New York City is a place where dreams simply come true, any time of the year. This city offer so much diversity that make it not only beautiful and marvelous, but interesting and terrifying, all at the same time. Whether it’s your first time visiting or your 3rd or even your 20th, the lights, people, and sounds will mesmerize you endlessly. You’ll find yourself falling in love with this place; something you may have never even thought possible.
There are many places in the world that are worth visiting, such as Thailand, Venice, Bora Bora, Buenos Aires, Cuba, the list is endless! However, New York’s magic is one of the kind, because the experiences you’ll live there will be hard to top, simply because of how inviting the place is. You’ll find yourself walking next to people from totally different cultures; people from all over the world. You will soon understand that if there is a place that embraces cultures, it’s New York City
When you walk into the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), you’ll run into strangers that share your taste for art… or when you go walk around Central Park, you’ll find yourself getting lost in a jungle of people just like you! And that might even comfort your sense of fear for a while! SO we highly, and lovingly encourage you to visit this city of dreams, if not today, in the near future.
15. Go to Times Square
It’s kind of impossible not to go to Times Square while being in New York City. It’s a place you’re most definitely going to get to, one way or another. Still, it’s important we emphasize its relevance. Times Square is, without a doubt, New York City’s most striking place. We’ve seen it in countless movies, TV shows, magazines, and maybe even in our dreams.
In Times Square, you are sure to have the time of your life. No matter how old you are, a Toys R Us store will always bring out the kid in you. Times Square has the biggest Toys R Us store in the United States, with a Ferris wheel in the center and multiple floors to explore. Times Square is subject of many films and musicals -as we already mentioned- so you might run into a live movie shoot or even be part of one, like Good Morning America, for instance!
Make sure to pack comfortable shoes when coming to New York City because the city never sleeps, and neither does Times Square, for that matter. You’ll find a thousand stores that NEVER close, and might even find yourself eating M&M’s at 2 a.m. Finally, if you’re able to stay at a hotel in Times Square, you’ll most likely feel the New York City magic non-stop, since these hotels are known for their excellent service and beautiful facilities.
14. Have lunch in Little Italy
We all know a plane ticket to Europe can be very expensive, so why not get the Italy experience while in New York City? We promise, the food and the people are as authentic and amazing as those in Italy –mamma mia!-. You’ll can get there by cab, bus, or by subway. If you’re on the East Side, take the 6 subway downtown and get off at Spring Station; walk two blocks to Mulberry Street, or take the M103 bus on Lexington Ave. down to Grand Street wand walk west 3 blocks to Mulberry Street. If you’re in the West side, take the N or R subways downtown to the Prince Street station wand walk East 3 blocks to Mulberry Street, or take the V or F subways downtown to the Broadway/Lafayette station and walk East 4 blocks to Mulberry Street –you’re welcome-.
Once you arrive, you’ll be able to walk the streets smelling pizza and pasta everywhere! It’s truly amazing. For instance, you’ll find yourself running into Capri Ristorante, by Italian chef Franco Aliberti, who has been rewarded “Best Chef Under 30” by an Italian publication. In this restaurant, you’ll drool over the sapori italiani (Italian flavors) of brick-oven pizza, homemade pasta, and so many other delicious dishes. This restaurant has received great reviews about their food, service and price. There are many other amazing restaurants in Little Italy as well. You will want to check out: Lombardi’s, Rubirosa, Emporio and Dipalo’s, among others.
13. Eat $1 dollar pizza
You haven’t been to New York City if you haven’t eaten a $1 dollar slice of pizza… for real. Pizza is (and don’t fight us on this) the best thing in the world! And buying pizza for NOT EVEN A DOLLAR!!! Just 99 cents… WOW?! We’ve been to New York City plenty of times and if there’s one thing we can assure you of,t you’re missing out on so much if you haven’t tried this pizza. There are so many places in the city where you can find $1 dollar pizza and all of them are sooo good!
Let’s just focus on Manhattan for this one, because if we include Brooklyn, Queens, and other neighborhoods… the list would be endless. Some of the best dollar pizza places in the Big Apple: You can find Z Deli and $99 Cent Fresh Pizza in Times Square, and both serve up pies that are definitely to DIE for. Picture this, visiting Times Square at night and walking through the stores until 2:30 a.m. when your stomach reminds you it’s time to be fed. What a better way to end the night than by eating a dollar pizza? Your stomach will thank you, and you’ll only want more after the first slice!
