top things to do in NYC

Top Things to Do in NYC

Only have a few days in NYC?  With only 3 days to navigate our way through New York City, we explored several neighborhoods from Central Park to SoHo.  Sharing our list of “Top 10 Things to Do in NYC”, that keeps growing so now there’s more than that!

Find more photos on our instagram page, click here!

Here’s our “Top 10” things to do in NYC.

 top things to do in NYC top things to do in NYC


There are so many sites and attractions to see in  NYC!  Here’s our Top 10 list.

1.  Central Park

First on our list of top 10 things to do in NYC is a leisurely walk or faster-paced jog through Central Park. These 840 acres are the playground for New Yorkers. Some call this park the “green lungs” of NYC.  Step into a horse-drawn carriage to experience the beauty of Central Park.  Romantic way to celebrate weddings or ask the “Big” question!

 top things to do in NYC

2.  Grand Central Station:

The busiest train station in the country, a historical landmark in NYC and the U.S.A. Great place if you like to take photographs or people watch!

top things to do in NYC

3.  Walk The High Line & Visit Hudson Yards

 Meatpacking, Greenwich, SoHo: The High Line is the name of a once derelict elevated railroad track turned into a lovely public park. You can start strolling through the High Line from the Meatpacking District, then continue through Chelsea and pick up lunch at Chelsea Market.

Don’t Miss!  A visit to the Vessel, and see the Shed and Edge.  We were mesmerized by the Vessel and went inside this stunning interactive artwork imagined by Thomas Heatherwick as a landmark where people can enjoy the city from multi perspectives – heights, angles and vantage points.  We walked some of the 154 interconnecting flights of stairs with 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings.  Get tickets, click here to experience this vertical climb with views of the city, the river and beyond.

If you want to take a longer walk, start in the SoHo neighborhood and meander through Prince, Spring, and Mercer streets lined with boutiques, art galleries and cafes, and head northwest on Hudson and Bleeker Streets up to the Meatpacking District. If you’re looking for art, window-shopping, and fun, this walking tour is definitely a must on our list of top 10 things to do in NYC.

top things to do in NYC top things to do in NYC

top things to do in NYC

4.  Chelsea Market:

An enclosed Urban Food Court where you can eat, drink, shop, and take in the activities in the neighborhood Meatpacking District. Mimi Sheraton, author of “1,000 Things to Eat Before You Die” highly recommends to visit the Chelsea Market.

top things to do in NYC

5.  One World Trade Center and 911 Memorial

Ground Zero is in the midst of a remarkable comeback. More than a decade after 9/11, the southern tip of Manhattan is becoming one of New York City’s most vibrant neighborhoods,” shares Paola Singer of the New York Times.  It’s a sobering to visit this sacred memorial, honor the 2,983 lives taken, and support the rebirth at Ground Zero.

top things to do in NYC top things to do in NYC

top things to do in NYC

6.  Chrysler Building:

This 77-story building is an iconic image well recognized in NYC’s skyline with it’s shiny fan shaped peak. Visitors can visit the lobby to see the art deco interior style and the ceiling mural, but aren’t allowed to go beyond this area. Located at: 405 Lexington Avenue (42nd/43rd)

top things to do in NYC

7.  Empire State Building:

For incredible 360 degree views of NYC, visit the world-famous Empire State Building in Midtown Manhattan, where you can go up to the 86th and 102nd floor observatories. Located at 5th Avenue and West 34th Street.  Open 365 days a year from 8 am – 2 am.

Planning a wedding?  Renewing Vows?  Enter the Empire State Building’s Valentine’s Day Weddings Contest where 13 couples will be chosen to have the wedding ceremony of their dreams on ESB’s 86th floor Observatory. To enter, engaged couples and those seeking to renew their vows can submit their love stories via Facebook – for more details, click here.

top things to do in NYC

8.  Metropolitan Museum of Art:

located on the Upper East side of Central Park is the largest art museum in the U.S.A., and one of the finest in the world with a collection that includes more than two million works of art spanning centuries.

top things to do in NYC

9.  Times Square:

Located in the heart of NYC within 5 blocks of neon-lit entertainment is where you’ll want to see a Broadway Show, or stay til midnight on NY Eve and countdown to the New Year.

top things to do in NYC

10.  Statue of Liberty: 

Lady Liberty – this giant statue was a gift from France to the United States.  It is recognized as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.  Take the Statue Cruises ferry to Staten Island and learn more about the history of this statue and its meaning to all U.S. citizens, and the thousands of immigrants who came to the U.S.A.  Reserve tickets to visit the Pedestal and the Crown a few months ahead!

top things to do in NYC

11.  Guggenheim Museum:

Visit this architectural masterpiece – a gift from Frank Lloyd Wright to Solomon R. Guggenheim, where you can see the impressive Guggenheim art collection and walk the famous spiral staircase.

