As one of the largest and most famous cities on Earth, New York City attracts incredible numbers of tourists every year. For a quick visit to the “city that never sleeps”, here are a few places to start!
Like so many other great cities, such as London, Paris, Tokyo, and even Istanbul – there’s so much to see and do that it becomes difficult to plan a trip. Hopefully this post will give you some good places to start:
New York City is made up of five boroughs, with the island of Manhattan being the “main” one you’ve seen pictures of your whole life. The best idea is to find a hotel in Manhattan (some of them actually aren’t as expensive as you’d guess!) and wander around with that as your base. It’s a deceptively walk-able city for its size, and you can sometimes get the best feel for it just by exploring on foot.
Scale One World Trade Center
Once upon a time, observation decks at Rockefeller Center and the Empire State Building offered the most spectacular views of this sprawling city. That’s not necessarily the case anymore now that One World Trade Center stands proudly over downtown Manhattan. This immense, beautiful skyscraper – the sixth tallest in the world – was built in place of the Twin Towers, and now offers its own wonderful observation deck.
The relatively new observation deck is located on levels 100, 101, and 102, as pointed out by a fun article on some of the best high-rise views- and on the 101st floor you can even enjoy One Dine. There you can have a fine meal, plus sample some tasty champagne over the city.
Explore Central Park
Central Park is awesome to see in person! It’s the size of some smaller cities, and gives you more than a taste of natural beauty within a sprawling urban area. Exploring Central Park means more than just walking along pretty paths (though you can certainly do that all day) though! You can take a paddle-boat out on a pond, eat at multiple outdoor restaurants, see incredible street performers, or visit the Central Park Zoo. You can also get a look at a real castle tucked away in the middle of the park!
See A Broadway Show
New York’s theater scene extends well beyond Broadway (with smaller shows often referred to as being “Off-Broadway” or even “Off-Off-Broadway”). If you’re looking to experience what makes the city so famous for live performances, you’ll want to head to the main theater hubs just off Times Square. It’s an incredibly vibrant area at night, and while it can feel a little touristy or over-the-top, you’re sure to see an excellent show!
See A Major Sporting Event
New York is full of great sporting opportunities. You can head north to the Bronx to see one of the world’s most historic teams: baseball’s New York Yankees. Or, you can see professional or college basketball at Madison Square Garden– a place often referred to as the sport’s Mecca. If you’re in town on the right dates, you can see the famous New York City Marathon, or attend the U.S. Open in Queens. While Wimbledon in London is the most prestigious event in tennis, the Open is considered by many to be more exciting thanks to the venue and the incredible atmosphere the crowd and players create. It’s a one-of-a-kind sporting event for sure!
Tour The Museums
You may not have time to get to all of the famous museums in New York, but there’s certainly something for everyone. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the biggest and most famous, and one of the finest on the planet! Elsewhere, you can enjoy modern art at MoMA, see a more intimate collection at the Frick, or enjoy a serene, unexpected atmosphere at the Cloisters. If you like to look at museums when you visit new cities, these are the names to keep on your list!
Explore Park Slope
If you’re interested in getting out of Manhattan a bit, you have some options. Seeing the Yankees would take you to the Bronx, and The U.S. Open to Queens. However, Brooklyn is fast becoming maybe the most popular borough outside of Manhattan for tourists, thanks to its thriving cultural scene. Park Slope is essentially a neighborhood in Brooklyn. While it can’t be said to capture the character of the borough at large, it’s a wonderful place to explore as a low-key version of the city. There are beautiful old brownstones, excellent bars and coffee shops, and outstanding restaurants to try. Additionally, you can walk right form Park Slope into Prospect Park, another gorgeous green space!
Hang Out At Washington Square Park
If you jwant to get a feel for a different part of New York, head downtown to Washington Square Park. Once you’re there, take some time to people-watch and relax. More of a city square than a park, this area is adjacent to New York University and caters to a younger crowd. You never know what you might see there, but it’s probably going to be fun! Plus, this place has been in several famous movies!
A few more of my favorite things to do!
Visit Liberty Island and Ellis Island for the fascinating historical side of New York City.
Check out The Manhattan Bridge and the Pier 51 area at Hudson River Park below
Walk the High Line (a park on top of an elevated old train track) in Manhattan
Sample delicious food in China Town and Little Italy!
Take a ferry out to Staten Island for great views of the city from the water.