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Grand Central Station is one of those places that is great to dip into and take pictures. There are stores, a huge market, a bunch of restaurants (there is a Shake Shack) and many cool pictures to take. It’s another historic spot in the city, surrounded by tons of things to see and do. I suggest this for a rainy afternoon activity if you are visiting. You can go inside and see cool stuff and relax. The ceiling of the main lobby is painted with constellations and the chandeliers in the station are amazing too.
You can also take trains anywhere, so if you ever wanted to go for a scenic ride, I suggest taking Metro North from Grand Central and sitting by a window! If you don’t eat or anything, a stroll around Grand Central is free! I got a coffee and a cupcake from Junior’s Bakery, so that was about $10. Even with a snack you would have $30 left for another activity! They do offer official tours, which would also be interesting, I’m sure!
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum was a great place to be at the start of Memorial Day weekend and during Fleet Week (got to check that off my list because there were sailors everywhere this weekend!). The memorial and museum were really great and fitting. I didn’t cry until I got into one of the exhibits that had a timeline of events. One of the points in time was a message from a man on one of the hijacked planes to his significant other when he realized he was going to die and it was so, so touching and really affected me. Seeing the map of all of the locations of body parts around Lower Manhattan was especially haunting as well.
I believe the tickets are $24 per person and you pick a time slot. If you are a college student, you pay $18. Here is a list of additional discounts for specific age groups and professions. My friend and I were half an hour late for our 4 o’clock appointment and they just let us go in. So, I don’t know how strict the reservations are, but on a Friday afternoon before Memorial Day they didn’t give us a problem. The security is strict, obviously, so make sure you take everything out of your bag and leave it home or at the hotel. I’ve lost two knives in my travels because I always forget and have to dump them. Thankfully, I didn’t have a knife this time around. The museum is designed as a descending cylinder. You start at the top and descend around a central atrium until you reach the bottom where all of the exhibits are located. I’m glad my friend came to town, because I probably wouldn’t have gone alone, but I’m glad I went. However, I will not be going to the observation deck that is opening in a few days. The memorial fountain outside is really beautiful and touching as well.
If you have to pay full price+$5.50 for subway, you’ll only have $10.50 to get a drink or snack somewhere to keep it under the $40 budget! I paid the college rate, so I have $16.50 left over for this activity.
After the 9/11 Museum and Memorial we walked to Battery Park, near the tip of the island, so we could see the Statue of Liberty. We didn’t take the Staten Island Ferry, but this park is a great place to view the statue and there are tons of areas to sit and watch the sunset.
After Battery Park we walked to Stone Street. Stone Street is my second favorite place we went. It’s a small street down below the 9/11 memorial in the Financial District and each side of the street has restaurants and bars then between them there are big tables and pretty lights strung between the buildings so it is kind of like a beer garden. You can get your food/drinks at the restaurants and then sit at their outdoor sections with everyone else eating at the different places. We went to Adrienne’s Pizzabar and I highly recommended it! We got a huge pizza with two toppings for $23 (there was over half left to take home) and a glass of wine each. They also sell smaller pizzas and buckets of beer for those of you going out with groups. It is the best pizza I’ve ever had outside of Italy. The ingredients were fresh and the crust was great too.
Obviously, I did both activities in a day, which was over $40, but if you broke it up you could easily have a phenomenal meal and drinks in a beautiful environment for under $40. You could also order a pizza at Adrienne’s and walk to Battery Park to have a picnic, which would be so fun! Dudes and ladies this is my number one evening date pick, so far. It gets packed so the volume level may be a bit inhospitable for a first or second date, but if you already know someone and are looking for something new to do, go here!