New York City is a place that I’ve dreamed of going since I was thirteen years old. In 2019, I finally booked the flight! This was the first time I would travel without my parents so I had to organized everything by myself from budgets to sightseeing.
In this lovely trip to NYC, I stayed for 6 days in Manhattan and 5 days in Brooklyn. This way, I could have time to check things off of my bucket list. However, New York has never-ending places, restaurants, and events that will take anyone YEARS to explore NYC in its entirety.
For transportation, we relied on the subway and lots of walking. The subway will be your best option so I suggest to download the map on your smartphone. In this post, not only will I list the things I HIGHLY recommend visiting places that provide you a local and tourist experience as well. Also, I included tips on how to take a better photograph that stands out from traditional tourist pictures.
VISIT THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
My recommendation is to spend an entire day at museums and/or galleries. Even though this was the only museum that we went to in Manhattan, there are countless museums/galleries where you can pay as you wish or have free admission on certain days. In the Museum of Modern Art, known as MoMA, we had the privilege to see many artworks from my favorite artists: Magritte, Mattise, Pollock, Kahlo, Monet, Van Gogh, and the one that’s dear to my heart, Gustav Klimt [fun fact: we share the same birthday]. Not only do they have paintings, but also have photography exhibitions (that I very much geeked about), films, sculptures, and many more. It’s one of the most enriching experiences you can ever have!
TAKE IN THE CITY LIGHTS OF TIMES SQUARE
Let’s be real, if you go to NYC and not visit Times Square, did you really go to NYC?
Everyone deserves to experience, at least once in their lifetime, the thrill Times Square gives. It can be overwhelming due to large crowds but you will feel energized seeing the city lights. However, be prepared for all the scammers and people that will push you to buy something from them. Simply walk away and do not pay attention to them! We shot this photo by standing up at a public chair that was available in the area.
discover the gems of central park
Central Park is home to lots of famous movie scenes and TV shows. Even though we didn’t get to experience Central Park in summer or fall, it’s always beautiful at any time of the year. If you visit the park early in the morning, there are no large crowds so it’s perfect to snap a picture. Spots you need to visit in Central Park: Bethesda Fountain, Strawberry Fields (a tribute to John Lennon), Belvedere Castle, etc.
The spot we loved was Strawberry Fields. The tribute is a round mosaic on the ground that says in the middle “Imagine”, hence the title to one of his most famous songs.
Interesting fact: this Imagine mosaic is located a few walks from the Dakota building which John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived, and unfortunately Lennon was killed. It’s like you can feel his soul lingering in Strawberry Fields… forever. There’s large crowds in this area but have some patience because eventually, you’ll have the mosaic for yourself.
Spot famous buildings in midtown
You can literally visit Midtown in one day if you schedule your time correctly. We went to the NBC studios store (VERY pricey but they have cool SNL and The Office merch), Radio City Music Hall, Columbus Circle, Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and passed by the Trump Tower (wasn’t in the plans, though). We also got to take pictures at the Ed Sullivan Theater and we had the amazing opportunity to watch The Late Show with Stephen Colbert live.
Tip: submit request tickets to any show at least a month prior to their taping. Have in mind that even though you submit a ticket request, they have a lottery system that chooses people at random. It’s worth a try and DEFINITELY worth the experience
go shopping (or windowshopping) in soho
Soho is that place where you see a LOT of fashion bloggers, influencers, and fashionistas rocking out their outfits in the streets. Most of the NYC bloggers shoot their #outfitoftheday or #ootd content in the corners of Soho.
Even though Soho is a very expensive area to shop, you can never go wrong with window-shopping. Moschino, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel… a fashion lover’s match made in heaven. Not to mention, this area has a lot of Instagram worthy locations. For example, thanks to Pinterest, I found this lovely boutique hotel, Nomo Soho, that has a beautiful entrance and we took a LOT of pictures here. HONESTLY, DO YOURSELVES A FAVOR AND TAKE PICS IN NOMO SOHO. Y’all will thank me later!
stop by the chelsea market and walk the high line
This has got to be my favorite spot of the entire trip, and I am not even exaggerating. The High Line starts at Chelsea Market and ends in The Shops at Hudson Yards. It was raining the day we went and there were barely any people so it was perfect to take pictures in front of this glass wall that you could see 10th avenue. If you’re walking the High Line to the Hudson Yards, you will see to your left the Hudson River along with a faint silhouette of the Statue of Liberty, and to your right, you can enjoy the views of Chelsea. The High Line is so beautiful, we decided to go for a second time and that time was very sunny!
visit the vessel at hudson yards
Manhattan’s own Eiffel Tower. The Vessel is a 16-story connected with staircases, designed by the British Thomas Heatherwick. From the top, you can appreciate the Hudson River from afar. The best part? It’s free! However, you need to reserve tickets to enter. Sadly, I did not get to reserve tickets since it was booked for two weeks in advance, but at least I got to appreciate its beauty from the ground up and took lovely photos. It has the shape of a shwarma… Now I’m getting hungry! Also, you can walk a few blocks to visit Madison Square Garden.
Hang round at flat iron + grab lunch at eataly
Flat Iron Building is so popular due to its name that derives from its resemblance to a cast-iron clothes iron. Not to mention, it’s has a peculiar and unique shape that no other landmark in New York has. After sight-seeing, the Flat Iron Building, indulge your palate by grabbing lunch/dinner at Eataly.
Eataly is a marketplace where they sell the best quality Italian goods, and there’s also a lot of food shops and restaurants in the marketplace. From gelatos, pasta, to imported goods and beauty items. You cannot leave this place without ordering their famous Italian hot chocolate: thick, rich, and creamy. Dip it with bread, churro, or whatever you want, you will never drink hot chocolate the same way ever again.
spend the day at greenwich village + visit washington square park
This park is the perfect place to sit on a bench and just people-watch all day. You’d be surprised how many languages you can hear in a span of 5 minutes (the most I’ve heard were 8 languages). It’s located near New York University and it belongs to a very cool hip area called Greenwich Village (phonetically, the w is omitted). Greenwich Village is a quiet place, unlike the classic midtown rush. Instead, it is filled with comedy cellars where famous comedians started their careers and there’s a lot of amazing cheap food in the area. Not only this park is a great place to wind down and relax, but it has also served as a space for politics and culture.
The list can go on about things to do in Manhattan! These are a few places you can visit during your stay in Manhattan. The moment I stepped into NYC, I fell in love with it! In addition to the list above we visited: Bryant Park, New York Public Library, East Village, Chinatown, Chelsea Market, and many more, we still have a long list of things we want to see on our next NYC trip. I hope you have enjoyed this small guide to relieve you from any case of FOMO. There’s always the excuse of visiting New York at any time, any moment.