22 Fab Things To Do If You’re A First-Timer To NYC
For those who’ve never been to the Big Apple, here’s our pick of the things you can’t miss on your first visit to the city that never sleeps...
New York, New York, it’s a helluva town! But with so much to do, where TF do you start? For those who’ve never been to the Big Apple, here’s our pick of the things you can’t miss on your first visit to the city that never sleeps.
Stay in NYC’s first living hotel
In the world’s coolest city, what could be better than staying in the city’s first multi-sensory, interactive hotel? So we did. The Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel on 35th Street didn’t disappoint. As you walk down the entrance corridor, the unique digital displays on the wall come alive and change as you interact with them.
When you’re there, make sure you check out ‘The Discovery Portal’ - the hotel’s virtual concierge. Stand on the right spot and the whole portal will come alive and point your finger at the pictures to get recommendations of all the best things to do in the area. Top secret tip: cover your eye (like an eyepatch) and you’ll be given a password for freebies at the hotel bar. Pretty bloody awesome!
Eat…. a lot
For stereotypically American gut-bustingly huge portions, rude waitresses and unlimited, mediocre filter coffee just like you see in the movies, head to Katz’s Delicatessen (of When Harry Met Sally fame). So put on your stretchy pants (that’s American for trousers) and go eat your fill. I’ll have what she’s having...
Top of the Rock
Idk about you but I want my Instagrams of NYC to be full of epic shots of the Empire State Building. Visit ‘Top of the Rock’ at the Rockerfeller Centre and you’ll get stunning snaps of the city with the Empire State in shot. For the best Insta pics, go at sunset but give yourself plenty of time to get a good spot - it will be rammed.
Visiting all the attractions in NYC (including Top of the Rock and Empire State) can add up so grab a CityPASS for great savings on entry to the best attractions in the city.
Get right in the middle of the hustle and bustle at Times Square (spoiler: it’s not actually a square) - rammed with tourists and performers in the daytime and totally transformed by the neon lights at night.
Central Park is much more than just a big park. One of the most filmed locations around the world, there’s always something to see or do. Plus, it’s free!
There are heaps of incredible restaurants in the Big Apple so you'd be missing a trick if you didn't treat yourself to a fancy meal at least once. Chef Michael White’s Michelin-starred restaurant Ai Fiori at Langham Place, New York, famous for its signature handmade pasta, is a great option.
Shop til you drop
Everyone knows New York is the perfect city for shopaholics to get their fashion fix. Hit the sales solo in the hopes of bagging a bargain or book yourself onto a specialist shopping tour (ask Viceroy Central Park about its ‘insider’ tours with Shop Gotham) for exclusive discounts and tips on the season’s must-haves plus where the coveted sample sales will be taking place.
Admire new purchases over a cocktail
It wouldn't be a trip to NYC without going all Sex and the City and sipping on a cocktail (or three) after your shopping spree. Relax after your retail therapy with seasonal cocktails overlooking Central Park at legendary rooftop bar The Roof.
Broadway here I come
Broadway is home to, arguably, the best theatre productions in the world. If you’re going to see a show anywhere, this is the place to do it.
Go for cock-tails
If you’re feeling particularly egg-stravagant (sorry!), you can buy a cocktail served in a golden chicken and egg at the NoMad Bar. 2017 is the Chinese Year of the Rooster after all.
(Wo) Hop to Chinatown
After a big night out, you’re going to need to soak up all that alcohol somehow. Head to Wo Hop in Chinatown, a local favourite but, watch out, there are two right next door to each other. Go for the one on the right hand side (down the stairs). It’s dingy… but delicious.
See Lady Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is one of the most famous symbols of America. If you’re strapped for cash see it for free from the Staten Island ferry or do it in style with Spirit Cruises where you can combine your sightseeing with drinking, dining and entertainment. We know which option we prefer.
Eat some more
Bedford and Co. is a can’t miss in NYC for foodies. This Argentine-inspired smokehouse just by Grand Central Station specialises in wood-fired American cuisine. The menu is seasonal and always local - and it’s absolutely delicious.
Check out Brooklyn
Manhattan is brilliant but, if you have time, it’s nice to check out some other neighbourhoods too. Brooklyn is cool and easy to get to - you can walk across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan, wander to DUMBO (short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) for a postcard-perfect selfie and spend an afternoon exploring.
Thrift store shopping
While you’re in Brooklyn, check out the thrift stores for some great vintage items that no-one else back home will have.
The Stonewall Inn
The Stonewall Inn is the historic gay bar in Greenwich Village where the modern LGBT rights movement began. In June 1969, patrons - sick of the frequent anti-Gay police raids - fought back against an early morning raid. This rebellion sparked the ‘Stonewall riots’ which launched the global gay rights movement, commemorated each year by Gay Pride parades around the world.
Visit a museum
New York is home to some of the best museums and galleries in the world and there are plenty to choose from: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Modern Museum of Art, Ellis Island Immigration Museum, the Guggenheim, Ground Zero Museum and the American Museum of Natural History to name just a few.
Wander along the High Line
We love the High Line: a public park built on an old railway line above the city’s streets which hosts a rotating programme of public art projects. Perfect on a sunny day!
Grand Central Terminal
The iconic Grand Central Terminal is much more than just a train station. It’s full of shops, restaurants, market stalls and you can even take an audio tour to find out about the history and architecture of the building.
Grab a slice
You can’t go to NYC without grabbing a big old slice of New York pizza. Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn is a popular choice, often with queues around the block, but there are lots of small, local pizzerias that do amazing (and cheap!) authentic pizzas too.
Take a chopper ride
OK so most of us can't splash out this much irl but, if you do have cash to burn, a chopper ride over the city is certainly worth it.... Just don't think about the fact you're spending about $15 a minute!