Why should you visit New York City?
New York city is for everybody, any age, and any budget. There are so many neighborhoods to discover and each of them has something unique to offer. In this article, I have listed the top 14 reasons why I think you should visit New York City at least one in your life.
1. You feel home immediately
Currently, about 8,5 million people live in New York City. Somehow this city manages to feel cozy. Each neighborhood has a different vibe and almost feels like a small city of its own.
Don’t let the size of this city scare you! Navigating in New York is easy, because everything is divided in blocks. I bet you will discover a neighborhood you connect with. My favorite ones are West Village, the Meatpacking District, and the Upper East Side.
The advantage of a city filled with huge buildings? The views! OH MY GOD. Once you get on a rooftop it feels like you are on top of the world. Afraid of heights? Don’t worry that fear will melt away I promise. There’s nothing like standing at the top of the Empire State Building or the Top of the Rock (I created a separate blog post on Top of the Rock because I loved visiting it!). Make sure to check out at least one sunrise or sunset or see the city light up when it’s completely dark.
These gigantic beauties makes you feel equally inspired and humbled. So when you walk around in the city don’t forget to point your camera upwards every now and then. These skyscrapers often have interesting lines, structures, and different architectural styles which is awesome if you are a photography fan like myself!
3. Always something new to discover
No matter how many times you come to New York, there will always be something new in New York. I have visited New York twice (in 2011 and 2018) and each neighborhood seem to transform over the years. I kept bumping into new restaurants, shops, markets, and parks. There is so much to see and I think even locals can’t keep up! New York is a city that keeps innovating and people seem to be full of dreams they try turning into reality.
The idea to start this blog was born when I visited New York in 2018. Alicia Keys was totally right when she sang ‘big lights will inspire you’ in the song “Empire State of Mind” with Jay-Z. Being around so much excitement definitely made me start to think of what I enjoy most in life and what makes me happy. Seeing people work hard day after day made me realize I can do the same and to try chasing my dreams. New York has giving me the boost I needed to start my blog and go for it!
4. The food
Where else can you find an authentic Italian, Chinese, Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Mexican, and Caribbean food in just one city? New York is called a melting pot for a reason and new restaurants pop up almost every week. Name any food trend and I bet you can try it out in New York.
Feel like trying a sushi burger? Snack a cheetos macaron? Celebrate something with a raindrop cake? Or cool off by ordering a smokey lavender nitrogen ice cream? This city is truly a food paradise. Whether you like fast foods, chic restaurants or into vegetarian, vegan or healthy food; you name it and New York’s got it. And because you’re probably doing so much walking and/or cycling you don’t have to feel guilty to try it ALL.
Take your credit card and some cash along, because you will need it when you go out for a shopping spree. Even if you don’t have the budget to shop for big designers like Serena and Blair you will find a unique piece you likely want to add to your wardrobe. That’s so great about New York: there’s something for everyone.
You can browse the thrift shops in Bushwick or check out trendy boutiques in Soho. And make sure to check out the local flea and street markets (our favorites are: Chelsea Market, Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, Smorgasburg, and the Grand Bazaar). And keep your eyes open while exploring the city, because some markets just tend to pop-up out of nowhere. So, reserve some extra space in your suitcase. You will thank me later on!
We didn’t see a Broadway show, because we wanted to fully enjoy the long hot summer days. I would love to visit New York during Christmas some day and see a show! I think the theater, costumes, actors, and the whole experience alone are probably worth visiting this city. Before you book a show always make sure to compare tickets online or in various local shops to save money and to find the best deal.
7. Green spaces
Contrary to what you might think, New York City is one of the greenest cities in America. Of course, there is the famous Central Park that offers lots of activities. This park looks beautiful any time of the year. Because of the awesome warm weather, we picnicked, watched several softball games, and even went a boat trip.
I also really enjoyed Bryant Park (get food at the nearby Whole Foods and eat between skyscrapers or listen to a free performance), Hudson River Park (watch boats or have dinner on one), Battery Park (admire the Statue of Liberty from a distance), and the High Line (watch art, drink coffee, and admire the tallest buildings of the city). In every park you will find activities and special events and festivals organized throughout the year.
