Bright yellow taxis, gritty bustling streets and looming skyscrapers are a scene straight out of a big screen movie hit – but it’s all quintessential New York. This city is big, loud and energetic. NYC can be mind-boggling for the first time traveller, but there’s no need to be overwhelmed. This diverse city is a whole lotta fun and this guide will help you take a tasty bite of your trip of a lifetime to America’s big apple.
Things to See and Do
New York City comprises the central island of Manhattan where most travellers find they spend the majority of their time, and the four outer boroughs – Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. Hop in a ubiquitous yellow cab or ride the subway for an authentic way to discover the city.
Catch your breath in Central Park. Hire a bicycle and explore the park’s 843 acres of lush green lawns, spectacular views and beautiful flowers.
The Empire State Building offers unmatched views of the city. Visit during the week in the morning or at lunchtimes to beat the crowds, and it’s guaranteed there won’t be any giant gorillas to spoil the view.
If you’re travelling with young children, give them an experience to remember at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum packed with exhibits they can see, touch and feel, and daily activities including storytelling and arts and crafts projects.
The iconic Statue of Liberty is an obvious choice, but well worth it. A trip to the museum gives valuable insight into the history of the monument, and a trip to the top affords a fascinating view of the nuts and bolts of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s creation, as well as a stunning view of the city below.
For something a little bit different, head over to the 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center, one of the world’s best places to see some remarkable examples of spray-paint art.
Shoppers will be thrilled by the amount of choice offered in New York’s shopping venues. The city is home to almost all the big chain stores, as well as vintage and boutique shopping experiences. Here are some of the best.
Characteristically NYC, Bloomingdales, this cathedral of consumerism is packed with gleaming displays filled with fashion from designer labels to clothes for the kids. Style lovers are sure to find something here, and the service always comes with a smile.
For more avant-garde fashion nestled amongst elegant architecture take a trip to the Soho neighbourhood. There’s a great ambience here and an arty vibe which makes it stand out from other areas of NYC.
The East Village
Considered by some to be more ‘bohemian’ than other areas of the city, this neighbourhood is a great place to hunt for bargains. There’s a permanent lively street market at St. Marks Place where you can buy anything from jewellery to rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia.
This is your opportunity for gift shopping. Specialty bookstores and record stores are intermingled here with antiques and craft shops – and there are plenty of gourmet food shops offering local delicacies to munch on while you browse or take home as gifts.
New York food is as diverse as the culture, and it’s possible to find almost any cuisine here from all over the world. There’s something to suit everyone’s tastes, but be aware that popular restaurants often have a 1-2 hour waiting time, so make a reservation in advance or be prepared to be patient!
New York pizza is a must, and there are plenty of venues to sample the best NYC has to offer. Try Lombardi’s – the city’s longest established pizzeria – for a slice of something authentic. If you’re eating cheap the street vendors have plenty of tasty treats to suit your budget, from pizza to bagels, and a trip to Chinatown will see your belly full for very little money.
If you fancy a spot of fine dining, Delmonico’s is considered one of the city’s best, and it has an impressive wine cellar too. Try the house special – Delmonico Steak – a prime cut of boneless rib-eye and wash it down with a sophisticated red.
It’s true that this city never sleeps, and street life buzzes round the clock, and the atmosphere is welcoming. New York’s bar and club scenes are vibrant and varied with venues ranging from the classic to super cool. NYC nightlife is spirited in more ways than one, and however you choose to spend your evening you’re guaranteed to have a blast.