My 25,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Giveaway!

My girlfriend’s 25th birthday is on January 19, and she has never been to New York City. So as a surprise, I am planning on taking her to New York for a long weekend (Jan 19-22).

While I typically use Yelp to find cool and unique places to visit and eat at, New York has so many good restaurants, shows, and generally cool places to see that I know if I only use Yelp, I am sure I’ll miss out on some real gems!

Therefore I thought I would take a page out of ThePointsGuy’s playbook and ask you, the FFU readers, to suggest some cool things to do in NYC! It can be anything from seeing a Broadway show, visiting a cool museum exhibit, dining at some hole in the wall restaurant, or even a useful tip like how to get last-minute tickets to SNL (I wish!)

For helping me plan this surprise trip to New York for her 25th birthday, I am offering 25,000 Ultimate Rewards points from my personal account to one randomly selected person!

To be entered, all you have to do is comment below with your tip. I’ll randomly pick a winner on 1/15. Be sure to leave your email when you submit your comment so I can contact you if you win.  The winner can have the points transferred into any program that Chase Ultimate Rewards allows!

Thanks in advance for all your suggestions and I’m looking forward to reading them all!


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  1. oh boy..lets try this again and please erase the other comment..

    one of the coolest things to do ( and it is also FREE) is to take the Staten Island Ferry on a roundtrip. It is the same ferry that has been in countless movies ( Think “Working Girl” with Melanie Griffith) and you get to see the Statue Of Liberty, as well as great views of the downtown skyline. As there is nothing to do at the other end, grab a cup of coffee, watch the pigeons fly around the terminal, and proceed to go right back to Manhattan. If you have time, walk a few blocks to the South Street Seaport for some great New York/Seafood vibe, good food, and great places to catch a drink without spending a fortune!

    madamerkf at aol dot com

  2. Bet you’ve never been to the Museum of the City of New York. It’s a wonderful undervisited place with fascinating exhibits……and nice and warm and dry as well. The outdoor stuff is always fun in NYC but not when the weather’s as horrible as it is right now. Can’t wait to hear your review of this really amazing place.

  3. Awesome tips! I have not done any of those before! The ferry ride sounds like fun and a great photo opp! Thanks!

  4. Hmmm… NYC…

    1) For a great view of NYC go to the 86th Floor Observatory of the Empire State Building. Tix can be purchased here: https://ticketing.esbnyc.com/Webstore/Content.aspx?Kind=LandingPage

    2) You can’t come to NYC and not see the Statute of Liberty. There are ferries and boat rides that can be taken to get there (see here for one: http://www.statuecruises.com/) and tours once your arrive.

    3) Also need to see Central Park – hundreds of acres of greenery nestled in the hustle and bustle of New York City.

    4) Check out the South Street Seaport (http://www.southstreetseaport.com/) for some great shopping and dining.

    Enjoy the trip!

  5. Instead of going to the Empire State Building, you can go to Top of the Rock for great views. Going in January will be cold and windy but worth it. Go at dusk so you can see the sunset and then the stars.

    I’m actually trying to get everything worked out to take my wife to NY in the fall! Can’t wait to see if you find something awesome that we should check out.

  6. I love Chase Reward Points. Thanks for your generosity.

    My tip is to just go get lost in SoHo for several, unplanned hours. Walk where ever you want. Shop where ever you want. Then, go stroll and eat at Chelsea Market.

  7. Two ideas for NY visits:

    Go to Grand Central Terminal (aka Grand Central Station) 42nd St between 5th Ave & Lex. The main hall is stunning. There are interesting food shops in one of the arcades leading towards lex. There is a food court on a lower level.

    If you are there weekdays, you can often get free tickets for a taping of the Letterman show. Go to the Ed Sullivan Theater (on Broadway somewhere around 50-53rd St) in the late morning and tell them you are a fan and want tickets. They’ll put in a lottery. If you get the call, the taping is usually around 4pm, so it doesn’t interfere with dinner or theater.

    One more interesting free idea – there is a free museum at the FIT – Fashion Institute of Technology – which might appeal to the girlfriend.

  8. My wife and I love to just walk through Central Park. It’s something that is missing from most major cities. New York did it right. Stop by Serendipity and get a frozen hot chocolate. Yum.

  9. Hmmm… NYC… so many things to do so little time…

    1) Definitely should check out the 86th floor observatory of the Empire State Building. Spectacular view of NYC. Tix can be bought here: https://ticketing.esbnyc.com/Webstore/Content.aspx?Kind=LandingPage

    2) Can’t come to NYC without seeing the Statute of Liberty. There are ferries (like this one: http://www.statuecruises.com/) which will drop you off.

    3) You may want to visit the 9/11 Memorial: http://www.911memorial.org/

    4) Check out Central Park – hundreds of acres of greenery nestled in the hustle and bustle of NYC!


  10. You HAVE to check out the Roosevelt Island Tram and Roosevelt Island itself. It’s quirky and has one the best views of the city.

  11. Some good places to eat:
    Burger Joint at Le Merdien hotel
    The chicken cart in Midtown: http://www.yelp.com/biz/53rd-and-6th-halal-cart-new-york
    One of the coal-oven pizzerias: http://www.nytimes.com/1998/06/10/dining/new-york-pizza-the-real-thing-makes-a-comeback.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm
    Take the subway out to Flushing to sample the Chinese food there
    NYC has great steakhouses that are part of the experience (Sparks, Smith & Wollensky, etc)
    Gray’s Papaya is part of the experience too

  12. I really liked seeing Wall Street and the rest of the area around the south tip of Manhattan, including the WTC site. Very moving experience, and it doesn’t take that long to do.

