We’ve been here before – several times, but it’s a city that just never, ever gets old.
Our visit this time is largely because G wanted to see the Statue of Liberty… She knows she’s been here before – she’s seen the pictures (We started and ended our cross country tour of America and Canada here) and there are lots of things she does remember – she does (for instance!) remember being an astronaut….
… but one place she doesn’t remember is the Statue of Liberty…. There was only one thing for it… to go back and do it all again!
I don’t have any problem with this at all… a bucket list can help keep you focused, but there should never be somewere -if you enjoyed it – that you don’t go back to if you want to… a bucket list should be about what you enjoy… it’s about freedom, not about being forced to do something ‘new’ when there is something ‘old’ you’d really prefer to do.
And so, NYC was our destination of choice!! We went for New Year, which we really enjoyed!
Here’s our top 5 things to do in NYC:
- Act like a tourist.
It’s just impossible to get away from the fact that NYC almost appears to exists for tourists – there are tours and touts every which way you look. There are SO many companies offering tours… You need to be careful who you had your money to, as some are way better than others. In Manhattan, unless it’s your first visit, I truly believe you are best off going independently as much as you can.
But, it’s an absolute must… no matter how many times you’ve been…. you need to see the sights… there are LOADS…. we came to see the Statue of Liberty and it was our number one item to see! Raising a young girl, I don’t think there many statues as powerful as this one. As I said, there are many, many places offering tours, but most don’t land at the island and, if you are just going to sail past it, you can take the Staten Island ferry…. It’s free (I mean COMPLETELY free) It takes 25 minuets and runs all day (though do the commuters who use it for work a favour and miss rush hour! ) You’ll still get wonderful photos, meet some locals and save a whole heap of cash too!
And the Empire State building….
The Empire State Building has amazing views from the 86th Floor and it’s a place you don’t want to miss. It’s open from 8am until 2am, so do yourself a favour and go when it’s quieter!! Booking tickets on line will get you past one line and buying express tickets will get you past the next one if you don’t fancy the queue!!!! There is still security to get through, so don’t take excess baggage and do expect a little bit of a wait.
To be fair, though, there’s a lot to look at while you wait, so you will learn a lot about the tower if you read the information posters.
And the views are amazing!!
2. Live like an Upper East Sider.
Sure, New York has something for everyone, but this is one city where you want to experience what it’s like living like a 1%er. Like the song says… If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere… so do it… just for a day or so…. Just for the experience! We stayed at The Surrey hotel for New Year – they pulled out all the stops and the children loved it! It worked out brilliantly for us – because 12midnight in London is 7pm in New York… so we took the (much cheaper) first sitting for dinner, which starts at 6;30pm (and you have to be out by 9pm latest) and celebrated New Year on English time at 7pm, which meant the kids got to feel like they were seeing in New Year without actually keeping them up way past bedtime.
The other thing I’d really recommend doing in New York is taking a limo. The cheapest way to do this is to simply flag one down! Many of them hang around the helicopter terminal in between jobs and they are no more expensive than a regular cab.
3. Central park
It goes go without saying that you have to visit Central park. It’s like Manhattan’s back yard and has something for absolutely everyone!
From a little (but lovely!) zoo…
To sculptures all over the place!
To tunnels and rocks to explore….
to playgrounds dotted around the place….
It doesn’t matter what you want to do – or how you want to do it – you will find something special here. It is also well used by locals – we went there early on 1st January and found out that there are certain times the park is open for dogs to be off the lead (leash) and there is quite a special community who all meet up to let the dogs run freely 🙂
4. Take a helicopter tour!!!
Seeing Manhattan – and the NYC area – by helicopter is something I’d utterly recommend. We went all the way out to Coney Island which, even with the poor weather, was great to see.
So, this is one place we decided not to make our own gifts – we decided to buy some.
G loved American Girl and had a wonderful time designing ‘hers and hers’ t-shirts for her doll… J found Toy Tokyo which specialised in Japanese toys (and Godzilla!) I don’t think there is anywhere in the world that has the range of shops NYC does!!!
I’m sure you could come to New York every year and find different things to do every time… When we came in the Summertime, we really enjoyed the Highline (which is a completely free natural walkway made from a disused trackline) and the Bronx zoo… and I’m sure this is a city we will continue to visit and find new activities as the children get older.