The Big Apple is definitely one of the most interesting and lively places to live in. It almost buzzes with urban energy all day and night. Most people who move to New York City soon realize that the world is indeed their oyster! This place can offer you a plethora of new experiences in terms of culture, diversity, cuisine, shopping, sightseeing, nightlife, entertainment, art and learning.Some of what you see about this city in movies and TV shows is true to a small extent but being there and going through it in person is an entirely different experience altogether.
There is a lot for you to see and do in the City that Never Sleeps, regardless of your age, gender and nationality. Moreover, whether you like to venture out on your own or prefer to be a part of a group, you will easily find that there is a lot for you to explore. In fact, you probably even won’t know where to start, especially if this is your first trip to New York.
However, there are a few things that you just have to try out, preferably soon after you move there. Below are nine of the most popular must-have experiences for New Yorkers.
Visit 9/11 Memorial and Museum
In the place where New York skyline’s iconic Twin Towers once stood, you will now see North America’s biggest man-made waterfalls. This iconic site opened on September 11, 2011 (exactly 10 years after the attack) to the families of the victims and a day later to the rest of the public.
The twin reflecting pools, designed by Michael Arad, are a solemn reminder of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Each pool is 1 acre in size and is so deep that most people can’t even see the bottom. They have a bronze panel with the names of the 3,000 victims who lost their lives in the worst terror attack on the US.
There is a museum too, where you can learn more about the events that took place, as you browse through a collection of artifacts and documents. Often, survivors of the attacks share their firsthand experiences with visitors. You will also get to see pictures and video footage of the tragedy.
Dine at the Bateaux New York Cruise
For a memory that you will always treasure, you should definitely have a European meal on the River Hudson, by taking the Bateaux New York Cruise. It is often referred to as the ultimate dining experience by those who have tried it.
As you enjoy the 180-degree skyline views from the vessel’s curved glass walls and ceilings, the food, service and entertainment will tantalize your senses. The cruise liner boasts two dining rooms that can be joined or separated, depending on the number of people present, and both have climate-control. It also has two outdoor decks which offer a clear view of Manhattan, a full-service bar and a hardwood dance floor.
You can take this cruise from Chelsea Piers at any time of the year. The packages generally include champagne brunch, lunch, dinner, full moon rides and several other holiday cruises.
Take a walk on the Broadway
For most outsiders, the term Broadway is synonymous with theater, musicals and other hit shows. While that is true to a great extent, there is a lot more to this popular tourist attraction. It is unlike any other locale in America.
Definitely one of the most famous streets in New York, Broadway runs the entire length of Manhattan, from the southern tip at Bowling Green right up to its northern end at Inwood. The heart of Broadway lies in the few blocks that surround Times Square. Several people start at one end and walk their way to the other, with breaks for coffee, meals and sightseeing. Make a day of it since it could take you anywhere between 6 and 9 hours, depending on your speed.
The Theater District, the most well-known section of Broadway, has 40 professional theaters, each with a seating capacity of 500 people or more. It got its nickname, the Great White Way, after being the first street in the US that was lit up with electric lights. This name still stands, as millions of lights on the billboards and marquees of different theaters light up the sky at night.
Enjoy a Picnic at Central Park
The most visited urban park in the US gets millions of visitors from around the world each year. Central Park was established in 1857, on 778 acres of city-owned land in middle-upper Manhattan. If you watch a lot of Hollywood movies, this park should not seem unfamiliar as it is one of the most filmed locations in the world.
There are more than 30 different points of interest and geographic features within the park, like Sheep Meadow, Cherry Hill, Cedar Hill, The Pond & Hallett Nature Sanctuary, Belvedere Castle, Diana Ross Playground, Mall, Wollman Rink, Victorian Gardens and the Zoo, just to name a few. During summer the park is full of picnickers and sunbathers while the winters bring in the ice-skaters. Regardless of how many people gather at the park, you can always find a pleasant spot for a picnic. In fact, you are likely to return several times as it takes a couple of days to explore all the attractions of this urbanized Eden.
See the City from the Top of the Empire State Building
It is nigh on impossible to think of New York City’s dazzling skyline without the impressive spire of the Empire State Building. Its pencil thin silhouette can be recognized by just about everyone! New York City is also called Empire City and that is where this structure gets its name from. In 1931, after its completion, this iconic 102-storey, 1454-foot (443 meters) skyscraper became the world’s tallest building, and it retained that title for almost 40 years.
