- Chelsea Market/High Line Experience (75 9th Avenue): The High Line is one of the coolest places in the city–hands down. In case you haven’t heard, the High Line is an abandoned elevated freight train line which has been converted into an elevated park. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District up to 34th Street between 10th and 11th Avenue. The first phase of the High Line opened in the summer of 2009 and has become an instant hit ever since. It’s a great place to take a short walk or eat a quick bite from the market below. When visitors to the city ask me where to go, this is always the first thing I tell them.
- Kat’z Deli (205 E Houston St): Made famous in the movie “When Harry Met Sally”–the deli is more than just iconic movie history. You’ll find probably some of the best pastrami, hot dogs and knishes in the world.
- Grand Central Terminal (89 E 42nd St): This is not your average train station. It’s just plain gorgeous. If you look up at the ceiling, you’ll gaze at the beautiful constellations painted across every square inch. Head downstairs to grab a coffee or quick bite at the famous Oyster Bar restaurant for a classic city experience.
- Central Park (Big grassy area in the center of NYC): Are you kiddin’ me? Central Park is a National Historic Landmark and considered the most widely visited park in the United States–and for good reason. It is absolutely breathtaking. You can walk around and discover things all day and still not cover even half of what the park has to offer. Enjoy a relaxing sunbath on a grassy hill while you people watch, listen to the delightful sounds of the birds around the lake or squeeze in a game of frisbee on the Great Lawn.
- Metropolitan Museum of Art (1000 5th Ave): Colloquially called “The Met”, the museum is the largest and one of the most visited art museums in the United States. Admission is a “suggested donation”, but if you buy a ticket, if offers access to the Met Rooftop Bar & Garden which enjoys sweeping views of Central Park and beyond.
- Museum of Modern Art (11 W. 53rd St): The “Moma” offers one of the most influential overviews of modern and contemporary art, including works of architecture, design, photography and film.
- American Museum of Natural History (79 Central Park West): The third and final museum on this subjective list is a place that “never gets old.” The museum is renowned for its exhibitions and scientific collections. Check out the Hayden Planetarium and “find the big whale room” before you leave.
- Bryant Park (Between 5th & 6th Ave and 40th St): Serving as the outdoor “lunchroom” for midtown, the park holds some of the city’s major events throughout the year such as the Summer Film Festival and Broadway in the Park. Looking south, you’ll find the beautiful main branch of the NY Public Library. Head inside and walk the hallowed halls until you find the Rose Main Reading Room. Now, time for your moment of zen.
- Lincoln Center (10 Lincoln Center Plaza): While you probably don’t have time to catch a show performed by the world renowned NYC Ballet or New York Philharmonic, it is still a perfect place for a quick photo shoot as you bask in the grandeur of the iconic art deco plaza.
- The Shops at Columbus Circle (10 Columbus Circle): Right outside the southwestern corner of Central Park, walk around this upscale shopping mall which boasts a few of the most expensive restaurants in the city. Head down the escalators for a pit stop at Whole Foods where you can sit and enjoy a quick bite.
- The Frying Pan/Pier 66 Maritime is a barge on the Hudson and adjacent sunken ship that was raised and now serves as a venue for the bar and restaurant. It’s a very casual place that is always packed on warm spring/summer evenings and weekends. Their pitchers of sangria, buckets of beer and platters of food are great for groups. As a bonus, you can tour the boats which have been restored to its 1929 look.
- The Boat Basin Cafe has a similar atmosphere–great for groups on a nice day. It sits adjacent to the Hudson River in Riverside Park. You can sit at a table outside or hang out at the bar underneath an overpass – which is actually much cooler than it sounds.
Free Kayaking in the Hudson – If you are looking for some water sports action, try some kayaking and you don’t need to go very far. The operators make you stay pretty close to the shore, but it’s still a neat feeling to see the city from this perspective. (https://www.hudsonriverpark.org/explore-the-park/activities/kayaking)