There’s no denying that New York City is one of the most breathtaking places to be during the fall and winter time. We’ve all marveled at those foliage filled trees reflecting against the Hudson river in the fall, or those snow covered carriages in Central Park during the cold December months. The possibilities are endless when it comes to sightseeing on your upcoming trip to NYC. We all know the classic stops; Central Park, Times Square, Broadway shows, endless stores and restaurants, and of course the Statue of Liberty. All those places are beautiful, but they are’t all that this humongous city has to offer. To help you start finding your go-to stops, I’ve rounded up a list of 20 unique places as well as the classic locations that you should visit on your next trip to New York City.
1. Marilyn Monroe’s Subway Grate
That’s no studio set! On September 15th, 1954 at 1:00 in the morning, Marilyn Monroe was on the corner of Lexington Ave & East 5th street filming The Seven Year Itch. This scene quickly became the most well known scene of Marilyn’s, as she was filmed laughing as the subway grate blasted air, blowing her skirt above her waist. Though this location isn’t really an attraction, it definitely makes for a good photo op!
2. The Sea Glass Carousel (Battery Park)
Located in Manhattans Battery Park, this Sea Glass Carousel stands on top of the former grounds of The New York Aquarium. The Aquarium in Battery Park closed in 1941, and relocated to the Coney Island boardwalk in 1957. When the carousel was being designed, it was a key point that the attraction must bring light into the park, and must pay homage to the original aquarium grounds. Between the glowing fish shaped carousel seats, sea visuals and sounds, I’d certainly say they paid it the proper respect! Carousel rides last 3 minutes, and cost $5. The Sea Glass Carousel is open 7 days a week, from 10AM-10PM (as weather permits) If you’d like to read more about the Sea Glass Carousel or Battery Park in general, click here.
source: Sea Glass Carousel
3. The Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is potentially the most spectacular zoo I have ever seen. The zoo holds 650 different species of animals throughout 19 different exhibits, and in total, there are over 4,000 animals located throughout this zoo. The Bronx Zoo is open from 10am-5pm daily, but just a heads up; the animal exhibits do close 30 minutes earlier then the zoo itself! In addition to the thousands of surrounding animals, the zoo is also home to a 4-D theater, a bug-themed carousel, camel rides and penguin or sea lion feedings. Click here to check the website for exact times and days for each activity, as the schedule varies day to day. If you’re looking for a fun way to kill 3 or 4 hours in the city, be sure to visit The Bronx Zoo located at 2300 Southern Boulevard.
4. Graffiti Hall of Fame
The Graffiti Hall of Fame is located on the walls of the Jackie Robinson Educational Complex’s schoolyard (built int 1980). The purpose of the Graffiti Hall of Fame is to highlight different artists talents by giving them a platform that will be seen, and will be legal. Many times graffiti artists are showcasing their art on random buildings, making their art hard to be preserved and potentially leading them to serious legal trouble. The Graffiti Hall of Fame helps artists to ensure that they have a free place to display their talents, and create some amazing murals as a group. Personally, I love art-and when I can find art in a public place-it’s even better! If you feel the same way, I would seriously suggest checking out The Graffiti Hall of Fame located at 106th street and Park Ave in East Harlem.
5. Strawberry Fields Memorial (Central Park)
The Strawberry Fields Memorial is a mosaic reading ‘IMAGINE’ in tribute to John Lennon of the Beatles, who was fatally shot outside of his apartment building, The Dakota. On March 26th, 1981, the mosaic was constructed to commemorate Lennon’s life and help spread some of the positive messages on peace. Located in the heart of Central Park, this mosaic tribute is a must see. To learn more about this John Lennon tribute or Central park in general click here.
Source: Central Park
6. Brooklyn Bridge Love Locks
First made popular in France, love lock bridges have become a widespread way for couples to show their eternal love for one another. Unfortunately, many bridges are not stable enough hold all of the heavy locks without doing serious damage to the structure, so the locks are frequently removed through the week. If you’re thinking about visiting the Brooklyn Bridge love locks and adding a lock of your own; don’t be surprised if it’s gone by the end of your trip! Even if you aren’t adding a lock, this spot sure makes for some great photos!
Source: Atlas Obscura
7. Please Don’t Tell (Crif Dogs)
Crif Dogs is a delicious hot dog restaurant located on 113 Saint Marks Place and boy does it have big secrets inside that door. Within Crif Dogs, you can find a hidden entrance to a hidden bar called PDT. Please Don’t Tell (PDT) is in my humble opinion one of the coolest bars around NYC. When you first get to Crif Dogs, enter the building and you’ll find a telephone booth. Follow the instructions on the wall of the telephone booth and you’ll be lead through a secret door, and be greeted by a server from PDT. Please Don’t Tell’s atmosphere can be most described like a speakeasy. Be sure to keep the small bar on the hush, as they would have in during the years of prohibition!
