I always had a dream to head to New York City. Being slightly obsessed with musicals and theatre generally, I was dazzled by the bright lights of Broadway and inspired by the glossy movies I had grown up on, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Once Upon a Time in America and Guys & Dolls to name a few.
So in my 20s I made it my ambition to go there for my 30th birthday. In 2011, two week's before Christmas, my boyfriend (now husband) and I landed at JFK, and as we headed towards Manhattan in a classic yellow cab I had butterflies in my tummy and instantly knew New York would not disappoint. Since then it has become our celebration city having marked special birthdays and getting engaged in Central Park. Yes ladies, he spoilt me with a little blue box from Tiffany!
There is a buzz in the city like no other and this is probably why I love it so much. Being someone who thrives on both history and culture I lap it all up and no two trips have ever been the same. We've seen the sights, shopped, discovered fantastic bars and restuarants, watched shows and visited museums, and none of it ever gets old. The city entices us back again, and again.
There is so much to see and do, it can almost become overwhelming, so if you plan to visit then these are my 5 must do activities:
1. See Times Square at Night
To me Times Square screams New York. The hussle and bustle, the bright lights and a hub of popular culture from Broadway theatre, fast food, street entertainment, shopping and restuarants. To get the real experience see it in all its glory after the sun has gone down!
2. Top of the Rock
Most people head up the Empire State Building but personally I think the top of the Rockefeller Center provides you with the best 360° views of the city! Plus you will the be able to see the Empire State Building which is pretty impressive in itself.
3. 9/11 Memorial and Museum
I'll admit visiting Ground Zero really hit me hard emotionally but it is something I am really glad I did. I felt a strong pull to pay respect to those lost. I genuinely don't think I really appreciated the scale and impact this had on the city until I visited the site and saw the evidence with my own eyes.
4. Central Park
Whether its glorious sunshine, or covered in snow Central Park is a beauty spot like no other. There's lots to see and do including a zoo, boating lakes, plus many famous statues and memorials. Once you are in this vast park you'll hardly believe you're in the centre of a busy city.
5. 5th Avenue
You knew I'd say it! Make sure you hit the shops... there is so many stores to choose from and even if you're just windows shopping the displays will blow you away. If you are looking to treat yourself to a bargain then take your passport to customer service in both Macys and Blommingdale and they'll give you a visitor discount card of at least 10%. Perfect for us shopafrolics!
...if you ask me again next week these 5 activities will probably change but that's the beauty of the city. You can experience something different every day. Best get planning my next trip!