City Guides · Travel

Keeping Busy in NYC

My parents are in NYC visiting my sister this week so it brought back a lot of good memories. I thought I would share some of my favorite New York highlights this week!

Here’s my list of basic things to do in New York and over time, I’ll add more highlights! Pick your poison:

  • Mood: high brow culture
  • Mood: outdoorsy in the city
  • Mood: feeling on top of the world
  • Mood: iconic New York

Mood: high brow culture

New York has an amazing museum scene and I cannot recommend these museums enough!

The Met and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) were my favorites. Between those two museums, I feel like you will see majority of the iconic paintings (Washington Crossing the Delaware, Starry Night, etc). Art lovers will enjoy The Whitney, more modern American art, and the Frick, a private collection open to the public.

The Cloisters is a part of The Met but located way uptown. It feels very European because it is constructed from four French medieval abbeys. It’s architecturally beautiful and overlooks the Hudson River. You’ll also find thousands of paintings and sculptures and a peaceful garden.

Beyond the art scene, the Museum of Natural History and the Brooklyn Museum are a fun escape. If you prefer performance art, you should visit MOMA PS1.

Pro tip: entrance fee to The Met is a donation so you can dictate how much you want to pay. The recommended fee is $25. While you’re at The Met, stop by the rooftop garden bar! If you purchase a ticket to MOMA, save a the ticket because it lets you into MOMA PS1 too!

Mood: outdoorsy in the city

There’s the quintessential New York outdoorsy activity – Central Park. There are so many different aspects to the park, and you’ll discover new pieces to the puzzle from different park entrances. If you’ve already done the Park, there are quite a few other outdoorsy activities to keep you entertained in the city!

  • High Line: this park was previously a railroad track but the railway abandoned this route back in the ’80s. The High Line became an elevated park and is a fun way to explore Manhattan.
  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden: it’s a beautiful garden with a wide variety of flowers any time of the year. Check out the Japanese Pond and the cherry trees in bloom.
    Pro tip: free admissions on Tuesdays!
  • Prospect Park: if you enjoyed Central Park, you’ll love Prospect Park. It was designed by the same team that designed Central Park, and the creators claim that even though they are famous for creating Central Park, they did it right with Prospect Park. Don’t miss out on the Ravine, a part of the park that looks like the Adirondacks
  • Hudson River Park: you can walk all the way from the Intrepid to Battery Park. Great place for morning run.
    Pro tip: you can kayak on the Hudson River! The service is free but there’s a donation box to support the volunteers and equipment upkeep.

Mood: feeling on top of the world

New York is a concrete jungle but when you get to the top of the city, you’ll get a stunning view and feel on top of the world. Check out these three monuments

  • Rockefeller Center: this is my favorite one. You’ll learn the history and the construction of the building on your way up. I like this view because you can see the Empire State Building in the background.
  • Empire State Building: one of the most iconic New York buildings and
  • One World Observatory (Freedom Tower): the elevator zips you up 100 stories in under a minute! Once you’re in the elevator, there’s a cool video showing the progression of NYC skyline over hundreds of years, opening up to the wowing view of the current Manhattan skyline.

Mood: iconic New York

  • Brooklyn Bridge: the bridge is one of the oldest bridges in the US and was originally constructed to connect Manhattan and Brooklyn over the East River. I prefer walking from Brooklyn towards Manhattan because it gives you an amazing view of the skyline.
  • Flatiron: named so because it looks like an old fashioned flat iron. Although now known as an iconic building, it was highly criticized when initially constructed. At 22 stories high, this used to be the tallest skyscraper in NYC!
  • Grand Central: take in the organized chaos of the station and explore the grandeur of the architecture – it’s beautiful inside and out!
    Pro tip: find the whispering columns in the lower concourse. Due to the architecture, when two people stand at diagonal arches and whisper, they can hear each other like they’re standing right next to each other.
  • Times Square: take in the craziness of Times Square from the stairs and people watch. You can take a photo with the famous billboard background and buy tickets to a Broadway show at TKTS.
  • Washington Square Park: the iconic arch commemorates George Washington and the park draws in political and cultural interests. Take a walk around the park, grab a coffee, and people watch!
  • Statue of Liberty: you can always take the tourist ferries to the Statue of Liberty, but I recommend taking the commuter ferry to Staten Island. It’s significantly cheaper, you can BYOB, and enjoy the view. Once you alight at Staten Island, enjoy an authentic Italian dinner before taking the ferry back.

I was going through my photos and realized I didn’t actually take that many photos of New York. It was my home and I walked by Union Square practically every day… The environment, the feeling of Union Square will forever be ingrained in my brain and I don’t need a photo to remember it. Unfortunately for you guys… You’ll have to go se it for yourself 🙂

I hope this helps if you’re planning on exploring New York! Let me know if you have any favorites.


4 thoughts on “Keeping Busy in NYC

      1. Yes definitely go check out Top of the Rock! It has a very interesting history and a beautiful view. I like that you can take photos of the city and still see a shot of the Empire State Building!

        Liked by 1 person

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