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We know that travel is not one size fits all so to help, we have created the Plus Size Travel Too website as a hub of plus size experts, all looking to share their knowledge with fellow-travellers. If you're seeking adventure and don't know where to begin then don't worry, you're definitely in the right place.

From finding plus size friendly destinations and size-inclusive excursions to preparing for a comfortable flight and knowing exactly what to pack, we have absolutely everything you could need right here.
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Ultimate Guide to Plus Size Travel in NYC by Megan Slocum


The Big Apple, Gotham, The City that Never Sleeps... whatever you want to call it, New York City is calling, and you must answer!  There are so many wonderful things about NYC, but one of the best is that it truly is judgement-free and it is a city for every body.   Unlike other US cities, New York is one that I've never felt uncomfortable in because of my size.  While the city certainly comes with some hurdles for plus-size travelers, there are always ways to overcome.  Here is my ultimate guide to plus size travel in NYC!

NYC in a Nutshell

New York City is the most populated city in the United States, with (as of 2018) over 8 million residents.  There is no shortage of activities, attractions, and sites- it truly is the city that never sleeps!

The city is broken up into 5 boroughs: Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island, and Manhattan (where you will likely spend most of your time).  Manhattan's streets are laid out in a grid, with streets running crosstown and Avenues running up/downtown.  The majority of the city's streets are numbered, making it pretty easy to navigate.  Once you make your way downtown, the streets have names, which does make it a little challenging.  A tip is to look up and find the Freedom Tower (One World Trade).  You can't miss it, and you can use that as a navigational point to help guide your way downtown.

My favorite times in NYC (and when I encourage all my friends to visit)?  The fall and spring!  With the exception of the holiday season in December, winter can be a real drag in NYC.  It's cold and your options are limited to indoor activities.  Summer is great for outdoor activities, but it can get very hot.  With all the buildings and concrete, the heat just radiates and there's little breeze.  Spring and fall offer milder temperatures which will make for a much more comfortable visit!

Cheat Sheet: Local Lingo

While all 5 boroughs are part of NYC, "The City" refers to the borough of Manhattan.

"The Train" means the subway.  Other trains are referenced by their proper name (ex: Metro-North or Long Island Railroad).

"Uptown/Downtown" generally means North/South.

"Crosstown" generally means East/West.

You wait "On Line" in NYC (not "in line" or "in a queue").

"Bodega" is a corner convenience store - you'll see these everywhere.

"Downtown" generally refers to the area of Manhattan below 14th St.

What to Pack

While your personal style and packing choices are up to you, I cannot stress enough the importance of being comfortable!  You will spend a lot of time on your feet and walking in New York City and comfort is absolutely key.  This is not the time to break in a new pair of shoes!  Some of my favorite comfortable (and cute) footwear are from Allbirds and Rothy's.  When in doubt, do what the locals do and wear your comfy "commuter" shoes and pack your cute ones in your bag.  There's no shame in doing a quick change outside of a restaurant or event - everyone does it!

No matter the season you'll be visiting, dressing in layers is absolutely key.  Summer days can be hot, but cool at night.  In winter, it can be cold outside but indoors may have the heat cranked.  Just keep in mind- you'll need to carry every layer you take off so plan ahead and bring a decent sized bag!

When you want to blend in in New York City, you mustn't forget your all-black ensemble.  Black is a fashion staple in NYC, and you can never have enough.  And don't be afraid to have black-on-black outfits, it's all the more chic!

While New York City is generally a very safe city, I never travel without a theft-proof bag, and always recommend others do the same.  They offer peace of mind as you're lost in the lights in Times Square, or admiring art at the Met.  There are also plenty of stylish anti-theft bags out there (my favorites are from Arden Cove).


Getting Around

Walk - There are often times where walking is the fastest way to get from point A to point B in NYC.  Traffic can get bottlenecked for blocks, and you don't have to worry about experiencing train delays.  Generally speaking, 20 street blocks (aka, moving "uptown" or "downtown") equals 1 mile, or about 1.6 km.  Walking crosstown (across the avenues), the blocks are much wider.

Subway - One of the fastest and easiest ways to get around the city.  The trains run 24/7, in all 5 boroughs, and arrive about every 5-10 minutes (and even more during rush hour).  If you're not into packed trains, consider avoiding riding in peak hours (7-9 am and 4-6 pm).  Grab yourself a MetroCard and cruise around the city!

Taxi - A very convenient option, as they're all over the city.  While they can be hard to snag at peak times, just stand on any corner with your arm raised and one will stop before long.  Cabs with an illuminated number on their roof are available, and when the light is off they already are on a ride.  Fares are based on distance and time, and the prices to/from JFK and EWR airports are fixed.  Keep in mind that tipping your driver is additional and expected.

