5 Unique Things to Do in New York City

By BT Editor
August 19, 2022
I Stock 531625878 Times Square NYC
Times Square in New York City - Istock/schalkm

New York City the “The City that Never Sleeps” is a city that needs no introduction, of course. The Statue of Liberty, Central Park, the Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Empire State Building and broadway are all staples of a NYC visit. If you are looking for something different then the regular tourist stops New York has that too! Check out these 5 unique NYC experiences. Note: If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission from our partners - thank you!

1. The Fluffy Cloud: An Immersive Music & Lightshow

Fluffy Music experience
Photo courtesy of feverup.com

September 24th, 2022 8 p.m. – 2 a.m. at Under the K
Duration: 6 hours
Cost: $80 - 21+ with valid ID

The Fluffy Cloud Experience is more than a concert: it is a radical rethinking of what a live music and arts experience can—and should—be. Experience the world's only 360 degree overhead immersive sound system and lightshow featuring some of the world's best electronic dance music artists. It has stunning special effects, live music, interactive art and games, wellness experiences, food, drinks...and, of course, the show’s centerpiece, The Fluffy Cloud itself. Towering 3 stories high, this act of artistic lunacy offers more than meets the eye. Behind its fluffy exterior, 33,000 LEDs and an unprecedented 360-degree 60,000 watt sound system roars over guests’ heads, creating a one-of-a-kind immersive space where you are not so much listening to sound, but being bathed by it. Capable of hitting frequencies 30% lower than any other sound system on the market, it's hard to explain such a unique experience in writing—you just have to see it (and feel it) for yourself!

Get Tickets for The Fluffy Cloud

2. The FRIENDS™ Experience: The One in New York City

Friends couch
Photo courtesy of feverup.com

Starting August 2022 Wednesdays–Sundays at 130 E 23rd St, New York City, NY
Duration: 60 minutes
Cost: $50 - $65 Children ages 3and under enter free

Step inside the world of FRIENDS™! With two floors of immersive experiences, it’s the ultimate experience for FRIENDS™ fans. You can pose on the iconic orange couch, sit at Monica & Rachel’s kitchen table, kick back and relax in Joey and Chandler’s comfy chairs, Dance in front of the fountain and so much more.

Get Tickets for the FRIENDS™ Experience

3. Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience

Harry Potter
Photo courtesy of feverup.com

October - December Mondays–Sundays, 5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. in the woods of Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park
Duration: 60–90 minutes (the walking trail will take approx. 45–75 minutes)
Cost: $45 - $56 Children ages 4 and under enter free

As the days get shorter and the nights grow longer, enchanting creatures and magical beasts inspired by the Wizarding World come to life in a spellbinding Forbidden Forest. Now is your chance to see these curious inhabitants illuminated! Embark on a bewitching journey through a misty forest trail full of magic and wonder, and discover unexpected surprises around every corner. Ready your wand and cast spells, come face-to-face with Hippogriffs and Centaurs, and experience breathtaking moments based on scenes from the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films. After all the excitement, an enchanting village will welcome you with warm food and a blazing fire. Don't miss this opportunity to step foot into our experience inspired by the wizarding world.

Get Tickets for this Harry Potter Experience

4. Candlelight: A Tribute to Adele

Photo courtesy of feverup.com

September 16 at 6:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church
Duration: 65 minutes (doors open 60 mins prior to the start time and late entry is not permitted) - 8 years old or older. Anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult
Cost: $45 -$65

Candlelight concerts bring the magic of a live, multi-sensory musical experience to awe-inspiring locations like never seen before in New York City. Get your tickets now to discover the music of Adele by the Highline String Quartet at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church under the gentle glow of candlelight.

Get Tickets for this Candlelight Concert

5. The Fans Strike Back: The Largest Star Wars Fan Exhibition

Fans Strike Back
Photo courtesy of feverup.com

Sunday through Monday starting August - September 2022 at 526 6th Avenue
Duration: 60 minutes all ages welcome, however the VR experience is designed only for ages 14 and above
Cost: $45 -$65

The Empire had its chance; this time, The Fans Strike Back! Get ready for the largest exhibition in the saga of fan-made Star Wars events. You’ll find photos, posters, costumes, figures, and models of different types and sizes—all official objects bought by Star Wars fans. There will also be a green chroma to take pictures in the Star Wars universe. It’s a perfect plan for the whole family, from the youngest Padawan to the wisest Jedi master!

