8.5 million residents. 1600 pizza shops. 800 spoken languages. 573 skyscrapers. 303 square miles. 41 professional Broadway theaters.
One destination New York City.
So pack your most stylish daypack, your laminated map, and your winter’s warmest, and make NYC your winter destination.
What to See
With so many options in NYC, where do you begin? Follow our lead and try out the following suggestions; there’s something to please everyone in the family! Also, some advice from us: when applicable, buy your tickets in advance to ensure your spot and save a few bucks in the process!
If you are one of those people enticed by the city’s buzz, boom, and bustle, then you should hustle on over to Times Square, located in Midtown Manhattan at the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue. Although it is renowned for its massive annual New Year’s Eve celebration, Times Square is the place to be in NYC at any time of the year, especially if you are looking for bright lights, a Broadway show, or a place to eat.
The best part? It’s free. A paradise for people watchers, Times Square features pedestrian-only zones, including the ruby-red stairs atop the TKTS ticket booth—perfect for those who just want to look up, down and all around to marvel at the abundance of stimulating sights.
Those looking to do a little more than people watch are also in luck; Time Square is host to not only popular retailers and restaurants, but also to many Broadway and off-Broadway productions—which, by the way, you can see for 20-50% discounted price by standing in line at the TKTS booth. Visitors can also take advantage of discounted tickets online for Madame Tussauds wax museum and Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Times Square.
If you are visiting the square at night—recommended for optimal viewing pleasure—be inspired by the various art projects that may be going on during your stay. So go on, check out what all the fuss is about.
Who says you can’t find a little greenspace in the big city? Take a break from the city buzz with a walk through the park!
For those nature lovers out there, the park’s 843 acres includes a sprawling meadow, a winding ravine and stream, two botanical gardens, and a 20-acre lake, and much more.
Now that you’ve taken in your fill of nature’s finest, go ahead and explore some of the other attractions that Central Park has to offer: Belvedere Castle, Obelisk monument, the Carousel, Wollman Ice Rink, and horse drawn carriage rides.
Oh, and don’t forget to hop on over to the Central Park Zoo, while you are at it. Your ticket covers admission to the Central Park Zoo, along with the Tisch Children’s Zoo and the 4-D theater. Buy your tickets online, and save 10% on admission costs!
Empire State Building
Rise above the rest—102 stories above the rest!—as you make your way to the top of the Empire State Building. A skyscraper that claims its own zip code, the Empire State Building is located at 350 5th Avenue and is open 365 days a year. Visitors can ascend over 1200 feet into the New York skyline to the observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors.
The 86th observation deck features an open-air experience, and provides a 360 degree, wrap around view of NYC. Download the official Observatory Experience app and learn about your views in every direction of Central Park, The Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, The State of Liberty, The Hudson and East Rivers, and more! Make the sixteen-floor trek to the 102nd floor to get a glimpse of the fuller picture and enjoy remarkable views that are up to 80 miles away (depending on the clarity of the day).
Finally, be sure to check out the Empire State LED Light Show that may be happening when you in town. The light shows are coordinated to commemorate different holidays and events and are often synced to music on iHeartMedia stations. Watch in wonder as the Empire State Building shows off its 16-million color palette with special lighting effects in real-time!
Become one of millions who will “Never Forget” and make sure that you take the time to visit the 9/11 Memorial, the newly completed 9/11 Museum, and One World Trade Center, also known as the Freedom Tower.
Free of charge and open daily to the public from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., the 9/11 Memorial is a breathtaking view. Two reflecting pools, each close to an acre in size, harbor North America’s largest manmade waterfalls and sit within the imprints of where the Twin Towers used to stand. Inscribed into the bronze panels that line the pools are the names of all the victims from the 1993 and 2001 terrorist attacks.
Located at the site as well is the 9/11 Museum, situated within the remnants of the original towers. The 110,000 square feet of exhibition space allows visitors to delve into the stories of 9/11 through narratives, archives, multimedia displays and artifacts.
The Freedom Tower, the tallest building in the Western hemisphere, also stands proudly at the location. The Main Observatory on the 100th floor offers panoramic views of the city and its surrounding landscape. Unique to this tower’s observatory is the sky portal, a 14-foot glass disc where visitors can look down at the city streets below.
What to Do
Don’t end your trip without first checking these must-do activities off your NYC bucket list!
Do a little window shopping. Many of the big-time retailers in NYC are sure to be decked out for the holidays: Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman’s, Bloomingdale’s, Henri Bendel’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Tiffany & Co.
For even more holiday cheer, try checking out a few of the holiday markets that materialize during the holiday season. We suggest markets like the Holiday Shops at Byrant Park’s Winter Village, Union Square Holiday Market, and Columbus Circle Holiday Market. Wander through all the holiday boutiques, discovering all the goods they have to offer, like jewelry, local foods, decorative goods, and handmade items.
