New York City is one of the most famous cities in the world along with being a favorite place for many people. It’s often dubbed as ‘the city that never sleeps’, with tons of amazing locations to see and experience. There are also several places to grab a bite, from street food vendors to fine dining establishments.
Basically, it’s almost impossible to have nothing to do or see when you’re in New York City! With the fast-paced lifestyles many of us lead today; it can be difficult to set aside a few days for properly exploring this place. The good news is that even if you’re just in New York for a single day, you can make the most of your time and experience the city to some extent.
Along with the well-known locations, there are a lot of secret fun spots in New York City. Even those who have been living in this city for years may not know all of them so don’t expect to find any on a mere day’s trip. However, here are the 5 top places you can visit on your one-day trip to New York:
1. Brooklyn Bridge
If you can get there, the Brooklyn Bridge is a must-visit place in New York. Those who have just a day to see the city will probably find it worthwhile to see this awesome bride, walk on it, and take some memorable pictures for their social media accounts. Even a quick stroll across will take at least 30 to 45 minutes.
If you want a more guided experience of the bridge, there are GPS-enable audio tours available online. Even without any technology, those sweeping Manhattan, Brooklyn, and harbor views will be worth the trouble.
If you have the time, this is the best opportunity to visit nearby places such as Dumbo. Other than the bridge itself, this place will give visitors some iconic shots. Dumbo is an artsy neighborhood on the waterfront side. Those who are interested in the history of the American Revolution can find traces of it in the Dumbo neighborhood. After all the exploration and taking numerous clocks, refresh yourself with the Ample Hills Creamery ice cream. If you’re interested in the United Nations, do check out these fascinating facts about the United Nations headquarters in New York City. The security outside is tough and can be intimidating, but reviews say that the tour inside is full of interesting insights.
2. Visit Museums
Before you make any definite plan, check out this discussion on the top museums to visit in New York City.
There’s no lack of museums to see when you’re in NYC. There are memorials, sculptures, and several other kinds of displays where one can appreciate art and the story it tells.
The National September 11th Memorial and Museum is always worth a visit. You can pay your respects here while also admiring the Reflecting Pools, which is the name given to the two huge fountains in place of the twin towers. The Reflecting Pools are just the center of the Memorial, with their bronze edges bearing the names of people who were killed on that fateful day.
For those who would like some guidance and help in navigating the area, there are self-guided tours as well as GPS audio tours available online.
You’ll be downtown at this point, so there will be several eating options available. The Westfield World Trade Center has a Food Hall that’s worth visiting when you’re feeling peckish. There are Italian, fast food, and even Japanese options for those who want them. If you have a dinner meeting or a special occasion is on hand, there are also a lot of upscale restaurants to try out.
3. Explore the Lower East Side
If your aim is to experience something that defines the places, one of the top places to visit in NYC is the Lower East Side. This is located in Manhattan, so you can easily grab a large breakfast or indulgent brunch before heading out to see the city attractions.
In a nutshell, this area is what will give you a feel of New York without having to traverse the entire city. You get the hustle and bustle, access to the top shops, and several breathtaking sights for making memories along the way.
In case it starts raining or you just need a break from the excitement, the Tenement Museum is always with a visit. If time and weather permits, make sure to go for the vintage stalls and flea markets that have gained fame in certain sectors of NYC. You’ll have access to food stall, antiques, secondhand items, and various stores selling just about everything.
For yet another authentic NYC experience, be sure to try out Kat’s Delicatessen. It’s a favorite among tourists and locals alike, with loads of delicious options on the menu. You can also check out the Vessel, which is one of the most iconic interactive art projects in the city. If you book a slot ahead of time, this place can even be absolutely free to enter. Even if you have to pay, an anytime ticket doesn’t cost much.
4. Go to Liberty Island
The Statue of Liberty symbolizes the whole of the United States. It’s one of the first things people think of when they imagine New York or even America in general. Even if someone gets to experience New York City for just a day, they would usually jump at the chance to see Liberty Island up close.
If you decide to visit this place, make sure to pre-book the tickets well in advance. In case the trip was a spontaneous one, you might not want to waste time in the insane queues. Peak times and peak seasons are the worst when it comes to visiting popular places. Without the queues, a normal visit to Liberty Island can take upwards of three hours to complete. You can imagine what it’s like when you have to wait in long lines.
In short, if you haven’t pre-booked a ticket, perhaps it will be best to miss this one out for now. However, it might be possible to increase the chances of getting a ticket on the spot if you can catch the last or very first departure. The crowds may not be as thick or intense at these times, so you can get through with relative ease.
Once at Liberty Island, you will have a gorgeous view of the Manhattan skyline. Make sure to take pictures from every angle!
When it’s time to go back to Manhattan, why not make a stop at Ellis Island too? There’s the Ellis Immigration Museum, which has a beautiful architectural structure among several other attractions. You can also rent a bike and get in some exercise, hire a motorboat and see the sights without having to walk, or buy a short cruise ride for a luxurious dinner.
5. Explore Central Park
New York City might be an urban jungle, but there’s something here for everyone. For those who love a bit of nature, Central Park is the go-to option. Whether you’re craving a bit of peace and quiet or just want to see this famous urban park, Central Park is one of the best decisions you can make.
If you’re feeling hungry, get one of the popular NYC hot dogs from a stall. These can usually be found near Bethesda Fountain. For a bit of adventure, see if you have time to rent a rowing boat. It’s not only a fun way to get some exercise, but also gives you some spectacular views of the natural surroundings.
There’s really no need to do anything strenuous here, though. You may opt for a walking tour, but a carriage ride will be easier on your feet. The top attractions within the park include Belvedere Castle, the Central Park Zoo, the Strawberry Fields Memorial, the Conservatory Garden, the Mall and Literary Walk, and so on.
Visiting NYC for just one day is simply not enough to give justice to the city’s delights. It’s still a start, though, so make sure to do your homework and plan your trip beforehand. You want to take the season into account as well; outdoor activities may not be possible during the winter. Once you’re prepared, though, you can enjoy this city as much as possible even in a very limited time frame. Book tickets in advance, pack a picnic basket, and prepare to be awed by what the city has to offer!