Most Manhattanites have a designated email form letter – it’s the email that they send each and every time a family member, friend, or long lost cousin asks, “I’m going to New York City for the weekend, what should I do?” I’m a big food and drink person, so I could easily do a top 100 list of restaurants, bars and clubs in the city, but instead, here is a top 10 list of things to see and do that I send to family and friends.
1. Walk the High Line – A renovated, elevated rail line transformed into a tranquil boardwalk. Not exactly a hidden gem but I’m still surprised how many visitors don’t do this. During the warm months, there is a great, open air wine bar, Popsicle stands, and more.
2. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge – Not a short walk, but you can do it in wedge sandals…I would know.
3. Discover Times Square – I avoid Times Square like the plague, but there are usually some great exhibits here. The Lego exhibit, Body World, and plenty of people watching, among other things.
4. The Ride – This is totally touristy but if you are visiting, it’s what you’ll tell your friends about first when you get back home. To me, it exemplifies why we travel. You go around in a state of the art bus with stadium style seats facing out sideways, and your comedian guides give the tour while interacting with locals via a loud speaker. Nothing like getting flipped the bird by a New Yorker while sitting in an air conditioned super bus!
5. Mixology Crawl – (Hey, I waited until number 5 to slip in libations, at least) – Hit up Alphabet City for some unique drink holes – Start at Pouring Ribbons (speakeasy style), then head to The Wayland, before it gets crazy, for cocktails and a sandwich. End at the summit or continue to Booker and Dax at Momofuku for a late night pork bun.
6. Central Park – Of course, but to do it like a local. Get a blanket, food, and drinks and head to Sheep’s Meadow (only on warm days) and lay out!
7. Eataly – I love this massive Italian food hall. Wander around, get a cheese plate on the main floor, treat yourself to some gelato, whatever you want. I highly recommend heading up stairs to La Birreria for a beer and some meat. That’s right, meat.
8. Bryant Park – There are a few key times to visit. During the winter, there is an awesome Christmas market and ice skating. I go to watch ice skaters (fall) during the week around lunchtime, then get a sandwich from some shop nearby and eat it in the park with all the other 9-8’ers. The park also has plenty of events like film screenings, plays, festivals, etc.
9. Staten Island Ferry – That’s right! You get a great view of the Statue of Liberty and ….it’s free!!! Take it to Staten Island, get off, walk through the ferry terminal to the “entrance” and get on the next ferry. No, there is nothing else to see in Staten Island.
10. Empire State Building – Please, get the Fast Pass!