12. Walk on Fifth Avenue
This particular street has been the set of many Gossip Girl episodes, Sex and the City scenes, and so many other movies and TV Series (fun fact: 2012’s New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg declared January 26th as Gossip Girl day, in honor of the show’s 100th episode).When shopping on this Street, you will want to buy everything! New York City’s Fifth Avenue gives visitors that famous celebrity feel as you walk through the different stores…
High-end clothing brands like Gucci, Armani, Chanel and Prada showcase their outstanding designs in their display windows, making us wish we could buy everything. And there are many other amazing brand stores like Rolex, Omega, Michael Kors… wow! All beautiful! And if you’re not all about stores, you can even visit the Met (and sit on the top stair, like Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl used to do). The Metropolitan Museum of Art has more than two million different works of art donated by various countries, featuring different art styles, and time periods. There’s just so much history and beauty inside this museum that it will make your visit worthwhile. Even more so if you’re in New York City during the month of the Met Gala!!. Without a doubt you’ll want to go back for more.
11. Visit the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island
“The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World”, which is its real name, is such a beautiful, powerful monument that every tourist visiting New York City should make a point to see. Standing proud on Ellis Island, its imposing figure stands for liberty –hence the name, and has many different characteristics that bare meaning; for instance, the broken chains at her feet symbolize oppression and tyranny, the seven rays on her crown each represent a continent and there are many other meanings for you to discover.
If you were wondering, green is not her real color but a result of the oxidation of copper. You can visit this monument by buying the tickets online, or while in New York City. And, remember that if you buy a City Pass you’ll be able to visit it for a cheaper price (you’re welcome!). If you pay full price, you’ll spend about $18.50 US, which includes pedestal access, and ranger and audio tours. However, if you wish to access the crown and visit the Ellis hospital, you’ll have to pay some surcharges.
We highly recommend you to visit this outstanding monument, because not only will you be looking at an amazing piece of history, but you will also be able to see New Jersey and New York City from this island; visiting the Statue is cheap, and having a picture here is simply iconic. Buying souvenirs and rubber crowns is optional, but fun!
10. See a Broadway Musical
No matter what language you speak, going to see a Broadway musical is a must if you want to get the complete New York experience. The original Broadway theatre was built by Eugene de Rosa and opened originally in 1924 as a film house, but by 1934 it was renamed to Broadway Theater. It has a seating capacity of 1761 people and has been the home of many musicals throughout history.
It offers foreign viewers translation aids so you don’t have to speak English to see one of the shows. Translations are available in more than 5 languages, which makes it not only special, but accessible to everyone. Every show is always amazing and inviting and you’ll be singing songs you never even thought you knew before the show ends; that’s how addictive the music is.
Some of the most prominent shows that have happened inside the walls of this theater include The New Yorkers (1930), Walt Disney’s Fantasia (1940), The Music Man (1960), Funny Girl (1966), Cabaret (1968), Les Misérables (1987), The Phantom of The Opera (1988) and The Lion King (1997). Today there are many theatre houses, all just blocks from Times Square, featuring Broadway Musicals like Wicked, The Book of Mormon, Kinky Boots and so many others. There is something for everyone’s taste. Every time you go to New York City, there is long list of shows that you can choose from. The average ticket ranges from $50-$200 US depending on the show and seats. Trust me, it is worth it! Every single time… you won’t regret it.
9. Go to Fashion District
Fashion District, also known as Garment District, is located in the borough of Manhattan. This neighborhood got its name because of the concentration of fashion related industries in the area. It is located between 5th and 9th avenue and runs from 34th to 42nd streets. You will know you are there when you see the giant button and needle statue which is also awesome for a selfie background!! You’re welcome.
This little part of Manhattan could be compared to one of the plazas in Milan (but smaller); it is home to many showrooms and major fashion brands, but you can also find caterers, tailors and wholesale stores. It has been known since the 20th century as the fashion design center of the United States. Major fashion brands known globally have their manufacturing done in this neighborhood. You’ll find brands like Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein, as well as many others who have production factories in this neighborhood. They even display their garments in showrooms from time to time. This little piece of New York heaven is a must see area when you’re in town, so keep it in mind!
