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  • Writer's pictureNaimah Raji

Top Things to Do in New York for a Week



There’s something about New York that makes you feel alive. It’s the city that never sleeps for a reason. I visited there at a point in my life when I was unmotivated and drained, and I kid you not when I say NYC was the ray of sunshine I didn’t know I needed.


There is so much to do in New York, so much to see and experience, so when I tell you that I spent weeks meticulously creating my itinerary for just a weeklong visit, I mean it wholeheartedly.


Quick note, if you have more time to spare for your trip, please do! There is so much to see and explore in New York!


Well, if you are like me, an average-class citizen and a slave to capitalism still trying to figure out how to increase their income, but you want to tour the world regardless and have fun doing so, fret not. I will be sharing everything I did in a week in New York with you, and links for booking your dream NYC trip in 3, 2, 1…



I visited New York in October (Fall) when the temperature was mostly below 12 degrees, so I opted for more indoor activities. However, there were some iconic outdoor spots I didn’t want to miss, so let’s start with those.


Times Square

A lot of us have heard of the iconic Times Square in New York, but you know what, no matter the number of movies or pictures or YouTube videos you have seen covering this location, nothing comes close to the feeling derived from being there. Basking in the entire experience is surreal; how busy and fun it always is will blow your mind. There’s always something going on. In fact, one of the times I visited there, a K-pop music video was being shot. Or maybe, just maybe, it was all for TikTok.


Besides taking pictures in the iconic spot and enjoying the outdoor activities, there are so many mind-blowing stores from our favorite brands, such as Hershey’s, M&M’s, Disney, Krispy Kreme, and much more! Here’s a short TikTok on my page showing these places.


Brooklyn Bridge

You might be wondering, “It’s just a bridge, what’s so special about it?” Well, here’s why the Brooklyn Bridge is so iconic!


It was built in 1883, measuring 1,595 feet (486m) long, making it the longest suspension bridge to use steel for its cable wire for 20 years. I visited at night, which was a great way to see the city lights. It takes about 30–40 minutes to walk to the end of the bridge, but I spent about 20 minutes because it was cold, and I surely wasn’t dressed for the weather.


Ensure you take some pictures here. It’s not as busy at night, so if you’re shy like me but want to go along with your tripod, that time would be ideal.

There are also so many kind strangers willing to take great pictures of you; all you have to do is ask.


Fun fact, the Brooklyn Bridge used to connect two different cities. (Brooklyn and New York). Brooklyn didn’t become a part of NYC until 1898.



Statue of Liberty (Liberty Island & Ellis Island Tour)

Lady Liberty is one of the most iconic sculptures in the world. It was a gift from the French to the Americans during the American Revolution, and you might be thinking, “Is the mission not just to get there and take pictures?” but no, no, no. I spent over 4 hours, but that wasn’t close to enough, and here’s why.


The Statue of Liberty is located on Liberty Island; you have to commute from Battery Park and get on a Ferry boat. There are different levels, but my pass gave me access to the pedestal.


On Liberty Island, there are many spots to visit; I made it to the Statue of Liberty Crown Cafe, the waterfront, and the Liberty Museum.


Ellis Island

It took about 10 minutes to commute from Liberty Island to Ellis Island. The main spot here is the National Museum of Immigration, and trust me, there is so much to learn here.


It opened in 1892 and was the immigration station for over 60 years. About 40% of US citizens can trace their ancestral line to have passed through Ellis Island. This was one of the highlights of my trip because I was in awe to see how much there was to learn.


You can either get a ticket with a tour guide or do it solo with the pre-recorded audio guides which are available in many languages to teach you about the rich history of the island. I did the solo tour because it was way cheaper.


This ticket gave me access to the pedestal section of the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty museum and the Museum of Immigration.


Summit One Vanderbilt

This was one of my favorite experiences. Summit One Vanderbilt is a skyscraper measuring 1,401 feet tall, making it the tallest commercial skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan.


It offers an immersive art experience which has three levels of immersive space, each with a unique experience, starting from the elevator ride where it feels like you’re in the MCU and about to Doctor Strange your way into another universe, down to the illusions you get from the glass and art; the experience is unmatched.


The best time to visit Summit One Vanderbilt would be around 4:30–5:00 pm, and a quick note, ensure you pre-book.


Tickets for this time sell out fast, and this is why. You’ll get to see the view of the Manhattan skyline before the sunrise, during, and after, which really gives you a bang for your buck!



Museum of Modern Art

With the tight itinerary I had, it came down to picking between the 9/11 museum and MoMA. I picked MoMA because I have always been a big fan of Van Gogh’s work, and this was the museum that houses his work alongside Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, Piet Mondrian, Claude Monet, and Henri Matisse.


There are 5 different levels, so ensure you dedicate at least 4 hours to feeding your eyes and soul. Get your ticket here.


Broadway Shows

I have always been big on theater, so Broadway shows have always been something I anticipated. I saw my first, Hamilton, in Toronto, and I got to see Sweeney Todd and Hadestown in New York.


If you are more about the popular ones, based on research, here are some of the ones you should surely see: The Lion King, Wicked, Chicago, How to Dance in Ohio, and Six.


Comedy shows/ Comedy bars

Your favorite comedians might be on tour when you are in NYC. I saw the love of my life, ‘Trevor Noah’ and it will forever be a memorable night for me. Check out tour dates on their website or on Eventbrite and maybe kill two birds with one stone by planning your trip for that period.


Comedy Cellar is also one of the top Comedy bars in NYC. you should surely check out what’s on when you’re in NYC.


Join the live audience of a TV show!

If you relish laughter and delight in the company of people who share your love for good entertainment, then registering for a spot in a TV show audience is an absolute must. I took a chance and registered for a seat at The Daily Show, and guess what?


I got in! It was an unforgettable experience, filled with full belly laughter. Don’t hesitate to try your luck with your favorite shows; you never know, you might just snag an invitation to attend. Register now for your chance to be a part of the fun!


Food

I had dinner reservations at some popular places: Inatesso cafe, Paris cafe , Birra Landa, Trattoria Trecolori, The bar room and Lost in paradise but I couldn’t make it to all. I visited the Bar room which I gave a solid 9.5/10 rating. The food slapped, and I had the best salmon of my life.


They lost .5 points because there were no non-alcoholic drink options for someone like me and I rated Lost in paradise a 8/10, the food was great but customer care sucked.


I also had street food, and my fave was Hallal Guys! I heard the Bodega truck also has amazing food.


Other places I planned to visit but couldn’t:

  • Madison Square Garden

  • Central Park

  • Taking a walk tour

  • Washington Square

  • Staten Island

  • Coney Island

  • 9/11 Museum

You should definitely check these out!


Accommodation

I stayed in an AirBnB and my total expense for a week was about $450. If you are traveling on a budget like me, you should surely spend a lot of time looking for a cheap but nice place. Be patient, trust me, theres’ a nice place that fits your budget out there.


Overall, I had a splendid time in New York. I spent three days attending New York Advertising Week as well so my time was very limited. I would surely love to visit again. Hopefully during the summer so I get the full NYC outdoor experience. I love New York and here’s your cue to plan that trip!

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