Things to do in New York
City breaks in New York are a great way of escaping from daily life or celebrating special events. Dining, shopping, soaking up art and exploring trendy neighbourhoods mean every day of New York City breaks is action-packed. New York is a collection of districts each with its own characteristics, making wandering on foot a true delight while the Guggenheim, Metropolitan and MoMA are just some of the city's must-see museums. While in New York be sure to visit:
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the world's largest museums with over two million art and antiquity exhibits to enjoy. There's even an ancient Egyptian temple from the banks of the Nile.
- Ellis Island is a poignant reminder of the USA's birth. Over 12 million immigrants passed through this gateway into New York City, the first stop on their new adventure. The Immigration Museum brings together personal objects, official documents and photographs along with personal memoirs.
- A Broadway theatre for a popular show such as 'The Lion King'. This award-winning musical has been running for over two decades and still delights audiences of all ages. 'Hamilton' takes the audience back to the beginnings of the United States, telling the story through a mix of history and hip-hop which shouldn't work but does.
Things to see in New York
Stroll through the Buddhist temples and noodle shops of Chinatown, browse cutting edge galleries in Chelsea, lunch in Jewish delicatessens on the Upper West Side or meander through the cobblestoned streets of Greenwich Village. One of the joys of New York City breaks is simply wandering around taking in the sights, sounds and smells of neighbourhoods that bring every corner of the world to the city.
Central Park is one of the world's largest urban green spaces. Just a short stroll through the park takes you through wildflower meadows, rocky outcrops, shady tree-lined paths, manicured gardens, an outdoor theatre, the John Lennon Memorial and, of course, the lake. Children and the young-at-heart always enjoy a couple of hours in Central Park Zoo.
Two city landmarks are Grand Central Terminal and the Empire State Building. The beaux-arts elegance of Grand Central Terminal or station has marble floors and ticket counters and a vaulted ceiling covered with the constellations painted by Paul César Helleu. Using seven million hours of labour during the Great Depression, the Empire State Building was completed in just over a year, becoming an instantly recognisable part of the city skyline. The views from its two decks are stunning especially at sunset.
Weather and climate
For enjoyable and comfortable city breaks in New York try and visit during spring and autumn (or 'fall'). The summer months of June to August can be unbearably hot although it's a time when the city comes alive with festivals and events. Winter from December to February can be very cold with blizzards and heavy snowfalls. Temperatures in January average around 0.3 °C (32.6 °C) while in July the average is 24.7 °C (76.5 °C). Rainfall is spread evenly throughout the year.
UK nationals with electronic passports qualify for the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP) meaning they can enter the USA without a visa. Simply fill in an ESTA application form from the US Department of Homeland Security website. This costs $14 dollars and is valid for either two years or the lifetime of your passport, whichever comes first.
New York is best for
- Kids and teenagers: Located in Queens, the New York Hall of Science is one of the coolest museums in the city. Hands-on exhibits bring to life science, engineering, technology and mathematics. There is also rope play and mini-golf in the Science Playground and Rocket Park.
- Couples: Walk the Brooklyn Bridge hand in hand. What could be more romantic, especially at sunset as the city lights begin to twinkle? This is one of the oldest bridges in the USA and an iconic city landmark. Then take a ride on the hundred-year-old hand-painted Jane's Carousel in the Brooklyn Bridge Park.
- Friends: 'Sex and the City' immortalised the New York cocktail scene so bring it to life by drinking Happy Hour cocktails in city bars or even better, find a cocktail making class. Perfect for those hen-party weekends.
Become a Tourist
Start your cheap city break by exploring the iconic landmarks that symbolise New York.
- Whether you are in awe of the groundbreaking Brooklyn Bridge or just want cross the record breaking Manhattan Bridge these engineering masterpieces that represent the great American dream are sure to leave you speechless.
- Discover the idyllic Empire State Building or to get a full picturesque cityscape view, gaze out from the top of the Rockefeller Building.
- After, escape the noises of city life in tranquil Central Park nestled in the middle of Manhattan Island before a gentle cruise across the Hudson River to admire the Statue of Liberty.
- As an evening activity, head up to Times Square and enjoy a theatrical production in Broadway or head towards Greenwich Village to discover where the characters of Friends lived.
Culture of dining
New York is famous for a large variety of different delicious foods.
- Feed your sugary craving by trying a tasty cupcake with Carrie, from Sex in the City, at a Magnolia Bakery.
- Or, taste a delightfully light cookie at Levain Bakery. Ellen’s Stardust Diner offers a traditional American style eatery where your food will be served with a song and a smile.
- Get on down to Five-Guys, on this cheap city break, for a burger craze that has swept the nation.
Sip on a drink
Hiding behind a Five-Guys on 7th Street you will discover a gem of a bar named Garret. So, take advantage of the birthplace of cocktail bars with this beauty and enjoy a perfect early evening retreat with a Manhattan, Long Island Ice Tea or Cosmopolitan in the city where they were created. If an early evening cocktail isn’t for you you’ll find the trendy district of SoHo offers exactly what you are looking for.
Shop till you drop
This shopper’s paradise offers you everything from flagship department stores to glamorous boutique. If you are fashion conscious take a stroll down 5th Avenue where you will find a selection of shops that suit your every need. Or, shop with the stars on the exclusive Madison Avenue where the jewellery sparkles beneath the shimmering sun.