In the Heights
“Top 5 venues to hear live music: 1) Ars Nova 2) Galapagos 3) Knitting Factory 4) Madison Square Garden 5) Roseland ”
1) Look through our vacation packages to see if any of them interest you. You can customize them as you wish or we can custom-tailor a New York City vacation just for you. Call or email us to start the process.
2) Tell us a little about yourself so we know what kind of NYC experience you are looking for. Do you have a special interest in Broadway shows, shopping, museums, dining, history, sports, literature or music? Tell us the half dozen things that will make your first trip to New York extra special for you.
3) Call or e-mail us to reserve a “custom-tailored New York City vacation package” & start planning your trip with one of our local experts. It’s never too soon to start planning. The best deals are to be had when you plan in advance.
4) We will send you a trip quote for your NYC vacation. When you approve it we will send you the official confirmation and payment form (Visa, Master Card, Amex or check). Pay your deposit, which is typically 25% - 30% of your total package cost.
5) You now have a dedicated concierge & travel advisor working one-on-one with you. We will take you by the hand and walk you through everything step by step, answering all of your questions. Planning a special romantic trip to New York has never been so easy or so much fun!