The city that never sleeps! I fell in LOVE with the concrete jungle the first time I visited back in 2009. Since then I got married and actually ended up moving to New York in 2013. I am regularly asked for recommendations on things to do and see and being the food loving, cool place visiting and tea lover that I am, I finally decided to share my very own list with anyone wanting to explore New York.
The following blog post is a guide to all of the places I have either visited or have been highly recommended to me. For places I have already visited, you will find a link to my connecting blog or Instagram post for it. I will be updating this blog post regularly with new ideas so continue to watch this space! If you are a big foodie like me, click here to read my ultimate forking food food New York Restaurant Guide!
- Weather is always a huge deciding factor when visiting New York. From around the end of November till March/April time, it is going to be cold. There is always a potential for freezing rain/snow with temperatures reaching minus -16c. So I would recommend bringing snow boots/warm winter boots, scarf, hat, gloves, lots of socks and ear muffs! It will be really cold in places like Statue of Liberty or central park as its open air.
- From around April onwards, it should start to warm up. Spring time also means rain, so remember to pack an umbrella. The hotter weather starts from around May/June onwards with temperatures reaching up to 35c during the peak months of July and August. So ensure to pack your shades, hat, sun tan lotion, sun dresses and shorts. These months include a lot of roof top drinking, roof top cinemas and weekend brunching!
- The really hot weather lasts until the end of August and then the fall (Autumn) weather begins to set in from around September to November. Personally, I just love the fall weather. It is warm/mild (i.e. light jacket for the evenings) with beautiful scenes of trees turning from green to brown. Moving through to December, while it gets colder, it is one of the most fun months of the year. Christmas time in New York is just magical!
- The local currency for the US is $ USD Dollar. You may also need to apply for an ESTA VISA before you enter the U.S. so ensure this has been approved before you travel.
- Be sure to carry a map of New York around with you. The street and avenue names can get confusing at times.
- Tipping is also a big thing in New York. Be sure to tip for services at least 10-18% of the final cost.
- You can get a weekly metro subway pass around $40- this is your best way to travel around Manhattan. The metro is quick and easy. Be sure to get a metro map and carry it with you.
- Having said that the best way to see everything is walk; so if you can be bothered and the journey isn’t too far then my advice would be to walk.
- Another easy way to get around is Uber. Download the app and you can locate an Uber right near where you are.
- Taxi’s are expensive and hard to track down. You’ve got to take one so I would recommend getting it from the airport to your hotel. On your approach to the city you’ll get some great views so get the camera out!! For every small taxi trip make, tip $1 extra.
Things to do and see
- Grand Central Station Park Ave and 42st. Beautiful and famous train station (featured in many films). Have a drink at the Campbell Apart or the Oyster Bar (in bars section below) while visiting Grand Central.
- Empire State Building – I would go in the evening for a beautiful lit up view of the city as its open till late- there is a huge Macy’s store near Empire state where you can go shopping: 5th Ave and 34th St
- Rockefeller Centre – Cool building – go to the top to get great day time views of Central Park during the day. During Christmas time, there is where the famous “Home Alone” Christmas tree goes up along with an ice skating ring.
- Central Park (you can get a horse and carriage ride around the park and they show you sites where films were filmed – Home Alone, Ghostbusters etc.- $50 for 20 min ride max 4 people) You can also do a boat ride in lake the and its really nice. There is the boathouse next to the lake if you want to eat afterwards/ have a drink afterwards. Check out Sheep’s Meadow Fountain – this is where the famous “Friends” fountain is located. You can also visit Strawberry Fields and see John Lennon’s memorial site.
- 5th Avenue – all the big name brands live on this Avenue. A shoppers heaven.
- St Patrick’s Cathedral – beautiful refurbished cathedral right in the middle of Manhattan.
- MoMA Museum – a cool museum with more than 150,000 pieces of Modern and contemporary art and with a great gift shop too. Admission is $25 for adults, $18 for seniors, $14 for students and free for children 16 and under. Midtown is pretty much where everything you associate with New York is…You can see Central Park (horse carriage ride), top of Rockefeller, Plaza hotel, Grand Central, 5th Avenue and Empire St all in one day).
