Image by Anthony Quintano via Flickr
New York has been called many things; the City That Never Sleeps, Big Apple, Capital of the World, and Empire City. One of the first metropolises in the U.S. and to this day the country’s cultural and financial hub, New York is bursting with exciting opportunities for residents and visitors alike. While there are new activities and attractions to explore every day, around the city still exist many of the sights and sounds that lent New York its original charm. Whether it’s your first trip to the city or another date with the city that you just can’t get over, here’s where and how to enjoy a quintessential NYC vacation.
Where you stay in NYC is just as important as what you do while on your trip. Though it’s cheaper to book an Airbnb, you won’t get the classic New York feel in a stranger’s apartment like you would in a trendy room at one of the city’s most iconic hotels. Treat yourself, live a little, and ride in style by taking a NYC airport limousine to one of these luxurious New York accommodations:
- The Carlyle: The best place to stay on the Upper East Side, and arguably the best place to stay in the entire city, the Carlyle offers a mixture of luxury and residential suites. For the best views, try to get a tower room.
- Algonquin Hotel: Spitting distance from Times Square, the Algonquin Hotel has long been a hub of culture, this one’s great for the literary-inclined and intellectual types.
- The Plaza: Another hotel on the fringes of Times Square, the Plaza is so important to NYC that it features prominently in many movies about the city.
- The Waldorf Astoria: The Waldorf is so much more than a place to spend the night; it is an art-deco masterpiece, the birthplace of dozens of American food trends, and a fitting hub for your NYC travels.
Though like most major cities, you’ll find tons of fast food options in New York, its food culture is surprisingly dynamic, so not many eateries manage to last long. However, the transient nature of food trends in the city only makes the following timeless NYC restaurants more impressive. You can get a taste of classic NYC at the following traditional spots:
- Rainbow Room: The definition of romance and glamor, the Rainbow Room offers an unforgettable dining experience. Every meal, from Sunday brunch to weekday dinner, is magical ― but make a reservation at least weeks in advance.
- Tavern on the Green: If you get hungry on your journey around and about Central Park, you should head straight to the Tavern on the Green. Though it isn’t the glitzy eatery it once was, the Tavern is perhaps more charming for its new commitment to sustainable practices.
- Katz’s Delicatessen: You can’t go to NYC without stopping in a traditional deli, and Katz’s massive cafeteria is perhaps the most famous in the city. This spot is perfect for a quick, cheap lunch during a busy day in New York.
What makes New York so exciting is that there is no lack of events, activities, and happenings around the city, and there truly is something for everyone. Yet, if the quintessential New York experience is what you’re after, there are a few activities you shouldn’t miss, including:
- Broadway: There’s more to NYC’s live theater scene than the show-of-the-moment. You can survey all Broadway offerings at TKTS booths around the city.
- The Met: New York is filled with museums, but none are as massive and awe-inspiring as the Metropolitan Museum. You can spend entire days viewing exhibits and only see half of the museum’s collection, so a good strategy is to stick to one area that captures your interest.
- Empire State Building: No longer the tallest building in New York, the Empire State Building remains the most iconic. A trip to the observation deck is well worth the time and ticket price.
- Statue of Liberty: Though you can visit Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty up close, you can get better pictures of the monument (and the NYC skyline) by taking the free Staten Island Ferry.
- Shopping: For believers in retail therapy, there is perhaps no other activity that is as quintessentially New York as it is to shop. Even if you’re not one of them, it’s fun to peek into the windows of Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, Macy’s, and other New York retail institutions.
Have you been to New York? What would you add to this list?