11 things you may not skip when you visit New York City!
New York, the city that never sleeps, the ultimate citytrip destination for many. There is so much to see and do here. We just returned from our 3rd city trip in this vibrant city and still I am not at the end of my list of everything I want to see and do here. But I am happy to list the highlights for you!
New York isn't a cheap place to go to. If you are planning to do a lot of the popular attractions a City Pass is a must!
This 4k long park is a classic that you've seen probably so many times in movies and tv shows already. But sometimes famous hotspots like this disappoint, however, for Central Park this is not the case. So much green in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world. You can take a quiet stroll, buy a hot dog at one of the typical stalls, ice skate, enjoy the peace and quiet or sit on a bench and enjoy everything that is happening around you: the squirrels picking up a quick crumb, the dog walkers passing by with a dozen dogs, children playing or all the sports enthusiasts throwing their legs loose for a moment.
Ferry to Staten Island
We shouldn't beat around the bush, New York is an expensive city. But every now and then there is a sudden unexpected present. The ferry to Staten Island is one of those. You sail across the entire bay under Manhattan to Staten Island for free. You pass the islands in the bay and sail past the Statue of Liberty, a perfect time for a close up picture! You can also get here on an expensive tour, but why do that when you can do it for free? On Staten Island, you can walk, enjoy the spectacular sight of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and grab a bite to eat.
Ellis Island is an island in New York Bay that served as a border post in the late 19th and early 20th centuries for newly arriving immigrants seeking to settle in the United States. Ellis Island is now a poetic symbol of the American Dream. The museum tels you more about the life of the immigrants when they arrived. You can search the archives to see if any ancestors of yours came to seek their fortune in the U.S. Beside all the history you also have a beautiful view on the Manhattan skyline from the island. Boats to Ellis Island depart from downtown Manhattan and you can combine a visit with a visit to the Statue of Liberty (what we didn't do because this was way to crowded for us!)
Ground Zero - One World Trade Center
This is a place to become silent, every time you get here, whether you are here for the first time or for the tenth time. The attacks of 2001 are a collective trauma that is commemorated here in a very beautiful way. On the places where the twin towers stood are now the most impressive monuments, serene yet very telling.
The Oculus, located on the same site, has a striking architecture and stepping inside this building gives that wow effect every time. The building symbolizes a white dove rising from a child's hand. Inside the building are stores and a major transportation hub.
And you can't pass the One World Trade Center. This is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex. Designed by David Childs, this is the tallest building in the US (451m), the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and the seventh-tallest in the world. The supertall structure has the same name as the North Tower of the original World Trade Center.
On the 100th floor of this building is an observation deck where you have a stunning view (and something to eat if you want) over the city.
Another fine activity that won't cost you a thing: Take the cable car to Roosevelt Island, you can just do that with your Metro card. You get to see the Manhattan skyline in a completely different way, and in a few minutes you are suddenly in an oasis of calmness. At the very southern tip of the island is the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park. A very beautiful spot in the center of the metropolis! You can go back by Tram way, there is also a subway station, but if you've got the time take the ferry from here.
The High Line is an high-level urban park in Manhattan. The park was constructed on the route of the West Side Line, a disused freight line of the New York Central Railroad.
Located in the Chelsea neighborhood, the abandoned rail line had not been used for years. Some residents got a plan to turn the elevated rail line into a park like the Promenade Plantée in Paris. The New York City Council liked the idea and made $50 million available. And the High Line was born.
The 2.3-mile-long High Line starts at the corner of Gansevoort and Washington Street and runs all the way to Hudson Yards. Along the park there are a lot of art projects and spectacular buildings.
A busy city like New York may not immediately appeal as a place where you can do fun bike tours. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. You can easily visit more of the city by bike. Especially Brooklyn is a neighborhood where you can bike very nicely, both along East River and through Brooklyn Park. The iconic Brooklyn Bridge you are only allowed to cross via the bike lane along the car part, but with your bike in hand you can of course cross the beautiful wooden path of the bridge.
Little Island is a new public park, opened in May 2022 and is opened daily. The park is located in Hudson River Park (Pier 55) near the High Line and Chelsea Market, so you can easily combine a visit to these places. Little Island is really unique, the design, the location, it's something you've never seen before! Little Island’s exterior is supported by concrete piles. On top of the piles, 132 concrete “tulips” make up the structure of the park. Each tulip’s shape is unique and has a different weight load capacity to hold the soil, lawns, overlooks and trees. The original Pier 54 piles remain to provide habitat for aquatic life. The aim of this place is to experience nature and art in a unique urban oasis on the Hudson River. The park features a lush, seasonal, landscape with rolling hills, winding pathways and dazzling views.
Floating high above the city on one of the observation decks is a breathtaking experience, even if you don't feel completely comfortable on the 100th floor of a building (like me) it really is a must do. There are a few options:
- The Summit One Vanderbilt: spectacular, unsurpassed, but also pricey. What to expect here: lots of glass: the windows, the floors, the ceilings, you will be able to enjoy this wow feeling for a long time!
- The One World observatory deck: the tallest building in the city, what to expect: enjoying a unique view with a snack or a drink, Lady Liberty is just a little doll located far below you!
- The Edge: located in the new Hudson bay neighborhood. What to expect: you are outside here on a platform which protrudes from the building, there is a piece of glass floor on the platform, maybe a glass of champagne here can help for your buckling knees! Also, here you can dangle in a harness on a cable briefly above the city (for $100 extra)
- Empire State Building: a classic! What to expect: pure nostalgia, how many times have you seen this place in movies?
- Top of the Rock: at Rockefeller Center, What to expect? On the 70th floor you have a beautiful 360° view of Manhattan. Maybe not the most spectacular point, but a very charming one, located in the middle of Manhattan you have a nice view of all the famous places of the city!
I am not going to mention the prices, as they may vary. Around sunset, tickets are more expensive anyway. Some viewpoints are included in the CityPass. So it does pay to check different times and discount tickets.
New York is home to several major museums such as the Metropolitan and the Guggenheim, as well as the Museum of Modern Art. The Museum of Modern Art, often abbreviated to MoMA, is one of the largest and most influential museums of modern art in the world. You will find works by Van Gogh, Matisse and Warhol as well as modern drawings, photographs and examples of modern architecture. And it is also absolutely impressive. Unfortunately, the free Friday night is now only free for New York residents, but be sure to check the various city passes, almost all of them include entrance to this museum. Also don't forget the cozy garden where it is very nice to hang out after sunset.
Williamsburg New York is Brooklyn's hippest neighborhood with trendy stores, coffee shops, vintage shops and a cozy vibe. The neighborhood has an industrial look and you will find many cozy coffee shops, food markets, secondhand stores and artistic influences and influences from other cultures. Williamsburg is the place to be for vintage lovers and coffee drinkers. Get lost in the cute coffee bars, vintage stores and other fun highlights!
Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal is New York's main train station and the largest train station in the world with 44 platforms and 67 tracks. It is located on Vanderbilt Avenue in Manhattan but is actually enclosed between Madison Avenue and Lexington Avenue.
The station, built in Beaux-Arts style, exudes back the old glory of young New York since its major restoration in the 1990s. Grand is the perfect name for this impressive station.
Inside the station there is an Apple Store, you will even find tennis courts here in the building. Downstairs near the Oyster Bar there is a Whisper gallery. If you whisper something on one side of the hall you will hear it perfectly on the other side!
Hi! We are Bart, Kris, Lore and Ruben. We are a family of 5, yes, we also have a dog named Spike.
Maybe we can inspire you to explore a bit more of all those beautiful corners of our planet? Go to our trips and find out!