Where To Take A Scenic Road Trip For Fall Colors In The USA

Where To Take A Scenic Road Trip For Fall Colors In The USA

Reading Time: 12 minutes

Fall is one of my favorite times of year, a season of warm blankets, hot chocolate, Halloween and beautiful color. It might be hard to pick where to take a scenic road trip for fall colors in the USA. I have put together the top 15 places to see fall colors in the United States for you to make it easy and a dreamy vacation. So grab your cup of hot cocoa, light the fire, and let us explore where your next adventure will be.

Utah Road Trips for Fall Colors

American Fork Canyon, Logan Canyon, Park City Utah, Sundance Utah these are all the places I can unequivocally recommend for seeing Fall colors for the entire family.

Scenic Road Trip For Fall Colors In The USA

American Fork Canyon

This can just be a drive through the Alpine loop where Aspens grace the steep slopes. Pull off on the side of the road under the fall foliage to have some ‘hobo dinners’ complete with meat, carrots, potatoes and your favorite seasonings over a fire. Finish off with a hike and sm’ores over the embers.

Logan Canyon

This is also a great drive through, a lot more of an open space where you can see fields of oranges, fiery reds. Hike up to the wind caves, visit the nature center, hike along the limber pine trail with an overlook of Bear Lake – one of the clearest lakes in Utah. Rent a cabin and make a weekend of it on your fall color road trip!

Park City and Sundance Utah

Take an easy walk up to the ski lifts, where you can enjoy a 30 minute ski lift ride right over the fields of wild flowers in the summer, or fall colors. The crisp mountain air, places to shop and dine along with the last remnants of the summer farmers markets will make for a perfect Fall getaway before the winds of winter arrive.

Colombia River Gorge, Oregon

This Gorge is about 2,100 feet deep with waterfalls, and fall foliage galore! Hike the challenging Hamilton Mountain, about 9.4 miles in passing 2 waterfalls ( Rodney and Hardy Falls ) along the way.

Participate in part of the PCT along the 5 mile out and back Dry creek falls. Despite being called a ‘creek’ this 75-foot waterfall will impress even the most negative hikers.

Lastly, end your day with a picnic at Pioneer Point on the 1.3 mile Cape Horn Loop. Where you will bask in the beauty of the Colombia River adorned with a spectacular spectacle of fall colors. Bring your thermos full of hot cocoa, you will want to stay here and drink in the view for awhile.

Scenic Road Trip For Fall Colors In The USA

Kennebunkport, Maine

Maine is known as the ‘vacation state’ to many East Coasters. Vast landscapes packed with adventures for all. Yet, Kennebunkport Main stole my heart when searching for the perfect fall getaway. I would suggest visiting in September specifically as many of the local shops begin to close around the first week of October.

This quaint fishing village was known for its shipping, and packs a punch when it comes to historical value – including being the home town of one of one of the former President’s of the United States.

Be sure to wander the city on foot, take a whale watching boat ride, jump on a lobster boat and catch your meal for the day, and finish up with some blue berry ice cream, or a cuppa tea.

Ozark National Forest, Arkansas

I mistakenly thought that Arkansas didn’t have much to offer in the way of beauty. Yet it is like finding Where’s Waldo when going hiking. The trees cover all the hidden gems like hidden waterfalls, caves used by slaves to hide while getting to freedom, a Popeye Statue in the middle of a small town city and all sorts of down to earth people to talk to. The best part is that this great state is filled with trees that turn into beautiful fall colors – not to miss when fulfilling your fall colors bucketlist.

Scenic Road Trip For Fall Colors In The USA

The iconic Whitaker Point hike with trees in reds, yellows, and oranges as far as the eye can see. A perfect time to hike in the Southern United States, because the humidity will be a lot less potent than in the throws of summer in this area.

There are plenty of hikes to enjoy here like Compton’s Double Falls, Sam’s Throne, and the Narrows with a fabulous display of nature’s beauty.

