I LOVE NYC! It feels exciting and new every time I go up to visit my sister. However, NYC can also be overwhelming. There is just so much to do, see and taste. So I’ve boiled down a list of what I would consider quintessential experiences to have in NYC. Hopefully, even if you’ve made a few trips, you find something worthwhile for another visit.
Walk everywhere, especially these places…
Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Start on the Manhattan side, so when you’ve crossed the bridge you can get a classic NY style piece of pizza in DUMBO. It makes dodging all the bicyclists worth it.
Walk the High Line.
This creative adaptation of a former railroad line provides an elevated park on the west side of the city. It’s a great place to take a walk and people watch.
Walk through Central Park.
Or run. I still have on my very own “NYC to-do list” to get up early one morning to run through Central Park. At any point of the daytime, it’s a nice place to wander through.
Walk through Times Square.
Though very touristy, it is probably my favorite place in NYC because of its uniqueness. It’s like the whole world has converged in this one area. All the lights and people create a lot of excitement that is absolutely contagious.
All the museums!
See art and history at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I’ve never been able to see the whole museum in one day because it is THAT BIG. So make sure you prioritize the exhibits you’d like to see. Like the Impressionists from the 19th and 20th centuries, the Roman & Greek Sculpture garden and beautiful portrayals of Buddha in the Asian Art Collection.
See modern art at MoMA.
Do you remember the famous contemporary paintings you studied in your art history class? Well, they are almost all present at MoMa. The breadth of artists and famous works shown here is amazing and warrants a visit, even if you don’t like art that much.
See an astounding collection of books at the J.P. Morgan Library.
The collection of culture and thoughts that are contained in this personal library are incredible. Some highlights include a copy of the Gutenberg bible, sheet music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and notes from Henry David Thoreau.
See the art and architecture of Rockefeller Center.
I highly recommend booking a tour of Rockefeller Center. You’ll have a guide who will take you around the building, inside and out, to provide info on the art you are seeing. The Art Deco design of this building is symbolic of the values and legacy of John D. Rockefeller and his family. While you’re at it, take a tour of the NBC studios as well.
Just a little taste of everything, please!
A bagel sandwich at Russ & Daughters.
My dad is a huge fan of bagels & salmon for breakfast, so my sister makes a trip to Russ & Daughters to pick up some of the best lox (which btw, is not smoked salmon, but rather salt-cured salmon) every time she comes down to visit my family. R&D has both a counter and a restaurant. While you’re at it, get some chocolate babke to savor.
Drinks with skyline view at Westlight.
The Westlight bar is located at the top of the William Vale hotel in Brooklyn. While always crowded, the view of Manhattan is definitely worth it. Buy one pricey drink and get a good photo.
Eat a warm cookie from Levain Bakery.
This is Mecca for all cookie monsters. If you like gooey, fresh from the oven cookies, then this place is for you. I even heard they just started serving ice cream sandwiches…
Taste street food from around the world at the original Smorgusburg in Williamsburg on Sunday’s.
Touting itself as the largest open-air market in America with over 100 local vendors, this places gets VERY busy every Sunday. In fact it is so popular that there are now spinoffs of the market in cities across the U.S. Visit the original market in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Because if you didn’t post a photo, did you even go to NYC?!
(the answer is yes, but take a photo anyways)
Wall Street Statues: the fearless girl and charging bull.
The charging bull is the original bronze statue in the Financial District that is meant to symbolize the fight through hard economic times. In 2017, the fearless girl was placed directly opposite of the bull on International Women’s Day. The statue was commissioned to call attention to the lack of women in senior leadership roles in Corporate America and its placement has been controversial. Recently, the fearless girl was moved in front of the NYC Stock Exchange.
Grand Central Terminal.
The middle ground in many people’s journey, this place is always bustling. The iconic architecture is worth a moment of your time, even if you’re one of the people just rushing through.
New York Public Library – Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.
The main branch of the NYPL located in Midtown, Manhattan is iconic. From the lion statues outside to the ceiling in the Rose Reading Room, this is the ideal place to settle in with a good book and relax.
The Vessel at Hudson Yards.
One of the newest additions to NYC has been the Vessel, an almost alien-ship like structure. You can get tickets to climb up this puzzle of stairs, but you’ll need to plan ahead. While you’re at it, make sure to stop in the new mall next door, Hudson Yards, which features stores from around the world. In the basement is a fabulous food court called “Little Spain” curated by Jose Andres.
Did I leave something off the list? Let me know.