Explore The History Of Liberty And Ellis Islands
The gateway for millions of immigrants arriving into New York in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Ellis Island has a fascinating history. Between 1892 and 1954, over 12 million immigrants from Europe and elsewhere passed through the islands Immigration Station. Here, they would undergo a rigorous inspection before being permitted into the country.
Now a museum, you can look around the former station and learn about the historical immigration process and the immigrants lives. Their descendants make up nearly half of the USAs current population.
In the same tour youre able to visit Liberty Island, where the Statue of Liberty proudly stands. Here, youll have wonderful views over New York Harbor and the citys distant skyscrapers.
First Street Garden One Of The Most Incredible Free Places To Go To In New York
- No entrance charge
- Striking murals and street art
- Dedicated to influential and inspirational women
- Peaceful and quiet vibe
Why its awesome: First Street Garden is a beautiful and thought-inspiring community garden in New Yorks Lower East Side. Theres no charge to enjoy the garden when its open and, even if the gate is locked, you can still admire the interesting artwork through the railings. Established as a garden in the 1980s, striking murals were painted on the walls. What makes these art pieces different to many other artworks, however, is that they all honour influential women who made a difference in America.
What to do there: If the garden is open you can sit on a bench and enjoy the serene ambience, perhaps losing yourself in a good book for a while and enjoying respite from the chaotic city streets. Take time to appreciate the diverse paintings and pay your respects to the strong ladies from throughout Americas history. Its one of the top places in New York to experience the beat spirit.
Youll see people like Rosa Parks, the famous female activist who contributed to the civil rights movement in the United States of America, Dorothy Day, a social justice fighter and journalist, Shirley Chisholm, the first black lady to be elected into the US Congress, Sojourner Truth, a staunch womens rights advocate and abolitionist, and Susan B. Anthony, a womens rights activist who played a major role in the suffragette movement.
Getting To Know New York City: Your Free New York City Tourism & Travel Guide
The Brooklyn Bridge in The Big Apple
Scroll below to learn a little bit about the basics and history of NYC before your next vacation in New York City.
New York City Basics: Originally named New Amsterdam by Dutch settlers in 1625, New York was named after the British Duke of York and Albany in 1664. NYC is made up of five different boroughs – Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island – though the New York metropolitan area includes Long Island and northern New Jersey as well.
NYC is the most populated city in the America, with more than 8 million people currently living in NYC. New York City is also the most diverse U.S. city, with residents hailing from every corner of the globe.
New York City is a city of many names, including “The Big Apple,” “The City That Never Sleeps,”and even “Gotham City.” Perhaps the most culturally rich city in America, NYC has inspired hundreds of classic songs – most notably Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York,” and “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z. Many celebrities also live in New York City, with more than 100 TV shows and movies filmed on location in NYC each year. Also, Broadway theaters in Manhattan attract some of the most high-profile actors from Hollywood.
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Tenement Museum A Fascinating Educational Place To Visit In New York
- Fascinating insights into life as an immigrant
- Once housed around 15,000 people from around the world
- Aims to promote tolerance
- Brings history to life
Why its awesome: The Tenement Museum is spread over two large former housing tenements. The apartments were still used as living quarters up to the year 2011. They were first used as accommodation in 1863 around 15,000 people once lived in the buildings, with occupants from various parts of the globe. Today its a museum. There are restored homes and shops, complete with historic items and archives. The museum shows how immigrants to New York lived and seeks to promote tolerance and understanding. For me, this is one of the great places to go in New York for a real sense of the cities history.
What to do there: Take a tour of the Tenement Museum, looking into restored apartments and shops, to gain greater understanding of immigration in the wider citywide and nationwide perspective. Hear real-life stories about people who once lived in the buildings, learning about the dreams of immigrants, the challenges they faced, and how they helped contribute towards making America what it is today.
See the wide collection of artefacts to really help bring the past to life, with clothes, household items, toiletries, documents, furnishings, and more, and feel a sense of connection and empathy as you look at the large collection of photographs of people from times gone by.
Central Park A Beautiful Outdoor Place To Visit In New York
- Large and beautiful park where you can enjoy nature
- Various sights and activities
- Most-visited park in the USA
- Used for many films and TV shows
Why its awesome: Central Park is one of New Yorks most famous places. Covering some 843 acres , the park has been a popular place for leisure, sports, and relaxation since it first opened in the mid-1800s. Today a National Historic Landmark, there are many statues and monuments scattered throughout the park. There are diverse natural features too, including hills, meadows, lawns, lakes, ponds, and gardens.
