I’ve always heard the saying that people who are born and raised in New York City never do any of the things that tourists go there to do. Some people spend their whole lives on the island of Manhattan and have never been to the top of the Empire State Building or visited the Statue of Liberty. Whatever you do, don’t be discouraged or worried about looking like a tourist. All these things are incredible and absolutely worth your time if you’re in New York, especially if it’s the first time! What’s even better is that many of these spots are either free or very affordable, so it’s perfect for those trying to maintain a budget on their travels.
Empire State Building
A lot of people will try to make you feel lame for taking in the tourist sites on your trip while encouraging you to go off the beaten path. That’s fine, but there really is something to be said about how amazing these things are. You just haven’t seen the Big Apple until you’ve looked at it from over a thousand feet in the air. Be prepared, though, because the lines can be very long so I was glad I had one of the “skip the line” passes I learned about from British Airways’ trips to NYC page. I’ve heard that people can stay in line for over an hour to get to the top, so I was glad to save time to get the most out of my trip.
One of the most fun things about Times Square is that there are so many tourists you can blend right in and take as many selfies as you want without anyone noticing. After seeing it in so many movies and watching it for so many New Year’s celebrations, we had to see the so-called “crossroads of the world” ourselves and it didn’t definitely didn’t disappoint. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t miss MTV and wish TRL was still a thing on our visit, though.
Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station is more than 100 years old, and it’s one of the biggest and most beautiful train stations in the world. The gigantic lobby will blow your mind and the massive Tiffany clock is just incredible. The station is full of amazing art and design, and you never know who you might run into at Grand Central. The Guardian’s music section found U2 busking inside the station earlier this summer, so always make sure to tip your street performers.
Statue of Liberty
One of the great things about taking a ferry to Ellis Island to see the Statue of Liberty is that you get to kill two tourist birds with one stone on the trip. Why? Because you’ll pass right under the famous Brooklyn Bridge on your way to Lady Liberty. The statue is another one of those things you always hear about but never realize just how big it is until you see it in person. The New York Times reports on their site that a new lighting system was just installed for the statue, providing a brighter spotlight on the details of this awesome sight. We even got free champagne on our ride over.
Written by Jessica Stewart