/11 Memorial & Museum
Probably the most impactful thing youll experience throughout your weekend in New York City, these powerful tributes commemorate the lives lost in the tragedies of the September 11, 2001 attacks as well as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Featuring the largest man made waterfalls in North America, outside youll find two reflecting pools where the Twin Towers once stood. The names of everyone who passed in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are engraved around the pools. Lines can get super long, so its best to buy tickets ahead of time for the museum. Though a solemn experience, its definitely a must on your NYC itinerary.
Check Out A Speak Easy
Stay in NYC long enough and you may start to believe that prohibition is still alive and strong. Why? Because there are speakeasies all around the city which is part of the charm.
There is a myriad of different choices from La Esquina in Soho to Blind Barber in Alphabet City. Check out our list of this years top speak easies.
The Best 100 Things To Do In New York City
1. See a Broadway Show: World-class theater of all sorts in some of the prettiest theaters around, right in the heart of New Yorks Theater District! What could be better? Get discount tickets at TKTS for musicals and plays on and off-Broadway or book your Broadway tickets in advance. Absolutely a cant miss while visiting NYC!
2. Ride the Staten Island Ferry: Take the free 25-minute ride to Staten Island and see New York Harbor, the Manhattan Skyline, and Lady Liberty before catching a return ferry from the terminal on Staten Island.
3. Eatwith a Local New Yorker: Hoping to have an authentic New York City foodie experience? Join one of NYCs food hosts for a specially prepared dinner party, a food tour, or even an authentic New York cooking class. In addition to delicious eats , youll have the chance to connect with New Yorkers and other people from around the world for an unforgettable addition to your NYC itinerary!
4. Ride the Subway: Head down the sidewalk steps, buy a MetroCard, and swipe your way into NYCs vast system of tunnels thatll take you most any place you want to go in the 5 boroughs. This is the way to travel for an ultimate New York experience.
5. Ride the Elevators to the Top of the Empire StateBuilding: An iconic experience in arguably New York Citys most iconic sight! No matter how many photos youve seen, the sweeping views from the observatory platform will not disappoint.
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One Of The Most Famous Christmas Stores In Nyc: Fao Schwarz
FAO Schwarz is unlike every other toy store and a fun thing to do in NYC at Christmas time. Take your kids or just feel like a child again entering the amazing collection of unique toys and life-sized stuffed animals.
Schwarz FAO is the oldest toy store in the United States and with its location right in front of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, its something you cant miss during Christmas time in NYC. Dont miss the famous clock on the staircase. Also, you can play The Big Piano on the floor .
As one of my favorite Christmas time activities, Christmas shopping in NYC is a must-do. While the city is covered in Christmas lights and decoration, there is no better place to buy gifts for your family and friends. Large department stores like Macys, Saks on Fifth Avenue or Bloomingdales decorate their holiday windows different every year which is worth checking out as well.
Macys at Herald Square invites you to have a date with Santa Claus at Santaland and buy special ornaments at their Holiday lane on the 9th floor.
Dig Into Hersheys Chocolate
Hersheys Chocolate is a classic dessert that everybody with a sweet tooth should have in their arsenal.
Head to Hersheys Chocolate World in Times Square to indulge in the worlds widest variety!
This year, you can also check out Hersheys Chocolate Holiday House. It is adorned with delicious candies and cookies. Dont forget to sample decadent choco-filled brownies or chocolate cookies, and wash it down with the creamiest milkshakes!
Youll also find a gigantic candy machine, as you dig into freshly-baked bread and cakes at the bakery section.
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New York Botanical Garden
In lush parkland over 250 acres, the New York Botanical Garden grows more than a million individual plants in 50 different spaces and collections.
This is a leading botanical institution, conducting research and conservation programmes that employ 600 staff.
For visitors there are lots of delights, like a tract of the old growth forest that covered all of New York before it was settled by Europeans in the 17th century.
Never logged, this grows white ash, birch, tulip, cherry and American beech trees.
A sight to behold is the beautiful Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, built with a wrought iron frame in the 1890s and hosting a glorious orchid show every spring.
You can saunter around a Japanese Rock Garden, 37 acres of conifers, wetlands, a herb garden and the magical Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden.
An Art Deco tower of startling and delicate beauty, the Chrysler Building has an allure that sets it apart from New Yorks other skyscrapers.
For 11 months until the Empire State Building was topped off, this was the tallest building in the world, standing at 319 metres.
It was ordered by the automobile tycoon Walter Chrysler, and was the career apogee of architect William van Alen.
The tower is iconic for the tiered arches and triangular windows of its lustrous stainless steel crown, above eagle motif gargoyles on the 61st floor.
Arrive early to visit the stadiums open-air museum at Monument Park, crackling with 120 years of history.
