My endless love affair with the Big Apple began as a young tween when I started traveling each summer to NYC for ballet summer intensives with the Joffrey Ballet and the American Ballet Theater. New York is the kind of city that you can return to time after time – it just steals your heart. With so much to do and see, it truly is one of the world’s most special cities. The endless list of attractions and possibilities is always changing, making each visit all the more fun. However, for the first-time visitor, there is no doubt that it can be overwhelming.
So, if you have booked your accommodation ( Best Western Plus Newark Airport West is super affordable and handy if staying near the airport), sorted your flights, and bought your travel guide/perused the heck out of pinterest, here are just a few things that you don’t want to miss. Enjoy! (and here are some SUPER old photos taken with a disposable camera, hah!, have a laugh!) NYC circa 2000 & 2001. This was also an era pre-cell phones, social media, and internet fame. Crazy huh?
My first starbucks EVER – the moment my addiction began. Also wearing crystal bracelets I found in my first venture to China Town. We’re flying home after a summer full of dancing with the Joffrey Ballet Theater – So much fun.
My non-existent eyebrows compared to my now micro bladed beauties CRACK ME UP YALL!
Get a load of my hair – it was so long and curly (and that prada dupe, China Town strikes again)!
The best group of girls with a summer full of memories. I wish we all kept in touch.
Start Slow in Central Park
Though you are bound to be surrounded by countless other tourists when you are wandering around Central Park, it doesn’t detract too much from what a special place it is – especially when the weather isn’t freezing. The best way of covering a lot of ground in a short space of time is by renting some bikes and covering some of the top attractions including the sailboats at the Conservatory Water (so dang cute), the Alice in Wonderland sculpture (in lots of movies!), and Belvedere Castle.
Stroll in the West Village
The West Village has remained fairly consistent since the 19th century with its tree-lined cobblestone streets. You could bring a map with you to navigate your way around, but it is more fun to simply get lost in the maze and stumble across some fantastic independent stores, cafes or bars. Personally I love boutique shopping – it’s the best with the most unique finds!
Ascend the Empire State Building
Of course it is hugely popular, but can you imagine all the reasons why? The view from the top of New York’s tallest structure is staggering to say the least. You can telescope breathtaking beautiful views of the city including historic New York City staples like the Chrysler Building and Central Park. Do be prepared, however, to stand in line as you certainly won’t have the place to yourself. The elevator up is pretty tiny, I don’t recommend for the claustrophobic. Come early or buy your tickets online to help beat the queues.
Set Sail in New York Harbour
When you are in central Manhattan, it is very easy to forget that you are on an island at all. Sailing around gives you a beautiful view of the geography of the city, and its water-based location which has made it so successful. Obviously, while you are here, you won’t want to miss a trip to another of New York’s landmarks; the Statue of Liberty and the historic Ellis Island.
Get Lost in the Met
The Metropolitan Museum of Art can be overwhelming when you first step inside – the place is huge! You could spend hours and hours taking in the various collections and historical pieces which span from ancient civilizations to the modern impressionists. You can spend an entire day in there and not see everything. But hey, now you have an excuse to return to NYC again! I visit the Met every time I venture to NYC.
Watch a Broadway Show
Nothing completes your trip to the Big Apple better than an evening watching a Broadway show, hands down what NYC is famed for! There are so many to choose from that there really is something for everyone. Plays, musicals, one man shows, you name it – it’s there. My last trip to NYC was for fashion week and I saw The Play that goes Wrong – SO DANG FUNNY yall! I also love the classics like Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables. Of course, it can get a little expensive so check out the deals that are available online or visit the TKTS booth in Times Square (go early!) for cheap same-day options.
After your first time in New York is over, you will almost certainly want to return again and again, I know I do. Hopefully, this guide takes you through your first time through the Big Apple in small and manageable steps, so you can explore the city in more depth once you return.
Tell me – if you’ve been to NYC, what are you favorite spots? If you haven’t, what are you dying to see?