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Ten top things to do for your first time in New York 2024

Central Park Zoo
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New York, who doesn’t love the vibrant city of New York? NYC is on everyones bucket list. This article is the perfect guide to give you all the information you need for your first time in New York, from how to get there to what to do while you are there.

New York City is fun at any time of the year, but summer always brings out the best of me and a city like New York. I love visiting major cities, and New York is one that I keep gravitating back to in any season, but summer is when it is at its best. Eating alfresco, taking in the sites on foot and enjoying the rooftop bars and outdoor activities. There are so many fun things to do in Summer in New York, but here are the top ten things to do for your first time in New York this summer. 

First time trip to New York

How to get to New York 

Singapore Airlines has a non-stop 17-hour flight to Newark; however, if one flight lasting 17 hours seems too long, there are other options like United Airlines, Korean Air, British Airways and Air France, to name a few. 

Transport 

Private Transfers: This is the easiest way to get from the airport to Manhattan and can be organised online.

Airport Shuttles.com – you can book your transfer online before your Journey begins; this makes it a cost-effective and efficient way of getting into Manhattan.

Taxi – This is by far the easiest way to get to Manhattan, JFK taxis have a flat rate, but the other airports are a metered fare.

Trains – JFK and Newark airports by train will take, on average, about 1.5 hours and must change a couple of times. 

Uber/Lyft – Ensure you uploaded the app before arriving and set up your account so that once you visit, it is as easy as adding your pick-up location and destination. 

New York Subway

Visa

If you are still determining whether you need a visa, you should check ivisa as it takes the stress out of searching the embassy information. It is a one-stop shop for all visa enquiries.

Tipping

First-time visitors to New York can find this place intimidating, especially when it comes to tipping (or maybe that was just me!). Have small notes on hand because tipping is expected in this part of the world. The rule of thumb is some restaurants will already have a fee in the bill, so check first; however, for exceptional service, you should consider around 20-25% (some places help you work it out), although it is not mandatory, you should consider almost everyone in a service environment. Hence, this is why lots of small notes come in handy.

New York Explorer Pass 

This little pass will save you time and money, especially if you are only here briefly. The Explorer Pass will allow you to see as many attractions as possible; there is no limit on how many you can see in one day. The list has over 90 things to do and see, from riding bikes to entry to museums; it has all the major events and attractions and many hidden gems. Order your New York Explorer pass

Statue of Liberty New York

Ten Top Things to Do for your first time in New York in Summer

1 Visit SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

Visiting SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is an awe-inspiring journey into the heart of New York City’s skyline. As you ascend the elevator to the 93rd floor, anticipation builds, and stepping out onto the observation deck feels like entering a realm where the city’s hustle and bustle are momentarily suspended. The 360-degree views offer a breathtaking panorama of iconic landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, while the immersive exhibits showcase the city’s rich history and architectural marvels. Whether you’re a local or a first-time visitor, SUMMIT offers a unique perspective that deepens your appreciation for the vibrant energy and endless possibilities of the Big Apple.

Empire State Building
Photo by Kit Suman on Unsplash

2 Discover the secrets of Grand Central Station

You may not need to catch a train outside New York, but you must visit the iconic Grand Central station. There is more to Grand Central Station than you have seen in tv shows like “gossip girl” or movies like “Carlito’s way”. This legendary station and its beautiful architecture with the world’s largest Tiffany clock is the world’s largest train terminal. Discover the secrets of Grand Central Station on a guided walking tour. 

Grand Central Station

3 Catch a Yankees Game

Americans love their sport, and as a first-time New York visitor, you must catch a beloved Yankees game. With so much history attached to this stadium and the Bronx Bombers, watching a game at Yankee Stadium is a must while visiting in the summer. Combine a day exploring Harlem and the Bronx areas on a guided tour which includes a tour of the Yankee stadium and then ends in cheering on the New York Yankees! 

Yankee Stadium

4 Visit The World Trade Center

One World Trade Center is an office building with an observation deck in lower Manhattan. The One World Trade Center is currently the tallest in America and the seventh-tallest globally. You can also visit the World Trade Center Memorial and the 9/11 Museum. While there, take a guided tour and follow the path of the first responders during 9/11. This tour will give you insight into the heroic stories of those who survived the horrific ordeal.

New York World Trade Center

5 Spend the day in Central Park

There is plenty to see and do in Central Park, especially during the warm summer days. There are many ways to explore Central Park; you can take a carriage ride, hire an electric scooter or take a guided bike tour. There are many walking tours to choose including a fabulous one on Central Park movie locations. You can take a picnic, head to the zoo or head out to explore it on your own on foot. 

