I was so excited when my husband (then fiancé!), took me on a trip to New York for my birthday in January 2014. Lots of my friends had already been and I was desperate to walk the streets made famous by so many films and television shows. In my mind I expected New York to be similar to London, but far more glamorous and sophisticated. In reality, it was much grittier than London. Sure there are some super glam places, but if you really delve into the city, you can feel it’s dark undertones. New York is a character with many layers, multi dimensional and completely unique. There were times during our trip that I was giddy with love and others when I couldn’t wait to tread the streets of London again. We were busy the entire time because I love to absorb as much as I can when visiting somewhere new. We had a great experience and created many memories (including when I almost got kidnapped downtown). I now present to you eleven things to do in New York City!
1. Take a helicopter tour
This isn’t for everyone, but we took a helicopter tour of the city and it blew my mind. It was such an incredible experience and a great way to see the city in a different light. It’s a bit pricey, but well worth it if you can splash out a little. We booked through Attraction Tickets, who are a company I swear by when booking excursions from the UK, Stateside. They always send you real tickets with no fuss. No printing yourself, no waiting in line to collect and they are always quite reasonable too.
2. Stroll around Central Park
This iconic park is beautiful all year round, covered in snow during winter and bursting with colour all through the summer, it’s a cheap day in the city that is absolutely wonderful. In winter you can go ice skating and in summer you can hire boats. You can enjoy long walks squirrel spotting or just lounge around watching the world go by. A must visit if you are in the City.
3. Go to the zoo
Not the largest zoo in the world, but a lovely little place all the same, the zoo is nestled in Central Park and home to many animals, including these gorgeous snow leopards.
The zoo is reasonably priced and is a nice way to spend a couple of hours.
4. Go to the Natural History Museum and the planetarium.
My husband and I adore astronomy, so I always try and source a good planetarium if we can squeeze it in to our trip. The Hayden Planetarium in New York is absolutely incredible and I think it is my favourite planetarium that we have been to. It’s average in price and really well put together. I could easily lay there all day!
The Natural History Museum is amazing in itself, with so many artefacts to explore. New York is home to so many galleries and museums, it is worth researching which ones will be of interest to you and squeezing a visit into your trip.
5. Go somewhere delicious to eat
We were lucky enough to meet up with our friends Heidi and Ian (who live in Boston) during our trip for dinner and dessert. It was great to have their advice on where to go and what to do as they have visited NYC many times. There are thousands of restaurants in the city and you can pretty much eat whatever your heart desires. Countless Italian restaurants.. Chinatown.. You name it, it’s in New York. We ate in Korean Town and had dessert in a French Patisserie. It was such a lovely evening.
6. Visit the Empire State Building or Top of the Rock
We actually visited the Empire State Building twice as visibility was low on our first visit. I would highly recommend a night time trip as seeing the city glisten is amazing, such a gorgeous light show. I don’t think that you need to do both the Top of the Rock and The Empire State because in all honesty the view isn’t that different. Personally, I found that the Empire State was more iconic and traditional, but it’s completely up to you!
7. See the Statue of Liberty
This is kinda unavoidable as you can see the statue as you arrive at New Jersey airport, but it’s still a must see. There are many ways you can see the green giant from boat to helicopter, or even from the land. The ferries are quite reasonable and you can either sail past or hop off and climb. I loved seeing the statue from the helicopter as we could see so much detailing from flying around it.
8. Visit the 9/11 Memorial
This was a really emotive experience that really hit home. What these poor, poor people went through was absolutely awful and the City will never be the same again. Taking time out to reflect was something I was keen to do during our trip and I’m so glad that we went. It may not be for everyone, but it’s a tranquil place to visit.
9. Shop in Times Square
We loved hanging out in Times Square. There are so many shops nearby and it’s just such a vibrant area that oozes life. There are many places in New York City where you feel as though you are in some major blockbuster and Times Square is one of them. Definitely worth a visit!
10. Visit the New York public library
This building is beautiful and a must visit, especially if you are a Sex and the City fan! Make sure that you visit during the day time as it closes quite early.
11. Pass through Grand Central Station
Possibly the most beautiful station in the world is Grand Central. With its intricate architecture and bustling atmosphere, it is pretty special. Grab a coffee and watch the world go by.
We had a great time in New York and would definitely visit again. The only thing that we didn’t do that I would have loved was seeing a show on Broadway. I’m a huge fan of the theatre and I know that it would have made for a spectacular evening, sadly we didn’t quite have enough time though. Squeeze it in if you can!
Have you visited New York? What did you get up to?