To say I love New York is an understatement. I've made at least one visit every year since my first trip back in 2013. New York City will always hold a special place in my heart. I love the way the sun illuminates the streets, the shapes of the buildings, the taste of the food, taking the subway, the energy of the people, the beat of the city... there's just something about NYC.


So here's my list, favourite things to do in NYC:

1. Snap a picture of the Empire state building

This might seem super basic, but it's a tip that is often overlooked: The Empire state building is magnificent and quintessential New York. However, you cannot take a picture of this beautiful building, while standing on said building. If you want to check out the skyline from up above, I prefer the Top of the Rock (the Rockefeller building). It's a beautiful view of the Empire State Building, but not so much of the Chrysler Building (my personal favourite).  I also love the skyline from across the East River: Roosevelt island or even from Brooklyn Bridge park / Dumbo / Jane's carousel (that area). Beautiful views. Totally instagramable.


2. Take the subway

Coming from a Torontonian taking the subway in NYC sounds daunting. But there's only three things you need: First, an offline subway map (For when your wifi signal cuts out). Secondly, just remember "downtown" is towards Brooklyn and "uptown" is towards Manhattan. It sounds silly, but it's a big misconception that everything touristy happens downtown.  Third, the big white circles on your map are express stations. Express trains will only stop at these locations and only pick up at these stations. 

Now, I'm not going to glamorize the subway. It's not going to be clean and it's not going to be pretty, but it's a cheap and convenient way to see the city. I love watching the street performers underground. Sometimes there is some wicked talent down there. Also, if you're looking for a "scenic" way to get to Queens, the m train goes above ground and is really pretty around golden hour. 

3. Have brunch

New York City does brunch like no other. If I'm in on a weekend, you know I'm brunching on Sunday and definitely trying to brunch on Saturday. #thebest I have yet to be disappointed and there are so many options. The first time, We randomly stumbled into this place called Jane's. I still dream of the gnocchi from there - It was light, fluffy and drool-worthy. But the moral of the story is Brunch almost everywhere is amazing.


4. Central park

Central park is touristy, yes I know, but even still it's beautiful. Don't be basic and just venture in towards "The pond" an call it a day. (I do this all the time when I'm being lazy). Make things interesting by finding Bethesda fountain (The place where Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis hang out in friends with benefits). Bike across the park or rent a row boat from the Loeb Boathouse and then be all cute and stuff. There are so many things to do in the park!

6. Visit the shops

Whether you have the money to drop or not. Shopping / window shopping in Manhattan is an experience. The stores are beautifully designed and the architecture is sometimes amazing. The buildings in SOHO are unique in that they are usually historic cast iron. While 5th avenue's shops (even though they are the same brands / designers) have extravagant store fronts and interiors. If you do plan on spending a pretty penny, the selection is wonderful. Even stores like forever 21 carry things I would never find back home (ie. special collections). Shopping on 34th street I have found is less busy, but everywhere in Manhattan is going to be a little more crowded. Funfact: 34th street is also home to the Macy's flagship store where the Macy's day parade is held.

7. Go see something!

There are so many things to see in New York. If you're a sportsfan then you have many options. NYC has a lot of home teams for basketball, baseball, football and hockey. I would personally love to go see a Yankees game and also a Knicks game just to say that I've been. Hopefully when that happens they'll be playing the Jays / Raptors. That would be perfect! Last year Melissa and I went to see this immersive theater performance called "Sleep No More". It's an adaptation of Macbeth that takes place in the 1930's. The audience is silent and moves with the actors. No one will ever get the same experience and you will never see the same "play" twice. It's both a show, a treasure hunt and a work out all in one. It was phenomenal. You can never go wrong with a Broadway show. There are so many to choose from and all very well done. There are also live tapings that happen in New York. Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Good Morning America are just a few.

Check out some of my NYC adventures: