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Activities, New York

There is so much to do and discover on New York holidays, thanks to this city’s rich diversity. An exciting adventure awaits you at every corner of NYC, whether you cycle or rollerblade around Central Park, take the Big Apple Helicopter Tour of New York and experience this vibrant city from up above, or hop on a boat tour to the historic Liberty Island.

Big Apple Helicopter Tour of New York

A Big Apple Helicopter Tour of New York is the perfect way to see all of Manhattan’s highlights amongst the skyscrapers, skipping all of the traffic and gliding hundreds of feet up into the air. You’ll pass the extraordinary buildings that make up the most iconic skyline in the world, which will certainly be one of your most memorable moments in New York.

Helicopter rides usually take about 15 minutes, making this activity easy to fit into a busy day of sightseeing. Tours also leave every half hour, so just rock up to the venue when you’ve arranged your booking and hop on board.

The helicopters board five to six people, making this tour perfect for small groups. Even better, while you soar above the skies you’ll receive in-depth commentary about all the famous sights you come across along the way. This is a tremendous introduction to the city, or a fantastic way to sum up your trip, so be sure to take some spectacular snaps of the Big Apple in all its glory.

Boat trips

There are a host of exciting boat tours in New York to keep you occupied, so you can see this incredible city from the water.

Why not take the Harbour Lights cruise? You will set off in the evening and see the glistening lights of New York City, while watching the sunset from the spacious boat. This boat trip is a fabulous way to see the variety of this impressive city, in a short space of time.

Alternatively, the Circle Line is the complete Manhattan cruise, where you will sail all around the island, seeing the iconic waterfront you have seen in countless movies. From the water, you can overlook the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge, while learning about the fascinating facts and history of the area by listening to the tour’s narration.

If you’re looking for something a bit different, take a jazz cruise; relax and have a drink, while listening to some spectacular live music. No matter what your taste, there will be a boat trip in New York tailored to your activity and sightseeing needs.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, like so many other classic movie moments, is possible to live in New York City. You can have breakfast, lunch or dinner at Blue Box Cafe while looking over Central Park and live out the life of Audrey Hepburn’s character, as you yourself become a part of the golden age of movies.

Remember, you will be in the actual Tiffany store, so don’t forget to admire the glistening jewels, rings and sparkling diamonds that are on display, before sitting down for a lavish breakfast. Upon arrival, you will be given a free hot chocolate made with the finest cocoa, so you can take your time perusing the displays and take in the deluxe surroundings.

Enjoy croissants, fresh fruit, granola or waffles with tea or coffee, in an elegant and sophisticated atmosphere, while enjoying the melodic sounds of ‘Moon River’. You will have a whole two hours to leisurely relish your meal before wandering around New York, just make sure you book well before your trip as reservations are highly sought after.

Broadway shows

Are you a theatre buff? Experience the glitz and glamour of showbiz for a night at one of many fantastic Broadway shows in New York. See the shows we all know and love, ranging from The Lion King, Wicked and The Phantom of the Opera, to Chicago.

Everyone gets swept up in the spectacular performances on Broadway, and you’ll even see the bright neon lights and glittering billboards advertising the shows as you wander through Broadway itself. So, get dolled up or pull out your favourite suit, and head over to Broadway for a night you’ll never forget.

Since Broadway shows are so popular, make sure you get your tickets well in advance, unless you plan on picking up some discounted tickets nearer the time. Our top tip? Look out for exclusive VIP tickets to get the best seats in the house, go backstage after the performance and meet the stars in the flesh – a sure way to make your dreams come true.

Central Park

Central Park has acres of lush greenery and woodland right in the heart of New York City; this small oasis is the perfect place to get a breath of fresh air after an exciting day of sightseeing, or a peaceful spot to rest your feet after a productive day of shopping in Times Square.

There are plenty of events and activities to enjoy in the park all year round, from horse and carriage adventures, where you’ll admire the park’s scenery as you trot along the paths on a romantic evening, to ice skating, where you can glide across the popular Wollman Rink and really get into the Christmas spirit.

Central Park is open from early until late, so why not head here and enjoy a picnic on a warm summer’s evening? Or, embark on a refreshing morning walk, which should take you around two hours from one side of the park to the other.