If you have extra days in the Big Apple, visit:

  • Radio City Music Hall
  • Carnegie Hall
  • Brooklyn Bridge – walk the pedestrian walkway!
  • Rockefeller Center – visit the Top of the Rock Observation Deck for a 360-degree view of NYC, and take a spin on the skating rink.

top things to do in NYC

  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral – escape the hustle & bustle for some peace, quiet and meditation.

Let us know what your favorite places are to visit in NYC?  We will add them to this list.

top things to do in NYC top things to do in NYC


We explored upper, mid and lower Manhattan by staying at a few different hotels – from HGU in NoMad and other neighborhoods in NYC where we stayed at The Quin Hotel to 1 Hotel Central Park, and some of the Morgans Hotel Group NYC properties – Hudson, Royalton & Mondrian.


HGU New York:  Forbes voted this charming hotel “Best Boutique Hotel in NYC” and we can see why.  Member of Small Luxury Hotels, this striking Beaux-Arts Hotel has been welcoming guests since 1905!

Offering 90 luxury suites with modern convenience and maintaining its original ornate plaster ceilings and exterior.

We loved the art collection throughout the lobby, hallways and suites.

Our King Size Suite opened to a separate living area with a queen-size pull out couch.

A comfy king size bedroom with luxurious bedding a faux fur throw, small office space with a desk, and a white-tiled bathroom with a bathtub, CO Bigelow products and terry cloth towels and plush HGU bathrobe makes for a luxurious stay.

There are a few dining options including the 1905 Lounge opens to hip and inviting atmosphere with a D.J. and extensive cocktail-driven menu.  You can even dine on the rooftop.

Near Central Park, Upper West Side:

The Quin Hotel:  

A luxury lifestyle hotel in the heart of NYC!  Member of Small Luxury Hotels, and acknowledged on the “It List” by Travel & Leisure.  Just a block from Carnegie Hall and a block away from Central Park, guests can easily get to several attractions from this location.


Pampered from our arrival until we left, the concierge delivered bath salts and a bottle of bubbly, and the rooms were very comfortable, quiet, and luxurious. We highly recommend The Quin Hotel. The concierge noted that this building  once hosted the century’s greatest Artists, including Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Marc Chagall this Arts & Crafts landmark has been lovingly restored by renowned architects, Perkins Eastman.


Photos courtesy of The Quin Hotel

1 Hotel Central Park

Another hotel we recommend is located just 1 block from Central Park and a member of 1 Hotels – 1 Hotel Central Park.  This hotel is all about Eco + Luxury.  There are reminders and signs throughout the hotel about how to be environmentally friendly and sustainable – recyclable goods, even the hangers are made from wrapping paper and love notes.  In NYC’s urban jungle, we found plants and little touches of nature here.  A green sanctuary in the heart of the Big Apple.

The rooms are luxurious, the beds have fabulous linens, and our room even had a little view of Central Park!


Photos courtesy of 1 Hotels

The Hudson Hotel:

 If you’re looking for some great nightlife and a hip hotel with daring designs, take the neon yellow escalator to reception, and check in at The Hudson.

top things to do in NYC top things to do in NYC

The interior design is mind bending, and designer Philippe Starck left his mark throughout the entire hotel, so hotel guests and locals alike enjoy the eye-candy.


The Royalton

Located in the heart of midtown, the sophisticated Royalton is the “stylish living room of Manhattan,” with 28 fireplaces in some of the guest rooms.  This luxury boutique hotel is within blocks of Times Square and the perfect place to stay if you are a business traveler and/or a Broadway Show fan.

Lower Manhattan:

Andaz Wall Street is an ideal place to stay when exploring Lower Manhattan or when you’re in town for business in the Financial District.  Conveniently located near Battery Park where you can take a ferry to the Statue of Liberty, within walking distance to Trinity Church, Ground Zero, as well as South Street Seaport and only 3 minutes ferry to Brooklyn.  It’s located on Wall St. and offers some of the most spacious rooms and suites in NYC.  We love the modern design and loft style rooms.


Breakfasts in the hotel’s charming bistro is a great way to start the day with fresh food sourced from the Hudson Valley region.

Don’t Miss!  Suite Spa: One of the best ways to relax after a long day of work on Wall Street, is to check into the Suite Spa at Andaz Wall Street for a massage.  They also offer luxury in-room spa service.

Mondrian  If you want to be in Lower Manhattan in the SoHo neighborhood near boutiques, galleries and cafes, check into the Mondrian, inspired by Jean Cocteau’s 1946 French film “La Belle et la Bête”.  Reservations click here!

 top things to do in NYC top things to do in NYC


Where to dine in the Big Apple?

It’s hard to choose only a few but here are some of our top places to eat in NYC. We compiled a list of recommendations from concierges in NYC, foodie friends who live and travel to NYC, and some culinary experts like Mimi Sheraton, author of “1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die”. 

On our next trip we hope to try out more restaurants.