Get Tickets for The Fans Strike Back

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Travel Tips

Board or Dog Sitter - Which Is Cheaper Across the U.S.?

Fido is not just a pet––he’s family. Of course, we want our canine companions to join the fam on every vacation, but more often than not, there are cases where our furry family member(s) simply can’t come. Alas, not every trip is pet-friendly. As a result, one of the most common questions for vacation-bound pet parents remains: who on earth is going to watch my dog? We know how stressful it can be to leave your pup behind. We also know that it’s no easy feat, finding the best possible care for them without breaking the bank. Many turn to platforms like Rover.com in order to book trusted, vetted pet sitters, but these costs can vary quite a bit depending on your location. CertaPet dove into the costs of boarding your dog at a sitter’s home vs. hiring a dog sitter to come to your own home in the 50 most populous cities around the U.S.Courtesy of CertaPet Out of 50 of the largest cities, 10 came out on top for saving the most annually from boarding vs. sitting, based on a two-week vacation. Two cities claimed the top two spots by having an annual savings of over $300 each! Philadelphia landed the number one spot for saving $336.70 per year by boarding vs. sitting, and Los Angeles came in second place for saving $335.30 per year. Atlanta, San Francisco, Tampa, and St. Louis are all in the $200 club, and Denver, Detroit, Houston, and Providence all have annual savings between $180-$200. Overall, every city shows some amount of savings for boarding over sitting except for one, Minneapolis. In Minneapolis, the average cost to board your furry friend in a sitter’s home matches the cost of a pet sitter watching your pup at your house; so, Minneapolis folks should take advantage of Rover’s “sitting” option, where your dog can be cared for in a familiar environment. Averaging $30.45 per night, Oklahoma City has the cheapest rate for boarding your pooch at a sitter’s house. St. Louis, Jacksonville, and Memphis also offer low rates, all under $32 per night. New York has the highest cost per night for boarding your canine pal at $61 per night. Averaging $59.25 per night, boarding is pretty steep in both San Jose and San Francisco as well. Courtesy of CertaPet Let’s face it though, sometimes comfort is worth paying a little extra. If you would prefer that your dog stays in the comfort of your own home with a sitter, there are a few cities where your pup can do so cost-efficiently. Indianapolis is the cheapest city in the U.S. for hiring a pet sitter at $36.45 per night on average. There are also several cities where the cost difference for in home sitting vs boarding is under $3 extra a night - San Antonio ($2.75), Chicago ($2.55), Nashville ($2.50), Salt Lake City ($2.35), San Diego ($1.50) and Indianapolis ($.30). Whatever way you decide be sure to go with the option that is best for your pet's comfort and yours! You can view the full study here from CertaPet. CertaPet specializes in US and Canada with a focus on providing clinical services to individuals who are seeking animal-assisted interventions as part of their treatment planning.