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market is an indoor urban food court and shopping mall in the meatpacking district of Manhattan, just a short walk from the Hudson River. This bustling market is teeming with life, and the stalls have everything you could possibly imagine, from delicious food to arts and crafts and Big Apple souvenirs.

Markets are a great place to catch classic New York culture and meet some of the locals, so make sure you swing by during your trip. Have a stroll around the building where the Oreo was invented and discover the wonders you can find here, like sampling craft ales and wines, or perusing the independent food vendors when you get a little peckish.

Some of the sumptuous foods you can find at the market are raw oysters, burgers, sushi, crepes and a fantastic selection of vegan food, too. The block that the market is housed in is packed with history, so be sure to check out a tour when you venture over here.

City Ice Pavilion

Many people head to New York to skate on the frozen ponds, or pop-up ice rinks in the city during the chillier months because it’s such a romantic and magical time of year. That’s what’s so magical about the City Ice Pavilion; you can glide across the pristine, powdery ice and enjoy the best of a New York winter, at any time of the year.

Ice skating provides a fun-filled day out for travellers of all ages, especially for families. After all, there’s never a dull moment when it comes to navigating your way across the ice, or having a boogie during a disco ice session.

If you’re looking to keep the kids occupied for an afternoon, take them down to this exciting ice rink for a lesson and listen out for their giggles as they learn to dance across the ice. There are plenty of public sessions available during the week, too – just make sure to grab a cup of coffee after you come off the ice to warm back up.

Coney Island Beach

Coney Island is a beach and old-fashioned amusement park in New York, offering thrilling rides, as well as sweet treats and amusements. A visit to Coney Island is the perfect way to escape the city on a sweltering summer’s day, just hop on the subway to go and enjoy the cool breeze from the harbour.

Since World War Two, this beach and amusement park has been the playground of the city, continuing to capture a truly traditional vibe, feeling like an authentic vintage fair. Try riding the Wonder Wheel, The Cyclone, bumper cars or wander through the haunted house for a spooky adventure.

There is plenty to do in the offseason, too. On the island, you can find the New York Aquarium and an ice-skating rink, or you can even go and watch some baseball while you munch on candyfloss. Make sure you catch the Wild Mermaid Parade, or get some classic New York food at Nathan’s Famous hot dog stand located here.

Museum of the Moving Image

The Museum of the Moving Image in New York is a must-see for movie and television buffs alike, where travellers can find out all the behind-the-scenes stories and gossip about their favourite films, and discover exactly how they were originally made.

Image source: Flickr. Copyright Rosa Menkman

The main exhibition here, ‘Behind the Screen’ looks at the creative process of moving images, as well as plenty of other exhibitions and installations you can wander through, including The Jim Henson Exhibition. It’s also a great place to grab some popcorn and catch a film, screening over 400 per year, hosting events where directors and producers share their inside knowledge on the film industry if you really want to get stuck in.

This fascinating museum opens early and doesn’t close until the late afternoon, even on weekends; providing an affordable and fun afternoon out for everyone. So, after you’ve had your pancakes and a cup of joe, head down to the movie museum.

New York City Bus Tours

With New York City bus tours, you will certainly be spoilt for choice, thanks to the countless services available, each offering a unique twist when it comes to sightseeing adventures.

Book onto a ride with Brooklyn Tours – a Brooklyn based bus tour company offering authentic insights into the favourite foods, neighbourhoods, landmarks and movie locations in the Manhattan borough. Each trip with Brooklyn Tours is conducted by guides local to the area, providing a real-life insight into Brooklyn life. The tour guides will organise food tasting tours, for you to enjoy, as well as taking you to see the magical Christmas light display.

Alternatively, The Ride is a unique and immersive multimedia sightseeing tour, with stadium-style seating and floor-to-ceiling windows. This tour offers travellers the chance to overlook downtown Manhattan and relive the historical moments that happened here once upon a time.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed bus tour, opt for the Big Bus New York Hop-On Hop-Off Tour, where you can see all of the city’s most celebrated sights at your own pace.



