New York City is a travellers haven, offering a combination of hustle and bustle city life, historical sites, modern art and architecture, and a variety of foods you can try! It doesn’t matter if you are not a city person, NYC always leaves an impression on everyone that visits. Although it wasn’t my favourite American city (San Francisco and Chicago stole my hearts) it is still a crazy, fast paced, wild experience of mine that I will never forget, and I am happy to have experienced it with some amazing people.
You can’t help but travel through NYC without doing all the typical tourist things, so here is a combination of tourist must do’s and other hidden extras that I got up to while I spent some time in the big apple.
1. See the City from a Birds-eye view
Whether it is at the top of the Empire State Building, or Rockefeller Centre (if you don’t want as big of a queue), seeing how big the city actually is from above is mind blowing. As you can see we went to the top of the Empire State Building in overcast weather and it was still a phenomenal experience. We were pretty much the only ones up there too! You will never have a view like this anywhere else.
2. Find the secrets of Central Park
Central Park is absolutely massive! The only way to really see everything is to jump on a bike and explore. There are a whole heap of hidden areas, statues, things to see and do all throughout the park, some that aren’t as talked about as others. You can see the beautiful Alice in Wonderland statue, John Lennon’s Strawberry Fields Memorial, a castle where Beyonce has performed… there’s plenty to discover!
3. Visit the One World Trade Centre and 9/11 Memorial
This place is filled with such emotion that I didn’t stop crying the whole time I was walking around. With such a tragic history, it is still a place you should visit to pay respects to those who have passed and to see the ways in which America is moving forward. The One World Trade Centre is a symbol of uniting the world together.
4. Eat an oversized, greasy pizza in Brooklyn
Hands down one of the best cheese and pepperoni pizza’s I have ever had. It was bigger than my head, and the restaurant is run by a great Italian family (I can’t remember the name).
5. Walk through Times Square at night
Touristy, yes, but it is a must do in NYC! The vibe is buzzing, the people are crazy, and the air is swimming with possibilities! You can shop until midnight, see people dressed up in the weirdest costumes (even the naked cowboy!), catch a show, eat in all the typical American restaurants (but do not eat at TGIFridays in Times Square, I had the worst experience there) – there is so much to do!
6. Explore Grand Central Terminal
Another tourist must do, the building itself is beautiful and the history is deep. I don’t think I need to explain it as it is such a renowned icon.
7. Go on a movie/TV show tour
Explore some of the places from your much loved movies and shows, there’s nothing better than seeing things in real life that you have watched on a screen for years. A lot of tours include meals or drinks at cafe’s and restaurant’s aired in shows too!
8. Eat from a street vendor
Probably not the most sanitary, but it’s something that isn’t common in a lot of other countries. Street vendors in NYC have probably the most unhealthy food, but it is so good! Hot dogs, pretzels, nuts… It is especially great if you are wandering home after a few drinks in a bar!
9. Catch a Broadway show
There are so many shows you can see! I love going to see a show no matter where I am in the world, but New York has so many on offer it was so hard to decide – I needed more time! Even if theatre isn’t your thing it is still a great night out and an American pastime you can experience. I only got to see Chicago, but wow was I impressed.
10. Try a famous frozen hot chocolate
Serendipity 3 is a quirky restaurant in the Upper East Side known for its huge, and delicious, frozen hot chocolate. Not only do they offer this interest dessert/drink, they have a great lunch menu, and are home to the most expensive sundae in the world, the Golden Opulence Sundae. If you have a spare $1000 you can try Madagascar vanilla, 23k gold leaf, rare chocolate infused sundae. If only I was rich!
11. Cruise to Lady Liberty and Ellis Island
Touristy but historic for New York, the Statue of Liberty was the first thing that immigrants saw when they entered the New York Harbour. I found the statue to be smaller than what I thought it would be, but amazing nonetheless. You can then get off at Ellis Island where immigrants used to be processed and it is filled with historical memorabilia. The views from the island of the city skyline are also incredible!
12. Eat a $25 sandwich
You may be thinking ‘$25 for a sandwich?’ but man it is worth it! Considered the best sandwiches and hot dogs in all of New York, and a quick subway ride to Manhattan, Katz’s Deli is the best pastrami sandwich you will ever eat. We had it on rye with mayo (which is apparently the local way to have it) but there are plenty of different options. It is also a site where a lot of celebrities have visited and movies have been filmed, such as When Harry Met Sally.
Have you ever been to New York? What are some ‘must do’ things you would recommend?