Catskill Mountains, New York

One word will convince you to visit the Castskill Mountains in Fall….Octoberfest. Beginning the end of September there are 4 weeks of Bavarian festivities held at Hunter Mountain. What is unique to this area is that it grows crisp, juicy, flavorful apples for a perfect hard apple cider. If festivals aren’t your thing, then stop by Delhi’s picturesque Wayside Cider for a more refined sip of these suds.

You can also drive the scenic route of the Catskill Mountains, hitting a round of golf, or spending the night camping in the cool autumn air. If you take a look at all the festivals held in the Catskill Mountains, you are sure to find something for everyone. My favorite is their lumberjack festival, I never realized just how intense the competition was until I saw one of these.

Enchanted Circle of New Mexico

Many people think of the East Coast as the only place with beautiful fall colors. Suprisingly New Mexico’s Enchanted Circle will give you a whole new perspective on Fall in the desert.

This is a circle you will need your RV for, or at the very least a tent as it is 84 miles of exploration. The circular route takes you around Wheeler Mountain ( 13,161 feet – 4.011 meters), and through the lush Hondo Valley blazing with colors of fall.

Stop at the Red River Fish Hatchery and take a self-guided tour. Enchant your children with the large rainbow trout pond. Maybe even travel down stream and try to catch a fish or two.

Carry on around to Questa, to visit Artesanos de Questa, where woodworkers, tinsmiths, painters, stained glass workers and sculptors show their work at this cooperative.

You will get an array of fall festivities, art shows, animal encounters and gorgeous scenery as you take a very memorable and enchanting drive around this circle.

Stowe Vermont Road Trip For Fall Colors

Known as the Fall Color Capital, is a time of vibrant colors that your eyes drink in calming the soul. There are many ways to see the breathtaking fall foliage here through the extensive network of hiking trails, kayaking down the reservoir, or just taking a leisurely scenic drive.

Scenic Road Trip For Fall Colors In The USA

Despite the plethora of mountain biking paths, I recommend the leisurely ‘Rec Path’ for your fall foliage leaf peeping. This path is one the whole family or group of friends can enjoy no matter what their physical skill level is. For the more adventurous, I would take a zip line through the fall foliage, a guided tour, or a  Stowe, at Night, Lantern Tour where you are regaled with tales of ghost stories.

Festivals such as the Stowe Tango Music Festival, Stowe Jazz Festival, Stowe Foliage Arts Festival, Stowe Arts Week, Art on Park and the outdoor art exhibit, ‘Exposed’ are just a few events that grace the artistic stages in this small town.

North Conway, New Hampshire

This is one of the more unique and off the beaten path places to visit for fall foliage. North Conway in New Hampshire may not be the first destination you would choose, but for train lovers it should be. There is a historic Victorian Station built in 1974 and on the National Register of Historic Places in the United States.

Scenic Road Trip For Fall Colors In The USA

When you jump on the this train there are different lengths of time you can enjoy the fall foliage in comfort and class. If you like the spooky and scary, like me – try the Murder Mystery Dinner Train in October. Be sure to plan ahead as it only runs on certain weekends in october, and only in certain cars on the train so space is limited.

Massachusetts

You cannot mention fall to me without immediately thinking about Halloween. There is no other town more fit to celebrate all Hallo’s Eve than Salem. Discover what it was like to live in New England during the time of the Salem witch trials. Take a ghost tour, explore the museums, meet real practicing witches, attend a play about witches – there are so many ghoulishly great activities you may forget you traveled there to see fall foliage as well.

Scenic Road Trip For Fall Colors In The USA

The color palette along the New England Coastline is one you will never forget. An array of colors even the witches of Salem would have in their cauldrons. No matter where you go in this town, you will be surrounded by brilliant fall colors. Take a ferry down to Boston from Salem (30 min and $25 for one way) to avoid the incredible parking fees. Stroll along Beacon Hill, or Boston Commons two iconic places both photographically and historically. This where the warmth of the color of the trees matches the picturesque buildings of the 1700’s full of history and divine food – it is a perfect way to end your fall foliage frolicking.

