22 November, 20215 minute read

A whistlestop tour of the city that never sleeps

Visiting New York for the first time feels like stepping onto a movie set. Everything is so familiar but yet so new. From the giant shiny skyscrapers and iconic yellow cabs, to famous attractions and the bright, neon lights, it is a sensory treat that is impossible not to fall in love with. It's the city that never sleeps for good reason – but how do you take a bite out of the Big Apple without missing a beat?

Well, on our city breaks in New York, you’ll not only get the chance to go on a guided tour of New York to get your bearings but given a handy Explore Pass so you can get to know the city via your own steam, too. The pass gives you access to some of New York’s unmissable experiences from the Statue of Liberty to The Empire State Building. You’ll also get the chance to shop till you drop in New York’s renowned stores including Macy’s and Bloomingdales. 

But with so many reasons to visit New York – from amazing restaurants, art galleries and museums to the gorgeous green spaces of Central Park, where do you even begin? We’ve put together a handy guide so that you won’t miss out on New York’s must-see attractions.

The Statue of Liberty 

An enduring symbol of freedom and hope, the Statue of Liberty has been dominating the New York City skyline since 1865. Take the ferry from Battery Park and wait in anticipation as you draw closer to Liberty Island and see her in all her glory. You can also visit the fascinating museum and take a virtual tour of her interior, as well take in the amazing views from the Vista on top of the museum. You can also visit neighbouring Ellis Island to learn more about American’s immigrant history.

Central Park 

An oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, Central Park covers an astonishing 843 acres. Here you’ll find peaceful pockets from woodlands and nature trails to even a small waterfall in the North Woods. There’s also a boating lake, castle and zoo – plus so many different historic sections, including Strawberry Fields, a memorial dedicated to John Lennon. Take a leisurely stroll and then grab a bite to eat at the legendary Loeb Boathouse. In winter, you’ll be able to visit the ice rink and skate amongst the trees in what is a magical experience.

9/11 Memorial and Museum

Honouring all those killed on the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001 at the World Trade Center, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum tells the story of the atrocities through a thoughtful and personal collection of narratives and artefacts. There’s a dedicated programme of events, talks and exhibitions, while visitors can take a moment to reflect by the Survivor Tree and The Glade – where six giant monoliths are dedicated to the men and women who have been exposed to the toxins from the attacks.

The Empire State Building  

Perhaps one of the best-known landmarks in New York (aside from The Statue of Liberty), The Empire State Building has been standing tall since 1931 when it was completed in a record-breaking one year and 45 days. It was the world’s tallest building for 39 years. Set in the heart of Manhattan, you can travel to the dizzying heights of the 86th and 102nd floors to marvel at the views from the two observation decks. On a clear day, you’ll able to see up to 80 miles across the city and beyond.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Located close to Central Park, The Met is an impressive white building that houses some of the best art collections in the world. These span over 5000 years from the prehistoric era to present day, and from every part of the globe. In fact, The Met’s exhibitions cover some 17 acres in total but there are plenty of rest spots, as well as restaurants and a cafeteria. A ticket allows you to return again and again, which is useful if you also want to see its two branch museums The Met Breuer and The Met Cloisters that is dedicated to the art and gardens from Europe.

Top of the Rock at The Rockefeller Centre

Combine shopping, dining, and incredible views at The Rockefeller Centre. You’ll even find art installations, live music and a famers’ markets on particular days. At the Top of the Rock, there are three observation decks that offer incredible views across New York – with the 70th floor being completely outside. If you want a few cocktails and some nibbles, then Bar Sixty Five is the perfect place to enjoy the views while eating out.

Times Square 

Located in the geographical heart of Manhattan, Times Square is not so much a landmark but more of an area surrounded by towering skyscrapers that starts from 42nd Street to 47th Street. Be dazzled by the bright lights, flashing signs and of course Broadway. This is where you will find the billboards of 41 different theatres. It’s a great time to visit if you’re about to catch a show. You’ll also find lots of shops, eateries and attractions including Madam Tussauds and Ripleys Believe it or Not, which has a quirky collection of artifacts from around the world.

Brooklyn Bridge

Stretching across the East River, the magnificent Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883 to carry traffic between Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. One of the most recognisable parts of the New York City skyline, a stroll across the elevated pedestrian walkway is a memorable experience and is completely free. If you want to take the ultimate Brooklyn Bridge photograph, head to Pebble Beach in the riverside Brooklyn neighbourhood of Dumbo, which gives you an uninterrupted view of the bridge with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop.

If you’d like to find out more about our New York short breaks then speak to one of our expert advisors today. 

Image of blog author Ting Dalton

Ting has a serious case of wanderlust. Having travelled to over 40 countries, it’s her mission in life to make her way through her ever-growing list. Her two young sons have also caught the travel bug, and recent trips have seen them making snow angels in Iceland while watching the Northern Lights, as well as walking alongside elephants in South Africa.

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