Over the past two years I have been fortunate enough to have visited New York twice. I also visited twice while I was in school, and I’ve never been able to let go since. I consider one of the biggest perks of living in Washington, DC to be that it is only a three hour train ride to the Big Apple.
Over the past four times I’ve visited, I’ve come to love a few places in particular. I will admit that this will not be the most unique list in the history of travel lists, but for those of you who will visit New York as a tourist like myself, this list is for you.
One other piece of advice: visit in fall, if you can. While New York is truly fabulous any time of year, it’s cold in winter, hot in summer, and rainy in spring. There is nothing more divine than a walk through Central Park on a clear day while surrounded by blazing orange and red foliage. Seriously, do it.
And without further ado, your must-do list as a tourist in New York:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art – You cannot go wrong with a visit to one of the finest institutions for art and history in the world. No matter what period in history interests you, you will find a gallery dedicated to it. From Egyptian tombs to suits of armor from centuries past to classical art to royal furniture, you will find enough fascinating pieces to occupy at least a full day.
Broadway – Broadway is truly a spectacle to behold, if you are able to buy tickets. I have been fortunate enough to have seen the Lion King, the Phantom of the Opera, and Wicked, but there are so many other shows that are constantly showing. You’ll see the best of the best, and will come home ready to book tickets to your next show.
The Museum of Modern Art – I am a huge fan of modern art; to me, the more obscure the better. And the MOMA is truly the place to find the best of modern art. You’ll find renowned painters like Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Claude Monet, and Jackson Pollock, whose art is truly something to see in person.
Central Park (Zoo) – Central Park is truly a refuge in the middle of a city that never sleeps. You’ll find beautiful walking paths, ponds, streams, and acres of green space. If you have a little extra time, visit Belvedere Castle and the Central Park Zoo. You’ll find, respectively, a beautiful view and adorable creatures.
Times Square – If you are a tourist, you must stop in Time Square to see it at least once. With its bright lights and hordes of people, it’s as if someone wrapped up several blocks of New York into one. However, it is dazzling, and truly the heart of the tourist experience in New York.
Rockefeller Center – It’s always worth stopping by Rockefeller Center, where so many shows are filmed, and the building for which 30 Rock is titled, particularly in winter, when the giant Christmas tree is lit and the ice skating ring is open. It is truly a magical sight.
Empire State Building – If you have the time to wait in line, the Empire State Building offers views to top all others. There are two levels you can stop at, one indoor and one outdoor, but both with incredible views. While the view is magical during the day, it’s perhaps even more so at night.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral – No matter your religion, a stop at St. Patrick’s Cathedral is in order. Even if there is a mass going in, you can walk in the back. The architecture is beautiful, and you’ll marvel at its vast interior. Feel free to light a candle or snap a few photos, whatever suits your fancy.
Upper East Side – While there are many wonderful neighborhoods in New York, it is worth a visit to the Upper East Side to see how the 1 percent lives. Designer stores abound, surrounded by intricately designed townhouses, and dotted by cafes selling fancy pastries. Stroll down Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue, and dress up a little, if you want to fit in.
World Trade Center – While it’s been awhile since I last visited the World Trade Center, I feel this is an important stop to make. Now you’ll see One World Observatory standing where the two towers used to. It’s a sight to behold.