On our most recent Broadway pilgrimage, I noticed that we have some sights that we return to, time and time again, just because we like them and it takes some of the guesswork out of trip planning. When friends ask us for advice on NYC sightseeing, these are the ideas we wholeheartedly recommend. Our suggestions have often become favourites for them as well.
For this travel blog, rather than walk you through our latest trip, step by step, I offer a short list of our personal favourites that I would recommend to any close friend looking for advice on points of interest.
In Ottawa, we are very fortunate that we have many local theatre companies and stages offering a variety of productions to feed our appetite for theatre. But when in New York, a Broadway show is a must-see. Live Broadway shows are the Rolls Royce of theatrical experiences.
With the multitude of shows being offered, there is something for everyone, featuring brilliant actors, singers and dancers who are all at the top of their game.
Broadway tickets can sometimes get expensive, but there are ways to make the theatrical experience more affordable, whether through same-day tickets at the TKTS booth or to get on promotional email distribution lists such as TelechargeOffers.com and Playbill.com when you are planning your trip.
When we want to get something to eat before or after a Broadway show, two great places I’d recommend are 5 Napkin Burger and Nizza. Located side-by-side on 9th avenue at 45th Street, they are conveniently located just a couple of blocks away from the theatre district, but just far enough away from the touristy hustle and bustle of Times Square.
5 Napkin Burger is our go-to place for a very tasty burger. Every time we plan on going, we look forward to their lamb burger! Nizza is a great place for Italian food, offering a tasty selection of pizza, pasta and more. Both restaurants offer great gluten-free options as well.
“Broadway Up Close” walking tour
For hard-core theatre fans, a “Broadway Up Close” walking tour is an absolute must! A tour typically consists of a 90 minute walk through the theatre district, while a super-dynamic tour guide explains the history of each theatre, the architecture, the shows, and the legendary (and sometimes notorious) actors who have played there.
With the assistance of a tablet computer acting as a roaming projector, each tour guide is equipped with vintage pictures that help bring the Broadway stories to life.
What makes the tour a necessary stop for any theatre fan is the fact that all of the guides have some professional connection to the theatre business, and in their ability to offer stories from an insider’s perspective… in addition to some bits of mind-blowing theatre trivia.
Each tour guide has been an absolute delight, with their knowledge, their energy and their passion for theatre. We highly recommend Broadway Up Close!
There is no question that New York City is an exciting place to visit, but for someone who is not used to the sensory overload that can come with it, a stroll in one of New York City’s many fine parks is a great way to unwind for a few minutes.
As a National Historic Landmark and the backdrop for many television shows and movies, Central Park is a sight that should not be missed. Covering 843 acres and with over 6 miles of paths, a walk, a jog or a bicycle ride through the park to admire its beautifully landscaped grounds can be a soothing and recharging experience.
The High Line
Another fascinating park that is sure to please is The High Line. Running from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues, the High Line is an elevated park, above the bustling New York City traffic, making use of an old freight rail track.
The star of this park is the garden with its amazing plants and trees that line the entire length of the path. What might start as a short walk along the High Line can easily become a more lengthy, leisurely excursion, playing “name-that-flower” over beautiful plants that might not be commonly seen back home.
If you can fit the High Line into your itinerary, you won’t be disappointed.
After years of visiting NYC, I realized that for a city of skyscrapers, I was always enjoying sights at ground level and potentially missing out on some breathtaking bird’s eye views of the city. A few Google searches later, I discovered “The View”.
Sitting atop the Marriott Marquis hotel at 1535 Broadway, The View is a revolving restaurant and lounge, offering a 360 degree view of the city.
While we have not tried the restaurant yet, we have enjoyed a “spin” in the lounge. For the lounge, no reservations are required, the lounge is “first-come, first-seated”. According to the web site, The View Lounge has a nightly cover charge of $8 per person beginning at 8:00 p.m. and there is a “one drink minimum to enter the lounge” but it is so worth it!
For a very special dinner experience, Robert Restaurant scores very high marks with us (and the friends to whom we recommended Robert). Overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park, Robert offers breathtaking panoramic views and a meticulous attention to detail in service, while you savour a wonderful menu of options that are sure to knock your socks off. The anniversary dinner we spent at Robert a few years ago, as the view went from dusk to evening, was absolute perfection in every way and a most memorable evening.
Radio City Music Hall Tour
A few years ago, we had the incredible opportunity to attend the Tony Awards. To fully appreciate the experience, a few days before, we decided to take a tour of the host venue, Radio City Music Hall. Whether you are a fan of the performing arts, music, architecture, design or history, the Radio City Music Hall tour is sure to please as it covers all of those interests, and more.
As an introduction to our tour, we watched a short film of the story of Radio City Music Hall and had the opportunity to meet a Radio City Rockette! Our guided tour then offered us a sampling of the inner workings of this iconic building as we marveled at the majesty and opulence of each room and artifact we were presented. Throughout the tour, I could not help but wanting to stop and take it all in to feel the living history of this treasure. It was beautiful!
When it comes to New York City, the number of things to see and do is mind boggling. Plus, New York is a very dynamic city where there’s always something new to discover, to add to the list of favourites.
My suggestions above are just a few of our favourite attractions, although I feel a sequel blog post is already in order, because I have only scratched the surface. With so much to see and do, it is impossible to see everything in just one weekend.
New York City is one of those destinations that leaves us wanting more, and keeps us coming back!
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Have a great day,