8 Things to Do in New York City

Published 27 May 2016

Alexandra Gregg

New York is one of the biggies. It’s the stuff of movies, song lyrics, birthday celebrations, marriage proposals and epic city breaks. And with such great responsibility comes a plethora of options for the Manhattan traveller. So where do you begin? Which sites are a tourist-go, and which are a tourist-no? From an unending list, we’ve narrowed down eight of the must things to do in New York City:

The High Line, New York

Walk the High Line

Eat your heart out Johnny Cash – this line really is made for walking. Soaring nine metres above the pavements of Midtown, the High Line sits atop the tracks of a historic freighter line, weaving between trees and skyscrapers to create an urban park like no other. Along its 1.45-mile stretch you’ll encounter over 350 species of plant, a range of outdoor art projects, abundant park snacks (from Mexican street-fare to ice cream), and myriad free activities – from dance performances to live music.

New York pizza

Grab a slice in Brooklyn

New York is synonymous with pizza, and few pizzerias do it better than those in the neighbourhood over the East River: Brooklyn. Speak to one of our Travel Experts about the Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour, where you’ll spend more than four hours sampling world-famous pizza, as well as exploring Coney Island and stopping off at multiple famous movie locations. You’ll even skip the queues at renowned pizzerias like Grimaldi’s.

While you’re out and about in the Brooklyn area, take the time to burn off those carbs with a walk, bike ride or jog along Brooklyn Bridge, all the while admiring the Big Apple views too; the skyline looks even better from afar.

View from Rockefeller


See the city from above

It’s hard to appreciate the sheer size of the Big Apple when you’re right in the thick of it, surrounded by tower block upon tower block. For a bit of perspective, get up high. Both the Rockefeller Center (Top of the Rock) and the Empire State Building offer unrivalled views across the city, by day and night. Opening hours are 8am-midnight and 8am-2am respectively.

Gapstow Bridge

Explore Central Park on foot…

…or in a horse-drawn carriage or pedicab. As the nation’s first park, not to mention one of its most famous, Central Park has plenty on offer within its 843 acres. TV and movie fans will love The Loeb Boathouse – featured in many a romantic flick – as well Gapstow Bridge, where several films, include Disney’s Enchanted, were shot. You can go rowing on the lake, admire animals from all over the world at the Central Park Zoo and exercise your brain at the Chess & Checkers House, before relaxing amid the vast swathes of lush, picnic-perfect greenery.

Times Square, New York

Immerse yourself in Times Square

Times Square is a hectic frenzy, ablaze with technicolour neon and buzzing with throngs of tourists, all desperate to soak up the high-energy atmosphere of this legendary intersection. It may sound daunting to stand in the thick of it, but it’d be remiss of any first-timer not to experience the headiness of it in the flesh. Yes, it’s bright and busy, but it’s also the beating heart of Manhattan and you can’t help but get sucked in by its larger than life character.

Fifth Avenue shopping, New York

Shop ‘til you drop

New York is the birthplace of shopping. Okay, so that isn’t exactly a fact, but it should be. From Macy’s to Bloomingdales to Tiffany’s to the Woodbury Common and Jersey Gardens outlet centres: the Big Apple has it all. Avid shoppers even fly to the city purely to spend a week or weekend partaking in some retail therapy. Time to dig deep.

Statue of Liberty and Staten Island ferry

Get out on the water

New York looks great from up high, as we’ve already mentioned, but it also looks pretty wonderful from the water too. Fortunately, boat tours are in huge supply here. For after-dark scenes you can embark on a Harbour Lights Cruise from Pier 83 in Hell’s Kitchen, or why not sail around the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from Battery Park? If you’re looking for something cheap and cheerful, opt for the return ferry ride to Staten Island – it won’t cost you a dime.

Rainy New York City

Become a culture vulture

Manhattan is as great for rainy days as it is for sunny ones. After all, it has innumerable museums to choose from, and visiting won’t break the bank either. Our favourites are the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Modern Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History. For design at its most unique, the Guggenheim is worth the journey up to East 88th Street, while, at the very tip of Manhattan, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum serves a compelling insight into the 9/11 attacks.

Spend three days soaking up the culture of New York City before heading to the Bahamas and Miami on our Cities & Paradise Journey, just one of our many tailor-made USA holidays.

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