New York City: 10 things you must do

10 things you must do in New York City

Nikki Parkinson Life, Travel 35 Comments

As we were checking out of our hotel, we met a couple travelling to New York from Australia. They were in the city for 10 days and the husband wished they’d only booked seven.

They’d run out of things to do.


How is that even possible?

As for us, we barely scratched the surface of this vibrant and electric city.

Mr 7’s illness meant a bit of re-jigging of our planned activities. We lost a whole day plus big chunks of time in the middle of each day when he slept, exhausted from what we’d done that morning.

The upshot?

And here’s my big confession …

  • I went to New York and did not see one museum or art gallery.
  • I went to New York and did not see Grand Central Station.
  • I went to New York and nearly missed walking in Central Park.

Have I broken some unwritten rules of New York sightseeing?


Did we have fun anyway?


Here is our top 10 of things to do (well, they’re my top 10 … Mr Styling You would probably mention something about the USS Intrepid 😉 ):

New York City: 10 things you must do

1. Shop!

New York must-do - shop - Louis Vuitton

2. Walk and picnic on The Highline

New York city must-do: lobster picnic on The Highline, Chelsea

3. Book a sunset cruise on the Hudson River

New York City must-do: sail at sunset on the Hudson River

4. See the city from above – in the air or from a landmark building

New York City must-do: see the city from the Top of the Rock

5. Stroll through West Village

New York city must-do; stroll through West Village and visit Carrie Bradshaw's step

6. Book a walking food tour

New York city must-do: book a food tour and get to taste lychee cupcakes at Everything Frosted

7. Eat something you’ve never tried before

New York City must-do: eat dosas at Hampton Chutney Co, Soho

8. Visit the 9/11 Memorial

New York City must-do: visit the 9/11 Memorial

9. Have a Wholefoods breakfast picnic in Central Park

New York City must-do: have a Wholefoods picnic in Central Park

10. Get a fancy mani and pedi

New York City must-do: get a fancy mani and pedi at Tenoverten

Just quietly, I think I left a little bit of my heart in New York City. If you’re travelling there soon, please say hello to it for me.

What needs to be on my must-do list for our next visit?

  • Ahm-swim

    Life is full of coincidences- just checked out your Blog re New York and could not believe it – we could just have tapped you on the shoulder and asked you about it when we were lined up at the airport in Bali! Planning a quick trip with my daughter for her 21st and you have given us some ideas!

    • Oh, wow! You should have said hi. What a wait at that airport it was. Hope this post is of help – you and your daughter will have a ball in NYC!

  • Lanelle

    Dear Nikki
    Thanks for writing this, it’s very good and definitely giving me ideas for my trip there next year. CHEERS!!!!!!!

  • Love the pics. Still so jealous! lol.

  • Denielle Hemsworth

    Lovely photos, can’t wait to visit NYC now!


  • Good God you just sold me on NY on the food alone. that Lobster and Crab! My heaven! x

  • Ooh you’ve given me some ideas for my next trip. I’ve visited NYC twice & still have so much I want to see & do. Love that city!!!

  • Thanks so much Zoe … can highly recommend the Hudson to your clients. Now on the West Coast and having a ball.

  • Johanne Taylor

    Missing out on doing things just means you have reasons to go back! Much better than squeezing everything in on a ridiculous itinerary that means you never get to sit back and relax while enjoying the sites.This also gives plenty of opportunity to people watch (one of my favourite things to do anywhere).
    Grand Central Station is beautiful and we actually saw a proposal while we were visiting, I would add seeing New York at night as well as during the day from sonewhere high. We visited Empire State Building during the day, but Rockefeller at night. Around 9.00pm we basically walked straight up to the lifts with no queueing and there were so few people up there we could really enjoy walking around and catching the view from multiple angles- much more romantic, too.

    • Absolutely Johanne and we plan to. We’re really glad we had breathing space in our itinerary – we needed it in end because of Mr 7 being sick. We did do Top of the Rock as the sun set and was beautiful. That’s that photo of the 3 of us above.

  • Dizzy

    Great list Nikki, I will keep for when I finally get to NY. Can’t wait. I also wanted to say thanks as I’ve only just started reading your blog but it has already given me the confidence to buy things I might not usually consider eg a maxi dress – saw a nice country road one today! And you inspired me, I bought a Kate Spade iPhone cover too. Online but one day I might get to her store…bliss…

    • Dizzy, thanks so much – and great work with the dress and phone cover. Kate Spade’s store is bliss, that’s for sure!

  • FoodMuster

    Looks like you did everything I would do, but I might just do a little more eating than what I can see in the photos! looks like you had a great time, good on ya!!

    • We would have done more dining out if it weren’t for our sick son … love the diversity of food in New York.

  • Sharon O

    Oh wow, thanks for this Nikki! I’ve loved your advice. You and your family are so gorgeous too 🙂 So glad that you had lots of fun over there. I know exactly what you mean about leaving a piece of your heart in NYC. It does that doesn’t it? I went there nearly 3 years ago, and I’m still haunted by the fantastic memories 🙂

    • Ah, yes … I’m glad you know what I mean. I will go back though. Yes, I will.

  • I think if I ever get there it’ll be completely food focused! I’d skip the museums too but I’d hit every food place I ever heard of 🙂

    • Oh Reannon, I had such a long list of different food things to try and we only scratched the surface. Can’t wait to go back.

  • Lucie Trinco

    Now that’s my kind of NYC trip!

  • crazy sexy fun traveler

    I did most of the things you mention 🙂

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    I think you did lot from the sounds of it,But yes you can always go back Nikki,and by the way your talking you will and that is great,you have wonderful memories and beautiful purchases to remember New York By.Poor Flynn ,hope he is better soon,or is now, my children used to get croup and it’s horrible .
    Thank you Nikki for the pics and information on New York,and I loved your shopping stories,I have enjoyed your adventure through your eyes,and it has been fun,don’t know if i will ever go,don’t know that my leg could handle all that walking,seems that “normal”people even find it hard.Love your little family photo it’s gorgeous!

    • Flynn is so much better now, Lisa. And thanks for coming on my adventure. I wrote the posts as it was other bloggers’ posts about New York that helped me to find some great and unusual ideas to try in that amazing city.

  • New York provides excellent fodder for the bucket list!

  • megsy10_0

    I love tenoverten!!!! Was in NY in May and got a mani/pedi there. Worth every penny – the polish lasted for well over a month!!!

    • My nails have not lasted (it’s why I’m a shellac girl) but toes still look great!

  • Hahahaha, too funny already planning your next visit! I think you could spend a day in the Hamptons and then I would get out of NYC and get to Niagara Falls and The White House, plus there would be heaps else reasonably ‘close’, well -compared to how far you have travelled to get there! Hope you are having loads of fun in CA.Did I tell you that a lot of those outlet malls have luggage shops. Buy yourself a wheeled duffle to cart all your shopping around in, then repack it when you get back to your accommodation. You can bring home 6 suitcases yes ??(with higher limits for Qantas Club still?) plus 3 Carry ons, plus handbags x3! Bahahahahahaah, imagine your 2 men with packed handbags getting on the plane!

    • A day in the Hamptons is a definite, Mummaducka. As for luggage we got two new bags on sale at Macy’s and now have 5 between the 3 of us. All are underweight … you know what that means?!

      • Save room for Disneyland treasures! There’s plenty to be had!