You can never have enough time to fully explore New York City, unless you’re working there or you’re on a long visit. The city is simply too gigantic for a comprehensive tour on a short period of time.

However, if you’re only doing a quick sweep, a whistle-stop tour of sorts, there are certain things that you need to do, and certain things that you need to see in the short time that you have, whether you’re staying with friends or at New York hotels.

The list is comprised of things you need to go and see, as well as other particularly ‘New York’ things to do while you’re there; after all, it’s the little things that make the best memories, sometimes!

Central Park

New York City’s Central Park is more or less the park to end all parks. Its scale is awe-inspiring, clocking in at 843 acres of land. Some would argue that you could probably spend your entire vacation in the park itself. There are playgrounds, sports areas, nature conservatries, beautiful fountains, reservoirs, gardens, as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

If that’s not enough, there are other exhibitions, all kinds of outdoor activity classes, musical concerts and tours. We’d advise navigating the park by bicycle to get the most out of it.

The Empire State Building

This is quite a touristy thing to have to do, but if you’re short on time, you’ll thank yourself for taking the time out to see the view from the 86th floor. The building is New York’s tallest, at around 443 metres high. The observation deck will give you one of the most stunning vistas of a bustling city that you’ll ever see in your life.

Of course, you’ll have to factor in some waiting time, as the rest of the tourist hordes will definitely be there. It’s best to arrive early morning to avoid the crowds. Alternatively, you can fork out a little extra for the ‘express ticket’, which will allow you to zip past the rest of the sightseers.

The Bowery Ballroom

If you’re a music lover and you haven’t had time to see what particular gigs are on during your visit, you’ll have a good chance of catching something entertaining if you wander down to the Bowery Ballroom, located in the Bowery section of New York City.

The club features the best of up-and-coming musical acts. You’re guaranteed to see something good if you drop by randomly. If it’s too large and noisy for your tastes, check out its sister club, the Mercury Lounge, which is a more intimate experience.


As far as essential New York dining goes, make sure you eat pizza from Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, under the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s nearly impossible to say who makes the best pizza in NYC, but if you’re short on time, Grimaldi’s is a great bet.


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