New York City with Christine

New York City is a destination that should be visited at least once in a lifetime, but preferably more.  With so much to see and do, it truly does offer something for everyone.

No first time visit to New York would be complete without visits to the Statue of Liberty,  the Empire State Building, and of course, the reflecting pools and 9/11 Memorial Museum commemorating those who lost their lives during the attacks in 2001. Located where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood, a tour of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum will easily fill your day as you read of the events leading up to the attack, stories of survivors and first responders recounting their experiences and the tragedy and heroism that took place on September 11, 2001.

There is no shortage of entertainment in New York as it is home to scores of award-winning Broadway shows.  If you anticipate seeing a specific show on a specific date, I would highly recommend you pre-purchase your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment, however, a less costly option is to purchase tickets at TKTS discount ticket booths.  Located throughout the city, the most centrally located TKTS booth is conveniently located in the center of Times Square and it is here you can purchase same-day show tickets at 50% off.

If you’re interested in a different type of entertainment experience, New York is also home to many of the top late night talk and entertainment shows including The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and of course, Saturday Night Live.

Tickets to see many of these late-night shows are free and to access the best chance of securing a spot in the audience, can be requested online, in advance.  You may even need to request a date to attend the taping therefore your travel plans are finalized. While often times these shows are fully booked months in advance, don’t be discouraged. They do offer waitlists and I myself am proof that you can be confirmed tickets requesting less than a week prior to taping.

New York is also home to many professional sports teams including the iconic NY Yankees.  Yankee Stadium, located in The Bronx, is only a short subway ride from Manhattan.  Highly recommended if The Yankees happen to play while you visit, attending a game offers a fun-filled taste of what it is like to be a part of the home team crowd of one of the most successful MLB teams of all time. Don’t let the subway intimidate you, it is safe and easy to navigate.  It in itself is an important part of New York City that you can also say you experienced.

Dining, like everything else, is limitless in New York City.  You can’t turn anywhere without finding a restaurant (elegant or casual), café, deli or hotdog vendor located on every street.  Carnegie Deli, often referred to as the most famous deli in the USA, is known for its mega-sized sandwiches.  Highly recommended to share, sandwiches easily stand 8 inches tall – the challenge beginning when you try to take a bite of it.

With so many choices to choose from it is worth mentioning that you will often be looking at higher costs when dining around Times Square.  A good option, and only a couple blocks from the Times Square area is the neighborhood most famously known as Hell’s Kitchen.  Here you will find countless restaurants offering lower prices than those located within Times Square.  Venturing a little further, near SoHo/Brooklyn, both Little Italy and Chinatown offer delicious and authentic dining options.  A relaxing afternoon can be spent sitting outside at one of Little Italy’s quaint little restaurants enjoying a glass of wine and a bowl of homemade pasta while taking in the sights and sounds of New York’s Italian community.  Last but not least, what would a trip to New York be without experiencing a hot dog from one of New York’s famous street vendors?

Peace of mind when choosing a dining establishment has been made a little easier in New York.  The New York City Health Department performs unannounced sanitary inspections of every restaurant at least once per year and each establishment is required, by law, to display their grading which is required, by law, to be displayed in the front window of each food establishment.  The grades range from A to C, A being the highest and C the lowest with the exception being ‘Grade Pending’.  It is recommended to stay away from C and ‘Grade Pending’ establishments.

New York is an easy city to navigate and easily done by foot if you enjoy walking, however there are also countless options for pre-packaged sightseeing tours, walking tours and food tours that also include hop on/hop off passes for easy transportation to/from the city’s attractions.  The hop on/off bus options are a great and inexpensive way to sit back and relax while you take the full uptown and/or downtown loops while listening to the guide’s commentary of the sights.  From the vast history New York City offers to its world famous museums and entertainment your attention is continually captured by something surrounding you.  From busy streets to the quiet peaceful calm of Central Park where you can enjoy a carriage ride or a rent a bike to explore, the options here are limitless.

Even with so much to see and do in New York City I would easily recommend it as a perfect four to five day getaway.  With Air Canada’s direct service between Vancouver and Newark Liberty Airport it is an attractive alternate destination.