New York City has so many things to do and sights to see that it may be impossible to accomplish everything in one trip. For me, that theory could not be more true. I have visited NYC three times in the past few years – checking more and more items off my bucket list each time. Here are some of New York City’s top attractions, personally ranked from 5 to 1:
5. Rockefeller Center
Luckily for me, I found myself at Rockefeller Center during the holiday season. Although I wasn’t around to see the famous lighting of the Christmas Tree, it was still a sight to behold once fully assembled. The entire area was packed with (presumably) tourists. While it seemed like there were long lines to take pictures in front of the tree, they moved at a very quick pace. I was easily able to get a picture in front of the tree with my significant other. The area around the tree was just as stunning. The nearby ice rink was packed with skaters, and all the buildings were decorated for the holidays. Nothing is closed off in the area as everything is easy to view and access. Rockefeller Center is truly a magical place to be during the cold winter months.
4. Brooklyn Bridge
The very first thing I wanted to do when I visited NYC was walk the Brooklyn Bridge. The sight of the bridge is remarkable, but the actual construction of the platform is mind-boggling to me. Before walking the bridge, I took a bus tour over to Brooklyn. As we approached the bridge, we were advised hold on tight. The Brooklyn Bridge is so steep and high-up that it is not for the faint of heart – even when you are secure inside a vehicle. Once we toured Brooklyn and headed back towards the city, we had the pleasure of enjoying the absolute best view of NYC! The next day I returned to walk the bridge. I was among the hundreds of walkers and bike riders that chose to do the same. It may be far from the heart of Manhattan, but walking the bridge is a must-do for all tourists.
3. Macy’s Day Parade
The Macy’s Day Parade is one of New York City’s oldest traditions. Macy’s originally designed the parade in 1924 to help promote its presence in the city. When I attended the parade, I knew it would be crowded no matter how early I left to get there. Our view wasn’t the best, but any good view at all was hard to come by. I stood in a jam-packed alleyway watching the parade go down 8th Avenue. It did not disappoint. For me, it was the perfect morning activity to do as I prepared for a Thanksgiving feast.
2. Times Square
Simply put, Times Square is New York City in a nutshell – a massively crowded, extravagant nutshell. Times Square is everyone’s first vision of New York City. The area is most well-known for the famous ball-dropping on New Year’s Eve, but there is so much more to Times Square. World-class restaurants and five-star hotels surround the crowded region. But, the true joy of Times Square is found on the streets. The area is reminiscent of the Las Vegas strip at night. Non-stop entertainment and action line the streets. Make sure to get a picture with your favorite superhero or mascot and of course, NYC’s famous Naked Cowby.
1. Central Park
Okay, before you head into the park, take a quick look to the left. That’s the Dakota Building, where John Lennon was shot and killed in 1980. It was also the same building Lennon called home. Part of the reason why he loved the Dakota was because of the breathtaking views it offered of Central Park. If Times Square is the hub of NYC, then Central Park is its retreat. I chose to rent a bike and ride inside the park amongst seemingly thousands of other people. They must have all been native New Yorkers as they sped by me at a frantic pace. In addition to participating in nearly any physical activity you can imagine; Central Park offers incredible water and city views. It is the perfect spot to take a deep breath and relax from the fast-paced city.