My Dad is a big spender; just not on himself. 🙂
He’s one of the most generous people I know, and for Christmas last year he gave my Mom, Sister-n-law, Niece, and me a girls trip to New York!!! We had the best time and successfully navigated the city WITHOUT ANY HELP. I was pretty impressed with us-ha! And other than one rainy April morning, it was the best weather I’ve ever experienced while in the city. We walked over 10 miles each day and of course, used the subway to get from one end of the island to the other!
I know you’ve seen a lot of posts from me about New York (especially over the last few months), but I wanted to tell you about one activity we did that was my favorite from this trip. When we were planning, I asked the girls what they wanted to see while we were in the city, and they all mentioned the Statue of Liberty. I’ve seen her from Battery Park several times but had never gone over to the island for a close up. So I wanted to tell y’all a little bit about the experience.
Like I mentioned above, you can see the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park (it’s at the very bottom of Manhattan), but if you want to go over to Liberty Island you need to know a few things:
- First of all, you need to buy a ticket ahead of time. Depending on the time you’re visiting the line to catch the ferry can be very long. We’re talking hours-in-line long! So get on this website and buy your ticket before your visit! There is a separate (shorter) line for people who already bought tickets online. If you want to go up inside the pedestal you will need to book farther in advance, and if you’re hoping to go all the way up to the crown, good luck! Those tickets book out months ahead. The ticket prices don’t vary much though, so try to see what you can get! We just did the ferry ride over to the island. The views of lower Manhattan from the ferry are beautiful!
- Once you decide the date you want to visit, you’ll also choose a time and location for catching the ferry. Unless you happen to be staying in New Jersey you’ll want to choose the New York departure. It’s important to give yourself plenty of time to get to Battery Park to catch the ferry, because you want to be there about 30 minutes before your scheduled departure time. I took the girls to the 911 Memorial on our way, because it’s in lower Manhattan too. There’s a Battery Park subway stop that gets you right where you want to be and if you’re early, there are plenty of sites in the park to keep you busy until departure.
- Your ticket to Liberty Island also includes a visit to Ellis Island! Here’s how it works – you catch the ferry over to Liberty Island then once you’ve spent as much time as you want with Lady Liberty you can choose to either take a ferry back over to Manhattan or take another one over to Ellis Island. We chose to go to Ellis Island too, and while we all enjoyed the Immigration Museum we were a little spent by the end. If you want to do both locations plan for a full morning or afternoon. And bring snacks. 🙂 The museum allows you to experience the process immigrants went through when they came to America. The stories and pictures were equally fascinating and heart breaking. Ellis Island is beautiful and the perfect place to relax if you need a little breathing room away from the crowds in Manhattan.
The reason I hadn’t visited the Statue of Liberty before was because I didn’t want to “waste” a whole afternoon looking at a statue. But now that I’ve been I can tell you that the experience is SO WORTH IT, and it’s not about the statue at all. But seeing her up close was much more emotional than I expected. We were teary-eyed as we walked around the island with people from all over the world and thought about what she represents! It made me so proud to be from a country with a history of welcoming immigrants with open arms, and hopeful that we will continue to honor that tradition.
A few other sites I drug the girls to were the 911 Memorial, Chelsea Market, The High Line, Bryant Park, Times Square, Grand Central, Central Park, China Town, some vintage stores, and lots of restaurants! We stayed at The Jewel in Midtown and loved the location even though I had to get some earplugs after the first night. The city truly never sleeps! 🙂
Thank you for the best trip, Dad! You’re coming with us next time.
Want more NYC posts? Check out this one about some of our favorite family friendly places to eat and this one for tips about how to do New York at Christmas! And if you just want to look though a bunch of pictures, click here.