Three days in New York – a tourist’s experience

A trip to the Big Apple is an experience everyone should have at least once in their lifetime. I visited New York in mid-December 2022, and the city was full of holiday cheer and festivity, making it an ideal time to visit. During my three days in New York, I explored some of the city’s most iconic attractions, and each experience was unique and memorable.

Empire State Building 

The Empire State Building is recognised all over the world. The tallest building in the world from completion in 1931 up until 1971, it offers visitors an incredible view of the city skyline. I arrived early in the morning, and there was already a line forming. I decided to purchase a ticket in advance, which allowed me to skip the line and go straight to the elevator. The ride to the 86th floor was fast and smooth, and before I knew it, I was on the observation deck looking out over the city. After learning about the history of the building in the educational area of the observation deck, I boarded a secondary elevator to the 102nd floor, which is the highest open-air observatory in the city.

The view was simply breathtaking. I could see the entire city, including Central Park, Times Square, and the Hudson River. Using the viewing telescopes I also had a clear view of the Statue of Liberty in the distance. There were also helpful signs that pointed out the different landmarks and neighbourhoods in the city.

Central Park 

Central Park is a vast oasis in the middle of Manhattan. It spans more than 800 acres and features numerous trails, gardens, lakes, and fields. I visited the park twice during my trip, once during the day and once at night. During the day, the park was bustling with activity. Families were ice skating on the Wollman Rink, joggers were running along the paths, and people were lounging on the lawns. I rented a bike and rode around the park, taking in the beautiful foliage and the various sculptures and landmarks.

At night, the park was a different experience. I took a horse-drawn carriage ride with my partner, and it was incredibly romantic. The carriage was cozy and we snuggled under a blanket as the horse clip-clopped through the park. Carriage rides don’t come cheap, like most things in New York. Expect to pay around $200 after tip for a party of two for an hour-long tour of the park. 

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

MoMA is a world-renowned museum that showcases some of the most influential works of modern and contemporary art. The museum is home to more than 200,000 works, including paintings, sculptures, photography and design objects. I spent an entire afternoon exploring the museum, and I was blown away by the sheer size and quality of the collection. I saw works by Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh, and Warhol, among others.

The highlight of my visit was the Starry Night painting by Vincent van Gogh while my partner’s highlight was Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory. I also enjoyed the contemporary art section, which featured works by Jeff Koons and Cindy Sherman.

Tourist tip: MoMA is one of the most popular museums in New York, and it can get crowded quickly. To avoid long lines, I recommend purchasing your tickets in advance. You can also opt for a guided tour, which can provide a deeper understanding of the artworks on display.

Katz’s Delicatessen 

If you’re in the mood for food, Katz’s Delicatessen is a New York institution that has been serving up pastrami sandwiches since 1888. The deli is famous for its overstuffed sandwiches, pickles, and matzo ball soup. I had heard about Katz’s from several Instagram and Twitter posts, and I knew I had to try it for myself. When I arrived, there was a line out the door, but it moved quickly.

I ordered a pastrami sandwich, and it was everything I had hoped it would be. The pastrami was piled high on rye bread, and the mustard added the perfect tangy kick. It was a true New York experience that didn’t disappoint. 

Tourist tip: Katz’s Delicatessen is located on the Lower East Side, and it can get crowded during peak times. If you’re visiting during the lunch rush, prepare for at least a 30-minute wait to get in the door and a further 15-minute wait to order and find a table!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as the Met, is one of the largest and most comprehensive art museums in the world.

The museum features more than two million works of art, including paintings, sculptures, textiles and decorative arts. During my visit, I was amazed by the size and scope of the museum. I spent hours exploring the galleries, and I felt like I had only scratched the surface.

One of the highlights of my visit was the ancient Egyptian art section, which featured mummies, hieroglyphics, and other artefacts. The Met also has an extensive collection of European paintings, including works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Botticelli.

Tourist tip: The Met is located on Museum Mile, which is a stretch of Fifth Avenue that is home to several other museums, including the Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of the City of New York. If you’re planning to visit multiple museums, purchase a CityPASS, which can save you money on admission fees. 

Beetle House

A Tim Burton-themed restaurant that offers a unique dining experience for fans of the acclaimed director. The restaurant is located in the East Village and features a quirky and gothic decor that is inspired by Burton’s films. The menu is also Burton-inspired and features dishes with names such as ‘Beetle Bread’, ‘Cheshire Mac’, and ‘Edward Burger Hands’. The food is delicious, and the atmosphere is fun and whimsical.

When I visited in December, the hit Tim Burton Addams Family spin-off series, Wednesday, was halfway through season one, and one of the waitresses was dressed almost identically to Wednesday Addams. If you’re a Tim Burton fan, this restaurant is a must-visit.

Tourist tip: Beetle House is a popular spot, so be sure to make a reservation in advance. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, and there is also a brunch menu over weekends. The restaurant is located near other popular East Village attractions such as Tompkins Square Park and the Tenement Museum. 

Times Square 

No trip to New York is complete without a visit to Times Square, the neon-lit hub of the city that never sleeps. Times Square is home to countless billboards, shops, restaurants and theatres, and it’s a feast for the senses. I visited Times Square in the evening, and the area was packed with tourists, street performers, vendors, and locals alike. I stopped at the famous red steps in the middle of the square to take in the scene and watch the crowds flow by. The flashing lights and towering buildings created a sense of energy and excitement. 

Broadway connects directly to Times Square, and I had originally planned to catch a full-length performance while visiting but just didn’t find the time. Many of the theatres in the area offer matinee performances, making it easy to enjoy a live show without staying out too late. 

Tourist tip: Times Square is crowded and busy, so be prepared to navigate through throngs of people. It’s a good idea to visit at night when the lights are the brightest, but be aware that it can be overwhelming for some people. You can also find a wide range of restaurants, bars, and shops in the area.

Have you visited New York? Is it on your travel wish list? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: 48 hours in New York City

Drew Patchell
Drew Patchell
Drew Patchell was the Digital Operations Manager of YourLifeChoices. He joined YourLifeChoices in 2005 after completing his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport.
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