Whenever I visited New York City, I always made long lists of all the 5000+ places I wanted to visit! The problem was, I usually only had a few days in the city and literally would only spend a short time at each place- mostly snapping pictures full time and barely getting any time to actually take it all in.
This time, I promised myself it would be different. So this past weekend, it was Thanksgiving for my fellow Canadians and we had an extra day off from work. I flew out to NYC and this time with a more focused list of places I wanted to visit.
I basically made two lists, one for all the amazing photography spots -thanks to Instagram and one for the best coffee shops (again, thank you Instagram!). I took this trip with my boyfriend who is also a photographer, so his list was similar to mine- minus the coffee shops!
At the end of it, despite the one cold and gloomy day we faced- we actually had been to more spots than on my list with absolutely no regrets because I think in the three and a half days that we were there, we got to do, eat and experience more than we normally would have.
I think I actually fell in love with this city-AGAIN!
I have a terrible habit of comparing every city I visit to Toronto (where I live), but this time, I willed myself to see everything as is, without any comparisons. Manhattan (since I spent most of my time there) has this amazing fusion of architecture- from old to new, maintaining all its authenticity. I think all big cities will have some familiarities and some huge differences but when you actually come to think of it, it's like comparing apples and oranges because each city has its own feel.
New York City, with its vastly spread out boroughs and its insanely large population, has a vibe of its own. Restaurants are open till crazy hours of the night-or don't close at all! People are out and about everywhere, and the hustle and bustle of the city doesn't end at the core of downtown, it emanates throughout. This is what I loved the most-which hopefully you can sense from my pictures!
To summarize- we went to 5 coffee shops, 6 Brunch/Lunch/Dinner spots, 6 Dessert Places (I know-Crazy [delicious]!) and LOTS of areas where we spent a good amount of time taking pictures and taking it all in.
For all things coffee shops and restaurants/dessert places-stay tuned for my next post! But for now, here's my list of MUST SEE places in New York City if you're just there for a short amount of time:
1. Times Square (I know you knew that one!)
2. Madison Square Park & Flat Iron District
3. Brooklyn Bridge Park & Brooklyn Bridge itself (make sure to stay for the sunset and witness the sheer awesomeness of the city lights)
4. DUMBO, Brooklyn (short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass)
5. Financial District & One World Trade Centre
6. Walk the New York City High Line
7. Grand Central Station
8. Central Park
This list by no means ends here- there are SO MANY other things to do that I haven't listed here, like: Statue of Liberty, Empire State building, Rockefeller Centre, Ellis Island, Coney Island, The Metropolitan Museum of Art & many, many more.
Best way to get around the city:
We opted to take the subway trains mostly because the NYC subway system is pretty good and takes you almost everywhere on the grid. And because of the insane traffic -it was almost always faster to take the train than an uber or a taxi. If we weren’t on the subway-we were walking around which in my opinion is the best way! Occasionally we took an Uber to get to areas that weren’t on the grid.
I would highly recommend that if you're visiting NYC for the first time, take the hop-on-hop-off bus tour and sit on it for the full duration of the tour. At the end of it, you'll have a good idea of the places you want to return to (the passes are usually for 2-3 days, so it works as a great means to get around without having to pay anything extra for trains or cabs).
Alternatively, if you have friends or family who live there-ask them to take you around because there's no better way than to have your own personal tour guide ;)
How do you spend your time in NYC and what places are on your list? And if you're from NYC or visit often enough- what would you recommend I add to my list for next time?