Travel Review: What to See in New York City

and What to Skip in New York

By Amanda C
Edited by Ali Reza

New York City (NYC) is commonly referred to as “the city that never sleeps.” It is a melting pot of culture and activities. From business to entertainment, it encompasses it all. Years ago when people from around the world migrated to the United States, Ellis Island is where their journey into the country began.  The city continues to be a major tourist attraction where millions of people go every year, and for good reason. There is so much to experience there and it is unlike anywhere else.

But with the wealth of things to do, it is practically impossible to fit everything in. If you’re planning a trip to NYC, here are some must-sees, and a few things you could you skip.

Must-See Locations:

    • Times Square: This stretch of street is where a multitude of experiences collide. It is where the ball drops each year on New Year’s Eve and is surrounded by digital billboards advertising everything imaginable. There are billboards for the numerous on and off-Broadway shows going on as well as stands for purchasing tickets to these shows. Madame Tussauds’ wax museum is nearby, as are the flagship stores for many retailers such as Toys “R” Us. You will also find vendors selling souvenirs, jewelry, purses, and more.
    • Central Park: Nestled in amongst the tall buildings and bustling streets is the 843-acre Central Park. In a city where trees and grass can be sparse, it is a beautiful getaway. Walk through the park and take in the sculptures, bodies of water, Central Park Zoo, and Friedsam Memorial Carousel. In the winter there is even an ice skating rink.
    • Empire State Building: Travel up to the observation deck of the Empire State Building and enjoy the picturesque view of the city. From the 86th floor there is plenty to see and you can take in the diverse features and spectacular lights of the city. You can catch a glimpse of many famous attractions from here.
    • 9/11 Memorial: Following the events of September 11, 2001, the city of New York turned the area where the World Trade Center stood into a memorial that pays respect to the lives lost. It is free to visit and shares the history of how things unfolded. There is also a museum with artifacts, pictures, videos, and more.
  • Art Museums: NYC is home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), the Guggenheim Museum, and more. Depending on your taste, there are plenty of museums to explore and check out a little bit of history.
  • Rockefeller Center: This could go on either list. In the winter it is exciting to see the gigantic tree all lit up and try your hand at ice skating, but it can also be packed with other visitors. The shops surrounding Rockefeller Center are much like retailers you would find in other places.

 

What to Skip:

  • The Statue of Liberty: This is not to say avoid it all together, because it truly is a sight to be seen, but you can skip the dedicated tour unless you have a few hours to devote to it. Instead, hop on the Staten Island ferry which will take you close enough to take pictures and enjoy the magnificence of the statue, but also let you take in other sights as well. The Staten Island ferry is free and runs every half hour.
  • South Street Seaport: While there are some historical sites to be seen here, overall there are many other more attractive places to visit. It is a little off the beaten path, especially from the convenient subway, and mostly offers souvenirs that can be found elsewhere.
  • Sightseeing Tour Buses: These may seem like a good way to go but only offer a very minimal glimpse at some of the city’s attractions. Your better bet would be to take a walking tour or do a little bit of your own research on what to see.

There are plenty of other attractions scattered throughout the city as well. With tons of great places to eat, shop, and explore, it is a trip worth taking. Make sure you have several days here to really make the most of your visit and enjoy the diversity and history of the city.

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