Things to do for a day trip to New York City


Peyton Stagliano

View of New York City from the Edge in Hudson Yards.

With summer quickly approaching, everyone is jumping at the chance to make plans as the warmer and stress free days are approaching. Many will be spending their days at the beach or on other cool vacations, but for some, you may just be stuck and home. What if I told you that you and your friends could take a fun spontaneous day trip for pretty cheap? Well, guess what, you can! 

New York City has a wide variety of entertaining activities, good food, and places to shop. The best part about going to New York is there is no need to get a hotel and it can easily be a day trip. But if you wanted to stay over multiple days there are also plenty of activities to keep you occupied. Why be like everyone else and spend your who summer at the beach when you can enjoy a day or two in New York instead?

While driving is an option for getting to the city, you can save yourself a lot of gas money and traffic time by taking the train instead. You can catch the train out of either Trenton or Hamilton station and the train ride is only about an hour long. A ticket one way is approximately $17 and there are multiple trains running throughout the day so you can plan to catch the train at any time with backup times in case you are running behind. The train will drop you off at Penn Station in New York City which leaves you in Times Square near Madison Square Garden and within walking distance of Manhattan. 

There are tons of things to do and see in Times Square including thousands of stores to shop in. The one thing with Times Square is it can easily be extremely crowded and overwhelming leaving it not the most fun place to be located in the city. As I mentioned before, you do have the option to walk toward Manhattan where the bustle is certainly much less. Trust me when I say that Manhattan has the same amount of interesting things to do. 

One of Manhattan’s more built-up areas includes Hudson Yards. Standing tall in the center of Hudson Yards is one of their more recent attractions built, the Vessel. Made up of 154 interconnecting flights of stairs, this structure is about 150 feet tall and was built as part of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project in Manhattan. At the moment the Vessel is temporarily closed for visitors to climb but it is still a sight, especially at night when it is lit up. Although closed, visitors are still welcomed to walk into the center of the structure and look up at the cool intricate stairways. It may not be as cool as getting to stand at the top and overlook the Hudson River, but it makes for a great place to take photos and is still a spectacle.

Manhattan’s biggest spectacle, the Vessel. (Peyton Stagliano)

After visiting the Vessel, one of New York’s best malls, The Shops, and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, is conveniently located right next door. No need to go shopping in Times Square when most of the stores are located inside this mall. Some of the stores include Forever 21, Lululemon, Athleta, Levi’s, and so much more. It also is home to many high-end stores as well like Fendi, Louise Vuitton, Coach, and more. There are also many restaurants to grab a quick lunch which is convenient if you hope to stay in the area and get tons of shopping in. There are more expensive options but for teens who want less of a sit-down environment, they have easy on-the-go restaurants like Shake Shack. If your looking for a mid-day pick me up there are also many places where you can get your sugar fill. One of the shops is New York City’s famous Magnolia Bakery which is known for its mouth-watering banana pudding and cupcakes. They also have a little pop up shop of another famous bakery, Ladurée, which makes real french macaroons that come in a variety of different flavors. 

Photo of the famous Ladurée macaroons. (Peyton Stagliano)

Probably the coolest and biggest attraction in the Hudson Yards area is the Edge. The Edge may be one of the best attractions they offer but it is most definitely the scariest. The Edge is the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere. The deck is surrounded by an all-glass wall so you can get a full view of the city around you. It also has a portion of the floor made out of glass so, if you are brave enough, you can stare down at the 100 stories below you. It is a thrilling experience, and if you are afraid of heights it probably won’t be the best experience, but it is another amazing place to take photos and it gives you one of the most incredible views of the city. For an experience like this, the tickets are fairly cheap at only $40. You are given a certain time you can take the elevator up to the deck but you are able to stay as long as you would like.

The Tartufo pizza, margarita pizza, steak, and mac n cheese from the Pennsylvania 6. (Peyton Stagliano)

After a long day of adventure, you are most likely going to be left hungry and exhausted. No need to go far or on a wild goose chase to find a good meal. Only about a block from Penn Station, there is a great restaurant called Pennsylvania 6, which offers all different kinds of food, and none of it will disappoint. Some of the dishes you can choose from are burgers, pizza, steaks, seafood, salads, and more. While I was there, for an appetizer I got the “Street Corn” dip which was interesting since I had never seen street corn in a dip form before. But it was one of the best appetizers I have had and no one at the table could stop eating it. For my entree, I had the Tartufo pizza which was a white pizza with mushrooms, truffle cheese, and a sunny-side-up egg. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the egg on top but I must say that it may be one of my new favorite pizza toppings. It added such good flavor to the pizza and was extremely unique. The restaurant also accommodates people who are allergic to gluten and has a wide selection of items they can order, including pizza and mac n cheese.

For anyone who is looking to start making their summer plans and wants something a little different from the beach, consider taking a trip to New York City. The big apple has so much to offer, and Hudson Yards is a great getaway if you are looking for a less hectic scene.