Americans call it the centre of the universe, others know it as the Big Apple but whatever you call it, New York is one of the most exciting places to go on a city break. It is home to some of the biggest and best monuments, landmarks, museums and buildings in the world and host to around 50 million visitors every year.
(Image credit: Daniel Schwen)
Most people dream of seeing the skyscrapers, yellow taxi cabs and hot dog stalls during their lifetime. If you’re lucky enough to be planning a visit, there is so much to see and do that narrowing down how to spend your trip can be daunting! Whether you’re into shopping, sightseeing or art, the city offers something for everyone. Here are five ways to spend an unforgettable weekend in NYC.
New York is a shopper’s dream and Fifth Avenue in particular provides some serious retail therapy. Although the exchange rate no longer means that shopping here is quite the bargain it used to be, there are still plenty of discounts and offers to take advantage of.
Visiting some of the large department stores which have been around since the roaring twenties is worth it for the beautiful architecture, interiors and window displays alone, especially around Christmas time. Be sure to check out Saks Fifth Avenue, Henri Bendel, Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys.
Don’t forget, you can receive a 10% discount pass in Macy’s and Bloomingdales if you are a foreign visitor.
See The Sights
There is so much to see in New York that to complete it all you’d need weeks. If you only have a few days though, there are some typical ‘tourist’ hotspots which you can’t miss out on!
- An icon of the New York skyline and a gleaming beacon of art deco style, the Empire State Building offers the highest viewpoint from which to overlook the city.
- Times Square, known as the ‘crossroads of the world’, is one of the busiest pedestrian intersections in the world, and especially spectacular and colourful at night. Nearby, you can catch a show on Broadway, famous for its world class productions.
- The Statue of Liberty has welcomed visitors and immigrants to the city for over a century and stands as a symbol of freedom and democracy. To understand its colossal scale, why not take a walk around Liberty Island or climb up to the crown to take in the view?
If you feel you’d like some guidance around the city, there are plenty guided tours on offer, on foot, by bicycle or by bus. But for an all together more extravagant tour of the city why not hire a helicopter?
Be At One With Nature
The bustling metropolis contains a few nature spots where you can get some peace and quiet. To enjoy the city at a slower place, be sure to visit:
- Central Park. This haven of green space in the middle of the city receives over 35 million visitors per year, who come to see the two skating rinks, the central park zoo and wildlife sanctuary. If you’re visiting with children, this is a must.
- The High Line. Take a stroll along this mile long aerial walkway planted with grasses and flowers. It was built along a derelict railway line offers great views of Manhattan and a relaxed atmosphere. Look out for the hipster with a typewriter who sets up camp here every day and will write you a personalised short story for a small fee.
Get A Bit of Culture
New York has been described as the cultural capital of the world and it is home to some of the biggest and best museums, opera houses and ballet schools.
The Lincoln Centre, located in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, is worth visiting for its stunning architecture alone. It is home to the New York’s orchestra, opera, ballet and the Julliard School. To mark a special occasion, get tickets to see the New York City ballet or the Metropolitan Opera here.
If you’re an art lover, you must visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is the largest museum in the US, housing an extensive collection which ranges from the Medieval era right up to the present day. You could spend weeks exploring this place, and all for a voluntary donation upon entry. If you’re into contemporary art then the MoMA is another must see and often houses fantastic exhibitions.
Explore Each District
New York City is actually split up into five boroughs and within each of these are various districts, each with each with their own distinctive feel and flavour. Some, like the Meatpacking District, were deprived areas which have seen a resurgence and become centres of all that is cutting edge and cool.
To get to know the real New York, try exploring a few different areas and checking out their bar and restaurant scenes. Tribeca is extremely fashionable and full of celebs, Greenwich Village has an air of bohemian cool which descends from its arty, beatnik history and a visit to Chinatown offers some weird and wonderful shopping and fantastic, authentic cuisine.
About The Author
This guest post was written by Josh Marshall. Josh works for the concierge service, www.quintessentially.com. He also loves writing about travel and exploring new places.