New York City
My adopted hometown: New York City. It is my favorite City in the world, and there is nothing else like it.
My God, I love New York City. The sights, the sounds, the people, the history, the energy. It is a truly global city and everything is represented here. I first came to live here as an intern to Seventeen Magazine, and couldn’t part from it thereafter (about 15 years). It can certainly be overwhelming for a first-timer (for whom I would suggest a hop-on-off bus tour to get the lay of the land), but once you stay awhile, you realize that the it’s all about neighborhoods and it never feels too much when you explore & appreciate one at a time. It’s hard to give an overview here for a place that is always changing but I will do my best. New York City comprises of five boroughs sitting where the Hudson River meets the Atlantic Ocean. At its core is Manhattan, a densely populated borough that’s among the world’s major commercial, financial and cultural centers. (*Side note: New Yorkers are NOT rude, they are just direct & blunt. They will absolutely help you. But talk and walk fast please). Walk, subway, uber, taxis….it’s not hard to get around and Manhattan at least works on an easy grid system so you can figure out your way around.
Research the area around your hotel, and book dinner in advance on a platform like Open Table. This is a food town, and EVERYONE is out. Good local resources for food, concert, museum, event listings include Time Out NY, Eater NY, NY Times. Trust me, everyone local routinely flags things to do and places to eat in their local publications.
Spring & Fall are the most fabulous times to visit (weather wise), through Christmas in NYC is a very special time to enjoy the city indeed, with the store windows and city decorated from top to bottom.
Its iconic sites include skyscrapers such as the Empire State Building and sprawling Central Park. Broadway theater is staged in neon-lit Times Square. Skyscrapers, gourmet restaurants, and cultures from all over the world, which is why in popular culture New York, NY is often viewed to as the center of the universe. When you visit Manhattan, it can certainly feel that way. Manhattan has something for everyone, from a diverse and incredible restaurant scenes and a plethora of iconic attractions, and an amazing variety of entertainment and art.
•Walk the various neighborhoods to get a sense of the differences, from architecture to vibe
• Catch a world famous Broadway show
• Tour the many famous Manhattan art museums
• Take a long walk in Central Park or along the High Line
• Take a boat ride out to see The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
Brooklyn has always been an incredibly diverse, lively, eclectic and fascinating borough of neighborhoods. In the past two decades, though, this (most populous) NYC borough, has transformed into one of the most-talked-about places in the world. It’s a hotbed of culture, art, music, and food—and it’s no surprise that its residents are proud to live there. Gastronomes will find some of the city’s best bars and restaurants scattered throughout the borough, while dozens of art galleries and music venues showcase the works of Brooklyn’s many creatives. Sites like the Brooklyn Bridge and the Botanical Garden, as well as McCarren and Prospect parks, regularly draw natives and newcomers. You’ll find Williamsburg to be a hot spot across the river packed with restaurants these days, but don’t forget Park Slop, Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Fort Greene and more. And for those hot summer days, take the train for a beach trip to famed Coney Island or Brighton Beach.
The borough of Queens is said to speak more languages in this one area and is growing by the day. Just for the museums and restaurants alone, a short 15-minute subway or ferry trip from Midtown will take you to Long Island City along the water, or a slightly longer train ride to Astoria is truly worth it. In Long Island City, major must-sees are MoMA PS1 museum and the Noguchi Museum. No trip to Astoria—once nicknamed “Little Athens”—is complete without sampling some of the city’s finest Greek and Mediterranean fare, or Jackson Heights boasting a diverse cornucopia of culture and cuisine, and is also home to one of the city’s busiest Indian shopping districts. Also the New York Mets’ stadium, Citi Field is here near the expansive Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Home of hip-hop, known for its gritty South Bronx street culture and its web of highways carrying other New Yorkers further north, the Bronx is actually as green as it is urban: Wave Hill, Van Cortlandt Park, Pelham Bay Park and the New York Botanical Garden are just a few of its leafy areas. Orchard Beach, the ‘Bronx Riviera’, draws crowds in summertime and America’s oldest and largest zoo is here. Architectural gems line art-deco Grand Concourse, and Arthur Ave is the place for old-school Italian red-sauce joints. Of course, this is the home of Yankee Stadium – catch a game!
Sorry but…skip it. No point, largely residential, and you can just watch the “Working Girl” ferry from the southern tip of Manhattan.
Everything is honestly a quick train (or bus) ride away, from either Grand Central Station or Penn Station. Day or weekend trips can include: Hudson Valley, Dia: Beacon, Storm King, Connecticut, Botanical Gardens, Hamptons, NJ (Cape May, Jersey Shore, Atlantic City, Asbury Park)
Author: Carrie Mitchell
Carrie A. Mitchell is the founder of L’Aventure Travel, the host of the Suitcase Sojourn Podcast, and author of the children’s travel book “To Be We”. Carrie is a global travel and hospitality expert who works with publications, brands and entertainment outlets on a number of travel related projects, from marketing consulting to editorial coverage to hosting & producing content for the web, TV and podcasts. She is always seeking to learn from people and places around the world, and share through her cultural exploration (40+ countries and counting)