It feels like a lifetime ago now, but in August 2018 I went back to New York. I convinced the fam that NY was the next must do state of America after we did a road trip across California, Nevada and Arizona in 2017. I’d only been once before on a drama & art school trip at sixteen and had the BEST time. We had Halloween in Times Square, played frisbee in Central Park, watched Pippin on Broadway, went to all the galleries, museums, staton island ferry, and went to the top of the rock in the eve to look out on the skyline. Also just six days in New York with a bunch of friends was dreamy.
But as I’d hyped it up a lot, I began to worry that my fam wouldn’t like it, as they loved California, but New York is very different. Obvs after a stroll in Central Park, trying a peanut butter M&M and a Broadway show they loved it too.
There’s something for everyone, but here’s some of the go-to places and my thoughts about them!
Where to visit in New York City:
9/11 Memorial Museum
When I last visited Ground Zero the museum was under construction, but this year we were fortunate enough to be able to visit the memorial and the museum. I cannot recommend visiting enough as upsetting and harrowing as the experience is, it is a remarkable tribute to those who lost their lives at the World Trade centre on September 11th 2001.
Natural History Museum
Now, the Natural History Museum was ok…. but I personally wouldn’t visit again. Mainly because lots of stuffed animals in poorly lit rooms are actually really creepy. The best part and probably the main reason to visit would have to be the dinosaur exhibit. We obvs took tons of photos and looking back through them Mum really liked one of the three of us, and she said “Oh was that at Grand central?” Uh no Mum, look at the enormous mammoth in the background.
The Museum of Modern Art is amazing. We saw tons of incredible art including Van Gogh’s Starry Night. So worth a visit even if it’s only for the gift shop!
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is without a doubt the bees knees for Museums alongside the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum or the Smithsonian just in general really. But if you’re in NYC and love history, art, architecture or again a decked out gift shop then get yourself to the Met.
Without a doubt Waitress is the best musical I have seen in YEARS. Music is brilliant, the script is hilarious, and Katherine Mcphee was astonishing. Thank god it came to the West End. These were our cheapest tickets too, around $120 for all three of us in the orchestra (stalls), which is crazy cheap when Hamilton was around $450 per person.
FYI we actually booked tickets for the shows we saw on the day. In the afternoon, numerous different company sell tickets for the evening in Times Square, just be careful as some of the companies are really overpriced! The woman we spoke too warned us about this, and actually told us we’d get a better tickets at the theatre so sent us round the block to get the best seats.
Dear Evan Hansen
I only knew one song when we booked tickets, but my god, is this a powerful musical. I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s incredibly moving, funny, endearing and heartbreaking all at the same time. The music is also written by the composers of The Greatest Showman, and it’s just as magical as you’d expect.
Top of the Rock & Rockerfellar Centre
I prefer doing Top of the Rock for the view of the Empire State across Manhattan. The shopping in Rockerfellar Centre is SO good, mixture of super fancy and high street faves. We also did a guided tour of the Rockerfeller Centre, which was really interesting.
Just amazing, worth a visit anytime of day.
Staton Island Ferry & Statue of Liberty
After queuing forever in the ridiculous heat we made it onto the ferry out to the Statue of Liberty. We’d planned to get off at Liberty island and have a look around, but after we noticed the masses of people waiting to get the boat back we decided against it. Once you’ve seen her, you’ve seen her right?
The Statue of Liberty is worth seeing, and there’s great views of the city and the world trade centre as you head back to shore. But if we went back, I’d probably give it a miss, as I’ve done it twice now.
My absolute fave place to be in NYC or to be lost in NYC. We found a turtle pond along our walk, enough said really. Hire bikes, talk a walk, go for a run, and live your best life.
We did a night tour of Brooklyn as it was part of our NYC Pass, and this was sadly the only time we went into Brooklyn. And we also drove passed a street that was shut down by police as somebody had just been shot, so we weren’t that keen to explore. Maybe go during the day if you have time?
Loved this, as movie-maker magical as it seems.
Grand Central Station
It’s SO beautiful, a real Gossip Girl or Madagascar moment.
Central Park Zoo
You can easily walk past the zoo in the park and think meh why bother. But it was a beautiful morning, and we’d had a stroll in the park for FOUR HOURS and done not even half of it, so we decided we’d have a peruse of the zoo.
I always feel so mixed about zoos, with the size of the enclosures – especially abroad – and the amount of animals in such a small space, I often wonder why I’m paying into the scheme of seeing these animals? I also haven’t ever seen any wild animals, which might completely change my mind on zoos.
In England I don’t really have a problem with them. I’ve visited London Zoo with my family practically every year for my whole life and the money we spend has invested into some incredible sizeable enclosures for the animals. It’s still not fair, but it’s protecting endangered species.
Anyhoo, there were some dreamy lil sealions (some of my fave animals) who were keen to be my pals as they waited for their lunch.
Macy’s in NYC was a flipping maze, probably because it’s their largest store. It’s amazing, and the range of clothes is mad, every occasion is covered, which is why there’s so many rooms and floors. Annoyingly the sales weren’t as good as LA, and without a sale some of the clothes have a hefty af price tag.
Abercrombie & Fitch
Safe to say, always perfect. The sizing is great, price is pretty decent and I always pick up some summer staples whenever I’m in here.
I flipping love Aerie – their sportswear, loungewear & underwear is D I V I N E. They’d also just launched a new lingerie campaign with models of all women, of all sizes, colours, levels of disability, scars an all. It was incredibly powering to see their enormous billboard in Times Square.
A classic, good quality, cheap, and dreamy af. They also stock Aerie, so worth a visit.
I’m always kinda disappointed with Bloomingdales tbh, it’s never as great as Rachel Green made out. None of us bought anything and it was not worth the taxi fare as we spent a max of 20 minutes in there.
American’s make huge, thin pizzas that don’t leave a stodgy post-Dominos feeling, and their 99c ginormous pizza slice does a super easy dinner or lunch.
There’s a Carmines just off Times Square and our family friends had said we had to go, and my days. Each meal is a sharing size for four to six people, so when there’s two or three of you there is SO much food. We had spaghetti and meatballs and the meatballs are the size of tennis balls, so don’t over order. We had calamari to start and probably had half an ocean of squid. Safe to say we couldn’t eat it all.
Juniors is a chain and your staple American style diner, they’re known for their amazing New York cheesecake, but I think the burgers were better tbh. Worth a visit, ideal for families, or authentic American food.
Ellen’s Stardust Diner
Everyone raves about the Diner, but the main reason for going is the atmosphere. Having actors sing songs from the shows while you eat food, is every stage stars dream. It’s an experience, and worth it if you like shows, but the food is average and overpriced as you pay for the experience.
There are so many amazing delis for sandwiches, salads the size of watermelons and pastries, cakes, sourdough, it all. I have no idea the name of even half of them, but there are several on the walk on Broadway up to Central Park. The sourdough has nothing on San Francisco sourdough though. That stuff is made from dreams.
Where did you visit in New York?