Visiting My Mom & Sister in NYC: Part 1 – Airbnb & Rockefeller Center

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My mom and sister wanted to visit me for my birthday.  My mom was flying from India and my sister was visiting from Australia, so what better place to meet (for them!) than in NYC!

I always enjoy visiting New York City, and had a few work meetings, so I was thrilled that I could combine work and family time.  I was able to take in a Broadway show, try new foods, and see historic landmarks, like the Brooklyn Bridge and Rockefeller Center.

Visiting My Mom Sister In NYC Part 1 Airbnb Rockefeller Center

It Was Fun to Visit Famous Areas of New York City, Like the Prometheus Statue in Front of the Comcast Building!

Some travelers prefer to stay away from touristy destinations like Manhattan, but I had a blast.  Perhaps because it was my first time being a tourist in NYC!  New York City is filled with an energy unique to anywhere else I’ve been.

That said, I now want to discover Queens and eat in every ethnic restaurant there! 🙂

Trip to New York City Index

Part 1 – Airbnb & Rockefeller Center

Part 2 – Review of 4 Veggie Restaurants

Part 3 – Prospect Park & Brooklyn Bridge

I met my mom and sister in New York City for a mini-family reunion.  We were very excited to see each other.  I didn’t know how much I missed them until I saw them again!

We each had our own mental checklists of what we wanted to see and do, but we first had to check-in to our Airbnb apartment.


For this trip, I decided to forego the fancy hotel rooms and stay at an Airbnb located in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Visiting My Mom Sister In NYC Part 1 Airbnb Rockefeller Center

I Considered Myself Lucky to Find a Bed in a City That Never Sleeps!

It’s nearly impossible to find a standard hotel around the Upper East Side for under $200.  I wanted to stay with my family, and didn’t feel like using mountain of points to spring for a hotel suite.  Also, there was a kitchen in the Airbnb! 🙂

I filtered my Airbnb results to display only full apartments, so my family would have plenty of living space.

Visiting My Mom Sister In NYC Part 1 Airbnb Rockefeller Center

Airbnb Lets You Live Inside Someone Else’s Personality. My Place Looks Nothing Like This!

The apartment was well decorated and very clean.  It was cheaper than paying for 2 separate hotel rooms!  I could also use my Barclaycard Arrival Plus to pay for the part of the bill.

Visiting My Mom Sister In NYC Part 1 Airbnb Rockefeller Center

I Don’t Know Why, but I’m a Fan of Angled Ceilings

And fortunately for an NYC apartment, there were 2 bathrooms, so I didn’t have to wait in a long time for the bathroom.

We unpacked, and I called an Uber to begin our exploration.  We decided not to rent a car, because parking is usually expensive (if not impossible!) around New York City.

Chelsea Market

On my birthday, I wanted to go EAT!  So we went to the Chelsea food Market, where the Oreo cookie was invented!

Visiting My Mom Sister In NYC Part 1 Airbnb Rockefeller Center

The Market Was HUGE. The Building Is a Full City Block

I LOVE food, and I especially love trying new foods.  So exploring a giant food warehouse is my idea of birthday fun!

Visiting My Mom Sister In NYC Part 1 Airbnb Rockefeller Center

It Tastes as Delicious as It Sounds

The ground floor of the Chelsea market was filled with food booths and small restaurants.  I also saw a bookstore and a couple of clothing stores.  The market was a bit too crowded for me, but I liked sampling the many victuals on offer.

On the way out, we noticed the High Line right above us!  We decided that would be our next stop.

The High Line

Walking the High Line is a one-of-a-kind experience.  It’s a ~1.5 mile long man-made park created along an old, unused railroad above the city!

Visiting My Mom Sister In NYC Part 1 Airbnb Rockefeller Center

An Urban Landscape! Walking in Serenity Above the Bustling Street

The High Line was beautiful, but I was just fascinated with the way the city recycled an obsolete area that would otherwise have been an eyesore.

Visiting My Mom Sister In NYC Part 1 Airbnb Rockefeller Center

The High Line Felt Like a Very Narrow Central Park

We saw beautiful trees and flowers, and we could even see the Hudson River at one point!

Visiting My Mom Sister In NYC Part 1 Airbnb Rockefeller Center

I Could Use One of These to Replace My Ineffective Beware of Cat Fence Placard

The road came to an abrupt end.

I definitely recommend the High Line to anyone visiting New York City!  It was quite peaceful, despite the large crowds and occasional noises from surrounding construction sites.

The High Line is NOT a circular path.  If you drive a car to the park, you’ll have to retrace 1.5 miles worth of steps.

Rockefeller Center

I decided to accompany my mom, sister, and their friends for a shopping trip.  What was I thinking!  I would pace around the shops until finally they decided to eat at the Rock Center Cafe.  This wasn’t my first choice to eat (too touristy and expensive, but I decided to give it a try).