What’s more iconic during the holiday season than skating at the ice rink at Rockefeller Center, with the 94-foot Christmas tree gracing the background?! Do this and so much more as you visit John D. Rockefeller’s creation: Rockefeller Center, the “city within a city.”
In addition to the ice rink and Christmas tree, Rockefeller Center boasts its own observation deck, Top of the Rock, where visitors can take in the splendid holiday scenes unfolding below. The site also is home to an extensive art gallery, NBC headquarters, and the LEGO store.
For those looking for even more holiday spirit, pop on over to Radio City Music Hall and take in the Christmas Spectacular featuring the Radio City Rockettes.
Ferry Tour (Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island)
You can’t go to NYC without a getting at least a little dose of history. And what’s better than getting two doses—The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island—all in one trip? Throw in the boat cruise experience and a picturesque view of the city skyline, and we really can’t think of anything better!
On Liberty Island, guests have the chance to take the perfect picture—or selfie, we know what you’re thinking—with the Statue of Liberty, explore the pedestal on which Lady Liberty stands, tour the museum that resides in the lobby of the pedestal, and even find themselves in the crown of Lady Liberty herself—although, if you do plan to visit the crown or the pedestal, you must get tickets well in advance.
Even more of America’s history is waiting to be uncovered at Ellis Island, and it’s just a quick boat ride away. It has been estimated that almost half of Americans can trace their roots back to Ellis Island, and so it is not wonder that visitors can spend hours in the National Immigration Museum pouring over the stories, documents, and artifacts that are housed in the three floors of the museum.
Entertainment: Broadway Show/Lincoln Center/Madison Square Garden
In the mood for some theater? With so many productions to choose from—including well-known musicals like The Lion King, The Fiddler on the Roof, Hamilton, and Wicked—we’re sure that you’ll find a performance that’ll suit your interests. And remember, if you stop by the TKTS booth in Times Square beforehand, you may have the opportunity to get tickets that are discounted by 20-50%.
If you still haven’t gotten your fill of the performing arts, think about dropping in for a performance at Lincoln Center. Performances include dance, opera, theater, music, film, and more.
For even more entertainment opportunities, check out the schedule at Madison Square Garden to see if there are any concerts or sporting events that would appeal to you and your fam.
Where to Eat
Now that you’ve been all around town exploring the Big Apple, there’s no doubt that you’ve worked up an appetite. Try out some of these restaurants to satisfy your grumbling stomach.
With over 1600 pizza shops in the city, how do you choose?! We recommend indulging your craving by stopping in for a slice at Joe’s Pizza—deemed by many as the “Best Pizza in NYC.”
If you are looking for a little more zest, try the pepperoni pizza or the Sicilian pizza.
Located on Carmine Street in Greenwich Village and open until 4 a.m., Joe’s Pizza does not flaunt any frills, but, it does boast a quality, “New York Style” slice of pizza—which you can enjoy for under $5.
If you are looking for something a little more upscale, go ahead and give Gramercy Tavern a try, located on 42 E 20th Street. The restaurant is renowned for its contemporary American cuisine and earnest hospitality.
Grammercy Tavern is open for lunch and dinner, and offers two unique dining experiences: the casual setting of The Tavern, great for daytime meals and drinks at the bar, and the more sophisticated Dining Room, which features a fixed-priced seasonal menu.
Your taste buds will thank you as you savor the variety of entrees such as Grilled Shrimp, Sea Bass, Grilled Meatballs, and Grilled Lamb, just to name a few. And make sure you save some room for one of the delectable desserts: chocolate pudding cake, deep dish apple pie, and maple ice cream, some of your options.
A celebrated establishment that has been up and running since 1888, Katz Delicatessen is a great place to pop in for lunch to enjoy hot soup or a sandwich.
Located on the Lower East Side at 205 East Houston Street, Katz’s Delicatessen has been family-owned for over 100 years, and is actually the iconic restaurant where Harry met Sally.
Katz’s is a dining option that won’t break the bank, but your knees may buckle as you relish the menu’s array of choices: Katz’s Pastrami, Corned Beef, or Rueben Hot Sandwich, the square potato knish, and the matzo ball soup are a couple of the choices that will get your mouth watering.
Where to Stay:
Now that you’ve taken NYC by storm, the question of where to stay should be a breeze…
With five locations in the area, including Lexington Inn Brooklyn, ABVI Brooklyn and The Marco LaGuardia Hotel, all complete with clean and spacious rooms at an affordable price, it is a wonder why anyone would want to stay anywhere else.
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