Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Top 10 Things to Do in New York City

New York City is not a place that will leave you unfazed. As the popular song by Jay Z and Alicia Keys says "It's a concrete jungle, that dreams are made of" and I have to say it's completely true. I'm not a traveler that is fond of big cities, though I have visited a lot during my travels. Generally speaking, big cities are a bust. It's a hassle to get anywhere, lots of people are roaming the streets and usually the things that are most prominent turn out to be not that exciting.

But this is not the case with New York City. Leave your predetermined notions about big cities at the door and enter a world where everything is possible. New York City has a soul, that may not be liked by everybody, but it's still there, in every street, every smile and every corner you make. Skyscrapers are dominating the Manhattan peninsula and are equally exciting as the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the bridges in Venice, if not even more so.

So for this post I will share some of my personal favorite places in New York City, that you shouldn't miss out. Of course these will be known to many since the city is so famous, but I want to share some hidden places in those parts as well, that hopefully will be of interest to you.

Top 10 Things to Do in New York City

1. See the Manhattan Skyline

It's a thing you have to see, and there are many ways of seeing it. I recommend booking a sightseeing tour of Rockefeller Center in order to see the city from above. Why Rockefeller Center (since you can visit the Empire State Building and One World Center as well)? It's because the sightseeing deck has glass around it and you can clearly see everything (this makes taking photos easier). On the other side you can look south and have the Empire State Building in your picture which is an iconic sight. You can then turn north and take a photo of Central Park and 5th Avenue. The other way of exploring the Manhattan Skyline is by taking the free Staten Island ferry, from the Terminal in Manhattan Harbor. It makes a round trip and gives you great sights of the skyscrapers. Of course the first option is the better one. During my time there I made both trips.

2. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge and Explore the Seafront

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most visited bridges in the world, both by car traffic and walkers. It's a crowded place but one of those that you can't miss. Beware that it's almost 2km walking distance so be prepared to get there by Subway in order to avoid walking through the whole Downtown just to start more walking (like we did). Get there at sunrise or sunset for some extra special sights of Manhattan. On the other side of the Bridge, start exploring Brooklyn. Get a Burger at Shake Shack at the Seafront, and take some iconic shots of the skyline and include yourself in them as well. The Brooklyn Park has a nice walking lane which makes exploring this part of the city even greater.

3. Explore Times Square

This is as iconic as it gets. Visit during dusk and nightfall for some special sights of the surrounding lights of the adds. I would avoid drinking and eating here since it's very tourist laden, with higher prices and they will usually try to rip you off. Explore a bit further and visit the Grand Central Terminal, Empire State Building, Central Park, Broadway and similar places around. Make sure you get to some of these by Subway if you find that walking around gets to tiresome (and it can get tiresome quickly, the city is huge).

4. Roam Central Park and visit the Museums

It's a special part of the city. Central park acts as the lungs of NYC, but it's not just a green space. You can explore it for days and would come up with new sights you didn't see before. We visited the Bethesda Fountain which is a really nice spot. Make sure to visit one of the many nearby museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art (shortened MoMa sometimes) or The Metropolitan Museum of Art (entrance is "free", but a small commission by your will is expected). Another spot worth noting is the Central Park Zoo. Make sure to see the Columbus Circle on the south west end of the park from which you can go deeper into the city through the subway station there.

5. Visit a show on Broadway

You have to do it. There is no way around it. It's the best thing. We saw "The Phantom of the Opera", but any show you see will be remembered by you forever. It's a institution and worthily so. Make sure to book your tickets online, well in advance since the prices can spike up towards show day. I would recommend seeing "The Book of Mormon" or "Wicked" as well. Other things you can do is stand outside Rockefeller Center for a taping of Saturday Night Live or book free tickets to see The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Make sure to book all of these well in advance.

6. Walk the High Line

It's a special place in Chelsea district that used to be a railroad line. Nowadays the tracks are gone and the line is paved and turned into a walking lane. The High Line has opening times you should stick to. Along it you will find restaurants, cafes, shops and amazing views. We stopped by the "Half King" pub for some beers and iced tea, and had a pizza there as well. You can walk west at any point here and get to the Hudson river front, from which you will see New Jersey.

7. Get a Subway Multi day Metro Card

This might be obvious and I might have mentioned it 10 times in this article, but getting around NYC is very easy with the subway. It's quick and efficient and you will save a lot of money if you get the multi day metro card. Get yourself a map of the subway system and keep it nearby and make sure to enter the subway at the appropriate point of the direction you are in. Each station has multiple entrances. If you enter the wrong way you will have to wait 15 minutes before you can swipe your metro card at another entrance.