Yellowstone National Park Road Trip for Fall Colors

Many people visit Yellowstone National Park in the Summer to see the buffalo, bears, and new babies emerging to find food after the long winter. Yet they often forget just how incredible the colors in the fall can be. It can get a bit chilly in the fall, and even snow if there is an early winter.

Seeing Old Faithful when the crowds are not as oppressive amid the backdrop of beautiful fall colors – should be on everyone’s bucketlist. This is one place that fall hits a bit earlier than the rest of the country, being early August/late August. Be sure that you check on hotels/camping sites you plan to stay at as there are many staggered closings up until Oct 20th.

The reason this is such a wonderful time to see the rutting season. The bison rutting season starts in August, and the Elk rutting season is in September. The park rangers admit, that it is not unusual to see the massive elk sparring and fighting throughout the season. I recommend visiting Mammoth Hot Springs for the best Elk Rutting shows, as this tends to be a place the congregate.

If watching the rutting season isn’t your thing, then maybe catching a fish is! Fishermen from around the world are drawn here for the Brown Trout spawning season. You are guaranteed to have a fish dinner every night that your heart desires. I would recommend Madison and Gardner rivers for the best trout fishing for the fall season.

Jackson Hole National Park

The swarms of summer visitors are gone, and a cornucopia of fall festivities is now in full swing. I would plan a visit in September for the best chance to see the full variety of fall foliage, as the parks will still be open and so will many of the best hikes. Take a ride through Grand Teton National Park full of aspens suffused with brilliant yellows of fall. Go on a wildlife viewing tour (which happen all year round) where the dark colors of elk, deer, and even bears pop out in your photos against the backdrop of fall colors.

Scenic Road Trip For Fall Colors In The USA

Bundle up and catch one of the tram rides up Rendezvous Mountain at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Teton Village. Grab a cup of hot chocolate, and drink in the fresh crisp fall air. Make your way back down to Jackson Hole and reserve a uniquely western experience for dinner, with a Chuck Wagon Supper.

Fall in Jackson Hole is any photographer enthusiasts dream, with wild colors amid wildlife at their peak for mating season – there is no other time I would rather go.

Colorado

Colorado is often known for the skiing in the fall, but it is one of my favorite places to see Fall Foliage. The people are very down to earth, you can take a horse back ride through Aspen Falls and Estes Park to see the best of the fall foliage without even breaking a sweat. Home to Rocky Mountain National Park and Roosevelt National Forest, with a massive network of mountain biking, and heart warming food – it truly is a fall foliage paradise.

Estes Park is a more luxurious and relaxing way to spend your time seeing fall foliage in Colorado. It is a Swiss inspired town, with songs, shows, and plenty of activities when the sun sets. It is also home to thousands of Elk that will be in the rutting season just like Yellowstone, and Jackson Hole – yet with more of the luxury comfort.

Washington State Road Trip for Fall Colors

I cannot say it enough, I love Washington! The first (of many times) I visited was when I went on my first sailing trip in Seattle. I was hooked and am already planning a trip back to experience fall foliage in Leavenworth. This small town has its own Autumn Leaf Festival. Where a parade full of fall colors and even Lady Fall Royalty is crowned in this small town.

Scenic Road Trip For Fall Colors In The USA

Take a scenic road trip for fall colors through Mt Rainer National Park and see just how incredible the colors light up the land. While it is a very touristic area in the summer, many children are back in school. So it is a great camping getaway for both single and couples alike. Nothing is better than cuddling up in a blanket or next to your loved one than during fall.

The best places to take your epic fall foliage road trip in Washington are Paradise, Reflection Lakes, Bench and Snow Lakes for fabulous fall reflections. Get spiritual at the Grove of the Patriarchs, where you can worship giant Redwood trees. Drive along Chinook Pass on State Route 410 or the White Pass Scenic Byway on U.S. Highway 12 for vast landscape views unlike anything you have ever experienced.

