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First trip to east from california with family

Pune, India
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First trip to east from california with family

Hello everyone,

I am amazed to see how frequently things are updated on the NYC forum, thanks to you all first time travelers like will have an amazing experience. I promise from my side I will update a Trip report once I complete my trip.

My Profile

Travelling with 3.5 yr old daughter and wife

My Plan

Booked air tickets already traveling from bay area CA to LGA airport and returning back the same route. Reaching LGA on the Sep 3 2014 and returning on the 12th Sep 2014. So I need to plan what I can cover in the 8 full days I have out there. I still have not booked my hotel room so need suggestions budget rooms for the same time frame.

What I need to see

1) All the NYC standard places like Staten Island, Statue of liberty, Hudson river, Central Park, Bronx Zoo, Rock feller, Empire bldg, Time Square etc.

2) Niagara falls in the night and day anything else around that

3) May be DC


1) How do I see all the attractions of NYC by hop on hop off tour bus or should I buy the metro card for me and my wife unlimited 7 days - what is more economical. Will I be able to cover using the public transport and walking which me and wife are prepared for anyways after reading a lot the posts (Stroller planned for my daughter).

2) For Niagara Falls I was thinking taking a 2 day tour rather than driving down, or should I just take a bus point to point and back and see it myself and plan for stay somewhere near Niagra Falls as I don't think I can do a day trip it will be too much to achieve.

3) DC also can be covered in one of the 3 days tours which covers Niagara and DC maybe that is a better option since things will be taken care off rather than me worrying about planning anything.

Let me know your thoughts on the above questions and also how I should plan my itinerary should I plan Niagara in the middle or in the end depending on how I can do the NYC by hop on hop off or public transport. How many days should I budget for NYC alone assuming I do not want to miss anything amazing.

Apologies for the long post, hope I have provided all the information that you all might need to help me out.

Thanks for reading this long post and thanks in advance for any help.


Andy Rain

New York City, New...
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1. Re: First trip to east from california with family

You don't realize how far DC and Niagara Falls are. The best way to see Niagara Falls is to fly to Buffalo, NY. It's only 1 1/2 hrs. I think its a maitake to cover all 3 places with a toddler. I would pick one plus NYC. Look at hotels in Long Island City. The Verve, Vetiver, Nesva are good ones. Make sure whatever you pick is walking distance to the subway.

Dallas, Texas...
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2. Re: First trip to east from california with family

The only efficient way to get to Niagara Falls is to fly. Too bad you already booked your flights, or we might have advised you to fly into JFK and just immediately fly up to BUF. Or book an open jaw ticket to BUF, then down to NYC. Fewer trips back and forth from the airport.

It looks like there are some flights between LGA and BUF, so you may want to see if that can work with your itinerary.

For your hotel recs, you'll need to provide a target budget per night. Note that September is a particularly expensive time for hotels, but since you've been reading the forum, you know that :-)

You won't be able to see "All the standard NYC places". You'll need to pick and choose the ones that interest you the most. The Top Questions section can be a good start, but consider getting a good travel guidebook. Note that Staten Island isn't really a tourist destination, but visitors do enjoy riding the Staten Island ferry for somewhat distant views of Statue of Liberty if they don't plan to actually go to the SOL)

1) You can't see all the attractions by HOHO bus. You might want to take a bus tour as an overview, but then using the subway + walking is the most efficient way to get around to the places you choose.

2) Fly to NF.

3) Those bus tours are not well regarded in general. It would be nuts to do it with a small child. Plan to fly to NF (BUF), but instead of flying back to JFK, fly to DC. Take the train from DC back to NYC.

It really would have been better to book a flight to NYC and departing from DC. It probably would have priced about the same.

In your prior post, people indicated you could easily spend 7 days in NYC and not see "all of it". It seems like you've gone back to shortening that trip. That's fine, but just know that you will leave wishing you had more time.

Queens, NY
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3. Re: First trip to east from california with family

NYC to Niagara Falls is about the distance of Sunnyvale to San Diego - it's a LONG trip. Niagara Falls is more of a side-trip from Toronto, which is substantially closer. Washington, DC is 250 miles in the opposite direction. I also suggest shaving one of those off (I'd say Niagara, as it's farther and less interesting, and travel there is more expensive and more complicated. Anyway, you have even better natural vistas close to home.)

Portland, Maine
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4. Re: First trip to east from california with family

You definitely don't want to take a tour from New York to Washington. Just take the train and then, when in Washington, you can take a local tour if you want.

Some people have done Washington in one day by taking a very early train down and then coming back in the evening. I don't know if I'd want to do that with a young child, however.

Washington is not only closer to NYC than Niagara Falls, it has much faster and more frequent train service so it's a simpler trip. There's no reason to fly from NYC to Washington.

Edited: 14 May 2014, 21:07
Eugene, Oregon
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5. Re: First trip to east from california with family

I love Niagara Falls and I'd be more inclined to think a 3.5 yo would have a lot more fun there than the museums and monuments of DC. Maid of the Mist, Cave of the Winds, tons of park space to run around...I say keep the Falls on the itinerary and save DC for when he/she is older.

staten island
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6. Re: First trip to east from california with family

I have to disagree that Staten Island isn't a tourist destination. But, I am assuming you mean the Staten Island Ferry. If you are a little adventurous, take a short bus ride once on SI and go to Snug Harbor Cultural Center. There's something there for the whole family, one attraction being an excellent children's museum.

I wouldn't do both Niagara Falls and D.C. but it's a tough choice.

Hervey Bay...
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7. Re: First trip to east from california with family

I think once you get to NYC you are going to kick yourself that you did not spend the whole of your holidays there. There is simply so much to see and do that to add NF and DC on as well is way too ambitious in this time, especially with a toddler. Another vote for dropping one of them, preferably NF.

Pune, India
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8. Re: First trip to east from california with family

Yes after all the suggestions even I am thinking of dropping DC from the plan.

I have planned to take the Metrocard 7 day unlimited and try to cover as much as I can of NYC in 5 days or so. I would be gald if you experts give me suggestions to plan my days by bunching some of the attractions as per subway and bus transit plan.

I may fly to NF and complete it in 2 days.

Edited: 16 May 2014, 00:06
Brooklyn, NY
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9. Re: First trip to east from california with family

** I would be gald if you experts give me suggestions to plan my days by bunching some of the attractions as per subway and bus transit plan.**

You are going to need to add more NYC attractions/places/things that you want to do.

With the brief list that you have so far, it is rather easy to visit those attractions/areas in 5 days.

What you need to do is get a guidebook or look at the FAQ's on this page and start to build out enough things to do for 5 days.

What are your interests: art/plays/foodie/sports/shopping/people-watching/etc.? When you add more to the list, it will be easier to advise.

10. Re: First trip to east from california with family

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