Having visitors is one of my favorite things about living in other cities. I love nothing more than sharing my favorite things and exploring sights that I wouldn’t usually go to on my own. When my parents come to town it’s an extra special treat. I try to mix it up with my tried and true staples and places that neither of us have been, like the MET. It can be tough to come up with an itinerary fitting for the ones that you love the most. I know how it goes.. when it comes time to make plans your mind draws a blank and you can find yourself forgetting everything that you thought you knew about the city.
For those times it’s always nice to have a tried and true list that you can look to for some helpful suggestions. Today I’m sharing some of the things we’ve done over the course of my parents’ visits and our favorites:
1. Go to a broadway show
It’s become our tradition that we go to a Broadway show every time my parents visit on the first night that they get there. If you have time to go to the half price ticket booth or you can try to look in advance for some good deals on shows. If you’re here around the holidays, definitely take them to Radio City Music Hall and see the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular!
2. Take them to a NYC deli
I recommend Katz’s or Carnegie Deli – go early around 11am or so if you want to avoid a crazy line and at Katz’s don’t forget to hang onto your ticket. I love the pastrami at both places and fries are always a must!
3. Visit the MET
I was able to cross this one off of my NYC Bucket List last weekend when we headed uptown to the MET for the afternoon. I wanted to see the costume exhibit, but it had already closed. Regardless it makes for an afternoon well spent and as a heads up the admission is optional if you’re looking for something and you’re on a budget!
4. Walk the High Line
Weather dependent, it’s a great activity for a good weather day. You can see Meatpacking from above and pop into the Standard Biergarten for a beer or two when you’re finished. If you’re hungry, walk on over to the Gansevoort Market and grab some tacos and a cupcake for a quick bite.
5. Shop around on 5th Avenue
If they’re in from out of town and have never shopped down 5th Avenue before, it’s a must! The stores are bigger and more beautiful than their counterparts around the city and you’ll also find places like Henri Bendel that are one of a kind flagships. You can also stop into the Plaza and do a little people watching, too!
6. Visit the Whitney Museum
I went over the summer on my own and loved it. Located in Meatpacking, the new museum is stunning and a lot quicker and easier to do in an afternoon than most of the bigger museums further uptown. There are balconies on every floor that offer stunning views of the city from the west side and on a sunny day you can sit outside and enjoy a snack at the cafe.
7. Go on the Federal Reserve Museum & Gold Vault tour
I haven’t been, but this is next up on our list. It’s limited availability and you can book it in advance and have a chance to see one of the largest holdings of gold in the world – not to mention it’s downtown and near Wall Street which is always fun to walk around.
8. Take them out to the ballgame
Even if you’re not a Yankee fan, it’s quite an experience to take in a ballgame at Yankee Stadium. You can snag a daytime game and I’ll be the first to say, seats in the nosebleed section are just as fun!
9. Eat in unique neighborhoods
You may have your personal favorites and neighborhood gems, but it’s a good excuse to get out and explore other areas. I took my parents to lunch in Seaport and usually try and go somewhere uptown, too because I know I’ll hardly ever head that way for dinner in my day to day. It’s a great chance to plan ahead and make reservations well in advance at nicer restaurants that are harder to get into as well.
10. One World Trade Center observatory deck
I have to say that after working for a year on the 45th floor on the New York Times building with a 365 view of the city, the view from the observatory deck might be the only other one that trumps that view in midtown. It just might be one of the most incredible views of New York City that you can come by.
After a few trips, we’re still always looking for new things to do and try. If you’re looking for other ideas of things to do in New York City don’t forget to check out my New York City bucket list for more!