Over the last several years, we’ve had the opportunity to visit New York City a bit more than a half of a dozen times for both business and pleasure. When in town for work, we’ve often tacked on some days on the front or back ends to explore the City. We’ve collected suggestions and tips from locals and through our own explorations, compiled here.
- See a Broadway show.
Undoubtedly on the top of many lists and perhaps cliché, but its worth it. Over the years, we’ve been fortunate enough to catch Hamilton (with original cast, because we bought tickets before it was “the show to see”), Wicked, Hello Dolly (with Bette Midler) and others. About 75% of the time, we try to catch a show. Well worth it, and depending on the show, you can often get same-day matinee tickets (or even evening ones) online.
- Wander around Central Park.
Probably our favorite thing to do. It’s massive expanse allows for beaten path exercise or off the beaten path wanderings. We love the Conservatory Pond and doing the loop around the Jackie O Resevoir or just looking up at the buildings on the park’s periphery watching down on us. Also, if you visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in nice weather check out the rooftop which overlooks the park for a sip.
- The Highline.
Opened in 2009, this walkway/park is a converted elevated track into a pedestrian trial running about 1.5 miles long from Hudson Gardens to Chelsea Market. Busy (super busy) on weekends, it still beats the path down the City blocks even with seemingly endless tourists and baby carriage dodging and weaving.
- The 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
This tragic, horrific day and the aftermath is remembered and recalled in the museum. Emotional, heart breaking, hard to see and a must visit. The reflecting pools above ground where the towers once stood are peaceful and beautiful and terribly sad. What’s uplifting about this beautifully done memorial, however, is the international visitors you see from all races, religions, countries and cultures paying homage to those we lost. Please go. Never forget.
- Cross the Brooklyn Bridge and Ferry back.
One of our favorite NYC days ever, on a late September brilliant summer-like day we hoofed it down from our hotel near Madison Square Park and across the Brooklyn Bridge to the Dumbo area. Saturday late morning may not be the best time to cross the bridge’s narrow pedestrian walkway (made narrower by dividing it in half for a bikeway, NYC: consider making it a “walk bike zone” on weekends, sorry bikers) but we crossed the span and wandered around for a few hours. The weather was beautiful and rather than walk home, we took the ferry from Dumbo back to 34th St. The ferry costs only $3 per person and offers great views of the bridges, lower Manhattan and the East Side as you ride up the East River and then across. This was a local recommendation (start to finish) which we highly recommend, particularly on a spectacularly beautiful day. Tip: get the NYC ferries app and skip the line. The app isn’t very good, but you’ll avoid a wait for tickets at the kiosks.
- Get lost in Greenwich Village.
Wander around the maze of streets, grab a beer at the White Horse Tavern (once haunted by the likes of Dylan Thomas and Jack Kerouac), have brunch at one of the many bistros or cafes and end up in Washington Square Park. For the meanderers and explorers, you can spend hours here.
- Catch Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden.
This recommendation is clearly one which will last only for as long as the monthly concerts continue, but it was perhaps one of our most favorite nights out in NYC ever. Joel puts on an amazing show and invites a guest vocalist to sing with him each time (when we saw him, it was Mike Delguidice, a member of Joel’s band, singing Italian opera). Local boy makes good and does his City proud with his anthems to New York and other classics. The Piano Man hasn’t lost a beat.
- The architecture.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the New York Public Library, the skyscrapers around the park, the Freedom Tower, the brownstones of Greenwich Village, the flatiron building, the Empire State, Carnegie Hall, Hudson Towers, the Chrysler Building, the list goes on… Stop, look up and around. There’s a lot to look at.
And on our list for future visits:
- Catch a baseball game at Yankee Stadium. As a long time baseball fan, Boston Red Sox to be clear, seeing a game at the home or the Sox’ archrival has long been on my list.
- Seeing a show at the Apollo Theater. Having never been to Harlem, this would top our list on a future trip.
- A visit to Ellis Island. Bring us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses. Despite political rhetoric, this country is still welcoming to those who wish to come, work hard and achieve. Visiting the gateway for immigration in the latter half of the 19th century would be an inspiring and humbling visit.
- Visit New York at Christmas. When we have more flexibility, this tops our list of to-dos.
- Catch Saturday Night Live. Long time watchers and fans since the days of John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Chevy Chase through the 80s with Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo and the 2000s with Will Farrell, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler we’ve always wanted to go but work has prohibited the flexibility required by the lottery. Soon.