8. Visit the 9/11 memorial
As we all know, for years the Twin Towers were the highest skyscrapers in New York City… before the Empire State building came along. Sadly, in 2001, a devastating terrorist attack destroyed these and the lives of thousands of people, leaving an empty space where they used to stand. Five years later, in 2006, the construction of the new World Trade Center and observatory began and was completed in July 2013. This building is also known as the Freedom Tower and is the sixth tallest building in the world (talk about overachievement!). The beauty of it, though, is the story. You go up an elevator that shows you how the initial towers were built, floor-by-floor, with voices that will send thrills down your spine, and then at the very top, a beautiful surprise awaits you (we can’t tell, though… sorry). You will also find a souvenir store and a restaurant up there. Wven though the restaurant can be a little pricy… it is SO worth it.
And then there’s the museum. In the museum you will find remains of the Twin Towers, pictures of the victims and their families, recordings of survivors telling their stories, and messages from visitors all around the world and so much more… it breaks your heart over and over again. Finally and additionally, as well, there is giant memorial pool outside with the names of the victims are inscribed on it, where people can leave flowers… it is quite beautiful yet heart breaking. Do yourself a favor, and visit it!
7. Get lost in Central Park
If you’ve never seen a picture of just how big Central Park is, this picture will give you an idea.
Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States, and was designated a National Historic Landmark by The U.S. Department of the Interior in 1962. It’s a wonderful getaway place where you can do almost anything! Its natural beauty, the people surrounding it, the ambience of the park, all make it marvellous and one of a kind. Besides riding your bike, hiking, exercising, relaxing, and having a picnic here, there are so many other interesting activities you can do. There is even a zoo you can visit, which is definitely a must-see in New York City (Even if you’ve been to the zoo in the Bronx).
Things to see in Central Park include the Alice in Wonderland, the Belvedere Castle and the Obelisk, (which you can find in the middle of the park). There is also the Loch (which is a beautiful body of water), the Reservoir (another water body, which has a beautiful view of Manhattan), and the Conservatory Garden. All of these are all located in the North End of Central Park. But wait, there’s more. Central Park has a countless number spots you’ll love and if you go in the Winter time, you’ll even be able to ice skate at the Wollman Rink!
6. Go up the Empire State Building
The Empire State Building has been in countless movies and TV series, for instance, it was the place where Chuck Bass waited for Blair Waldorf, as seen in the movie An Affair to Remember. Other movies, like Oblivion, King Kong, Something Borrowed and Independence Day also showcase this beautiful building… a total of 250 movies have featured this skyscraper.
Located in Midtown Manhattan, this building offers a 360-degree view of New York City from both its 86th and 102nd floor. You haven’t really been to New York City if you haven’t gone up the Empire State Building. Completed in April of 1931, this building was the tallest skyscraper in the world from its inauguration until 1970, when the Twin Towers surpassed it. This building is one of New York’s most popular landmarks, and its been called one of the seven wonders of the modern world, because of its style, meaning, among other factors. One fun fact is the antennae for broadcast stations are located at the top of the Empire State Building, and another fun fact is that it has 103 floors, not 102 as is often believed.
5. Visit Radio City Music Hall
Do you know what a Rockette is? Okay. Let’s start from the beginning. Radio City Music Hall is a venue located in the Rockefeller Center, and for quite some time, was the number one tourist destination in the city (we still don’t understand how it isn’t still #1! This place is pure magic!). Built in 1932, this gigantic theater can hold over six thousand people! Radio City Music Hall has welcomed many famous singers. It has also been used in many movie scenes and reality shows such as America’s got talent.
This theater gives mazing tours of the balconies, main stage, the Grand Foyer, the underside of the Great Stage, the Roxy Suite, plus many more. Now, coming back to our original question: The Rockettes. The Rockettes are the world ’s most famous precision dancers; when they dance, they create this beautiful optical illusion that will blow your mind. During the tour, you’ll get to meet a Rockette and take a picture with her, which is even more awesome. Now listen to us, really carefully: if you are in New York during winter, it’s almost MANDATORY that you attend the Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and there’s nothing in the world that can even compare to it. You need to do this!
