By Rachael Arnold, Senior Financial Adviser
Over the years the United States seems to have taken a backseat to European travel amongst my clients, friends and family. I have to admit I have been favouring Europe over the years but when I had the chance to visit a friend in New York I jumped on the opportunity and spent the month of October in the US. I have been to the US before but when I was 21 and the exchange rate was 1 for 1, the only thing on my mind was shopping! This time I decided to be a bit more cultured… Also the exchange rate stopped me from spending my hard earned cash shopping.
I spent the first half in New York City and stayed in the neighbourhood of Hell’s Kitchen, conveniently located a 20 minute walk away from Central Park and the major subway hub of Columbus Circle. It was also a 10 minute walk from Times Square, so it was close enough to be near the main tourist part of town but felt more like a suburb once you got to 9th Avenue.
Some of the highlights while I was there were taking a Harbor Lights cruise to see the skyline of Manhattan and get up close to the Statue of Liberty at night. Walking the Highline over Hudson Yards where they have repurposed the old railway into a public park. Escaping Manhattan and walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and spending a morning in Greenpoint.
You cannot go to New York and not go out to a some of the many restaurants and bars (this is where most of my money went). Happy hour margaritas were my weakness, but I did treat myself to a glass of champagne at the Plaza’s champagne bar where I enjoyed people watching. There are many cuisines on offer although I couldn’t help but gravitate towards Europe by going to EATALY for a bowl of fresh pasta. I would recommend Wayan in Soho for Indonesian cuisine with a French flair. The only downside of eating out in New York is that inflation has really taken hold over there and the minimum tip is 18%.
Going to Madison Square Gardens to watch the Knicks play was just the start of my sports journey on the trip. If you like sports, I would recommend going to a sports bar to watch an NFL match. The fans going wild for their team is part of the entertainment and it is an excuse to eat deep fried food and drink with the locals. The sports highlight of my trip has to be the weekend I spent at the Austin F1. It surprises most people I tell that I am an F1 fan and I have to say this trip amplified that. I was lucky enough to get a VIP pass for just 90 minutes to visit the Aston Martin garage. We were also able to walk through the paddock where it is mostly media and took photos with some of the drivers. My friend was lucky (determined) enough to run after Brad Pitt to get a photo with him. I was able to take a seat in the safety car and walk out on the pit lane (once the cars were in the garage). This once in a lifetime experience will stay with me forever.
Austin was all about the F1 but I also spent some time in Dallas. The must go to spot is downtown Dallas where you can visit the Sixth Floor Museum and see where JFK was shot. It will have you questioning, who shot JFK…? If you want to get out of the City and do something novel, why not go to the Stockyards at Fort Worth. It is there where they have a twice daily longhorn cattle drive.
The final destination on my holiday was New Orleans. I would suggest you bring your appetite and your dancing shoes here! We went during the week which I think was wise to avoid a younger crowd. Check out the art scene on Royal Street and walk along the Mississippi River. For a famous bite to eat visit Café du Monde for breakfast and NOLA Poboys for lunch. You don’t have to walk very far to hear some jazz music on the street and at night take a stroll down Bourbon Street for live music with plenty options for all types of music lovers.
I think the key to visiting the US is to go to different regions that offer unique cultural experiences. By visiting three States it was like I was in different countries, just like Europe!
Follow our LinkedIn Page to keep up with the latest industry news, finance tips and more.