25 of the Best Things to Do in New York City

New York City

1. Take in the Views from the Top of The Rock

A city as sprawling as New York, the only way to get a grasp of the sheer size of the city is from above and there’s no better view than those on offer atop the Rockefeller Center. This is hands down my favourite view over the city – especially at sunset. 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York New York City by WORLD OF WANDERLUST

2. Discover Midtown’s Art Deco Architecture

There are many reasons to love Midtown but for me, there’s none better than the plethora of Art Deco architecture to discover. The most obvious place to start would be the Chrysler Building on Lexington Ave, which was once the tallest building in the world. The neighbourhood surrounding the Chrysler is full of Art Deco architecture, especially if you survey the buildings for the intricate detailing. The Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Ave New York City by WORLD OF WANDERLUSTNew York City by WORLD OF WANDERLUST

3. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge and Explore DUMBO

Once you’ve checked off all of the top sights and attractions to see in Manhattan, there’s the whole of Brooklyn to explore. Begin by crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and making your way to DUMBO, one of the most charming and happening areas of the neighbourhood. Brooklyn Bridge New York Experiences | WORLD OF WANDERLUST
New York Experiences | WORLD OF WANDERLUST
New York Experiences | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

4. Afternoon Tea at the Baccarat Hotel

Despite being an English tradition, afternoon teas have had a complete boost in popularity in New York over recent years and have become a staple at many of Midtown’s leading luxury hotels. Not only is this an indulgent afternoon to unwind, relax and reflect on your day so far, but it is also a great way to see and experience some of the most beautiful hotels in the city. The Baccarat is one of Midtown’s best kept secrets and especially so for afternoon tea – they offer a range of teas themed on different places such as a traditional English afternoon tea setting, Tsars of Russia tea offering and even a Moroccan themed tea with Arabic pastries. 28 W 53rd Street New York Experiences | WORLD OF WANDERLUSTNew York Experiences | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

5. Try NYC’s Best Cookies from Levain Bakery

One of the best ways to experience New York City is to eat it and there’s no place in town that does cookies quite as well as Levain Bakery in the Upper West. Try the house special Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie first but if you’re game, order a follow up Dark Chocolate Peanut Chip Cookie for a very decadent afternoon pick-me-up. 167 W 74th Street New York Experiences | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

6. Explore the West Village

Back over in Manhattan you’ll find one of the most charming neighbourhoods to explore in all of the city: The West Village. Here is where you can visit Magnolia Bakery’s flagship store (try the hummingbird cupcake – you won’t regret it), visit the Perry Street facade made famous for being the exterior shot of Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment in Sex and the City and wander the homely streets filled with expensive brownstones and warm + cozy restaurants with only a handful of seats and even fewer tables. West Village, New York New York City by WORLD OF WANDERLUST

7. See Times Square at Night

Despite being the most chaotic area of town after 5:00pm, Times Square is a must-visit at least once on your trip to New York, even if it is just in passing en route to a Broadway show. Times Square New York City | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

8. Visit Grand Central Terminal

If you’re a fan of the hit series Gossip Girl you’ll want to visit GCT for one of the most recognisable (opening) scenes in the series and also to visit the Campbell Bar inside the building, which was also used to film one of the opening scenes. Regardless of whether you’re a fan of the show or not, Grand Central Terminal is one of NYC’s main train stations and a mecca of activity. Twice I’ve witnessed proposals here! 89 E 42nd Street New York City | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

9. Madison Square Park in Spring

If you tire of the skyscrapers and big city life and want to find an oasis in the city, there are a handful of beautiful public parks to enjoy throughout New York – one of my favourite being Madison Square Park. The most beautiful time of year is to visit in Spring when the blossoms come to life and frame the Flatiron building from afar. 11 Madison Ave New York City | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

10. Marvel at the Flatiron Building

Speaking of the Flatiron, this is another intriguing piece of architecture not to be missed while visiting New York City. Named solely for the fact that the shape resembles a flat iron from a birdseye view, this has become one of New York’s most photographed landmarks. 175 5th Avenue

