Welcome to New York, the concrete jungle where dreams are made of! You’ve dreamed of visiting since you first saw pictures of its beauty, and now that you’re here, you don’t know what to do. In a city that houses over 8 million people, your trip can quickly become overwhelming. With tons of Broadway plays, amazing shopping centers, and great historical sites to visit, I think it’s safe to say that you’ll never be bored in 'The Big Apple'.
But you may be thinking, "Where do I even start?" Don’t worry, I’ve got you. Here are some things you should definitely try out on your trip to New York City!
1. Times Square
This might be controversial, but as a tourist, I truly felt that Times Square was the heart of New York. It embodies everything you associate with the city: huge billboards, flashing lights, and awesome entertainment. New York’s culture simply shines bright there. Make sure to drop by all those amazing stores, take a million photos, and just walk around. There is so much to see, and sometimes, just strolling is the best way to experience it all.
2. Visit Museums
One of the first things I picture of when I think of New York is The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known simply as ‘The Met’. New York is home to so many spectacular and fascinating museums that you could honestly spend your entire trip wandering through them. If you are a fan of art, or just want to take some ‘aesthetic’ photos for your Instagram, stop by The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or even The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. If you want something a tad more unconventional, spend a couple of hours in the Museum of Ice Cream or the Houdini Museum. There are so many awesome sites you can visit, so start researching to figure out what you'd like to see the most.
3. Go Shopping
If you even remotely like fashion, you need to spend a day going around New York’s best areas for shopping. New York is the fashion capital of the United States, and with that comes amazing stores to browse. Even if you don’t want to buy anything, window shopping is always fun. 5th Avenue is an absolute must! There are plenty of ‘upscale’ stores to see all the latest trends in high fashion, but also more familiar ones, like H&M and Zara.
4. Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty
Even if you’re not the biggest fan of visiting historical museums and landmarks, you have to give this a try. I was not expecting to love my trip to these two islands as much as I did. Get your ferry tickets and enjoy the ride!
First, you can be the ultimate New York City tourist and stop at Liberty Island, the home to The Statue of Liberty. The island is relatively small, so you can explore all of it. Stop in the museum, take 200 different photos, and soak up the beautiful view of the city.
Next, you can head over to Ellis Island, where you can watch a movie, walk around, and hear from fantastic tour guides. If your family immigrated to the United States sometime in the early 1900s, there’s a good chance they came through the island! You might even learn something new about your family’s history.
Now, this is pretty simple and you’re going to have to do it. New York is famous for so many delicious and diverse cuisines. Try to step out of your comfort zone! Of course, you’re going to have to try some bagels, pizza, and hot dogs— you can’t visit New York without getting a bite of these iconic food staples. Your best bet is doing some research beforehand on the restaurants you cannot miss. The options in New York are limitless, so have some fun with it, even if it means not liking a thing or two.
6. Central Park
As an expansive area of greenery in the midst of bustling city life, Central Park is truly unconventional and a must see! There are plenty of things you can do while stopping by. Renting a bike is a popular option, but always a good one. Walking around is fun too. The park is also great for simple relaxation. Take a seat on the grass or on a nearby bench and just observe the world around you. New York is known for its very interesting people and culture, and by just sitting in Central Park for 20 minutes, you can get a pretty good sense of it. After you’re done relaxing, you can grab a hotdog, call over a horse carriage, and see even more of the park.
When I first left New York, an immediate thought I had was, “Wow! I did so much, but could come back 10 more times and still have something new to see.” This is what makes the city so special. Whether you want to take your time and relax, or go to 10 different museums in a day, have fun! Enjoy the city and your trip.