My Top 5 Things To Do In New York

Feb 7, 2024 | Featured, Top 5

Image of Emma and Mark stood on the brooklyn bridge with new york skyline in the background

I’ve been lucky enough to visit New York on a number of occasions, both with and without kids and at various different times of the year. It’s one of my favourite places and I’ll never tire of seeing everything it has to offer.

Obviously if you’re looking at a guide book you’ll be inundated with tourist attractions and must sees, but in my humble opinion, after doing pretty much all of the recommended attractions, here are my top 5 things to do in New York. If you’re visiting with kids – it’s also worth reading my ‘visiting New York with kids’ post.

1. Top Of The Rock

Otherwise known as the Rockefeller Center, 70 stories high with 3, 360 degree viewing platforms both inside and outside that have the most amazing views of the city. Now I know that the Empire state is the one that is normally suggested, and yes absolutely do this, but love the view from the Rock so much more. You have an uninterrupted view of the Empire State from a better perspective and you can see across to Central Park and so much more.

Standard tickets start at $34 (at the time of writing) but you can save on these if you’re buying a CityPass which gives you discounted access to multiple attractions. It gets busy, which is no surprise and can be very chilly at the top if you’re heading in the winter months, so wrap up warm.

And if you are heading there around Christmas time you’ve also got the Ice Rink and iconic Christmas tree to see, which is better than any other Christmas tree you’ll see!

View from top of the rock<br />


Honestly one of the most fun days I’ve ever had, and one of the best ways to see the 840 acres of Central Park. We hired our scooters a block back from the park. There are a number of places renting the scooters, and most start from around $15 – $20 per hour. You have to be over 16 to hire a scooter, so not an option if you have younger kids, and if your child is between 16 and 18 they have to wear a helmet – but I would suggest wearing one regardless of your age. There are a lot of crazy drivers zooming through the park and a lot of cyclists too.

There are roads and pathways that you can follow all the way around the park so you’re always on concrete, and most will give you a little lock so you can stop, lock them up and grab some pics as you go around.

Obviously, you can use the scooters to zip around the rest of the city too, but you have to keep to the cycle paths and riding on the pavement is illegal. To be honest the city streets of New York can get pretty hectic and you may feel that it’s just too nuts to risk scootering around the streets.

If you’re not into the excitement and speed of the e-scooters, then you can of course go the more traditional bike route. But if you’re looking for a couple of hours of fun and seeing everything that Central Park has to offer, I promise you’ll have an absolute blast.

scooters around central park


We never miss a visit to Ellen Stardust Diner when we visit New York. The is the ultimate in American Entertainment and food. Now it’s not the most glamorous restaurant you’ll ever visit, but you can’t beat it for pure joyous fun and a big old sing song.

The diner is often raved about online and is regarded as one of the best themed restaurants in New York. This retro 1950s theme restaurant is located at 1650 Broadway on the southeast corner of 51st Street in Theatre District of Manhattan.

The waiting staff are on hand to take your order, bring your food, and whilst they are doing that, they blast out Broadway classics to keep you entertained. Many of the waiting staff are actors and singers waiting to be noticed and some of the staff have gone on to have successful Broadway careers.

The diner opened in 1987, and is jam packed pretty much every hour that it’s opened. My recommendation is to go for breakfast. Get there early as queues begin to form quite quickly. They don’t offer a booking system, it’s a turn up and hope type of place, but we’ve always got a table, so be patient. It opens from 7am to midnight 7 days a week (correct at the time of writing).

What to eat

Ok so we know the American’s don’t do small portions, so go hungry. If you’ve got a sweet tooth (like me) I can absolutely recommend the Holy Moly French Toast – filled with sweet mascarpone, with strawberries, caramel and vanilla crème, finished with coconut flakes. It’s to die for. Or if you’re going for the healthy option, they do an awesome Avocado Toast with Poached Eggs. With everything from pancakes, bagels, bacon and eggs, and omelettes on the menu, you struggle to narrow down a choice. If I’m going savoury I always have a side of tater tots (crispy little potatoes that are too good to not fight over).

Celebrating something?

If you let them know if it’s your birthday or you’re celebrating – you may even get serenaded!

Whatever time of day you choose to go, enjoy!

4. The Highline

Back in 2018 Mark and I visited New York in December to celebrate our wedding anniversary. The High Line had always been on my list to do, and I was super excited to add it to our itinerary. Only to find that the weather was so cold that it was closed to visitors. So on our most recent trip, I was determined to make sure we ticked it off the list.

The park is a 1.45 mile long elevated park and walkway created on the former New York Central Railroad spur on the west side of Manhattan. It’s a beautiful walk along the lower part of Manhatten that focuses on developing obsolete and disused infrastructure and turning them into landscaped spaces with plenty of space to relax and appreciate the city’s mixed architecture. It only takes around 30 – 40 minutes to meander along the walk, however there are plenty of rest stops along the way for you to sit and watch the world go by below and take some pics.


4. Brooklyn Bridge

Last but not least is Brooklyn Bridge. Whatever time of year you go, the mile long walk from Manhatten to Brooklyn (and back again) is well worth doing. If you don’t stop it’ll take you about half an hour, however, the chances are you’ll be stopping every few meters to grab a few more pictures and selfies. There are lots of great areas to wander around the Manhatten side of the bridge and certainly the view of the skyline from the Brooklyn side is breathtaking. If you’ve got the time I recommend doing it once during the day and if yo can at night too (something that’s on my list for the next time we go).

There is a central boarded walkway that spans the whole length of the bridge, so you are completely safe from the traffic and have no danger of kids running in to moving cars. Again depending on what time of year you go, it can be a little breezy so keep wrapped up.

It’s totally free to do and will add some of the most memorable images of your trip to your collection. And once you’ve walked there any back, you can go and find one of the great little bars down by Fulton Market.

If you’d like to book a trip to New York, then please get in touch, I can work with you to plan your perfect city break. And please let me know what your top 5 things are, I love hearing what other people love to do.

Happy Travels

Emma x


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