Published — Wednesday 10 October 2012
Last update 10 October 2012 7:49 am
New York City has something for everyone in your family: The bright lights, the hustle and bustle of yellow taxicabs and pedestrians, the famous sites we all know through films and TV series... The subway (underground train service) is a convenient and economical transportation to utilize while staying in NYC. The city is a melting pot of cultures but each is defined and unique. There are pockets of areas around the city that are neighborhood countries from Little Italy to China Town. Arab News came up with 17 must-see places in the Big Apple but of course the city has much more to offer.
In the center of Manhattan, the island that houses a large part of the city, you’ll find Central Park. It is often referred to as New York City’s back yard and it is one of the safest places to meet with family and friends. Among the favorite attractions here is the lake. In the winter months the lake transforms into a beautiful ice rink. During summer you can rent little boats. You can also take a romantic horse and carriage ride around the park and horses and bicycles are also available for riding.
The American Museum of Natural History is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world and its right across the street from Central Park. Be prepared to spend a good few hours here as it’s packed with oversized rooms full the most amazing collections from full size dinosaur bones to Egyptian mummies. The museum averages over 5 million visitors every year. The Hayden Planetarium is located here too and that is worth checking out. The kids will enjoy the show in the dark, looking up at the stars and planets and learning about astrophysics.
The Guggenheim Museum is steps away from the American Museum. It’s definitely more fun for adults than children as the environment is quieter. The Guggenheim is famous for its international art collection and also for the circular architectural design of the building.
Treat your children to a visit to the world famous Bronx Zoo, wildlife conservation society. It is the largest and most famous zoo in New York City, featuring more than 4,000 animals. We recommend you go early (it opens at 10 a.m.) as this is a very popular attraction.
The Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum is a fun interactive museum aboard the real USS Intrepid aircraft carrier – used during World War II – and a submarine. It is located on the Pier. The kids can run around the workings of a real aircraft carrier and get to play with simulation equipment. It is one of America’s leading historic, cultural and educational institutions. Opened in 1982, the museum has welcomed more than 10 million visitors.
South Sea Street Port
At South Sea Street Port on Fulton Street are often times live musical events and live art as you stroll along the stores by the Pier. Take a water taxi here or a shuttle to watch the Manhattan skyline from the sea and observe the large ships docked nearby. You can visit the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse here too. It’s a very up-to-date tourist mall with a great variety of food, shopping and nightlife. A great bonus here is the magnificent view of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Frozen hot chocolate
Serendipity’s is a famous ice cream and desert café on E60th Street that the kids will love. It’s known for its quaint interior décor and most of all its world famous frozen hot chocolate. Tom Cruise is often spotted here and it’s open until midnight.
If retail therapy is your thing, Gucci, Bergdorf Goodman’s, Barneys, Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Ave are there to cater for your every need. These stores are all renown for very high-end fine clothing. Century 21 is a large home furnishing store that is very modern and features thousands of fashionable items. Macy’s store on 34th street takes up an entire block and is several stories high. The NBA store and Niketown would be great stores for the sports fan teen to check out. Local boutiques are very popular in New York and many people come to the city just to check Broadway Street’s fashion.
New Yorkers love the traditional customs of living in the city, for instance by enjoying a toasted bagel in the morning with a cup of coffee. The best places to get a good one are Absolute Bagels or H & H Bagels. Their bagels are not huge like some these days, but they are always hot and baked to perfection.
Make your trip memorable and visit the Empire State Building in the heart of the city. The observation deck has amazing views of the outer neighborhoods of the city: Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. Many movies featured the Empire State Building, the most memorable of which is King Kong.
Would you like to take a trip to Italy while in New York? No need to take a plane, just visit Little Italy on Mulberry Street. Carmine’s Restaurant on 44th street is a legendary family restaurant that opened in 1966. During the summer this part of the city celebrates the big San Genaro Festival. Have a traditional cup of espresso or authentic cappuccino and give the kids some fresh homemade Italian gelato. Fresh Mozzarella and some freshly made cannoli are such a treat in Little Italy. The standard pizza gets upgraded to a delicious pizza Margarita and the fresh pasta just melts in your mouth.
Within walking distance from Littly Italy you’ll find China Town. This is a great place for shopping and to eat Chinese food. Street vendors are everywhere and they love to negotiate and bargain prices. Visitors mostly come to Canal Street to find brand name items at a lesser price. Local celebration or festivals provide genuine feasts for the eye, from dragon costumes to fireworks and music.
Statue of Liberty
The best way to visit the Statue of Liberty is to take the Circle Line Ferry Boat that leaves from Battery Park. You can see both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The stairs inside the statue take you right up right to the crown on her head.
For the teens in your group a helicopter tour should be really exciting. Manhattan Helicopters Sightseeing Tours are the perfect way to experience breathtaking panoramic views of popular landmarks. A 15-minute helicopter tour of Manhattan will cost about $145 (SR 545).
Times Square is often referred to as the crossroads of the world. It is a major commercial intersection in Midtown NYC between Broadway and 7th Ave from W42nd Street to W47th Street. If you want to see a Broadway show in the evening, this is the perfect place to go. Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables ran for many years in Time Square delighting so many international visitors. There are over 39 million visitors to Time Square every year. Introduce your children to The Lion King, Wicked and The Musical. The streets here are very busy and if you have smaller children it’s probably better to go during the day and avoid the evening rush. Time Square is also the location of the New Years Eve Ball drop count down. Millions of people around the world watch this.
Opera and ballet
Lincoln Center for Performing Arts and The Metropolitan Opera House are great places to visit if you have a love for performance arts. The Metropolitan Opera is the largest classical music organization in North America. “The Met”, as it is commonly referred to, presents about 27 operas per season, which lasts from late September through May. To see an opera or a ballet in these magnificent buildings is something so memorable that you will be talking about this visit for years to come. New York City knows how to put on a show.
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