Los Angeles and New York sit roughly 4000 kilometres apart, on opposite coasts of the United States, each with their own distinct and different personality. Both have much to offer, but if you want to ensure that you’re making the most of your visit, this cheat sheet put together by personal travel manager Carli Hester is a great starting point for planning your stay.
It takes about a day get here from the East Coast of Australia so once you’ve arrived, you may as well base yourself in the heart of the action. There are plenty of hotels to choose from in the vicinity of Times Square, and the atmosphere when the nearby Broadway theatres are finishing for the evening is unlike anywhere else. Central can mean small and/or expensive, but your personal travel manager can help you find the best option to suit you.
Don’t be afraid to be a tourist: the hop-on, hop-off bus is a fantastic way to see all that New York and its districts have to offer. It’s also great for getting your bearings so that when you’re ready to tackle the subway, you have a pretty good idea of the city’s layout. Walking and cycling are other great ways to soak up the sights and sounds of the city: there’s even a bike share programme, with stations dotted around Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Jersey City.
According to TripAdvisor there are 273 museums and galleries dotted around the city, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, so you will need to plan your time wisely. Many of the city’s museums offer free entry, or entry is included in your bus or tour vouchers. The National September 11 Memorial and Museum commemorates the events of that day in 2001 and its 2,977 victims and is widely considered a must-see if you’re in New York.
Taking in a Broadway show is a rite of passage for all visitors to New York, but if you’re not too concerned about which show you see, you can enter the Broadway lottery: it’s a great way to get cheap tickets to some of the hottest shows in town. Madison Square Garden hosts sporting events and concerts almost every night, but if there’s something you really want to attend that’s already sold out, you can sometimes pick up last-minute release tickets within the last half an hour prior to the show starting. You may have a restricted view but it can still be worth the effort.
New York really is the city that never sleeps, but if the hustle and bustle is leaving you craving a little peace in which to recharge your batteries, there’s only one place to go: Central Park. This sprawling, leafy enclave in the heart of Manhattan covers more than 840 acres of prime New York real estate, so despite the estimated 40 million visitors it attracts each year you can still find a quiet corner for yourself. Join an official tour of the park (or ask a pedicab driver to show you their favourite spots). A horse and carriage ride through Central Park is a touristy must, as is a ride on one of the largest carousels in the United States and dining at the iconic Tavern on the Green.
Los Angeles is such a vast, sprawling metropolis that it’s important to plan your stay carefully and book your accommodation based on what you’re planning to see and do.
If you want to channel your inner Pretty Woman on Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills is the place to be, but there’s also great shopping to be had in The Grove (an upmarket shopping and dining destination) and Melrose Avenue (especially the section between Fairfax and La Brea).
Hollywood is a great area to base yourself if you want to the quintessential movie experience. There are plenty of hotels to choose from that will provide easy access to Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame, Universal Studios and iconic landmarks like the Carter Observatory and the Hollywood Bowl, or you can join a tour that takes you around into neighbouring Beverly Hills, Bel-Air and the Hollywood Hills in search of your favourite stars’ homes.
Santa Monica and its neighbouring beach suburbs are a great base for families, especially if you want to be able to escape the city and factor in some downtime. There’s great shopping on pedestrian-friendly 3rd Street Promenade, plus plenty of excellent restaurants with waterfront views and a pier which is filled with rides and games. Make sure you share a funnel cake while you’re there.
For the best people-watching, stroll or bike the boardwalk and check out the artsy scene around Venice Beach. Foodies will love the amazing vegan food at Cafe Gratitude on Rose Ave, and Abbot Kinney Boulevard is renowned for its street festival of live music and the best food trucks in town, held on the first Friday of each month.
Anaheim is the only place to be if you’re a Disney lover. How much time you spend here depends on how much you love the Happiest Place on Earth, but most people aim to spend one day each in Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, plus an extra day revisiting your favourite attractions in both parks. If you can stretch the budget a little further, it’s well worth staying in one of the three on-site hotels, which give you special direct access to the parks. You may prefer to stay in one of the many hotels nearby though, and save the extra cash for the fabulous outlet shopping that’s nearby.
For a different perspective on the City of Angels, lace on your trainers and head for one of the canyon trails: Runyon and Temescal Canyons are popular options that offer stunning views of the city and the coast. If you want a slower pace again, the Self Realisation Park at Pacific Palisades is a lush ten-acre garden where visitors are encouraged to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the setting.
For more inspiration on Los Angeles, New York or USA in general please contact personal travel manager Carli Hester here.