New York City has so much to do during a trip. This guide aims to show some of the highlights, to help you scratch the surface of your trip.
From the Airport
Taking a yellow taxi is an experience every visitor should have when entering New York, especially when getting to and from the city. Whilst not the cheapest option, the fixed-price fare makes the whole experience much easier, giving your trip a memorable beginning.
With congested roads, the city Metro is the quickest and easiest method of transport around the city. You can purchase a 7-day or 30-day Unlimited Ride MetroCard from any machine at subway stations. This ticket allows you to ride the subway as much as you like, saving you a lot of money during the trip. Download an app to assist you in locating the nearest subway station, and how to get from location A to B.
A great way to get your bearings is to take a hop-on and hop-off bus tour, allowing you to see all the sights and attractions within this city. City Sightseeing* operate an open-top bus tour where you can hop-on and hop-off as much as you like at any of the bus stops on the route.
A tourist card such as the New York Pass* is a great way to both save some money and skip some of the queues. If you are planning to visit a lot of the attractions linked to this card anyway, then it may well be worth seeing how much such a pass could save you.
Although not a definitive list of things to do, for the time-conscious traveller, the below guide offers an insight into some of the activities which you can undertake during your time in New York City.
Take a stroll through this vast open space and lose yourself in the middle of Manhattan. It is, at times, odd to think you are within this huge city when all view of the skyscrapers can be hidden by the trees around you. Take a walk around the lake, dine lakeside at a restaurant, and generally relax away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Metro stations located around the edge make it convenient to drop in and out of the park, allowing you to see all sides of it over the course of your trip.
Rockefeller Center / Top of the Rock
Personally, the best viewpoint, as it gives you a clear sight of Manhattan right from the centre, with good views of Central Park and of the Empire State Building. You can literally spend a few hours wandering around the sides and different levels, and taking a seat on one of the benches, to really appreciate what you can see.
Incredibly busy, but definitely one of the places that will stay in your memory, for how unlike anywhere else it really is. People watch until your heart is content, make your way through the crowds to grab something to eat. Climb the red steps and get a picture from the top. Visit at night to really take in the multitude of lights and sounds on offer.
The High Line
A disused rail track transformed into a 1.45-mile walkway to enjoy, this is an excellent way to walk between high rise buildings, away from the car-filled streets below. Stop off part way through for lunch at one of the restaurants beneath and you can really spend a good few hours taking in this part of New York.
One World Observatory
Perhaps the best part is the lift ride up, for the speed with which you ascend to the top of the tower. During the ride, you will see images of the historical development of the city. The views from the top are wide-ranging on a clear day, giving you by far the best view of the harbour and everything to the south of Manhattan.
National September 11 Memorial & Museum
One of the lasting memories is the incredibly well thought out memorial, to remember the victims of September 11, 2001. The memorial fountains are imposing and highlight the scale of what happened here, whilst the museum captures thoughtfully, the variety of aspects. The multitude of glass buildings now surrounding the area highlight the sense of a city building upon the past, whilst the memorial shows what happened here will never be forgotten. The guided tours available give an insight into some of the more personal stories people must have experienced.
Grand Central Terminal
Opened in 1913, Grand Central Terminal was designed as the gateway to the nation, for the millions of immigrants. The terminal displays interesting architecture, making this a must-see location. Upon entering, be sure to gaze upward from the main hall, at the 'stars' above. Busy and probably best to go early to really appreciate the building without the hordes of people rushing about!
Empire State Building
Like with most of the must-see attractions in New York, the Empire State Building is best ventured up early. The views from the top are as good as you would expect, with clear views of the whole city. Wandering around the four sides really gives you an appreciation of just how much is going on in the streets beneath you. Visit at sunrise or sunset to get an even greater memorable experience.
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
Arrive early to avoid the queues for the ferry, the Statue of Liberty is a key experience to see up-close, taking in the sheer size. Ellis Island gives a good overview of the immigrant experience and how the city itself was shaped by the people that arrived there.
One of the oldest bridges in the United States, completed in 1883. Take the time to walk across from Manhattan to Brooklyn. With the traffic thundering below, you get an excellent viewpoint of Lower Manhattan once you reach the other side. As you progress across the bridge, make sure you take some pictures, the mid-way point offers an ideal stopping place.
Get out of Manhattan for half a day on the Metro and take a visit to Bronx Zoo. One of the oldest and largest zoos in the United States, it offers plenty to do and is ideal for a family visit. Although they offer free visits on a Wednesday (with donations encouraged), this day is perhaps best avoided due to how busy it becomes.
New York City has a number of interesting museums to take in during a trip. From the American Museum of Natural History to the Museum of Modern Arts (MoMA), there are more than enough to spend days wandering around them all. Best bet is to choose a couple that really holds your interest and visit these over the course of your stay.
Where to Stay
When visiting a city, booking a short hotel stay can allow you to have a good base to go on and explore the city centre and its attractions. There are a number of hotel options available in and around New York, including Intercontinental*, Hotel Indigo*, Crowne Plaza*, Holiday Inn*, and Hilton*.
The above article offers an overview of some of the highlights this area has to offer, however for a more complete guide we recommend the travel guide for New York, from Lonely Planet.
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