Lots of fauna calls the park home, and youll also see a wide variety of flora. Visitors can enjoy a wide selection of activities and entertainment, and there are plenty of play areas where little ones can let off steam. No matter the season, youll find lots of ways to enjoy being outdoors in Central Park. Central Park is also the best place in New York to come for a run.
What to do there: Take a walk through the large park spotting the various statues and sculptures such as Angel of the Waters, Cleopatras Needle, the Duke Ellington Memorial, Strawberry Fields, and the Alice in Wonderland Margaret Delacorte Memorial. See the remains of the 1814 Fort Clinton, enjoy the rides and other attractions at the Victoria Gardens amusement park, watch an enchanting performance at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, and ride the whimsical carousel.
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Hotel Highlight: Kimpton Muse Hotel Nyc
As we mentioned earlier, we disliked Times Square, however, we stayed just a few blocks away and found this location to be ultra convenient for visiting all the top sights.
This sleek and comfortable hotel is everything you need for a great stay in NYC. From a fitness center to free bike rentals to free wine happy hour, there are lots of perks! Check out what we thought of staying at the Kimpton Muse Hotel.
If you are going to stay near Times Square, this is a fantastic choice. Check availability on Booking.com.
*We were guests of Kimpton Muse NYC. As always, all opinions are our own.
How The New York Citypass Works:
They have made it easy for you to purchase the CityPASS online and then you get a QR code either on your phone or printed on paper.
When you go to any of these attractions you will scan your code at a special kiosk or ticket booth. Once you scan, youll received an official ticket and you are good to go.
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Have You Been Fully Vaccinated
People are considered fully vaccinated*:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnsons Janssen vaccine
If you dont meet these requirements, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated.
If you have a condition or are taking medication that weakens your immune system, you may NOT be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated. Talk to your healthcare provider. Even after vaccination, you may need to continue taking all precautions.
- Before you travel
- Make sure you understand and follow all airline and destination requirements related to travel, mask wearing, testing, or quarantine, which may differ from U.S. requirements. If you do not follow your destinations requirements, you may be denied entry and required to return to the United States.
- Check the current COVID-19 situation in your destination.
Fall In Love Under The Constellations
Believe it or not, some New Yorkers think Grand Central Terminal is a romantic place. It could be due to the many constellations on the terminals ceiling that makes people feel romantic and nostalgic. The famous Grand Central Oyster Bar is a great place to get a great cocktail and fine seafood with your significant other.
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George Eastman House And The International Museum Of Photography And Film
The 50-room George Eastman mansion was completed in 1905 and originally included a stable, garage, barn, five greenhouses, and many gardens. Located in Rochester, the house has been restored to its appearance in the early 1900s, with photographs made by Eastman, as well as letters and notes that assisted in the restoration.
The outstanding International Museum of Photography and Film is located on the grounds and will be of interest to anyone with a passion for photography. The museum also showcases a number of traveling exhibits and movies on a regular basis. Be sure to check their website to see what’s coming up.
Address: 900 East Avenue, Rochester, New York
Enjoy Live Music In Washington Square Park
Most recognisable for its marble arch monument, Washington Square Park is also a green space in the city filled with the sound of music as artists from the nearby New York University music department use the grounds as a performance space. On a sunny day, its well worth strolling around the parks lawns and enjoying a picnic under the shade of the trees while listening to a performance. Musical acts can range from banjo-playing duos and solo pianists to full jazz bands complete with drum kits.
An annual music festival is also held in the park each summer in June. It offers a varied programme of free musical performances, including classical orchestras and jazz bands.
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New York Public Library
The New York Public Library’s main branch was designed by architects, Carrere & Hastings, in the Beaux Arts style. The library, with its impressive rooms, is a prominent city attraction that has been featured in many movies and TV shows over the years.
Although colloquially known as the main branch, the proper name is actually the Stephen A. Schwarzman building. It opened in 1911 to immediate acclaim. An enormous library, the Main Reading Room alone stretches two city blocks, and the Periodicals Room holds 10,000 current magazines. The collection at this location is vast, to say the least.
