3 essential bookings for a short break to New York City

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CityXplora has gathered together what it considers to be New York City's three best pre-travel bookings. The suggestions below should help tick off all the main considerations involved in planning an ideal short break. We've covered transport, attraction entries, shopping, dining and even a bit of theatre.

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Save Money On Sightseeing And Attractions:

Big Bus New York Sightseeing Tour:

The Big Apple is a big place, especially when you look beyond the boundaries of Manhattan. An initial booking we'd therefore recommend to any traveller is the city's most renowned hop-on hop-off bus tour. Big Bus operate four sightseeing routes that each provide an essential overview of New York City both day and night. Manhattan has two main routes (Uptown and Downtown), the combined length of which stretches all the way from Battery Park in the south to Harlem in the north. Both converge at Times Square and contain around 15-stops each. The benefit of this is that your transport becomes more flexible and is covered for a whole 48-hours on just one ticket. Unlike say, the subway, you'll actually get to see the landmarks, and as you ride along a live English-speaking guide will provide insightful and entertaining commentary.

The third Big Bus route runs to Brooklyn. Cross the Manhattan bridge and do a circuit of this vibrant borough, whose highlights include Grand Army Plaza and the iconic brownstone house rows. Before making the return journey you can choose to hop-off at Prospect Park & Zoo for bit of on-foot exploration. Finally, head along to Times Square between 19:30-21:00 for the Night Tour. See the radiant sights of central Manhattan and cross East River into Brooklyn. Like on the daytime routes you'll be entertained by a passionate onboard guide who'll bring the trip to life from start to finish.

New York CityPASS:

This nifty booklet serves as your free access and discount provider for six of the city's top tourist spots. Book a voucher online and exchange it for your pass at various key stops through New York (provided upon purchase). Four great attractions included with every booklet are: the Empire State Building Observatory, the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. You can then choose between either Top of the Rock or Guggenheim Museum, and Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island or Circle Line Cruises.

Not only will the New York CityPASS save you money on entry but most of the aforementioned attractions grant pass holders fast-track entry via special queues or dedicated access points. There's plenty of time to use your pass as well, given that they're valid for 9 days following first use.

New York Eat And Play Card:

So far we've covered transport and attraction entries, but what about eating, shopping and culture? New York's a lovely place, in fact its iconic attractions are probably its biggest seller. But what short break would be complete without a gander around Macy's or a magical Broadway play? Thankfully that's where the Eat and Play Card comes in!

Book just one of these and you'll be able to save 10-50% off any given purchase for up to 4 people. Like CityPASS, book a voucher online and take the printed copy to a selection of New York City redemption points. Check here for the exact card pick-up locations. In addition to a potential daily saving of $100+ the card has no time or minimum spend requirements, it's simply there when you need it. Reap the benefits a whole 30 days following first use.

Three More Suggested Attractions:

Ripley's Times Square:

'Ripley's Believe It Or Not!' museum at Times Square houses an extensive collection of weird and wonderful artefacts from the four corners of the earth, some of which were collected by explorer and entrepreneur Robert Ripley himself. It also shines a light on special New York facts and oddities.

See a 17ft scale model of the World Trade Centre complex made out of 470,000 matchsticks! Shrink and accessorize your head as part of the new Amazonian Makeover exhibit. And embark on the 'Fastest Tour of New York', a multi-sensory experience which takes you from the Bronx to Wall Street in just 16 steps.

MoMA:

If for some reason you choose not to book a New York CityPASS then we can at least get you entry to the fantastic Museum of Modern Art. MoMA’s renowned collection of modern and contemporary art includes Vincent van Gogh’s "The Starry Night" and Andy Warhol’s "Gold Marilyn Monroe", along with works by Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, and many other great artists of our time. The Museum’s collection also showcases photography, film, architecture, design, media, and performance art, and offers shopping and fine and casual dining options.

On Location Tours:

The fantastic folks at On Location Tours specialise in showing visitors around all of New York's most important film and television shooting spots. Whether it's a big screen staple or a little apartment from your favourite sitcom, they're guaranteed to deliver an experience that's as true to the fiction as possible.

If the Big Bus Tour isn't your thing then know that many people who come to experience New York's media magic choose On Location Tours as their main sightseeing trip, no surprise considering the exciting attraction visits, walking portions and entertaining guides. Let them take you around the delights of Central Park, point out celebrity hotspots, or show you New York's Christmas highlights on the Holiday Lights and Movie Sites Tour.