Travel Tips

Best/Worst Days to Fly for Thanksgiving & Christmas

There are a limited number of flights available for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so it is important to book as early as possible for the best prices (ideally you have already booked your holiday travel). Additionally, some days are much better than others to fly when it comes to crowds and cost. How Far in Advance to Book Holiday Travel Ideally, you should book your Thanksgiving and Christmas flights many months in advance. As a rule, we suggest booking domestic flights at least one to three months in advance. For international flights, you should book at least two to eight months in advance, but the earlier the better. For the holidays, you should book even earlier if possible to guarantee a desirable route, time, seat, and price. Both domestic and international flights open for bookings around 11 months in advance (for revenue and award tickets), but be careful booking domestic too early. International flights tend to be cheaper closer to the opening of the booking window. Domestic flights are more expensive when released and tend to drop in price after a few months. For that reason, you should aim to book international flights earlier than domestic, and that is especially true for the holidays. Here are our recommended cutoff dates for booking Thanksgiving and December flights. Thanksgiving (book before Halloween) I recommend booking your Thanksgiving flight by late August or early September for the best price. If possible, book in June or July. Book international flights even earlier. If you wait too long, you should aim to book by Halloween at the latest. While it is possible to get a decent deal after Halloween, your chances dramatically decrease. Your odds of finding a desirable flight time also go down when booking after Halloween. Christmas (book before Thanksgiving) The best deals on Christmas flights are usually available through late August and early September. If possible, book even earlier in June or July. At the latest, you should book by Thanksgiving, but the earlier the better. If it is December and you still do not have a flight, you should expect to pay a premium. Additionally, you will likely only have undesirable flight times to choose from with the potential for one or more connections. Best & Worst Days to Fly for the Holidays Being on a Thursday every year, the best and worst days to fly for Thanksgiving are predictable. Christmas is a little more difficult since it does not fall on the same day of the week every year. Here are the days you should target and the days you should avoid this holiday season. Thanksgiving (best departure and return dates) For Thanksgiving last year 10.52% of American adults intended to fly to attend a gathering on Turkey Day. That means tens of millions of people fought over seats for a very limited number of flights. For 2022, we expect that number to be even higher. Best Thanksgiving Travel Dates for 2022 BEST DEPARTURE DATESBEST RETURN DATESMonday, November 21Friday, November 25 (Black Friday)Tuesday, November 22Monday, November 28Thursday, November 24 (Thanksgiving Day)Tuesday, November 29 As the table shows, you want to depart early during the week. If possible, Sunday is even better than Monday. While not ideal, Thanksgiving Day is a great day to fly. Black Friday is also a good day to fly if you can swing a shorter trip. Most people return home the Sunday after Thanksgiving, so aim to fly back on the Friday or Monday after Turkey Day. If you can wait another day, Tuesday is even better than Monday. Worst Thanksgiving Travel Dates for 2021 WORST DEPARTURE DATESWORST RETURN DATESWednesday, November 23Sunday, November 27 Avoid the Wednesday before Thanksgiving at all costs. It is one of the most popular days of the year to fly, and it is expensive. Additionally, airports are always packed, so it is an extra stressful experience. Avoid the Sunday after Thanksgiving for your return flight. Most people fly that day to get home before the workweek. I recommend flying home on Friday or Monday or Tuesday. Christmas (best departure and return dates) Our Christmas Travel Survey last year showed 12.72% of American adults intended to fly to attend a gathering. Since Christmas falls on a different day every year, the best days to fly change. Other things such as school and business closures affect the dates too. Christmas can fall on a weekend (as it will in 2022), which further complicates things. Generally, the worst day to fly for Christmas is December 23, but that is not a hard rule. Best Christmas Travel Dates for 2022 BEST DEPARTURE DATESBEST RETURN DATESSunday, December 18Wednesday, December 28Monday, December 19Thursday, December 29Tuesday, December 20Friday, December 30Christmas Eve or Christmas Day The earlier you depart during Christmas week the better. Americans will look to get a few days of work in early during the week before flying out. If possible, fly on Monday, December 19, or Tuesday, December 20. Sunday, December 18 is even better if you can swing it. Flying on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day is ideal for cheaper prices and fewer crowds too, but you may not want to travel on a holiday. Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, so many people will fly home the day after. Monday, December 26 and Tuesday, December 27 will be popular travel days, so try and wait until Wednesday or Thursday. Worst Christmas Travel Dates for 2022 WORST DEPARTURE DATESWORST RETURN DATESThursday, December 22Monday, December 26Friday, December 23Tuesday, December 27 The two days before Christmas Eve, the 22nd and 23rd, are going to be busy travel days. I recommend avoiding them and departing earlier in the week if you can. Avoid the Monday and Tuesday after Christmas for your return flight. Despite being the day after Christmas, many people will fly home on Monday or Tuesday so they can return to work on Tuesday or Wednesday.Additional Tips: Use Google Flights and Consider Multiple Nearby Airports for The Cheapest PriceI recommend Google Flights to find the cheapest holiday flight deals. It offers powerful filtering options to find the cheapest prices from a variety of airlines and airports. Consider flying from a nearby airport if it is cheaper than your home airport. Also, consider flying into an airport a little further from your destination that may be within driving distance. Flexibility is the key to finding a great flight deal, and that is especially true for holiday travel. Book Direct to Avoid Hassle if Your Flight is Canceled or DelayedOnline Travel Agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia and Priceline sometimes have better flight prices than booking directly with the airline, but there is a drawback. When you book with an OTA, you contact them in the event you need to change or cancel your itinerary. While that is not usually a problem, it is if your flight is delayed or canceled. Every second counts, so I recommend booking directly so you can avoid the middleman and talk directly to the airline to inquire about rebooking a new flight or canceling your existing itinerary. Good luck and safe travels! Phil Dengler, is a co-owner of The Vacationer, which is a resource for all things travel. Click here to read the full post.

