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New York City Uncovered: Top Spots and Hidden Gems

New York City, the city that never sleeps, is a vibrant and dynamic metropolis that offers an endless array of activities. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, NYC has something for everyone. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, this guide will help you navigate the best places to stay, things to do, and, of course, where to eat in the Big Apple!

Getting There and Getting Around

As someone living in the DC area, I often take advantage of the several bus companies that leave from Union Station and go to New York City. Companies like Megabus, BoltBus, and Greyhound offer fares as low as $10-$30 one way if you book in advance. It's a budget-friendly and convenient option that drops you off right in the heart of Manhattan.

New York City is served by three major airports. John F. Kennedy International Airport is the largest and busiest. Other two are LaGuardia, and Newark Liberty International. Once you land, the city's extensive public transportation system makes it easy to get around.

Travel Tip: Consider purchasing a MetroCard for unlimited rides on subways and buses. Cost: $34 (7-day) or $132 (30-day). This is the most cost-effective way to navigate the city during your stay.

Where to Stay

SpringHill Suites by Marriott New York Manhattan

This hotel on 338 W 36th St. offers complimentary breakfast, and is just a short walk from Times Square. It's an excellent choice for budget-conscious travelers who don't want to compromise on location or amenities.

The Ace Hotel

If you prefer a more trendy and artistic vibe, The Ace Hotel in Midtown Manhattan is a great option. This boutique hotel features hip decor, a lively lobby, and an excellent on-site coffee shop. It’s also conveniently located near many popular attractions.

Hidden Gem: The Ludlow Hotel

For a more intimate and stylish stay, check out The Ludlow Hotel on the Lower East Side. This boutique hotel offers chic rooms with stunning views of the city skyline. The hotel’s French-inspired bistro, Dirty French, is also a must-visit.


Things to Do

Visit Iconic Landmarks

New York City is home to some of the world’s most famous landmarks. Start your trip with a visit to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. 

Travel Tip: For a free way to see the Statue of Liberty, hop on the Staten Island Ferry. The ferry runs 24/7 and offers fantastic views of the statue and the Manhattan skyline. Make sure to stand on the right side of the ferry on the way to Staten Island to have the best view of the Statue of Liberty! 

Explore Central Park

Central Park is an oasis in the middle of the city. Spend a day wandering through its winding paths, boating on the lake, or simply relaxing on the Great Lawn. Don’t forget to visit Strawberry Fields, a serene area dedicated to John Lennon. This peaceful spot is located near the Dakota where Lennon lived and tragically passed away. It features the "Imagine" mosaic and serves as a beautiful tribute to his life and legacy.

Looking for a chic and comfy set to wear in Central Park? Button Up Crop and the Flow Short are my go to choices! 

Experience Times Square

No trip to New York City is complete without a visit to Times Square. Known as "The Crossroads of the World," Times Square is filled with bright lights, Broadway theaters, and bustling crowds. Be sure to check out the many street performers and pop into one of the nearby theaters for a Broadway show.

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

Take a metro to Brooklyn and explore the Brooklyn Bridge Park Piers. This area offers stunning views of the New York City skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge itself. After enjoying the scenery, grab a coffee at % Arabica and then walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan. This walk provides some of the best photo opportunities in the city.

wayre destination guide to new york city, brooklyn bridge


Hidden Gem: The High Line

The High Line is an elevated park built on a historic freight rail line. It runs from the Meatpacking District to Hudson Yards and offers stunning views of the Hudson River and the city skyline. It’s a great place for a leisurely walk and to discover unique art installations.

TV Show Locations to Visit

Central Park Fountain

Fans of the TV show Friends will recognize the iconic fountain located at Cherry Hill in Central Park. It's a great spot to snap a photo and reminisce about the show’s opening credits.

wayre destination guide to new york city, friends fountain


The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library’s main branch at 476 Fifth Avenue is a must-see for fans of Sex and the City. This stunning Beaux-Arts building was the setting for Carrie Bradshaw’s ill-fated wedding to Mr. Big.

McGee's Pub

McGee’s Pub, located at 240 West 55th Street, is the real-life inspiration for MacLaren’s Pub from How I Met Your Mother. Visit for a drink and check out the memorabilia from the show.

Tom's Restaurant

Located at 2880 Broadway, Tom's Restaurant is famous as the exterior of the diner from Seinfeld. It's a great place to grab a bite and feel like you're part of the show.

Food and Drink

Katz's Delicatessen

For a taste of New York history, head to Katz's Delicatessen on the Lower East Side. This iconic deli is famous for its pastrami sandwiches and was featured in the movie When Harry Met Sally. It's a must-visit for anyone looking to experience classic New York deli fare.

Peter Luger Steak House

Located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Peter Luger Steak House well-known for its legendary steaks. It’s been serving up delicious cuts of beef since 1887 and is a must-visit for meat lovers. The restaurant’s porterhouse steak is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

Hidden Gem: Levain Bakery

For the best cookies in New York, make your way to Levain Bakery. Their oversized cookies are crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside – a true treat for any sweet tooth. The chocolate chip walnut cookie is particularly popular.

Reichenbach Hall

Being born in the Czech Republic, I can never say no to a good schnitzel, and Reichenbach Hall offers some of the best schnitzels in the city. This lively beer hall located in Midtown Manhattan is a great place for enjoying hearty German food and a wide selection of beers.

             wayre destination guide to nyc, schnitzels at reichenbach hall


Rosa's Pizza

No trip to New York is complete without trying a classic New York-style pizza. Head to Rosa's Pizza, a small corner place at 425 7th Avenue, for a quick slice. Their thin crust, gooey cheese, and tangy tomato sauce make for a quintessential New York pizza experience.

Fun Facts About New York City

  • City of Skyscrapers: NYC is home to over 6,000 high-rise buildings. Including some of the tallest in the world like the One World Trade Center and the Empire State Building.

  • Diverse Population: New York City is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world, with residents from over 200 countries.

  • The Subway System: The New York City Subway is one of the largest and oldest public transportation systems in the world. It has 472 stations and over 800 miles of track.


So there you have it! These are my favorite things to do in New York City. Do you have a must-visit place in the city? Share your favorites and let’s keep the adventure going. Whether it’s your first time or your hundredth, NYC always has something new and exciting to offer.

Happy travels!


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