New York, New York – the city that never sleeps, the concrete jungle, the Big Apple and the city of dreams. If you’re looking for a magical winter wonderland, a long weekend filled with sightseeing or summer days spent cruising around Central Park, we got you. Come winter, spring, summer or fall, it’s fair to say, New York is always a good idea. So here’s our round up of the top things to do in NYC…
1. Unleash your inner foodie
You may think New York is just a good spot for burgers and cheese fries, but boy will you be proven wrong. This city is home to some of the most delicious restaurants, food markets and street food around. You’ll find top chefs cooking up a huge variety of culinary treats – we’re talking Mexican food, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and soo much more.
Some of our favorite spots include the downtown Mexican restaurant-turned-club La Esquire (make sure you book a table a few weeks in advance), Asian noodle bar Momofuku (a yummy and reasonably priced lunch spot found across the city) and Katz’s Delicatessen for a no-thrills NYC deli experience. There are also so many veggie spots, and if you fancy a sweet snack while you’re out, make sure you head to Levain bakery where you’ll find the BEST cookies around.
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2. See the sights
When it comes to things to do in NYC, the key sites need to be on your list. We’re talking about…
- Heading up to the Empire State Building (which you can see the best views of from the top of the Rockefeller Center!)
- Walking over Brooklyn Bridge
- Cruising to see the Statue of Liberty
- Experiencing the bright lights of Time Square
- Taking in Grand Central Terminal
- Visiting the 9/11 memorial site
These really are the sightseeing NYC musts, so if you’re planning a one-off trip to the Big Apple, make sure you squeeze these in.
Image source:Kevin Chinchilla / Unsplash
3. Relive your favourite films & series
Arguably, one of the main reasons this city is so iconic is because of its key role in so many films and TV series. Everything from Breakfast at Tiffany’s and West Side Story to Home Alone, The Avengers, Ghostbusters, Joker and The Godfather have been centred around New York city.
And let’s not forget the series – Sex and the City, Suits, Will & Grace, Mad Men, How I Met Your Mother, Gossip Girl and that other one… oh yeah Friends. This city literally feels like a real-life film set. And what better way to explore the city then by reliving key on-screen moments?
- Head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art where Blair and Serena hung out in Gossip Girl
- Go downtown to the West Village where you’ll find the Friends apartment (and realize there’s no way a waitress, chef and failing actor could have afforded to live in this affluent area!)
- Go to Katz’s Delicatessen on the Lower East Side of New York to dine in the deli featured in Where Harry Met Sally
4. Spend an afternoon in Central Park
Ah Central Park! This utopia of green is located between the Upper East Side and Upper West Side of Manhattan. It provides a moment of peace amongst the madness of city life and is a great place to go if you fancy some downtime on your trip. In the summer you can go boating, grab some bikes or watch the many sports games that take place in the park. Come winter, this place turns into a winter wonderland. Explore the park on horse and carriage or test out your ice skating skills on the Wollman Rink.
5. Do brunch
No one does brunch quite like NYC, plus it’s always a great way to fuel up for a full day of touristing. Maybe the trendiest meal of the day, the city is brimming with hipster brunch places to try out. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by brunch spots head on over to West Village where you’ll find the likes of Jack’s Wife Freda, Joseph Leonard and Cafe Cluny. This is a great way to feel like a local. Or if you want to add some entertainment to your meal, go to Ellen’s Stardust where you’ll find many Broadway singers getting a morning shift of theatrical waitressing in. Drag brunches are also a thing and well worth the experience.
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6. Explore Brooklyn
Yes, Manhattan is incredible, but believe it or not New York extends beyond this concrete jungle. And one place that is definitely having a moment is Brooklyn. You can walk down to Lower Manhattan and straight onto the Brooklyn Bridge, which crosses over the East River.
Here you’ll get the chance to see some jaw-dropping views of the city from a whole new perspective. And once you walk over the bridge, Brooklyn has plenty to offer. This hidden gem is home to some killer food markets, with Time Out Market offering a whole load of eteries including some of New York’s most iconic dishes. And then there is The Queens Night Market, an open air night market which features up to 100 independent vendors selling food, crafts and more.
7. Watch some sports
If you fancy feeling like a true New Yorker, you need to go to a sports match. Research the sports games in season ahead of your trip and make sure you get this booked up in advance. Baseball, basketball and ice hockey are the three most quintessentially American sports played in New York and will have you chanting alongside cheerleaders with a foam finger and hotdog in hand. Fun things to do in NYC don’t get much more atmospheric than this!
8. Stroll across the High Line
Another great way to see the city is by walking along the High Line. The 1.45 mile-long elevated park was built on a historic, elevated rail line. The route spans from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street and takes you through gardens, art and some yummy food spots whilst seeing the city from a different perspective. Inside tip – Chelsea Market is situated on 15th Street (three blocks up from where the High Line begins) and is worth heading to for some food and a browse pre or post walk.
Image source:Gaby Chaudri
9. Check out the museums
Looking for things to do in NYC when it rains? This city is brimming with some of the most famous museums in the world, all at your fingertips. Into art? Check out the MOMA where you’ll find Jackson Pollock originals or head on over to the Guggenheim Museum where you’ll find Picasso and Kandisky’s finest pieces. Looking for something a little more modern? The Metropolitan Museum of Art History is home to some of the best 19th and 20th-century art. Or if history is more your thing, The American Museum of Natural History is a must. And let’s not forget paying your respects at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, which explores such a defining moment in the history of New York – and the world.
Image source:Jeremy Philemon / Unsplash
10. Listen to some live jazz music
If you’re a jazz fan you’re in luck. New York is renowned for one of the best jazz scenes in the world, and is one of THE things to do in NYC at night. With so many live music venues around the city you really will be spoilt for choice. Here are just a few jazz clubs to spend your NYC evenings at.