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The world looks to New York as the world’s ultimate city experience – it’s got that little bit of everything. But when you’ve got just one day to explore this massive city, you’re going to need to know: what are the best things to do in New York? This route guide includes all the highlights in an order that allows you to squeeze as much in as possible.
The top 10 things to do in New York:
Start your day EARLY by hopping on the Metro to Brooklyn Bridge. It’s amazing to see all the commuters buzzing around at this time of the morning. You feel like a real local! Come above ground, and walk over to the infamous DUMBO area for that ultimate Instagram shot.
Grab a coffee in one of Brooklyn’s hipster cafes, and walk over Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan in the beautiful morning light. The views are STUNNING.
2. WALL STREET.
Once you’ve walked over Brooklyn Bridge, turn left to walk down onto New York’s Wall Street. Wander between the high-rise concrete jungle and immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle.
3. STATEN ISLAND FERRY.
Now this is the real secret to seeing New York. Walk down Wall Street to the southern tip of Manhattan and hop on the FREE ferry. It takes 25 minutes to ride the ferry over to Staten Island, and the views back to New York are so special. There isn’t a whole lot to do upon arrival, so just go straight round the ferry terminal and get back on to go back to the city straight away! The views are just as good as any of the tourist boat trips, but you get it for free!
4. 9/11 MEMORIAL.
From the ferry terminal, walk half an hour back north to the 9/11 memorial. This speaks for itself – it’s beautiful, incredibly moving and powerful. If you want to visit the memorial museum below the towers, make sure you book a time slot a few days in advance. If you’re doing this route, you’d arrive here by about 11.30. If time, pop into the amazing shopping centre The Oculus after – the architecture is so special.
5. GRAND CENTRAL STATION.
After the memorial, hop back on the metro to Grand Central Station. I know it might just be a train station, but it’s so iconic and worth seeing. There’s a gorgeous little bar at the far end for a cocktail and spot of lunch. Be warned, the great location demands a real premium!
6. CENTRAL PARK.
It’s an easy half hour walk from Grand Central Station to Central Park, and it takes you through the amazing shopping area along Fifth Avenue. Central Park is beautiful no matter whatever the weather or the time of year. Make sure to walk to the far end and see the beautiful fountain.
7. TOP OF THE ROCK.
Ride the metro back to the Rockerfeller Center and head up to the viewing platform at the top for sunset. You MUST book this a few days in advance online, and allow a full hour from the start of your time slot before you can expect to be at the top. Therefore, book a slot about two hours before sunset.
It’s expensive, but what a way to end this epic day hitting all the best things to do in New York. We saw Wicked, but there’s SO many to choose from.
9. TIMES SQUARE.
After a show, Times Square is just a short walk away. The atmosphere is incredible. ENJOY IT! We stayed in an incredible hotel just next to Times Square that night – the Marriot Marquis. Our room overlooked the square!
10. Okay I’ll admit, we didn’t actually do this as we ran out of time. But the Metropolitan Museum of art will be first on my list when I go back!