So you’ll finally be able to live the dream — set foot in the Big Apple, wear your most fashionable outfit, hold a cup of coffee in one hand, and stride through the busy streets of New York City.
Here’s the thing—before you book your hotel/airbnb, I suggest you make sure first that you’re all set with your itinerary. Once you’re through, that’s the only time when you should look for a place to lodge in. As much as possible, stay somewhere that has easy access to major thoroughfares so it’ll be easy for you to get around the city. I’ve only been to NYC once (I’m hoping that it won’t be my last!), and we only had three whole days to tour around. I know, it’s a little too short for first time tourists, but I believe we were still able to see a lot for a short period of stay. I’d like to share it with you, hoping that this can be of help in doing your itinerary.
A summary of things to do in New York City—let’s begin!
1. BROOKLYN BRIDGE
What better way to start off your NYC itinerary than to visit one of the most infamous landmarks in the state? Walk, drive, or ride a bicycle—it’s really up to you, so long as you make sure to pay a visit to the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.
WHAT TO DO:
- Know about the history of Brooklyn Bridge
- Admire the beauty of Manhattan skyline
- Take photos
- The bridge is a 1.3-mile walk. Make sure to wear comfy footwear.
- Stay in the pedestrian lane and be wary of vehicles passing by.
- There a no bathrooms, food and water vendors. Come prepared.
2. GRAND CENTRAL
Grand Central Terminal is one of the busiest and largest train stations in the world. Remember the flash mob scene from Friends with Benefits? Or the first scene in Gossip Girl—you know, where Serena Van Der Woodsen was spotted? These are just some of the famous movie and television scenes filmed at the Grand Central Terminal. Go ahead and search up!
TIP: There’s a passageway near Oyster Bar and Restaurant called the Whispering Gallery. Its arched walls make two people standing from diagonal corners hear each other’s whispers. You should try it out!
WHAT TO DO:
- Whispering Gallery
- Food trip at Grand Central market and dining concourse
3. HERSHEY’S AND M&M’S WORLD
Perfect for chocolate lovers like me! As it houses chocolate candies in hundreds of different colors and flavors, the 3-storey M&M’s World is definitely a treat for the eyes and taste buds. Hershey’s Chocolate World on the other hand sells all of our favorite Hershey’s chocolates all in one roof.
- M&M’s World: 1600 Broadway, New York
- Hershey’s Chocolate World: 1593 Broadway, New York (closed); 20 Times Square Bldg. 701 7th, New York (opening soon)
OPERATING HOURS: 9:00am – midnight
4. LITTLE ITALY
What else to do in NYC?
Although the neighbourhood has shrunk down from its earlier days, still, nothing can beat the authentic Italian dishes served by the restaurants around the area. Also, the area prides itself for preserving some of the best bars and trendiest clothing stores in the state! Check out Mulberry Street if you plan on including Little Italy to your itinerary.
This 11-storey department store was built way back in 1858—so long that it has already become a huge part of the city’s culture. Whether you’re here to shop, eat, or just wants to admire this historic icon, there’s surely something for everyone who wants to take a bite out of the big apple!
ADDRESS: 151 W 34th St., New York
OPERATING HOURS: 10am – 10pm (Mon to Sat); 11am – 9pm (Sun)
6. MADAMME TUSSAUDS
The celebrated museum located at the heart of Times Square is home for lifelike wax figures of famous personalities. Take loads of selfies as you rub shoulders with your favourite icons from around the globe. Get as much as $6 off when you buy you tickets online: Madame Tussauds — Buy Tickets Online
STANDARD OPENING TIMES: 10am – 8pm (Sun to Thurs); 10am – 10pm (Fri & Sat)
EXTENDED HOURS: 10am – 10pm
SUMMER EXTENDED HOURS: 9am – 10pm (Sun to Thurs); 9am – 12am (Fri & Sat)
7. NEW YORK STATE SUPREME COURT & THURGOOD MARSHALL US COURTHOUSE
Another famous filming spots are these stunning courthouses. With its large columns and massive staircases, these buildings are definitely a must-see for architecture and legal lovers alike. They say you can even check out the proceedings, you just have to ask for permission.
ADDRESS: 60 Center St., New York; 40 Center St., New York
8. ROCKEFELLER CENTER
Another must-see attraction you shouldn’t dare miss (most especially when you’re visiting during holidays) is the Rockefeller Center. This huge complex is home to NBC headquarters. Too bad we went there on an evening—most of the attractions were already closed. But since we went during holiday season, we got to see the massive Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. The vibe was made even more magical seeing the kids skating at the rink! Still definitely worth the travel!
ADDRESS: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York
WHAT TO DO:
- Rockefeller tour
- Top of the Rock Observation Deck
- The Rock MoMA/Museum of Modern Art (FREE for kids 16 and under)
- Rockefeller Center Channel Gardens
- NBC Studio Tour
- The Radio City Stage Door Tour
- The Radio City Christmas Spectacular (available during holiday season only)
- Skate at The Rink (open during winter)
- Shop & dine at The Concourse
Top of the Rock
OPERATING HOURS: 8am – midnight daily
TICKET PRICE: Starts at $34 (adult), $28 (6-12 yrs. old), and $32 (senior)
NOTE: The last ticket is sold at 11pm and the last elevator goes up at 11:15pm.
NBC Studio Tour
OPERATING HOURS: 8:30am -2:00pm (weekdays); 8:30am – 5:00pm (weekends)
TICKET PRICE: $33 (adult), $29 (child/senior)
The Radio City Stage Door Tour
OPERATING HOURS: 9:30am – 5:00pm daily
TICKET PRICE: $26.95 (adult), $19.95 (12 yrs. & under)
9. STATUE OF LIBERTY
Your list of things to do in NYC won’t really be complete without seeing the Statue of Liberty up close! No need for longer explanation here, you already know that this is a must. Buy your tickets here: Statue of Liberty — Buy Tickets Online
TICKET PRICE: Starts at $18.50 (adult), $14 (senior), $9 (child), & FREE admission for children up to 3 yrs. old
10. TIMES SQUARE
Walk along the brightly illuminated intersection of Time Square, and feel the contagious energy exuding from one of the world’s major entertainment industry hubs. This is where Madamme Tussauds, M&M’s World, and Theatre District are at. This is where the infamous NYE ball drop is situated annually as well.
Can you believe we were able to do all these in just a span of three days and still be able to squeeze in a quick side trip to New Jersey + long hours of shopping? Talk about making the most out of our first NYC trip! Haha!
So there you go! I hope this New York City guide helps you in all ways possible. Have fun ‘cause I definitely did!