New York City: The city that never sleeps, and indeed it doesn’t! A bustling hub of skylines, opulence and yellow cabs.
Having visited New York in both winter and summer, i definitely appreciated it more in the summer!
There is so much to see and do in the city that planning is key. What i found the most useful during my trip, and my top tip for New York City is….
The New York Pass
The New York Pass allows you access to 100+ New York’s most popular and best attractions. You can have it for a duration of anything from 1 to 10 days and the price reflects this accordingly. I bought a 7 day pass which was around $296 (£215). Not only does it save you an absolute ton of money, but it means you don’t have to keep paying for attractions when you arrive and you don’t have to carry loads of cash with you! Having a New York Pass also enables to you skip the queues in places like Top of the Rock and MoMa. You can only visit the attractions once with the pass – except the Big Bus which you can use twice!
The pass also comes with a free handbook FULL of vouchers for money off some of New York’s best restaurants and shops. It really makes you squeeze as much into your time in the city as possible, as the App allows you to plan the best times to visit in accordance with opening times etc.
1. Empire State Building & Top of the Rock
The two most famous viewpoints in New York City. The New York Pass grants you access to both of these and you can skip the queue in both! If you have have been you’ll know the Empire State Building is much taller. So if you want the best of the best views of the City, then the Empire State Building is your best bet! The Top of the rock is the top floors of the Rockefeller Centre and there’s a really lovely restaurant outside the front doors of the Rockefeller – perfect for a glass of wine after taking in the views. At Christmas this is also where the ice skating rink is and the famous Christmas Tree from Home Alone.
2. Big Bus
This was one of my favourite things to do whilst in NYC. Its such a good way to see sights you don’t particularly want to see in depth but just have a quick glance! Unlike us Brits, Americans are so full of fun and energy so if you get a good tour guide it makes the experience so much more enjoyable! Ours was great and we had such a laugh during the tour. One of the most popular sights on Big Bus, is the house of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. This is where John Lennon was shot and killed and Yoko Ono actually still lives here. There are two routes to take on big bus – Downtown and Uptown routes. We found it was also a super helpful way to get to the Ferry port for Statue of Liberty and the 9/11 Memorial. Both of these are around a 25 minute drive from central manhattan, but Big Bus Drops you right outside both. We did the big bus in the day and the evening and its a perfect view point for Manhattans Skyline!
3. Renting bikes in Central Park
If you have been to NYC you will know how vast central park is! We thought in the July heat it was best to rent bikes! This was all included in our New York Pass and the renting shop is only a 5 minute walk away form central park. By biking we were able to make as many stops as wanted at different attractions. This included Strawberry Fields which is homage to John Lennon. It was lovely as people still lay flowers in his memory and the grassy area is full of people having picnics and playing The Beatles music.
You can also cycle right past the Central Park Zoo and the Bethesda Terrace. We were also amazed to find Lasker Swimming Pool – an enormous outdoor pool right in the Park! We stopped and sat outside Loeb Boathouse for ice cream – the perfect spot for people watching. If you are a fan of Home Alone you can also see the famous Gapstow Bridge.
4. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
Another must do in NYC and this is all included in the New York Pass. You can also skip the front of the ferry queue if you have one! Ellis island for me wasn’t as interesting as i thought, but i think whilst you’re over there you may as well make a stop. On Liberty island aside from the Statue Of Liberty of course, there is a couple of stalls making fresh lemonade – an absolute godsend in the July heat! The island also offers the perfect backdrop for a clear view of the City Skyline. The ferry there and back is slow and steady and you can see so much more of New York that you wouldn’t on land.
5. Radio City Stage Door Tour
This was also included in the New York Pass and it was fab! It’s not something you would traditionally do when in NYC, but if you’re into performing and music its a must do. The Rockettes are famous worldwide and you’d be crazy not to see them and their home in Radio City! The tour was great and you get to see the costume hall, the powder room as well as sitting in Radio City Music Hall completely empty! We returned later in the week to watch the rockettes perform and they were absolutely incredible.
6. 9/11 Memorial
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is arguably one of the most visited memorials in the world. Interestingly enough, in my first visit to New York, the twin towers were actually here, so to revisit this time round was eerie and really quite humbling. You aren’t allowed to take pictures or videos in some of the parts of this museum which is understandable but it is truly gut wrenching. The outer museum is wonderful – not too much, but a fitting tribute to all those lives lost. Parts of the twin towers still remain inside the memorial, aswell as one of the fire engines involved in the attack. Even if you don’t plan on going inside – the outer memorial is a must do, simply to pay respects for all the victims involved.
8. Other Attractions
Of course there is just sooooo much to see and do in NYC and these attractions don’t even scratch the surface. Walking down every avenue and through every district you will see something new and different. Absolutely i would agree with almost all of the must do’s! Times Square, Wall Street, Grand Central Station, Chelsea & The Meatpacking District, 5th Avenue, The New York Public Library, Trump Tower, Brooklyn & Brooklyn Bridge and Broadway. Ahh the list goes on! Each time i’ve visited NYC i’ve seen and experienced something different and there is still so much to do. if you haven’t visited New York City: GO!