Travel Tips

Tips For Protecting Your Identity While Traveling

As a woman who travels solo to do research, I’ve learned that there’s more to traveling safely than just being aware of my surroundings and staying away from sketchy hotels. Keeping one step ahead of identity thieves is just as important as keeping yourself physically safe. Whether you’re traveling alone, with a companion—or even with a group—these tips should help make your trip hassle-free and keep your personal identity safe while you’re on the road. Many of these suggestions are common sense. Some of them are so simple that you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing them all along. None of them take much time or effort, but all of them will save you the financial cost and personal pain of having your identity stolen. BEFORE YOU GO Notify Credit Card Companies: I learned the hard way that you should notify your credit card company or financial provider that you will be traveling (so they don’t block your card as a security measure when you try to pay the bill at an out-of-town restaurant). Most of them have an automatic phone system that makes it as simple as answering a few yes and no questions. As technology improves, the bigger credit card companies already know you’re traveling through your purchase of airline tickets or booking of a hotel or rental car. Check Your Latest Credit Card Bill: Along the same lines, it’s good to check your credit card bill before you go on a trip. That way you’ll be able to easily spot any new charges that look suspicious upon your return. Big Tip: Don’t wait until you’re in a hotel room or an airport to pay your bills or check your bank account! To avoid exposing sensitive information online when traveling, do your bill paying and checkbook reconciliation before you go. Clean Out Your Purse. I always clean out my purse for two reasons. One, I do a lot of walking when I’m traveling and I want it to be as light as possible. Secondly, my wallet has a lot of extra things in it like gift cards, store cards, etc. that are just unnecessary. I only take what I absolutely need, which is usually two credit cards and some cash. (I recommend taking at least two credit cards, since one could be turned down and then you have a backup. I never had a credit card refused in my life until I was in Las Vegas—and that was because I didn’t call ahead of time and tell them I was traveling). Tell The Post Office: Hold your mail and use informed delivery. You can set up informed delivery through the U.S. Postal Service to receive an email listing of the scanned mail that was delivered. When you return, you can identify any missing items. Holding your mail lessens the likelihood that you’ll have any problems. DURING YOUR TRIP Make Copies: I always worry about what could happen—not what is likely to happen—so I’m all about protecting and duplicating everything I can. Lots of people store their valuables in a hotel safe, but you should be just as careful with your traveling documents—especially your passport. For added security, take a picture of passports and credit cards in case your wallet is lost or stolen. Protect Your Boarding Pass: Use mobile passes when you can, but if you print a paper ticket for backup (raising my hand), make sure you rip it into pieces when discarding. Boarding passes reveal full names and travel destinations. Avoid Remote ATMS: Remote ATMs are more likely to have skimmers attached or cameras that can capture your password data. Also, do you really want to withdraw money from that ATM in the dark, empty-looking parking garage? Social Media...Just No: Don’t share too much while you’re traveling. You can tell everyone about your trip on Facebook and Instagram when you get back. Avoid Public Wi-Fi: This is a hard (if not impossible) one. At the very least, don’t use your computer or phone for anything that could reveal personal or financial data. WHEN YOU RETURN Change Your Passwords: I’m trying to make this a habit because it’s probably the most important thing to protect your identity. Even if you’re not traveling it’s a good idea to change your passwords every few months. Do A Checkup: Don’t wait too long to check your bank and credit card accounts for anything that looks suspicious. Do it while any purchases from the trip are still fresh in your mind. FINAL NOTES I enjoy traveling alone because I can explore at my own pace and change my schedule if necessary. But the freedom to do what I want doesn’t mean I can let my guard down when it comes to protecting my personal identity. If you do a lot of traveling or are traveling abroad, it might be worth the peace of mind to sign up for one of the many of the companies that provide identity protection services or credit monitoring. Also, check with your credit card company. Many of them offer protection as part of their plan. Taking the necessary steps to safeguard my identity is slowly becoming second nature to me when I travel. I hope these tips help you travel safely as well. Happy Travels! Jessica James is an award-winning novelist, freelance writer and travel blogger at Past Lane Travels who lives in Gettysburg, PA.