11. Walk the Williamsburg Bridge

If you fancy a different side to the city and are looking to go a little further off the tourist path, there is much to discover over in Brooklyn and especially so when you break away from the hoards of tourists in DUMBO to visit Williamsburg, a little further North in Brooklyn. The best way to see this neighbourhood in my opinion is to walk from the Lower East Side (LES) to Williamsburg via the W’burg Bridge. The views back toward Manhattan are some of the best in the city, especially at golden hour. Williamsburg Bridge, Brooklyn, New York The Williamsburg Hotel NYC | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

12. Take in the View from North Williamsburg Pier

While over in Brooklyn be sure to visit North Williamsburg Pier for one of the best sunset locations where you can see unobstructed views of Manhattan. North Williamsburg Pier and Park, Brooklyn
Hotel Hugo New York
The Peninsula Hotel New York | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

13. Check out the Best Rooftop Bars in the City

There are endless rooftop bars in New York City and often you will find they provide the best views of the city – especially at sunset. Some of our favourites include Salon De Ning in Midtown and Bar Hugo in Soho.

14. Vegan Ice Cream at Van Leeuwen

Vegans rejoice because New York City is an absolute haven for plant foods and especially when it comes to sweets. You’ll find an endless supply of sweet treats at By Chloe in Soho or at the Erin Mckenna Bakery on Broome Street, however it is Van Leeuwen vegan ice cream that will truly blow your mind. The dark chocolate is life changing and their seasonal flavours are always worth the trip the your local location. Multiple locations | 152 W 10th Street Guide to Central Park | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

15. Row a Boat on Central Park Lake

Another quintessential NYC experience is to not only step foot in central park, but to make your way to the lake, rent a boat and row your way around the largest body of water in the park. Guide to Central Park | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

16. Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Whilst in Central Park be sure to make your way over to the MET and walk through the famed halls of art history. The collection is huge and warrants an entire day for a visit, especially if you’re visiting on the weekend and facing the crowds! 1000 5th Avenue Guide to Central Park | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

17. Visit the John Lennon Imagine Memorial

Over on the West side of the park you will find Strawberry Fields and the John Lennon Imagine memorial – both of which are worthy of a visit, especially if you’re a John Lennon fan. Imagine, Terrace Dr New York Experiences | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

18. See a Broadway Show

Seeing new shows on Broadway has quickly become my favourite thing to do in New York City and oh boy, have I seen a few! Popular shows such as Wicked, The Lion King and Book of Mormon are a safe bet, but it is the shows I never expected to like that really hit me hard: Beautiful (The Carole King Musical), Jersey Boys and Newsies are some of my favourite shows.
New York City Things to Eat | WORLD OF WANDERLUST
New York Experiences | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

19. Eat a Pastry from Supermoon Bakehouse

Move over cronuts and rainbow coloured bagels: Supermoon Bakehouse has taken New York City by storm. This bakery is famous for their luxury croissants and cruffins (a croissant muffin hybrid). But they also make a great espresso, too! Be sure to drop by and see what all the fuss is about. I visit at least twice every time I’m in New York! 120 Rivington Street New York City Guide | World of Wanderlust

20. See the Statue of Liberty at Sunset

Seeing the Statue of Liberty has always been on my list of things to do in New York City. But for one reason to another, it has never happened as an up-close encounter. One of the best ways to see the statue is from the water itself, with the Staten Island Ferry being a popular (and free) way to see the statue from afar. You can also take a sunset/evening cruise on the Hudson River and see the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge and Williamsburg Bridge. New York City by WORLD OF WANDERLUST

21. See a show at Radio City Music Hall

A city as sprawling as New York, there are often international artists passing through town with shows around the city. Radio City Music Hall is one of the key locations for gigs and always has a show to look forward to – check ticket master for upcoming shows. 1260 6th Avenue New York Best Bakeries | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

22. Try Cereal Milk Ice Cream from Milk Bar

An offshoot from Momofuku, Milk Bar is famous for its cereal milk soft serve ice cream. As you might have guessed, it tastes just like the milk left over after a bowl of cereal. Talk about childhood nostalgia! 251 E 13th Street, East Village

23. Visit the New York Public Library

If you’re a bookworm like me then make sure you don’t miss the chance to step inside the New York Public Library. From a map collection to public study spaces, there are different rooms and floors to explore. 476 5th Avenue

24. Go Shopping in Noho and Soho

If boutique shopping is your thing, head over to Noho and Soho for the ultimate shopping experience. Although you will find all the international designers on Broadway, there are oodles of great local designers on the side streets.

