It’s no secret that New York is my second favourite place after London and I’ve visited six times since my first trip over 20 years ago. Most recently I took a solo trip for my 40th birthday back in January 2020 and it really is a city I could visit every year. We’ll likely go back next year or at the very latest 2024 and I already can’t wait!
Whether you’re a first time visitor or frequent lover, here are some recommendations of things to see and do in this truly fabulous city.
Madison Square Garden
I’ve been twice to Madison Square Garden, both times for ice hockey and it truly is a phenomenal, iconic venue. The atmosphere is always electric and it’s easily accessible in its Midtown Manhattan location, just above Pennsylvania Station. It’s home to both the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers, as well as having a cinema, a theatre, a conference centre, and a restaurant. I’d absolutely love to go to a concert there as it’s perfectly set up like many sporting stadiums are with superb acoustics, but to find out what’s currently on and make your plans, do check this website.
Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal is definitely top of my list as the most beautiful train station I’ve ever been to. Most recently it always reminds me of Gossip Girl, but its featured in films across the decades from North by Northwest to Men in Black. Stepping into the terminal is like stepping into old New York, in a time when train travel was the ultimate luxury, despite being one of the busiest train stations in the world. If you can avoid rush hour then you can really explore and appreciate the architecture which is just breath-taking (make sure you look up!) as well as taking advantage of the various dining and boutique shopping options.
Probably one of the most iconic New York landmarks, Rockefeller Centre holds a prominent place in the city’s culture. It’s a family favourite just off Fifth Avenue and comes into its own during Christmas time each year when the iconic Christmas tree is erected. Coupled with the word-famous ice-skating rink the scene is a must-visit for the picture perfect, cookie-cutter Christmas trip.
Brooklyn Heights Promenade
I stayed in Brooklyn on my las trip and either walked, took the subway or the ferry into Manhattan when I needed to. The BEST way to truly take in the majesty of Manhattan and all its iconic sights is to look down on it from across the river. The Brooklyn Heights promenade has arguably the best of the city skyline. You can also cross the suspended footbridge that zigzags down to the piers of Brooklyn Bridge Park, stop at the New York Transit Museum, the Sardinian trattoria River Deli, and the old-time dive bar Montero. I adore Brooklyn and definitely recommend a visit if you have time.
Washington Square Park
Of course, every now and again we need to switch off and unwind and Washington Square Park is an ideal spot for a bit of relaxation and people-watching. Filled with career chess players, performers, musicians, sunbathers, students, and various Greenwich villagers you will always be guaranteed a bit of light entertainment.
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is the largest cathedral in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. The building itself is worth a visit just for the remarkable gothic architecture, stained glass windows, and 17th-century tapestries. However, in addition to the beauty of the cathedral’s building work, there are also various pieces of artwork such as Keith Haring’s white gold and bronze altarpiece and a 9/11 memorial sculpture by Meredith Bergmann which holds debris from the towers within it. There is no charge to pray or meditate but to visit for sightseeing purposes will cost you a $5 entry fee.
New York Botanical Garden
This is one place I haven’t made it to yet but is most definitely on the list. Nestled in the middle of the vibrant hustle and bustle of the Bronx, the New York Botanical Garden features carefully manicured gardens, winding hikes, impeccable greenhouses, and lush expanses to make this space feel deeply intimate. I have such a fascination with and appreciation of nature in urban landscapes, and love seeing the two juxtaposed.
I’d love to know if you’ve been to New York or are planning any trips – do let me know!
Post in collaboration.