New York City is an adventure to be sure. For those not used to a busy pace of life, NYC is like a crash course in the in’s and out’s of the business world. The list to do here is endless and everyone will have their personal priorities. I was lucky enough to get two looks at New York on my last trip to the States and they couldn’t have been more different. With New York being my initial and last location of the trip, it could be said that I got the perfect glance at this much loved destination. It has to be said my first taste of New York City with its sightseeing rush and 2 day time limit, left me feeling a little overwhelmed. Returning for a day before flying home and the main locations already seen, the hustle and bustle of the City passed me by as I enjoyed a happy wander around some of the must-see places at my own pace.
The point I am trying to make is that this remarkable city will be different for every person on each visit. No two trips will be the same. For me, several experiences stood out from the many, many sights I took in during my visits. These have formed the base of this Top 10 feature, giving a well-rounded look of New York City to anyone who follows this as their guide. Whatever the length of your stay here, my best advice is to plan out your days. Make the very most of your time exploring this unbelievable destination, but do it at your own pace. You might be tired at the end of your trip but trust me, you will not regret one minute of it.
Getting about – If you are pushed for time in the Big Apple, a hop-on hop-off bus tour is the quickest way to see a lot of the sights on one go. You’ll find many of these available with Time Square being a central starting point. This seated experience allows you to take in the sights, with a prime position for photo opportunities.
Business as usual – Take a walk through the heart of the Business district. Wander down Wall St, the historic street that bustles with business suits and tourists alike. The Wall St bull is an absolute icon so don’t miss this. However do expect to queue and jump in quick for a photo.
Bright lights – Brave the dizzying heights of one of the City’s skyscraper view points. Choices include the Rockerfellar Center, Empire State Building and the World Trade Center and vary in price, with most staying open well into the evenings to give you that twilight view. It is recommended to book your tickets in advance but you do run the chance of morning mist obstructing your view as we had. It was so bad my travel companion thought that the windows were dirty so be prepared for this!
Staten Island Ferry – Reward yourself with a break from the busy streets to take this free ferry ride to Staten Island and back. Liberty Island with its famous statue is a real joy to see with your own eyes. This and the views of the City skyline are more than worth the hour spent making this short journey.
Ground Zero – The touching memorial really brings home the tragedy of the lives lost in the 9/11 attack. Spend some time wandering the gardens and visit the museum if you have time.
Sample some NY favourites – Stop for a hotdog, pretzel or doughnut from one of the vendors or eateries around. You will be spoilt for choice.
Pretty parks – Find your own way to one of the greener spots in the City. You have a few choices but for me, you can’t beat Central Park. Complete with boating lake, playground, fountains and sculpture, this park is a beautiful place to take a time out without leaving the City center. Seek out the more famous statues of the park including Hans Christian Anderson with Mother Goose and the Alice in Wonderland scene.
Tip: This park is bigger than you think. Allow at least an hour or two for some proper exploration.
The City at night – The night-time view of NYC is something everyone should see. A lot of the main buildings are colorfully lit and Times Square is an evening experience in itself.
Shopping – Being a Sex and the City girl, the shopping streets of New York were not wholly unfamiliar to me. Although shopping is not my favourite pastime, it was too hard to resist the curiosity of peeking inside Saks 5th Avenue or Bloomingdales. The window displays are works of creative art, so be sure to stop for a look when you need a quick sightseeing break.
Absorb some Culture – There are some wonderful museums and art galleries to be found in New York including the American Museum of Natural History and of course, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, more commonly known as the MET. As well as these, why not catch one of the many shows, concerts and performances available. For those not to fussy on choice, tickets can be booked on the day. The show we caught last minute was excellent and getting a copy of a Playbill with the ticket was a happy bonus.
Most of all, enjoy. New York City has so much to offer and it is easy to get caught up in the busy pace of the New Yorker lifestyle. But remember this is your trip, so slow it down and keep drinking the City in. There really are gems all around you that you won’t want to miss!