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia

This is where you will find the iconic old, dark colored mills against the flaming red colors of aspens. Because of the iconic nature along this drive, I highly recommend making reservations months in advance (especially for October). The best time to see the fall colors here is in mid to late October when the colors are at their peak.

Scenic Road Trip For Fall Colors In The USA

When driving this parkway, you will be surrounded by foliage on east and west facing slopes. A perfect drive for the morning, or during golden hour especially along James River. As you travel south you will gain about 6,000 feet of elevation (1828 meteres) up to Mt. Pisgah into North Carolina.

This is one destination that you will need to plan on a journey to see the fall foliage at its best. Due to the varying elevations along this parkway, the peak fall foliage is going to be dependent upon the elevation.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, West Virginia

Located along the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, this is a fabulous place for fall photography. It is four parks from four different States in one, with massive historical ties to the Civil War. Due to this, the parking can be limited with narrow stalls. So I wouldn’t suggest bringing your RV on this one, unless you have a boat load of patience. Alternatively, I would bring/rent a small car and use the shuttle while here.

Scenic Road Trip For Fall Colors In The USA

Be sure to jump off at the footbridge to the C&O Canal stop, as this is where the rivers meet, and give a view like none other. The two rivers collide here, with an island like center, full of fall foliage and color to satisfy any leaf peeper. I highly recommend going to Maryland Heights viewpoint as this is going to be the most iconic and stunning view of the park during fall.

Even though I don’t have children of my own, I really appreciate it when parks provide things like passport stamps to kids, and junior ranger badges, historical tours that the whole family can enjoy. I think it is important to teach the younger generations the beauty that can come from traveling, and especially from traveling responsibly. Showing them and even our own friends just how beautiful nature can be when we take care of it. Harpers Ferry National Historic Park offers all of these things – which is why I highly recommend this place. You are going to need at least 4-5 days to properly explore the fall foliage, hiking, and historic parts of this town.

Scenic Road Trip For Fall Colors In The USA

Gathering Up the Best Fall Leaves

Fall is my favorite time of year. There is not other time that you are still relaxed before Thanksgiving, or Christmas, and can celebrate creativity during Halloween. The crisp air and crisp apples contrast with the warmth of fires, warm drinks and warm fall colors.

No matter where you live, or where you visit in the United States – I hope you are able to visit one of these places during your search for the best places to see fall foliage. From the East Coast to the West Coast, from North to South, from High to Low- there are plenty of scenic road trips for fall colors in the USA for everyone.

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Travel Hacks for Road Trips

Travel Hacks for Road Trips

Reading Time: 7 minutes

No matter if you are traveling with children, alone, or just with your furry friend – Road Trips can either be Hell on Earth; or a vacation in and of themselves. So after driving all over the Western United States for most of my life, here are a few Travel Hacks for Road Trips I highly recommend following when planning your own Road Trip at home or abroad.

Download Road Trippers

This is a fantastic app for your road trip, and can also be accessed online to help plan your vacation on the road. I first found and utilized this when taking a Road Trip from Dallas Texas to Nauvoo Illinois. I was going to be traveling through a bunch of open fields. After planning out my route I explored all the spots along the road that had a good rating and found this gem in the middle of nowhere! It is in the Spinach Capital of the United States. A statue of the spinach-eating machine himself has his own little garden and fountain. This also happens to be across from the Police Station, so you have ample entertainment for all!

This app and website are a fantastic way to make those 12 hour drives a little more bearable on the road. From a medical standpoint, it also gives you an excuse to get out of the car every few hours to walk around. People who sit and travel long distances can have swollen legs and blood clots at times as well if they do not walk around sufficiently.

How to stay awake while driving

Get enough rest the night before

Doing this will help you be more alert on the road and less prone to falling asleep at the wheel.

