Visiting New York: Manhattan Essential Icons

visiting new york

Exploring a city like New York can be overwhelming. Everything is bigger, louder, faster and more intense – including your expectations. If you’re anything like me you’ll want it all: the skyline views from the big tourist attractions to dining in hole in the wall restaurants and feeling like a local.

So when there’ is so much to see and do in the global center of entertainment, fashion, media and finance; how on earth do you coordinate your time!? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

Listed below are 10 must see/experience icons from landmarks to local favorites for when time is of the essence.

  1. Bagels. Bagels. Bagels.

visiting new york

You can find quick, delicious sesame bagels on every street corner either in a store or a street cart vendor. Keep in mind that the popular places like Essa Bagel, Absolute Bagel and Kossars will have you standing in line for a while, especially on weekends. Try a whipped cream cheese, tomato and lux from Leo’s if you’re in Lower Manhattan.

2. Empire State Building

visiting new york

Recently named by the American society of civil engineers as one of the seven wonders of the modern world. For over 40 years the Empire State was the tallest building in the world from 1931 and stands 1,454ft (443m) high. The lines are usually long and the rooftop view are crowded. Go for the VIP express, or you can also check out some skyline views from the Rockefeller Centre just near Time Square.

3. Manhattan Pizza

visiting new york

New York Pizza is big, cheesy and delicious. Lower Manhattans little Italy district is the place to go. Walking down the narrow cobblestone streets of Mulberry, Hester and Grand Streets you’re tempted by the sights, sounds and smells of Italian cuisine and culture emanating from the restaurants surrounding you at every step.

4. Time Square

visiting new york

Going to NY and not going to Time Square is like going to Peru and not seeing Machu Pichu. Go at night, go to a Broadway show, admire the lights and the birthplace of Western Consumerism.

5. Eat a hotdog in Central Park

visiting new york

Just because. There’s hot dog stands scattered all around the city that you can grab while you’r on the run or wandering through the park on a first date. If you’re feeling fancy or spoiling someone you love and a hotdog just won’t cut it; there are horse and carts that you can hire to take you for a romantic ride through the park for a moderate price.

6. Walk down 5th Avenue

visiting new york

The Fashion central of NYC. The section of Fifth Avenue that crosses midtown Manhattan especially that between 49th and 60th street is lined with prestigious designer stores and is considered as one of the best and most expensive shopping streets in the world. For the ladies, Saks on Fifth Ave is an award winning beauty salon where you can get your hair styled while you sip on French Champagne. The incredible team at Georgio Armani just upstairs are also the best in the business for makeup. Ask for Alberto Caballero, he’ll take care of you.

7. The Subway and Grand Central Terminal

visiting new york

The NYC subway is hot, sweaty and uncomfortable. Its also the best way to get from point A to B without sitting in traffic for 2hours. The Grand Central Terminal is also very cool. And whilst the Subway isn’t as new and shiny as what you’ll find in Tokyo or Sydney, it’s character is true to NY and you’ll feel like you’re in one of those subway scenes in a Hollywood movie.

8. Statue of Liberty

visiting new york

Recognizable worldwide as the symbol of freedom, the Statue of Liberty has been an American icon since 1886. The ferry ride out in New York harbor will give you exquisite views of the city and get you close to one of NY biggest iconic symbols. You can also hop off at the neighboring Ellis Island and read about the history of Ms. Liberty at the National Museum of Immigration.

9. Wall Street

visiting new york

The famous financial street runs for 8 blocks from downtown Manhattan. Here you can find notable icons as the statue of the charging bull, the stock exchange building and the headquarters to some of the largest financial operators in the world. The skyscraper buildings alone are impressive. The early morning crowds are more friendly for taking pictures around the charging bull.

10. Brooklyn Bridge

visiting new york

The architecture and views both of and from the Brooklyn Bridge are a must see when exploring New York. with pedestrian access you can ride a bike or walk the bridge in about 30 minutes. There are also free group walking tours that talk you through the history of the bridge as well as visiting the trendy neighborhoods of Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights. The tours are free and take  3 hours, you can find them here: NYC Tours



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