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Must-Sees in New York for First-Timers

Your first trip to New York City will be one of the most memorable experiences of your life. The moment you hop off the plane, you’ll most likely start humming Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York. The first sight of a yellow cab honking as it picks up travelers will electrify you with excitement. Few things will be more special than your first time in NYC, so here are the six top things to do in NYC for first-timers.

Visit an Observation Deck

New York City currently has five major observation decks(opens in a new tab). You can choose between The Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, One World Observatory, The Edge, and Summit One Vanderbilt. Whichever you choose, you will get breathtaking views, fabulous photo ops, and a unique perspective on a city that is home to over 8.5 million people! If you are having trouble choosing, visit one in the morning for daytime views, another at sunset, and another at night. If it’s your first time in NYC, you must see the city from above!(opens in a new tab)

Visit Central Park

Over 200 movies have shot scenes in Central Park(opens in a new tab). This makes it the most filmed public park in the world. Surely you will recognize locations from your favorite films such as Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Elf, and The Avengers. For an hour-long Central Park “highlights” walk, start at 72nd Street and Central Park West. Walk east across the park from there. This will take you by Strawberry Fields, the John Lennon Imagine mosaic, Bethesda Terrace, the Loeb Boathouse, Conservatory Water, and the Alice in Wonderland Statue. Central Park is also great for kids(opens in a new tab) and in the wintertime! No matter what time of year, Central Park is a must for your first time in NYC.

See a Sports Game

New York City is home to 11 major league sports teams and some of the most famous sports venues in the world. Catch a baseball game at Yankee Stadium or Willets Fields while Madison Square Garden hosts both basketball and hockey. Most sports venues also offer tours. Avid sports fans will enjoy learning the secrets and histories of these world-famous venues.

See a Broadway Show

New York City is home to some of the best theatres in the world. There are currently 41 Broadway theatres in New York City. You’re sure to find a show you love. On any given night, Broadway hosts classical musicals, edgy rock operas, and an array of straight plays. Whether you are a child looking to be awe-struck by The Lion King, a hip-hop lover who knows every word to Hamilton by heart, a lover of the golden age excited to see The Music Man, a Harry Potter fan eager to see what happens after the book series finishes, or a Shakespearean scholar, you must enjoy a Broadway show during your first time in NYC.

Visit a Museum

Your first visit to the Big Apple must include a trip to a museum. New York City has a museum for everyone. There are of course the famous art museums such as the Met, the MoMA(opens in a new tab), and the Guggenheim(opens in a new tab). Another must-see museum is the American Museum of Natural History(opens in a new tab). NYC also has a few more niche museums like the Tenement Museum(opens in a new tab) which is dedicated to immigration history, the City Reliquary showcases the city’s populist side, and the Museum of Ice Cream is dedicated to…ice cream!

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is considered by some to be the 8th wonder of the modern world. As you walk across its expanse over the east river, you will see why. The gothic arches evoke a cathedral as seagulls swoop under your feet. You can even catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty(opens in a new tab) from the Brooklyn Bridge. Walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn and once there, pay a trip to Juliana’s pizza. Many consider Juliana’s to be the best pizza in NYC. After your tasty New York-Italian treats, wander down to the waterfront and get some stunning views of Manhattan. Do this walk at sunset to make some unforgettable memories during your first time in NYC.

If you’re feeling a little lost and would prefer to take a tour with some local certified guides, we have you covered. Our passionate guides can welcome you on a Secrets of Broadway & Times Square tour(opens in a new tab), a fascinating walk through Rockefeller Center, 5th Ave & Central Park(opens in a new tab), or, for those with more specific ideas, a 7-Hour Private NYC Tour for you and your group(opens in a new tab)!

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