City breaks, Family, North America

New York is a being unto itself, a living, breathing metropolis that is like no other. When you arrive and see that iconic skyline for yourself you get a buzz that won’t leave you throughout your entire stay. Its many diverse neighbourhoods mean there’s something for everyone and there’s so much to do and see you can return time and time again and never do the same thing twice! High culture, shopping, sport, strolls in the parks; simply by walking two blocks the ambience and offerings to visitors can change entirely.

When to visit New York

It’s best to visit New York in the springtime if possible – May is a great month to come. Although it can err towards rainy, the temperature is just right and you’ll miss the winter snow or stifling heat the city faces every summer. Autumn is also good, however the always busy city can feel jammed to the rafters during the run up to Thanksgiving and Christmas, when many people head to the city to shop. There’s always something special taking place in the city that never sleeps, and May is no exception. This month hosts the Tribeca Film Festival, co-organised by Robert De Niro, and also Fleet Week, when uniformed sailors head into the city looking for adventure. There’s often the opportunity for curious visitors to be given tours around the ships they leave in dock and many events take place around the city all week.

Things to see

The list is endless, but here are some of my personal NYC highlights.

Tourist sites

The Statue of Liberty is something that shouldn’t be missed. If you’re not up for climbing her tight spiral staircase to get an amazing view of the city (be warned you’ll need to pre-book this), then why not take a ferry tour around the Hudson where you’ll go past the lovely lady for that iconic photo moment. For those who love a bit of history, you can’t beat a trip to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Here you find out about the thousands of immigrants who came into New York and can even locate the official records of relatives that arrived there. At time of writing the island is still closed as they repair the damage from Hurricane Sandy, however they aim to reopen it in early 2014. Of course, New York is renowned for its iconic architecture so why not go for a walk across the wonderful Brooklyn Bridge or head up the Rockefeller Centre or Empire State Building for amazing views of the city.

Sport

Even if you’re not a big sports fan, there’s something special about going along to a big home game in NYC. See if the New York Yankees or the NBA Nicks are playing while you’re in town. If you prefer to take part, the Chelsea Piers is the place for you as this is a sporting village where you can bowl, swim, box, play football, baseball or basketball.

Take in some art

New York is great for art lovers, independent galleries can be found all over the city, however three of the most renowned places to visit have to be the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and, of course, the Guggenheim.

Take a stroll

New York is surprisingly green, with small – and large – parks scattered all over the city. Greenwich Village’s leafy streets are lovely to explore on a warm spring day, and if you get a chance I’d recommend checking out the High Line. This was an abandoned stretch of elevated railway track that has now been turned into a lovely little park/walkway. Quirky, it’s definitely worth a little of your time. Of course, an afternoon walk and picnic in Central Park is a must do. If the walking gets too much however, it’s worth picking up one of the licensed horse-drawn carriages that park up along Fifth Avenue. This is a great way to see more of the surprisingly big park, plus the knowledgeable drivers are really entertaining!

Visit your favourite movie spots – and maybe even see a star!

Filming is always taking place someone in NYC: during my last trip I saw Ben Stiller working on his new film outside some of the big stores on Fifth Avenue. But even if you don’t spot a star, you can check out some recognisable spots from your favourite TV shows and movies. Visit the Ghostbusters HQ on North Moore Street, Check out Hitch’s rice pudding shop Rice to Riches down in Little Italy, or why not go the full hog and take a movie bus tour around the city!

Shop!

Of course a trip to New York wouldn’t be complete without some shopping. The majority of the neighbourhoods offer great shopping ops, however two of the best have to be Downtown – Canal Street is both beautiful to walk down and full of shops, and Midtown –home to the big boys: BloomingdalesBergdorf’sSaks and Tiffany’s. Hope your credit card’s prepared!