From Broadway shows to Central Park, and Little Italy to the Empire State Building, the Big Apple is a city with so much energy it couldn’t sleep if it tried. As the cosmopolitan capital of business and culture, New York City offers a dizzying array of restaurants, shopping, theatre, museums, art galleries and more.
Shop your way from SoHo to Fifth Avenue, and dedicate afternoons to the Brooklyn Bridge and MoMA. Let Orbitz help you plan your New York City vacation with the best time to go, top attractions and insider gems, including where to shop and dine like a true Gothamist.
New York City is abuzz year-round, meaning the best time to go on a New York City vacation is up to you. If weather is a factor, winters are cold – but it’s the best time to see the famous Christmas tree lighting and ice skate in Rockefeller Center. New Years Eve in Times Square is infamous, so plan well in advance if you plan to brave the celebration.
Fall is spectacular, especially near Central Park when colours and cutting-edge fashions peak. Summers are hot and crowded, especially during Yankees and Mets games. But if cheap rates and fewer crowds are a priority, visit between January (after New Year) and early April.
New York City
New York City is larger than life: in population, in square feet of the five boroughs, in culture and food, in arts and entertainment. Visitors to New York have the world at their fingertips, from Uptown to Downtown and beyond. There’s so much to do and see, no two visits will ever be quite the same. Whether it’s your first visit to Gotham or your fifteenth, these top things to do in New York capture the energy, spirit and style of the city.
Why New York?
Renowned for its incredible dynamism,the city is one of the world’s most exciting cities. Home to venerated restaurants, chic nightspots, cutting-edge theatre and architectural masterpieces, New York City is forever on the cusp of reinvention, its creativity fuelled in no small part by immigrants who hail from every corner of the globe.
The epicentre of New York City life always has been the island of Manhattan, situated on America’s east home, which is home to a fascinating jumble of neighbourhoods, each with its own distinct character. Strolling the city side-walks is the best way to come face to face with the city in all its frenetic diversity, from the bustling, sensory-rich streets of Chinatown to the peaceful, tree-lined lanes of the West Village. North, south and east of the island, are NYC’s four other boroughs – the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island – all of which have their own particular attractions.
New York City is packed with highlights, and it would take a lifetime to see it all. First-time visitors will want to tick off world-class attractions like the Met Museum, the Empire State Building and the Guggenheim, while those who’ve visited Manhattan before should explore the city’s evolving urban landscape, particularly along the park-lined West Side waterfront. A venture out to the boroughs reveals a totally different dimension to the city – whether rooting for the ‘Bronx Bombers’ at Yankee stadium in the Bronx, feasting on Indian cuisine in Jackson Heights, Queens; or taking in the incredible nightlife in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Visiting the city’s iconic sights is only part of the appeal of this burgeoning metropolis. The shimmering lights of Broadway, the jazz clubs of downtown, the indie rock scene of Brooklyn, and highbrow cultural fare at Lincoln Center are all part of the incredibly varied cultural scene. And those more interested in shopping have much to celebrate in New York City, with an astounding collection of colourful boutiques, high-end department stores and edgy shops selling cutting-edge couture. New York City is also a dining mecca, with thousands of restaurants serving up all the world’s cuisines.
Although New York City still remembers the harrowing events of 11 September 2001, it has regained its vitality, and now marches forward to confront the challenges of the future. Symbolic of this was the reopening of the National September 11 Memorial on the 10th anniversary of the attack. Two giant pools, set in the footprints of the former twin towers, feature cascading waterfalls and the names of the 3,000 victims of 9/11. Overhead rises the soaring One World Trade Center, a 104-story skyscraper due for completion in 2014.
Other parts of the city have also seen dramatic makeovers in recent years. Coney Island has opened newly restored amusement parks, which continue to offer high-thrill rides, while still retaining its vintage character right off the boardwalk. Further north, the Brooklyn Bridge Park is substantially expanding green space within the city, adding a series of parks, ball fields and playgrounds between the Brooklyn Bridge and Atlantic Avenue.