Tomorrow it will be two weeks ago that I returned from my amazing vacation, with plenty of time to deliberate my experiences. I thought it would be nice to compile a list of my ultimate highs and lows and my experience overall. I will list my highs and lows per city as well as recommendation on where to eat and what to do other than sightseeing. I will link to posts relating to these activities where possible.
Toronto skyline with CN tower & Roger’s Center
- Strange mixture of old and new architecture
- Niagara Falls (not in Toronto but a 2 hour drive from the city)
- Prices. Canada is expensive! With a less profitable exchange rate and high sales tax than the USA, you definitely spend more all around. Museums also cost quite a bit (around 20 CAD admission).
- You can see the entire city in about 1.5 days.
- Not much if not confusing public transportation system. The subway only runs north to south for instance.
Try Asian food while you’re in Toronto, especially sushi. There are a lot of traditional sushi/ dim sum/ noodle restaurants in Toronto due to the large amount of Asian immigrants that have gathered in the city. And visit LobLaws (you have to see that to believe it).
Non-touristy thing to do:
Go to Centre Island for picknicking/ sunbathing just like many Torontonians do.
Boston State House
- Very touristy city. Boston is the place where the United States started in a way, so many Americans also visit this place as a ‘let’s go back to our roots’ type of trip.
- Expensive hotels. I was glad I booked my trip early (in January, roughly 6 months before I left). Affordable places to stay in Boston are scarce and I was given a grand choice of 2 places to stay when I went to book my hotel.
- Too much to see for 5 days. This is a place I could go back to and see things again. Then I’d also like to have a car and go to Martha’s Vineyard/ Cape Cod and visit some of the houses of famous American authors who lived nearby.
If you’re going to Boston (or anywhere in the US really) try to find yourself Cheesecake Factory. Best. Dessert. EVER. Their menu features 25 different kinds of cheesecake. Who can say no to that. Oh and try some clam chowder in a bread bowl. I bought mine on Quincy Market.
Back Bay area. It’s very pretty (think Georgian Townhouses) and Newbury Street is Boston’s main shopping street. I highly doubt though that if my hotel hadn’t been in this area that I would have seen much of it. I felt it wasn’t as touristy as the downtown area.
New York City:
NOTE: these are my highs and lows for THIS trip only. This was my 6th time visiting the Big Apple. If you’re interested in getting more ‘things to do’ tips for New York city I have many more than I will list here.
- Sports’ game (just because it’s such a big part of American culture. Check which sport is in season when you’re planning your trip. You can usually buy tickets via US ticketmaster and just have the tickets listed as will call allowing you to pick up the tickets day of the event).
- South Street Seaport. The historic harbor in Leiden has more boats in it than this one.
- The weather. NYC is notorious for hitting a spell of thunderstorms and overall gray weather at the end of July.
- Tourists. If you’re visiting NYC in the middle of summer all the major attractions will be flooded by tourists. Lines will be long and Times Square is busier than ever.
If you don’t live in the US and you want to try decent US fastfood, go to Ruby Tuesday’s. They have a massive restaurant on Times Square. And grab a bagel from a local deli for breakfast.
I felt that when I was walking around Greenwich Village and The East Village that there were fewer tourists around. So get out of that subway and take a hike!