New York City is extraordinary. With a population of approximately 8 million people in a land area of just 789km squared you’ve got to wonder what all the fuss is about! The big apple has so many different attractions it can be overwhelming when deciding which ones to go see! I had five days to explore all New York had to offer and whilst I visited all the main attractions we certainly didn’t have time to do everything – In one visit that’s damn right impossible! That said I’ve put together my Top 10 Things to do in New York City!
Top Tip: Have four full days AT LEAST to make the most out of your trip to the most vibrant city in the world!
1. Times Square
They weren’t lying when they said that New York is the city that never sleeps! Times Square is one of the only places I’ve been in the world that is still bustling with bodies and animation at 1 am!
It’s the entertainment hub of NYC filled with restaurants, shops, street food and of course the gateway to Broadway! The bright lights of Times Square attract more than 50 million tourists annually! Definitely worth a visit to grab some amazing New York street food and smuggle some gifts for your loved ones back home – (who are insanely jealous that you’re in New York and there back in Blighty) If you’re prepared to queue then hit up the TKTS box for discounted theatre tickets daily!
Tip: any time of the day you go WILL be busy so be prepared for some pushing, shoving indefinitely strangers in your selfies!
2. Grand Central Terminal
‘Spotted in Grand Central Station’
So how long did you think you’d have to wait until the gossip girl quotes start coming in? Yes, I spent quite a lot of this trip pretending I was Serena and Blair but Grand Central Terminal was the one landmark that took me by surprise! After all, it’s just a train station right? Wrong! Grand Central Terminal is an experience! I felt like I’d been swept up into a million movie scenes the moment I walked onto that shiny concourse. From the buildings fascinating architecture, American flags, endless rows of shops and a locally sourced food market, it’s a far cry from a train station.
It’s the Dorchester of train stations. With its astronomical mural on the ceiling, Grand chandeliers and an Oyster Bar that first opened its doors in 1913! Grand Central Terminal is not to be missed. Our hotel was on 42nd Street, Lexington Avenue which meant we walked through the terminal twice every day and it took my breath away every. single. time.
With the mix of luxury shops and a whole floor dedicated to the dining concourse its hard to know whether to shop or eat! Being the foodie I am I opted to eat! It was a hard choice with 22 eatery’s to chose from! Do we go sweet or savoury or both! We opted for a chicken gyros from Eata Pita which were to die for & Finished with a muffin from Magnolia Bakery (the best cake makers in the state of New York – I think!) But there’s much more to choose from including coffees, pizza, ice cream and bagels! Grab something to go whilst taking the exit via the Grand Central Food Market. And better yet if your exploring New York on a budget the terminal is free!
3. Top of The Rock!
There is only one word to describe the view from the top of the Rockefeller Centre: spectacular. You can see the whole of the city beneath you at 360 degrees! It’s incredible and not even great writing could justify how special it is! I guess you’ll just have to go and experience it for yourself! A lot of tourists head straight for the Top of the Rock Observation Deck which granted is on the top floor but costs $40 each so it ain’t cheap.
On my visit to New York thanks to my blog savvy mum who had done her research, we did things a little differently! We booked a swanky table at Bar 65 just three floors down from the observation deck. With a cocktail in one hand, we headed outside to enjoy the view for as long as we wanted! There was no obligation to buy food and certainly no rush to kick us out – we were there for hours! Go just before sunset and see the view in all its glory in the daylight, sunset and at night time when the skyscrapers are glowing. This is a brilliant option if you’re looking to get a little bit more for your money!
Tip: The bar is swanky so make sure you’ve got a cocktail dress in your luggage for the occasion! You never who you might bump into!
4. Central Park
The thing that I love the most about this city is its ability to surprise! In a city full of skyscrapers located on fifth avenue is over 800 acres of greenery! Madness right? It’s the biggest park in the city of New York and is incredible! Better yet it’s absolutely free! Of course, true to 21st-century fashion there’s a ton of activities in the park which could rob you blind if you let them! But the best way to explore Central Park is on foot taking in the scenery!
Once inside the park, there’s a mountain of fun to throw yourself into! Anything from the Central Park Zoo, a rowing boat on one of the many lakes, visiting Alice in Wonderland herself or pay tribute to John Lennon at Strawberry Fields! Something to note – the park is huge and you will need all day if you plan to see the whole thing! Luckily if you’re strapped for time you can hop on and off the subway or hire a cycle!
Tip: Buy a map from one of the guides inside Central Park! They will only set you back a couple of dollars and you will get lost if you don’t get one! Especially if you’re on a time limit! Also, they are a great souvenir!