Grab A Drink At Christmas Pop
Besides its local street fare, New York City also offers a range of widely popular festive pop-up bars and Christmas markets every festive season. With their glittering decor, themed cocktails, and enthusiastic bartenders, you can count on them for some Christmas cheer and fun things to do in New York.
With many entrants into the fray, our all-time favorites remain Miracle on 35 West 8th St, Rofl in 281 Third Avenue, and Sippin Santas in 13 First Avenue.
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New York City Is Tough For Solo Female Travelers
NYC is not a cakewalk for solo female travelers. I love New York, but Ive experienced some of the worst sexual harassment that Ive ever endured anywherein New York.
Even after traveling to almost 30 countries, Im still shocked by how many patronizing comments youll hear as a young woman just walking down a street by passing dudes. Why dont you smile? You look so sexy
I once got harassed by a passing truck driver while I was wearing a puffy down jacket, baggy pants, and winter boots!? I take a strong stance that women should be able to travel without harassment, but this is a reality for many women here. Its gotten better as Ive gotten older, but it can get to you.
If youre uncomfortable, dont feel like you need to be nice. I find just walking away is very effective although putting in your headphones works too. For the record, it does NOT matter what you wear. If anything happens, find a nearby cop or call 911. If youre worried that youre being followed, work at trying to step into an open shop and losing your tail by a series of quick turns if possible. Also, consider finding another woman to recognize on the street before explaining your situation.
Where To Stay In New York City
Theres absolutely no shortage of accommodation in New York City, and the first thing youll need to do when deciding where to stay is to pick a Manhattan neighbourhood to use as a base.
It all depends on your budget and what you want to see when youre in town, and theres plenty of great articles online to help you decide which one suits you.
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Christmas In New York
Few things are more magical than spending Christmas in New York City. During that time of year, the city embraces the festive spirit like no other and turns into a magical wonderland filled with twinkling lights and whimsical holiday decorations.
The reasons to spend that time of year in New York are endless. You can marvel at big-name attractions like the countrys most famous Christmas tree the Rockefeller Christmas Tree , stunning holiday markets like Bryant Parks Winter Village, and gaze at the citys eye-popping holiday window displays.
Whether youre in the mood of visiting NYs iconic holiday offerings that youve only seen in the movies or take the opportunity to explore some more offbeat seasonal attractions, the Big Apple is one of the best places to be during Christmas time!
Watch The Commuter Rush At Grand Central Station
TripSavvy / Kelsea Watkins
The world’s largest railway station serves nearly a million commuter daily. And while it’s utilitarian in purpose, it’s also among the city’s most beautiful public spaces. The 12-story main concourse is modeled after a Roman public bath, albeit with shimmering chandeliers and a map of constellations painted on the ceiling. Befitting of such a grand station, Grand Central is home to many shops and dining options, too.
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Take In Sweeping Skyline Views
In Manhattan, it’s all about those jaw-dropping skyline views. Get up to vertigo-inducing heights to gain perspective on the city’s unique island terrain and skyscraping architecture. There are a trio of dedicated observatories that propose just such primo perches: The classic Empire State Building, of course, has indoor and outdoor observation decks on both the 86th and 102nd floors the multilevel decks at Rockefeller Center’s Top of the Rock and the newest downtown addition at the One World Observatory, which straddles the 100th, 101st, and 102nd stories atop the Western hemisphere’s tallest building.
You can nab a sweet view for free, too, by wandering out onto the 19th-century span of the Brooklyn Bridge or grab a drink at one of the city’s high-altitude watering holes. Try The Roof at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, overlooking Central Park, Bar 54, the city’s highest rooftop bar, set in the heart of Times Square, or Bar SixtyFive, in classy Rockefeller Center.
View The Stunning New York Skyline
Now there is the brand new “The Edge” at Hudson Yards.
Each has its own vantage point, as well as different prices of admission, varying wait times, and opening/closing hours.
Read our post which breaks down the pros and cons of each to help you choose which view is right for you.
You can still get incredible views of the city for free.
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Head To The American Museum Of Natural History
In NYC with children or have an extra day to burn? NYCs Natural History Museum is one of the premier collection of dinosaur bones out there. Why?
They were one of the first museums to aggressively go after dinosaur remains in the US, which were originally discovered in the UK, but became wildly abundant in the US.
It is most definitely more than just dinosaurs as well which is why it is even exciting to visit this museum even if you dont have kids. They have exhibits on just about everything you could imagine!
Things To Do In Nyc Embrace The Madness Of Times Square
For longtime New Yorkers Times Square is a no-go zone, a place reserved for tourists and those unfortunate souls who have to work there. For a first time visitor, however, Times Square can be a magical place of blinking lights and dazzling displays.
Back in day, as late as the early turn of the century, Times Square had a dark reputation for being a seedy and sometimes dangerous area of Manhattan. Those days are long, long gone. The modern Times Square is policed to the point of feeling occupied, and is totally safe day and night. The major avenues running through the Square have been closed to traffic and turned into a pedestrian zone for tourists to slowly walk along, or sit at tables while eating an overpriced snacks.
