Going to New York City? 5 Things Every First Timer Should Do

While it might seem kind of overwhelming to go spend a short amount of time in New York City because there’s just so much to do- there are a huge amount of places that your average New Yorker lives and plays every single day. Avoid the major tourist traps if you’d like to avoid a crowd; like the Statue of Liberty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Museum of Modern Art. Don’t get confused- those are great places to go and enjoy the history of New York, but save those kinds of excursions for your second or third time to the Big Apple. In the meantime look at these 5 far more enjoyable, more authentic places to spend your vacation time.

Central Park

This 843 acre park is full of amazing views and a huge variety of art and cultural, and it’s all affordable and extremely enjoyable. You can rent a bike for two hours and bike across the whole park for about $20, and ride 6.1, 5.2, or 1.7miles and ride slowly across the hilly terrain, taking it all in and enjoying just about everything there is to see- model sailboats in the Conservatory Water, Alice and Wonderland in the sculpture (don’t fall in) or the Belvedere Castle atop the Vista Rock and Bow Bridge which is easily the most photographed place in New York City. This cast iron bridge is a single arc stretching 60 feet over the lake. You’ll likely hear guitars in the background- that’s at Imagine Mosaic in the Strawberry Fields- a homage to John Lennon. You can even get a bunch of quirky snacks, like lemon-ricotta pancakes.

Take a walk through the West Village

Unchanged since the 19th century, this quaint village is perfect for a stroll, but you’ll need a map or your smartphone, because it’s a little tricky to navigate the disorderly streets. Once you get there, you can visit the Jefferson Market Courthouse, which is a former women’s detention center, or one of the shops that line Bleecker Street and Commerce Street- one of them being extremely famous, the magnolia Bakery, serving up cupcakes to lines of people. Take the time to head just two blocks west to the Spotted Pig and grab yourself some cask-conditioned ale and kick back for a bit.

Film Forum

New York City is the birthplace of film- and the people of New York still follow their rich traditions at the Film Forum, the Mecca for anyone who loves cinematography. You can pick up smart programming that includes indie features with a provocative spin, or watch a documentary, even a foreign art film- the choice is yours, but you absolutely have to pick up some of the concession stand’s lemon-poppy cake.

Find the “Best” Pizza at Grimaldi’s

One thing every single New Yorker knows is where to get the best pizza. There are a huge variety of choices- Di Fara’s, John’s, Lombardi’s, we really can’t decide for you, but we’ve found that the absolute most delicious pizza comes from Grimaldi’s and you’ll get the best view of Manhattan and Brooklyn an amazing atmosphere to boot- their coal-fired pizza will stick in your memory and there’s no better place to sit and grab a bite, with a jukebox filled with Frank Sinatra- who had Grimaldi flown to him back in the day.

Jam Out at Bowery Ballroom

If you like music (and who doesn’t?) stop at the Bowery Ballroom. You’ll find all kinds of up and coming bands in this two-level venue, and it’s got the city’s best sound system and downstairs bar- and a great vibe. This ballroom is the crown jewel of these types of music venues, but there are more scattered all over the Big Apple, and you’re sure to find something you love.

There are a ton of things you can do- but you’ll never find anywhere as enjoyable as the ones mentioned above. If your time is limited in NYC, you’ve got to explore the venues above- dedicated to making your experience one of a kind. And don’t forget to jaywalk!

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Where to Stay: The Top 15 Hotels in New York City

With hundreds of hotels, including several that are world famous, such as the Waldorf-Astoria and The Plaza Hotel, there is no shortage of hotels to choose from when visiting NYC. However, you don’t want to simply pick a hotel based on price. In NYC paying top dollar doesn’t guarantee you a fantastic stay, nor does choosing a more affordable hotel destine you to a horrible time. If you are planning a trip, here are the top 15 hotels to stay at in New York City.

1.The Carlyle
Consistently named one of, if not, the best hotel in NYC by various groups and publications, The Carlyle has it all. Located on the Upper East Side, it offers views of Central Park, as well as easy accesstothe best shopping, entertainment, and dining options. It boosts several dining establishments within the hotel itself,as well as white gloved service staff, top of the line toiletries, stocked minibars, and much more. Considered “the epitome of 1930s art deco”, it is also provides beautiful accommodations.

