Whenever people tell me that they have not been to New York City, I begin to tell them why they HAVE to visit at least one time in their life. Manhattan is 100 cities vacuum packed into an island. Over the years, I have visited many of the places that I recommend for people.
Here my top ten recommended places to go in New York City
Grand Central Terminal needs no explanation. Just go. Stand in the middle of the floor and absorb the energy. People will walk around you as they rush to their trains or out the door.
Rockefeller center is another gathering place for people. In the wintertime, you can see people ice skating in front of the building.
Times Square – Day or night, Times Square is alive and ready to party. As you can imagine, the craziest time to go is New Year’s Eve since the ball is dropping to bring in the New Year. If you want to people watch, just find a spot and check out the thousands of people going by. Take a picture with one of the many costumed characters (see picture of me with Chewbacca), but do not forget to give them a tip. They are not standing out there for their health.
Central Park is a patch of grass and trees in a concrete jungle. In the summertime, you can check out a play in the park.
Empire State Building – 350th 5th Ave (near 33rd Str) Admission $17.61 (during my last visit). Go on a clear day and you can see for miles. It is breathtakingly, ultra-cool.
Ground Zero – 352 7th Ave. There is a museum located that gives a 2 hour tour. Last time I went, the recommend admission is $25. While most of the NYC trip might be fun and games, visiting Ground Zero allows for somber reflection on the senseless lives lost because of terrorism.
Little Italy – It is fun to walk through and visit one of the many Italian restaurants. The food is delicious.
Chinatown – Go to Canal Str and see how good your bargaining skills really are. Never EVER pay the first quoted price for anything off of the street. Even if you think it is a good deal, you can probably get it cheaper. Once you are finished shopping on the main strip, go down the side streets to check out the Chinese herbal stores. I have found the best prices for jasmine tea in one of these little shops. The only caveat is not to wander too far by yourself or too late at night. You do not want to be a target for backstreet crime.
American Museum of Natural History & Metropolitan Museum of Art – I love museums and these are two of my favorites. I can spend the whole day in each. There are many other museums, but if you only have for two, these are the ones to go to.
Broadway or off Broadway for a show. Ask the concierge at your hotel (or google) about the best way to get affordable priced show tickets.
Optional jaunt: Style is the name of the game in the Fashion District off of 34th Street. For any fashionista, this is the place to go to check out what trendy goodies are available. Clothes, shoes, scarves, jewelry. You name it, they have it. When you get your treasures home, you will get so many compliments.
Travel tip: The subway is the most efficient way to travel. Don’t let it intimidate you. Get a map of the subway lines (now available as an app for the iPhone) and you will be good to go. Taking taxis with NY traffic is like giving away money to me. I will say that the subway is not always the cleanest place, but it is not like I go there to eat.
Keep your wallet safe and have fun!