IF YOU ARE TIRED AND START TO LOSE CONCENTRATION THAT IS THE FIRST SIGN YOU ARE AT RISK FOR FALLING ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL.

Pull into a gas station and take a power nap.

I have done this a few times in the past, where I pull into a busy gas station and take a 15-20 min nap. This always helps me feel more refreshed.

Avoid sugary foods or high carbohydrate content as your snack.

When you eat high carbohydrate and high sugar content foods, it starts a vicious cycle of fatigue. Why? Well, you eat that doughnut or candy, your body sees it as too much sugar, so it releases insulin and then drops your blood sugar again. Then you become very sleepy or hungry again, starting the cycle over. I try to avoid sugary foods whenever driving for this reason.

Keep Cool

When I get warm I tend to fall asleep much easier. It is more comfortable to be warm, but I would rather have cold toes and arms before risking crashing my car and killing someone else.

Audiobooks

This is my favorite way to stay awake. Imagine this like the old radios back in the day that would tell the cowboy stories to the children. The children would be so enthralled by the battles and day to day explanations because they didn’t have TV, this was their entertainment.

Audiobooks typically have quality actors and actresses that are able to do multiple accents, voices, and inflections to keep the listener engaged. Yes, some of the audiobooks are entirely too boring and drab to listen to on the road, but there are many that are not.

I personally have signed up for Amazon’s Audible Book subscription for $14.95 per month. I am an affiliate with them, but I have never been more grateful for the positive entertainment value it provides and now listen to them on the way to and from work all the time.

Podcasts

This is something my flatmate is really into. She has several Podcasts that she listens to on a daily basis to and from work. I think this could also work for road trips as well, you may just need to download the podcasts to your mobile device prior to starting your trip.

What are some of your favorite podcasts?

Caffeine

If all else fails, just start swigging Caffeine. Think of all those boring meetings from work you have survived on the sweet nectar of the Gods.

Travel with a friend:

Switching off while driving is really important while on the long road trips and stretches of the road.

Stretches and Facial exercises:

This is an odd one, but I start stretching my legs, toes, fingers, neck, back arms etc…. It keeps your heart rate slightly more elevated than at baseline, thus increasing blood flow to your brain and keeping you refreshed.

Facial exercises also help to keep me awake at the wheel. I open and close my mouth as hard as a can, wiggle my jaw side to side, see how many animal sounds I can make with my tongue etc….

Check road conditions and weather conditions

With the age of the internet came the ability to check your road conditions prior to starting your journey. There have been several instances that I wish I would have, and others where I didn’t and wish I would have.

There was one instance where I didn’t want to leave my parents house to drive back to Las Vegas and did not look at road conditions. I ended up leaving the house when it first started to snow, and by the time I hit Cedar City Utah, I was in a complete blizzard. Traveling at 25 mph on the freeway because of road conditions, and was nearly hit by a snow plow.

Organizing the car

This is paramount for safety while driving. The less distracted you are on the road, the better off and safer you will be.

I will put all the luggage in the very back of the car, the cooler in the middle of the back seat where it is easy for your friend to reach if needed. If you are traveling alone, set up your ‘snack bag’ where you can easily reach it.

Wear sandals

Make sure you have Sunglasses to help with Glare.

If you are driving at night, turn down the dashboard lights. This will help your eyes not feel as tired from trying to adjust to the brightness of the dashboard vs the road.

Have your music or audible book playing before you put the car in drive.

Garbage bag, paper towels, and Kleenex should also be nearby where you don’t have to bend over, reach, or stretch to access them.

Check Your Car for Maintenance

Before you pack anything in the car, make sure your spare tire is filled up and in good condition.

Have a small gas can handy, just in case you miss an exit and the next gas station or turn around isn’t for another 50 miles and you are on empty.

Make sure you check your tire pressure after everything is loaded and in the car.

Change your oil, cabin filter, and engine filter before you go. This will help with gas mileage in your car.