Ride Share Apps - Uber, and Lyft are all over NYC.  In my experience, I've found that Lyft is generally the cheapest option, but always check both before booking a ride.  An easy way to save money on rideshares is to opt for the carpool option (Uber Pool or Lyft Line).  While they may pick you up and drop you off within a few blocks of your desired locations, the walks are usually very short and manageable.

Where to Stay

Before I lived in New York City, I would always visit and book a hotel across the Hudson River in New Jersey.  I always thought I was cheating the system and getting a better deal, as hotels in the city were "so much more expensive."  Turns out, they're not that much more and the convenience is worth it.  I'd recommend staying right in Manhattan so you have a central "home base" at the end of a busy day.  While NYC and Manhattan are generally very safe, try to find a hotel below 110th St. on the West Side, and 96th St. on the East Side. 

 More adventurous travellers who like to "play things by ear" may benefit from utilizing sites like Hotel Tonight.  You can snag great deals on last-minute rooms that are often at desirable properties.  For those planners (like myself), I always recommend using sites like Priceline, Expedia, or Kayak.  If you're looking for a luxury stay on your visit to NYC, don't worry- there's no shortage! The Four Seasons has two properties (one near Central Park, the other in FiDi), the Waldorf Astoria is nothing short of spectacular, or channel your inner Eloise at The Plaza Hotel!

Plus-Size Tips for Top Attractions

Broadway - A bucket list item for many!  As a plus-size traveller, one major consideration is theatre seats.  Many of these theatres are very old, and the seats are not size-inclusive.  Unfortunately, it is not always as simple as just purchasing two seats if you need more space as the armrests are typically fixed and do not lift up.  Generally speaking, the cheaper the seat, the tighter the squeeze.  If you'd like a little extra width and legroom, seats in the orchestra tend to offer that.  If you're not afraid to splurge a bit, consider a box seat.  You'll have all the room you'll need plus a great view!

Central Park - There is nowhere in the world quite like Central Park!  One of the best ways to spend a day is to rent bikes and explore everything it has to offer.  You'll be able to go at your own pace, stop whenever you'd like, and really see the park.  While the majority of the park is flat and an easy ride, once you get north of 96th street, there are some serious hills.  I've tried biking the hills three times and I've had to get off and walk each time.  They're no joke!  If you're not up for the challenge, consider cutting off the North Woods by veering left just north of the Jackie O Reservoir.  Click here for a map and visual.

Riding the Subway - Plus size travellers and those with mobility issues may encounter some challenges on the subway.  Elevators and escalators at stations and platforms are uncommon (click here for a current list of accessible stations). Turnstiles into the stations are also fixed and not size-inclusive. However, each station has a door that you can use instead. Swipe your MetroCard and open when you hear the buzzing. While on the train, you should also not be afraid to sit. As a plus-size woman, I would sometimes feel guilty about sitting and taking up more space than others. You paid your fare just like everyone else and deserve a seat.

Shopping

For being the fashion capital of the world, it's frustrating how few options NYC has for plus-size shopping.  While there are certainly more options than most cities, you may have to go out of your way a bit to find good stores.

One of my favorites is Plus BKLYN, in the Williamsburg neighbourhood of Brooklyn.  They have a variety of new and vintage pieces and carry up to a size 6X.  If you're looking for a luxurious shopping experience, Universal Standard in SoHo is your place.  You'll get a one-on-one personal stylist to help find you pieces that go up to size 40.  The catch is- reservations are required, so plan ahead!  If you're looking for that ~perfect~ outfit, but luggage space is scarce, a visit to the Rent the Runway flagship store is a necessity.  It's not just an online rental service!  They carry up to size 22 in the store, but if you call a few days ahead and tell them what you're looking for, they will make sure there are pieces available in your size.

Aside from the boutiques, I've also been pleasantly surprised by the selection at large brands such as H&M, Loft, and Old Navy.  There are several locations of each throughout the city!

Favorite Photo Spots

NYC has no shortage of scenery just waiting to make your Instagram feed!  Some of my favorites include:

-The Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO

-Bethesda Terrace in Central Park

-Doyers Street in Chinatown

-Corner of E 10th & Stuyvesant Streets

-Flatiron Building & Madison Square Park

-Inside Grand Central Station

-The Red Stairs in Times Square

-Brooklyn Heights (for the Brownstones!)

-Inside The Oculus

-The Vessel at Hudson Yards

-Coney Island Boardwalk in Brooklyn

Author Bio

Megan Slocum is the founder of the travel blog meganywhere.com - a solo female travel blog focused on budget travel and maximizing your time at a destination.  She currently works a typical 9-5 job in New York City and is faced with the challenge of planning trips around long weekends and strategically using PTO.  She is currently working on traveling to all 50 states and plans to complete that goal by 2022.  Follow along on Instagram and Facebook!