Putting together an itinerary to explore New York is both easy (“There’s so much to do!”) and wildly difficult (“There’s SO MUCH TO DO!”) So we turned to members of the Everything To Do New York Facebook Group for their suggestions. There’s no one way to explore the city—but that’s part of the fun. It just means you’ll have to come back again.
Skip a sit-down breakfast and have a bagel. Then head to a museum before the crowds get too bad. Not surprisingly, lots of votes came in for making the Metropolitan Museum of Art a priority; the museum has more than two million works of art covering more than 5000 years. You can’t see everything in a day (or even in several days) so plan ahead. The Egyptian Galleries are always popular—make sure to see the Temple of Dendur (above), rescued from flooding caused by construction of the Aswan High Dam and on display at the Met since 1978. It’s a short walk from there to the American Wing and the magnificent courtyard as well as the New British galleries, with their exquisite porcelain, and the new Afrofuturist period room, “Before Yesterday We Could Fly.” If hunger strikes, you can grab a light bite at one of the museum’s cafes. (The American Wing Café overlooks Central Park). Many people also recommend heading to Central Park and partaking of one of the food stands scattered around the park, such as Le Pain Quotidien around 69th Street, mid-park, for soups, tartines and desserts. If more time in the park appeals to you, the small Central Park Zoo (don’t miss the sea lion feeding) and the iconic carousel both beckon.
Another museum option suggested by ETD members is the American Museum of Natural History on Central Park West to see the famed dinosaur fossils; the Rose Center for Earth and Space; and the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals (above) featuring more than 5,000 specimens from 98 countries. (The Star of India sapphire is a perennial favorite.)
Other ETD advice? From there, head to midtown and a birds-eye view of the city. You’re spoiled for choice: Take in the views from Top of the Rock, at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, where you’ll see NY from 800 feet up (It also offers a good view of the Empire State Building). The highest observatory is more than 1200 feet up at One World Trade Center (above)—but the highest open-air observatory can be found at Edge. If you do opt for the One World Observatory, carve out time to visit the 9/11 Memorial, honoring those who were killed in the 1993 and 2001 attacks.
And many ETD members say: Just walk. Explore the different neighborhoods from Williamsburg, Brooklyn to the Upper West Side. Stop for a slice somewhere along the way—ETD members advise, ”New York Pizza is a must.” (Second that advice.) Recommendations include Prince Street Pizza (above) in SoHo, along with many in Brooklyn: Di Fara Pizza on J Street; Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop on Franklin Street (the Hellboy slice with hot honey and pepperoni is a favorite); Lucali, on Henry Street in Brooklyn (be prepared to wait), and Roberta’s on Moore Street.
View from the High Line. KittyKaht/Flickr.
Another walking option: Many votes came in for the the High Line—a public park built on a historic elevated rail line that features both gardens and public art. You’ll find several entry and exit points, from Gansevoort Street up to 30th Street.
What about the evening? For many people, a trip to New York isn’t complete without seeing a Broadway show. You can try your luck a tine of the TKTS booths (which also offers tickets to off-Broadway shows) or book ahead of time. And several ETD members reminded everyone not to forget Lincoln Center for dance, music, and theater; it’s the home of the New York Philharmonic and the New York City Ballet as well as many touring companies and offers another way to enjoy the performing arts. Looking for a quick bite in that neighborhood before the show? Try PJ Clarke's or The Smith for a burger beforehand.
Photo by Jeremy Daniel.
If you do end up in the Times Square area, several ETD votes came in for RiseNY, an interactive journey that lets you explore the city from a new perspective (in addition to galleries on city strong suits, there's a soaring ride that cuts through NYC landmarks).
Don’t forget about capping off the evening with a classic New York cocktail—The Skylark in midtown offers great views and a range of specialty cocktails.
Still have must-do’s left over? It’s inevitable—and just another reason why you can enjoy New York over and over and have a new experience each time.