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first trip to NYC

9 Places to Visit On Your First Trip to NYC

Is this your first trip to NYC? You’re not alone. Hundreds of thousands of first-time visitors take a trip to New York every day. 


If you’re traveling to the “Big Apple” for the first time and don’t know where to start, don’t worry: we’re going to give you 9 of the best places to explore on your first trip to NYC.


Ideally, your first trip to NYC should be filled with all the major attractions of New York City, but what about the ones that attract even the locals? 

New York City is a huge place in a small space and not knowing where to start planning a trip is more than normal. That’s why we want to help you with this task. Also, if you need more information about the city, we recommend you visit the website

first trip to NYC
Climb the Top of the Rock

First on our list of places to explore on a first trip to NYC is “The Rock.” The Top of the Rock is the panoramic viewpoint of Rockefeller Center. It is over 850 feet high and has two different terraces: one on the 69th floor and the other on the 70th floor.


From up there, falling in love with New York is inevitable: with the city at your feet (literally), feeling a lot of emotions mixed with the normal vertigo of that height, you will quickly realize why it is one of the most spectacular cities in the world!

first trip to NYC, central park
Stroll through Central Park

Next on our list of ideas for your trip to New York is a visit to Central Park. How many times have you seen Central Park from home? Practically every movie filmed in New York (and there are quite a few) has a scene in this incredible park, the green lung of Manhattan.


So, when you finally enter its zigzagging paths, you’ll feel like you’re in a familiar place. Make the most of your visit to see two of New York’s most spectacular museums: the Museum of Natural History and the MET.

first trip to NYC
Cross the Brooklyn Bridge

You just have to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. If this is your first trip to NYC, you can’t miss this, especially if it’s a nice day outside.


Brooklyn is one of the 5 boroughs that make up New York City (along with Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island), and personally, it is one of our favs!

This walk will take you just over 1 mile to cross the Hudson River from Brooklyn into to Lower Manhattan. Don’t be in a hurry, the views over the bridge are breathtaking. It’s definitely in the top 3 places to visit in New York.

first trip to NYC, the high line
Walk the High Line

The High Line is a must. You’ll be sure to add some amazing pics to your camera roll from your first trip to NYC by taking a gander here.


This urban park has taken advantage of the elevated tracks of an old train line to create green spaces and art galleries accessible to everyone (and a few other surprises).


Along its walk, you can enjoy privileged views over the Chelsea and Meatpacking Districts, as well as the pleasure of being surrounded by nature in the middle of a “jungle of steel.”

first trip to NYC
Enjoy the Lights at Times Square

What’s a first trip to NYC without a visit to the world-famous Times Square?


Times Square is a world of lights and neon that never stops. No matter what time you go, you’ll find an amazing bustle of life.


We suggest you make two visits: one in broad daylight and the other when night falls and Times Square brings out its most impressive luminous costume.

And what better way to cap off a great day? You’re in the Theatre District so don’t miss one of the great Broadway musicals.

first trip to NYC
Take the Staten Island Ferry

There are two good reasons to take the ferry to Staten Island: firstly, the views, first of Lower Manhattan receding as the ferry moves along its route, and then of the Statue of Liberty to your left as it gets closer and bigger. 


The other reason is that from start to finish it’s a very NYC experience. If you want to experience New York City like a local.

Join the Contrasts Tour

For us, this is one of the most interesting tours of the whole trip and one of the essential things to do in New York. The reason is simple: in half a day you’ll get to know the different neighborhoods of New York because it’s clear that NYC is not just Manhattan!


This tour takes you on a visit to the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. All these places are just as much part of the city as Manhattan itself. 


For your first trip to NYC, you’re really going to return home full of knowledge about this iconic destination just by exploring these neighborhoods. And what better way than with a guided tour?

first trip to NYC

Walk Through the West Village

Your trip to New York wouldn’t be complete without exploring the West Village. This is one of the most characteristic neighborhoods with the most personality in all of Manhattan, and you just can’t miss it.


Here you can see the Friends building, Carrie’s house from Sex and the City, sample some of the city’s best pizza and bagels, enjoy Buskers in Washington Square, have a beer in legendary pubs, and much more.

first trip to NYC
Spend Sunday in Harlem

If your trip to New York falls on a Sunday, make a note of the great plan we’re about to share with you.


First, you’ll need to get up very early because you’ll have to be at church early. You’ll be attending a gospel mass which is a unique experience.


After singing, dancing and maybe a few tears (it’s very emotional) you’ll want to brunch at one of Harlem’s many soul food restaurants where you’ll find southern cuisine, lovingly prepared and finger-licking good!


Our recommendation: waffles and fried chicken, you won’t regret it.


Now that you’ve got a few tips from us on how to plan your first trip to NYC, the only other question to ask yourself is which one you’ll do first! With so many ways to experience the local culture on a trip to New York, you might find this task daunting. Whatever you choose, be sure to take the Subway!

Christa Thompson

Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

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