So I woke up this morning facing the rather depressing reality that it has been exactly a whole year since I jetted off to the States for a three week holiday. Before that, the furthest that I had travelled to had been Menorca in the Mediterranean. So you could imagine my excitement, waking up at 4am to catch my very first long haul flight to New York City. Not only a week in the Big Apple but two full weeks in Orlando, Florida... but I can talk about that part of the journey on a future post. I can still remember everything so clearly in my head, it was honestly a week I will never forget! Some of my personal favourite moments were exploring the West Village and the Financial District, adventuring around Central Park, witnessing the most spectacular sunset from the High Line and taking in the most breath-taking views of this city from the top of the Empire State Building. I also dived right into the food world, of course making time to devour a huge plate of American pancakes and filling up on as many M&M's as I could! New York is probably one of my favourite places and when people call it the city that never sleeps, you better believe it. There's just so much to see and do but read below for everything I'd recommend most:
WHAT TO SEE:
Empire State Building - This has to be at the top of any NYC tourist check-list, the views are incredible and are definitely well worth the wait. Located in Midtown Manhatten, only $32 per adult and 360 degree views of the city from the observation deck make this experience one not to be missed.
Statue of Liberty - Another must is the Statue of Liberty located on Liberty Island in New York Harbour. It's only a short boat ride from Battery Park in Southern Manhatten to the Island with impressive views of the city skyline. Once there you have the opportunity to climb higher up Lady Liberty to take in everything and of course have your camera at the ready because it's absolutely beautiful there.
Central Park - I planned an entire day just for Central Park which is found in middle-upper Manhatten, and thank god that I did because it's one of the most beautiful places I had ever been to. There's honestly just so much to see, I kept finding new places such as the Bethesda Fountain and the Shakespeare Garden. Even with a full day I didn't get around everything because it's that huge but next time I definitely will.
Top of the Rock - This observation deck on top of the famous Rockefellar Centre gives stunning cityscapes across the whole of Manhatten. From either side of the deck you have spectacular views of Central Park, the Empire State Building, the One World Trade Centre, the Hudson River, everything! This is one not to be missed!
9/11 Memorial Museum - I visited the Memorial and Museum on my last day while in the Financial District to see and learn more of what happened on that fateful day back in 2001. It was actually extremely overwhelming, especially seeing all of the names of the people who lost their lives on the memorials. Actually being there in person and paying my respects is definitely something I'm never going to forget.
Grand Central Station - Being one of the busiest train stations in the country, I actually didn't even get on a train, I just explored the terminal. As Marty from Madagascar described it, "It's grand and it's central". The scale kind of blew me away and I was left in disbelief at how beautiful it was so definitely check it out if you're in the city.
High Line - This was probably the most unique thing I came across in NYC as it's a linear park on an elevated section of a disused central railroad. It's filled with shops, a wide range of vegetation, different styles of art and magnificent views across the New York streets. Even some of the original railway tracks are still present along the park. I came here twice during my stay and even watched the most beautiful sunset beside the Hudson River.
Brooklyn Bridge - I walked on this bridge while exploring the Financial District and the sheer size of it was incredible. It seemed to go on forever but I loved it. Next time I'd love to actually cross the whole thing and venture into Brooklyn.
Times Square - This is a hotspot for tourists, everywhere you looked there was someone with a camera out or even a selfie stick. I visited Times Square on my very first day as it was near my hotel and it literally took my breath away. All the lights, the screens, the atmosphere, it was just incredible. It's even better at night time, so if you have the chance definitely visit here during the evening because you won't be disappointed.
Flatiron Building - This skyscraper is just a short stroll away from the Empire State Building so it's handy to tackle the two in the same day. Located just beside Madison Square Park, this buildings architecture is amazing and is definitely worth a visit.
WHERE TO EAT:
Hard Rock Cafe - If you love rock n' roll and have a taste for burgers and American classics, this is the place for you! I know there are lot's of Hard Rock Cafe's around the world but this was my very first and I had the most amazing experience there. The food was delicious, mind you the portions were a lot bigger than I'm used to but I loved it. It had music from The Beatles and Elvis along the walls, guitars signed by Linkin Park and Adam Levine as well as costumes worn by the likes of Madonna. So definitely check that out while waiting on a table.
Bourbon Street Bar & Grill - I only found this place by chance and I'm so glad that I did, I loved it and even came back the next night for another meal. Inspired by Southern Louisiana culture and only a few blocks away from Times Square, I would definitely recommend it.
Applebees - I had never heard of Applebees before arriving in America but it's a huge family restaurant grill and bar. It is located just beside Times Square so it had a very central location and the food was so delicious! I only had breakfast in there, and that was on my last day. I had a huge plate of pancakes with cream and strawberries so of course the place got a huge thumbs up from me!
WHERE TO STAY:
Yotel - Now I only stayed in one hotel while in NYC and I honestly couldn't recommend it enough. I had the loveliest time while at Yotel for multiple reasons but specifically the staff, the luxurious rooms, the location (only 0.7 miles away from Times Square) and the stunning views across the city and Hudson River.
I feel like I experienced so much of New York in that week but there was still so much more to see such as the American Museum of Natural History, Chinatown and even Central Park Zoo. I hope I can go back one day very soon, it was incredible! If you have never been and get the opportunity to go do not let it pass, this place is amazing and you won't regret it!
I hope you've enjoyed reading about my experiences in the Big Apple, what about yours? Have you even been to any of these places or is there anywhere you might recommend visiting while in NYC? I'd love to hear from you so don't be afraid to drop a comment below or follow me on Bloglovin', Twitter or Instagram.
Until next time folks.