Things to Do in New York City

Things to Do in New York City

Have you ever been to New York City?  It is one of those places you could literally live like a tourist for a year straight and still not see everything.  The list of possibilities is soooooo long, I actually had a hard time narrowing down my favorite, so let’s just call this an installment list–a place to start if you’ve never visited the Big Apple.

magnolia bakery cupcake{Photo Credit MamaJJ}

I think every morning should start at the Magnolia Bakery.  If you have never had a cupcake and tea for breakfast, believe me, you have not lived.  The bakery is world famous for a reason–it opened in the Village in NYC in 1996, and in just 17 short years has gone global.  The actual bakery is charming, to say the least, and boasts quite literally some of the best cupcakes and cakes I have ever tasted.  If you can’t get there in person, you can always get their cookbook {I guess they figured they even when they went global, they couldn’t feed everyone personally}.

No trip to NYC would be complete without ice skating at Rockefeller Center.  I mean, you’ve seen Serendipity, right?  All great romances start with ice skating at Rockefeller Center.  They only allow 150 skaters at a time, so unlike everything else in New York, you won’t be elbow to elbow. You can lace up your skates, throw on a scarf and twirl through the iconic rink, hopefully hand in hand with your favorite person.

Things to Do in New York City

Make sure to head to Times Square.  It’s classic New York.  It’s basically just an intersection, but because it houses tons of commerce, there’s a ton to do:  shop, eat, catch a show.  It’s also become an iconic place for people like the Naked Cowboy to strut his stuff.  You can see him perform in nothing but a pair of boots, cowboy hat, and undies {which he cleverly hides behind his guitar, giving the illusion that he’s naked}.  This street performer has become so famous, you can even book him to marry you right in Times Square.  Forget about the drive-thru Elvis Chapel in Vegas, the Naked Cowboy has got you covered–or not covered?

The 911 Memorial is also totally worth a visit.  It occupies the 17 acres left after the collapse of the World Trade Center and honors all the lives that were lost.  There is a fountain with all of the names of people who lost their lives to terrorist attacks in 1993 and 2001.

The Empire State Building is another must-see.  It is literally the stuff movies are made of.  {Remember in Sleepless in Seattle when Meg Ryan tries to meet Tom Hanks at the top of the Empire State Building?}  You can see the whole city from the top, and it truly is uh-mazing.

Statue of Liberty

It would be pretty much un-American not to see the Statue of Liberty–whether you actually go to her or see her from afar.  I love that she is the first thing that immigrants saw when they landed in the port.  She is totally a symbol of having arrived in America.  If you want to, you can click HERE, and search the passenger list of everyone who arrived at Ellis Island between 1892-1924.  Who knows, maybe you’re own family saw Lady Liberty in their quest for a new start?

If you are the outdoorsy type, renting bikes or taking a stroll through Central Park {especially in the fall!} is awesome.  You can also rent a canoe and paddle along The Lake in Central park.  With the city as your backdrop, and impeccably maintained landscaping, you won’t be sorry.  Whatever you do, make sure to stroll through The Mall.  It is that tunnel of trees and benches that you always see in the movies or in pictures.

Metropolitan Museum of ArtThe Metropolitan Museum of Art houses a huge collection of Ancient art, as well as rotating exhibits.  It began in 1866 when a group of Americans promised the French that they would bring art to the American people.  It has grown in size since then, but the general mission is the same:  bring art and education to people.  Make sure to check before you go, because the museum hosts a ton of different events and its exhibits change from time to time. This is a must see if you ever read From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler to your kids when they were younger.

What Mavis-approved trip would be complete without a visit to a garden of some sort?  None.  The answer is none.  the New York Botanical Garden {right next to the Bronx Zoo if you have the kiddos with you} houses more than a million plants.  Wowee!  It’s exists for both exploring and research.  With over 250 acres, there is no shortage of things to see.  Plus, as an added bonus, there is a Home Gardening Center where you can pick up tips and tricks from the world’s experts.  Not to bad a deal if you ask me.

wood fired pizza

If the cupcake and tea is starting to wear off, it’s time to head to Greenwich Village and grab a slice of Pizza from Joe’s Pizza.  They pride themselves on authentic, no nonsense pizza–and they are famous for it.  You can buy it by the slice or grab a whole pie.  Either way, it is pizza done to perfection.

new york subway

If you love people watching, New York will be your Mecca.  For the true people watching die-hards, you have to take a ride on the Subway.  It will change the way you look at humanity forever.  Plus, it’s cheap and effective–and in a big city, that goes a long way.  New York’s transit system is a well-oiled machine, and if during your visit, you learn to effectively read the subway maps and schedule, consider yourself a candidate for MENSA.

How about you, any must sees for you in New York?





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  1. says

    I’ve only been to NY once, ‘cos it’s a very long way from Australia, but one of the best things I did when I was there was go to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. I took a couple of guided tours of some of the tenement apartments to see how people, mostly new migrants, lived in the late 19th and early 20th century.
    And then some time later, to my great delight, I read 97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement by Jane Ziegelman and learnt more about this amazing piece of New York’s History.

  2. Sheila M. says

    I’ve never been to New York, but my mother did indeed eagerly await her first glimpse of Lady Liberty when she immigrated to the United States in 1952.

  3. Peggy Ann says

    I love your pictures. They make me a little homesick – even riding the subway. I left New York for suburban Connecticut nine years ago. Not quite “Green Acres” but I never seem to get back down there. The city is great at Christmas time. The lights are beautiful and the tree at Rockefeller Center cannot be missed. This year’s 76 foot tree comes from a town neighboring mine.
    I discovered your blog a few months ago and am truly inspired by your gardens and growing skills. I grew up with a bountiful garden each summer (even in the heart of Queens, New York). But I haven’t had much luck here in CT. This weekend I am going to try to winterize a few of the raised beds “lasagna style”. Thank you for all of the gardening tips and for showing us that living frugally can bring you a rich life.

  4. Heidi P says

    Love New York to bits! I lived there for a year before I was married. When our daughter turned 13 she and her dad took a special trip to New York to celebrate and they went to the stock exchange. She was able to go down on the floor and be part of the craziness. She is now a Senior in college majoring in finance with a minor in business marketing. I’m not certain how much that little trip influenced her but I’m certain it didn’t hurt.

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