25. Fly over the city

If you’re eager to get a view of New York City from above then there’s no better way to do so than boarding a helicopter flight over the city. Although expensive, this is a great way to get a feel for the size of the city and see the city skyline from a birds-eye view. New York City

A girls weekend in New York City

For a city as sprawling as New York there are endless activities, shows, attractions, restaurants and bars to discover. But where do you go for a girls weekend in New York City? Well, you’ve come to the right place to find out! Each year I find myself in NYC a handful of times. Somehow, it just never gets old to me. It is probably due to the fact that there’s always something new. A new restaurant opening, a boutique in Soho, or a new Broadway show. New York City truly is the city that never sleeps! This year I took my mum to New York for her first time. We planned the perfect girls weekend in New York City. From Broadway shows to the best dessert spots in town, we had such a blast. There’s something so special about sharing a favourite place of yours, especially with your mum. Read more: 25 of the Best Things to do in New York City New York | World of WanderlustNew York Experiences | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

How to have a Girls Weekend in New York City

See a Broadway Show

It doesn’t matter how many times I visit New York City, I’m always going to attend at least one new Broadway show on every visit. On my most recent visit with my mum I handed her the reigns and let her choose a musical and boy, did Beautiful not disappoint. There are so many shows I could recommend (trust me, I’ve almost seen them all – eeek!) but the below are some of my favourite for a girls night out.
Beautiful, The Carole King Musical
The best show I saw on this trip to the city with my mum was a show that has been on Broadway for quite some time and for one reason or another, it had never been at the top of my “to see” list – how wrong I was. I enjoyed this show so much and both my mum and I found ourselves singing along to almost the entire show, with hits like Natural Woman giving me chills…. CHILLS!
Pretty Woman
As one of my favourite films of all time, I knew Pretty Woman would be a show I would love before I’d even walked into the theatre. This is the perfect choice for a girls night out and I can highly recommend dropping by Salon De Ning for a rooftop cocktail beforehand.
Mean Girls
Another show we went to see was Mean Girls, one of the newest shows to hit Broadway. The show follows the same narrative as the film and many of the quotes are identical – so it is a lot of fun if you’re a mega-fan of the film (raise your right hand!) As far as broadway shows for a girls weekend in New York City goes, it doesn’t get more iconic than Mean Girls. Where to Eat in NYC this summer | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

Milk Bar for Cereal Milk Soft Serve

Anyone who knows me or has read my blog for a while will know I have a next level sweet tooth and New York City is perhaps the one single city in the world that takes that sweet tooth to another level (and then some). Some of my favourite desserts and dessert bars are located in the city but it is Milk Bar that gets me every time – I just can’t come to the city without having the cereal milk ice cream at least once! 251 E 13th Street, East Village New York City Guide | World of Wanderlust

Explore Midtown

As touristy, crowded and chaotic as it can be, Midtown is home to most of New York’s famous sights and attractions, so can not be missed on your first visit to the city (and probably your second and third… after which you will likely avoid the area at all costs!) Regardless, these are some sights you should check out if you’re showing your galpals around town or visiting for the first time: Flat Iron Building – This 22-story triangular building has become an iconic landmark for the city and the unique architecture makes it easy to see why. While you can only look at the building from the outside, it is one of those classic NYC spots not to be missed. Whilst in the area take a walk through Madison Square Park and if you visit during the Spring, look out for the cherry blossoms! Chrysler Building – As my favourite Art Deco building in all of New York, the Chrysler is a handy landmark when exploring the city on foot and trying to get your bearings. What many people do not know is that you can enter the lobby for free and examine the ornate Art Deco interior (the ceiling is incredible!) Grand Central Terminal – Nearby on the east side of Midtown is Grand Central Terminal, one of the city’s most visited landmarks both by tourists and locals alike. After you’ve checked out the main concourse head over to the The Campbell bar for one of the most charismatic bar settings in midtown. The High Line – This greenway on the west side of the city is one of my favourite places to take a stroll on a weekend, ending at Chelsea market for a long lunch and endless food choices (try the Japanese Mexican joint to be mind blown as to how good fusion food really can be). Top of the Rock – Said to be the best view over the city and after checking out many of the city’s best views, I’d have to say I agree! This is a great place to start when visiting the city for the first time to get a perspective of how big Manhattan is. Bryant Park – The perfect place to perch yourself for a picnic lunch or to rest your feet after a long day walking the streets. NY Public Library – Pop in to the NY Public Library for a look inside the city’s history or to take a quiet hour away from the hustle and bustle of New York. There’s also a really great gift store inside. Read more: A Guide to Midtown New York City
New York Experiences | WORLD OF WANDERLUST
New York Experiences | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

