Adventure Awaits in Magnificent Manhattan
New York City’s Manhattan has maintained its position as a premier tourist destination for decades – and with good reason. Whether you’re after art or architectural masterpieces, history and culture, fashion and entertainment, a literary experience, or something more cutting-edge, there is something for everyone in Manhattan. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps (and it really never does!) but the key to enjoying New York City is to throw yourself into the myriad of adventures that await you and to remember, as congested and as busy as it feels, you probably won’t get lost! Manhattan’s grid system of streets allows you to find your way around easily enough and while the subway and taxis are a relatively easy way to get around, Manhattan is, in fact, very walkable as it’s pretty flat. Walking the city is a fantastic way to find all those little nooks and crannies; fashion stores selling vintage pieces in the East Village, poky but vibrant little bookstores in the West Village, incredible cannoli in Little Italy, scrumptious dumplings in Chinatown, and all those other eateries across the city that present amazing treats for foodies. Of course, if heading to Manhattan, most travellers will be sure to visit its iconic sights, including the Empire State Building, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and the soul-stirring 9/11 Memorial. And if you’re travelling with children, you won’t want to miss the fun and fact filled American Museum of Natural History. It’s a good idea to plan your main sightseeing experiences ahead of time. With hordes of tourists descending on Manhattan daily, queues for popular venues are lengthy. You can often forego the tedium of a long wait by purchasing a city pass that allows you to skip the queues. City passes can be bought at most New York Information Centers located throughout the city. A handy destination for all tourists these centers provide a wealth of information and access to employees who are knowledgeable, friendly and ready to point you in the direction of the passes and tours that best suit your interests and needs. But Manhattan isn’t just about these iconic experiences, there’s plenty more to do and see. There are parks dotted all over city, where one can sit, read, sip a coffee, eat a hot dog or simply do a little people (and squirrel) watching. Central Park is an ever-popular destination for locals and tourists alike, but Bryant Park and Washington Square Park offer wonderful alternatives. A fairly recent addition to the city, the High Line, is a must see. Starting in the Meatpacking District and stretching north, the High Line is a linear and elevated park, built on disused train tracks. It’s a design marvel, an elevated garden oasis high above the street that offers incredible views of the Hudson River and of Manhattan itself. Of course, no trip to Manhattan is complete without a visit to Times Square. Be prepared for an audio-visual overload as screens bombard you with advertising and iconic yellow taxis zip past. While at Times Square engage in some souvenir shopping or take in a unique sight – the local police and subway stations lit up in flashing lights! A highlight for many tourists is to take in a show, whether its on or off Broadway. Be warned though, tickets to more popular shows can be hard to get at the last minute, so it’s advised that you buy your tickets early if you’ve got your heart set on seeing something specific. Shopping in Manhattan is easy, perhaps a little too easy! The city offers world-class labels and local New York brands side by side, giving tourists so much choice. If you’re after something a little more unusual, head to Soho, where you’ll find distinctive architecture and lots of fun labels. If you want to bag a bargain though, then you might want to leave Manhattan and head to Woodbury Common, a clearance outlet that offers a wide selection of popular and high-end brands at a fraction of the cost. Woodbury Common is a good 40 minutes from Manhattan (longer if you get caught in traffic) but it’s worth the trip. The easiest way to get there is to purchase a round trip bus ticket through one of the information centers. Travellers interested in moving beyond Manhattan might take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge that takes you straight into Brooklyn. The bridge itself is an architectural delight and offers glorious views of Manhattan, making for wonderful photo opportunities. While in Brooklyn, grab a meal at any one of the hip eateries and do a little exploring. Manhattan is also a good launching pad for visiting destinations further afield as either long day trips or overnight trips. From Manhattan, you can easily get to the natural wonder of Niagara Falls, historic Washington DC, Boston or Philadelphia. And if heading towards Philadelphia, you can always visit Pennsylvania’s Amish Country as an added bonus. An absolute eye-opener, a visit to the Amish Country provides a marvelous contrast to the non-stop nature of Manhattan. You chat with the locals, indulge in some mouth-watering whoopee pies and purchase expertly made handicrafts. All in all, New York has something for everyone. Whatever urban adventure you have in mind, you’ll be sure to find it there!
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