Gotham Daytrip: Five New York City Attractions

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Start spreading the news: New York City is cool. Wait, you already knew that, or you should have. NYC (note: the locals don’t walk around calling it “The Big Apple” and neither should you) is a veritable cornucopia of sights, sounds and experiences… both in the traditional sense, and in the one you’d associate with The Hunger Games. Here are the top five attractions that should be on every tourist’s agenda.

5 Circle Line

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Circle Line cruises give you a chance to — can you guess? — circle the island of Manhattan. You’ll pass under famous bridges and ones you don’t know about; you’ll see neighborhoods you never thought of visiting, and you’ll truly get to see Manhattan head to toe. Every now and then, believe it or not, some of those jaded new Yorkers on the shore might wave to you, too.Learn More >>

4 Metropolitan Museum of Art

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The Met is arguably the best museum in America, and probably one that can stand with the European superstars. It has one of the most comprehensive ancient Egyptian collections anywhere outside of Egypt, wonderful holdings in ancient Greek, Roman, American and Mesopotamian art, and a formidable lineup of European and American paintings. There are excellent — and often free — art programs for children and teenagers, as well as free docent-led tours of the galleries in several different languages. Even if you’re not an art fan, the Met is likely to win you over. Learn More >>

3 Central Park

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Anyone who claims that New York is nothing more than a concrete jungle needs to hop on the subway and go to Central Park. Our oasis of green, lush lawns, winding paths and hidden streams is really the people’s park, so to speak: you will find both the rich and the poor side by side, enjoying nature. Both winter and summer sporting opportunities abound: there are numerous open fields, truly innovative playgrounds and ice skating rinks. In the summer, there are concerts, films, a small amusement park and free Broadway-caliber shows at Shakespeare in the Park. You can row a boat, ride a vintage carousel or even see an old dairy barn… or you can just relax on the grass at Sheep Meadow. Learn More >>

2 Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

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You’ve probably seen about a dozen films where an immigrant family stands eagerly on the deck of a ship as it cruises through New York Harbor and stares out at the Statue of Liberty. The iconic symbol of New York — she’s on the state quarter — is worth seeing. You may or may not want to climb to the crown — it’s a long, hot and somewhat vertigo-inducing journey up a spiral staircase, and at the end, you’re greeted with small, scratched windows – but the view from the pedestal is fantabulous. The Liberty Island ferry also makes a stop at Ellis Island, and it’s entirely possible to do both monuments in one day. Ellis Island, as you undoubtedly know from history class, was one of the main immigrant processing centers, and for many people, the American dream began here. There are changing exhibits in the main building, as well as a genealogy database where you can search for your own relatives on the old ships’ manifests. Learn More >>

1 Times Square

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Times Square embodies every New York stereotype: it’s brash, fast paced and overwhelming. You’ll be assaulted with neon lights and loud noises from every angle; you’ll turn in circles and never know which way is up; and you won’t be sure if you’re in Hell or not, but you’ll still have fun. You can do just about anything in the Times Square area: see a Broadway show, ride a Ferris Wheel, see television shows being filmed, participate in special events such as New Year’s Eve or Broadway on Broadway, visit special swanky bathrooms (no joke), or simply stake out a seat somewhere and people watch. Many tourists make the mistake of never venturing out of the Times Square area. You don’t want to do that, but neither do you want to miss this very New York experience. Learn More >>

There’s a lot to do and see in New York. Get to it.

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