New York City is vast and chock-full of attractions for every taste. People are often drawn to the city simply for its unending promise – it’s a place where you can never see it all. You do need to start somewhere, though. If this is your first visit to the city, here are 10 amazing places that you can have fun in.
1. The High Line
New York has plenty of streets that are great for walks. There is nothing else like the High Line, a former elevated railway track, now repurposed. Stretching nearly 1.5 miles from Chelsea to the Meatpacking District, the walkway is beautifully landscaped with hundreds of species of plants. As you walk the route, you find yourself with a view of New York unlike any that you’ve seen before.
2. The West Village
Also a part of the Meatpacking District, West Village is far removed from skyscraper-packed Midtown. The charming townhouses, the bars that attract artists and poets, and the clock tower that could belong to a small European town, all make for a fun experience. You’ll find West Village at 6th Ave., a little way down from 14th Street.
3. The 9/11 Memorial
The two spots in the Financial District where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood, now make room for the 9/11 Memorial. The memorial consists of a pair of deep, reflecting pools with water cascading down the sides, and the names of those who died etched in the stone. The museum on the site records the history of the happenings of that day.
4. Restaurant Row in Harlem
Harlem, the district at the north end of Manhattan island, has experienced a resurgence over the past decade. One especially enjoyable part of this revival is the Restaurant Row – the 10 blocks between West 110th and West 120th. This is an amazing range of restaurants from all over the world. If you want quality down-to-earth world cuisine, you need to visit these parts.
5. Coney Island
Coney Island (which is actually a peninsula) has been New York’s quickie beach vacation destination for more than a century. While Superstorm Sandy did batter Coney Island, it’s bounced back since. The world-famous Cyclone roller coaster is back in business. Coney Island isn’t hard to reach either, it’s just a few stops from Manhattan by subway.
6. The Housing Works Bookstore
In a world where e-books and online stores have long replaced even chain booksellers, independent bookstores with character are a rarity, indeed. New York has these bookstores, though. Housing Works is a world-famous destination for used books. You get to come in and browse the endless selections available, meet the enlightened crowd that comes, and buy books for less than a dollar.
7. The Metropolis Thrift Store
If you like shopping for clothing with true character, the Metropolis is where you need to go. From classic original rock star T-shirts for the 80s to military and motorcycling gear, you’ll find artifacts from every casual fashion trend of the past here, all authentic. While you can always go to Urban Outfitters’ brand-new reproductions of old classics, the Metropolis has the real thing.
8. Brooklyn Museum
Most visitors to New York know that they need to see the MoMa, the Guggenheim and the other Manhattan museums. If you’d like to get off the beaten path, you need to visit Brooklyn. Not only do you see contemporary displays of works by Brooklyn natives, you find permanent collections, too. The museum’s Egyptian wing is particularly famous.
9. The Film Society of Lincoln Center
For those who love contemporary commercial Hollywood, there are plenty of movie theaters all over New York. For slightly more exotic tastes, though, you have the Film Society of Lincoln Center, one of the best destinations in the city for independent American films and also great treasures from around the world.
10. The Chelseaflea Market
Chelsea Market, an enclosed shopping area between 11th Ave. and 9th Ave. around 15th St., is massive enough to cover two entire blocks. It can be fun shopping in a place that’s large enough to be outdoors, but is yet a completely built-up, indoor space. While you can find practically every kind of shopping in Chelsea market, the 4000 square-foot flea market is one of its highlights. If you want a real sample of New York to take back home, you’ll find it here.
Certainly, New York has sites that have been world-famous forever, such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the UN and so on, but it is at its most charming in some of its lesser-known and steadily evolving newer attractions. What’s your favorite things to do in NYC?