8. Visit the Statue of Liberty

It's a iconic sight (but what isn't at this point in NYC). You will be surprised at how small the statue actually is and how the base is almost as big as the statue itself. Book your tickets for the ride in advance, the lines are very long for the Statue of Liberty. You can ride the Staten Island Ferry which is free, but it wont get you to the statue, only ride past it. Tickets for entrance to the Statue are payed extra and you have to get them well in advance.

9. One World Center and 9/11 Memorial

Right next to the One World Center is the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The memorial is located at the World Trade Center site, the former location of the Twin Towers, which were destroyed during the September 11 attacks. It is operated by a non-profit corporation whose mission is to raise funds for, program, own, and operate the memorial and museum at the World Trade Center site. It's very impressive and touching to stand here. The huge memorial is the size of the former Twin Towers with water coming down the sides leading into a big black square hole in the center of it. Lots of people crowd this spot but since it's so big you can always find a spot to stand and look around. The 9/11 Museum tickets are 24$ per person. Its exhibits include 23000 images, 10300 artifacts, nearly 2000 oral histories of those killed – mostly provided by friends and families, and over 500 hours of video.

10. Walk, Roam and Explore

This is one of those undefined things to list, but in the case of NYC it's really true. We saw so much just by walking around. Our apartment was in West Village a really great part of the city and there is a lot of activity there. Just by walking we saw so many things we liked that weren't in any guide book or guide. It's a simple pleasure of the traveler, that is rewarded greatly in a place like New York City.

I hope you enjoyed this tour through New York City and that these tips will be useful to you.


  1. Wonderful photo's as always.... oh my you travel a lot... it must be fantastic to be able to travel like you do

    Have a nice ABC-Wednesday / _ Week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc=w=team)

  2. I think #10 in your list is my favorite. I've visited NYC a few times at this point, and my absolute favorite experience I've had so far is taking an hour long walk using the app Pretty Streets as my husband and I made our way to a restaurant for lunch. We saw so much art everywhere! Both "graffiti" and other art like little doors along the bases of buildings or mosaics. It was amazing discovering the city slowly. I can't wait to return and do that again! :)

  3. awesome shot of Ms Liberty, I hope she is still standing when you come for another visit. I would never ever never get into a subway.. or walk on the night line. but I do like seeing it through your lens

    1. For us the subways were great and very much safe.

      It's not a "night line", it's "high line". You can walk it at day as well :) It's simply a walking lane.

  4. Thanks for the guide. I hope to someday visit NYC.

  5. A perfect list! As someone who has been there many times, I say you hit the high spots very well! I would add going to a club, and also Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center, plus many of the amazing restaurants. And, something that knocked me for a loop on one visit was going to Tiffany's and what happened to be on display in the window on the street were Empress Josephine's crown jewels (this was years ago...I'm sure there's something just as amazing now!) and also the other iconic stores that make NY the jewel of capitalist excess! :-)

  6. That's a good list. I've done quite a few of them (hubby has done more as he grew up there but he hasn't done some of the newer ones).

  7. I couldn't wait to see the Statue of Liberty....and then, I was sorely disappointed. As the saying goes "I♥NY"

  8. New York is a great city and you have highlighted it well, Mersad!

  9. Genau dies würde ich auch machen wenn ich mal dort wäre. Finde das sind absolute Highlights und du hast sie wieder toll beschrieben und fotografiert.

    Liebe Grüsse


  10. Thanks for the informative post.Amazing pics.

  11. Thanks for the wonderful trip around New York, makes me want to hop on a plane.

  12. This is an inspiring post! We are going to New York City in April. Most of these are already on our list, so it's fun to see your photos, especially of the high line. I didn't have a clear picture in my mind of it. You make me really excited to explore NYC!

  13. Gorgeous photos, Mersad, and great tips! Thank you so much for sharing this tour.

  14. Ohhh Big Apple. You are still a dream.

  15. I've actually never been to the Statue of Liberty, though I've seen it on the Staten Island ferry


  16. Nice blog and gave me very much idea about how new York is i wish i could ever have a chance to visit the city as i have eared about it much a lot

  17. New York! One of the busiest and best places to relax in America! There are such a large number of activities in New York that while going there on an excursion it's best for vacationers to prepare and see what they need to do before they arrive, thusly you can unwind and appreciate the sights and hints of this astonishing city!
    things to do in NY



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