That quote has nothing to do with this post. I just thought it was funny and wanted to share a laugh. So if you don't have a sense of humor, I hope it made you smile at the very least.
With that being said...
If you've only got one day to explore the Big Apple and want to see all of the tourist attractions, call me Genie because
Your wish is my command.
I have put together (and personally tested) an itinerary that will allow you to hit most of the city's iconic spots in under 12 hours. Just remember to wear comfortable walking shoes–we New Yorkers walk a lot! Okay, ready to get started??
1. Brooklyn Bridge
Who wouldn't want to begin the day with some amazing architecture and a stunning skyline? Walk half of the Brooklyn Bridge to see an incredible view of NYC and the Statue of Liberty (look to your left when facing Manhattan).
2. Wall Street Bull
Head toward the Financial District and go fondle some balls! Yes, you read that right. Many people claim "it's good luck" to rub the balls of the famous Wall Street Bull, although it's probably just a bunch of bullcrap. (Don't bother waiting on that horrendous line for a photo, just cut in from the side to cop a feel and get out.) On your way out, stop by the New York Stock Exchange.
3. One World Trade
As you make your way toward the Freedom Tower and 9/11 Memorial, you can pass by Trinity Church, where Alexander Hamilton is buried. When you reach the World Trade Center, take a moment to commemorate all those lost in front of the fountains. If you see a white rose near someone's name, it's signifying a remembrance for that individual's birthday. On a side note, I am not a big fan of museums, but I highly recommend the 9/11 Museum for another time. It is probably my favorite museum I've ever visited. (Thanks Barnett!)
Right next to the Freedom Tower (the sixth tallest building in the world), you will notice a white "skeleton," or "dove with clipped wings." Go inside! This is one of my favorite buildings in the city because of its structure and design. It's also part of the Westfield Mall, so if you want to get some shopping done, you're in luck. See for yourself!
5. Washington Square Park
Hop on the subway to Washington Square Park, or if it's a nice day, enjoy the 30 minute stroll through SoHo. The massive arch honoring George Washington is situated right on Fifth Ave–where the city divided into the East and West sides. Located near NYU, you will probably see a lot of young artists gathered in the park.
Optional: The Strand Bookstore, home to 18 miles of books, is located between here and the next stop. If you choose to visit, Union Square Park is also only two blocks away!
6. Flatiron Building
This triangular building has been featured in several movies (e.g., HQ of the Daily Bugle in Spiderman) and stands tall before Madison Square Park, where the first Shake Shack was born.
7. Empire State Building
Many people choose to visit the top of the ESB, but since you've got me to guide you, you won't have to worry about wasting any time in that horrendous line! If you're dying to snap a pic from the top of a skyscraper, go to Top of the Rock instead, where there are unobstructed views of Central Park. Or for a much cheaper option, 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar has free entry, and you'll have the Empire State Building in the background of your photos!
8. Grand Central Station
Another iconic NYC location, this transportation hub is almost always bustling. When you're inside the main concourse goggling at the celestial mural, look up toward one of the corners, and you'll notice a single black brick. This was the original color before it was painted that algae green! Curious to know more? Read about the ceiling's history here.
9. Times Square
Did you know it costs 7.1 million dollars per year to power all 55 of the LED displays in Times Square? Chew on that. That's almost 20,000 dollars every day.
The lights shine so bright at night that you can easily direct yourself toward the madness from several blocks away, without the need of a GPS. Although locals will steer clear of this place at all costs, I realize that this is one of the top spots on your list if you've never been before. There's no way to escape the crowd... unless you're driving through at 1am. To avoid the chaos...DON'T GO ON NEW YEARS EVE!
Want to capture the lights and pandemonium in all its glory? Snap a photo (and a sick time-lapse!) at the top of the Red Stairs.
10. Rockefeller Center
In the wintertime, this place is a madhouse chock full of tourists. If you do happen to be visiting during Christmastime, you will ultimately understand how it feels to be packed like a sardine. However, it is still a sight to see the massive Christmas tree standing tall before 30 Rock. The plaza gets transformed into an (overcrowded) ice rink and the Macy's Holiday Light Show will be on display across the way, and below it, their prominent window displays.
11. Radio City Music Hall
This historic entertainment venue has seen music artists of all genres, hosted shows such as America's Got Talent, and is home to the Radio City Rockettes. They offer tours where you can learn about the history of the building, discover Art Deco masterpieces, and meet a Rockette. Though I've never taken the tour, I have been inside the building a few times, and the Great Stage is surely fascinating–it measures a whole city block wide.
Congratulations! You made it through about a fifth of New York City. Vast, no? In Central Park alone you could spend a whole day getting lost.
The Big Apple has countless neighborhoods to explore, tours to take, shows to see, museums to visit, food to taste...the options are endless. Are you hungry for more?
⬗ Alex ⬗