Traveling to Manhattan, need suggestions....

My wife and I are visiting family up there and we aren’t the sort that travel much. We’re also not high earners, and Manhattan is a pricey area. My initial thought was to drive up there (from Indiana), because the cost of gas is much less than the cost to fly. I know that I’d have to pay to park. Hotels are expensive, so we’ve looked into airbnb for additional options.

If we were to stay outside of Manhattan but somewhere that might save us on lodging or that it would be easier to park in, where might that be? My head is spinning trying to research areas and not having a clue how far away from Manhattan the subway rides may be, or where parking might exist.

Any suggestions?

There are a number of hotels close to the Metropark, NJ train station. Some have shuttles to the station. It’s a short ride from Metropark to Manhatten on NJ Transit. Parking at the hotels will also be much less expensive than in Manhatten.

There are lots of free or cheap things to do. I like walking on the streets and window shopping. Some museums request a “donation”. They expect you to pay the recommended amount, but you don’t have to. In the summer, Shakespeare in the Park is fun (you have to wait in line, though).

There are also a lot of reasonably priced ethnic restaurants, many of which are excellent.

Don’t bring a car into the city. Driving in Manhattan (and most of the other boroughs) is horrible, far more stressful than driving in the Midwest. Parking is hard to find, and garages cost as much as cheap hotels in other parts of the country. Cabs, subways, buses, and your feet will get you everywhere you want to go.

You could stay in Queens and take the subway to all the touristy stuff. Hotels in Queens are a lot cheaper.

That’s what I was going to say… stay in the greater NYC area somewhere, not on Manhattan proper, and take public transit/cabs/walk.

Definitely find out how much it’s going to cost to park your car per day. We went to NYC last weekend and paid about $60 to park the car for a little less than 24 hours (in the city). It might be cheaper in the boroughs, but will still very likely be costly enough to merit some planning.

I’ll third the suggestion not to drive into Manhattan. There are some excellent hotel deals in White Plains right now and midtown is a 20-minute train ride away. You could also stay in New Jersey and take NJ Transit or the PATH in.

First, thanks for all of the input so far. A theme seems to be not to bring the car. Is there no good way to drive up there close enough to then take public transportation? Should I fly, even if a plane ticket costs $600+ for my wife and I vs. about $200 in gas if I drive? I’d rather spend my money on experiences than lodging or travel itself.

Being self employed is nice, but a week off costs us a week in pay before ever spending a penny. My brother should have moved somewhere cheaper, lol.

Nobody drives in Manhattan. There’s too much traffic. As others said, there are plenty of options for cheap lodging right outside of the city, all close to public transit. If you really want to stay in Manhattan, you can find some cheap parking outside the city. The Weehawken ferry terminal is a popular choice. And you can take the boat!

One of these things is not like the other.

Lifelong New Yorker here.

Stay at a cheap (but safe) hotel like Riverside at 80th & Riverside Dr. The rooms are really tiny but you will only be there to sleep.

With taxes a double occupancy will run you around $160 a night.

You will be close to the subway and buses and able to get anywhere you want to go.

Or you could stay at any hotel near the Lincoln Tunnel for a little bit less and hop on a jitney bus into the city for $3.

There is also that service where you stay in people’s homes that is advertised on tv all the time, I can’t recall the name offhand. Look for rooms in Jersey City, Hoboken and North Bergen. If you tell me the ad, I’ll tell you which ones are BS on the location and which ones are really and truly a quick trip in. My boyfriend lives in the area and I stay with him during the week a lot because I work in NJ.

Planning to “drive” around NYC and park is unrealistic, not to mention that the cost of parking (and availability - the regulations are comic fare) is not something that you are going to be able to deal with. Do you really want to have to use the NYC DOT parking regulations search tool on your phone every time you go to park your car so you don’t get a ticket or tow to the tune of several hundred dollars?

See Berra, Yogi:

“That place is so crowded no one goes there anymore.”

I would try to find a cheap(er) hotel in Jersey near a PATH station (Hoboken?) or maybe Paramus which has frequent buses to Port Authority Terminal. Or you could go to some place served by NJ Transit trains with cheap parking. I visit my daughter in Brooklyn, but I am pretty experienced with the alternate side parking game. I would not recommend a stranger try it.

The consensus is that there’s way too much traffic & parking is super expensive, but nobody has brought up the $14 toll just to get into the city.

Yeah, stay in NJ.

I’m thoroughly convinced NOT to drive into the city. Is parking an issue if we stay in NJ and leave our car there until we leave? If so, I guess we may need to fly.

Parking won’t be an issue if you stay at a hotel outside of Manhattan that has free or very low cost parking. But even in NJ or Queens there are going to be hotels that charge for parking. In my experience , staying at an urban hotel with paid parking can be a real pain . First, they tend to cater to guests without cars and therefore don’t always have the “once space per room” that hotels in more suburban and rural areas have. Second, the parking is often open to all, not just hotel guests and therefore people park for the day while they take the train or bus or while they work near the hotel. And the combination of those has resulted in me being unable to find a parking space upon returning to my “downtown” hotel in much smaller cities than NYC. That won’t be a problem for you if you intend to park your car when you arrive and not drive it again until you leave, but the amount /price of parking is something I would look at when comparing two hotels.

It all depends on where you intend to stay in NJ.

For example, I live in Weehawken. I am a short and inexpensive bus ride away from midtown Manhattan, and the buses run just about 24 hours to where I am so it’s incredibly convenient. In my neighborhood visitors need a parking permit hang tag (which each household gets for free) so if I were ever to do an Air BNB thing I’d include the hang tag in the rental cost. I’d just ask about it wherever you intend to stay.

(In my case my hang tag is free but if it needs to be replaced I pay for it. I would just charge a fully refundable fee for the tag of whatever the replacement cost is, just in case someone were to accidentally drive away with it… seems only fair.)

I learned to drive (stick shift) in Manhattan. Avoid it like the plague.

OP: If you are visiting your brother, ask him for suggestions. You’ll want to stay convenient to his location.

I’m dubious about all the recommendations to stay in New Jersey. When I lived in New York I mostly lived in Queens, and the times I had to get out to Jersey the impression I had was that the trains were much more expensive and the buses much more infrequent (and much more confusing) than the regular NYC subway. Unless someone has information very much to the contrary my recommendation would be to stay somewhere in Queens near a subway line. Hotel prices should be no more than what you’d pay in New Jersey, and it would be just so much more convenient to be immediately plugged into the very good, affordable, 24-hour subway system.

Plus, you know…Queens is just more interesting than most places in Jersey!! Except for some museums and other obvious sights (Empire State Building, etc.) I’d even recommend it (and Brooklyn and the Bronx) much more than Manhattan.

The PATH train is cheaper than the subway. The commuter railroads are a lot more expensive.