A BUDGET TRAVELLERS GUIDE TO NEW YORK, PHILLY, BOSTON & WASHINGTON D.C
New York City, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington DC, four American east coast cities with centuries of history.
The United States is quite new as a country and is just over 240 years old. Yet, these four cities showcase a lot of the old world charm that made its way via ships from England, Ireland, Germany, Italy and a number of other European countries.
Walking down the streets in each city, you can see the influences of eastern and western Europe, but each city has its own American flavour and feel. The cities have evolved over the decades and now have their own style. Although there are still families that have Irish, Italian or German ancestry, these people are completely American and belong to these great towns.
When Europeans think of the US they immediately think of New York City, and often it is the first city that Europeans travel to. Philadelphia is just a stone's throw away and can be reached in two hours by car. Boston is a bit further, but can be reach by car in less than five hours from New York City. The US capital, Washington DC, is under four hours from the five boroughs, making these four cities perfect to travel between.
As you make your way west in the US, the country opens up and there is far more distance between large or medium-sized cities. Not so in the northeast and travelling between these cities is far easier. Add in the ease of travel thanks to bus and train networks, and budget travelling in the American northeast is a great way to see one of the top tourist regions of the US.
New York City
The Big Apple reportedly attracts around 50 million people each year. It is a city that never sleeps and you will always find something to see or do. While there are a number of amazing sites to see, the people are just as fun to watch, and they give the city a charm that no other American town possesses.
New York City is made up of five boroughs, and is the only city in America to refer to its districts as such. Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island all offer something different to see and experience. Many will know Manhattan as the financial stronghold of the city, while Brooklyn is the hipster cool spot to go
drink and party. However, the other three boroughs of Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island all have their own charm.
New York City isn't just a great American city, but it is one of the greatest cities in the World. New York is on the same level as London, Paris, Tokyo and Sydney as top destinations to see.
As a budget traveller to the Big Apple there are some places you must go and experience. Some just for the sake of doing it and others because they are downright amazing.
The Empire State Building is one of those must-see attractions. The 102-storey building was the tallest in the world until it was surpassed by 1 World Trade Center Tower. It is an icon of the New York City skyline and a building you must ascend.
A gift from France, the Statue of Liberty is another New York City icon. It is a symbol of peace and freedom, and was one of the first sites seen by immigrants as they floated into New York Harbour from Europe. If you don't fancy the boat ride out to Liberty Island, you can snap photos of the statue from Battery Park.
Central Park is the playground of New Yorkers. Living and working on top of one another, Central Park offers citizens a chance to escape the concrete and power lines of the city. Fresh air, green grass and space to move around is all on offer at Central Park.
Other must-see places in New York are the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Bridge and Time Square.
The City of Brotherly Love was the setting for the Declaration of Independence and the city is teeming with American history. The old architecture and cobbled streets now combine with modern day Philadelphia to create a beautiful contrast between old and new.
The Liberty Bell is one of the must-see attractions in Philadelphia. A symbol of American freedom, the bell has lived in the city since 1915.
For something completely different to the political and American independence attractions, head to Eastern State Penitentiary. The one-time high-tech prison was built to keep prisoners in solitary confinement. Built in 1829, the prison lasted all the way up until 1971. Today, you can tour the prison and see what life was like for its former inmates.
If you are looking for something free to do, a trip to Fairmont Park offers a great chance to see the city's skyline. Home to the Philadelphia Zoo, Rodin Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, you can tick several things off your to-do list while exploring the green foliage of Fairmont Park.
While you're at the Museum of Art, ascend its steps ala Rocky Balboa. When you're finished, get a selfie with the Rocky statue which is at the bottom of the museum's stairs. However, the city has moved it previously due to complaints about it not being art. So, it may not be there when you do your Rocky impression.
Like Philadelphia, Boston has plenty of old world charm that has been Americanised. The heart of New England, Bostonians march to their own beat. Sports fans through and through, the city loves its NFL team (New England Patriots), NBA team (Boston Celtics) and everyone is a diehard baseball fan (Boston Red Sox). If you get a chance to see one of these teams play it is well worth the trip.
The Boston Museum of Fine Art is one of the top art museums in the US. The museum houses a number of great paintings, statues and artefacts from around the world. It is a perfect place to begin on your journey through Beantown.
HarborWalk connects Boston's waterfront with commercial and residential areas. It is a beautiful trail that helps to showcase the famous harbour that was redeveloped during the 1970s. As you explore the area don't miss the Boston Tea Party Ship, which is a replica of the vessel the Sons of Liberty boarded and threw crates of tea from. It was one of the events that ignited the American Revolution.
Boston has a number of other great sites that include the Museum of Science, Fenway Park (one of the most famous baseball stadiums around), the JFK Presidential Library and Museum, and Beacon Hill.
Washington DC was created to be a unique capital city for the fledgling US. After considering Philadelphia and New York City, a completely new city was planned and built to house the federal government. Thus, Washington DC was built between the states of Maryland and Virginia.
The city has plenty of political sites to see and experience. From Lincoln's Memorial to the Washington Monument, you will get your fill of American political history. But there is more to Washington DC than monuments to dead presidents.
Of course, one of the first things you must do is visit the White House. The home to the president, the White House Visitor Center offers guests free exhibits to look at and tour.
After experiencing the White House, the National Air and Space Museum is perfect to get away from the political venues of the city. View a variety of air and space crafts that made history. Several of the exhibits are interactive, which makes them a whole lot of fun to explore.
Want more American history as you explore the country's northeast? The National Museum of Art History is an ideal stop during your US adventure. The museum traces the history of just about everything important that happened in politics, culture, science and technology in the US. You will find plenty of cool, one of a kind artefacts housed in the museum.
Once you have ventured around a few museums, the Lincoln Memorial may be the most important venue to view of a former president. Abraham Lincoln was a great president in American history who saw the country through one of its darkest periods, the American Civil War. Lincoln was assassinated at the war's end, and the memorial was built years later to commemorate the man. In 1963, the steps of the Lincoln Memorial were the scene of Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream..." speech.
Finish off a trip to the nation's capital with a stop by the International Spy Museum. Covering the history, technology and tactics of spies, this museum is one of the coolest places to visit in the city. From the American Revolution
through the Cold War to today, the International Spy Museum is a slightly offbeat attraction to stroll through.
Other great sites to see in Washington DC include the Newseum, Washington National Cathedral, the National Mall and Veterans Memorial.