The city that never sleeps. The Big Apple. A city so nice, they named it twice. Whatever you like to call it, as Frank Sinatra said, I want to be a part of it – New York, New York!
With so much to do, see and explore in New York City (and a lot of it dependent on the time of year you’re visiting), we thought you might appreciate our top picks for must-do summer activities. You’ll also find a list of top winter activities, including museum and gallery hopping, and where to wine and dine in the colder months in “New York, New York, pt.2 – Visiting in Winter”.
Whether your idea of the perfect NYC holiday sounds like soaking up sun by the sailboat pond in Central Park, feasting your way through America’s largest open-air food market, taking in the city from one of many rooftop bars, NYC has something on offer for every kind of traveller.
Play in the Parks (Free)
With more than 4 million people passing through Manhattan daily, NYC is known for its fast-paced lifestyle, dense population and plethora of infamous skyscrapers – so you’d be surprised to find just how much open space there is too.
Of course, there’s nowhere more iconic to kick back and relax like a local than Central Park. Stretching a little more than 50 blocks, you’ll find almost any activity – from picnicking by the sailboat pond to bike riding, walking and taking horse and carriage tours of iconic monuments and film locations.
Looking for something different? If you’re a lover of film, you can head to Bryant Park, grab some free popcorn and catch a flick at the annual HBO Summer Film Festival. You might also like to take the short (and free!) ferry across to Governor’s Island to enjoy views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbour.
Relax on a Rooftop
If you’re a lover of a great view, you enjoy a good atmosphere and don’t mind a refreshing beverage to cool off after a day of tourist activities, you might like to check out the city’s many rooftop bars. Our top picks include the Roof Garden Bar at The Met, 230 fifth (with an unrivaled view of the Empire State Building, this one’s even better at night when the building is lit up), The Pod 39 Hotel, The Ides at The Wythe Hotel (in Brooklyn, boasting views of lower Manhattan), and Le Bain at The Standard High Line (do yourself a favour and head to this spot for golden hour and watch the sunset over the Hudson River!)
Summer Streets (Free)
Every Saturday in August an 11km stretch of road spanning from Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park, along Park Avenue, is closed to road traffic to make way for Summer Streets. With free bike rentals, a zip line, and more – this makes for a very unique, summer-only way to explore Manhattan.
While most tourist attractions are open year round, there are a few that are best to tick off in summer. There’s the High Line – a 1930’s industrial train track, now a public space (and an ode to unique architecture, art and plant design) found stretching 18 blocks on the West Side, between 10th and 11th Avenues.
You’ll find all kinds of weird and wonderful street art, sculptures (keep your eye out for Tony Matelli’s Sleep Walker – we’re still not convinced this one isn’t a real human being), and more.
Summer’s also a great time to make the most of the photo opportunities atop the Empire State Building or the Top of The Rock before the icy winter wind sets in. And if you’re not sure which one to visit, we suggest heading up the Rockefeller Centre. While the building itself is shorter, you’ll get equally as breathtaking city views – which happen to include one of the best views of the Empire State Building on offer, plus you’ll see the full expanse of Central Park to the North.
Coney Island (Free)
What would a visit to NYC in the summer be without a trip to Coney Island? You’ll need at least a half-day for this activity, with the journey alone taking around 50 minutes from midtown Manhattan. Once there, ride the rollercoaster at Luna Park, grab a bite on the boardwalk, soak up the sun (on the more than 4kms of beach), or join a game of volleyball on the sand!
Fireworks and feasts
Nothing screams summer like the Fourth of July! And any New Yorker will tell you the whole city comes to life for this annual party. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the festivities, and don’t mind a bit of a crowd, make your way to the East River (below 14th street for the best views) in the evening to catch the firework display!
With so much to do and see on your trip to NYC, you’re bound to work up quite the appetite. And there’s no better place to satisfy your hunger than Brooklyn Flea Market’s Smorgasburg. Every Saturday in Williamsburg and Sunday in Prospect Park, you’ll find the largest weekly open-air food market in America. With 100 local vendors, you’ll be stuck for choice – just try feasting your eyes on their Instagram without your mouth watering! Impossible.
If you’re thinking about planning to escape Winter and have a summer holiday instead, maybe even in New York City, we’d be delighted to chat! You can always give us a call on (02) 6041 5577, call into the office at 601 Dean Street, Albury or book an appointment below with one of our expert travel agents.
My travel agent was great – she made what seemed to be a very complex task look easy. All my questions were answered in detail!Phil Kearney
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The team helped me plan and book the best holiday I’ve ever had. I’ve got the travel bug and looking forward to traveling for the rest of my life!Janne Hindle
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