5 Things You Have to Experience if You’re Visiting New York

Travel

Last Updated on: Dec 1, 2023 

A visit to New York City is a new experience every time you go, no matter how many times you’ve been there. There is always something unique you haven’t seen or done yet, and the attractions, shops, and restaurants are ever-changing.

Still, some things are simply a part of what makes NYC, well, NYC! Even the transportation is iconic, from the distinctly New York versions of transportation to JFK Airport to the arches of historic Grand Central Station’s train depot.

Manhattan, New York, United States

So, as you plan your first trip to the Big Apple, you’ll have more than enough attractions to fill your itinerary and keep you busy. You probably already have the traditional Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building on your list, and those tourist attractions are fine! But we suggest adding these 5 must-sees to your schedule to get a true taste of the City That Never Sleeps.

1. Central Park

Central Park New York

An expansive 843 acres make up this massive attraction, popular with residents and visitors alike! However, if you’ve never been to Central Park before, you need to understand what you’re getting into before planning your visit.

First, there’s no way to see everything in the park in one day unless you opt for one of the carriage or bike rides to take you around the main grounds. Even then, you’ll miss a lot of the details.

Unlike most destinations, you can’t type “Central Park” in your GPS and expect to get where you want to go. Instead, look for the things in the park that you want to see, such as:

● Strawberry Fields

● Alice in Wonderland statue

● Belvedere Castle

● The Pond

● Nature Observatory

Central Park has hundreds of attractions, not counting the Central Park Zoo, a separate destination. Multiple entrances will get you into the park, but you must plan for the opening closest to the main attractions you want to see.  We suggest using the Central Park Attraction website to find your favorites, making sure they’re clustered near each other. Otherwise, plan to be in Central Park for the whole day — which really isn’t a bad thing!

2. Times Square

Times Square, New York City, USA

A trip to New York City isn’t complete without a stroll through Times Square. This area is full of your typical restaurant and shopping tourist attractions, including massive three-story (or higher) retailers, skyscrapers, and the mega billboards you’ve seen in dozens of movies.

Keep in mind that Times Square can get extremely crowded, especially in the evenings and weekends. If you prefer to check out this vital part of the Big Apple without as many people crowding the sidewalks, go before dinnertime on a weekday.

You might see your favorite characters, like Mickey Mouse, wandering the area. These characters will let you take your picture with them, but be prepared to tip them for the service! If you’re really lucky (or you time your trip strategically), you might even see actors filming their next movie.

Another thing to consider about a visit to this area is that the shops here are mostly catering to tourists. That means you’ll pay more for the same thing you can probably get other places. If you’re on a budget, save your souvenir shopping and dining for other stops.

3. World Trade Center & 9/11 Memorial

A part of history that will never be forgotten is made immortal in the 9/11 Memorial. This tranquil place is designed to commemorate those lost in the tragic terrorist act on 9/11/01. The memorial encompasses eight acres out of the 16-acre World Trade Center complex.

9/11 Memorial in New York City

Within the World Trade Center, located in the Financial District, you’ll see a museum dedicated to those who lost their lives in the attack. It’s also home to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7 World Trade Center, Oculus, the One World Observatory, and more.

As you walk around the grounds, you’ll come across two memorial pools, nearly one acre each. These were built exactly where the downed North and South Towers fell. The cascading waterfalls that stream down the perimeter of the pools descend 30 feet into the basins below, making them the largest manmade falls in North America. The idea of the water disappearing into the voids below is to showcase the pool as a form of visible absence — water flows into the voids, but the voids are never filled.

Keep an eye out for the white roses along the list of names etched around the pool. These show remembrance of the birthdays of those who lost their lives in the tragedy.

4. 5th Avenue

5th Ave Christmas lighting, New York City

A stroll along 5th Avenue introduces you to some incredible architecture and iconic businesses you won’t want to miss.

Fifth Avenue holds the world-famous Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center (home of the exciting Christmas tree lights and ice skating rink), and the Flatiron Building. Museum Mile, along Fifth Avenue and Central Park, offers museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum. And, of course, you’ll need to at least windowshop in Saks Fifth Avenue.

Guggenheim Museum, 5th Avenue New York, NY, USA

Don’t let your explorations stop there, though! Fifth Ave is full of things you’ll want to take pictures of, including:

● The port that takes you to the Statue of Liberty

● The Metropolitan Opera

● Broadway Theaters (off Broadway Street)

● Brooklyn Bridge

● Radio City Music Hall

● The New York Public Library (and its classic lion statues that guard the stair entrance)

● Grand Central Terminal

● Christie’s

● Sotheby’s

● The United Nations

This section of NYC gives you that classic Manhattan Skyline seen from a distance and on every stereotypical Big Apple postcard you see.

5. Broadway

Broadway New York United States

Finally, relax after a long day of adventuring the streets with a Broadway show! Check the Playbill to find out what’s showing while you’re in the city, and book your tickets as soon as you know when you want to go. There’s no drama experience like seeing a play on Broadway, and it will complete your trip and accent your vacation with a memory you’ll never forget.

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Agni Amrita Travel Blogger

Hey! we’re Agni & Amrita.

We have been travelling together since the last 15 years and writing independent and personal travel content since 2014. Travel is one of the best teachers and through this blog, we aim to share our experiences and travel tips. We encourage you to travel more and see the world through your eyes and not through filtered templates.

Find more about us.

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