With the pandemic easing up slightly and states like New York ahead of the curve, it’s time to start thinking of traveling and doing some sightseeing. What could be better than a nice break visiting a fun city after nearly two years of being cooped up, stuck in the same place?
New York City is every bit as wondrous as they say, and there’s plenty to see and do. Even though gentrification and sky-high prices have changed the city’s landscape, it remains at heart a great place to visit whenever possible. Whether you’re planning a day trip, long weekend, or a full-blown vacation in New York City, the following are things you should absolutely try.
1. Visit The High Line
Opening in 2009, the High Line has since become one of the city’s top attractions; it is basically a two-mile-long elevated park, greenway, and rail trail that was created by repurposing a dilapidated New York Central Railroad that took over parts of the Manhattan west side, and fell to disrepair. Instead of demolishing the eyesore, the rail was taken over and used to create a park that now sees hundreds of people walking through it every day. At a thirty or forty-minute walk, the space provides beautiful views of the city’s Chelsea neighborhood and provides direct access to the Whitney Museum as well, making it an efficient and lovely destination to visit.
2. The Observation Deck At The Empire State Building
The site of so many beloved romance films like Sleepless in Seattle, An Affair to Remember, and so on, as well as dozens of spooky ghost stories and grisly suicides, the Empire State Building is a must-see destination. There are so many options when visiting New York, but you really can’t go wrong with a visit to the very top of this iconic building. The building itself is beautiful, but that’s not important. What counts are the incredible views of the Manhattan skyline, which can only be seen from the top of the Empire State building. If you want something truly awe-inspiring, then this is the place for you.
3. Walk The Brooklyn Bridge
This is another excellent trail to walk through, and as the High Line, it’s also free. This majestic bridge has gorgeous views of the city and Brooklyn, and it’s an architectural marvel that’s best experienced firsthand to be believed. To get the best view, you should start in Brooklyn and then walk over to Manhattan on the bridge. Before embarking on your journey, you should make a pit stop at Grimaldi’s, one of the best pizza places New York has to offer. A lunch there will provide the necessary fuel to make your way through the bridge, which can get a bit crowded when the weather is nice. Just watch out for the irate commuters making their way through the bike lanes, and you’ll have a great time.
4. Central Park
Another cinematic touchstone, if there ever was one, Central Park is something you absolutely have to do. A sunny day in the park – although a quick walk even in the rain isn’t bad – will throw Manhattan in an entirely new light. There’s so much to see and do in Central Park alone that you can easily waste a whole day here without realizing it. There’s The Ramble, Strawberry Fields dedicated to John Lennon, Sheep’s Meadow, and so on. You can also catch lots of live performances, sometimes random ones by street performers or bigger events like rock concerts in the summer or the annual Shakespeare in the Park program.
5. Metropolitan Museum Of Art
While New York City is full of incredible museums, the Metropolitan Museum of Art – or the Met as most people call it – is an absolute must. Well, the Tenement Museum is a close second and is another destination people should check out. However, the Met is the largest museum in America, and its collections are wildly diverse, featuring over two million works. It’s beautiful and a great way to spend a cold or rainy afternoon.
6. Walk Around Greenwich Village
While some locals have come to resent Greenwich Village due to the overwhelming presence of NYU and the extent to which it has changed the once bohemian area, it’s still something worth experiencing. The streets are lovely, full of architectural gems, and there are so many great restaurants, cafes, and bookstores in this area. While a few big box stores have managed to muscle their way into the beloved neighborhood, it still carries a distinctive charm and is definitely worth a visit.
It would be no exaggeration to say that there are a million things to do in New York City. It’s a vibrant, sprawling metropolis that has something for everyone. While it can sometimes be cost-prohibitive, hopefully, this list proves that you don’t have to be a gazillionaire to enjoy some of the best the city has to offer.
Featured image: Unsplash (Patrick Tomasso).