There are a bunch of stores in Times Square that you can get shopping done at, although we arent sure why you would pick that area for your shopping needs. You can also find many restaurants here, all of which are overpriced, but the excitement of dining in Times Square convinces some people to splurge.
Overall, while locals avoid it like the plague, Times Square should be on every first time visitors list of things to do in New York City.
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Broadway And The Theater District
Attending a Broadway show is one of the top things to do in New York City. Considered the pinnacle of American theater, this is the place to see the latest shows and the long-running classics.
Broadway usually refers simply to Broadway theater, which encompasses a large number of theater venues in the Theater District and along the street of Broadway. For the most popular shows, tickets should be purchased well in advance.
Shubert Alley is a famous pedestrian-only alley in the Theater District and home to two well-known playhouses: the Shubert on 221 West 44th Street and the Booth at 22 West 45th Street. Historically, aspiring actors would frequent Shubert Alley looking for opportunities to perform in a play sponsored by theater baron, Sam S. Shubert.
A Chorus Lineplayed at The Shubert for a record 6,137 shows. The musical Oklahomadebuted in 1941 at the St. James playhouse just down the street. Other legendary places include Sardi’s restaurant, where many famous actors met, and the Music Box Theater, where Irving Berlin staged The Music Box Revue in 1921.
Wander Around Greenwich Village
With streets shaded by trees and dotted with small cafes, popular bars and eclectic shops, this was one of our favorite neighborhoods to explore in New York City. Here are some great places to get food, famous bars and fun sights:
Washington Square Park in Greenwich: Whether you want to challenge a stranger to a game of chess, gaze up at the Washington Square Arch, or just people watch, Washington Square Park always has something going on.
Insomnia Cookies: Insanely good cookies that will keep you up all night thinking about them.
Cafe Wha?: What Cafe? Ahh, Cafe Wha? Famous for being the hangout spot for Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix.
Friends Apartment:Ill be there for you on the corner of Bedford Street and Grove Street.
Artichoke Pizza: One of the best pizzas youll have in NYC. It will come hot, huge and only $6.
Indian Kati Roll: Right on MacDougal Street, this budget-friendly Indian wrap shop gets pretty popular during the late night hours.
Mamouns Falafel: Another late night specialty, these delicious falafels are tasty and ridiculously cheap for NYC.
Bars that wont break the bank: Head to Bleecker Street between Thompson St and LaGuardia Place. Places like the Peculier Pub, Wicked Willys, and the Underdog are all good choices.
Funny Story: We saw Whoopi Goldberg in Greenwich Village! Maybe youll spot a famous person too!
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New York Public Library
New York Public Library is beautiful, the most beautiful area is the reading gallery on the 3rd Floor which brandishes gorgeous, ornate chandeliers and is the perfect location to unwind and delve into a fantastic novel. The building is exquisite and is not to be missed on a trip to the Big Apple, youll find it at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street.
Our in-house team of contributors are well-travelled and based in cities around the world. From Berlin to Paris and everywhere in between, our team love sharing the latest and greatest places that should be on your radar.
Pay Respects At Ground Zero 9/11 Memorial
Two reflecting ponds now live where each building once stood to commemorate the victims and heros of that day. Instead of using the property to rebuild new tours, the city of New York created a mammoth memorial.
The memorial is free to visit since it is an outdoor memorial open 24/7. That said, there is a museum and souvenir stand which generate revenue to support the memorial.
While you are there, definitely walk through the Oculus at the World Trade Center PATH station which connects 12 subway lines and is honestly one of the most beautiful subway stations on Earth. The station, according to NY Port Authority, serves over a million people every week.
The station even has its own specially built crane named Big Red to reach the taller points of the atrium when construction, or light bulb replacing, needs call for its help!
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Which Museum: Met Or American Museum Of Natural History
If you have a short time in New York or arent much of a museum person, we would encourage you to choose just one. We saw both, albeit briefly, and wished we would have spent more time in just one so we didnt feel as rushed.
Both museums are impressive and everyone has differing opinions on which is the best. We felt like the American Museum of Natural History was better for families with children, while we personally enjoyed the MET a bit more. Bonus: The rooftop bar at the MET has nice views!
Insider Tip: The MET has free hour-long highlight tours every 15 minutes between 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you have a short amount of time, this is a good way to get the inside scoop on some of the museums most noteworthy pieces.
The guide did a good job of showing us very different pieces from wood carvings to paintings to stained glass to armor to statues. Its a good way to pack a lot into a short amount of time!
Foodie Tip: If you go to the American Museum of Natural History, dont miss the famous cookies at Levain Bakery just a few blocks away. You wont regret it!
Metropolitan Museum of Art : $25 per person or FREE with NYC CityPASS
American Museum of Natural History: $28 per person or FREE with NYC CityPASS