While it may not be the tallest building in the world any more, this skyscraper is worth a visit even today. The 360-degree view of the city from the deck of the 86th floor is spectacular. Unfortunately, only a few make it to the 102nd floor, from where the view is said to be breathtaking. Even the wait in the lobby is interesting as it gives you the chance to admire the Art Deco design. Moreover, there are so many fun facts that you will get to learn about the building.
Several local tour operators offer special packages that can help you skip the long lines. You can book your tickets online or by going directly to the Empire State Building.
Ice Skate at the Rockefeller Center
There are plenty of noteworthy attractions within the Rockefeller center and the ice-skating rink, located on the ground floor, is one of the most interesting sites in the city. Every day, hundreds of tourists and residents make their way to the heart of midtown, to make some magical memories at the Rink, which offers not just classic NYC Skating sessions, but also exclusive wintertime experiences.
This multi-block complex is also home to the bronze Atlas statue, the Today Show Plaza and the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, to name a few.
Ride a Ferry to Statue of Liberty
Lady Liberty is hands-down the most symbolic figure in New York City. The statue was a gift of friendship from France to the US. To this day, the “Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” is recognized as the icon of freedom and democracy.
As visitors approach Liberty Island from Battery Park on a ferry, they are filled with a sense of wonder looking at the towering, stately colossus. For most people, making the journey to the statue is as overwhelming as climbing right up to the crown for a panoramic view of New York Harbor.
You should also stop by the neighboring Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration to know more about the island as well as the story of immigration from the colonial era, right up until today.
Admire the Display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The word “sprawling” is an understatement when describing this institution, located in Manhattan. It would actually take you days to roam all around the labyrinth corridors of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met, as it is popularly called, is home to over 2 million pieces of art, all of which represent around 5,000 years of history. There are 17 curatorial collections, spanning numerous cultures and eras, ranging from pre-historic Egyptian relics to modern photography.
Art lovers could spend up to a week admiring the extensive array of paintings. If you are a history enthusiast, don’t miss out on the assemblage of ancient musical instruments, armor and weapons. The museum holds special exhibitions around the year so one visit probably won’t be enough.
Feel the Energy at Times Square
Many people around the world have at least got a glimpse of New Year Eve celebrations, especially the annual ball drop, at the glitzy Times Square on TV. However this area, also called the Crossroads of the World, isn’t very different throughout the rest of the year except for the huge crowds.
Each year, Times Square draws approximately 50 million tourists. It is said that more than 330,000 people pass through it on a daily basis. On busier days, this number could go as high as 460,000. You could spend days enjoying the various dining, shopping and entertainment experiences this place has to offer. During the night, the place is lit up by millions of neon lights.
The suggestions listed above are only some of the more popular ones that you should experience when you move to New York. If you have the time, you should also:
– Attend a concert at Carnegie Hall
– Chase the dragon at the Chinese New Year Parade
– Dive into the Atlantic Ocean on New Year’s Day
– Eat the smoked fish from Russ & Daughters
– Enjoy the Jazz shows at the Village Vanguard club
– Explore the New York Botanical Garden
– Feast on the High Tea at the Plaza
– Find the Little Red Lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge
– Gaze at the Manhattanhenge in wonder
– Go kayaking down the Hudson
– Have the pizza at Lucali
– Look for the Hidden Door to Old New York on the southeast corner of Broadway
– Pamper yourself with a Mandarin Oriental Spa
– Play the Floor Piano at Fao Schwartz
– Ride the Cyclone on Coney Island
– Say Cheers at the Fraunces Tavern for their rotating tap beers
– Shake a leg with the Gypsies at the Bulgarian Bar
– Share a secret at the Whispering Gallery at Grand Central
– Shop on Fifth Avenue
– Ski, snowboard or sled down the stairs at Bethesda Fountain
– Soak up the city’s sights from the One World Observatory
– Spend a few hours in Chinatown and Little Italy
– Stay at the Carlyle Hotel (or at least try the Bemelmans Bar)
– Stroll on the High Line (especially after a heavy rain)
– Take a train from the Grand Central Terminal
– Try some street fare, especially from a Food Truck
– Taste the sweet delights at the Mast Brothers’ Chocolate Factory
– Visit Radio City Music Hall, also called the Showplace of the Nation
– Walk along the Brooklyn Bridge
– Watch a Hollywood classic in Bryant Park
These experiences should keep you busy for a long time after you move to New York. If possible, connect with your neighbors, colleagues, friends and other locals to know about other things you must do in order to know more about the Empire City.