NYC, Boston, and DC for Under $500 (part 2)

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Click here for part one: Boston.

An $8 Megabus ticket got us on the upper deck of a charter, where we got to see the beautiful countryside rolling by. Although it was a charter bus, it was quite comfortable. More so than a standard flight.

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If you are not familiar with Megabus, there is free wifi available. We took advantage of this and pricelined our next hotel during our 4 hour trek down to NYC. We named our price for $99 for a 3-4 star hotel. I had stayed in NYC before, and knew we weren’t going to be in a 600 square ft room, however, I was a little nervous at what we would be getting at that price in midtown Manhattan.

The hotel ended up being right in the middle of Koreatown, and was an absolute gem! (Check it out here ) The hotel was sandwiched between Broadway and 5th Street. Prime real estate, and easy access to everywhere!

My first tip would be to skip the Manhattan bus tour, and drive in on a mega bus! The charter came in from the north end of the island, and we got an upper-deck city tour of Harlem, Central Park, upper East Side, down into central Manhattan. Since we were on the second level of the bus, there were no cars obstructing our views. I would have paid the $8 just for the drive into town! And the traffic only helped us savor the views a little longer.
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THE ATTRACTIONS

In New York, we went to the Natural History Museum, which we got in for free with Hubb’s military ID. I definitely recommend this if you are visiting NYC. NYC5

We strolled Central Park, which is on the front steps of the museum. There are a whole slew of museums free to military personnel and their families in New York. We ate street car falafel and dogs, more because I wanted to try it, not just to save money.

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Day 2 we hiked to Chelsea Market, one of the highlights of the week, and sucked down a bowl of Manhattan chowder. We would save the New England chowder for Boston, of course!NYC6

The best part of the trip happened to be an accident. We decided to act our age, for once, and hit up a trendy pub that was a block from our hotel. The decor was Irish, the food as authentic as we Texans could imagine it to be, and we enjoyed a few dirty martinis at the upstairs lounge. Being soccer coaches, we were a little bummed that March Madness clogged every TV in the joint, but after our meal we heard a faint “ole…ole…” coming from downstairs. Sure enough, the basement was crammed with La Liga and Premier League scarves, jerseys, and games. We had stepped into Futbol Heaven. If you’re a soccer fan and ever in Manhattan, check out O’reilly’s pub off 31st and Ave of the Americas.

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We took the Subway out of town to the Bronx Zoo. I love zoos to begin with, but you could really feel the history in this zoo. The sea lion attraction was one of the best animal attractions I’ve experienced, and it felt very interactive. There were also live peacocks just roaming around, enjoying the stroll along side of us. That was pretty immersive. At first, I thought one had escaped on accident, until we walked through the food court and saw a handful of them scouring the ground for munchies!  They had a very cool bird and marsupial exhibit.

GETTING AROUND

We used the subway some, but not a lot. We spent a whole day walking to Central Park, through it, and back. Our hotel was centrally located, as much as you can be for Manhattan. We walked one block left from our hotel entrance and we were on Ave of the Americas. The subway was…well, the subway. Crowded, hurried, not particularly clean, me at times, foul-smelling. But then again, the entire city is exactly the same. Everywhere you walk in the city (besides Central Park) you are likely to be thrown into a cloud of second-hand smoke or a blast from an unavoidable subway grate underfoot.

TIPS

1. Southwest airlines. Free bags, cheap fares, need I say more?
2. Priceline hotels, but do the research on the neighborhood. Stay Central. EX: We were able to walk North to Central Park and South to Chelsea Market.
3. Research museums, galleries, and other activities for military, student and teacher discounts.
4. Walk as much as possible. The New York subways are not really somewhere you want to spend much of your vacation anyways.

After 2 nights in the big Apple, we hopped on a Megabus headed south for DC. Little did we know an $8 public bus trip would actually add to our experience!

Click here for our excursion to Boston.

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