1.Visit Coney Island!
This vintage New York Fairground is still a playground for everyone! I have been wanting to visit here for years, but only recently taken the trip. It was worth the wait and I want to go back already! Make sure you stop by Nathan’s for a hot dog, get pancakes or a bagel at Tom’s, walk the broadwalk, take some selfies and walk up the pier. If you have any time left, go on a ride or two, but even with just a few dollars in your pocket, this is somewhere you want to visit!
2. Go up the Empire State building!
I first went up the ESB when I was 15 years old, I loved it the first time round, but on every trip since, I didn’t feel like I needed to go back up the tower as I had already done it. This was my boyfriends first trip to NYC, so we felt it would be nice to go up so he could see it. It’s funny, as I ended up loving it just as much as he did! That skyline just doesn’t get boring, we spent ages up there and loved it! It’s funny to think the first time I was up there it was pre-9/11, so it was amazing to go see it again. Also, be prepared for killer queues for this one, it’s not like the scene in Sleepless in Seattle where she does up to the roof with no one up there and no waiting lines. We queued for about 40 minutes to buy tickets and we were so bored by that stage we bought ‘fast-track tickets’ which was great, you get whizzed past all the queues and put in a special lift with no further waiting… well worth the extra dollars! You can buy these fast track tickets online before you go up, or you can buy them once you get inside the building, don’t buy them from the men outside, as they are just regular tickets that you are over-paying for.
3. Start the day right with a big ol’ fashioned bagel or pancakes!
There’s no breakfast quite like a New York breakfast! Head to a deli or a diner and enjoy thick fluffy pancakes and maple syrup, or a bagel with cream cheese or pastrami. If you are anything like me, you will find the breakfast so big and delicious you won’t need to have lunch!
4. Go shopping for vintage clothing!
I live in East London and while we have a million amazing vintage shops here, I love the vintage stores of New York more. Not because they are any better, or any cheaper, but because you find American vintage here, rather than British vintage. If you have always wanted a letterman jacket, cheerleaders uniform or marching band jacket, this is where you will find it! If vintage clothes aren’t your thing, then head for the vintage record stores instead.
5. Walk around the West Village.
From Chelsea Market to Bleaker Street, Greenwich village to Christopher street, it’s great to take the afternoon to walk around the shops and see the village. Just off Bleaker Street you will find 64 Perry Street, which is the Sex and the City Apartment, just around the corner you will find Magnolia Bakery for delicious cupcakes, a few doors down you have Marc Jacobs, Lulu Guinness and Diptyque. The Diner opposite Chelsea Market has great pancakes, there is some amazing food inside Chelsea Market. There are some great boutiques, vintage shops and eateries in the area. Also, I must mention Hamilton Soda fountain, I had an amazing ice cream sundae there and it was the cutest little place!
6. Go to Ground Zero.
It might seem like a bit of a somber thing to do, but the memorial at Ground Zero is so beautiful and well worth visiting. There are two giant pools with water cascading down each side, where the towers once stood. It’s busy, but peaceful and beautiful. Next to the Freedom Tower and memorial, there is a exhibition all about 9/11, it was one of the best exhibitions I have ever been to and even though it is incredibly sad, it is not to be missed.
7. Go to a steak house!
When in New York, right?! If you are going to splash out on any meal, make sure it is a fancy steakhouse! This trip I went to Keens, which I adored, it is mid-town (just a couple of blocks up from the Empire State building), it is an old gentleman’s club, smoking pipes all over the ceilings, paintings and old newspapers on every wall and the most phenomenal steaks in town! I walked there from the East Village (about 40 blocks with a few detours of shops) and I am so glad I did as it worked up a good appetite. I skipped the starter too, as the steaks were so delicious and so big and I wanted to save some space for desert too! Such a good meal, it was probably the most expensive meal we had in New York, about £100 each, but totally worth it!
8. See the Skyline!
The New York Skyline is pretty special so make sure you see it. There are many ways to do it, you can walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and see it from Dumbo, or you can catch the free Staten Island Ferry and see it from the water. Both are fun! Dumbo is pretty amazing and at the weekend there is often a flea market here so you can see the skyline while you shop (please note the flea market less vintage and more young designers selling their wears). The Staten Island Ferry was fun too, on the way there we were on a bit of a rubbish boat as we were quite cramped, but you do get a great view of the Statue of Liberty from the water, on the return ferry, we were on a much bigger boat where you could go outside and see the skyline approach. Both were lovely and thrifty things to do while in NYC.
9. Go to Central Park!
A few years ago I hired a bike and cycled around Central Park, which was really fun, but this time I just walked from the west to east side, which I also loved. It’s such a beautiful park, I love seeing all the buildings poking out of the top of the trees, seeing landmarks that I recognise from Gossip Girl and Home Alone 2. It’s also just a really peaceful spot in the middle of the big apple!
10. Go to Times Square!
The funny thing about Times Square is that I wouldn’t recommend staying in a hotels around there, nor would I want to spend too long there, but it is fun to visit for about 30 minutes on your way to Central Park or something local. It’s just so huge, so famous and pretty cool to see. It’s like being in a film set because every corner is so recognisable. There is quite a viewing platform there now too, so you can go sit on the steps, take in the 360º view, take some photos and a #TimesSquareSelfie. There is even free wifi to instantly upload your pics to Instagram. Like I said, don’t linger too long here, as it is quite intense, but it is fun to see!
So there you have it, my Top Ten things to do in New York City! Enjoy!