Have your local mechanic esure all fluids are topped off, and the washer fluid is the appropriate one for the area you are traveling to.

I once was driving from Las Vegas to Utah in the snow and went to use my windshield wiper fluid and it froze on my windshield. I had to do an ACE Ventura head out the window to drive to the next town to get it fixed. They had to thaw out the windshield wiper lines with a hairdryer and vinegar, then unplug them. This really cut into my total driving time and was a major stressor. So mention to your mechanic if you find you will be driving to different climates and what they suggest for those areas.

Plan for Gas Stops

Don’t push the car to the point the gas light comes on! I always make a rule for myself that should I take a long road trip where I have never been before I never let the tank get down past 1/4 tank. Even a 1/4 tank is pushing it for me, I typically will fill up at 1/2 tank because I know I will be able to drive for several hours to the next gas station.

Get On The Road Again

Road trips can be a fantastic way to make bonds with friends, and see new destinations. It is important to plan, stay safe and stay awake on the road. There are over 100,000 car accidents per year from people falling asleep at the wheel in the United States. Make sure you know your own limits on when you need a break, even if it is just a mental break. There are plenty of unique things you can see on the road, not every place has to be Instagram worthy. The best adventures will always be the locations that make you feel more fulfilled and productive in your daily life, spark your creativity or help you create a more meaningful connection.

 Happy Travels, Happy Tales & See You On The Flip Side.


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A New York State of Mind by guest author Laura Zoumberis

Reading Time: 9 minutes
New York City is certainly unparalleled and its reputation is justly earned. For any of you first-time visitors to The Big Apple who are worried that it might be overrated, you have nothing to fear. New York will meet, if not exceed your expectations. This world-famous city is like a living, breathing organism and it makes you feel as if you have entered a completely new world. To assist you in your travel adventure, I have divided my commentary into three main sections: sightseeing, eating, and transportation, along with some adjunct commentary.

Sightseeing in New York

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Manhattanite in possession of children will be in want of a nanny, and Central Park is overflowing with them. (No joke! They are everywhere!) Since Central Park is certain to be on your “must-see” list, check the weather for New York City right before your trip; you will want to wear good walking shoes and visit the park on a sunny day for the best views. [gallery ids="5901,5902" type="rectangular"] You can also rent a bike in Central Park if you prefer to see more of the park in less time. I personally regret that I did not bring food and a blanket for a picnic in Sheep Meadow.
Traveler tip: There is actually a Central Park picnic delivery company you can utilize that will save you time if you want the full experience of picnicking in the park like a pro.
To navigate Central Park, I used Google maps, and I also brought a paper map provided by the concierge service at my hotel. (Did you know? The Latin origin for the word “concierge” means slave. If you’re like me, then random trivia is your jam.)
Traveler tip: New York Central Park website has a great map that will show you the different running maps, carriage ride routes, and much much more.
gm.jpg The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and Metropolitan Museum of Art are located close to Central Park but on opposite sides. After previously visiting the WWII museum in New Orleans, the AMNH was, in my opinion, a let-down. Several of the exhibits are iconic thanks to Ben Stiller and his Night at the Museum movies, but there were no interactive exhibits that I could find. Despite the beautiful architecture, dinosaur bones, and famous Easter Island recreation, it seemed rather anticlimactic and thus overpriced ($22 for adult admission, $12.50 for kids, and $17 for students and seniors.) [gallery ids="5914,5913,5911,5912" type="rectangular"] The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA) by contrast, was astounding. The entry fee is any amount you see fit to pay, although suggested admission is similar to AMNH. If you have no interest in paintings, sculptures, or artists such as Van Gogh, Degas, or Caravaggio, then disregard this paragraph. If you find yourself salivating at the thought of standing mere inches away from the work of the masters, then the MMA should be a top priority for you. Be sure to plan your visit in accordance with their hours of operation. We, unfortunately, arrived an hour and a half before closing time and only saw a fraction of what was available.
Traveler tip: Metropolitan Museum of Art hours : Sunday-Thursday, 10 AM – 5:30 PM, Friday and Saturday, 10 AM – 9 PM.
Their gift shop is enormous and features a variety of ephemera ranging from simple magnets and stationary, to umbrellas, coffee table books, art prints, and more. For all of you Sleepless in Seattle lovers who simply MUST see the Empire State Building, it is most definitely worth the trip and the price. From the stunning art deco design to the view, I do not regret a penny spent on this visit. There is also a free Empire State Building app that features an audio tour, history of the building, and trivia. Oh, and the building has free Wifi! As for whether you should take in the view during the day or at night, it is merely personal preference. I preferred going during the day, because I was able to see more of the city. Statue of Liberty on the coast of New York City As for the Statue of Liberty, I recommend viewing it from a boat tour on the Hudson River. There are several types of boats and companies to choose from, some of which include a meal if you are willing to pay more. Standing on the bow of that boat while I drank in the view of Lady Liberty was so humbling. Peel away the politics, and she reminds you of the foundational values of our nation and why our potential is so great. uvliuhjThe last site I will mention here is the September 11th Memorial and museum. We did not tour the museum because the wound feels so fresh that we did not want to relive it. Just the grounds and fountains with the inscriptions of the victims’ names were sobering enough. Also, please don’t be one of those [expletive deleted] who smiles in front of the 9/11 memorial and takes a cheesy selfie. Have some decency. While I did not visit enough iconic places to make it worth my money, there is a New York City Pass you can purchase that will allow you to save money while seeing some of the most popular sights around New York City.

