Some folks like to hop on a flight to Miami Beach or to Hollywood, but I like to get away to New York City. It’s my second favourite city after London and I live in Dubai!!
Manhattan, Queens, The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island are the five boroughs that make up The Big Apple. Manhattan has the most popular. Even though each borough has many things to do, Manhattan has the most popular spots in New York City. Here are my 15 top things to do in New York City. Hope you like them.
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The Bronx Zoo
Not to be confused with the zoo from the Madagascar animated movies (that was Central Park Zoo) but still an excellent zoo to visit. You are surrounded by woods, amazing animals and atmosphere and you forget you are in the Bronx! The zoo is amazing. On Wednesdays, you can visit the zoo for free, however, donations are encouraged no matter how little it is.
American Museum of Natural History
I try to visit at least one museum in every city I travel too and I have to say the American Museum of Natural History is my favorite! There is just so much to see and learn! You will end up spending half a day or more easily! It features dinosaurs, butterflies, and about anything your heart desires. Enjoy a Space Show screening or explore the Rose Center for Earth & Space. Also, why wouldn’t you want to visit the set of Night at the Museum series?
How can you visit New York and not spend time at the world’s most famous park? Central Park is HUGE so plan a whole day there. There is so much to do and see – Bethesda Fountain, Belvedere Castle, and Shakespearean nights are just the tip of the iceberg!
Here are a few reasons why you cannot skip visiting Broadway Theater – The Lion King, Frozen, Aladdin, Wicked and Blue Man Group. Enough said!
Museum of Modern Art
Another museum but definitely worth the visits especially on Friday afternoons since it’s totally FREE. From 4-8 pm every Friday, MoMA in Manhattan is free for every visitor but due to this the lines are long to get in but it gets shorter after 6 pm.
It also has an outdoor space free to the public from 9-10:15 am every day. It’s called the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden and features arts & sculptures for viewing that most visitors don’t even know about.
Another on the list of things you HAVE to do! It’s busy throughout the day but after sunset it just gets insane! Bright lights + famous spot = great insta pics! Oh, and there is some great shopping too!
Not as famous as Central but still a fabulous park. During the summer, they set up free games for families to play and in winter they offer free ice-skating. Also, there is a carousel that is open from 11 am to 7 pm.
Empire State Building
One of the many iconic buildings in New York, if not the most! I’ve been up the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and it doesn’t compare to the breathtaking 360° view of the city skyline from the Empire State Building. The building was originally constructed in 1931 and was the tallest building in the world close to 40 years! Being a very popular destination you will want to get there as early as possible to beat the crowd. Buy Now and Save!
The High Line
Built on an abandoned metro line that stands 30 feet above ground, the High Line is one of the Big Apple’s most famous walkways. This plant covered 2.3 km path connects the Javits Convention Center to the Meatpacking District and offers an awesome view of Manhattan’s West Side. Free public tours are available where you will learn the story behind the park while enjoying the numerous art pieces displayed along the route.
9/11 Memorial Museum
9/11 was a day that changed the world forever and especially for the people of NYC. This memorial is an amazing way to showcase those who were affected and the heroes who stepped in. Our children need to learn from our mistakes and that violence and hatred will not lead us anywhere but love and accepting people for who they are will. For me personally, this has to be on any what things to do in New York City list.
New York City might be known for its skyscrapers but it does have its share of parks. Battery Park which is located at the very southern tip of Manhattan provides you the perfect place to relax and take in the view of the harbor. For only $4, you can take a tour of New York from along the water, starting at 34th Street in Midtown and ending at Governor Island.
Statue of Liberty
New York has many iconic monuments and none more so than Lady Liberty herself. If you have bought the New York City pass, it includes access to the grounds (Liberty Island) but not the actual monument or the Crown. They only allow a certain number of people through the crown in a day, so be sure to order your tickets ahead of time. These tickets will also allow you to skip the long security line. The Ellis Island Museum is included in the ticket, so if you choose to visit it as well, this tour will probably take 4 hours.
Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Everything about this place is absolutely beautiful! Founded in 1910, this 52-acre garden holds over 14,000 plants and have over 900,000 visitors. It includes a number of specialty “gardens within the garden”, plant collections, three climate-themed plant pavilions, a glass aquatic plant house as well as an art gallery.
The New York Aquarium
You can get free admission on Fridays after 3 pm to the Aquarium. Fun Fact: The New York Aquarium is the oldest continually operating aquarium in the United States, having opened in Castle Garden in Battery Park, Manhattan in 1896. Being part of the Wildlife Conservation Society, the aquarium’s mission is to save wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. The facility occupies 14 acres and boasts 266 species of aquatic wildlife
Coney Island Boardwalk
Right next to the New York Aquarium is Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk which is nearly 5 km long. Enjoy a stroll while taking in the sights and sounds as there is a ton of things going on from shopping to entertainment. Plan your visit during summer, as the beach is generally closed during the winter months.
Honorable mentions to Wall Street and Federal Hall, Grand Central Station, Little Italy, and China Town, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Top of The Rock Observation Deck and Columbus Circle.
Attraction Savings: If you buy the New York City Pass you can SAVE UP TO 40% on combined attraction prices.
Flights to New York, USA: I recommend searching through jetradar.com They scan tons of different travel discount sites and feature special flight deals. You can fly into either JFK, LaGuardia or Newark Liberty International Airport which is in New Jersey.
Rental Cars in New York: Rentalcars.com is the world’s biggest online car rental service. Working with leading suppliers, they offer great prices on all car groups, including luxury cars, people carriers, minivans, and automatic cars. With a multilingual call center open 7 days a week, we can find you the best rental prices whenever you want – wherever you go.
Internal Travel: New York is a walking city, but you will need to use public transportation to make the most of your visit. Get a MetroCard and depending on how long your trip is you can choose from Pay-Per-Ride, Unlimited Ride or 7-day card.
Where to Stay in New York: Most first time visitors to NYC like to stay in Manhattan, however, it can be expensive. I would recommend for a more affordable stay to look at Brooklyn or the Bronx. Check here for the best accommodation prices.
Travel Insurance: Make sure you get Travel Insurance before you fly. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It covers for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. You can read all about why you need it here
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A football-mad father of two wonderful girls, a pain in the butt hubby, a digital nomad, an insurance expert and budding entrepreneur. Just looking to find ways to spend more time with my family while providing for them financially. Hope you enjoy my blog and have a good one!