It's been awhile since I've been to NYC but nonetheless it is still one of my favorite cities in the world! Caleb and I took our first trip to NYC together after we graduated from Iowa State as my graduation gift to him! We were super in to naming our trips back then and called this was Graduation Exploration, ha! We had such a fun week though exploring all of NYC together and knocked all the touristy things out of the way. When we travel somewhere for the first time we love to hit all the tourist spots on that trip so that when we go back in the future we can concentrate on my local based adventures. For us personally we love the tourist hot spots...for us they are what initially get us excited to go somewhere for the first time! So if you're just like us then this quick guide is definitely for you! Here are our recommendations for all the fun things to do in NYC + some amazing places to eat & drink!
MTA aka the subway - If you are staying in NYC for longer than a couple of days we recommend getting the 7 day pass priced at $32 per person. This will get you unlimited rides on the subway and buses all throughout the city.
Walking - The other great way to get around NYC is to walk! Every block is blossoming with exciting things to see. If you walk a couple of miles instead of taking a cab or the subway you'll get to see so many more highlights in this city!
Cabs - To each their own but we don't recommend taking cabs or Ubers. They are way overpriced and the traffic all over the city is INSANE. You'll waste so much time and money going this route.
City Pass - If you are super in to museums like we are then we recommend getting the NYC City Pass. It's priced at $126 per adult and $104 per child It gets you in to the Empire State Building, American Museum of Natural History, the Met, Top of the Rock or the Guggenheim Museum, Statue of Liberty + Ellis Island or Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise, and 9/11 Memorial or Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum. We purchased this on our trip for the museums alone and the Empire State Building and the Circle Line cruise were just extra perks thanks to it! You will save 42% on admission to these places, so if you are interested in even half of them then we highly suggest going this route because you will save a ton of money. You can purchase this City Pass on their website before your trip or at any of the locations that the pass includes.
American Museum of Natural History - GA: $23 per adult, $13 per child. Open from 10am - 5:45pm daily. Highlights: hall of dinosaurs, Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, hall of biodiversity, hall of ocean life, Great Canoe. The movie Night at the Museum was shot here.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) - GA: $25 per adult, children under 12 yrs old are free. Open 10am - 5:30 pm Sun-Thur and 10am - 9pm Fri-Sat. Highlights: Marilyn by Andy Warhol, Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, Water Lillies by Claude Monet, By the Seashore by Auguste Renoir, Marble statue of Eirene by Kephisdotos. The Met steps outside the front of the museum are very well known and it's fun to sit here on a nice day and eat some frozen yogurt.
Guggenheim Museum - GA: $25 per adult, children under 12 yrs old are free. Open 10am - 5:45 pm daily except Thursdays they are closed. Highlights: Thannhuser collection, Brancusi collection. They always have the coolest temporary exhibits, too. The Guggenheim building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Modern Museum of Art (MoMA) - GA: $25 per adult, children under 16 yrs old are free. Open 10am - 5:30 pm daily and open till 8pm on Fridays. Highlights: Starry Night by Vincent van Gough, Campbells Soup Cans by Andy Warhol, Girl with Ball by Roy Lichtenstein, One: Number 31 by Jackson Pollock, Girl before a Mirror by Paoblo Picasso.
Central Park - Located in Upper Manhattan. Take a walk around to all the iconic areas like The Mall, Strawberry Fields, the Zoo, and the motor boat pond. Have a picnic, read a book, go for a run, pet all the dogs!
Rockefeller Center - Located in Midtown. Go see SNL, Jimmy Fallon, or Seth Meyers. Get on the Today Show and go to the Top of the Rock (it's included in the NYC City Pass!) And of course in the winter go ice skating!
Times Square - Located in Midtown. Go see a Broadway show or all the street performers if you want to go the free route. Enjoy all the lights and if you're lucky enough to visit at New Years see the ball drop!
Brooklyn Bridge - Take a walk across this iconic bridge. Start out by taking the Subway to Brooklyn and then walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan on the bridge. You'll get some amazing views of the Manhattan skyline, a view of the Manhattan Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty.
Empire State Building - Located in Midtown. Day or night, go up to the top for some incredible views of NYC. Daytime is great for photos and night time is great for enjoying the lights. This spot is also a part of the NYC City Pass.
Where to Eat
JG Melon - 19291 3rd Ave.
The most amazing burgers you'll ever have! The bacon cheeseburger is our recommendation along with an old fashioned.
Steve's Pizza - 110 Trinity Pl
Authentic New York style pizza! Steve's serves huge slices in lower Manhattan and has great views of the hustle and bustle of the Financial District.
Tout va Bien - 311 W 51st St.
The cutest little underground French spot! Located in the Theater District, it's the perfect spot to grab some dinner before a show or walking around Times Square. The food is so delicious but the best part is the big bowl of sangria that they bring you for free at the end of your meal! Cheers!
Laudree - 864 Madison Ave
The best macarons...EVER. Grab a big box of these delicious little cookies and walk around Central Park. This French bakery is so iconic and a must visit while you're wandering around the Upper East Side.
For all of my NYC recommendations visit my New York City Guide and for more amazing NYC spots visit 10 Amazing Hidden Gems in NYC from All The Rooms!
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I’m Diana; curator & author of Tiny Dapper Fox. Here you’ll find posts on motherhood, home life, travel, & fashion/beauty as well as City Guides for places all around the world. Make yourself cozy and let’s be friends!
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