4. Eat at Carmine’s
This isn’t exactly a New York City landmark (even when, to us food lovers, it kind of is), but it’s a must-go-to restaurant. You can find it at 200 West 44th Street (Broadway). You won’t regret spending a couple of dollars there. Ranking #100 in NYC out of 9,128 registered restaurants in Trip Advisor, this Italian vegetarian friendly, welcoming place will have you licking every single one of your fingers.
The reason we enjoy this restaurant, and why we think you will too, is that even though it might seem a little over-priced at first, when the food arrives, the price is will al make sense. For instance, you’ll order a $27.95 alad, and $28.95 Marinara rigatoni (btw, yum!), and with these to orders you can feed a family of 3-4 people (unless you eat a lot… like a whole lot)! The dishes are quite big, so don’t order too many! Waiters usually ask you if you’ve been to Carmine’s before, only to make sure you understand how enormous the plates are.
A little heads up, they have vegan, gluten free options, and they not only serve pasta, but also salads and steamed vegetables, there’s a raw bar (with shrimp cocktails, etc.) and for those of you who don’t like seafood, there’s always chicken, veal, and beef. Make sure you have the chocolate cannoli for dessert! It’s to die for.
3. Visit Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
Have you ever wanted to meet your favorite celebrity in person? (You’re lying if your answer’s no… so that question pretty much answers itself) Well, let us tell you that thanks to Madame Tussaud your wildest dreams can nearly come true. Madame Tussauds is a wax museum that’s currently in four out of the seven continents, with more than 20 museums around the globe. New York City is one of the many locations where you can find this wonderful attraction.
Madame Tussauds presents over 100 different wax figures in each museum. They look so real you’ll feel like you are actually next to the real live person. The process of making them is quite extraordinary! Each figure takes approximately three to four months to complete, and requires a total of 15 artists; they make seven additional figures per year. What’s even cooler is making these replicas requires the actual celebrity! This of course, is to measure them, find their exact hair color, eye color, skin tone, and makeup style. Sculpting them requires the use of clay and wax (of course… ), and it’s quite a laborious process, for example, each strand of hair is added individually! –That’s a lot of time-.
You will probably run into Adriana Lima, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Barack Obama, the Pope and even Gandhi! Imagine those photos!… Another reason to visit this museum when you’re in town. If you have a City Pass, your entrance fee will be cheaper, so keep that in mind.
2. Check out the MoMA
This IS a New York City landmark (who doesn’t love MoMA?). The Museum of Modern Art is located in Midtown Manhattan and is often recognized as one of the largest, most important museums of modern art in the world (props to you, New York City… once again). More than 3 million users visit it each year since it was opened 87 years ago (that’s a lot of people and money when you think about it)!
At MoMA you’ll find pieces by famous painters like Francis Bacon, Paul Cézanne, Salvador Dalí, Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, René Magritte, Claude Monet, Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh, and many other masters. It’s one of the most expensive museums in town, charging $20 dollars per visitor. However, if you visit on Friday’s after 4pm, it’s free entry for all. Even if you don’t understand art, or perhaps have no interest in it, or you don’t like museums, still consider visiting this particular one; if you do, you’ll get to see works of art that explain or influenced history.The beauty in every single painting is simply mesmerizing and breath-taking (we might love MoMA a liiiittle too much).
1. Go to the Rockefeller Center
If you’ve seen Home Alone (and we’re sure you have) you definitely know why visiting the Rockefeller center is a must. Not only did Macaulay Culkin roam through this place, but the movie portrayed the beauty of this place at Christmas time exquisitely. The Rockefeller center isn’t only an ice rink though, it is a complex of 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres (a whole LOT) of land.
Like we said, it’s not just about ice-skating at Christmas time, there are also stores, restaurants, cafés, and there’s an observation deck as well called Top of the Rock. Now, back to the ice skating, if you happen to be in town at Christmas time, we sincerely invite you to live this experience. It’s not like ice skating will change your life, but ice skating at the Rockefeller center AT this wondrous time probably will.
It’s not all sad and tears if you don’t go during Winter, because the Rainbow room is always open (not for kids though)! There’s also Bar Sixty Five, which is Manhattan’s most elevated bar experience; imagine drinking cocktails and eating a delicious meal with all of New York City as your view! This adults only venue also has a strict dress code will cost you about $250 dollars per person, and which doesn’t include the $50 dollars per person beverage minimum… sigh. This place is a dream that should definitely come true one day.