Nitehawk Cinema

Nitehawk Cinema will not only have you captivated while you munch on popcorn, but it also offers a state-of-the-art cinema experience, where you can enjoy dinner and drinks while watching the latest blockbusters, new releases and classics.

For film buffs, Nitehawk has a host of events, including Q and A sessions, as well as discussions with New York filmmakers. All screenings start with a house-made 30-minute ‘pre-show’, inspired by the movie you’re about to see, making this an incredible and all-round movie experience.

This cinema also goes above and beyond when it comes to serving food during the latest flicks, so you can expect a speciality menu with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, inspired by the very movies that you’re about to watch. Whether you like superheroes, action-adventure, or international wonders, there will be a mouth-watering meal to suit your tastes.

So, if you’re looking for a change of scenery during your New York City holiday, head over to Nitehawk Cinema for a night to remember.

Shopping in SoHo

SoHo, the famous neighbourhood in Lower Manhattan is a melting pot of fun bars, boutiques and vintage stores, sprinkled with cultural curiosities and fascinating art galleries.

Wander around the streets and feel like you’re in a classic New York movie set, which will work wonders for your holiday snaps. This fashion hub has plenty for you to explore, from its well-known chains to quirky and independent clothes stores. In fact, SoHo has everything – from Chanel and Louis Vuitton, to stores with alternative fashion like Counter-Cultural and Pre-Loved Duds. Plus, make sure you check out Reading Material if you fancy a good book.

The food is also mouth-wateringly spectacular here, too – especially the Italian sandwiches at Alidoro, Mediterranean food at Shuka and the Indian bites at the Bombay Bread Bar.

Alternatively, rock up to any of the trendy cocktail bars here and enjoy an array of classic New York drinks at happy hour, or shop until you drop at the designer stores in the neighbourhood.

Spas

There is an abundance of soothing spas in New York to choose from, and a little relaxation and pampering is just what you need after being on your feet all day, seeing the fabulous sights of the city.

Aire Ancient Baths has an exquisite atmosphere that feels ancient and authentic, with its dark lighting, candlelit surroundings and secluded aura – it’s more like a Roman bath than a spa in New York. Enjoy an argan oil massage to loosen up, or simply enjoy the salt, jet and plunge pools.

Why not try Allure Day Spa? The one-stop convenience for all kinds of relaxation and beauty treatments, ranging from facials, to a host of massage treatments. Beautification is also a speciality here, meaning you can get your hair coloured or styled during your trip over.

Not forgetting Thai Massage NYC, providing a spiritual take on your usual spa experience, with restorative and energising massages. Treatments here aim to work on your pressure points, using deep tissue reflexology techniques to create a custom massage tailored to you.

Staten Island Ferry

Everyone loves a boat ride, sitting on the deck feeling the wind in your hair and watching the world slowly pass by from the comfort of your seat, all which you can experience on the Staten Island Ferry.

A trip on the Staten Island Ferry is one of the best ways to marvel at the towering Statue of Liberty, while sailing past the classic cityscape of the Big Apple from the bobbing waters of the Hudson River. The ferry travels between St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island and Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan. You can catch this service every half hour, which is perfect when it comes to travelling from one site to another.

Staten Island itself has a diverse mix of things to do and see and is one of the less touristy boroughs in the city, if you’re looking for an adventure. Check out the Museum of Tibetan Art, one of the country’s most extensive collections of Himalayan artefacts, housed in a spectacular monastery-style building.

Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock, at The Rockefeller Centre, is the most exciting place to see New York’s breathtaking skyline, as you peer out onto the enormous skyscrapers surrounding you.

Visit the place where superheroes fly through the air, as you shoot 850-feet up into the sky. Seeing the city from this unique viewpoint makes you feel like your gliding along in a long shot for a movie; you’re smack bang in the middle of the action.

You can find the entrance within the Rockefeller Center, located on 50th street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue. Plus, there are plenty of different tour ticket options available, including a Sun and Stars pass which lets you visit twice in 24 hours, to see the night sky lit up by New York’s dazzling lights, as well as a chance to view the stunning sunset, too.

From the 67th, 69th and 70th floors you will be astounded by the spectacular 360-degree view of the whole of New York.