New York City – The Big Apple

The Big Apple that is New York City is high on many travel lovers must visit or return-to lists. And why wouldn’t it be? From food to fashion, culture to comedy – highlighted in the books we read, the films we love and the T.V. we watch – it can feel like we know it already!

Visiting for the first time? Well, to make it that little bit easier and to inspire you, The Life of Stuff has teamed up e-visa.ie to write and share with you this short guide ‘Top Five Things to See and Do in New York City on Your First Visit‘.

Top Five Things to See and Do in New York City on Your First Visit - Cityscape

Before you Visit New York City – Get a Visa!

You must have permission to enter the United States of America before you travel. The only way to visit the United States is with an ESTA, a US visa or an American or Canadian passport. If you don’t have a US visa or an American or Canadian passport – the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to get permission to enter the United States is via an ESTA, or ESTA Visa.

ESTA stands for ‘Electronic System for Travel Authorization‘ and if New York City is your destination then you will need one. So our advice is to apply online as soon as you know you’re travelling. Your ESTA visa will last two years from the time it has been granted, offering unlimited number of trips to the US while its valid.

Top Five Things to See and Do in New York City

Top Five Things to See and Do in New York City on Your First Visit - TImes Square

Times Square

You couldn’t visit New York City for the first time and not visit Times Square! Found in Midtown Manhattan, at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue, Times Square stretches from West 42nd to West 47th Streets and is hard to miss. Think of all those times you’ve seen it on the big screen from ‘Crocodile Dundee’ to ‘Spiderman’ and multiply that big screen to hundreds of screens and you’ve an idea how illuminated the world’s most visited tourist attraction is.

Top Five Things to See and Do in New York City on Your First Visit - Broadway

What to do when you’re there?

Well apart from taking lots of photo’s – why not catch a show! After all Times Square does lay the way to the Broadway Theatre District. A top tip to get cheaper tickets to the broadway show of your choice is to wait in line, on the day of the show, at one of the three TDF TKTS Discount Booths under the red steps in Duffy Square (between 46th and 47th Streets, Broadway and Seventh Avenue).

Top Five Things to See and Do in New York City on Your First Visit - Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock

The Top of the Rock Observatory is located at the top of the Rockefeller Center, 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The Rockefeller Center itself is a hub for New York City art and history – take the lift up to the observation decks and you’ve got the city of New York as your art! The indoor and outdoor observation decks include views of Central Park, Manhattan’s Midtown and Downtown architecture.

Top Five Things to See and Do in New York City on Your First Visit - Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center

What to do when you’re there?

You can purchase tickets online or at the Box Office. Tickets are timed tickets and so you can choose what time you want to visit. If you’re unsure then select an unscheduled ticket – but you will need to exchange them for a scheduled ticket once you get there. There are three levels;

    1. The first deck is indoors and includes the Radiance Wall and gift shop – the best for all weather conditions.
    2. The second level which is outdoors and features the interactive ‘Breezeway’ – great for kids as visitors are assigned their own colour that moves with them as they walk around.
    3. The third level, found on the 70th floor is both outdoors and free from a glass enclosure – the highest and best level for taking photographs of the city around you.

Top Five Things to See and Do in New York City on Your First Visit - Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

A visit to New York City should include an up close and personal visit to Lady Liberty. The Statue of Liberty can be found on Liberty Island and is open to the public every day except the fourth Thursday in November (Thanksgiving) and on December 25th. Ferries to the both Liberty and Ellis Island, where you’ll find the National Museum of Immigration can be affected by weather conditions. So a top tip is to check the Statue of Liberty NM twitter feed for updates if you’re unsure.

Top Five Things to See and Do in New York City on Your First Visit - Statue of Liberty - Lady Liberty

Five fun facts about the Statue of Liberty:

    1. The Statue of Liberty is 225 tons or 204117 kilograms!
    2. From the base of the pedestal foundation to the tip of the torch, the Statue of Liberty is 305 feet, 6 inches. That’s a little over 93 metres!
    3. The Statue has a 35-foot waistline.
    4. If Lady Liberty was to get new shoes they’d be size 879.
    5. There are seven rays on Lady Liberty’s crown. Each ray represents a continent and measures up to 9 feet in length.

Top Five Things to See and Do in New York City on Your First Visit - Central Park

Central Park

Central Park between the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side is an oasis in the city that cannot be missed on your first visit to New York. And with visitor centres that include; The Dairy, Belvedere Castle, Dana Discovery Center, Chess & Checkers House and the Columbus Circle Kiosk – there’s a very good reason the park welcomes over 42 million people a year! Oh and it’s free to visit!

Top Five Things to See and Do in New York City on Your First Visit - Central Park Summer

What to do when you’re there?

From the famous Strawberry Fields to Central Park Zoo, there is plenty to while away the day outside of the visitor centres mentioned. When the weather is fine consider renting a bike or taking a yoga class. Find shelter from the rain and see the sites of the park from the comfort of a horse and carriage ride. And when the weather gets cold, wrap up warm and go iceskating!

Top Five Things to See and Do in New York City on Your First Visit - Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge, that creates one of the most recognised bridges and cityscapes in the world is a suspension bridge that spans the East River connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Opened in 1883, the bridge carries approximately 150,000 vehicles and pedestrians across the river every day.

Top Five Things to See and Do in New York City on Your First Visit - Brooklyn Bridge Walkway

What to do when you’re there?

Stroll across the elevated pedestrian walkway and take in the sights of New York City’s skyline. Or drive across to one of many reasons to visit Brooklyn. These include the Brooklyn Museum, Coney Island, Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Prospect Park. Looking for a romantic place to dine with great food, service and views of Brooklyn Bridge? Then book yourself a table at the Michelin star restaurant ‘The River Café. Speaking from experience, you will not be disappointed. And just like my feeling for New York City – I can’t wait to return!

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Edwina O'Connor
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