It's known as the 'city that never sleeps' and, once you've arrived and seen just how much there is to do there, you'll probably be glad that's the case! The truth is that there will be so much you'll want to squeeze into your New York holidays that it can be a little overwhelming knowing quite where to start.
In this article, however, we will discuss three ways in which you can get one of your most important tasks done almost as soon as you've checked into your hotel: sightseeing! Being such a huge, innovative and vibrant city, it shouldn't surprise you to learn that people have come up with all sorts of ways for you to see a range of NYC's most famous landmarks in one trip; here, we'll introduce you to those we think are the best.
Cruise Around Manhattan Island
Let's start this section by reassuring you that all five of New York City's world-famous boroughs are very much worth visiting: from Brooklyn and the Bronx to Queens and Staten Island, each corner of this incredible metropolis has an endless array of sights and sounds to savour. But we also need to be honest with you – Manhattan is in a league of its own!
Home to most of New York's most well-known landmarks, Manhattan Island is not just the most exciting part of the city, it is among the most exciting places in the world. And, if you haven't visited NYC before, you may think it would be impossible to see all its best-known sights over the course of a couple of hours; those who have taken a cruise around Manhattan before, though, will be able to tell you otherwise.
Providing you've got good sea legs, there are many ways in which you could choose to see the best of Manhattan from the water. Perhaps the most popular option with first-time visitors is taking a purpose-built sightseeing cruise with a well-established operator like Circle Line, whose 'Best of NYC' tours last approximately two-and-a-half hours and allows passengers to take in multiple landmarks from the comfort of their ship, including the Empire State and Chrysler buildings, One World Trade Centre, and, of course, America's most famous lady: the Statue of Liberty.
Alternatively, the New York Water Taxi offers a hop-on, hop-off day pass, which would be perfect if you're not sure how much time you're going to have on your hands and would like the option of being able to disembark (almost) whenever you want. As well as all the above-mentioned landmarks, the NY Water Taxi also introduces passengers to – and stops off at – the colourful borough of Brooklyn.
Take off on a Helicopter Tour
If you've got even the most limited passing knowledge of New York, you'll already know that some of the best panoramic views of the city can be enjoyed from the public observatories that are open every day in the Empire State Building and at the 'Top of the Rock' in the Rockefeller Centre. As iconic as these options are, however, neither can quite match the sheer exhilaration and scope provided by taking a helicopter tour through the skies above the city.
It won't surprise you to learn that booking a private helicopter tour is likely to cost you rather a lot more than taking a cruise around Manhattan would, but we can assure you that the experience is one that will stay with you forever. It's also worth bearing in mind that there are multiple helicopter tour operators working in NYC, so you've got plenty of opportunities to look around for the best deal before you even arrive in the city.
Could there really be a better way of seeing New York than from above? Imagine being able to look down and take photos of every single one of the city's famous landmarks at the same time! From the pulsing heart of Midtown to the almost rural tranquillity of Central Park, every sight you have grown up watching on TV and in films will be right there before your eyes. Could a holiday day trip get any more incredible than that?
As well as the unparalleled views you'll enjoy, you will also – depending on the operator you book with – learn a lot more about the city from your pilot whilst you're in the air. The best tour operators ensure that anyone who flies for them has a great knowledge of New York's wonderful history so you will step back onto land armed not just with amazing memories but plenty of local knowledge too.
Indulge in a Food Tour
As must-see as New York's most famous landmarks are, we can't forget that there's one thing almost everyone who goes on holiday looks forward to enjoying just as much as the sights – food! Going away offers the perfect opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and try out some unfamiliar cuisine, and we can say with confidence that there are few better places to embark on this mission than NYC.
New York is similar to London in that its residents literally hail from every corner of the globe, with almost every country in the world being represented by a thriving community – large or small – in the Big Apple. This, of course, means that a whole host of unusual and distinctive restaurants serving up a huge array of food have sprung up here over the years, offering visitors no end to the range of tastes they could discover.
Whilst official food tours can’t be booked, we recommend just heading out into the city by yourself and seeing where your taste buds take you! Spending just a few minutes doing a little online research will be enough to show you where you need to go to sample your cuisine of choice, but here are a few little pointers to get you started:
Arthur Avenue, the Bronx – Often described as New York's 'real' Little Italy, this is the best place for all things pizza and pasta.
Astoria, Queens – This lovely neighbourhood saw a huge influx of Greek immigrants in the 1960s, and this left a lasting mark in terms of the number of authentic tavernas that still abound there today. Get ready for as much feta and tzatziki as you can handle!
Chinatown, Manhattan – We don't really need to tell you what kind of food Manhattan's vibrant Chinatown district is famous for, do we?