I've always wanted to visit New York, the falls, Adirondacks, and NYC. Guess I've never done it b/c I've heard its an expensive place to visit. Any tips on the best time of year to stay, and where to stay on a budget?
I'd say the best time to visit is whenever I'm on vacation, so I don't have to deal with even more tourists. Ha ha, just kidding. Definitely christmas time. There's so much to see, Saks, Macy's, Radio City. I've been working in manhattan for almost 20 years, and Christmas time is still the only time of year where my breath is taken away. As a bonus, if you're into being herded into cages and peeing on yourself and being puked on, stay for New Years in Times Square.
+1 for Christmas. If you plan on driving up north I'd recommend the fall (for the foliage) OR the summer for camping in the Adirondacks and if you make it to the falls, def. check out Niagara on the Lake.
In Christmas 2009, I was in NYC. We have done ice skating in Rockefeller Center and Central Park. Then I went to top of the Empire State Building. I had a romantic dinner at a fine restaurant. IMO, it could be better to direct contact with NYC hotels. You will get lots of discount. Right now I am in Luray and staying in a hotel. They are providing 20% discount.
I have to agree with the above. NYC between Thanksgiving and New Years is unlike anywhere else in the world. It's crowded and you'll get some cranky commuters who don't like the tourist traffic, but it's well worth it.
In terms of the cheapest places to stay, just avoid Midtown and get used to the subways. The further North or South you go in Manhattan, the less expensive it'll be. But you could still get to all of the Midtown goodness on the subway in less than a half hour.
Honestly in my experience from my trip to NYC, it CAN be an expensive place depending on what you want to do, but it also seems to be a city that can be done on the cheap if your on a budget. There are lots of attractions like Dangerfields legendary comedy club that are extremely cheap and fantastic. Me and 5 other friends went there for $40 total. My hostel was only about 20 bucks a night, and I still managed to experience NYC dining without spending an arm and a leg. Even saw a broadway show for $30, but that was a discounted student rate
I went with my family last summer and we rented an apartment for I think somewhere around $800 for the week off of Craigslist. The apartment was tiny, but it had a kitchen so we were able to cut down on food costs by cooking there.