Oh, New York City – such a fun place to be in! In case you missed it, New York is a popular tourist destination – and one of the most famous “bucket list” cities! I’ve had the pleasure of visiting New York a handful of times now (with different groups of people). And each time, these 3 activities were most requested! So hey, if this is your first time planning a trip to New York City, don’t forget to check out these 3 Must-Do NYC experiences and let me know what you think!
NYC Must-Do #1: Watch A Broadway Show!
Known to host some of the best theater experiences in the world, Broadway Theatre District is a popular spot in New York City. It’s also known for being incredibly expensive, with broadway show tickets costing up to hundreds of dollars.
The first time I visited the Broadway Theatre District, I got the opportunity to see Wicked with my friend Bailey. I had saved for months to go on that trip, and it certainly was the first time I spent more than $100 on a show ticket. BUT.. Wicked was our #1 bucket list NYC item, so we decided to bite the bullet and cross it off our list! We got dressed up, took in the incredible production, and hummed the tunes all the way back to our hotel. So was it worth every penny? Absolutely! I can easily say that watching Wicked started my love for live theater.
This past year, Evan and I got a chance to visit NYC with my parents, and we saw Phantom of the Opera (which happens to be the longest-running show in Broadway). What was super cool was that, somehow, my parents’ seats were upgraded to FRONT ROW without us having to pay extra, and they let us switch during intermission! What a once-in-a-lifetime experience for normal folks like us 🙂
If you love musical theatre as much as I do but don’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars on shows, don’t worry! Here’s a tip for you that I learned since my 1st show: go to Times Square and try to spot the iconic red stairs (don’t worry, you’ll see it). Besides being a super cool photo backdrop, look beneath the steps and you’ll find the TKTS Discount Ticket booths – this is where we scored great deals on Phantom of the Opera tickets, and you can save quite a bit of money on other same-day shows too!
NYC Must-Do #2: Take A Touristy Picture At Times Square
I’ve heard is said that Times Square the five-block representation of New York City itself. Wildly exciting, studded with vibrant neon lights, and “always jumping.”
Attracting over 50 million visitors annually, Times Square is undoubtedly one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions! In my experience, while Times Square is exciting any time of the day, the best time to visit the area is just before the sky gets dark and stay until it’s dark to see all the marquee displays come to life!
Each time I’ve visited Times Square, I’ve also seen lots of costumed characters walking around, ready to take photos in exchange for a small tip. When I first visited Times Square, I had no idea what the tipping expectations looked like – but I sure wanted my tourist NYC picture! I will say, however, it’s good to know your numbers! When I took this picture below, they tried to make me pay $20, but I negotiated down to $6 and they were happy with it. A good rule of thumb is to tip $2-$3 per character.
NYC Must-Do #3: Frolic in Central Park
Central Park is a 843-acre green space in the middle of New York City. Popular with both locals and tourists, Central Park is the place to be for exercising, dining, visiting the zoo, taking pictures, and more. The cool thing about Central Park is that almost everyone has a different (but positive!) experience of the park. With 20 playgrounds, 48 fountains, monuments or sculptures, 36 bridges, and numerous hidden treasures, it’s no wonder people keep coming back to Central Park!
FUN FACT: Did you know Disney’s Enchanted was shot in Central Park?
If you happen to visit during the winter, I also recommend ice-skating in Central Park! In my opinion, nothing is more entertaining than scrambling on ice with friends (or gracefully skating if you’re actually good) while being surrounded by beautiful nature and gorgeous skyline! There are 3 places you can skate in Central Park, but the Wollman Rink remains my all-time favorite!
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Are there any other activities I need to include in this guide? Feel free to leave a comment below!