When I thought to myself “Fuck it. *Throws hands in the air* I’m sick of this job. I quit. I need to get out of here…and fly to New York City!” I ended up booking my flight about two years ago. Okay, you don’t necessarily have to do it like I did it and quit your job, but maybe you get the gist.
Anyways, once I decided I wanted to visit the big apple I made a list of things I wanted to see and do. It was my first time traveling alone and I wanted to make the most out my 21 day stay. BTW, if it’s your first time in New York City I have put together An Ultimate Short New York City Beginners Guide in which I tell you what you should NOT do.
Also, I prefer an active holiday rather than laying next to the hotel pool for the next 14 days while I only get physically active when it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner time.
New York City is probably THE most known city in the world. Before my visit, I couldn’t quite understand ones love for the city that never sleeps. I was wondering “Seriously, what’s so great about it?!” and now after a 3 weeks stay I can say that I’m in LOVE with that city and I actually miss it dearly.
So, if you are in the middle of planning your first New York City trip this post is most definitely for you! So get your cup of tea, coffee, mocha latte or whatever you like and get ready for
10 things, you must do in New York City!
- Visit a Yankees Game
Now to me, visiting a baseball game isn’t new.
The first time I went to a baseball game was a high school baseball game in Oklahoma when I did my exchange year in 2008. ( Can someone say “Holy shit, you are old!”?!)
I enjoy quite a few American sports. Baseball, basketball, football..you name it. But even if you are not much into sports, visiting a Yankees Game is still worth a visit. The atmosphere is great. Everyone is enjoying the game while sipping on a coke or nibbling on some popcorn. Maybe you’ll even end up on the kiss cam. Who knows?!
- Go on Top of the Rock
I think the best time to go on top of the Rockefeller Center is early in the morning. Especially on a beautiful sunny day. That way you will get the most out of it. You can stay on the 70th floor of the Rockefeller Observation Desk for as long as you like. Also if you go early in the morning chances are that you don’t have to wait in line. Clever, isn’t it?
When I went up there it was in the evening.
Once you go through the entrance you will be directed to the booth where you can buy the ticket. My ticket cost me $ 34. I had to wait for an hour to get on top of the Rock. Luckily, you don’t have to waste your time standing in a queue because you purchase your ticket for a certain period of time. Let’s say you bought your ticket at 3 pm but the line is too long and you are eager to see other things in between that time. That’s no problem. Just tell the cashier you want to go up at 6 pm and you are ready to go.
Once you come back, you can go straight to the top. Awesome, right?
Also, did you know that Jimmy Kimmel has his studios there?
- Visit Central Park
Central Park……what more do I need to say?
There’s so much to see and so much to do.
There are baseball fields, playgrounds, awesome groups of people hanging out, Belvedere Castle, many beautiful little lakes. Strawberry fields – not literally though. Yoga classes. Nerds fighting against each other. Even a zoo! You name it.
What’s funny is, all of a sudden you feel like you aren’t in a big, loud city anymore.
Here you can actually find some time to relax. I mean that’s why they probably call it the green lungs of New York City.
I personally went to see the Obelisk, Strawberry Fields, Belvedere Castle, Shakespeare Garden and probably others. And even though I went two or three times I still haven’t seen everything yet! Talking about it, makes me really want to go back to explore Central Park some more……Crap. I think my travel bug just kicked in.
By the way, don’t think the fountain from the TV show Friends is THE fountain which can be found in Central Park. Because it’s not. Well, not really. The fountain you see in the theme song is just a replica. And it was filmed in the studios. Sorry about that.
- Take the subway..AND get lost
It’s honestly the best thing you can do.
On my travels, I never hop on these tourist buses that you see in every big city. On my travels, I want to explore the city on my own. I believe by using public transits you are able to see so much more of a foreign city. You see the city through the eyes of a citizen. And that’s how I love to visit new places. That’s how you get a deep insight. That’s how you learn and understand the culture.
Sure, I do touristy things. But I limit them. To only a very, very few. You will get the real deal when you explore it on your own. With no tour guide telling you what’s on the left, or on the right. Nor will you be packed up on a bus with 20 other tourists. You will see the REAL side of the city.
Also, riding the subway can be fun.
These two girls, for example, gave me life.
Sometimes all of a sudden there are dancers in your subway compartment. Performing some crazy dances on the limited space. Sometimes, it’s not so fun. Especially when you get kicked in the face 😀 Usually these young dancers include you in their dance. Once this one guy gave me a high five while I was watching him.
During the 21 days of my stay, I took the subway every day.
