New York City may the most populated city in the US, but it doesn't take long to see a lot of the city's hot spots on a bike.
JetBlue and Delta Airlines offer non-stop, round-trip flights from SLC to JFK for $400–$600. A 30-minute taxi trip to Times Square is around $50, plus tip. Booking a hotel in the center of Times Square breaks the trip into two loops—Uptown and Lower Manhattan. For our NYC biking trip, we chose to stay at the newly-refurbished Paramount Hotel, in the Broadway Classic Room, $250/per night. The Paramount is half a block from Times Square in the heart of the Theater District, with dozens of coffee shops and restaurants all in walking distance.
Biking is the best way to get around the city. New York is in the process of implementing bike lanes on all major roads. In late 2013, they will be opening the city's first bike share program. For the average city biker, getting around New York is simple. Beginners may want to walk their bikes on the sidewalks in high traffic areas or during rush hour. Riders should take caution at intersections since most “New Yorkers” tend to push the traffic law limits.
As always, wear a helmet and proper safety equipment. There are plenty of places to lock up your bike and most times you will be able to park your bike in central area and walk around the neighborhoods.
Day 1—Uptown Manhattan
5 miles round trip, not including Central Park loop
7 a.m. Get an early start, grab a coffee at a corner coffee shop, and make your way over to Rockefeller Plaza to watch the live filming of the Today Show. Celebrities make daily appearances, and if you stay for the entire three-hour filming, you’re sure to feel a little star struck.
9 a.m. Walk down 5th Avenue and take in the sights of Armani, Jimmy Choo, and Saks. Take a Left on 55th and rent a bike at Central Park Bike Rentals, if you reserve online before your trip an all-day bike rental is $32 and comes with a bike lock and helmet.
10 a.m. Enter Central Park at Columbus Circle where Broadway meets 59th. Follow the one-way bike lane north throughout the park. Bikes can’t be ridden on the paved pathways that weave through the park, but you can walk next to your bike to view things like the carousel or one of several lakes. The entire loop will take an average rider 1–2 hours and does have some short inclines.
12 p.m. Stop for lunch at The Loeb Boathouse located on one of the lakes where visitors can rent boats and row across. Enjoy fresh seafood and wine from across the world while taking in the views of the lake and surrounding park.
2 p.m. Exit the park at Columbus Circle and take Central Park West to The Museum of Natural History on 77th, suggested admission is $19. Wander through the museum and check out the Whales: Giants of the Deep exhibit, where you can come nose to nose with a 45-foot humpback whale sculpture.
4 p.m. After all that information, it’s time for an afternoon sugar fix. Three blocks down is Levain Bakery on 74th. You might miss the small blue door that leads into the basement bakery, which specializes in jumbo chocolate chip cookies. They only have four options and I recommend getting one of each to snack on in your hotel later.
5 p.m. Return your bikes and make your way back to Times Square. Retail stores, sidewalk vendors and bars line Times Square which runs along Broadway from 41st to 50th. Don’t miss the M&M or Hershey’s store where they pump the smell of chocolate into the air. The Times Square Toys R Us offers children and adults a chance to ride a ferris wheel that sits in the center of the store.
7 p.m. Enjoy dinner at either Havana Central on 46th where a live caribbean band plays while you enjoy classic Cuban cuisine and one of 20 fruit mojitos. Or go for a more elegant dinner stop at Trattoria Trecolori on 47th for an extensive wine list and exquisite Italian menu.
9 p.m. For dessert and drinks, head back to the hotel. The Paramount Bar and Grill offers a vast cocktail menu along with local New York brews. Don’t forget to order the Apple Pie Milkshake, a Paramount orignal, where they take a slice of homemade apple pie and blend it with vanilla ice cream topped with a cinnamon stick and waffle cone.
Day 2—Lower Manhattan
11 miles round trip
8 a.m. Grab a light breakfast in Corso’s Italian Coffee shop, located in the hotel lobby ($5 for a coffee and pastry). Walk to Central Park Bike Rentals and Pedicab Tour Inc., between 7th and 8th on 49th, about a five minute walk (this is different from the first bike shop). Bike rentals when reserved online are $35.
9 a.m. Chelsea Market is a foodie paradise—an urban food court and a shopping mall located in the Chelsea Borough of Manhattan. The bike ride takes about 15 minutes and traffic will be light in the morning. While in the market, sample the various food vendor stalls and enjoy samplings from across the world. Grab a brownie from Fat Witch Bakery and enjoy a wine tasting at the Chelsea Wine Vault. Visit Imports From Marrakesh for extoic home and garden decor.
11 a.m. Take the Hudson Greenway to Battery Park where you can view Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty from the shore. Here you can board the Statue Cruises Ferry, $17, and visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
2 p.m. Enjoy lunch at Battery Gardens and watch the ferries and boats cruise along the Hudson.
5 p.m. Ride to Chinatown and Little Italy. Walk through the fish and produce markets and stop for a cup of Boba (Bubble) Tea at one of the many tea shops. In Little Italy, enjoy handmade gelato and a slice of pizza.
6 p.m. SoHo is packed full of art galleries and small boutiques along with high-end luxury stores. For dinner, check out Taka Taka, on Broadway, a revolving sushi bar that offers Mexican sushi and Japanese tacos. Try their Asian Sangria, a new spin on the classic sangria, Japanese saki and asian apples.
8 p.m. Return Bikes and walk toward the Empire State building, on 5th and 33rd, buy a ticket to visit both the main and top deck for $42. From the top deck, you will be able to view the city from almost a quarter mile in the sky.
10 p.m. End your night at Junior’s, on 44th, and sample the “World's-most-fabulous cheesecake.” Make your way back to the hotel and grab any last minute souvenirs from one of the “I Love New York” vendors.