The iconic New York City skyline

From Broadway to Brooklyn, New York is a city that really does have it all. Fast-paced, vibrant and bursting with attractions, you'll need plenty of stamina to soak up the best of the Big Apple.


First-timers: Nothing says New York like the humble bagel and you can’t go to the Big Apple without tucking into one of the city’s finest culinary inventions.  For the ultimate bagel experience, head to Katz's (205 East Houston Street), a classic New York deli, famous for the infamous ‘orgasm’ scene in When Harry Met Sally. Order either a pastrami sandwich or a bagel with cream cheese and lox (salmon). Also worth checking out is Ess-a-Bagel (359 First Avenue). A proper old-fashioned New York deli, you’ll find bagels in every flavour imaginable and plenty of good, strong coffee to wash it down with. Brooklyn’s bagel emporium, Bagel Hole (400 Seventh Avenue) is also a good bet.

NYC loxA traditional New York bagel is a must for breakfast
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Old hands: Known locally as ‘the Village’, Greenwich Village is New York’s Bohemian heart and the perfect place for an early morning wander. Bordered by Broadway and the Hudson River, the Village is packed with pretty, old fashioned Brownstone houses and scores of offbeat little restaurants, shops and art galleries. It’s also home to plenty of A-listers, including Emma Stone, Uma Thurman and Edward Norton, so great for a side helping of star spotting with your morning latte.


First-timers: After you’ve filled up on bagels, you need to get to grips with the scale of New York and for that, nothing beats the Empire State Building (350 5th Avenue). One of New York’s most iconic buildings, it has played a starring role in hundreds of films including King Kong, West Side Story and Home Alone 2. Follow in Macauley Culkin’s footsteps by heading up to the observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors for an unbeatable city view. While it’s brilliant in the morning, it’s also wonderfully romantic after dark when a saxophonist takes up residence on the 86th floor.

NYC empireThe Empire State building looms over the city
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Old hands: Brunch is a weekend institution in the Big Apple and if you’re there on a Saturday, you’d be crazy to miss it. The ultimate brunch is to be found at The Essex (120 Essex Street), where for $23, you get a hearty helping of food and three (alcoholic) drinks. Try the Eggs Benedict, washed down with three Bloody Mary’s. Also worth checking out is the Shake Shack (366 Columbus Avenue) near Madison Square Park. The queue is usually around 15 minutes long, but the best burger, shake and fries in New York is well worth the wait.


First-timers: After the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, the most famous spot in a city is Central Park (Manhattan). Start at the Reservoir and the John Lennon Imagine Memorial (Central Park West and 72nd Street) and walk to Belvedere ‘Castle’ via the Rambles over Bow Bridge, past Bethesda Fountain and exit through the Mall. The castle is actually an interesting Victorian folly on top of Vista Rock, which contains the Henry Luce Observatory, numerous natural history exhibitions and fabulous views of the surrounding park. Central Park also offers plenty of seasonal fun, ranging from a mobile ice rink in winter to ‘Shakespeare in the Park’, a series of outdoor summer plays.

NYC parkStroll through beautiful Central Park
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Old hands:  Despite the weakened pound, it’s still considerably cheaper to shop here than London. While the glittering boutiques and department stores of Fifth Avenue are the most famous, for a real New York shopping experience, head to Soho. The side streets just off Broadway, especially Prince and Spring streets, are a real treasure trove of vintage fashion and eccentric emporia. The Evolution Store (120 Spring Street) is especially brilliant and sells natural history curios of the sort usually found only in museums.


First-timers:  New York’s claim to theatrical fame centres on Broadway. Expect West End productions - think Chicago, the Lion King and so on – but the smaller theatres are brilliant for enjoying local talent. If you prefer something erudite, check out The Book of Mormon at the Eugene O’Neill Theater (230 West 49th Street) or Dead Accounts at the Music Box Theater (249 West 45th Street), starring Katie Holmes. After the play, head to nearby Restaurant Row. Top picks include the wonderfully kitsch Russian themed restaurant, FireBird (365 West 46th Street) and Bourbon Street (346 West 46th Street), which specialises in hearty Deep South fare.

NYC broadwayEnjoy a Broadway musical
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Old hands: Do you like oysters? Do you like absinthe? If the answer to both of those questions is yes, then Brooklyn’s Maison Premiere (298 Bedford Avenue) is for you. A sexy ‘Old New Orleans’ styled drinking den, highlights include the opulent decor and the bargainous dollar-an-oyster happy hour. Also worth a visit are the King Cole Bar (2 East 55th Street) and the Campbell Apartment (89 East 42nd Street), both closer to the city centre. If you’re after something more lively, catch a gig at one of New York’s brilliant live venues. Try the Bowery Ballroom (6 Delancey Street), which hosts a huge range of acts, including classical, indie and jazz. Also excellent is The Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) in Brooklyn, which is the best spot for dancing the night away.

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