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5 Things You've Just Gotta Do: New York

Picnics in Central Park, the country's best shopping and biergartens in the middle of the city


1) Follow in the stilettoed footsteps of Carrie Bradshaw.
New York City is the shopping hub of America, offering everything from the luxe designer boutiques on Fifth Avenue to the trendy little shops that line the blocks of SoHo. Many retailers have their flagship stores in New York, so make sure you check-in to those locations for the best selection (such as the 4-floor Kate Spade on Madison Ave. and Marc by Marc Jacobs in the West Village). And if you’re looking for a steal, head to Century 21 for heavily discounted designer duds or Canal St., where you can barter for goods with the vendors. Watch yourself though, because if a vendor tells you to come to the back room to check out the merch, that Burberry bag you're buying is literally a steal.

2) Visit Lady Liberty herself.
No visit to the Big Apple is complete without going to check out the Statue of Liberty. An icon of the New York skyline, Lady Liberty sits on her own island in the New York Harbor and was a gift from the French to celebrate the USA's independence after the American Revolution. From the statue's island you can also see Ellis Island, the historic site where millions of immigrants entered America from the late 1800's to the mid-1950's. Unfortunately Ellis Island's museum has been closed since Hurricane Sandy, but keep an eye out for it's reopening.

3) Picnic in Central Park.
An 840-acre greenspace in Manhattan, Central Park is a quiet getaway smack dab in the middle of the city. It’s home to everything from 26 baseball fields to cross country skiing trails to the Central Park Zoo. There’s even the huge Lasker Pool where you can take a dip on hot summer days and try your hand at ice skating in the winter. Our best bet? Grab some tasty street food and have a people-watching picnic on the lush, landscaped lawns. With a city as diverse as this, you’re bound to see something interesting just by watching the world go by.

4) Hop on the subway and head to the boroughs.
Leaving Manhattan and heading out to the boroughs used to be a no-no, but now they’re home to some of the best restaurants and hidden gems that the city has to offer. Whether you want to hit up Brooklyn, The Bronx, Staten Island or Queens, just pick up a MetroCard and hop on the subway (an experience in and of itself, lemme tell ya). Take Brooklyn, for example. In recent years, there’s been a mass exodus of young artists and entrepreneurs (pretty much a lot of hipsters) to the borough that couldn’t afford to pay for a shoebox apartment in Manhattan. They’ve since built up parts of Brooklyn to house modern art galleries, a lively restaurant scene and enough craft beer to fill the Hudson River. Make sure you hit up Peaches in Bed Stuy for the best Southern food this side of the Mississippi and The Lodge in Williamsburg for their 2-for-1 Bloody Mary brunch special.

5) Stay up all night in The City That Never Sleeps
Give me those bright lights, long nights. New York’s nightlife is legendary throughout the world and it’s no wonder – you can find a bar or club to suit anyone in The City That Never Sleeps. If you're looking for the ultimate dive, check out Arrow Bar on Avenue A between 5th & 6th streets - it's hipster central and the happy hour of 2-for-1 drinks until 9pm will get you ready for a night of dancing. Summer travellers need to (and I mean neeeeeeed to) hit up the Standard Hotel's Biergarten for some outdoor brews in a massive outdoor beer garden right in the middle of the Meatpacking District. And if you're looking for a night of getting dolled up and downing a few cocktails, head to the Ink48 rooftop terrace, giving you a view of the Hudson River on one side and a clear view of the New York skyline on the other. Ahhhh. Bliss.

Written by Lauren McPhillips

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