By Neighborhood

Lower Manhattan

  • Rosa Mexicano  Craving Mexican food?  You’ll want to dine at Rosa Mexicano where you can order table side guacamole, and enjoy authentic, regionally-inspired Mexican cuisine.  Check their website for multiple locations in Manhattan.

  • 11 Hanover Greek  At 11 Hanover, we stepped into a sophisticated modern restaurant that offers a blend of Greek specialties and fresh seafood.  In fact, our 2.7 lbs. lobster was still alive when we arrived and then grilled to perfection when served.  The fresh fish is sourced from Maine to the Mediterranean Sea. 11 Hanover Greek is one of the finest Greek restaurants in lower Manhattan.  A fine dining experience you don’t want to miss!

  • Trinity Place  One of the most unique experiences is dining in a bank vault at Trinity Place, an American eatery set in a converted bank vault with original vault doors dating to 1904.  Located in the heart of New York’s financial district at 115 Broadway, you can dine and be surrounded in historic splendor.  We ordered pork chops and filet mignon with a grand finale of New York cheesecake for dessert!  Be sure to take a photo next to the vault with two entrances at both ends of the bar, with each door weighing in at 35 tons.

West Side


East Side

Russ & Daughters Cafe



  • La Mercerie
  • Balthazar
  • Mercer Kitchen
  • Isola Trattoria & Crudo Bar Restaurant – we dined in this lovely indoor/outdoor garden setting and had tasty dishes like tuna crudo on watermelon & jalepeno on top, and the sausage, caramelized pizza is divine!  Located near the Mondrian Lobby.

top things to do in NYC top things to do in NYC

  • Osteria Morini
  • La Esquina
  • ABC Kitchen – described as a chic New American eatery via Jean-Georges Vongerichten sourcing local, organic ingredients.

Greenwich Village

John’s Pizzeria

West Village


Via Carota

Meatpacking District

Fig & Olive – had a wonderful dinner at Fig & Olive!  Pasta, seafood & other dishes.




Butter – we dined at Butter before seeing a Broadway Show and had a delicious winter greens salad, and ricotta/roasted brussel sprouts crostini.  Executive Chef Alex Guarnaschelli’s menu is full of healthy, delicious choices. If you’re a real foodie, this should be at the top of your list of places to eat in NYC. Located at 70 West 45th St.  Reservations:

Midtown West

db Bistro Moderne

Wu Liang Ye

Midtown East

Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant

Upper East Side

  • The Palm Court at The Plaza:  One of the most memorable dining experiences in NYC, was the evening tea, “The Fitzgerald” Platter at The Palm Court, where you can sample cheeses, olives, miniature sandwiches at The Palm Court.  Beautiful setting surrounded by palms and orchids under a stained glass ceiling, in one of New York’s most famous hotels – The Plaza. (photo courtesy of The Plaza).


Bluestone Cafe – located at 1085 Fifth Avenue, in the heart of Museum Mile.  This is an awesome place for breakfast or lunch, adjacent to the Church of the Heavenly Rest.

Pastrami Queen


Il Mulino

East Harlem

Rao’s Restaurant


Stay Connected

Gogo:   Stay connected at 40,000 ft.!  We use Gogo Air on our flights whenever possible to keep ahead of emails and work deadlines.  For domestic and global travelers, you’ll want to purchase your wi-fi passes now and save before you take-off on your next trip.

Their next-generation satellite 2Ku solution provides video streaming, gate-to-gate availability and coverage that spans the globe.  Gogo is the leading inflight internet and entertainment provider.

SkyRoam – pocket global WiFi hotspot:  Skyroam Solis is one of the favorite gadgets for globetrotters.  This all-in-one global 4G LTE hotspot we use when we travel.  Its 6000 mAh power bank provides super fast, secure and affordable mobile data in 100+ countries.  No SIMs needed! And we can charge our devices on-the-go.  Keeps us powered all day long up to 16+ hours.

How to Get Around

Blacklane provided our transfers to/from the airport to hotel during our stay in NYC.  It’s easy to book rides on their website and the drivers are professional, punctual, and you can choose from a range of vehicles in their fleet.

They also provide some of the lowest rates across the globe in top cities like NYC, Paris, London, and more!

To book a reservation, click here.

Travel Acknowledgements

We’d like to thank HGU New York, Morgan’s Hotel Group and 1 Hotel Central Park , and The Quin for hosting our stay.  Also, want to thank the Andaz Wall Street for hosting our breakfasts and spa service.

And finally, a big thanks to the Empire State Building, the Guggenheim Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Rockefeller Center “Top of the Rock” for hosting visits.

Thanks to The Palm Court at The Plaza for hosting our evening tea – a fine dining experience.

Much appreciation to Gogo and SkyRoam for helping us stay connected when we travel.

Finally, we thank Blacklane for hosting our transfers during our visit to New York City.

Trip Map (zoom in/out with controls on left)

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