the wee food blogger© New York travel guide

new york, traveller’s guide

A traveller’s guide to the Big Apple

 Top 10 things to do as a tourist in NYC 💛

The city that never sleeps really does never sleep, but when you’ve been pounding the streets all day, you will sleep well!

1. Top of the Rock (from $32)

The first port of call on our itinerary was the Rockefeller Centre in central Manhattan. The 67th, 68th and 70th floor viewing decks afford breathtaking views across the city, from all sides. Play eye spy with famous New York landmarks.

Pay a little extra for a ‘Sun and Stars’ ticket to be able to visit twice within 24 hours to see the city in daytime and at night when the bright lights dazzle for miles and miles.

2. The Highline (free)

From West 34th to the meatpacking district, you can walk down (or up, there are various access points along the way too) a decommissioned elevated railway line which offers a peaceful space for a leisurely stroll to take in the sights and sounds of New York.

A highlight includes one of Zaha Hadid‘s last projects before her sad death earlier this year.

Start at 34th Street and finish up down at Gansevoort Street where the viewing balcony shows where the line was severed, followed by breakfast at Bubby’s. You can see more about Bubby’s on my NY Food Journal here.

3. Street Art and Installations (free)

There is lots of street art scattered across the city, by some very famous names. Keep your eyes peeled whilst walking around the city for some gems. Some artists below unknown.

Nick Walker, 17th Street and 6th Avenue

D’Face, Broome Street and Lafayette

4. Brooklyn Bridge (free)

The most famous bridge in New York allows pedestrians and cyclists alike to go from downtown Manhattan to Brooklyn and offers some stunning views in both directions.

We timed it to head over in daylight and back at dusk. This gave us some lovely lighting for photos; check sunset times to know when to head back over.

5. Coney Island (free entry, rides more)

When in Brooklyn, grab the subway down to the southern point of the borough and head to the old school Coney Island amusement park to relive your youth.

Whilst still popular with families, it’s obviously not quite the destination it used to be. However for nostalgia and photo ops, it’s a must do whilst in New York.

6. Liberty and Ellis Island (various ticket options from $18)

Catch the ferry from Battery Park and sail around the infamous Lady Liberty who was gifted to New York from France.

We opted for the hard hat tour ($53.00) of Ellis Island immigrant hospital. We were so glad we chose this option over accessing the Liberty statue as its not as big as it looks on TV and the tour of the now abandoned hospital was so interesting. The island also has amazing views of lower Manhattan.

Run by volunteers of Save Ellis Island, you are guided through the safe parts of the hospital buildings which housed many of the 12.5 million (!) immigrants who passed through Ellis Island for immigration inspection at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.

Artist JR installed many of the archive photos poignantly throughout the hospital buildings to bring the ghosts of Ellis Island back to life. They are both haunting and beautiful.

The photos have been allowed to decay alongside the building which enhances their impact on the viewer.

7. Empire State Building (from $32)

New York’s most iconic tower rises high above even the tallest skyscrapers and dwarves almost all of them. It’s beautiful Art Deco design stuns from the inside and out.

The viewing deck is 16 floors more than Top of the Rock, so the views span a little more and makes the vast city look like a toy town!

8. Museums and Galleries (various prices) 

New York is home to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian, the Guggenheim and the American Museum of Natural History to name but a few. You could spend a week and still never make it round all of them so just pick a few you want to go to.

We chose MoMA which houses the works of Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Matisse and many, many, many more.

Our second choice was the American Museum of Natural History so chosen for its collection of dinosaurs! To think these gigantic creatures once walked out earth blows my mind.

9. Central Park (free)

Spanning 843 acres, Central Park is gargantuan for an inner city park. It’s one of the most famous in the world and allows residents and visitors alike to escape from the hustle and bustle of the New York streets.

Highlights include the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Resevoir which is surrounded by a path for runners and walkers.

Spectacular views of the city.

The Lake, where you can rent a rowing boat ($15 for an hour)

And the Conservatory Water which you may recognise from Stuart Little!

10. The Landmarks (free to see)

A trip to New York would not be complete without seeing all of the iconic buildings which represent the city to us from afar.

The Flatiron Building

The Guggenheim

Washington Square Park

One World Trade Center

Ground Zero

Grand Central Terminal

Times Square


Little Italy

The shopping

And, of course, the yellow cabs

All the photos in the world would never do this beautiful city justice and you could never, ever possibly fit everything into one trip.  I for one cannot wait to go back.

the wee food blogger 💛

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