DealsTravel Tips

California Dreaming? - California Saving!

Summer in California is the perfect time for playing on the beach, exploring state and national parks, and enjoying theme parks all over the state. It shouldn’t have to be high season for prices, though. When planning your trip, check the tourist board website of your destination and you’ll likely find offers that shave a little (or a lot) off your hotel rate, or bundles in freebies and nice amenities. This summer, a number of Golden State destinations are offering free gas gift cards to sweeten deals in addition to rewarding travelers for booking early and staying on weekdays. Here are some ways to add value to your summer getaway. $1 to Kayak Location:ReddingWhat’s the Deal?: Redding is a prime spot for paddling, thanks in part to Whiskeytown Lake, where you can pay just $1 for ranger-led kayak or paddleboard tours. About an hour away, in Lassen Volcanic National Park, pay a vehicle entrance fee of just $30 to enjoy a week’s worth of swimming and hiking at Manzanita Lake. Mark your calendars for August 4 and September 24, which are free-admission days at all national parks. Deal Dates: On-going. Valid 9 am and 5 pm, Wednesday-Sunday Solo Traveler Win Location: MendocinoWhat’s the Deal?: Who knew solo travel had deal options? The perfect escape includes, in this case, $20 off your nightly rate. The adults-only Glendeven Inn & Lodge sits on 15 acres in Mendocino County and has a day spa, wine barn, and wandering llamas and goats (just type “Party of One” in the window as you book). Deal Dates: On-going $100 Gas Card Location: Big BearWhat’s the Deal?: Plan a two-night stay through the Big Bear website before June 30 and you can score a $100 gas card, which you can pick up at the Big Bear Visitor Center—just be sure to choose the “Gas Card” deal online. Planning further out? When you stay at the mountain resort’s Hillcrest Lodge, you can add a free night on either Thursday or Sunday when you also book a Friday and Saturday (good through Nov. 30). Or book a three-night stay at Cool Cabins, using the promo code GASCARD, and get a $50 gift card for fuel. Good through Nov. 23. Deal Dates: Before June 30 or Nov. 23 (gas) , now thru Nov. 30th (hotel) Summer Escape to Napa Valley Wine Country Inn - courtesy visitnapavalley.com Location: St. HelenaWhat’s the Deal?: Weekdays make for mellow visits to wineries, and this deal at the Wine Country Inn in St. Helena takes 20 percent off the rate for a three-night stay between Sunday and Thursday. Stays at the Napa Valley resort—comprised of 24 rooms, five cottages, and a pool—include a daily breakfast buffet and a split of local wine upon arrival. Good through August 31. Deal Dates: Now through August 31 Splash of Summer Location: Greater Palm SpringsWhat’s the Deal?: Summer in Greater Palm Springs brings lots of good pool time and prime deals, so a resort like Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa—with both a kid-friendly “Splashtopia” and an adults-only pool—makes a lot of sense. This deal bundles in a $100 food and beverage pool credit per stay plus an Omni pool towel. Book your trip up until September 10 for stays through September 29. The resort’s Stay and Splash deal, meanwhile, gives you 10 to 20 percent off your stay, depending on whether you stay one, two, or three nights (good through Sept. 30). Or check out the first Margaritaville Resort on the West Coast, where you can get 25 percent off through Sept. 5. Deal Dates: until September 10 for stays through September 29 Click here for more California deals!