As soon as I heard Frank Sinatra sang the words, New York, New York, I dreamed about visiting you. I dreamed about being in a black and white movie glamorously walking the streets just as Audrey Hepburn did. The glamorous lifestyle of the elite locals and the cosmopolitans sipped on at the Upper East Side captured my attention and had me wanting to visit.
Despite the hustle and bustle of the busy streets and pollution, it is truly a magnificent city with so much to do. The skyscrapers, the endless connections to Hollywood Movies and the atmosphere that the city offers, draws in people form around the world, and captures the attention of millions of tourists a year.
My first (and only time) in New York I was overwhelmed. I had my family wake up at 7:30am everyday and planned each day out – yes I was a bit over dramatic this trip, but we were only in New York for 5 days and there was so much to see and do. I didn’t fit in everything I wanted to experience, me only being 20 played a huge part in that, but I managed to tick off some huge bucket list moments. In every city I go to for the first time, I always want to do the touristy things, then each time I visit again, I will do more local things that locals would do, instead of lining up for hours to get inside of a museum.
So, if this is your first time to the biggest and most magical city in the world, and you are stuck on ideas of things to do, which would seem impossible in such a huge city, look no further. This is your one stop to your first time guide to New York City.
Top of the Rock – The Rockefeller Plaza is one of the tallest buildings in the city and, personally, has the most amazing views. From the observation deck, known as The Top of The Rock, offers views of the Empire State Building and Central Park views. With several levels to view the city streets from above, there is plenty of photo opportunities and chances to get lost amongst following the endless roads with your eyes. $34 dollars entry price for an adult.
Central Park – Picnicking, bike riding, live performances and lakes to sit along side, Central Park is an escape from the crazy hustle of the city. The park is larger than Vatican City and Monaco alone, making it one incredible city park, and a park that you are going to need a map to navigate yourself around. Make sure to check out Central Park Zoo on your visit too, living the Madagascar dream!!
Statue of Liberty – Take a harbour cruise out to the iconic Statue of Liberty. One of the most associated sites with New York City and a symbol of freedom for thousands of people, the city wouldn’t be the big apple if it wasn’t for this statue.
Twin Towers Memorial – “A tribute to the past and a place of hope for the future.” In honour of the tragedy that happened in 2011 on the 11th of September, there is now manmade waterfalls built into the ground with names of the victims engraved all within the pools. The pools (waterfalls) are each approximately 1 acre, positioned in the past footprints of the towers. It is a place of remembrance and honour to the fighters, workers, tourists and everyone else that past away.
Brooklyn Bridge – This was one of the sites that I was most excited to see, purely because it is so iconic within the city. Not only is it one of the oldest bridges in America, but it is busy with atmosphere and a mix of frustrated locals trying to run or bike through the crowds coupled with happy and excited tourists trying to snap the perfect picture.
Greenwich Village – Home to Carrie Bradshaw, this neighbourhood is hands down my favourite neighbourhood in the City as it was alive with bars, cafes, young adults and dozens of rainbow flags. It was trendy and my sister and I found ourselves lost within the streets and beautiful New York City homes, observing them from the outside and wishing to own one. Greenwich Village is also home to Magnolia Bakery and the famous red apartment building famous for its appearance on Friends.
Times Square – Where do I even begin with this one. Broadway shows, famous shopping, food, lights, lights and more lights is in abundance at Times Square.
Museums – Museums, and lots of them are scattered throughout the City, and they truly are not to be missed. The most famous and the one I was itching to get inside of was the American Museum of Natural History. If you are a reader, you’ll know that history is my favourite thing about travel, and even so when there is an entire museum about evolution, societies through the pressing thousands of years of life, and absolutely everything up until the iPhone was invented. One tip for visiting this museum, buy your ticket online before you go, the line was at least an hour wait. Lucky there was internet in the entrance so my sister and I hopped on to skip the queue. Others worth visiting are, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art and Jewish Museum.
I would have loved to have scoped out some bars and rooftop terraces, but unfortunately I turned 21 a month ago, about a couple of months after I returned… so close.
The Plaza Hotel Food Court – This is no regular food court, it is The Plaza Hotel Food Court. My sister and I were hungry, and me being the fussy eater that I am, I ignored the road side hot dog stands and went straight to the Plaza. Here there is a pizza joint, breakfast with pastries and fresh fruit, bakeries, noodle bars seafood and much more.
Times Square – Sit right under the lights here in Times Square. Located centre stage there is a pop up food truck with waffles, hot dogs and burgers. People watching is a must do here, as Times Square attracts some very strange and interesting characters.
Shake Shack – A super cheap and affordable snack stop that sells everything from chips to beef patties and of course, their famous shakes.
New York Pizza – I am an avid pizza lover, and theres nothing better than paying 2 dollars for a pizza from a pizza bar. They are just about anywhere and everywhere in New York City, and they are what I call a real New York pizza slice.
Magnolia Bakery – Made famous from featuring in an episode of Sex and the City, this is the cutest bakery in all of the city. Selling a variety of cupcakes and cakes, this is a one stop pitt stop for all you sweet tooth lovers.
New York Marriott Down Town – Experience the downtown vibes of lower Manhattan from this hotel. This hotel is in such an ideal location, being a 5 minute walk from the Twin Towers Memorial to a few blocks walk away from Wall Street and the harbour where cruises depart for the Statue of Liberty. Also located near TGIFs and endless Starbucks and 2 dollar pizza joints, there really is so much to do. Downside was that there was only WiFi in the lobby unless you are willing to pay a hefty amount per day.
This hotel is ideal for those who don’t like to be within crowds, as the crowds around this hotel are nothing compared to others. The hotel is in a relatively quite place in New York City. but for dinners and nightlife, you’d need to catch a subway as there really isn’t much around.
Radisson Martinique on Broadway – What a location, right in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city. A short walk to Times Square and right across the road from on the most popular subway lines in the city, this hotel has it all. Location is very important when picking a hotel, and this location is just that, perfect. It is in a very busy spot and as soon as you walk out the lobby doors there is a sworn of people, but that’s New York for you.