New York, New York- Top Things To Do

“Welcome to New York!....it’s been waiting for you!” The famous T-Swift song plays on our phones as we come up on NYC. I absolutely love New York! Every time I’m there, it’s always an exciting feeling being in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps.

Top Things to do on a trip to New York. For the first time visitor or for the ones who have missed the good stuff

City Pass

We are all about saving money, so we recommend checking out the New York City Pass.  With this pass, you are able to…

  1. The Empire State Building

2. American Museum of Natural History

3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

4. Top of the Rock Observation Deck   OR  Guggenheim Museum

5. Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island   OR   Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises

6. 9/11 Memorial & Museum   OR   Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

It’s a really great deal if you plan on doing these things.

Here are some must do things for a first timer in New York...or for someone who has been to NY but hasn’t hit all the Must Dos. Of course there are The Classics:

Statue of Liberty 

When you think of New York, one of the first things to come to mind is probably the Statue of Liberty. It’s an iconic place in NY that means so much to our countries history, and you can head to the island and see her up close. There are 2 ways to see her. One, you can go to statuecruises.com and get your ferry ticket there (they are the only company allowed to sell tickets for ferries that actually dock at the island). This ticket also includes a stop at Ellis Island, where you can see where a lot of our ancestors landed when coming to America. There’s a computer room, where you can pay a small fee, and look up any names and records you want (for half an hour) and have the records emailed to you. 

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The second way to get really close to the Statue of Liberty, is to take the Staten Island ferry. You won’t be able to get off and go on the island, but you will get pretty close to her and be able to see from the ferry. If you’re trying to save a few bucks, this might be your best bet. 

Empire State Building 

The Empire State Building is one of the most known buildings in NY. You can buy tickets to go up the elevator to the 86th floor, and go out on the observation deck for amazing views of the city! 

There’s a little museum about the building inside of the observation deck, where you can learn all about the Empire State Building. It was raining when we went, so we didn’t get the greatest views, but it was still fun to go!

Empire State building view new york city things to do

Central Park 

A really fun, and free, thing to do is to take a walk around Central Park. You almost forget you’re in the middle of the huge bustling city while walking around the park. There’s tons to do and see in Central Park including relaxing boat rides on the pond, a beautiful fountain to take pictures, and even a zoo! 

central park views new york city things to do

One World Observatory 

I was so excited to visit the new One World Observatory when we went this year. The last time I was in the city, the tower was still being built. I’m so glad they decided to add an Observatory deck for visitors to come enjoy. You can get tickets to head to the 100-102 floors and look out over the city. I recommend everyone take a day to visit One World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

One World Observatory Tour New York City Things to do

9/11 Memorial and Museum 

Wow! I cannot say enough amazing things about the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. First off, there are 2 memorials in place where the twin towers use to stand. It’s a waterfall into the ground, with the names of all those who lost their lives on that terrible day. It’s a beautiful tribute, and one that anyone can come to see. There’s also a newer museum right next to it, that has so much inside. We spent over 3 hours there. It’s a very sobering place, with many powerful exhibits inside. You can buy tickets from $24/adult, or you can get in free on Tuesdays from 4- close. We had tickets but happened to go on Tuesday as well, so I will say, be sure to line up early to make sure you get in.

9/11 memorial and museum

This is definitely a spot to put on your list for your trip to NY. You don’t have to spend as long as we did there, but it is one not to miss! 

Broadway Play

You can’t really go to New York and do it “right” without heading to see a show on Broadway.  New York is famous for their plays, and there are so many to choose from.  Both on Broadway and off Broadway (which are usually the lesser known shows). This time, we were lucky enough to get tickets to the popular Broadway Musical, “Chicago”.  We dressed up a bit, and had a nice dinner and theater night.  It’s easy to get tickets to “Chicago”, and you can grab them from their official site here, or try the discounted sites, or TKTS which is the discount ticket booth in Times Square.
Chicago was such a great and entertaining musical for all of us.  We had such a great time, as they had a wonderful cast, catchy song, and a really fun script.  The Orchestra was right on stage the entire time, so we could see them playing as they play was going on.  I definitely recommend Chicago if you are looking for a great play on Broadway. 

