I took my first trip to NYC last summer but unfortunately my ill planning combined with a working trip meant I didn’t get to experience as much as I would have liked.

It’s an amazing city and what I did experience took my breath away. If you’re only there for a short time, I recommend making sure to do at the very least these 5 things to get a quick but well rounded NYC experience.

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Times Square After 10 P.M.

This is an activity I recommend in the summer. During the day, Times Square is noisy and busy, but at night it’s electric.

There are street performers everywhere, people aren’t rushing to and from work, they’re looking to have a good time. I love the way you can just feel the liveliness.

While you’re there make, sure to go to the Top of the Rock. The New York City skyline is spectacular at night (and during the day too!).

The top viewing deck has a panoramic view of Manhattan. You can also see the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building.

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Eat at A Food Cart

This is one of those things you just have to do.

You can’t miss them, the delicious aromas will surround you at every corner. I had the best hot dog ever – make sure to get it with all the works! 

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Tip: They’re best to grab on your walk back to the hotel after a late night trip to Times Square.

Catch a Show

It’s New York City and you probably can’t make a bad choice, but if you’re looking for suggestions…

  • Kinky Boots on Broadway
    From Grammy Award-winning Cyndi Lauper and four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein comes a story about two people who discover that when you change your mind about someone, you can change your whole world.

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9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero

This place is indescribable.

It’s where new clashes again with old.

There is silence amidst chaos.

Sadness wars with hope.

I know that’s a lot of conflicting descriptors but they’re all accurate.

As I walked along the fenced off ground, there was rubble everywhere. But there was also a sense of hope and freshness as you watch the One World Trade Center and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum being built.

The construction crews are hard at work and they are noisy, but if you step back and look around, you’ll notice that many of the people watching are absolutely silent and almost mesmerized.

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Just like I was.

The Tenement Museum

This museum is located in an actual tenement building and is dedicated to telling the immigrant experience on New York City’s Lower East Side. 

New York Tenement Museum

“The building at 97 Orchard Street was built in 1863. When first constructed, it contained 22 apartments and a basement level saloon. Over time, four stoop-level and two basement apartments were converted into commercial retail space, leaving 16 apartments in the building. Modifications over the years included the installation of indoor plumbing (cold running water, two toilets per floor), an air shaft, and gas followed by electricity.

In 1935, rather than continuing to modify the building, the landlord evicted the residents, boarded the upper windows, and sealed the upper floors, leaving only the stoop-level and basement storefronts open for business. No further changes were made until the Lower East Side Tenement Museum became involved with the building in 1988.

As such, the building stands as a kind of time capsule, reflecting 19th and early 20th century living conditions and the changing notions of what constitutes acceptable housing”

Bonus Free and Unique Experience

If you have an extra night, try camping out or stargazing in the big apple!

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19 comments

  1. My husband and I just watched a Netflix documentary about the top ten food carts in America, and one of them was the most incredible, authentic Belgian waffle cart. We were both drooling and wishing we lived in NYC by the time the show was over- lol. We promised each other that the next time we make it to the Big Apple, we WILL track down that cart! :) Thanks for this great list; the last time I was in NYC was back when I was in high school, so I would love to go again and experience it as an adult this time.

  2. My daughter has been begging for a visit to New York. She even showed e a pic of the NY skyline last night and said “I want to go there.” These sound like really fun ideas. We will do them if we get there this year.

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