- Frick Collection Its on the upper east side, 5th ave at 70th. It is never too busy, its on a much smaller scale than the Met and is a nice stress free experience, doable in 1 – 2 hours. Its in a fabulous mansion, and still has a lot of the rooms decorated as they would have been, as well as some amazing pieces of art.
- Metropolitan Museum of Art –The Metropolitan Museum of Art, at 2 million square feet, is the largest art museum in the world existing under one roof.
- Times Square – lots of tourist but a fun place to visit night and/or day. Brightly lit buildings and of course the home of the famous red steps and the New Years Eve ball drop.
- Madison Square Garden/Barclays Center – all major concerts and basketball games are held here (if you get a chance book tickets and see a basketball game)
- Yankees Stadium (if you get a chance book tickets and see a baseball game)
- Wall Street – is not just a street in New York City, it is a symbol of America’s financial power with a fascinating history stretching back over 200 years. Go on the Wall Street Tour to become an expert.
- 9/11 Memorial site and museum and one world trade center. This is a site dedicated to those killed in the September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 attacks.
- One World Trade Center – you can go to the top and get a nice view of Manhattan
- Statue of Liberty– you can either take a ferry to the actual island and get off and then visit Statin Island- there is a museum there to show how all the immigrants came to the US. Otherwise, you can get a yellow boat water taxi that takes you around the Hudson showing you sites and goes near the Statue of Liberty for pictures.
- Governors Island is definitely worth a visit and 5 minutes from Manhattan by ferry. You can hire bikes etc. here. There’s a hammock grove, loads of food trucks, can walk/cycle round the island. Amazing views of Manhattan.
- Ellis Island – While visiting the Statue of Liberty, why not visit Ellis Island which is home to the museum of Immigrants.
- Helicopter ride around the city- I have done this and it was great. You get to see all the whole city from above. Lasts around 15 minutes, however is quite expensive.
- The Highline- I haven’t done this yet but it’s meant to be really cool. A walk (around 2 miles long) along an old railroad track that has places to stop by and gardens to see.
- Dylan’s Candy Store- Ralph Lauren’s daughters sweet shop. Cool with lots of different selection of retro old and new sweets. Candy heaven!
- Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, have an ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory at Fulton Ferry Landing – perhaps the best place to take pictures of downtown skyscrapers. (Lots of movies filmed here) – Battery Park
- Chelsea Market– nice little market with cute shops, and places to eat. You can start the Highline from here as well.
- Woodbury Common – really decently priced shopping outlet with most of all of the regular stores/designer stuff. I believe you can get a coach from the city for around $55 and will take an hour to get there and hour back.
- Bear Mountain State Park – situated in rugged mountains rising from the west bank of the Hudson River. The park features a large play field, shaded picnic groves, lake and river fishing access, a swimming pool, Trailside Museums and Zoo, hiking, biking and cross-country ski trails. An outdoor rink is open to ice skaters from late October through mid-March.
- Broadway show– they sell cheap tickets in Times square daily (Wiked/Lion King/Sleep no more/Book of Mormon) If you are interested in a theatre show or ‘experience’ I recommend Sleep No More. Its by British theatre company Punchdrunk, and is an immersive show based in a huge warehouse in Chelsea. They have transformed the whole warehouse into their set with different themes such as a lunatic asylum on one floor, a cemetery on another, and you get to wander through the whole thing while following different actors in the show.
- Flat Iron building – just a cool building to see shaped like in a triangle 5th and 23rd
- New York Public Library- 5th and 40th
Other Fun Things To Do
If you have any further recommendations, want to share your own review or be featured on my blog, please get in touch via email@example.com or leave me a comment below. Alternatively, if you would like help planning your trip to NYC, please get in touch and I will be happy to help.
British Girl Blogging with a Cuppa