It’s hard to choose but if I had to narrow the list down to 10 from the perspective of a 1st-time visitor, in no particular order, this is what I would not miss:
1. Top of the Rock
The best and most amazing vantage point of the city, with the Empire State Building and the World trade on one side and the Park and UES and UWS on the other. You shouldn’t miss this! If you have to choose one building to visit, this is that iconic view you’re hoping for!
2. The MET
It’s world-famous and for a reason. You can spend your day getting lost in the wonders of the MET, if you’re there between April and October don’t forget to visit the rooftop patio- it’s amazing!
3. The NY Public Library and Bryant Park
The iconic library and its stunning reading rooms are not to be missed! Make sure you grab a cup of coffee or a salad at Chopt across the street and sit back and enjoy Bryant Park after you tour the library.
4. Central Park
This oasis in the concrete jungle relaxes you, slows down the pace of your day and prepares you for the return to the modern wilderness. Grab the iconic cookie at Levain bakery on the UWS, grab a coffee at Le Pain Quotidien and enjoy your walk.
5. Flatiron building and the neighbourhood
My favourite part of Manhattan. Broadway and 5tha avenue meet at this iconic location. If you look downtown what is in front of you could not be more different from what is behind you. The city and its skyscrapers, new and old, the ESB and all the rush of the day are behind you and ahead is the old New York, the low raises and the coolest vibes. Eataly is there for some great coffee, treats and proper meals, and so is Le Pain Quotidien, the old tried and true. Madison Square Park is the perfect place to sit down and unwind over a good cup of coffee and some chocolate before you take on West Village and this whole new vibe.
6. One World Trade, 9/11 Memorial, Oculus
The 9/11 memorial is a deeply sad place to visit, but it is so important to do so. It marks one of the saddest days in the city’s history, one the world will always remember. The memorial itself was done so amazingly that visiting it and paying respect to the ones who lost their lives is truly important.
7. Brooklyn Bridge and Dumbo
The bridge is probably one of the most famous bridges in the world, offers incredible views of the city and makes for a nice walk, even on the busiest days. Walk down to Dumbo for some of those insta-famous shots and explore the area a bit.
8. Times Square
The busiest, most touristy part of Manhattan but a must-stop on your trip. Go in the evening when the lights shine bright. See a Broadway show or go to a taping of one of the Late night talk shows.
9. West Village, SoHo, Nolita, Chelsea, Tribeca
They blend beautifully with one another so don’t feel like this will take forever and you have to see every corner. Go for walks and coffee breaks in these fascinating neighbourhoods, home to some of my favourite places like The Butcher’s Daughter. Walk the High Line, visit the Chelsea Market, stop by the relatively new Starbucks reserve or visit NYC’s newest neighbourhood: Hudson Yards and go up the Vessel.
10. Grand Central Station and the walk up or down 5th avenue
Grand Central is a must-see and truly is such a beautiful historic building with some beautiful views from the outside but the most iconic ones are found inside. Come out on Park Ave and 42nd and walk the 2 blocks to 5th avenue. You’ll come out to the Library and Bryant Park and from there decide if you’re heading up towards the park or down towards the financial district.