First timer’s guide to NYC

{Day 9074 – We landed in NYC under the biggest, brightest sun. We took the (freezing, welcome to air-conditioned land!) Subway from JFK into the city and the second we stepped out, the skies open and in the space of 5 min, a downpour drenched us to the bone. And so began our first American adventure…}

Never sleeping, always rising, New York is a place like no other.

The sort of place that makes you dizzy from looking up so much and all the possibilities in front of you when you first visit.

What to see/do/eat on your first time in New York City ● Travel ● Making Memories

There’s so much to do, so much to see, so much to eat, SO many landmarks… Anyone’s first time in New York is a highly-anticipated, yet incredibly stressful-to-plan trip.

If you don’t know where to even begin, this first timer’s guide to NYC is a good way to tick all the New York City boxes.

What to see/do/eat on your first time in New York City ● Travel ● Making Memories

See

See the skyline

Just landed in New York City? Walking the Manhattan skyline is the best way to get a sense of this crazy city.

Yes, by the time you’ve been to the Chrystler building, the Flat iron building, the Empire State and the UN Headquarters, your feet will be tired, your neck will ache, and you’ll feel like a teeny tiny insect but it is worth is.

What to see/do/eat on your first time in New York City ● Travel ● Making MemoriesWhat to see/do/eat on your first time in New York City ● Travel ● Making Memories

Get bedazzled by Times Square

Another classic sight – and not one for the faint-hearted.

With crowds from morning til night and enough ad screens to give anyone palpitations, Times Square is insane at the best of times!

Which is exactly why you must go -no matter how crowd-averse you are- there’s no better representation of the country’s crazy over-the-top-ness.

What to see/do/eat on your first time in New York City ● Travel ● Making MemoriesWhat to see/do/eat on your first time in New York City ● Travel ● Making Memories

Take a peek at Grand Central

A couple of reasons for this:

  1. It’ll only take a few minutes out of your itinerary.
  2. It’s the prettiest train station there ever was (I mean, CONSTELLATION CEILING, what more do you need?).

Chew chew!

Stroll through Central Park

No natural landmark in New York City is as iconic as Central Park and no trip to NYC is complete without a stroll through some of its 843 green acre.

If the weather is nice, the lake is a good place to start… or you could sail a boat in the fountain, Gossip Girl style, or go straight for Wonderland instead…

What to see/do/eat on your first time in New York City ● Travel ● Making Memories

See the Financial district and the World Trade Center Memorial

With loads of surreal-looking skyscrappers and a very skewed sense of perspective and space, New York’s financial district is a confusing place.

But one that’s essential to visit in order to understand how money shapes the city, and pay tribute to the victims of the historical event that’s changed everything.

What to see/do/eat on your first time in New York City ● Travel ● Making Memories

Do

Walk, walk, walk

If you know me, you’ll know I firmly believe that the best way to see a city is to walk it.

Admittedly, NYC might not be the most walk-friendly place in the world. Because LOL, it might look close on the map but noooooop, blocks add up very quickly and that’s how you end up clocking 20,000+ steps a day, every day.

Well, at least I now understand why New Yorkers swear by wearing functional trainers everywhere.

And, also, yes, you deserve that burger/pizza/bagel/all of the above.

PS. If you don’t have that much time/drive for such long walks, commit to walking the High Line – it’s so pretty/cool/relaxed down there!

What to see/do/eat on your first time in New York City ● Travel ● Making MemoriesWhat to see/do/eat on your first time in New York City ● Travel ● Making Memories

Jump on a ferry!

Once you’ve gotten up close with all the landmarks, it’s time to get some perspective and see them all from a distance… and the best place for this is from the water!

The (free) Staten Island ferry is the most famous of them all (and give you a chance to get a peek at Lady Liberty), but the best views in my opinion are from the East River ferry, linking 34th street (by the UN headquarters) to Brooklyn.

What to see/do/eat on your first time in New York City ● Travel ● Making Memories

Cross Brooklyn Bridge

One of the most insta-famous bridges -and just as pretty in reality, it’s the perfect follow-up activity to a trip on the East River ferry (see above).

With some time saved up in the middle to look for Dan Humphrey, obviously.

What to see/do/eat on your first time in New York City ● Travel ● Making Memories

Eat

The Reuben at Katz’s Deli

The iconic Jewish deli – yes, the one where *that* scene from Where Harry met Sally was shot…- and just the place for a Reuben sandwich the size of your head. That also happen to be the best damn Reuben I’ve ever had.

Cheap as chips too (one sandwich is plenty to share, so about $20 for two with drinks).

The sort of place you’ll plan an entire return trip around.

205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002, USA

What to see/do/eat on your first time in New York City ● Travel ● Making Memories

The eponymous dumplings at Vanessa’s

Good, cheap dumplings with a side of that horrific service we’ve all sort of come to expect from cheap Chinese spots… so get those dumplings to take away!

118A Eldridge Street, New York, NY 10002

Dollar pizza

The NYC must-eat and the cheapest meal there is.

Every pizza slice spot does more or less the same thing so trust the queues to find the good ones!

Hot dog at Gray’s Papaya

It’s one of New York’s simple pleasures. (A New York Times backed simple pleasure, that is).

2090 Broadway (Btwn 71st & 72nd St), New York, NY 10023 

What to see/do/eat on your first time in New York City ● Travel ● Making Memories

Ess-A-Bagel’s cream cheese & lox bagel

Good bagels, LIFE CHANGING lox. Seriously.

831 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10022

Anything I’ve missed? Already compiling notes for a return trip (mainly for that Reuben & lox bagel tbh…)

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First timer’s guide to NYC

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