Chicago on Broadway

Yankee Stadium

It’s a bit hard for me to recommend a Yankee game, as we are die-hard Dodger fans, but Yankee stadium is for sure a place for baseball fans to see. Of course it’s not the original, but it’s still Yankees Stadium. We had a great time watching the Yankees (lose). Haha kidding...kind of.

yankee stadium

Brooklyn Bridge 

I’ve always been fascinated with bridges, and the Brooklyn Bridge is one of my favorites. You can walk across the pedestrian walkway, or take a drive.  It is very walkable with its own lane, and gives you some great sites of the city.  We didn’t end up walking across it this trip (always too much to do in our schedule), but we did take a drive across.  

Pizza place under bridge 

If you’re looking for the best New York pizza, you have to head to Grimaldi’s under the Brooklyn Bridge! They are on the Brooklyn side, at the end of the bridge.  I now make it a point to head to Grimaldi’s for pizza any time I am in the city.  They are always extremely busy, but they have it all down perfectly, so if there’s a line outside, don’t worry, you should be in pretty quickly.  We like to sit upstairs and watch them make the pizzas as we wait.  And the pizza is delicious!! 

grimaldi's pizza brooklyn bridge

Escape Room

If you’re a reader of our blog, you know Escape Rooms are one of our favorite things to do, so I couldn’t not have it on our list! We went to Escape Games NYC, and had a blast! We did the room called “The Experiment”, with 4 of us, and made it out with 12 minutes to spare.  It was a well thought out and unique room.  We can’t give away any clues, of course, but I would say I definitely recommend this room.  They also have 3 other rooms available…wish we had time to do them all!

escape games NYC Things to do in new york

Shake place

My youngest sister was in charge of finding the best places to eat, and boy, did she! We went to Black Tap Craft Burgers and Beers for dinner, and had some good burgers…but the burgers weren’t the reason we went.  They have AH-MAZE-ING shakes! I mean, come on! 

black tap burgers and shakes new york city
black tap burgers and shakes NYC

Kleinfeld’s 

Since I am a soon-to-be bride, I couldn’t help but make an appointment at Kleinfeld’s.  Kleinfeld’s is the bridal salon from NY’s “Say Yes to the Dress”, so it was a must do on my list.  I happened to check out their website a couple weeks before the trip, and there was 1 appointment that fit perfectly with our schedule, so I booked it.  Appointments are typically 1 1/2-2 hours long, and they treated me very well.  (I went in as a bride, not a blogger).  We had so much fun looking through dresses and picking out ones we thought would work.  My stylist was so good at his job, that he actually pulled styles I never would have thought to pick, and they turned out to be some of my favorites!  The owner of the salon even came out and introduced himself to my family and I, and made sure everything was good.  Although I didn’t purchase my wedding dress that day, I had such a wonderful time.

Kleinfeld's bridal salon things to do in NYC

The Ride 

In my research of different things to do in New York, I came across a company called “The Ride”.  The Ride is a tour company, that takes you around on a bus…but you sit facing the side of the bus, and the side of the bus is completely glass.  That’s right, its a full window for you to see all of the city.  They have several different tours available, so we picked the Brooklyn Experience one.  It took us all around Brooklyn, had Virtual Reality headsets (don’t worry, you aren’t wearing them the whole time), and they even had actors on the street interacting with us.  It was a really cool set up.   

the ride brooklyn experience
the ride brooklyn ny

Bonus Spots:

Rockefeller Center

If we went during the Holidays, this would have been at the top of the list. The famous Rockefeller Center that holds the beautiful Christmas tree and ice skating rink each year, is still there for shopping and eating as well. You can even pop in the “30 Rock” building and check out the NBC store with lots of fun merchandise from some of your favorite shows!

Rockefeller Center New York City Things to do

SPOT

Spot is a 30 foot tall sculpture of a Dalmatian balancing a real life Taxi on his nose!

SPOT Dalmatian Dog Holding Taxi on Nose

LOVE Sculpture

The Love Sculpture is exactly what it sounds like…it’s a sculpture of the word L-O-V-E. Fun for a quick photo opp.

Love Sculpture New York City

HOPE Sculpture

…and there’s one that spells H-O-P-E.

Hope sculpture New York City

New York is definitely one of my favorite cities, and we recommend you go there at least once. Hit all the great tourist spots, and enjoy the trip!

*Thanks to NYCGo, and all our sponsors for hosting us on this amazing trip!*