Eating in New York

One of Adam Sandler’s most underrated films is Pixels. It’s humorous, entertaining, and creative. During one segment, the movie features a gigantic Pac-Man chomping his way through the streets of New York City. That visual perfectly captures the ravenous swath I cut through the restaurants of the Big Apple. Why Eat, Pray, Love, when you can just eat?Chris Farley - Lay off my I'm starving! First stop, Eataly. This cosmopolitan joint is a food lover’s paradise. It is an indoor market as well as a collection of multiple, open-area restaurants specializing in their own niches. There’s a gelato spot, a handmade pasta deli, a variety of brands (and prices) of olive oil, and aisles upon aisles of different packaged pastas. Eatily in New York City One restaurant area only prepares seafood and veggie dishes. Naturally, we traipsed right on through that one to find Carb-vana (my name, not trademarked yet but still proprietary), another restaurant portion where pizza and pasta are freshly made. The portion sizes are completely un-American, meaning they are actually fit for your stomach and not your star-spangled, gluttonous eyes. Everything we tried was delicious, from the appetizers to the entrees. I highly recommend the ciabatta bread layered with ricotta cheese, honey, and LAVENDER. It was fancy, flavorful, and freakin’ delicious. [caption id="attachment_5921" align="alignright" width="242"]Giovanni Rana's Squid Ink Liguini at Giovanni Rana’s in NYC[/caption] Chelsea Market is another popular shopping and dining experience. It is an artsy indoor market comprised of restaurants, local shops, and even chain stores such as Anthropology. Be sure to stop by Giovanni Rana’s for some delicious homemade pasta. If you like the taste of seafood, check out the squid ink linguini with crab meat. I like to live dangerously. In the mood for dessert? Try the cheesecake at Junior’s Restaurant and Bakery on 45th Street and Times Square, or grab a pastry at Magnolia Bakery in Rockefeller Center. When you budget for your trip, be sure to allocate between $50-$100 a day for food. Obviously, if you are on a tight budget, you won’t be dining at the more expensive restaurants. However, cheap fast food is hard to come by, and that includes street vendors. Paying $4 for a pretzel adds up fast.
Traveler tip: Plan carefully if you want a food tour of the famous Top 10 Street food Vendors of New York City.
Also, NYC hotels typically do not offer a continental breakfast, so you are on your own for every meal. If you have to choose between food and souvenirs, go with food. Your taste buds will thank you even if your waistline doesn’t. [gallery ids="5920,5916" type="rectangular"]

