We all know New York is a hub of activity. A shopaholic’s paradise. Diversity, culture and bright lights. This concrete jungle has something for everyone. So whether you are heading there for an extra long weekend or a week, here are the things you must do.
1. Take a Ferry to Staten Island
It’s free. The last time I was in NYC, my pal Meg and I went over at nightime. It is brilliant. The lit up skyline is jaw-dropping. You do not realise the magnitude and height of the buildings. This is the perfect way to see New York at its best. All those iconic pictures you see in magazines and as you trawl around the streets do not capture how stunning the skyline is at night. You just have to see for yourself.
2. Ground Zero
An extremely powerful and emotive place to visit. I’m quite sure whoever visits here would be moved. The memorial is done beautifully and is a fitting tribute to all those who lost their lives. Until you visit you do not appreciate the scale of the buildings which fell and how large the space is. Even now it is hard to comprehend. The memorial park is free to visit. You need tickets to visit the 9/11 museum, which houses relics, stories and personal items. A must see.
3. Visit Central Park
After visiting Tiffany’s which is just on the corner of 5th Avenue, you must head to Central Park. A place to get away from the hustle and bustle. Why not let a guide take you about on a rickshaw? Well informed, they cycle all around the park and let you know where all the stars live and where parts of movies have been filmed. The park is beautifully maintained and even though busy, a tranquil oasis. When I went with my partner we hired a horse and carriage for a romantic half an hour ride around. Sheep Meadow is the place to head to in fine weather. The perfect place to lay on the grass, picnic and chill. Don’t forget to visit John Lennon’s Imagine memorial and also the Dakota Building (where he was shot), which is just across the road. The peace and quiet and surprising amount of space in the park is welcome after spending hours visiting hot spots.
4. Take a trip to the ‘Top of the Rock’
Personally I think that the views from the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Centre) observation deck are better than the Empire State Building. The queues are much shorter and the view even on a cloudy day is excellent. Want a great panoramic photo of the city this is the place to be. Book tickets prior to visiting to avoid any queuing. 3 floors to visit. Tickets are around $30 each. Want to see The Rock and The Empire State? Definitely visit one at night.
5. See the bright lights of Times Square
Stroll down Broadway and head to the ticket booth on Times Square for discounted show tickets. The lights, the billboards, the people, food stalls and restaurants. Hectic, crazy, flashy and brilliant. I highly recommend The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera. You have not experienced New York until you have hit Times Square.
6. Head over to the Statue of Liberty
If visiting NYC you must head over to visit Liberty. Buy your tickets on the internet months in advance and try to book early in the morning to avoid the crowds. We went in September and it was very hot and sunny so take sunglasses and suntan lotion. We took the ferry from Battery Park to enjoy the iconic view of the famous lady and she didn’t disappoint. As with everything in New York, you do not realise just how massive the statue is. Allow around 4 hours to do this and Ellis Island and an hour less if you only visit the statue.
7. Take your credit card to Sephora
The last time I hit Sephora in the States was the Times Square store. However I’ve heard Union Square is the biggest, most amazing beauty mecca ever! In New York, Sephora’s are as common as hot dog stands. Fear not, if you are not able to cross over the Atlantic, Sephora now ships to the UK. At home, then eat a pretzel, cook your own hot-dog, fire up the laptop and transport yourself to the Big Apple.
8. The High Line
A disused railway line turned into a city park. What a great idea. I haven’t managed to walk the line yet, however it is next on my list when I’m back in NYC. After reading much info about this, the raised platform of the old railway makes a great vantage point of the city. It takes around 45 minutes, is free and there are drinks and snacks along the way. Deck chairs to rest and flower beds. Something to do on a nice day.
9. Book a seat on an open top bus (hop on, hop off)
The perfect way to find your bearings. The first time I hit Manhattan I took an open top bus from Times Square. After the long flight, it is the perfect way to relax for an hour or two, get some fresh air and see most of the sights with a running commentary. And you kind of now where you are. Only here for a 2-3 days? Definitely purchase a ticket, as it gives you a perfect snapshot of the city as a whole. Gray Line Tours are amazing. Fancy something a little different? Then ride at night.
10. Love Sex and the City, then take a tour
Explore 40 locations from the show. Not a SATC fan? Still a great tour to see all the unknown and best parts of Manhattan. Head to Magnolia’s Bakery for a cupcake, see Carrie’s apartment step, visit cafes, bars and hotels from the series. A must-do tour for any girl or SATC fan. Approx $49 for 4 hours. Looking for something that your man would enjoy? There are tonnes of movie tours, featuring sites from Men in Black, Ghostbusters and the latest George Clooney film. Yay! Anything with George is a plus.
Of course there are tonnes of things you can do in NYC, the list is endless. If you have any of your own highlights, I would love to know.