Afternoon Tea at the Baccarat

After a long day on your feet, one of my favourite things to do is to stop at one of the beautiful hotels near Central Park and fall into my chair for a long afternoon tea. Despite this being a distinctly British tradition, the upscale hotels of New York have really adopted the art of afternoon tea over recent years and it has become an attraction in itself. One of my favourite afternoon teas in the city is at the Baccarat hotel, whereby you can choose a themed tea (a classic British affair, Russian tsars theme with blini, or a Moroccan theme tea with Arabic sweets amongst others). Girls Weekend in New York City | WORLD OF WANDERLUSTGirls Weekend in New York City | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

Make your way to Williamsburg

As the sun sets over the city often my favourite place to be during gold hour is in Williamsburg, overlooking Manhattan from afar. While you can easily catch the metro over to Brooklyn or even an uber, my favourite way to make my way over is to walk across the Williamsburg bridge and watch the sunset. Around the neighbourhood there are many great cafes and vintage stores, allowing for at least a few hours of exploration. Read more: Checking In to the Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn Guide to Central Park | WORLD OF WANDERLUSTGuide to Central Park | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

Central Park and The MET

Back over in Manhattan there is plenty more to see and do – depending on how long your schedule allows and how quickly you’re making your way around the city! Another staple in every NYC itinerary is to visit Central Park, though once you arrive you’ll soon discover just how sprawling the park is and how it is virtually impossible to see it all (for the highlights, enter the park at the southern end and concentrate your efforts there). If you have more time or are looking to escape the weather be it hot and sticky or cold and wet, a visit to the MET is a great way to spend an afternoon. Read more: A Guide to Central Park, NYC

Planning a trip to New York City? Shop our City Guide:

New York City

A girls weekend in New York City

For a city as sprawling as New York there are endless activities, shows, attractions, restaurants and bars to discover. But where do you go for a girls weekend in New York City? Well, you’ve come to the right place to find out! Each year I find myself in NYC a handful of times. Somehow, it just never gets old to me. It is probably due to the fact that there’s always something new. A new restaurant opening, a boutique in Soho, or a new Broadway show. New York City truly is the city that never sleeps! This year I took my mum to New York for her first time. We planned the perfect girls weekend in New York City. From Broadway shows to the best dessert spots in town, we had such a blast. There’s something so special about sharing a favourite place of yours, especially with your mum. Read more: 25 of the Best Things to do in New York City New York | World of WanderlustNew York Experiences | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

How to have a Girls Weekend in New York City

See a Broadway Show

It doesn’t matter how many times I visit New York City, I’m always going to attend at least one new Broadway show on every visit. On my most recent visit with my mum I handed her the reigns and let her choose a musical and boy, did Beautiful not disappoint. There are so many shows I could recommend (trust me, I’ve almost seen them all – eeek!) but the below are some of my favourite for a girls night out.
Beautiful, The Carole King Musical
The best show I saw on this trip to the city with my mum was a show that has been on Broadway for quite some time and for one reason or another, it had never been at the top of my “to see” list – how wrong I was. I enjoyed this show so much and both my mum and I found ourselves singing along to almost the entire show, with hits like Natural Woman giving me chills…. CHILLS!
Pretty Woman
As one of my favourite films of all time, I knew Pretty Woman would be a show I would love before I’d even walked into the theatre. This is the perfect choice for a girls night out and I can highly recommend dropping by Salon De Ning for a rooftop cocktail beforehand.
Mean Girls
Another show we went to see was Mean Girls, one of the newest shows to hit Broadway. The show follows the same narrative as the film and many of the quotes are identical – so it is a lot of fun if you’re a mega-fan of the film (raise your right hand!) As far as broadway shows for a girls weekend in New York City goes, it doesn’t get more iconic than Mean Girls. Where to Eat in NYC this summer | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

