New York - one of the most famous states in the world. It's an ideal city break destination that beautifully merges skyscrapers with lashings of quality cuisine and five-star hotels. It's easy to feel a little overwhelmed when visiting the Big Apple and it's only natural to have questions such as; 'where's Barneys?' and 'where shall I go to get the best views of the iconic skyline?' Thankfully we've compiled an extensive guide on where to go, what to do and what we wish we knew before we went for the first time to help make your trip go that little bit smoother. Whether you’re here on a whistle-stop business tour or as part of an extended leisure holiday you're bound to pick up a few helpful tips and tricks
1. Ground Zero is a hauntingly beautiful site dedicated to those that lost their lives during the attacks on September 11th 2001. Every single person’s name who passed away has been etched into the two structures found here, replicating the base of the twin towers. Found near Brooklyn Bridge and South Sea Port, a visit here is basically a requirement.
2. If you don’t fancy the busy nature of JFK Airport, grab a flight to Newark instead which has equally as good transport links to the city centre.
3. If you’re after a leisurely dining experience, afternoon tea at The Whitby Hotel is fantastic. A range of delicious bites are available to devour with mini beef sliders and sweetcorn empanadas being a rather different choice compared to the typical cheese and cucumber sandwiches.
4. If you don’t want to be stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, the first thing you have to do is get a Metro Card for the Subway. It’s pretty easy to work out where you’re going, but if not, friendly locals are willing to help you get to your destination as quickly as possible.
5. Want amazing views of Central Park? The BG Restaurant located on the seventh floor of Bergdorf Goodman is open for lunch, tea and dinner. Afternoon tea is available from 3pm to 5pm, with reservations highly recommended. Dishes such truffle chicken salad sandwich and filet of beef are delicious and almost steal your attention away from the luxurious décor… we said almost
6. Ensure you book your taxi outside of the changeover slot of 4pm – 5pm. Hailing one is almost impossible during this time, and you don’t want to miss your flights, important business meetings or a catch-up with family or friends, right?
8. In recent years, green boro taxis have started popping up. These vehicles go from the city to the boroughs, where yellow taxis are a rarity, and are great if you fancy venturing out of the busier tourist areas.
9. Fancy a stroll through the city away from the crowds of 5th Avenue? Why not give the High Line Walk a go? This 1.45-mile long strip of elevated greenery, previously a New York railroad, is ideal to wander through. Found in the Meatpacking District, if you fancy a well-deserved rest take five minutes at the landscape garden found there.
10. If you’re travelling to NYC during the festive period, you simply have to see the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. While they do perform all year round, the Christmas show is a snowy whirlwind of amazing costumes, bright lights and over-the-top excellence.
11. Feeling peckish in between all the urban adventures? Sample some of the cuisine at the various food trucks found throughout the city. All need a licence to sell food, so you can expect authentic dish on every corner!
12. Showcasing the colonial and art deco roots of NYC, The Bar at the Baccarat is certain to add an element of elegance to an evening in the Big Apple. Boasting a 60-foot bar offering a wide range of alcoholic beverages and a terrace to unwind on if the weather allows, you can expect to be sipping on a drink served in a Baccarat crystal glass every time you order.
13. Tipping is essential not only in the Big Apple, but in America as a whole. Expected amounts are 15, 18 or 20 percent but ensure you read the bill thoroughly as some restaurants have started to include service charge as standard.
14. Make sure to head out of Times Square and Manhattan and find your new favourite haunt. Chelsea, the Upper West Side and Brooklyn are quieter, all offering quality experiences. Expect local diners serving authentic cuisine, boutiques with one-off pieces that will have everyone staring for the right reasons and plenty of unique charm.
15. Need to upload that pic of your holiday but don’t have a good connection? Surprisingly, many of the public parks have free Wi-Fi as well as the subway so you can scroll to your heart’s content while out and about.
16. Weekend brunch is a big deal for New Yorkers and the menu at Upland delivers an amazing one if you ask us. With dishes ranging from five lettuce Caesar salad, eggs benedict and quiche Lorraine to Spanish frittata and smoked salmon pizza, you can expect delectable flavours with every mouthful
17. Where Harry Met Sally and where you met amazing cuisine, Katz’s Delicatessen is a great place to go if you’re a film buff wanting the quintessential NYC experience. Takeaway is available too if you fancy residing in your hotel room for an evening, with nothing but the skyline to accompany you.
18. Make sure to bring comfortable shoes as you’ll be walking a lot. While you still should bring your Manolos and live life like Sex and the City, a pair of flats is guaranteed to be your new best friend. Off the back of this, if travelling in the winter, wrap up warm as you can expect below freezing temperatures and plenty of snow to boot… it’s the perfect time to splash out on that pair of stylish boots you’ve had your eyes on for a while.
19. The Stanton Social is a must-dine if you fancy tucking into a wealth of gourmet cuisine surrounded by New York coolness and glamour. Found on the Lower East Side, the venue is a 20-minute taxi ride from the Empire State Building. If you’re after the perfect relaxed evening with friends or family after seeing the sights, this choice couldn’t be better. Star picks from the menu include old school meatballs, smoked tomato pizzetta and grilled whole branzino.
20. Fancy shopping in a store that has its own zip code? The ninth floor of Saks 5th Avenue is home to the shoe department and with the likes of Alexander Wang, Prada and Gucci available to purchase, you could easily spend the whole day there. Just take the lift and prepare your credit card on the ride up.
21. The Big Apple is also known for its love of vintage high-end pieces and designer consignment A Second Chance is ideal. With two locations in Lexington Avenue and SoHo, expect to find pieces from Chanel, Stella McCartney and other respected designers.
22. Looking for a place to close that business deal or treat loved ones while in the city? The Polo Bar at Ralph Lauren is brilliant. Serving classic dishes such as burgers, steaks and fries you can expect an ultra-luxurious meal from starter through to dessert. Expect to be rubbing shoulders with A-listers such as Rihanna and Hilary Clinton, and make sure you book in advance.
23. If you’re a sports fanatic, you have a plethora of teams and stadiums to go and see. From the Giants to the Jets, we recommend you try to book a game during your trip. Yankee Stadium is one of the top sporting arenas in the world. Make sure to book a tour well ahead of time as spaces go fast, and with the chance to rent out the area for corporate events and special occasions, plenty of memories with friends and family are guaranteed to be made. The New York Knicks can be found near Madison Square Garden if you want to make a full day of it, too. All are easily accessible via the subway.
24. A picnic in Central Park could be just the ticket for a wonderful afternoon with loved ones. Brilliant for honeymooning couples, grab a picnic basket and a bottle of the bubbly stuff and immerse yourself in the flora and fauna that has made this area so legendary. If you’ve come to celebrate New Year or 4th of July, make sure to get a good spot to see the fireworks that are truly magical.
25. New York is famed for being home to a plethora of museums. If you thought they were all about dinosaur fossils and historians and explorers from the past, think again. The Museum of Modern Arts (MoMA) is brilliant if you fancy wandering through inspiring exhibitions and works of art you would have never seen before. Entry is free on Friday evenings thanks to the sponsorship with Uniqlo, but get there early as this is the museum’s busiest time.
To start planning your trip to NYC call one of our personal travel managers now on 0203 816 0985.
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