Updated: Jul 25, 2020
New York Vacation Guide
I love the big apple! My first time encountering New York City I was turning 18 years old, my mom took me there for my birthday, and we went prom dress hunting. Coming from little New Mexico, I was completely in shock. The buildings are so high, that in some places they block out the sun!
A guide to New York would be incomplete without first warning that it is impossible to see it all in one trip! When planning a trip to Manhattan, it is crucial to do your research and figure out your top to-dos.
I’ve spent some time putting together my favorite New York travel info. If it is your first time in NYC I would recommend seeing these few things below. After you’ve hit these marvelous icons, you can always return for more.
You'll see lots of photos of my friend Abby and me below from a recent trip. In no particular order, these are the best things to do in New York.
Things to Do in NYC
Time Square may be New York’s most famous attraction. I have never been in Time Square without thousands of other people. It is a sensory overload that you cannot miss. The music, street food smells, dancers, and entertainers are something you’ll never forget.
St. Patricks Cathedral
This church is one of my all-time favorites, and I’ve seen churches around the globe. It’s a “neo-gothic” church from 1879, and you’ll feel a divine essence as soon as you enter.
SoHo is a famous cobblestone-lined shopping district in lower Manhattan. You’ll find every high-end chain there, along with bougie art galleries and fashion boutiques. Fun fact, SoHo is short for “South of Houston Street.” You must peruse SoHo.
Grand Central Station
Or GTC, as it is known, is a historic landmark. According to Travel and Leisure, “Grand Central Terminal is one of the world's ten most visited tourist attractions, with 21.6 million visitors in 2018, excluding train and subway passengers.” GTC is the original central transport hub. It is also famous for its presence in high profile movies like Superman.
This park is 1.3 square miles and is situated in the middle of the city. Its presence is almost jarring; it seems so out of place among all the high rises. But the trees are enormous and must be witness to so much history. Grab a bag of roasted chestnuts, and spend a few hours walking through the park.
You cannot go to NYC without seeing a Broadway show. If you don’t see one, you’ll regret it for all comments people will give you! You could see a famous one like Lion King, Chicago, or Hamilton, but you could simply opt for something cheaper that is a local production. Musicals and broadways are a massive part of NYC’s personality and culture, don’t miss this.
My first experience in this museum left me breathless and heartbroken. This memorial is so beautiful and painful at the same time. I was six when the towers fell, but I’ll never forget the way my mom cried.
September 11, 2001, is a big piece of American history that everyone should experience. Standing where the towers stood is a moving experience.
Do not forget the Mrs! She is on every key chain, and fridge magnet in the tourist stores. It is just fun to see her. And if you get the chance, take the 377 steps to the top!
If you’d rather just enjoy her view, you can take the Staten Island ferry, and pass her while in the water.
This to-die-for suspension bridge spans the East River and connects Manhattan to Brooklyn. I would highly recommend walking across one afternoon or at least crossing it by car.
Top of the Rock
Top of the Rock is a world-famous observatory from the top of the Rockefeller Center. From the top, you can see all of Manhattan.
The New York skyline is so famous, and viewing each skyrise from above is unique. Start here to familiarize yourself with the city’s layout. Go on a clear day for stellar photos!
Enjoy! Spending any time in New York, New York will be memorable. Every time I’ve gone I’ve come home with crazy stories. For getting around, use the subway station, they are cheap and so easy to figure out.
If you are only there a few days, purchase an NYC pass, and it will be perfect. With the pass, you’ll be able to see all of NYC’s top attractions for about $140. Writing about these places really makes me want to take another trip to NYC. Going during the Thanksgiving Day Parade or New Years Eve is a wonderful experience.
Oh! And while you’re at it, stop by Jack’s Wife Freda. This is my most favorite brunch spot! They have an amazing PINK salmon benedict. Thank me later.
Ras and I actually flew through there in March on our way home from Denmark, in the middle of this pandemic. It was wild seeing the city so shut down.
Our plane circled the city which was crazy cool! I feel like they should have charged extra. But I hope after the pandemic to return with my husband since he’s never been!
I’m spending some time working backward in my travels since I haven’t had the time to write about every site! Now is a perfect time, since we are between basketball contracts in the states, and travel is at a full halt for coronavirus.
Stay healthy friends!