  13. I am actually going to NYC with my girlfriend in May, and we have a few things planned.

    Here’s a list of things of cool things to try:
    -Attend a taping of the Daily Show/Colbert Report
    -Yankees or Knicks game
    -High end dining – NYC is a mecca of fine dining. It’s hard to go wrong with Per Se for a romantic dinner if you can get reservations.

  14. food
    meat – churascarria plataforma – 49, betw. 8&9 – $$$
    italian – da tommaso – 8th, just s of 52 – $$

    def. try a coal-fired pizza if you can’t get a coal-fired oven locally – coal burns hotter so the crust is crispier – best if you pick a place with a thinner than normal crust. there are too many pizza places to to pick or make a specific recommendation – read the articles and pick the one that you think you’ll like the best.

    eating at the bar is a time-honored technique for getting a seat in a full-rest – but you do lose the ambiance of a table if you care…

  15. There’s a small street down by Wall Street called Stone Street. It still has the stone pavers on the actual road…hence the name…anyways it a great place to walk around and have lunch.

    Visit the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art…and don’t forget you can pay what you want to get in. It’s donation. They make you think it’s $20 per person.

  16. Also can’t forget about the traditional best normal food spots in NYC. Katz is wearing they filmed When Harry Met Sally and has some great pastrami. Lombardi’s Pizza in Lower East was one of the first pizza places in NYC and offers some great pizza.

    If your girlfriend is into shopping, it’s hard to avoid 5th Ave.

  17. Hope its not to late to enter! Even though it’s going to be cold..and its the touristy thing to do..go to Times Square. You have to do it al least once. Preferably at night.

  18. Go to the Top of the Rock for the sunset but.don’t forget to get your tickets early so you don’t miss the sunset. Beautiful views!

  19. Well, you don’t give us an awful lot to go on in terms of what you and your girlfriend enjoy doing, how much you want to spend on food, etc. So here are a few random neighborhood based suggestions.

    First, you need to know that you’re visit coincides with this winter’s Restaurant Week (http://www.nycgo.com/restaurantweek) in which many excellent restaurants offer special prix fixe deals, $25 at lunch and $35 at diners (not all restaurants participate on Saturday & Sunday). You can eat in some pretty swanky restaurants this way.

    Upper West Side:

    Museum of Natural History is one of two “pay what you want, you must pay something” museums. It would take a month to see the entire museum, so pick a couple of collections to focus on.

    Lincoln Center: Opera and concert halls. Rush tickets may be available. Nice new bar in the lobby of Alice Tully Hall (northwest corner 65th & Broadway).

    Hole-in-the-wall types of restaurants:

    Big Nick’s Burger/Pizza Joint (west side of Broadway between 76th & 77th): an amazing variety of pizza, hamburgers, and Greek dishes. About $10.

    La Caridad (southwest corner Broadway & 78th): Cuban & chinese cuisine, recommend the Cuban dishes which all come with a choice of rice and beans. Also, the fried sweet plantains. About $10.

    Zabar’s Cafe: For coffee and maybe a “nosh”. Zabar’s is also an iconic New York delicatessen (fine food store) and, if you’re in to kitchenware, has a fantastic (but crowded) cookware department on the second floor.


    Check out the fancy stores and restaurants in the Meatpacking district (14th Street west of 9th Avenue, and around). Visit the Chelsea Market (15th Street between 9th & 10th) for shopping and great found counters.

    If the weather is decent, climb up the Highline (a disused elevated freight railway recreated as a very, very long, very, very narrow public park). Walk north on the Highline to the west 20s then descend and visit some of the enormous number of galleries (most open Saturdays and closed Sundays in winter).

    Lots of eating places along 8th Avenue from 14th to 23rd Street.

    Lower East Side

    Walk along St Marks Place for a glimpse of what the Lower East Side looked like 20 years ago.

    You can have a drink at the Grassroot’s Tavern (St Marks between 2nd & 3rd Avenues) or, if you’re a beer snob (like me) head over to Burp Castle (7th Street between 2nd & 3rd) or, for some real history, to McSorley’s (on the same block).

    For dinner, Paul’s (2nd Avenue just south of St Marks) is a great place for burgers “the size of your head”.

    There’s a hole-in-the-wall belgian fries a little further south on the same block (I don’t remember the name of the place).

    All along 6th street between 1st & 2nd Avenues is “little India” with cheap (not especially great, but cheap) Indian food.

    Slightly upscale but still cheap Italian at Cucina di Pesce (4th street just west of 2nd).

    (there are also some great cocktail bars in this neighborhood, let me know if you’re interested).


    Go for Dim Sum at Jin Fong (20 Elizabeth Street, south of Canal) for a real Hong Kong experience. Or get dim sum at Mandarin Court (67 Mott Street, south of Canal) or Nam Wah (13 Doyers, west of the Bowery — I haven’t been there since they re-opened).

    Or, try Joe’s Shanghai (9 Pell Street west of the Bowery — don’t miss the soup dumplings, but everything’s good).

    Or, for hand-pulled noodles in a real hole-in-the-wall, try the noodle place a the corner of Doyer’s & the Bowery.


    Weather permitting, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, getting down at the first stair case on the Brooklyn side then make your way to the Promenade for great views of the harbor and Manhattan. Walk the length of the Promenade, then walk up Montague street. Head south and get lost in the Brownstone Brooklyn neighborhoods of Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill. Finish up in Boerum Hill on State Street, an odd little street with numerous small foodie restaurants and bars.

    I could go on, let me know if you want information about any particular neighborhood, type of cuisine, or activity.

  20. WOW! This list is amazing! Thank you so much!!!I did not know it is restaurant week. We definitely will have to check that out. -Parag

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