When I visited New York City in the US with my parents, now already nine years ago, we walked our legs off. My dad had planned for us to see and do all of New York’s big sights and although we kept to our program, this city just cannot be explored in a couple of days.
Several posts could be dedicated to the shopping, the food, the architecture, the culture and the history in New York City. But for now, I’ve decided to stick to a small selection to get you started with your planning. Here are…
10 things to do in New York City
1. Times Square
Times Square is one of the most iconic places in New York City. Billboard lights everywhere, this square in the Broadway Theater District never goes to sleep. Times Square wasn’t always ‘Times Square’, though. It was first named Longacre Square but when The New York Times moved its headquarters there, ‘Times Square’ was born.
2. Statue of Liberty
Probably the best-known monument of New York, the Statue of Liberty is a gigantic sculpture on Liberty Island, in the middle of the New York harbor in Manhattan. Designed by the architect Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, it was a gift from France to the city of New York.
Lady Liberty, with her chains broken open at her feet, represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom. Her torch welcomes immigrants arriving over sea and on the tablet that she holds in her other hand is written the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4 1776.
3. Central Park
With its 840 acres Central Park is a pretty big urban park, to say the least. Located in the eastern part of the central-upper West Side of Manhattan, it’s the most visited urban park of the United States. That’s not surprising if you look at what Central Park has to offer: ice skating rinks, the Central Park Zoo, an outdoor amphitheater, wide lanes for inline skaters and runners, playgrounds … The list just goes on.
I mostly know SoHo, located in Lower Manhattan, as ‘shopping paradise’. When I was in New York City this is where we went shopping. Well, not only there, of course, but I do remember Soho having a lot of cool stores. Besides for shops, SoHo also has a wide range of art galleries.
The name SoHo is actually an abbreviation of South of Houston (Street), as well as a reference to the neighborhood of Soho in London.
A lot of the buildings in SoHo have cast-iron elements. This has lead for most of SoHo (the part known as the Soho Cast-Iron Historic District) to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
5. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
The MoMA isn’t just a museum with permanent and temporary exhibitions. It also schedules film and lectures and has a performance program.
With a ticket price of $25 for adults, the MoMA isn’t cheap, but it’s definitely worth a visit. Besides, there are a few discount formulas and on Friday nights the museum can be visited for free.
6. Empire State Building
Located in Midtown Manhattan, the 103-floors high Empire State Building is yet again a historic NYC landmark. It’s possible to visit both the 86th as the 102th floor of the building. The building can be visited 365 per year, from 8 am to 2 am (no kidding!). It’s best to buy tickets beforehand, but even then you might have to wait a while to be taken up with the elevator as only a certain amount of people can go up each time.
7. Ellis Island
From 1892 to 1954, migrants coming to New York City by water had to pass through the inspection post at Ellis Island. The on-site museum show the process these migrants had to go through. The old passenger lists make this piece of history very tangible.
8. The High Line
When I visited New York City about nine years ago, the High Line hadn’t been constructed yet. I’d love to go back and walk through this park that was once a freight rail line running above the city.
9. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum was first built to house Guggenheim’s Museum of Non-Objective Painting. It was renamed after the death of its founder. The Guggenheim New York is worth a visit just as much for its architecture as for its art collection. Especially famous is the central spiral room/hallway with its rounded walls.
At the moment there are also Guggenheim museums in Venice, Bilbao and Abu Dhabi, with which the Guggenheim New York shares its collection.
10. The Flatiron Building
This architectural highlight in Manhattan was actually named the ‘Fuller Building’, as it was built to serve as the headquarters for the Fuller Construction company. Due to its shape, however, it was quickly called ‘Flatiron’.
One other thing that’s an absolute most when visiting NYC, is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you’re a bit overwhelmed by the offer there, here are five works of art at the Metropolitan you should definitely check out.
Where to stay in New York City
Check Booking.com for an extensive list of options for all budgets and needs.
If you’re looking for an apartment rather than a hotel, I recommend checking airbnb. Sign up through my link and get a discount on your first stay!
More information about New York City can be found in these handy travel guides:
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