New York City – The City! Always preceded by superlatives, New York cannot be defined by them but at the same time, bypasses them. The easily recognizable skyline rises above an action packed city, beckoning visitors from across the globe. Hectic, mind boggling, exciting, hip, it’s the place to be. New York City is a trendsetter in every way. Easily the restaurant capital of the world, one can catch celebrity chefs whipping up exotic cuisines at many an eating place. The shopping options leave even the most hardened shopaholics exhausted. Intriguing museums in the world call out to art junkies. New York’s shows and cultural activities can keep you busy for a while, and when you finally decide to check out the nightlife, party like a New Yorker!
Visitors are generally aware of the major attractions that a New York City guide will show you – Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, the Met and the MoMA. Listed below are some of those and a few not so touristy must dos.
- Cycle tour of Central Park – Central Park is 843 acres of greenery, water bodies, pathways, views and sceneries. The best way to explore a portion of this urban oasis in the heart of New York City is on bicycle. You can hire a bike and set off by yourself or be a part of a tour group as you pedal your way over the undulating terrain. Central park is full of surprises – as you go along, you come across the Central Park Zoo, Belvedere Castle, Sheep Meadow and Delacorte Theatre to name a few.
- The famed New York skyline, easily recognizable throughout the world for its soaring skyscrapers forming the iconic jagged outline. The best place to view the scene in person is from the observation deck on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building. For an extra charge, visitors can get a bird’s eye view from the observation deck on the 102nd floor.
- Museums in New York are an absolute must visit. Visitors will be spoilt for choice – there’s just so much to see – the Met (the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), the Guggenheim, the Frick, the Jewish Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the list goes on. The city is a haven for art lovers – Friday evenings offer a special treat – Van Gogh’s Starry Night at the MoMA free of charge!
- Times Square – A first timer to Times Square can be forgiven for not knowing where to look – the dazzling store fronts, massive digital billboards and the bright lights easily leave people spellbound. Once you find your bearings, there isn’t a more engaging place than Times Square. Catch a show on Broadway; get pictures clicked with wax celebrities at Madame Tussauds or just shop till you drop.
- Theatre buff or not, watching a Broadway show is mandatory. The elaborate stage productions on Broadway’s theatres are a once in a lifetime experience for visitors. Watching a Broadway production is one of New York’s most popular tourist activities, so plan the visit and book your tickets.
- Grimaldi’s Pizzeria – Though the best pizza in the City has always been a point of contention, you can’t go wrong with Grimaldi’s – a coal-fired pizzeria under the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge. Not only will you get a memorable piece, you’ll also get a memorable view of Manhattan from one of the oldest and most picturesque parts of Brooklyn.
- Shopping is another quintessential New York experience. High fashion stores line Madison Avenue where it’s safe to window shop, while major department stores like Saks and Bloomingdale’s can be found on Fifth Avenue in Midtown. Head to Meatpacking District for all things cutting edge, while high-fashion boutiques dot SoHo. Rummage through vintage clothing boutiques on the Lower East Side or sift through sunglasses, purses, and watches on the hectic Canal Street in Chinatown.
- Talking of all things cutting edge at Meatpacking District, come back here for the hippest and the craziest bars and clubs. Dotted with brash nightspots, this is where the beautiful people of New York come to party. Spend an evening bar hopping to know how it’s done.
- No one should leave New York without checking out the Statue of Liberty. New York’s most recognizable landmark, the Lady Liberty can be viewed from land but a better option is taking the ferry to Liberty Island and getting up close and personal.
- Grand Central Terminal – A bustling reminder of New York’s illustrious past, you can spend a whole day here without feeling the need to go elsewhere. While you’re here, tear yourself away from gazing at the overhead mural and head over to the Oyster Bar, the Campbell Apartment, the Whispering gallery and the gourmet culinary market.