Growing up, I had the good fortune of having a brother that lived in the city. I would plan all kinds of fun activities for my siblings and I when we visited. But most people do not have the luxury of a free tour guide.
New York is overwhelming, especially for first time visitors. Where do you even start?
One of the many awesome things about NYC is that there is something for everyone. This can prove to make planning much more difficult though. My sister recently organized a group of people to come visit NYC, and she had such a hard time. EVERYONE has an opinion. Some people love museums and want to go to them all! Others hate history but love to eat authentic and amazing food. Still others want to hit all of the major tourist highlights in just one weekend.
How do you make everyone happy?!
If you stay together, you probably can’t keep everyone happy. But if everyone goes off and pursues their interests during the day and then you regroup at night, it tends to create a better experience for everyone. Dinner is so much more enjoyable when everyone has stories of their adventures that day, instead of already being sick of your travel companions!
One way that you can accomplish this is by getting a FreeStyle Pass. You’ll get a 72 hour pass for four different sightseeing bus loops plus a night tour AND your choice of three or five attractions! This includes museums, tours and landmarks. This way, everyone can pick and choose what they want to do!
Then how do you decide what to do with all of your new-found options? Well, I can at least tell you some of my favorite sights!
If you want to see the most popular tourist attractions, or if you love Sleepless in Seattle, then the Empire State Building should be at the top of your list. I only went to the top once when I was sixteen, but I had so much fun! It really did feel like I was in a movie!
If you really love the views, you can also head to the Top of the Rock, although I would recommend only choosing one, seeing as they are both really high up and have great views. If you’re afraid of heights, then maybe you should stick with some of the attractions that are a little bit more accessible, like Madame Tussauds. I’ll be honest, I never really understood the allure of seeing a bunch of people that look real, but aren’t actually real. But that is why I would choose different things on the pass than you!
There are a lot of cool tours, which are really fun, especially in the summer! Central Park offers a lot of things, like a guided walking tour or a horse and carriage ride if you really want to feel like royalty (remember Enchanted?!) Central Park is the perfect place to bike when you’re in NYC; I don’t know about you, but the idea of biking on the streets of Manhattan really freaks me out!
If you’re a big Rockettes fan, you may enjoy a tour of Radio City Music Hall or a tour of the Rockefeller Center. Sports fans can get an all-access tour of Madison Square Garden. The list goes on.
Now for my museum-loving friends.
The American National History Museum is perfect to bring kids to (you can point out different artifacts portrayed in Night at the Museum)! But I’ll be honest; I went last week and absolutely loved it. They have a new dinosaur (a Titanosaur to be exact), and it is so large that it doesn’t even fit in the room that they have it in. It is 20 feet tall and 122 feet long!
If you haven’t been to the 9/11 Tribute Center and museum, or even if you have already been, it is a must-see for the entire group! My friend that HATES museum had this at the top of her list when she came to visit, and she was at the museum for four hours!
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the one museum that I could just keep going back to and not tire of. I went there several times growing up, and even as a teenager that claimed to be uninterested in art, I loved it! Variety is one of the main allures of the Met. From ancient Egypt to Modern and Contemporary Art – and everything in between – the Met has plenty to keep you occupied!
There are SO MANY museums in New York City that I have yet to go to, but these are my favorites thus far!
Of course, there are many for things to see and do in NYC! I’ll be sure to write about new favorite attractions as I continue exploring the city. Enjoy your visit!
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