The Big Apple

During my visits back to the US, I always try to take a trip down to New York City. Only four hours from Boston, New York’s a great place to visit for many reasons. Many of my friends live there, so it’s a good chance to catch up, and there’s always good food to eat, new shows to see, and new enclaves to explore. New York is so big that no matter how many times I go, I always discover something new.

One of the best parts of living in the upper east of the US is that there’s a lot of transportation between the various cities. Competition is fierce, driving prices down and amenities up. My favorite bus to take is the Bolt Bus, which runs up and down the east coast. Like its counterparts (i.e. the Megabus), the Bolt Bus offers $1 fares if you book early enough in advance. But I take the Bolt Bus for another reason—free Wi-Fi. If you’re going up around the eastern seaboard, make sure you use one of these discounted bus companies. You get great comfort at rock-bottom prices. It’s a budget traveler’s dream.

Now in New York City, I’ll be here until Thursday. I have a few things planned. For starters, I’ll be having a big dinner with a number of travelers tonight: Everything Everywhere, in2travels, and Two Backpackers. We’ll discuss all things travel and blogging. However, the main part of my trip here will play to my strength—I’ll be a tour guide for a friend from Germany. A newbie to the US, she’s stopping first in NYC, and who better than to show her around NYC than me, a local Bostonian? Lined up for the next few days are some of my favorite things to do in New York City:

Visit Central Park

Central Park New York
No trip to the Big Apple is complete without a trip wandering through Central Park. It may be big, it may be a bit touristy, but it’s a great way to relax and chill out on a warm summer’s day.

The Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island
Statue of Liberty New York
The Statue of Liberty is an impressive sight and one of the must sees for a first-time visitor. Unfortunately, tickets to the newly re-opened crown are sold out until September. Luckily, we’ll have a chance to go to Ellis Island too. Despite all the previous visits to NYC and the fact that my family came through Ellis Island, this will be a first-time visit for me too.

Museum Hop
The Met New York
New York is filled with museums, and I fully plan to drag my guest to many of the best ones, including MOMA, the Met, the Museum of Natural History, and any other museum I can think of.

The Empire State Building
The Empire State New York
This is a great way to see the expanse of New York. While I’m afraid of heights, I figure if I can brave the tallest building in the world, I can handle this. My friend is keen on seeing it, so we’ll go, hoping I don’t freak out…too much.

Catch a Show
The Theater New York
New York City is one of the major theater centers in the world, and I plan to see at least one show. I don’t get to the theater as often as I like, so I’ll use this chance to see something good. I still haven’t seen Wicked, and Jersey Boys is supposed to be good too. The theater in New York is like the opera in Vienna—a must.


A city with a population of 12 million people from around the world means you’ll find a wide variety of delicious food. As a foodie, I can’t wait to explore all the good restaurants New York has to offer. There are always new ones opening. So far, Indian, Japanese, and Cuban meals are planned, but who knows what other delicious food the trip will bring?

For more information on the United States, visit my country and city guides to US travel.

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  1. One of the best brunches in NYC is at the Boat House in Central Park. It overlooks a lake with boaters and provides wide open access to the park. It can be a little pricey, but if you are in a spending mood this is the best way to do it! A walk on the Brooklyn Bridge can also provide spectacular views. If you walk to the middle of the bridge you will be able to read about the history of the bridge. It’s very exciting to walk above all the cars and see others walking to and from the city and Brooklyn.

  2. The Municipal Art Society of New York offers a free guided tour of Grand Central Terminal on Wednesdays at 12:30. The 1.5 hour tour is fascinating and really gives you some great insight into the history of the station and NYC. I just did this with a friend who was visiting from Australia and highly recommend it! The tour meets at the center information booth.

  3. I’d have say so far The Mall @ central park has been my favourite thing. Jay loved being @ MoMA yesterday. and we both felt the Brooklyn Bridge was worth the blisters!

  4. I’m getting to NYC for the first time EVER in August, and then hopefully again around Christmas. Can’t WAIT to see as much as I can.

    Also – just in case you forgot, Minneapolis is a nice place too.

  5. We loved Ellis Island. Everyone in my family had been to the Statue of Liberty before but none of us had been to Ellis Island. It totally blew us away and exceeded all expectations. My parents, who immigrated to this country 30 years ago, were especially moved.

    If you’re over in that area doing Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, you should have dinner at Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn. You can walk across the bridge to get over there — it’s right under the bridge — or it’s about a 5 minute taxi ride. You have to wait forever in line to get seated but the pizza is the best that we have ever had (even better than what we had in Rome).

  6. I definitely wish I could join you guys for that blogging dinner. A few weeks later and I’d be there too. As a matter of fact, any excuse to make the 4 hour bus ride from DC to NYC works for me!

  7. i can’t wait until august when i take the bolt bus DC-NYC for $2.50 RT! also excited to check out the high line when i’m there.

    happy travels!

  8. Andrew

    People visiting New York that have more than 4 days in the city are doing themselves a disservice if they ignore the outer-boroughs. Hop a train and get over to Brooklyn! Some of the better neighborhoods include:

    DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass) which is even accessible by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. Grab a pie at Grimaldi’s and chocolate at Jacques Torres.

    Greenpoint: Take the G train to this area of BK nicknamed “Little Poland.” It has the second biggest population of Polish immigrants behind Chicago. Make sure you dine at Krolewskie Jadlo. Take it from me, someone that traveled around Poland and has a wife from that country, this place is as close as you will get to real Polish cuisine without hopping a plane to Europe.

    Bensonhurst: Old school Italian food is waiting for you in this part of Brooklyn. Also check out Villabate on 18th ave.

    Park Slope: Walk over to Prospect Park while here. This amazing green space was designed by the same guys that made Central Park in NYC. I like Prospect more than its more popular neighbor. Walk along 5th and 7th avenue in Park Slope for amazing Thai, Indian, Italian, and various other restaurants, shops, cafes and bars.

    Enjoy your time in my city Matt…I just got back from Boston a few weeks ago and have to admit I love your pubs just as much…or maybe more…than the ones we have here.



  9. Except for the show, I’ve experienced the rest of New York shown here including the drop of the crystal ball in celebration of welcoming the New Year in the freezing temperatures. I love the City!!

  10. I went to Boston 15 or 20 times with work (long way from Australia) and got a chance to see a fair few neat things (esp the New England states and Boston itself – beautiful and restful with lots of great walks) but I NEVER went to New York (there was always next time…). Your post describes what an idiot I was never to take that opportunity to see this fantastic world city and all those familiar landmarks.

  11. Sharon Hurley Hall

    This sounds a lot like my first tour of New York, though I haven’t seen as many museums as I would like. I enjoyed visiting Ellis Island and Central Park.

  12. Seems like a cliche list, in a sense – but I’m glad that you included seeing a show on the list. I plan to do that while in NYC during the month of March. Now I just need to pick which show I’ll be seeing!!

    Only surprise in this post: you left the Guggenheim off your museum list…

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