Ahhhhh New York. The Big Apple. Empire State of Mind. The city so good they named it twice. This city that never sleeps. Home of Sex and the City, Notorious B.I.G, Jay-Z, JLO and Cardi B. New York is magic, and it’s one of those places where it truly is exactly what you make it. Having recently been to New York for the second time, I’ve pulled together some of my favourite things to do. This is by no means the most comprehensive list in the world, because well, you’d have to spend years in New York to cover everything, and even then things are continually changing and you’d have to start all over again.
New York has a solid underground and bus system. Albeit, it can be a tinsy bit confusing trying to navigate the metro. If you’re there for a week, or there about, I’d highly recommend getting an Unlimited Metro Pass for the week. It makes it so much easier as you don’t have to continually worry about how much created you’ve got left. Google Maps and City Mapper will save your life here. That being said, you can walk almost anywhere in NY as the the bulk of the city is a grid, and therefore super easy to navigate. That being said, taxi’s and Uber’s are relatively decently priced.
Quick tip: if you’re coming in from JFK airport, and you get the AirTrain, don’t be surprised when you pay at the end, and not at the beginning. Or if you’re getting a Taxi, it’s a $52 flat fare to get into Manhattan.
Walking or Bus Tours
I can’t recommend walking tours enough. They’re a great way to get your bearings around a city, and learn stuff that you wouldn’t even think of googling. If walking isn’t your thing, which, fair enough, jump on a hop on hop off bus. That being said, you don’t need to do any of these; New York is yours for the taking. Do a quick search about what you want to do, and save a couple pins on a map so that you can always check if you’re close to multiple attractions.
Shopping in New York is epic. Of course, there’s the iconic 5th avenue and it’s strip of shops. But I’d actually recommend skipping 5th avenue and hitting up Soho instead. There’s the 50,000 square ft Nike Flagship store, Glossier flagship and enough stores to make your mind boggle. I’d recommend doing a quick google map search and putting pins at the various shops that you want to go to. While a lot of shops are centred around Broadway, between Broome and Houston, some are a bit further flung, like the epic thrift shops. And fun fact- if your shopping is under USD100, there is a very slim chance that there will be sales tax!
The food in New York is something special; there’s too much competition and therefore mediocrity doesn’t stand a chance. Treat yourself to something from Levain Bakery, Dominique Ansel or Milk Bar- all New York institutions. Get some authentic Italian from Little Italy, or Eataly. Find a pizza shop and buy pizza buy the slice for $1 or treat yourself to a street cart hot dog. The brunch scene in NY is expanding, likely due to the influx of Australian style cafes, such as Bluestone, Two Hands and Dudleys. Grab some delish dinner in the West Village, before going bar hopping at places like Employees Only (with their in house spooky accurate Tarot Card reader) then go and dance the night away at Hotel Chantelle. And you can't miss out on a delicious feed at Katz's Deli or Russ & Daughters.
And don’t discount heading out of Manhattan and going to Brooklyn for some delicious and fresh Vietnamese, or heading out to Harlem, Queens and the Bronx.
New York has some exercise classes that are unlike any others in the world. You can do classes with Nike Master trainers such as Kirsty Godso or Krissy Jones. Go to epicentres of fitness such as Project by Equinox, or almost cult classics like Soul Cycle, and uniquely New York yoga at SkyTing.
If you’re a lover of sights and museums, save yourself a bit of money and get a city pass. Or, do a bit of research and find out if there are any times for free entry, or ‘Pay what you wish’. The Frick Collection, for example, does a ‘Pay What you Wish’ on Wednesday between 2-6pm, and the Guggenheim on Saturdays between 5.45-7.45pm. Do a bit of research and you never know what you’ll find. With the museums, check in advance if you need to pre-book into certain exhibits, and if you buy tickets online and they’re ‘skip the line’ tickets.
Have a delicious afternoon by going to explore the High Line and ending up at the Chelsea Market. You can check out Brooklyn based ‘Plastic Free Shop’ as well as ‘The Filling Store’. And god bless America for deciding to fry cheese, because The Big Mozz if your one stop shop for all things mozzarella- fried or unfried.
Even if you’re not a sports fan, try and make it to a game. If for nothing else, then experiencing the atmosphere at a Brooklyn Nets game at the Barclays Centre, or a game at Madison Square Gardens.
Not a fan of sports, no drama. Check out the Rockefeller centre, Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building. One World Trade centre is incredible, as is the memorial which is as moving as it is awe inspiring. And while you’re down that end of town, do the Brooklyn Bridge. Either walk all the way to Brooklyn and back, or jump on a metro, start in Brooklyn and walk to Manhattan. That’s the view you want, the view of Manhattan.
New York is what you make it. You could easily lose yourself in museums, or lose yourself in bars and restaurants. It’s the city that never sleeps and it’s incredibly easily to get swallowed up whole by the city. You’ll almost 100% want to go back again, and again, and again. And each time you go, you’ll discover something new.