I've been to New York twice in the past year and have developed a deep love for the city. There is something about it that makes it such a magical place to be.
Leading up to my trip, I made a list of the places I had to visit when I was there. Today, I want to shared my top 10 must-do's when visiting New York, especially if it's for the first time!
1. Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge
It was worth the 45 minute train ride from our Upper East Side apartment to view the city skyline and shop the deals in Brooklyn. If you are planning on shopping in New York, but don't want to spend an arm and a leg, I definitely recommend heading over to Brooklyn. I found a lot more deals and the stores to be less picked over compared to Manhattan. Mind you, I shopped at Nordstrom Rack and Beacon's closet to find some really great deals.
If you're a big foodie like me, I would strongly recommend going on a food walking tour with Foods of New York Tours. I chose Greenwich Village because I wanted to see the famous "Friends" apartment and check out shopping in the area afterwards. I also knew the tour would offer mainly Italian food, which I'm a huge fan of.
The walking tours are nice because you get a bit of history as you explore the neighbourhood and hop from one restaurant to the next. Also, the food we ate at every stop
This is a beautiful "secret" fenced garden and home that we stumbled upon during our tour.
The famous "Friends" apartment
3. Central Park
Central Park is likely on everyone's to-do list when vacationing in New York and for good reason! To go from busy city to peaceful tranquility within steps is nothing short of amazing. There is so much to do and see within the park itself, it will not disappoint.
I rented a bike in hopes of covering more ground in a short period of time, but I'm not sure that I would do it again. To reach most of the main attractions in the park, you can't actually bike in the area, so I found myself walking the bike more than riding it.
A glass full of frozen hot chocolate, the size of my face? Yes please! Even though this is a bit of a tourist joint, I just knew I had to experience this chocolatey goodness and I had zero regrets! This is the perfect afternoon treat if you've just finished walking through Central Park because it's located about 4 blocks from the lower east side of the park.
5. The Met
The Met Gala is hosted annually at this museum and is considered to be one of the most social and fashionable events of the year. That alone gave me reason to make this my number one museum choice when visiting New York.
6. Walking around Fifth Avenue
Looking to stroll the city and visit all the high-end shops? Fifth Avenue would be the perfect place to do that. All the major department stores are here (Saks, Neiman's, Nordstrom, Bendel's) and basically every other mainstream brand you can think of. They also have famous structures and buildings either on or just off fifth, such as Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick's Cathedral.
St. Patrick's Cathedral
7. Times Square
I think this one is pretty self explanatory. You have to check it out at least once!
8. Grand Central Station
A great place to people watch and see the real hustle a bustle that is New York.
You can't visit New York without taking in a Broadway show. I watched a newly released show (An American in Paris) and a longstanding show (Wicked) and thoroughly enjoyed both. It was nice to see a show with all original cast members versus one that had been established for a long time.
10. Roof top patio
Having drinks on a roof top patio with the Empire State building in sight was one of my favourite experiences. The prices at Upstairs were pretty standard for New York and the view is definitely worth the visit. I wouldn't leave New York without visiting at least one roof top patio. Ps. Isn't that skyline dreamy...
I hope this short guide was useful in planning your future trip to New York or at least provide some inspiration of where to vacation to next. Happy travels!