Known as the city that never sleeps, or the big apple, New York City, is one of the top travel destinations! There is no other city in the world that compares to this concrete jungle. We visited during a frigid week in March and still had a wonderful time.
These are some of the places that made a big impression on us that we recommend checking out if you visit.
There are over 700 hotels to choose from when looking for a place to stay in NYC. We chose to stay at The Dominick hotel and were so happy we did! The Dominick is the only five-star hotel in SoHo and is within walking distance of so many amazing restaurants, cafes, shops, and subway stations. After a long day exploring the concrete jungle in cold temperatures, it was so nice to come back to our beautiful room, enjoy a luxurious bath in the deep soaker tub and crawl into our king-size pillow top bed that felt like a cloud! Day or night, we could enjoy the breathtaking views of the city thanks to the panoramic windows. This hotel is high in demand, so if you want to want to stay here, we recommend booking in advance as it does fill up. Prices start at roughly $350 USD a night, depending on the time of year you visit.
Over 60 million people from around the world travel to New York City to take in the many sights. They aren’t visiting for the beautiful weather or relaxing beaches; it’s for the historical and architectural attractions and the overall buzz New York is known for. Some things are better done in the summer (e.g., picnic in Central Park) and others that are great in the winter (e.g., Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center), but no matter the time of year, there is an abundance of things to see an do.
WALK ACROSS THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE
No trip to NYC is complete without a visit to Brooklyn Bridge. Built in 1883, this iconic bridge connects Brooklyn to Manhattan. You can join a tour where a guide will walk you across and point out various points of interest and the bridge’s history, or you can just walk across yourself. Many New Yorkers use this bridge every day to get to work, and you will see just how busy it can get during rush hour. The walk across will give you great views of the city skyline and East River. If you are staying in Manhattan, you’ll head towards the Financial District and then walk toward the bridge. It will take you about 30 minutes to walk one way – longer if you stop for pictures!
CLIMB THE VESSEL
The newest addition to Hudson Yards, this spiral staircase is an interactive piece of art designed by Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio. From the staircase, you get incredible views of New York City! It is the perfect spot to practice your photography skills with different heights, angles, and vantage points. In a way, it’s like an adult jungle-gym with 154 connecting flights of stairs, 80 landings, and 2500 steps – it kind of looks like a massive honeycomb. There are only so many tickets available per day. If you really want to climb the vessel and don’t have a lot of flexibility with your schedule, then you can reserve a ticket for $10 USD. If you have some wiggle room in your itinerary, go to The Vessel at 9:30 am as they hand out free tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis.
GRAB A DRINK ON A ROOFTOP BAR
Visiting a rooftop bar, club or restaurant will give you some of the best views of the city, and all you need to pay is the cost of your drink! Some of the best rooftop bars in the city are Harriet’s located on top of 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, Dear Irving on Hudson, Mr. Purple, and Le Bain.
SEE NY FROM ABOVE
We took a helicopter ride with FlyNyon, and it was absolutely incredible! Seeing NYC from the sky gives you a whole new perspective. They have a few different helicopter tours available, some with the doors on and some off, and they range from 15 to 40-minute flight time. It’s definitely not one of the cheaper attractions, but it is a unique experience that is well worth it.
TOP OF THE ROCK
Another place to admire the New York from above is Top of The Rock. Seventy floors above the city, you get a most iconic sight of the Empire State Building. Half an hour before dusk is the most beautiful time to visit, however if you rather want to avoid crowds come early to mid-morning. Also advisable is to book your tickets ahead online. You can spend as much time up there as you like.
We loved our breakfasts at The Dominick – they were the best by far! There are so many amazing restaurants in NYC; it all depends on what you are looking for. We recommend making a trip to Little Italy and ordering a pizza. The candlelit restaurant, checkered tablecloths, great food, and good wine is a classic NYC experience. Sal’s is one of my favorites! If you are looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, check out Butler Bakeshop. They serve breakfast, lunch, and everything in between, with a great view of Brooklyn Bridge. They also make an amazing flat white!
New York City is massive, but thanks to its expansive public transit system, it is easy to get around. The subway lines crisscross the entire city. When you first look at the map, it can seem intimidating, but it is actually quite easy to navigate. Of course, there are the classic New York City yellow taxis at every corner, and an Uber is just a click away! We don’t recommend renting a car. Parking is expensive, and traffic can get really bad.
HOW TO GET THERE / WHEN TO GO
We visited in March, and although we had a great time, it was extremely cold the week we were there. You spend a great deal of time outside, walking the city streets, so you want the weather to be dry and warm enough to be comfortable walking from one place to the next. I recommend later spring, fall, or December around Christmas. Although December is cold, there are many exciting Christmas activities and decorations to enjoy that make it worth it!
HOW MANY DAYS
Just like any other destination, it depends on where you are coming from. If you live in the U.S., NYC is perfect for a long weekend trip. If you are traveling a long distance and dealing with some jetlag upon arrival, we recommend 5-7 days.
Accommodations can be quite reasonable for a big city, even in peak season.
There are also a variety of restaurants in different price ranges. Overall, NYC is pretty average.
WHAT TO BRING
- Comfortable shoes – plenty of walking if you’re like us!
- Layers – if you are visiting in winter, extra warm layers because of the heavy wind and a pair of gloves
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There are so many things to see in NYC. What would be the first thing you would visit if you were in New York?