Milk Bar for Cereal Milk Soft Serve

Anyone who knows me or has read my blog for a while will know I have a next level sweet tooth and New York City is perhaps the one single city in the world that takes that sweet tooth to another level (and then some). Some of my favourite desserts and dessert bars are located in the city but it is Milk Bar that gets me every time – I just can’t come to the city without having the cereal milk ice cream at least once! 251 E 13th Street, East Village New York City Guide | World of Wanderlust

Explore Midtown

As touristy, crowded and chaotic as it can be, Midtown is home to most of New York’s famous sights and attractions, so can not be missed on your first visit to the city (and probably your second and third… after which you will likely avoid the area at all costs!) Regardless, these are some sights you should check out if you’re showing your galpals around town or visiting for the first time: Flat Iron Building – This 22-story triangular building has become an iconic landmark for the city and the unique architecture makes it easy to see why. While you can only look at the building from the outside, it is one of those classic NYC spots not to be missed. Whilst in the area take a walk through Madison Square Park and if you visit during the Spring, look out for the cherry blossoms! Chrysler Building – As my favourite Art Deco building in all of New York, the Chrysler is a handy landmark when exploring the city on foot and trying to get your bearings. What many people do not know is that you can enter the lobby for free and examine the ornate Art Deco interior (the ceiling is incredible!) Grand Central Terminal – Nearby on the east side of Midtown is Grand Central Terminal, one of the city’s most visited landmarks both by tourists and locals alike. After you’ve checked out the main concourse head over to the The Campbell bar for one of the most charismatic bar settings in midtown. The High Line – This greenway on the west side of the city is one of my favourite places to take a stroll on a weekend, ending at Chelsea market for a long lunch and endless food choices (try the Japanese Mexican joint to be mind blown as to how good fusion food really can be). Top of the Rock – Said to be the best view over the city and after checking out many of the city’s best views, I’d have to say I agree! This is a great place to start when visiting the city for the first time to get a perspective of how big Manhattan is. Bryant Park – The perfect place to perch yourself for a picnic lunch or to rest your feet after a long day walking the streets. NY Public Library – Pop in to the NY Public Library for a look inside the city’s history or to take a quiet hour away from the hustle and bustle of New York. There’s also a really great gift store inside. Read more: A Guide to Midtown New York City
New York Experiences | WORLD OF WANDERLUST
New York Experiences | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

Afternoon Tea at the Baccarat

After a long day on your feet, one of my favourite things to do is to stop at one of the beautiful hotels near Central Park and fall into my chair for a long afternoon tea. Despite this being a distinctly British tradition, the upscale hotels of New York have really adopted the art of afternoon tea over recent years and it has become an attraction in itself. One of my favourite afternoon teas in the city is at the Baccarat hotel, whereby you can choose a themed tea (a classic British affair, Russian tsars theme with blini, or a Moroccan theme tea with Arabic sweets amongst others). Girls Weekend in New York City | WORLD OF WANDERLUSTGirls Weekend in New York City | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

Make your way to Williamsburg

As the sun sets over the city often my favourite place to be during gold hour is in Williamsburg, overlooking Manhattan from afar. While you can easily catch the metro over to Brooklyn or even an uber, my favourite way to make my way over is to walk across the Williamsburg bridge and watch the sunset. Around the neighbourhood there are many great cafes and vintage stores, allowing for at least a few hours of exploration. Read more: Checking In to the Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn Guide to Central Park | WORLD OF WANDERLUSTGuide to Central Park | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

Central Park and The MET

Back over in Manhattan there is plenty more to see and do – depending on how long your schedule allows and how quickly you’re making your way around the city! Another staple in every NYC itinerary is to visit Central Park, though once you arrive you’ll soon discover just how sprawling the park is and how it is virtually impossible to see it all (for the highlights, enter the park at the southern end and concentrate your efforts there). If you have more time or are looking to escape the weather be it hot and sticky or cold and wet, a visit to the MET is a great way to spend an afternoon. Read more: A Guide to Central Park, NYC

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Brooke Saward
Brooke Saward

Brooke Saward founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen, with a particular weakness for French pastries.

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