So, I received an email from my friend who was coming to New York City for 10 days. Since I often reside in the Big Apple, she reached out for some personal suggestions of places to eat and attractions to visit during her stay. She wanted my top New York City tourist to do list.
I premise my top New York City tourist to do list with the fact that there is always something interesting happening in NYC. There are countless restaurants, approximately 27,000 in the New York City area, with about 11,000 being in Manhattan! This said, things here move fast, literally in a New York minute!
What I mean by this, is that, one minute a restaurant is there, and the next, it can be closed. Something that is extremely popular on Friday, can be passé by Monday. Exhibits and shows come and go, as do musical acts. Sometimes reservations and/or tickets can be hard to come by, especially at last minute.
I am suggesting to my friend, and any of my fellow travelers who plan on visiting NYC, some of my favorites. Even if the exact items are unavailable at the time you decide to visit, you can take ideas from here, such as major sites, areas of interest, and museums, and look into what is currently available to you. Below is my top New York City tourist to do list. It includes some of my favorites with a brief description of why I enjoy them.
Restaurants of my top New York City tourist to do list
Jenny in Wanderland focuses on travel planning and how to achieve your dream travel; I am always excited to share my favorites. Also see my article on “How to find dining options while traveling.” Then you can come up with your own favorites and share them with us! Below are a few of my “goto” restaurants:
- Loebs Boathouse: In Central Park with water views is always fun
- Joe Allen: in theatre district – Upscale Celebrity and Broadway Favorite
- Cacio y Vino: Really love the cacio e pepe dish
- Mr Chow: 57th St. – upscale fun celebrity Chinese
- Buddha Bodai -in Chinatown-vegan/kosher & very good
- Del posto – upscale Italian
- Mole – Authentic Mexican
- Mughlai Indian – great lunch specials
- Mrs An Thai – vegan options
- Ginger Root – vegan, Asian, and always excellent with healthy portions
- Bombay Chowk – Indian cuisine with a flair
- Two Little Red Hens Bakery – Delicious desserts
- *Katz’s Deli – one of the last remaining original Jewish Delis
- *Magnolia Bakery – Cupcakes from Sex in the city
- Stella 34 – Part of Patina Group and especially great if hungry while shopping in Macy’s – Yummy, nice happy hour, nice party for Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
- Nomad – east village – One of my favs, Moroccan/Mediterranean
- Gemma at Bowery Hotel – upscale casual & fun Italian
- Dirt Candy – vegan multi-course, fun NYC vibe, gourmet
- Coco Pazzo in Soho – Just go
- Pomodoro Rosso – Italian
- Mimis Restaurant and Piano Bar – down & dirty Italian, old-style piano bar
- *Little Italy and Chinatown are always fun
There are so many amazing museums and galleries in New York City – where to start? Well, I guess here. These are some of my favorites based on content and “must see” on the tourist list. However, this is a short list. If you have more time, or have been to NYC before, or are taking a “travel day” in your home city, perhaps you want to delve into some of the other popular choices. A way to save money is by using a NYC attraction pass, offering entry into over 100 sites and attractions.
Gardens on my top New York City tourist to do list
When I’m staying in the city for extended periods, these are some of my favorite outdoor spaces to enjoy.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden: large, peaceful botanical garden to both explore and relax in. They offer a variety of interesting events.
Central Park: There is so much to see and do in this park, from Strawberry Fields to the Alice in Wonderland Sculpture, to rowing a boat, to exploring a castle. Also a great place to take in some sun, a bike ride, or people watch.
Highline: A public park and walking path built on a historic freight rail line, offering nature, art, and design
Randall Island: There is a great nature trail along the East River with riding stables, kids sports fields, and picnic areas
Bars & Clubs
There are more bars and clubs in New York City than I can name, but here are a few diverse ones that I enjoy.
- Ice cream Store is a speak easy downstairs & the original site of Elaine’s
- Fraunces Tavern is the oldest structure in New York City (54 Pearl Street) and is both a bar/restaurant and a museum
- Pete’s Tavern is another of the oldest bars in New York City (129 East 18th)
- Rum house at the Edison hotel
- 1 Oak (celebrity) club scene
- Pyramid club has an eighties night
- Apollo is famous, located in Harlem
- Top of the Standard has awesome views & atmosphere, but is mostly by invite
- Bemelmans is an upscale jazz lounge at The Carlyle Hotel
- Blue Note is a jazz dinner club
Other Things to Do in New York City
These are a few of my favorite things to do in New York City.
- Statue of Liberty – Boat tour/Helicopter/Public Ferry
- Take a Walk around NYU Campus
- Shop & Dine in the East Village
- Eat cheesecake
- Have high Tea at the Plaza or Taj
- Play in FAO Schwartz
- Visit Macy’s in Herald Square
- Wander through exhibits & architecture at the NYC Public Library
- Enjoy Bryant Park (Nearby NYC Library)
- Take in a show on Broadway
- Gawk in Times Square
- Go on a Harlem gospel tour
- Shop on Madison Avenue
- Visit St Patrick’s Cathedral
- Shop on 5th Avenue
- Visit Wall Street & see the Fearless Girl Statue
- Shop in discount designer mega store – Century 21
- Eat NY pizza
- Explore Rockefeller Center
- Go up the Empire State Building
- Shop & Dine at Hudson Yards & Climb The Vessel
New York City is an amazing place to explore. A way to save money is by using a NYC attraction pass, offering entry into over 100 sites and attractions. Share your Wanderland NYC experiences here or visit Ask Jenny™ to ask travel related questions and assist fellow travelers with information.
Also see Jenny In Wanderland Top 25 Travel Locations to Take a Selfie Now