New York City aka the “Big Apple” – who doesn’t want to visit this East Coast US city? It is a familiar sight from television programmes such as “Sex and the City” and “Friends” and it is a city that has so much to offer the visitor. Great sights, great shopping and of course great food! I love NYC and I it is a city I can return to again and again.
There are so many things to see and do in New York. I have been twice over the last few years (once in April and once in June so I have not experienced a New York winter yet). New York is a great city to add to any USA travel itinerary. You can find more ideas when planning to visit from this guide to the USA.
I have put together a list of my favourite 10 places to see/things to do after my last two visits. These are my top ten New York sights!
TIMES SQUARE AND BROADWAY
I absolutely love the buzz and noise and madness of Times Square! So much so I have stayed twice at the Crowne Plaza right on the Square. Sitting at the bar in the hotel, sipping on a cocktail with the views of the flashing billboards of Times Square outside is an experience!
I also find Times Square is an easy point in Manhatten to walk to a lot of the attractions and it is also a great place to catch the Hop-on Hop off Bus Tours (I have used them on both visits to NY and would recommend them).
A show on Broadway is also a must-do if you get the chance! There are plenty of theatres to choose from with lots of famous names starring in productions. Just don’t do it on your first day as you will probably be jet lagged if you are flying over from Europe!
The shops in Times Square are pretty awesome too – the Toys r Us with the Ferris wheel in the store as well as the massive M and M’s store are worth a look around!
STATUE OF LIBERTY
Well you can’t go to NY without seeing this famous statue! A short ferry ride to the island from Battery Park and you can walk around this amazing 140 year old gift to the USA from France. The Statue is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – click the link for more UNESCO World Heritage Sites in USA.
Queues can be rather long to get onto the ferry (the ticket for which was included in our bus ticket package)so get there first thing if you can. It is definitely worth it and I would do this trip next time I am in NY for a third time! The views of the NY skyline are amazing.
THE ROCKEFELLER CENTRE
The Rockefeller centre is the largest privately owned complex in the world and consists of 19 buildings none of which own unfortunately. There are restaurants and gardens and shops and of course the observation deck which is spread over three floors (67th to 70th!) the Top of the Rock! Make sure you book this at least the day before as it gets very busy particularly at sunset for obvious reasons!
The views from the Top of the Rock are fantastic. I have been up there twice – its a difficult decision between the Top of the Rock or the top of the Empire State Building but the Top of the Rock gives you views of the Empire State Building and Central Park so it would be my first choice but if you are struggling to decide I recommend reading this post which evaluates the pros and cos of both – Top of the Rock versus Empire State Building.
Central Park is huge. It is well worth a visit for a bit of peace from the madness and noise of the city. Its a great place to visit on a Sunday morning. Wander around and enjoy the greenery and all the fitness mad New Yorkers on their daily run. A visit to Strawberry Fields, which was created by Yoko Ono in memory of John Lennon, is also a must.
GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL
Grand Central opened in 1913 is a beautiful train station. Wth over 250,000 people a day commuting through the station it remains an important landmark in NY history. There are loads of restaurants to visit below the station including the famous oyster bar. I have had to stop myself randomly buying a train ticket and running off around the USA twice now. Meet friends at the clock on the Main Concourse – its a New York tradition.
GROUND ZERO MEMORIAL
When I first visited NY the memorial wasn’t finished and we had to go through security to visit. It was a sad and poignant place to visit. I returned somewhat reluctantly I must admit, with my daughter, in 2016. The memorial is now open and we walked past it on the way to Battery Park. I still have a strong emotional reaction to it and reading the names of those who died that day (written around the walls surrounding the 2 waterfalls built in the footprints of the 2 towers) is very moving.
I took no photographs.
Plan to spend some time shopping on Fifth Avenue one of the most expensive streets in the world or enjoying a parade if you are lucky to be there to witness these annual events.St Patrick’s Day, Easter Sunday and the New York Gay Pride Parade are just 3 of the famous parades which take place on Fifth Avenue.
There were lots of people dressed in beautiful bonnets and clothes for the Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue. My favourites were the dogs!!
EMPIRE STATE BUILDING
Officially opened in 1931 the Empire State Building is probably the most famous skyscraper in NY thanks to movies such as Lost in Seattle and King Kong!
Since 1976 the tower lights have changed colour to recognise various holidays, seasons and events throughout the year.
Located in the center of Midtown Manhattan the 86th and 102nd floor observatories provide unforgettable 360° views of New York City and beyond.
Check out 10 things NOT to do in New York!
I treated my daughter to a Sex and the City Tour and during the tour we spent some time in Soho and Greenwich Village which we totally loved. A popular residential area for many famous actors and actresses keep your eyes peeled as you never know who may have popped out for a carton of milk.
Soho and Greenwich Village are is less touristy than Times Square. Enjoy strolling around admiring the shops and the lovely houses.
I bought lots of great souvenirs on my trips to New York – check out 10 of the best you can buy!
BREAKFAST IN NYC
We enjoyed the great restaurants and food in NYC but in particular the breakfasts are my favourite. Although not advisable on a regular basis we did find a great deli for a daily dose of pancakes, bacon and syrup! You needed to spend the rest of the day walking to get anyway near using those calories up
If you interested in the tours that I took – the hop-on hop off bus tour and the Sex and the City tour are just two that I can highly recommend then check out this link to my choice of tours with Viator!
Those are my top ten for New York – what would you include in your top ten for this fabulous US city?
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Top Ten New York sights
Tracy is your expert expat!
She has lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to over 50 more. A qualified school teacher with an interest in history, reading, photography, nature and wildlife she is always planning her next trip (preferably by train)
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