I was curious to check out the celebrity sculpture!

Visiting My Mom Sister In NYC Part 1 Airbnb Rockefeller Center

I Meant an ANIMATE Celebrity, Prometheus

I had recently transitioned into a vegetarian diet, so there wasn’t a lot on the menu for me.

Visiting My Mom Sister In NYC Part 1 Airbnb Rockefeller Center

What on Earth Is a Shareable Dessert???

I had various Mediterranean garden dips with pita bread, and they were surprisingly good!  We were 5,000 miles away from the Mediterranean, after all.

Visiting My Mom Sister In NYC Part 1 Airbnb Rockefeller Center

The Rock Center Cafe Is All Portable. In the Winter, the Center Turns into an Ice Rink!

Rockefeller Center was only ~2 miles from our Airbnb, so I decided to walk back home.

Broadway Show

My mom and sister wanted to visit Broadway, so I treated them to Fiddler on the Roof because they insisted that I didn’t follow them around while they were shopping!

Tickets can be VERY expensive.  But I was able to get a discount using the TodayTix app!

Visiting My Mom Sister In NYC Part 1 Airbnb Rockefeller Center

I Bought 2 Tickets in the Orchestra Section for $214 (a $100 Discount!)

I really enjoyed trying out the app.  After you buy, you need to show up half an hour before the play begins and grab your ticket from the TodayTix employees wearing red shirts.

Take Your Own Trip to New York!

Want to visit New York?  It’s easy to use your miles & points to do it on the cheap!  Here are a few ideas:



I stayed at an Airbnb, but New York is FULL of hotels you can book with points.  For example, there are ~30 Starwood hotels and 12 Hyatt hotels around New York City!  That said, I preferred the AirBnB because it felt like I wasn’t traveling and able to share moments with my mom and sister which otherwise wouldn’t have been possible in a hotel.

One of my favorites is the Andaz 5th Avenue.  The big plus of this hotel is its proximity to major attractions, like Central ParkRockefeller Center, and Times Square.  It can be reserved for 25,000 Hyatt points.  This is a great hotel to stay at if you want to use the 2 free nights that come with the Chase Hyatt card.  Or stay 4 nights with the sign-up bonus from the Chase Sapphire Reserve!

See my next post for my review of some New York vegetarian restaurants!

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16 responses to “Visiting My Mom & Sister in NYC: Part 1 – Airbnb & Rockefeller Center

  1. I need some advise – I’m planning a trip to New York from Charlotte. I have lot of AAdvantage and Chase Ultimate Points, at the same time I want to make sure I don’t use them unnecessarily / get the maximum value even if it means I should pay by cash in some cases…

  2. Hi Sriram !
    I’m a NYC expert
    I’m from there and travel a lot there.
    If you email me at I’d be happy to give you some advice

  3. I too am going to NYC next week and am using airbnb but I been warned a lot that it is illegal. Glad you had a good experience and hoping I am too.

  4. We have a trip to NYC coming up next month. We have 1 night at Staybridge Suites (cash + points), 2 nights at Intercontinental Times Square (IHG certificates), and 2 nights at Hyatt Regency in Jersey City (Hyatt certificates). We’re looking forward to any sightseeing & restaurant recommendations you have for us readers.

  5. Siriam, my brother lives in CLT and travels to NYC frequently. Nonstop tickets can often be had for $130-$160 roundtrip, so it makes little sense to use miles for these flights if the cash price is that low. The only decent redemption is with British Airways Avios – 7500 points each way sounds more reasonable, though I might still pay cash vs spending 15k Avios roundtrip.

  6. Native NYer here. I thought Airbnb is illegal too in NYC.

  7. Thanks @ MIke and Tara and everyone else. I guess it depends on what time you are flying as well – looking at the week of Christmas weekend, didn’t see anything below $200 for flights. Also, British Airways has no availability….Checked UR portal and they are pretty close to rates in cash. Really confused to use the points or save it for future maximum redemption value. Also, we are planning to stay for 4 days – please advise on hotels using points or points + cash

  8. A site I’ve used is to find events in NYC (and some other cities). You just put in your dates and it comes back with a bunch of events so that may help those of you looking for recommendations.

  9. I really look forward to reading your veggie restaurant reviews. I’m vegetarian too!

  10. I need to stay in NYC for a week, please suggest hotels with points, thanks!

  11. Arrived home last night after spending 6 days in NYC, all on points of course. First time to visit and loved every minute. Look forward to reading more about your adventures!

  12. tkts is another way of saying on Broadway shows. There are a few locations, with Times Square being the one most people going. SAME DAY tickets are sold half price.

  13. @Sriram – I like the Andaz 5th which you can book with Hyatt points (and Chase UR transfers to Hyatt).

  14. Thanks! I saw your newer post that came just in the nick of time – BOGO offer on signature collection. Booked Conrad NY! with cash 🙂