It made me realize how diverse the city is because of the different people and nationalities on the subway. One thing I love about New York City. It’s diversity.
Even waiting on your subway can be entertaining. There are pretty much like parties underground. FOR FREE. Many talented artists use the great acoustics to do what they love the most. To sing. To make music. This can come in handy especially after a long day of work or if you had a bad day. They know how to cheer you up. Usually, when I would wait on my train there was almost always someone singing. Ugh…. The love I have for that city….
- Visit the One World Trade Center and the One World Observatory
For the One World Trade Center, you have two options. I did both.
You either buy a ticket. Or you line up at a specific time to try to get a ticket for free. Yes, for free! Brilliant, huh?!
However, if you are lucky and you are one of the lucky ones who get a ticket for free the ticket is only limited to a certain time. I remember how I was standing in line for about an hour or so, making sure I’m one of the first ones. As I was standing in line while reading a book actually. As time has passed by I was able to get tickets. You can actually get more than one ticket. Soooo just grab a friend or make a stranger happy by handing him a ticket. The tickets are valid for that day. There’s one downside to it, though. You can only enter the museum for about an hour or two before they close. And trust me. 1-2 hours is definitely not a lot of time to go through the whole museum.
In the One World Observatory, an animated elevator will take you all the way up to the 70th floor.
Taking this particular elevator was an experience in itself.
Waiting in line, buying the ticket for $ 36 dollars is definitely worth every little cent.
There are other options, too. But $ 36 dollars is the cheapest price.
On a good day, you can see very far. You can soak up on the atmosphere. To me, it was a special kind of atmosphere that I don’t want to go into further detail. You have to experience it for yourself.
- Go across the Brooklyn Bridge
If you are like me and you are into photography or just because. Once again I would recommend going early in the morning and/ or on a sunny day. Preferably during the golden hour.
Why in the morning? Because not a lot of people will be there. Chances are, if you are here for the pictures, you will have prettier pictures.
Same with the golden hour. Well, but in this case, you will probably have more people in your photo. If that’s fine with you, then that’s fine with me. When it comes to photography I can be real picky. Because I want a perfect shot.
- “M&Ms Store”
Need I say more?
I have never, ever seen so many different colors of “M&Ms.
As a chocoholic, I was basically in heaven. The store is easy to find because it’s close to Time Square.
Time Square is not on my must do things. But I will explain that in a different post.
- Visit Chelsea Piers
Again, if you are like me and water calms you down, go visit Chelsea Piers.
The hectic, loud and noisy city all of a sudden got very quiet.
I felt lucky and blessed to be there. And as crazy as it sounds it helped me realize what I wanted. Pier 49 and I will always have a special connection. That’s why I wear a bracelet with its coordinates every day.
- Watch a show on broadway
I meannnn…Girl, seriously. Just do it.
I had the chance to see a very beautiful Broadway show.
A show I can recommend worth watching is “Les Miserablé”.
I have never seen a Broadway show before. So I couldn’t have any better introduction to the world of Broadway shows. I remember how the very beginning of the show took my breath away. So powerful.
Whenever I hear their songs it takes me back to that one night when I was able to watch the Broadway show live and in person.
- Fuerza Bruta
You are probably going to wonder what the heck that is.
But it’s one of the best shows in New York City I have ever, ever seen in my life so far.
Basically, the whole audience is kind of part of the artistic show.
You will be lead to a dark big room and the adventure begins. This show is definitely hard to describe. But it’s worth watching and a lifetime experience.
There will be people above your head, there will be water above your head and people performing in it, people will be right above your head with just a little bit of space between your head and the actor, there will be music, confetti will shoot out of confetti guns..and so on. It’s definitely a must see!
Pro-tip: Don’t wear anything too fancy as you might get wet at the end of the show.
Would I want to watch it again?
Can I recommend it?
There’s definitely tons to see and do in New York City. I haven’t even mentioned other famous New York City sights. The 10 must do’s I listed in this post were my personal favorites. Maybe there are even some things that you haven’t thought of before but are now interested in visiting. I love the city that never sleeps because of its diversity. Be it the people, the history, the things to see, the things to do, the food. Just everything. The people I met were always friendly and helpful. Make sure to talk to locals. That way you get to experience the real New York City. New York City is not just the statue of liberty or Time Square. It’s a lot more than that.
I hope I was able to inspire you.
Now it’s time for you to inspire me!
What’s your favorite spot in New York City and why?
Maybe you even have some secret spots that I don’t know about.
Leave a comment below and make sure to share