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New York, The Big Apple

I'm going to share with you some ideas of what to do in New York during a 1 week's stay. I went there with my daughter in April 2024. The time before that was in 2015, so there were a few more skyscrapers to see and a lot more money to spend.


Let me start by saying you will be walking a lot! Let me know if you can beat our record of 23KM or 36,296 steps.


If it's your first time, take a look at a map of Manhattan before you go, notice how it's mostly rectangles, that's what they call blocks. You have West and East streets on either side of Central park, 5th Avenue, and then in the south you have mostly street names from Noho until the Financial District.


Here are some of the main attractions that are sure to keep you busy for your trip to NYC:






Flatiron Building





Best skyscrapers in Manhattan


Manhattan is full of skyscrapers that you can visit. So, if you are there for a week, you'll need to pick and choose the best ones to make get the best views. These are the two I would definitely recommend :



Make sure you book your tickets in advance. You don't just get a view of Manhattan but a whole experience, starting with the lift to the summit and then all the different rooms, each offering a unique way to view the skyline. That leads you to the last floor where you can enjoy a (strong) cocktail with a view.

The One summit Vanderbilt is not included in any New York passes but it's absolutely worth it!






Edge is the highest outdoor deck located at 30 Hudson Yards. The design is incredible and the view is amazing. This attraction is included in most passes but we were lucky to have access as of 9 am, an hour before it opened to the public. That really gave us the opportunity to take some amazing photos and avoid the queueing, which is a luxury in Manhattan. The pass we had bought was called the All-Inclusive Pass by Go City.





High Line and its surroundings


If you have early access to Edge with your Gocity pass, this will be your starting point to access the High Line.

Hudson Yards is where you will find the Edge, the Vessel and it is also where you can join the famous High Line. The High Line is built on a historic, elevated rail line which has been transformed into a green path that takes you from the Spur and moves east along 30th Street. On the way, you will get to see over 500 species of plants and trees alongside art exhibits.



You can also stop off and visit the Whitney Museum of American Art  and have lunch at the Chelsea Market followed by a walk on Little Island where during the summer they organise plenty of activities and live performances.






Central Park and its surrounding museums


Enter on 5th, stroll past the zoo and stand by the Delacorte clock. Every half an hour, on the dot, there's a lovely surprise. You might have seen this featured in the movie Madagascar. Check out the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, the Alice in Wonderland Statue, the Strawberry Fields and the Belvedere Castle.






Central Park will be your go to place the day you visit the museums on the Upper West and East side of Manhattan: Guggenheim, The MET, the American Museum of Natural History and the Copper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum.


We booked a table The Central Park Boathouse restaurant which offered a good variety of traditional dishes. We started with oysters and then the Sicilian swordfish and the spaghetti with clams (I have never seen such big clams, some were four times the size of the European ones!). Then we shared a perfect cheese cake.

As you can see you'll have a prime view of the lake while you enjoy your meal. It might even inspire you to rent a rowing boat afterwards.


If you just want a small bite to eat or a drink you can instead enjoy the terrace of the Central Park Boathouse Cafe.





Grand Central, Rockefeller Center, MOMA and Time Square


Close to the One Summit Vanderbilt skyscraper, don't miss out on Grand Central, the station is a classic monument of Manhattan. Look up at the iconic zodiac ceiling, check out the magic of the whispering gallery, situated in lower floor in front of the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant. If you wish to learn more you can also book a guided tour.



Every time we go to Manhattan, we have to have a bite to eat at the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant. It's an institution and we always sit at the circular tables on the right. Over the years, we've gotten the same waitress serving us almost every time! The other thing we do is ask for a menu to take back home that we frame and hang in our kitchen. Our first menu dates back to 22nd November 1999. We have actually now started this tradition for restaurants all over the world.




The One Summit Vanderbilt is close by so that can be added to your plans for the day quite easily.


Around the area, you can also go to see the MOMA Museum of Modern Art. Check what exhibitions are on at the time and make sure your see the unmissables including the Starry Night from Vincent Van Gogh.


Also close by you have the Rockefeller Center & Top of the Rocks. It' s worth seeing as you get a nice view of Central Park from Top of the Rocks. We went there at night and were lucky enough to see fireworks in the park.


You cannot go to Manhattan without going to Time Square, something odd will always happen when you are there!


Empire State Building and Chrysler building are both amazing art deco skyscraper but I would recommend admiring them from the top of the other skyscrapers I mentioned; so you can see them in all their glory.


Flatiron District


The main attraction is the Flatiron Building, the triangle shaped building is unlike any other building. Although it's currently being renovated to accommodate 40 condos. This is estimated to last 3 years; so start saving now!

Next to the Flatiron you can enjoy the Fotografiska museum and/or a bit of greenery in Madison Square Park. In the summer you can enjoy outdoor jazz concerts there. Last but not least there's Eataly, an amazing space dedicated to, you guessed it, Italy. It has the best ice creams, coffee, food, restaurants and even offers cooking classes, even just walking around the food market is a treat to the eyes.





Financial District


The Financial District is so full of contrasts, alongside the bustling Wall Street workers, there's a striking emotional component that the One World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial & Museum offer. Here you can feel the strength and resilience of the New Yorkers and the importance of the site. It must be included in your trip.

You can't miss The Oculus, it's the building that looks like a bird and is home to a station and subway lines, shops and restaurants. Around the Oculus are sculptures of animals by the artist Gillie and Marc called A Wild Life for Wildlife. So cute!





Here's a controversial take, we finally took the boat tour to the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island because it was part of the Go city pass, and honestly it was not worth it. You spend most of your time queuing on and off the boat.

Instead, I really enjoyed the Staten Island Ferry which is free and takes you really close to the Statue of Liberty. You get an amazing view for free. You will also get views of Governors Island and Brooklyn Heights. So definitely worth it!





Brooklyn


Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge has to be done. When you get to Brooklyn, walk down Washington Street, and follow the crowd to get that famous picture of the Brooklyn Bridge. Then take a stroll to Time Out Market, where you can have a bite to eat and enjoy their terrace. You can also go down to Pebble Beach by the water for a different view of the Brooklyn Bridge.





We didn't spend much time in Brooklyn on this trip but last time we were there we really enjoyed the Bushwick Graffiti Tour which I would recommend if you are into graffiti and murals, the tour was really well organised.




I hope you enjoy your future trip to NYC! Let me know if you visit any of these places or if you have any recommendations that weren't mentioned here through instagram (@elenefrancesca). Make sure you keep an eye out for our future travels and our upcoming NYC restaurant guide so you don't go hungry on your trip!

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Jenny Lou
Jenny Lou
May 29

Looks fun and the weather looks great too! Thanks for sharing, would love to visit there one day!

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Thanks 🙏🏻

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