How to get a taste of New York City?

You'll always remember for your first time.
Not your standard affair. It is like stepping into a movie. Makes you feel as if you belong. Though, you could spend weeks here and still barely scratch the surface, there’s so much to visit, to look at, to take in.  It has a wealth of diversity and opportunity, full with energy. Crossing continents is as easy as walking over a few avenues. Even locals can’t keep on top of everything that the city has to offer. It is constantly in the process of reinventing itself. There is always something to do, so approach it with an open mind and a visit here will ensure a distinctly unique experience each and every time. But to truly appreciate what makes the city so special you need to seek out. It will gladly welcome you in if you’re daring enough to explore.

We are also NYC newbies, so I did my research and got recommendations. To give you a big step inspiration ahead I’m sharing our 2weeks experience with selected iconic sights and incredible places. Is this list complete? No, of course not. We did what we could…

walk, walk and walk

NYC is a city of walkers, so don’t hesitate... (but comfortable shoes are kinda must have)


Central Park in the middle of Manhattan, the city’s collective backyard, is an oasis from the urban insanity.

Stroll through for a taste. Allow yourself time to relax and breath...

Bethesda Fountain with the Angel of the Waters sculpture



I’d visit them all. 

Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) one of the world’s leading art institutions. So huge that it’s hard to feel you’ve done. It’s best to target what you want to see and head there first before exhaustion sets in. Don’t miss: rooftop garden - offers gorgeous views of the city.

American Museum of Natural History whether your age, you’ll experience childlike wonder. 

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) the star of modern-art world. I could spend easily an entire day here (or even more). Don't miss: free Friday nights  (4-8pm), but expect long lines. 

New York Public Library one of the best free attractions in the city. 

Experience the Reading Room and museum-like exhibits.


it’s classic NYC, most outsider thrill before they ever set foot in the city

Fifth Avenue

Times Square “crossroads of the world”. 

Broadway: “The Great White Way”.   

The Theater District is home to 40 large professional theaters. They host a constantly changing plays and musicals often with well-known movie stars as well as aspiring up-and-comers. Shows often run for years, only closing when they stop drawing new audiences. The longest-running one is The Phantom of the Opera (from 1988 still going strong). 
Many people believe the theatrical productions on Broadway are the best in the world. Catch a matinee or an evening performance at one of the historic theaters. It is definitely a signature NYC experience.

iconic architecture

Grand Central Terminal even if you’re not boarding a train it’s a special trip for the architecture alone, not to mention several eating, drinking opportunities, shops, fairs and occasional music performances.

Chrysler Building

Flatiron building has a uniquely narrow triangular shape to match its site. the world’s tallest building until 1909.

Union Square where downtowners come together… Don’t miss: Greenmarket locally grown products. 

Washington Square has long been a hub for politics and culture.

Walk the High Line urban park. 

Constructed on an elevated historic freight rail road above Manhattan’s street.

Enjoy the views…

…innovative sustainable design, public art projects...

Chelsea typical example NYC recycling. It has been converted from a cookie manufacturer into a leading place for art galleries and shopping areas. Stroll through to get a little bit less touristy experience.

Soho: to get a sense of the old-school feel... with galleries and artist lofts.

Each immigration district will give you a different flavor of the neighborhood heritage. If you could to visit less touristed…

Wall Street. New York Stock Exchange.

Battery Park

Statue of Liberty:
maybe the most recognizable icon and an universal symbol of freedom and opportunity.

If you really just want to see the statue, skip Liberty Island itself, you’ll get better view from Ellis Island or from Staten Island ferry.

Ellis Island
Main immigration station from 1892 until 1954. Pick up one phone and take a self-guided tour to explore the history of the island. You could easily spend hours and hours inside exploring all it has to offer, like recorded memories and passenger records of relatives who arrived here.

walk across the Brooklyn Bridge

world’s first steel suspension bridge

lower Manhattan


Brooklyn Bridge Park the best views of the Manhattan skyline.

BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) worth checking out its venue ...

Williamsburg the "new Brooklyn”, a mecca for young creatives. Exciting straddles old and new. 

You can explore the lively arts, music, and boutique scene here, chill in numerous cafes, dine in some very good restaurants — and soak up the creative energy and young vibe.

Prospect Park
maybe the best views of the Manhattan skyline

Don't miss: Smorgasburg local and regional outdoor food market and Brooklyn Flea.

ride the subway

Note: more than 100-year-old, round-the clock goes everywhere in 660 miles (1062km), with 24 lines, 469 station.

It’s kinda life saver and an essential fun part of the city experience (yes, with the smelly cold air, but not so crowded as the tube in London). Don’t forget to purchase a MetroCard.

feel the spirit of a sport game

Baseball. Yankees.

A first time visit wouldn’t be complete without
 seeing the city from up on high

You have several options to do that, but maybe the best spot for this case is Empire State Building’s open-air observation deck. 

Pick a clear day, go up at sunset and stay for late night (its open until 2:00 am).The view from the 86th-floor is breathtaking. To save time buy your ticket online.

Empire State Building, Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA | |

sunset views

Manhattan island and East River from Prospect Park


Eat. Taste. 

The foodie scene is all about getting exactly what you want. Don’t leave without trying:
The Bagel.
The Hotdog.
The Pizza.
The Hamburger.
The Knish.
The Doughnut and the characteristic Coffee of New York.

Of course we went on a vegan trip. It was an amazing experience: NY is a vegan’s paradise! As usual we made a map (food tracks, restaurants, bars, stores, markets) focused on the ones with the best reputations. We got to a lot of good ones, but did miss a few top spots on our list. Check them here… Note: tipping could be tricky for the first time, so just be prepared for 15-20% norm.


Keep your conscience clean - support local artists. Get something really original and you can feel good about it too.

As usual I made a list during my research, it could help you to stay up to date with city news and give you more inspiration.