Here at Carlson Wagonlit Travel/Stewart Tours we are passionate about travel! We eat, sleep, and breathe travel and will talk about it with anyone who will listen.

While we all love travel, normally our favourite destinations and places to stay are as individual as we are. There is only one place we all agree on…….a place where we think everyone should visit at least once in their lives……New York City!

We asked our agents to share with us their top picks for places to see and things to do when visiting the Big Apple. From their responses we have compiled this handy dandy list for your perusal.

nyc-metropolitan-museum1. Metropolitan Museum of Art – a.k.a. The Met 

The Met presents over 5,000 years of art spanning all cultures and time periods. The Met is huge but you will never see a collection like this anywhere else. Since the Museum opened its doors to the public in its current location in Central Park in 1880, its footprint has expanded to cover more than two million square feet. Because of its size you will need to plan your visit. Thankfully the Met has some great maps and tools on their website to help.

2. Times Square

?Times Square is one of the most popular commercial intersections in the world! More than a third of a million people pass through iconic Times Square NYC every day. It is know for its neon signs & giant billboards, along with Broadway Shows, great food, and entertainment. This is also where the New Years Eve ball drops every year (and most recently where Mariah Carey gave her ‘memorable’ New Year’s Eve performance). Times Square has been featured so much in television and movies – even if you’ve never been there before – you will recognize it.   It is a fabulous place to people watch and you never know what you will see. There is also a discount ticket booth in the heart of the square where you can choose from a wide array of Broadway/Off Broadway shows at 20% – 50% off regular prices for same day performances.

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3. Central Park

Central Park is one of the loveliest parts of NYC. It is an oasis within the city. It is very peaceful and has a number of iconic sites from television and movies. Here you can see the ‘Friends Fountain’, Bethesda Terrace with the famous Bethesda Fountain, The Mall (a.k.a. the Promenade), the Wollmann Skating Rink, and the view of the famous 19 storey Plaza Hotel. Central Park is lovely to walk through but is quite large. A nice way to see the sights is to hire a horse drawn carriage. For John Lennon fans – you can visit Strawberry Fields, an area dedicated to John Lennon after his death. This area serves as a tribute to John. Also from this side of the Park you can see the Dakota – the building where John and Yoko lived (and Yoko continues to live).

14581454_10157576886650436_9067020260995402823_n4. Seeing NYC from the sky

Both the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center) have phenomenal views of the city. You really can’t go wrong with either one but each has their own benefits. The Empire State Building is one of the most recognizable buildings and is a symbol for New York City. The views of the city are spectacular and the building is higher than any other observation deck at about 1200 feet. Typically the lines are longer here, but it is totally worth the wait. Late hours also offer tourists the opportunity to view stunning sunsets and see the city come alive at night. Additionally, premium tickets are available for purchase so you are able to cut the line.

Top of the Rock has a spectacular view and though not as tall as the Empire State Building, it has a view of Central park that cannot be matched. It also gives a great view of the Empire State Building. Rockefeller Center is where many popular shows are taped (SNL, Jimmy Fallon, etc.), and there is an NBC Studio Tour you can take where you see the sets for various shows. There are lots of places to shop nearby and depending on time of year, you can rent skates and try out the iconic ice rink in front of Rockefeller Center.

20160730_194135-2 5. 9/11 Memorial

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum, located at the World Trade Center, honors the 2,983 people killed in the attacks of September 11, 2001 and 6 killed on February 26, 1993. The Memorial consists of two reflecting pools set in the footprints of the Twin Towers and a plaza of trees, including the Survivor Tree. The Museum tells the story of the events of 9/11 through artifacts that range in scale from the monumental to the intimate, while presenting stories of loss, compassion, reckoning and recovery. This is an event in history that none of us will forget and it can be quite emotional and overwhelming to see in person.

highline6. The High Line

Once a railroad track carrying freight trains, this elevated space – running from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street – has been transformed into a wonderful retreat from the hubbub of the city. It is a long, landscaped ‘walking park’ with plants, curving walkways, picnic tables and benches, public art installations, and views of the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline.

 

7. Seeing the NYC Skyline by sea

Another great way to take in the New York City Skyline is from the water. There are a few companies that offer various cruises with different things included depending on what you are interested in seeing (Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, NYC Skyline, etc.). They do a fantastic job and it is definitely a highlight to actually climb the interior of Lady Liberty and to visit Ellis Island. If you are satisfied to view landmarks from the water, one of our favourite ways to do this is on the Staten Island Ferry. The Staten Island Ferry is one of the last remaining vestiges of an entire ferry system in New York City that transported people between Manhattan and its future boroughs long before any bridges were built. It has a great view of the skyline and best of all the Staten Island Ferry is FREE!!

8. Attending a taping of Live with Kelly when your nephew is the co-host!dana

Many of you know that this fall, Scott & Dana’s (the owners of our business) nephew Richard Curtis competed in a contest to win the opportunity to co-host with Kelly Ripa on Live with Kelly for the day. He blew away the competition and not only co-hosted for the day, but has been invited back to co-host 5 additional shows. We thank everyone who has been rooting for him and showing him love on social media. Media sites have been buzzing about the possibility of him being seriously considered as permanent co-host….here’s hoping! Dana and Alyson (Scott’s wife) were lucky enough to be able to attend one of the shows he was co-hosting in November.

woody9. The FOOD & walking through the neighbourhoods

The food in New York City is incredible. Where else can you find so many different cuisines from around the world in one place?! New York City is also a very walkable city, and in my opinion this is the BEST way to see it. I always make sure to bring a good pair of running shoes and will start at the bottom of Manhattan (Battery Park) and work my way up through the neighbourhoods. I use this as an opportunity to sample different foods that NYC is known for. You do have to detour a little bit to hit the some of the neighbourhoods, but it’s a good way to work off some calories :) Some of my favourite past stops that won’t break the bank have been for pizza in the West Village (John’s of Bleecker Street is SO SO good….they still use coal fired ovens and have been in biz since 1929), dumplings in Chinatown (my personal fave is Tasty Dumpling….seriously the best I’ve ever had), and corned beef/pastrami sandwiches in Greenwich Village (Katz’s Deli is amazing and has been in business since 1888…..ALSO where the famous ‘When Harry met Sally’ scene was filmed).

Brooklyn Bridge

10. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is beautiful any time of day, but sunset in particular is gorgeous. Here you can take in views of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Statue of Liberty while watching the lights of the city come on. To get across the bridge you are looking at about 45 minutes per direction at a moderate pace.  It can get a bit breezy so bring a jacket. Look for the large collection of ‘love locks’ near the Manhattan Tower of the bridge! Couples leave padlocks on the bridge and throw the keys into the river as a show of everlasting love.

If you’ve never been to NYC and have always wanted to go, now is your chance!

We are flying direct from the Peterborough Airport this coming April (27th to 30th). We will be staying in Times Square just steps from the Theatre District and within walking distance from Central Park.

For more info click here: http://www.carlsonwagonlit.net/nyc/