Source: This Life in Trips
Located at 14 North Moore Street, you will find one of the most interesting haunted firehouses in America. Kidding, of course! If you were to travel to 14 North Moore Street you’d find yourself standing at one of the most famous firehouses in movie history-The Ghostbuster’s Firehouse. To this day the firehouse is still in use, so if you’re going to visit-be careful! Again, not really much for an attraction, seeing as it’s an operational firehouse, but there are a few ‘ghosts’ hanging around so you can get some opportunistic photos outside of the station!
Source: Levys Unique NY
9. Village Vanguard
The Village Vanguard has been an incredibly influential jazz club since it’s opening in 1935. Since its opening The Village Vanguard has played live jazz music representing all the generations of jazz music. The original owner Max Gordon had passed away in 1989-after he ran the club for 54 years. Following Max Gordon’s death, his wife Lorraine took over the clubs management (and still runs the place today!) Many famous jazz artists such as Eartha Kitt, Miles Davis, and Harry Belafonte were known to take the stage at Village Vanguard way back in the day-which if you ask me is freaking amazing! If you’re a lover of music, I’d absolutely recommend stopping in to see some of the live performances at 178 7th Ave South. If you’d like to read more on Village Vanguard and its amazing history, click here.
Source: North Country Public Radio
10. Juliana’s Pizza
There’s no words I can think to describe Juliana’s Pizza other then YUM! This pizzeria was opened by Patsy Grimaldi, one of New York Cities most loved pizza chefs (who was the former co-founder of Grimaldi’s pizzeria along side his wife Carol). After a split from the Grimaldi restaurants, Pat and Carol decided that they would partner with a life long friend and open Juliana’s Pizza. The style of pizza that Pat creates have very traditional thin crust, with fresh ingredients, that are cooked over a coal fired oven to perfection. Let me be the first to say- if they’re anything like the old Grimaldi’s recipes- you’re in for a treat! If you’re looking to find one of the best pizzas in New York, be sure to check out Juliana’s Pizza located at 19 Old Fulton Street in Brooklyn.
Source: Juliana’s Pizza
11. Burger Joint (Le Parker Meridien Hotel)
If you’re looking for a secretive place to get a traditional burger in New York, be sure to check out Burger Joint. Burger Joint is a small, secretive restaurant within Le Parker Meridien Hotel lobby. Their burgers are classified as the classic “fast food” burger which can be cooked to your liking, and you can add whichever classic burger toppings you might like. They also offer french fries and scrumptious milkshakes as well as a variety of other soft drinks. Though it’s just your average burger restaurant, the Burger Joint is definitely a yummy quick stop if you’re wanting to go the traditional route! The location of The Burger Joint is 119 West 56th Street.
Source: Inside Business NYC
12. 10 Below Ice Cream
We’ve all seen those trendy magical rolled ice cream videos on Instagram, right? Well 10 Below Ice Cream just so happens to be one of those amazing ice cream rolling places! 10 Below Ice Cream is located at 10 Mott Street, and it’s really hard to miss because there’s frequently a line out the door. As much as that totally sucks, it’s totally worth the wait. I mean does that photo not make your mouth water?!
13. Sigmund Pretzels
Is there really a better snack than a warm handmade pretzel? If you were to try Sigmund Pretzels, you’d have no choice but to say it’s one of the best snack spots you can find in the city. Sigmund’s is a counter service pretzel shop that creates and sells pretzels of all varieties. With sizes ranging from regular to mini, and flavors including (but not limited to) plain, truffle cheddar, everything, and garlic parsley, there’s something that everyone will love! Sigmund’s pretzels has been featured in various publications such as the New York Times and Martha Stewart magazine. As of February 2016, Stewart has officially dubbed Sigmund Pretzels as the “best pretzels in the United States.” If you’re looking for an amazing snack spot, head over to Sigmund Pretzels on 29 Avenue B (between 2nd and 3rd street.)
Source: New York Times
14. Flatiron Building
The Flatiron Building was one of New York City’s 1st skyscrapers and boy was it a unique one! Located at 175 5th Avenue, the Flatiron Building stands 285 feet tall and strong. It’s unique triangular and 22 story high structure has made this building quite the photo spot. In fact, the building is one of the most photographed buildings in the world. Currently the building is in use as an office building for a German publishing companies under the name Macmillan. If you’re looking for an amazing photo of one of the most unique skyscrapers in New York, visit 175 5th Avenue.
PRO TIP: To ensure you don’t capture the crowds in your photos, walk further up on 5th Avenue toward 26th Street.
