New York: Top 10 Must-See Places in the Big Apple.

New York is a city which excites and awakens you.

 

It is a place where anything is possible, where the chasers come in pursuit of their dreams.

 

To spend a few days in this metropolis is on most people's bucket lists and here is the top 10 things you simply cannot miss, in no particular order...

1. Central Park

I know, it's hardly a ground-breaking entry however Central Park really does live up to its reputation. 

 

It offers a haven in the centre of a tireless city.

 

Wandering through the winding paths of the park you will stumble across saxophone playing musicians, picturesque lakes and local artists selling their latest works. The park also harbours the famous John Lennon memorial which is a must-see for any Beatles fan.

 

It feels a world away from the city kept at bay just outside it's gates. The park itself is unbelievably huge, so it is rather easy and surprisingly satisfying to get lost within it. 

 

TOP TIP: Visiting Central Park in Autumn is when the park is at it's most beautiful. Just look at those colours!

2. The High Line

The High Line is an old, disused railway track above New York which has been converted into a park that weaves through part of the city.

 

It is a park in the sky.

 

The High Line is 1.45 mile walkway which twists through buildings and over roads, there's art on display along with gardens and benches peppered throughout the trail which is a welcomed contrast to the concrete and glass which surrounds it.

 

The High Line is a perfect place to enjoy NYC from a different vantage point.

3. Gansevoort Market and The Meatpacking District

This has to be one of my favourite places in the whole city, I think I came back to Gansevoort Market about 3 times in 5 days!

 

Located within the supercool Meatpackers district, this little market place has some of the best food and coffee I tried whilst in New York. This cute little space with its bare brick walls, hand crafted paper snowflakes and fairy lights is utterly charming.

 

There are lots of different vendors to choose from, who sell everything from traditional Thai curries to French crepes and Japanese chocolates. Like NYC itself, Gansevoort Market is a collision of different cultures and cuisines.

 

Enjoy some food and drink here and then meander through the wider district - this is an area which isn't filled with tourists so you get a real sense of what New York is like away from the bustling centre.

 

TOP TIP: Weekends here are very busy as it is filled with locals enjoying their weekend off so visit during the week to avoid the crowds. It's worth noting that if you do decide to visit on a weekday not all of the stalls will be open, however there is still more than enough to choose from.

4. Top of The Rock

Whilst in New York, you need to take in it's spectacular skyline at least one. 

 

There are multiple options, you can go up The Empire State building or look out from the One World observatory. However, for me, The Rockefeller Centre wins hands down.

 

From the top of this building you look onto the iconic Empire State Building at one side, and central park on the other. The view is breathtaking and it helps you to appreciate the scale of the concrete jungle which surrounds you.

 

TOP TIP: Try and visit top of the Rock just before sunset, as then you get to see it in daytime, as the sun is setting and finally a view of the city lights. 


5. 9/11 Memorial Museum

The September 11 memorial museum is located next to the memorial itself.

 

The museum opened in May 2014 as a tribute and in remembrance to those who lost their lives in the atrocities that occurred on September 11, 2001. 

 

The museum is as harrowing as it is heartbreaking. 

 

You will see artifacts salvaged from the Twin Towers, listen to phone recordings to and from the passengers on the doomed planes and watch footage of office workers from the South Tower jumping to their deaths.

You will see the struggle of firefighters who dug tirelessly through the wreckage in the hope of finding survivors.

You will see posters hanging on it's wall that were once displayed all around New York City. Plastered up by family members of Twin Tower workers advising the public that their partner or child or parent was missing. Those posters are now known to display the victims of 9/11. 

 

You will see pain and despair exhibited throughout, but you will also see extraordinary compassion, hope and above all else, the proof that human kindness will always rise about human depravity.

 

 

It's not an easy nor lighthearted place to visit, and at times it is extremely difficult to continue through the museum. However, i think it's imperative to visit to enable you to understand the impact those events had on New York and it's people.

 

TOP TIP: Expect to spend at least 3 hours here, I was told the same but didn't believe i would spend that long inside a museum. However, I assure you that you will need at least 3 hours to see it all.

6. Ellis Island (Ferry via Liberty Island)

The ferry leaves from Battery Park and heads out towards Ellis Island via Liberty Island. This trip enables you to learn all about the history of immigrants to the US and also offers you an unprecedented view of the New York skyline. 

 

The first ferry stop is Liberty Island, which of course houses the iconic Statue of Liberty. This is the first image of America which many immigrants would have seen on their way to Ellis Island - the gateway to America.

 

The next stop is Ellis Island where it is estimated more than 12 million immigrants were processed. One in four Americans can trace back a family member who passed through here, and it is fascinating to learn about the people who disembarked ships from all over the world and what waited for them at this processing point. There is an audio tour which allows you to walk in the footsteps of those who entered America through Ellis Island all those years ago.

 

On the return trip back to the mainland, the views of the New York skyline are simply stunning. 

7. Broadway

After all, what would New York be without Broadway?

 

With so many different shows on at the same time, the task of picking one to see is a near impossible task but be reassured that no matter what show you decide on, you are in for a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining evening. 

 

Whilst in New York, I opted to see the newly released Hamilton, which tells the story of the American Revolution and the pivotal role played by Alexander Hamilton. This a story of American history told to a hip hop beat. It is original, witty and superbly written. I couldn't recommend this show enough, however it is sold out every night for the next 6 months so tickets much be purchased far in advance.

 

TOP TIP: If you don't mind which show you see then head along to Times Square on the day you would like to go and there they have a ticket booth where you can pick up tickets to various shows for a discounted price. This is due to having spare seats on the performance night - it will come down to luck what tickets are left however they cost a fraction of the price. 

8. Take in a Knicks game

Now, I know absolutely nothing about Basketball. 

 

Nada.

 

Not a thing. 

 

But fear not as it appears you do not need to understand the game to enjoy it. The atmosphere of the crowd plus the constant entertainment provided every quarter whilst the players rest is all the ingredients you need to have fun. Even Madison Square Gardens itself is a sight to behold. So sit back with a hot dog and a foam finger and just remember to cheer whenever the Knicks score.

9. Roof Top Bar

Firstly, apologies for shockingly bad photography but by this point in the evening I had already consumed a fair few glasses of prosecco. 

 

Whilst in New York you need to get yourself to a rooftop bar so you can overlook the twinkling city lights. The rooftop bar of all rooftop bars has to be "230 Fifth" - this place is so good it doesn't even need a name. Simply it's address will do.

 

230 Fifth looks right onto the Empire State building, and the views across the city are gorgeous. If you come in the colder months then outside heaters and dressing gowns (yes, cosy dressing gowns) are provided. It's such a lovely spot to just sit back and enjoy the view with a cocktail in hand. 

10. Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree

Okay so I know this one isn't here all year round, but I just couldn't leave it out. 

 

If you are lucky enough to be in NYC in December then visiting the Rockefeller Christmas tree is a must. Ever since watching Home Alone 2 all those years ago this was a place I had always wanted to visit.

 

It is the epitome of Christmas.

 

And well, just look at how pretty it is! 

 

TOP TIP: If you are visiting the tree then do not visit at a weekend as it is super, crazy, insanely busy! Instead come on a week night as late as possible. The tree is lit up until 11pm so i would recommend visiting just before 11pm as this is when the tree is at its quietest, most children are in bed and you can capture an awesome photo without people's heads popping into the frame.