The 1st visit to NYC is usually a bit hectic, it’s overwhelming and even though you keep telling yourself you won’t follow a crazy pace, you find yourself running around all the time. We’ve all been there. I’ve been back to the city 6 times in 5 years and I still feel like I keep missing so much. You’ll always feel that way so don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed. Take a deep breath and take in the NYC vibe.
You can never see it all, but give yourself time to really take in the sights you do visit.
The things you should really try to have on your list for your first trip
Top of the Rock
The iconic New York skyline can only truly be experienced from the Rockefeller viewing platforms. On one side you have the incredible view of the Empire State Building and One World trade in the background, and on the other stunning views of all of Central Park.
If you can only see one museum see the MET. You could spend the whole day there and still have things to see. If you’re there between April/May-October and on a dry day make sure you visit the rooftop patio for the incredible Central park and city views as well as the annual rooftop exhibition.
If your health permits use the subway less and walk more. The city offers so much to see as you stroll down it’s streets. Walk from Rockefeller down 5th avenue to the flatiron building, it’s a very touristy stretch but it offers beautiful views of Empire State Building and in general 5th avenue. Stop over for a coffee and a chocolate treat at Eataly and eat it outside in Madison Square Park before you start walking the more local side of Manhattan. Where 5th avenue and Broadway meet keep heading down 5th to Washington Square Park and then keep venturing into Soho, West village, Tribecca etc. If you’ve got the energy now you’re not that far off from the One World tower and the 9/11 memorial. Make sure to stop by the Oculus and look up at the view of One world tower from the inside. If you’re feeling tired take the train from Oculus back up town. Walk the High line to NYC newest development, Hudson Yards. The Vessel is the new “it instagram” spot. Tickets are free but must be reserved online and are usually booked up 2 weeks in advance so plan accordingly.
It’s the highlight of the city and one not to be missed no matter the season you’re there. In the spring see it in full bloom, in the summer take shade under it’s trees on scorching hot days, in the fall revel in its majestic colors and in the winter go ice skating with incredible views of Central Park south, UES and UWS. Grab a latte or a hot chocolate from La Pain Quotidien and just walk around. Rent a rowboat in the spring/summer and have a few movie moments. Central Park never disappoints.
Not to be missed, free and beautiful during every part of the day, every season of the year. Walk the bridge and then spend a bit of time exploring Dumbo and taking in the views from across the river. If you want the instagram moments make sure to walk a few min to Take a cab/uber back to the city
If possible try and see one show. Look up and see if any of your favourite actors are in any shows when you’re in town. Look up some of the classics like Lion king, Book of mormon, Wicked etc. If you don’t feel like lining up for the TKTS booth in Times Square, download the Todaytix app and see what they have available. Also, if you see a show you like on the app give it a try and walk over to the theatre box office, they are usually able to give you the same (or ever better) deal and wave the fees.
Staten Island Ferry/Statue of Liberty
You may not have the time to spend half a day on the tour of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty but when you find yourself downtown set some time aside and get on the Staten Island Ferry. The Ferry runs 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week. More frequent service (every 15 or 20 minutes,) is provided on weekdays during the rush hours of 6:00AM- 9:30AM and 3:30PM-8:00PM, with 30-minute service to follow. On weekends, service is provided every 30 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays. The ride is about 25 minutes, it’s free, once you reach Staten Island you can just get on the next ferry back to downtown. You’ll go past Statue of Liberty but also you’ll get to see the downtown skyline from the water, it’s a beautiful sight to take in.
Depending on what you like there’s a cafe for every occasion in NYC. Fancy, instagrammable, casual, hipster, cool, simplistic… etc. you name it. They are all there and you will need that break from all the walking and excitement. Don’t miss Levain cookies, NYC’s best cookies by far. Places like Le Pain Quotidien, Sarabeths, Eataly, The butcher’s daughter, La mercerie are always incredible hide outs from the rain or just beautiful escapes from the bustling streets.