Newcomers want to see the most famous spots in the world’s most famous city. Return visitors look for the newest attractions and hidden treasures. New York City delivers with experiences that entertain, inform and excite. Here’s a list of Kristen’s top 10 favorites.
- Ride around the city.
Go old-school with a traditional CitySights or Gray Line double-decker open-top tour bus. Get oriented with a hip and entertaining performance when you go along for The Ride. Experience the only-in-New York subway. Explore Central Park by foot, bike rental, carriages, and horseback riding. My favorite is by bike, as I love being able to go wherever I’d like.
- Cruise the Manhattan waters.
Circle Line is just one of the companies offering sightseeing boat rides around the island of Manhattan. Teens especially love the thrill of their high-powered speedboats “The Beast” and “The Shark”, but Circle Line offers more leisurely cruises as well. Come aboard a 19th-century-style Classic Harbor Line schooner for a sail. There are private boats to rent as well, for small or large occasions!
- Get on TV.
Plan ahead and get tickets to taped TV shows. Sooner is better. “Saturday Night Live” has a wait time of two years. However, show up with a big sign at the barricades around “Good Morning America” and “The Today Show” and you may just get on morning TV.
- See Live Theater.
Find same-day tickets at the red TKTS booths located in Times Square, the South Street Seaport or Downtown Brooklyn or enter the Broadway Direct lottery. Tickets are cheaper at teen favorites “Blue Man Group” or “Stomp”. A trio of blue-headed, mute humanoids make up Blue Man Group, while the Stomp crew wrests high-energy music out of brooms and garbage cans, inner tubes and wooden poles. Some top favorites are Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, Book of Mormon, Waitress, Wicked, and The Rockettes at Christmas.
- Watch People.
Street closures around Times Square have given pedestrians an even better opportunity for people-watching. Catch a glimpse of locals and their real life at Bryant Park, where office workers go to enjoy sunshine and a lunch break. Union Square has restaurants around the park where you can sit outside and enjoy the sunshine and the people. They have a farmer’s market on the weekends. Union Square also has one of my favorite picturesque bars called The Pavilion.
- Sample a Museum.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers a free guided tour with admission. Fashionistas should stop by The Costume Institute’s fashion exhibit, which changes annually for each Met Gala or head over to the FIT Fashion Museum.
Seek out the grand old department stores that define New York style, like Macy’s in Herald’s Square. Save some time for The Shops at Columbus Circle, an urban shopping mall in the complex of skyscrapers that make up the Time Warner Center. Soho is known for high fashion shopping and great restaurants like Cipriani.
- Escape to a Park.
The open and vast Central Park beckons as an escape from the city’s fast-paced noise and bustle. A walk along The High Line over 1.5 miles of a former freight rail line gives a new perspective on the city.
NYC is known for being a foodie town. Grab a bite from gourmet food vendors at the Chelsea Market just off The High Line in the trendy Meatpacking District. Go on the hunt for your own favorite pizza joint. If you are looking for amazing views, the Mandarin Oriental has a tea room and restaurant about 50 floors into the sky overlooking Central Park. Another personal favorite is the rotating restaurant in Time Square that is aptly named “The View.” It rotates at a slow pace so you can see the entire city (what’s not obstructed) during dinner, and the view of the sunset is just beautiful! If you are looking for a lively scene, LAVO brunch on Saturday is always a great time, and Bagatelle is known to be a fun party dinner. One of my other personal lunch favorites is on the upper West side and is called Jacob’s Pickle. One time I saw Tobey Maguire!
Go to the New York Yankees or the New York Mets for the excitement of big-league baseball. Try the Brooklyn Cyclones at Coney Island for the cozier charm of the minor leagues. Get out of the bleacher seats and into the action of beach-boardwalk-ocean at Coney Island. Enjoy the new rides and classic oldies such as the Cyclone and the Wonder Wheel, explore the aquarium and dine on Nathan’s Hot Dogs. Putt and drive some golf balls at the Chelsea Piers.