8. Unmatched energy
Are you feeling tired of your daily routine? New York allows you to let go of your worries and makes you feel more alive. This city has a unique vibe, accented by the honk of taxicabs and drumming in the subways. There is this infectious rhythm that makes you want to go out and explore more. People in the city work hard and there’s a big difference between the rich and the poor. It’s all about extremes.
I come from a small town in The Netherlands that looks nothing like New York. During my visit I got so many new impressions my brain needed time to process all this new information (and I slept like a baby every day which was a nice bonus, haha). And you know what? Sometimes that’s a good thing. By getting new incentives you feel inspired, driven, and you develop new insights. You start looking at your own life with a brand-new perspective.
9. New Yorkers
Lots of New Yorkers have high-pressure jobs and they push themselves to get that promotion. Time seems to be precious. I think New Yorkers are very friendly and helpful in most cases. Yes, some cashiers talk with very little words (they just want you to pay and go), but I think overall they mean well. They live at a completely different pace compared to where I come from. I can do nothing more then try to adjust and respect their way of living.
Are you into art? Not into art at all? It doesn’t matter, because you NEED to see the museums in NY. You won’t regret just passing by and admiring the beautiful buildings from a distance (or go inside to get a free glimpse like we did). From stunning museums to cool galleries in the Lower East Side and Chelsea or talented artists working at the tiny Bushwick studios; the art scene in New York is booming.
Famous museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Guggenheim, preserve some of the best art from around the world. I could spend weeks exploring the art scene and still not see everything. Good to know: many museums offer free entry or pay-what-you-wish options, be it for a select day of the month or evening hours.
The bridges form an important part of the urban New York landscape. There are a number of bridges that are perfect for walking, jogging, skating or cycling. I think it’s a very nice way to get you from A to B without being stuck in a dark smelly subway.
Go see these bridges:
- The Brooklyn Bridge is probably the most famous bridge, and also one of its most popular landmarks. This bridge was the first bridge to provide passage across the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan, back when Brooklyn was still an independent city.
- The Manhattan Bridge is a more modern looking suspension bridge. The entrance is marked by a magnificent triumphal arch and colonnade. On the Brooklyn end, the Manhattan Bridge ends in the popular neighborhood DUMBO. We all know this Instagram spot, right?
- The Williamsburg Bridge connects Brooklyn’s Williamsburg area to the Lower East Side in Manhattan. Back in the day (in 1903!), it was the longest suspension bridge in the world with a design inspired by the Eiffel Tower.
12. The Statue of Liberty
Staring at the Statue of Liberty definitely gave me a sense of excitement. It almost looked surreal when I first laid my eyes on it back in 2012 after seeing it in so many movies. Located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty was a gift from the people of France (designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel).
The statue became the symbol of immigration during the 19th century, as over 9 million immigrants came to the US, because it was the first thing they saw when arriving by boat. Visit Ellis Island and learn more about the rich history at the impressive National Museum of Immigration. Or get a free close-up of the statue simply by taking the Staten Island Ferry.
13. 24-hour availability
As you might have noticed already New York is different. The city is always ON. It’s not just McDonald’s or Starbucks which offer 24/7 availability. Also other services like Apple, city parks, and many restaurants are open all day. Sleeping is something you have to plan when visiting New York being surrounded by so many opportunities…
14. Times Square
It’s busy, bright and loud? And the answer is…Times Square! Huge billboards, busy traffic, costumed characters, and flashes coming from every direction make for quite an experience. When you walk in this hectic area you start to understand why New York is called the city that never sleeps.
There is a lot to do around the area; visit the Disney Store, try candy at Hershey’s or the M&M’s Store, visit Madame Tussauds, eat at the Hard Rock Cafe, be amazed at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! or see the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop live if you have the chance. It can feel a little overwhelming at times, so prepare yourself for a lot of craziness bundled into one place. Keep your camera close to make some funny action shots!
Psssst, can’t get enough of NYC?
Check out my Instagram New York story for more behind-the-scenes videos, our favorite food/drinks spots and more!
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