New York in 6 days with Niagara Falls: travelogue

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Martí Micolau

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We publish the first part of Alessandro's travel diary who with his family embarked on a fascinating fly and drive: 6 days in New York with a visit to Niagara Falls, and an on the road on the West Coast between Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Let's find out about his adventure together ...

Premise: in this itinerary you will not find all the attractions of the Big Apple, for a complete overview read our guide on what to do in New York.

We are finally here, after spending the winter organizing the trip, it's time to leave. Me my wife and my two children aged 13 and 16.


  • Day 1: The Empire State Building at night
  • Day 2: Central Park, Natural History Museum and Times Square
  • Day 3: Lower Manhattan
  • Day 4: Top of the Rock and shopping
  • Day 5: Niagara Falls
  • Giorno 6: Journey behind the Falls

Day 1: The Empire State Building at night

For convenience, we leave Linate with a stopover in Rome with Alitalia. The flights were booked directly on the official websites by monitoring the price trend, while we used all the hotels Booking . Flight on time, convenient automatic passport check in Rome, eat something on the fly, and then board the Alitalia flight to New York.

Read our tips on how to choose a low-cost flight to the USA

We start, we shoot 4 films and a light rest and we arrive in the Big Apple, excited and not at all tired indeed, and even if we are at the end of June the temperature is perfect around 20 degrees. Arriving at the airport, we follow the signs and, for those arriving for the first time in the United States, the terminal is practically deserted. They check our passport, proceed with fingerprints, photos and time 10 minutes we are at the baggage claim, another 10 minutes and we go to take the taxi.

No one waiting, fantastic, we immediately cross the guy who asks us where we are headed and, since we are 4 with suitcases, he immediately tells us to take a large SUV waiting and go, time 30 minutes we are in the hotel for a cost of $ 60. We go up to the room, we feel a slight fall asleep but we all resist and without touching the bed we go back to the street and head immediately towards the Empire State Building, where using the mobile phone and showing the electronic tickets (we had opted for the New York CityPass) we climb to the top in no time at all, it is 22.00pm local time. Beautiful, perfect night few people no crowds, fantastic! Photo of the ritual, but then fatigue takes over so cooked we go down and walk back to the hotel, which was very close.

Read our guide on which pass to choose for New York

Day 2: Central Park, Natural History Museum and Times Square

Due to the time zone still to be disposed of, we wake up very early around 6.00, I had booked at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott New York Midtown Manhattan, breakfast included starting at 6.30 a real convenience and savings (in 4 even at starbucks depart at least 40 $ ). Then I like to get up and have breakfast right away to get on the track.

So refreshed we head towards Top of the Rock but, given the cloudy day, we do not recommend the climb. So we retrace our steps and head to Central Park on foot. Maybe it's Sunday morning at 7.00 local time, maybe the day is cloudy but New York is practically deserted, a few taxis passing by, the classic steam coming out of the manholes and a surreal silence surrounds us.

Visiting the park is also great, just a few lone runners and various squirrels jumping around here and there. We continue to forward to reach the natural history museum, the next destination of our tour and included in the citypass. In 5 minutes they give us the tickets after checking the electronic ones on the mobile, and they inform us that today a documentary on the dark universe in 4d is also included, which we obviously use. So we turn the museum made famous by the movie "a night at the museum", it is immense.

We are now at the end of the morning, a quick lunch inside the museum and then we go out. Now the city has changed in our eyes, Central Park has filled up, young people playing baseball, others throwing rugby balls, foot runners and many others who ride bicycles of different ethnicities and races. We slow down and at the end of the afternoon we go back to the hotel, recharge the batteries and go out in the evening to Times Square that could not be missed, but the jet lag is felt and therefore 21.40 everyone in bed.

Day 3: Lower Manhattan

Thanks again to the time that facilitates us, we wake up early at 7.00 breakfast then 7.30 we take a taxi, we ask the driver if, before taking us to Battery Park, the destination of our tour today, he will take us to Brooklin Bridge, for a quick visit, driver gets lost 2 times but in the end we get there. Then arrived in Battery Park, we convert the electronic tickets and time 10 minutes we embark towards the Statue of Liberty: a real thrill to finally see it live! We arrive at the island the view is spectacular, beautiful, we stop for a couple of hours then go back on the ferry to Ellis Island where a visit to the structure and its immigration museum is included, lunch inside the museum and return to New York.

In the afternoon we head to Ground Zero, we visit the 9/11 Museum, really exciting. Once out we go up to Chinatown and Little Italy. Ahhh here it is maybe I will finally be able to get a decent espresso, not Starbucks mashers. Well in fact it was excellent but 3 coffees 2 cannoli at the counter from Gianni 20 $! We continue the road towards the hotel and after having totaled 21 km on foot we arrive exhausted in the room…. Good night!

Day 4: Top of the Rock and shopping

Early in the morning as usual we get off and head to Top of the Rock, today the day is splendid. We are the first to confirm electronic tickets at the desk and go up to the top with the elevator, higher still with the escalator and we are on the outdoor terrace, beautiful, fantastic, New York literally at our feet. After taking a few photos, we go downstairs, do some shopping at the stores, and go back to the hotel. Check out and take a taxi to La Guardia airport to take the flight to Toronto.

We travel with Air Canada, fly on time and in less than 2 hours we are at our destination. Rent a car, very quickly (we used Autoeurope with ALAMO) and off in an hour and a half we are at the famous Niagara Falls.

Read our tips for car rental in the USA

The hotel we have chosen is the Marriot. We are lucky because our room is on the top floor: the 31st! The view over the falls is simply unimaginable. Time to realize that we have not dined yet, behind the hotel we find a take-away pizzeria and with 22 euros we take it to our room and, at that point, looking at the falls we go to bed and in a very short time we are in the arms of Morpheus.

Day 5: Niagara Falls

The next morning, we had booked a tour, he passes the guide at the hotel and, together with another couple, he immediately takes us to the Skylon Tower. At the top of the tower we enjoy a priceless view accompanied by a strong wind. Unfortunately the day is cloudy but the view is worth it. We go down to take the Hornblower boat, they give us the red cape and go under the waterfalls, really fun and also very wet.

We go back, a quick hot dog and we head to make the visit under the falls but, unfortunately, due to a problem with the generator, the guide tells us that we should come back the next morning. So the afternoon is free for a few walks, the children instead begin to feel a little tired so they stay in the hotel to rest. For dinner in the evening in abstinence of pasta we take 4 dishes of spaghetti with tomato sauce, not bad after all

Giorno 6: Journey behind the Falls

In the morning we resume the tour where we had interrupted it, we explain at the entrance the problem of the previous day and they immediately remake the tickets, we take the supplied cover and go down under the falls, well impressive even more from this view. Here we understand the true power and strength of the waterfall, another wash. Then we go through the tunnels always under the falls that lead to small windows where the water falls in buckets, we go back up time to dry, check out and go to the airport, but first we stop for a walk to Lake Ontario.

We then prepare to take the plane as our next destination will be Las Vegas!

If you'd like to take a cue from an itinerary like this, but have a full week to spare, take a cue from our 7-day New York itinerary too!
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