Central Park New York

6 Get amongst the lights in Time Square

For any first-time visitor in NYC to ensure you capture what this magical city is renowned for, you must visit Time Square. You will be amazed at how this section of the city makes you feel. The bright lights, the crowds and characters you can get photos with (for a price). It is like stepping straight into a movie set. However, it gets busy, with thousands of tourists each day, and if you want to avoid the crowds, head out early in the morning. 

Time Square at night
Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

7  Take in a Broadway show

While you are in the area, you must see a broadway show; even if stage shows aren’t really your thing, you will regret not going if you have come all this way. Pick up a ticket online for your favourite show so you won’t miss out here, or if you don’t mind what show you see on or off broadway, then many shows offer reduced ticket prices for same-day shows, so you can always head off to the theatre box office as soon as it opens and pick up tickets there.

Broadway New York City

8 Head over by ferry to Ellis Island 

Everyone knows that the Statue of Liberty is an iconic landmark in New York, but what about Ellis Island? Travel by ferry to visit two of New York’s major tourist locations by incorporating a day out on Ellis island while stopping off to see the Statue of Liberty along the way. See where millions of immigrants were welcomed to America before Ellis island officially closed in 1954.

Ellis Island New York

9 Take a tour of your favourite tv locations

Take a tour of Gossip Girls, friends or Sex in the city location sites. Travel by air-conditioned bus around Manhattan and be transported straight into some of the best tv shows filmed in NYC. Sit in the lobby of the Empire Hotel or see the bar owned by Steve and Aiden; if you are a fan of either gossip girl or sex in the city, you’ll know these are two iconic locations in these tv programs.

Empire hotel new york

10 Explore the neighbourhoods

Whether you explore the neighbourhoods that interest you or head out on a guided tour, this time of year will allow you to walk from one side of Manhattan to another. So go on a food tour of Little Italy and Chinatown or head out and explore areas like Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn; there is plenty of things to do in the city that never sleeps.

New York Neighbourhoods

Accommodation

Budget

Courtyard by Marriott New York Manhattan/Central Park

The location to this hotel is fantastic for the price. The staff are friendly, the rooms are clean and comfortable, and they are precisely what you need after a hard day walking around Manhattan’s streets. This hotel has a gym, private parking (if needed), family rooms, and good city views. Everything you want for your stay in NYC during the summer for a first-timer. 

J W Marriott Essex

Splurge

 I can not fault this hotel; the hefty cost is worth every cent. However, the location is ideal, just on the corner of Central Park (165 Central Park South), with gorgeous views from your hotel window. I found the service is also World-Class, friendly and helpful when needed. The rooms are beautiful, and the architecture gives it that old-world charm.

 j w marriott essex

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I hope this post has given you the information you need. If you have any recommendations, tips or advice, I would love for you to share them in the comment section below!

 

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Top ten things to do in new york this summer

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Tried and Tested Recommendations 

Visa – If you looking for an easy way to get a visa, or if you aren’t sure if you really need one in the first place.  Ivisa makes the process easy, with a click of a button and few simple steps you will be able to sort out your visa requirements in a flash!

Insurance -We all know how important travel insurance is when you are abroad, but we also know how expensive it can be as well, right? Well, I am here to help solve both those problems. Safetywings is both affordable and reliable and better still easy to purchase. There are no hidden agendas, just choose the dates you will be away and check the coverage you need. It is that simple.

Car Hire– If you are planning to hire a car on your next trip, DiscoverCars is the perfect solution, why? Because you will find it in most countries around the world and all mandatory fees are included in the price, so there are no hidden surprises.

E-sim– If you want to know the most affordable way to be connected when travelling, it is with an e-sim. I have to admit I have come late to the party on this one, and I wish I had known earlier as it would have saved me hundreds of dollars in the past. I have been using Airalo for the past few months now and it has been so easy to set up and use while I am away. 

Airline TicketsCheapOair is a leading provider of airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars and vacation packages with top travel brands to choose from globally. The CheapOair brand provides diversified travel services, however I highly recommend checking out their airline ticket options for best prices.

Author

  • Paula Barreca Barnes

    So 17 years ago, my husband and I set off with our little family in tow, embarking on a short-term assignment in Taiwan. Although without any knowledge of expat life or the Taiwanese culture, we took the chance and decided this would be an exciting little adventure; little did we know it changed the direction of our lives forever.

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