New York City is my home, the place where we have raised our son from birth, and we do not often see the sites that you may want to see when you visit. I have never been to the Empire State Building! Well, I am scared to go to the top, I have been in the building!
When our son was younger, we did figure out some great excursions, most for free, and mostly involving our own walking tour! So see what parts of the city we love!
- Peter and I took Paul down to Battery Park to see the old Fort. From there we simply walked up the west side of Manhattan. We walked through the beautiful promenade on the water, through a gorgeous sculpture garden (see one from the same artist down below), and at the end of the Battery Park area found a mini gold course that we had no idea existed on Manhattan Island! From there we continued north through some beautiful grassland and ended up with free kayaking! Again, we had no idea this was available to us, and right on our hometown island! We kept walking and found various playgrounds for Paul, and ended up at Chelsea Piers. You can walk through there, or you could head west into the northern part of the west village. Either way you cannot lose!
- How about a free trip on the Staten Island Ferry! You get to sail over the river to Staten island, while enjoying views of New Jersey and the Statue of Liberty! This is easier and quicker if you are OK with seeing Ms. Liberty in the distance and do not need to climb her 40,000 steps.
- Want to shop and eat? Start downtown at Century 21 department stores. They have a terrific selection and great prices, I have been shopping there for over 30 years. Then, once again, walk North! You will see our beautiful and majestic court houses! Take a quick right and you will soon be in our Chinatown, one of my favorite places to visit and eat! We love Dim Sum, but the best paces require you be on line by 11 a.m. Unless you are Ok with the no atmosphere Dim Sum GoGo. And the dumplings there are the best this town has to offer. And if you want soup dumplings, we recommend Joe’s Ginger on Pell Street. But save room for dessert! You continue north, cross Canal Street and are now in Little Italy! Enjoy a coffee and Italian dessert! Again, we live here and our favorite way to see the city is just to keep walking. We live two miles north and walk home every time. You can walk through scenic Soho, the Village, and ight into Washington Square Park by NYU! Another fabulous downtown self-guided tour.
- Look at the buildings and the architecture. The original immigrants in what is now Chinatown, were the Jewish people from Europe and Russia. You can walk along East Broadway and see shop after shop of Chinese goods and food, and if you look up at the buildings, you might also see Jewish Stars built into the masonry of the building. This is the type of hidden gems we have all over!
- When our son was younger, we would take him on a walking tour of Chinatown, as if we were visiting an aquarium. We saw fish tanks full of different types of fish everywhere, we saw street vendors with fish still jumping around, and we would always see a tub of frogs being sold! This is the type of real life you might otherwise miss if you don’t walk all over!
PS, I love to eat in Chinatown, especially Dim Sum!
4. Starting further north, Union Square on 14th street is a happening area. And a short walk up to 23rd street will bring you to our famous Flatiron Building, with Madison park across the way if the kids need a diversion. And of course places to eat every five feet! When Jan a was here with her family, we continued walking up Broadway until we hit Herald Square and looking in on the famous Macy’s Windows. Another eight blocks and you will hit Times Square. There are so many lights on, all night, that you can not tell if is not 2 a.m., if that is when you are there. Watch your pockets, an watch out for those fake characters looking for your money, and just enjoy the people watching and sheer madness of the area!
If you need to take a subway for longer distances, we may have art to see down under as well:
And also sculptures, some of which are also in a park above battery Park City, explore and see for yourself:
Times Square and above is where my recommendations end other than to note the main sites that everyone knows about.
-Central Park (play areas, two zoos, but not worth it for a short trip. it’s a park).
-Fifth Avenue, high fashion shopping. Also 57th street and Columbus Circle.
-Plays, shows, the theater. TKTS in Times Square has same day discounted tickets if you want to take your chances, or buy in advance.
-Food is everywhere, some better then others. Ask around, ask me, ask other friends. You can go wrong, and you can also go right, and sit on line for two hours (if you choose Katz’s Deli at lunchtime!).
-Walking. Check out the different neighborhoods of Manhattan on the upper east side, and on the upper west!
-Trains to other boroughs. Queens for Greek and South American neighborhoods, Brooklyn for Italian, and others, all the boroughs have hot spots as well if you have the time! And even though your city has a zoo, the Bronx Zoo is one of the biggest and best, can you spot all the animals:
Teresa Young says
You are a great ambassador for NYC! I ate soup dumplings in Chinatown at the restaurant you recommended, and also saw the show Fuerza Bruta that you blogged about.
Jean D. says
I’ll be there all next week, so I appreciate your recommendations. I’m so excited I can barely sleep!
Christina O says
Thank you. My hope is to visit one day and without a tour guide, I really have no idea where to even begin.
I love being a tourist in our hometown, any favorite book shops? Any favorite spots for a simple cup of tea?
Jeanna Massman says
We love shopping at Old Navy. I’m so excited!
The few times my husband and I have been to New York, we walked almost everywhere. Now, when we see a New York street scene in a movie or TV, once of us always says “We walked there” (if we’re sure) or “We probably walked there.”
Brendan Stahl says
I want to visit NYC soo bad. California is cool but NYC is next level.
Monica McConnell says
I have never been but always wanted to go
SHANNON P says
I’ve been to New York, the suburbs but never to the city. I’d love to visit there one day And see everything and eat yummy food.
Christy Sargent says
Thank you for sharing 😊
Jennifer C of TN says
Love New York
jennifer galindo says
We have never been to NYC. What was your favorite part?