Location: Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York, New York
Stretching for eight city blocks from Broadway to South Street is the world famous Wall Street. This street and the surrounding area are home to some of the most important exchanges in the world, including the New York Stock Exchange, the NASDAQ, and the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Also located nearby are the impressive Trinity Church and Federal Hall. Look for the bronze statue of Charging Bull at Bowling Green, on Broadway. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Financial District and a popular photo opportunity for visitors.
Metropolitan Museum Of Art A Great Place To Visit In New York If You Are Alone/traveling Solo
- Biggest art museum in the USA
- Home to more than two million works
- Art from ancient times right up to the present day
- Beautiful architecture
Why its awesome: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is the biggest art museum in the USA and one of the most-visited museums in the world. It first opened in 1872 and is amongst the best places in New York for art lovers. Spread between different areas, the museum contains pieces from all over the world, with collections covering all time periods from classical antiquity to the present day.
The museum showcases many of humanitys finest achievements, with spectacular exhibits that include Renaissance art, an Egyptian tomb, Islamic art, furnishings, clothes, weapons, and more. A fantastic place for all lovers of art, you can spend hours exploring the vast museum without barely scratching the surface.
What to do there: Take plenty of time to fully appreciate the many marvels in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Be dazzled in the two-level Greek and Roman Sculpture Court, home to ancient statues from ancient civilisations. Travel overseas in the Asian Art Collection, a quiet part of the museum that is perfect for reflection and admiration as you view works from across the continent. Be wowed as you gaze upon the re-assembled Temple of Dendur, transported overseas from Egypt and dating back to the ancient Egyptian era.
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Eat Your Way Through Chelsea Market
Situated in the Meatpacking District, not far from the Hudson River, Chelsea Market is a food-lovers dream.
Housed in a complex thats one city block long by one block wide, Chelsea Market is one of the best and most talked about indoor food halls in the world. In fact, it attracts nearly 6 million visitors each year, making it one of the most trafficked destinations in New York City. And while its crowded , we really enjoyed our visit, unlike Times Square.
With 35 vendors selling everything from artisan coffee to street tacos to hand-crafted ramen bowls, the hard part is choosing what youre going to eat.
Insider Tip: Our recommendation is to wander around and look at other peoples food before committing. Also, if youre traveling with a partner who likes the same type of food as you, go to a few different places and split so you can try as much as possible!
There are a ton of different vendors and stalls to choose from, and its likely youll be able to satisfy just about any craving.
But if youre looking for recommendations, here are some noteworthy stops:
Street Tacos at Los Tacos No. 1: authentic tacos that are every bit as delicious as the ones we ate in Mexico! You can order traditional Mexican beverages, like Horchata and Jamaica juice, and load up on fresh salsas and toppings.
Insider Tip: Save your sweet tooth for ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery, which is just a few blocks away. Then walk off all the food on the High Line.
Accommodations In New York
We love Airbnb for accommodation in New York. for a free $40 credit!
I prefer to book the entire home instead of opting for shared accommodation on Airbnb. Aside from safety, I also like to feel like Im living in the destination. Its a small taste of local life plus you get more amenities than you would at a hotel such as a kitchen and washing machine.
Read these Airbnb tips for more info!
For hostels, we recommend Hostelworld and Hostelbookers. Always read the reviews before booking to get the best idea if the hostel is right for you. Some are quiet and family friendly while others are known for their party atmosphere.
Not sure about staying at a hostel? Read this.
New York City is one of the worlds fashion capitals! If youre ever in doubt, stick to the classics. Youll be fashionable and beautiful in any season.
What are your style tips on what to wear in New York?
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Soak Up Culture At The Highline
Part park, part art gallery, The Highline is where New York’s past meets the modern day. Opened in sections between 2009 and 2014, The Highline is a 2.3 km green space that runs along a disused rail track in Manhattan. The elevated track, which once served the meatpacking district, has been repurposed into a quirky park where you can enjoy fantastic views of the city and the Hudson River.
Planted with over 200 species of flora, including meadow flowers, grasses and birch trees, the park also presents cultural attractions such as modern art installations in the form of photographs, audio clips and sculptures. Taking a stroll through this creative space provides welcome relief from the citys bustling streets. Guided tours give an insight into The Highlines history and design.