2.The Mark
Also conveniently located in Manhattan, The Mark has also won its share of awards. Although it is a boutique hotel with a décor reminiscent to old world Paris, it offers all the modern amenities, delicious French cuisine, luxurious Italian bedding, and excellent customer service.

3.Four Seasons
At 52 stories high, the Four Seasons offers indescribable views of the city, as well as deluxe amenities including marble bathrooms and goose down comforters. It is home to one of NYC’s highest rated restaurants, an amazing bar, and 2 lounges. With sophisticated décor and outstanding customer service, the lobby also features a majestic onyx design that I.M. Pei that you must see to appreciate.

4.The Peninsula
Referring to itself as a “cocoon of peace and quiet”, The Peninsula is a serene and elegant hotel that is filled with extra touches. This includes cozy robes, stocked minibars, and marble baths. It is home to Salon de Ning, an acclaimed health club and spa that is located on the rooftop, as well as severalrestaurants known for delicious dishes.

5.The Pierre
Offering stunning views of Central Park, The Pierre has recently gone through a renovation that includes the addition of Bose sound systems, marble bathrooms, beautifully decorated rooms, and toiletries by Molton Brown. Pierre’s Jive Spa also world class Indian body wraps and treatments, while the new restaurant, Sirio, has an amazing menu.

6.Library Hotel
A boutique hotel, Library Hotel is known for its unique theme and exquisite exhibits and décor. The hotel provides a complimentary breakfast, free Internet, and cheese and wine each evening. With an inviting atmosphere, the hotel brings you all the comforts of home including plush robes, iHome alarm clocks, and luxurious bedding.

7.Trump International Hotel and Tower
With white gloved bellhops and TrumpAttachéthat provides 24 hour personal service, Trump International has a reputation for unsurpassed service. It includes large rooms that feature floor to ceiling windows, kitchens, and marble bathrooms and is home to a 6,000 square foot spa and dining at Nougatine or Jean Georges, both world class restaurants.

8.Mandarin Oriental
Known for providing “luxury in the sky”, the lobby of this impeccable hotel is on the 35thfloor. It boasts a 14,500 square foot spa that offers natural spa treatments, delectable Asian-American fusion fare, and extravagant accommodations, such as Italian linens andgoose downbedding.

9.The Ritz Carlton-Central Park
Although expensive, unrivaled customer service, a prime midtown Manhattan location, and elegant accommodations have made the Ritz Carlton a favorite of visitors for decades. Deep soaking tubs and Aspery toiletries invite visitors to relax after a long day of sightseeing, while the Auden Bistro and Bar features mouthwatering dining options.

10.The Ritz Carlton-Battery Park
Offering the same exceptional customer service and amenities as the Central Park location, The Ritz Carlton in Battery Park is in a quieter location and provides guests with amazing views of the Statue of Liberty.

11.The Lowell
Positioned on the Upper East Side, The Lowell is known for its calming color scene and elegant, yet serene ambiance. The Lowell offers afternoon tea time, as well deluxe accommodations with a number of extras, including relaxing, soaking tubs, plush down comforters, and much more.

12.St. Regis
Well known for a sophisticated atmosphere and going the extra mile, the St. Regis features custom made furniture, silk wall coverings, Remede bath products, and floor to ceiling windows. Included within is the King Cole Bar & Grill, which has a reputation for outstanding and refreshing cocktails.

13.Casablanca
Although it is located in Times Square,you would never know it by the tranquil environment inside. Complimentary Wi-Fi, luxurious bedding and robes, free refreshments at Rick’s Café, and rooftop cocktails are just a few of the reasons this boutique hotel with only 48 rooms is a favorite for many visitors.

14.Crosby Street Hotel
Also a boutique hotel, the Crosby Street Hotel is in the trendy SoHo neighborhood and its appearance reflects that. Modern décor, warehouse style windows with spectacular views, elegant furnishings, and unsurpassed customer service are just a few of the reasons to stay here while visiting NYC.

15.The Trump SoHo New York
In a neighborhood that is filled with art galleries and trendy boutiques, The Trump SoHo provides opulent accommodations with décor by Fendi Casa, deep soaking bathtubs, and floor to ceiling windows. It boasts the Koi SoHo, a Japanese restaurant onsite, as well as exceptional customer service.

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