Transportation in New York

Don’t let the movies fool you; Cary Grant is not waiting for you at the top of the Empire State Building and taxis are not the best way to make your way around the city. Just ask Deborah Kerr (see the film An Affair to Remember.) The exception to this is if you locate the Cash Cab. Shout out to Discovery Channel for bringing back the best trivia show ever! The one time I flagged down a cab driver (which I will admit, was exciting), he ended up taking us on a rather circuitous route so he could charge us more. So, suck it up buttercup and make your way to the nearest subway station. Contrary to some misconceptions, the subway is not shady or filled with hoodlums. New Yorkers use it all day for errands and for commuting to work.
Traveler tip: Avoid using the subway during typical rush hours such as 8AM and 5PM. Check out reviews of the Best New York Subway Apps. I would definitely download one before your trip because it makes navigating the system much easier. Check out this awesome site for Complete NYC subway tips and tricks.
If you choose the subway, I recommend the seven-day pass which costs $31. To view the various prices for subway tickets, check out Metro Card. We used the seven-day pass for about three and a half days and it was perfect. There are kiosks in the subway where it can be purchased and they accept card or cash. As for navigating the subway, we had a friend show us the ropes, but if you lack the advantage of a local connection, your smartphone will save the day.
Traveler tip: Pay attention to whether you are going uptown or downtown. This will determine which subway trains you should take. See the Complete Guide to NYC Subway tips and tricks. 
I used an app called Citymapper and it was AMAZING. It showed us which station to use, which subway train went to our stop (they are identified by letters), how many minutes we had until the next one would arrive, and the number of stops that lay between us and our final destination. If you have an Apple watch, the app syncs to your watch so you don’t have to keep pulling out your phone to check. If you still don’t care for public transportation or cannot handle all of the walking and stairs involved, then Uber is your next best friend. New York is full of Uber drivers. We generally found them to be friendly and in possession of clean, fragrant cars. The prices were better than taking a cab, especially if you are splitting the cost with friends or family. Also, they are incentivized to get you to your destination quickly so they can pick up their next paying customer.

Just a few more things…

[caption id="attachment_5922" align="alignright" width="284"]Hamilton on Broadway in New York City Hamilton on Broadway[/caption] We flew into the Newark airport because it is less crowded, and we were picked up by a friend who lived in New Jersey. However, we then had to drag our luggage on the train and subsequently the subway, so either choose one of the busier airports like LaGuardia airport or JFK airport, or request an Uber from New Jersey into the city. Our UberXL ride at the end of our trip cost about $80 and the drive takes approximately 35 minutes when the roads are clear. If you are interested in taking in a Broadway show, buy tickets in accordance with how popular the show is. This trip came about because we found $200 mezzanine seats for Hamilton on Broadway a year ahead of time. We purchased our Waitress tickets about three months out. (If you know nothing about Waitress, I highly recommend it! It’s hilarious, endearing, and the music was written by Sara Bareilles, so it’s flawless.) You can use the TodayTix App to find last-minute tickets to Broadway shows. However, if you wait until the last minute for Hamilton, you are most definitely throwing away your shot.
Traveler tip: When choosing a hotel or AirBnb, you may be tempted to focus solely on price. However, you really want to prioritize location. I stayed at the Radisson Martinique on Broadway which has a subway station right outside its doors and is only four stops from Times Square. (No compensation was provided by the Radisson for this reference.)
Finally, the people of New York City get a bad rap. They have an unfounded reputation for being surly and uncompromising, when in fact, I found the opposite to be the case. Everyone we met, with the exception of one unhelpful street vendor, was kind and obliging. So, don’t be afraid to ask for directions and enjoy your trip! Have you already traveled to New York City before? What tips do you have for new visitors? Please leave any advice, feedback, or questions in the comments section below 🙂
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