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nromstadt's avatar

What are the "must-do's" in New York City for a first-timer?

Asked by nromstadt (626points) January 24th, 2012

I’m making my first trip to NYC in early March (way overdue!), and need some relatively inexpensive ideas of what to do/where to eat/what we must see/reputable tours. We’ll probably be there Wednesday-Sunday, so we have quite a bit of time.

We’re staying with my boyfriend’s godparents – who happen to have an apartment right by Time Square, so we will be in a great location. We’re both 21 year old college students, if that makes a difference in your suggested activities.

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17 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

Make sure you hit up some of the museums. The Natural History museum in Manhattan is my favorite place on earth.

saint's avatar

You must go to B and H photo and look at all the cool camera shit
You must go to 1 w 72 Street and pay homage to John Lennon
You must go to the Stage Deli and get a Reuben sandwich
You must go out and see the Statue of Liberty
You must pay big bucks and see The Book of Mormon
Truth is, there is too much. You need several visits.

mazingerz88's avatar

Empire State Building visit at night, the Bethesda Fountain at Central Park…

marinelife's avatar

The Museum of Natural History, Central Park, MOMA (Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art). the Guggenheim.

The Chrysler Building.

Eat a slice of Greek cheese pizza.

Have a hot pastrami sandwich at a good NY deli.

nromstadt's avatar

@saint Interestingly enough, his godfather is a Broadway producer. We’re hoping he can hook us up with some tickets, so the Book of Momon is a particularly great suggestion. As is the reuben sandwich!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@nromstadt A Broadway play isn’t cheap but it is worth the money. And get a hotdog with sauerkraut from a street vendor. Most of the vendors use a kraut that used to come from my county
RIP Shelly.

zenvelo's avatar

My girlfriend and I have been on three separate 5 day visits and feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface.

But ride the Staten Island ferry. It’s free, fun, and great views.
Do the Empire State Building later in the evening, much much shorter lines.
Walk through Times Square.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, and MoMA.
Go to the Dakota to see where John Lennon lived (and died), and then walk into Central Park for Strawberry Fields and the “Imagine” memorial.
Get a reservation for the Ground Zero memorial.
Walk over to Wall Street via Trinity Church (the one from National Treasure).
Use the subways, it’s a lot cheaper than cabs, and more fun.
I would eat at Katz’s Deli on Canal Street. It’s where Meg Ryan had her public orgasm in When Harry Met Sally.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Take the Circle Line ferry tour of the boroughs, Statue of Liberty and spots along the Hudson River. What I thought would be cheesy turned out to be a great narrated history and the sights were great! Probably the best $30. I spent when I visited.

YARNLADY's avatar

I agree with the Ferry.

jaytkay's avatar

$29 MTA 7-day card, for unlimited bus and subway rides.

Oysters and chowder at the Grand Central Oyster Bar

If you see a hot dog and papaya, go for it (or the kraut dog like @Adirondackwannabe says)

Another vote for the Staten Island Ferry. If you time it right, you can go out in the light and come back at dusk with the skyline view.

Take the train to Brooklyn, and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan

Charles's avatar

Ellis Island Museum
Statue of Liberty
Yankee Stadium
Subway ride
Empire State Building
United Nations
Wall Street

Tip, When I tried to see as much as possible by car, I did as much as I could at 7AM on a Sunday. You can zip around town fairly quickly.

JLeslie's avatar

My favs are:

Metropolitan Museum of art

Statue of liberty and Ellis island (nice little ferry rid to get out there).

The annex for the Transit museum in Grand Central. I find the subway system fascinating; how it was built, the history, the complexity. Also, Grand Central is iconic itself, good to walk through, stand in the main hall, it is in so many movies, and you can say you have been there.

Museum of Natural History and the planetrium. Definitely the best planetarium I have ever been too.

If you like to shop hit bloomingdale’s. No sales tax on clothing items under $110? Maybe it is $150? Anyway, if you live in a state with sales tax, doing a lot of shopping can save you money. That is if you need to shop anyway. Macy’s might have their spring set up already in March, not sure. You have never seen anything like it! The flowers are not to be believed. Not only the windows along Broadway, but inside, throughout cosmetics and some other areas the flowers are amazing for spring/easter time. Sometimes they have a tour where they take you around and tell you about the farious flowers and plants. I think Macy’s Herald Square is still considered the largest store in the US, maybe the world.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, I just looked it up and it looks like the Macy’s flower show is the end of March.

Oh, and I forgot to mention a walk through central park. Hopefully it won’t be very cold when you are there. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a terrace overlooking the park, but I am not sure if it is open in the winter, there is a small cafe on the terrace, I think it is on the fourth floor.

Earthgirl's avatar

I used to live on Staten Island so I know what it’s like to take the ferry every day and yet the magic is still there. Try to take a ride on one of the older boats versus the giant floating buses. Sadly, the only one still in service is the John F. Kennedy.

Time it as jaytkay says, go out with the light, come back at dusk. Make sure you ride in the front of the boat on deck and feel the wind on your face or else on the outer deck on the side of the boat. You can see the Statue of Liberty in the distance. It’s great and it’s cheap!
I would go to Chinatown and have some real Chinese food! Mott Street is the heart. It may be smelly and dirty but it is real New York. It is a real experience to go to Dim Sum.
Absolutely must go to the Metropolitan Museaum of Art, The Guggenheim if there is an exhibit you like or if you want to experience a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece.
If you like Jazz try the Village Vanguard or Blue Note or Birdland. A little pricey but worth it.
Chelsea has lots and lots of art galleries. Shopping in Soho is fun.
Architecturally speaking, Grand Central Station is a must see, as is the Empire State Building.
For clubs I would like to take in a show in Nolita or Soho or Tribeca. I love Joe’s Pub which is in the East Village.The food is good there and the shows are top notch. Mercury Lounge has a lot of indie bands that are great but as yet unknown and therefore cheap to see.
Rubin Museum of Art is also great.
Another love of mine is the National Museum of the American Indian.
Oh yeah, don’t forget to go to Central Park. See Strawberry Fields and just wander and explore.

Earthgirl's avatar

This place is great too! Fantastic atmosphere and food.

sevenfourteen's avatar

I’ve been in the city only a few times but the best advice anyone ever gave me was to just start walking. You see SOO much just walking around especially if you’re going to be near Times Square. There are tons of touristy things there too which you should def see but no matter what you’re gonna see so many things but just wandering around and taking random subways/buses.

marinelife's avatar

Forgive me. I combined museums. I was recommending the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art) and MoMA Museum of Modern Art.

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