Published on October 12th, 2017 | by Guest Contributor

Autumn in New York: How to Experience the Essential NYC in Just a Few Days.

If you only have a few days to spend in New York City, you might not be able to see everything the Big Apple has to offer, but you can definitely get into a New York State of mind in a short time by seeing some of the essential, must-see spots.

So, if it’s your first trip, or you haven’t visited New York City in a long time, here are the attractions that should be on the top of your itinerary.

The Iconic Skyline.

It might seem like a bit of a cliché, but there’s a reason why heading to the top of the Empire State Building or the observation deck at the top of Rockefeller Center (The Top of the Rock) are so popular with visitors. The famous skyline of New York is truly breathtaking, and the is no better way to get a view of the entire city than from at least 70 stories up in the sky.

The Empire State Building is taller than 30 Rock, at over one hundred floors. However, from Rockefeller Plaza you can take a picture of the city skyline that includes the celebrated Empire State Building in the frame.

Times Square.

After enjoying the bird’s eye view of the densely packed bustle of the city, you want to plunge into the heart of the action. One of the best places to do this is at Times Square.

Busy day and night, this lively corner is lined with street vendors, shops, and restaurants. Times Square is home to New Years Eve’s famous ball drop that you’ve probably seen on TV almost every year of your life, and serves as an establishing shot for just about every movie set in New York City. With such a prominent place in the pop culture representations of the city, no visit feels complete without stopping by to see the flashing neon billboards and iconic imagery of Times Square.

To see these lights at their best, try visiting around sunset to watch the sky darken as the streets and sidewalks remain brightly lit under the glow of all the signage. There are car-free pedestrian areas for visitors to enjoy the people watching.

Walk the High Line. 

While the High Line has become a genuine attraction for all visitors to New York, Torontonians may find it particularly interesting. That is because this abandoned train track that has been converted into an elevated park serves as a model for Toronto Mayor John Tory’s proposed ‘Rail Deck Park’ over downtown TO.

New York’s reclaimed railway is a walking park lined with observation decks, greenery and gardens, and food vendors that runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to 34th Street over the west side of Manhattan.

Central Park.

The 843 acres – or roughly 150 square blocks – of New York’s Central Park is an oasis in the heart of a dense urban centre. Autumn is a particularly lovely time to visit as the famous greenery transitions into the fall colours. Stroll the leafy walkways and over 30 bridges, and visit favourite spots like the Strawberry Fields John Lennon memorial or the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain.

The park also contains several lakes and ponds, walking and biking trails, two skating rinks for the colder months, and of course, a zoo. Give yourself a couple of hours to wander and explore this classic New York getaway in the city centre.

The Museum Mile.

Along one side of Central Park is the Museum Mile. This three-block stretch of Fifth Avenue contains nine museums, making it one of the most concentrated collections of culture anywhere in the world. This includes the Metropolitan Museum of Art – known as The Met – one of the largest art galleries in the world, the Guggenheim Museum, the final project of legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Museum of Modern Art, which houses among the most prestigious art collections in the United States.

One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

September 11th, 2001 is one of those historic days that most of us can remember exactly where we were and what we were doing. While in New York, you can add some living context to that history with a visit to the site of the original World Trade Center.

That site, sometimes known as Ground Zero, is now home to the One World Trade Center Tower (originally called the ‘Freedom Tower’) as well as the 9/11 Memorial and museum.

The 104-story tower is higher than Rockefeller Centre and the Empire State Building, and it houses an observation deck that offers panoramic views of the city skyline as well as information about the history and construction of New York and the 9/11 attacks.

Surrounding the tower is the park commemorating the victims of the attacks and the 9/11 Museum. The park has twin reflecting pools symbolizing the twin towers, each nearly an acre in size and featuring the largest manmade waterfalls in North America. The names of those who died in the attacks on the World Trade Centre are engraved in bronze panels surrounding the pools.

The museum features images, artefacts, and interactive video displays dedicated to events and aftermath of 9/11.

Ride the Staten Island Ferry.

The Staten Island Ferry is free and sales in the New York Harbor between Manhattan and Staten Island. The five-mile trip takes roughly 25 minutes and offers spectacular views of the harbour, the lower Manhattan skyline, and the Statue of Liberty.

The iconic views of the city make the ferry ride a popular choice for tourists and film shoots alike. There are food concessions on the boat that sell food and beverages, including beer, on all running ferries day and night.

Alternately, for a fee, you can enjoy the views of the city from the water and see Lady Liberty up close by booking a cruise over to Ellis Island and the neighbouring Liberty State Park.

That should be enough activity to fill a long weekend visit to the Big Apple. You’ll see some of the most iconic sites in person, and experienced some of the art and history of the city up close.

Of course, now that you’ve had a taste of New York, you’re going to have to come back for a longer stay. There’s so much more to do and see. You still have to catch a Broadway show, see a Yankees game, visit the New York Public Library, and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge – just to name a few.

Looking for a NYC adventure? Travel the world with CAA. Call a CAA Travel Consultant today at 1‑855‑660‑2295 to start planning your next trip. Or book online!

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