Source: Joeys Photography
15. Top of Rockefeller Center
Top of the Rock is one of the cities most beautiful observation centers. Located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the building reaches 850 feet, holds 70 floors and is currently owned by NBC Universal. In order to go to the observation deck, guests must pass a security checkpoint, but as long as you aren’t carrying any sharp objects or weapons, you’ll be ok! Within the building you’ll find a mezzanine exhibit and theater which will tell you a bit about the history of Rockefeller Center, and eventually you’ll go up to the sky shuttle that leads you up to the 3 observation decks. If you’re thinking about visiting the Top of the Rock, be sure to buy your tickets ahead of time online. If you buy your tickets ahead of time, you’re able to take pictures at the exact time you’re hoping for. For more information about the Top of the Rock or to purchase tickets, click here.
Source: City Wonders
16. Times Square
We all know and love Times Square. There’s shops, restaurants, and theaters stretching for miles upon miles. There’s no doubt about it, Times Square surely gives you that fast paced, busy feeling that New York has to offer. If you’re planning a trip to New York, be sure to stop in on Times Square-it’s always a must do. Times Square stretches from West 42nd to West 47th Streets, so you’ve got plenty of ground to cover, make a day of it!
Source: Manhattan Hotel Times Square
17. The 9/11 Memorial & Freedom Tower
On September 11th, 2011 the 9/11 memorial museum officially opened it’s doors, documenting and commemorating the tragedy of the September 11th terrorist attacks. The museum holds three exhibits; the day before, the day of, and the day after 9/11. If you’re looking to enhance your historical experience, be sure to download the 3 apps available called 9/11 Memorial Guide, 9/11 Audio Guide, and Explore 9/11. The memorial museum and freedom tower hold a powerful message that as a country we stand strong and won’t be broken. The 9/11 memorial museum and freedom tower hold a great deal of overwhelming emotion for those of us who were alive at the time and is a wonderful way to show those who hadn’t been born yet, the historical significance of the attacks. The 9/11 memorial and freedom tower are a beautiful memorial dedicated to those who fought for us, and those who were innocently attacked on September 11th. If you are interested in learning further about September 11th, 2001 significance or would like to pay your respect, visit 180 Greenwich Street. To visit the informational website prior to your visit, click here.
Source: Travel Adventures
18. Flatiron Fitness Row (AKA: Wellness Row)
The Flatiron Fitness Row is located on 5th stretching 8 blocks between 14th and 23rd streets. If you were to walk through what many of us know as ‘Wellness Row’, you’re bound to feel some inspiration to get fit and healthy. Stretching for miles, you’ll find all your fitness needs whether it be workout clothes, new sneakers or you’d like to pop into a exercise class, Wellness Row has it all.
In addition to tons small fitness boutiques you might love to shop at, here are a few of the brand name store fronts that you can find:
- Nike Running
- New Balance
- Victoria’s Secret
- Juice Press
Fitness classes typically range between $20-$40 per class, but if you’d like to check specific pricing be sure to check the website for your specific fitness center. If you might want to join a fitness class, you should think about popping in to one of these facilities:
- Bandier (fitness store and celebrity personal trainer studio!)
- City Row (rowing fitness)
- Pure Barre (full body workout)
- Exhale New York (yoga studio)
- CYC Fitness (music driven spin cycle)
- SoulCycle (music driven spin cycle)
- Flywheel Sports (spin and barre class)
- Om Factory (aerial yoga)
Whatever your fitness needs might be, I can guarantee you’ll find them at Flatiron Fitness Row!
Source: Wall Street Journal
19. Chelsea Market
New York’s Chelsea Market opened in 1997, however it is an ever-changing trendy market place for you to visit on a day off or a rainy weekend. Within Chelsea Market you’ll find a shopping mall, alongside an urban food court filled with unique foods for you to try. Some of the 50+ restaurants and storefronts include Anthropologie, Doughnuttery, L’Arte de Gelato, Los Tacos No. 1, Buon Italia, Beyond Sushi, and Artists & Fleas-just to name a few. If you’re looking to try some new restaurants, look for some original art, or find a few new books to read, definitely check out Chelsea Market and follow them on Instagram at chelseamarketny to see all they have to offer. Located at 75th 9th Avenue, Chelsea Market is certainly the place for you to try something new!
Source: NYC Go
20. Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall is perhaps one of the most visited entertainment centers in New York City. Radio City Music Hall is located at 1260 6th Avenue which it is home address to the Rockettes, a dance group who have performed in this theater since 1932. The theater itself is so well loved that it has been nicknamed “The Showplace of the Nation”. Performances range from popular artists such as James Bay to their classic Christmas Spectacular which has been running for 85 years as of this winter. Personally, I have seen the Christmas Spectacular a handful of times and I can honestly say it is such a magical show and truly makes you feel like a kid again. Between the beautiful, sprawling theater’s interior to the magic of Christmas, you’re sure to have a fantastic time. To buy tickets or look further into the history of Radio City Music Hall, click here.
Source: The Roosevelt Hotel