Things To Do In New York City, New York
Few places in the world are as spectacular at the holidays as New York City. From the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, to the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center, to the Rockettes at Radio City to New Years Eve at Times Square, New York City is the ultimate holiday destination. Known the world over as the city that never sleeps, New York is a cultural and entertainment center. Featuring Broadway theaters, hundreds of museums, galleries and cultural institutions, thousands of stores and over 17,000 restaurants, very few countries come close to the size and scope of New York, let alone cities.
All ethnic backgrounds are represented in neighborhoods, religions or food outlets; want a taste of Chinese food, visit Chinatown, or Italian, how about an evening in Little Italy, or outstanding Soul food awaits you in Harlem. You might want to opt to take a short trip across the river to Newark for Spanish or Portuguese food in some of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods you can visit anywhere. If fancy restaurants are not your style, you can find the greatest pizza, sandwiches, pastries, sushi and souvlaki in the city as well. There is something for everyone in this international melting pot of food, ethnic diversity and shopping excitement.
Old Homestead Steakhouse
Around since 1868, this Meatpacking District steakhouse, comes complete with a cow sculpture out front. The portions are huge and delicious, served in a throw back to the 40's old-fashioned style steakhouse, nothing fancy but serving some of the best steaks around.
Known for their French food and fresh seafood, plus a selection of tasting menus, this is one of the best restaurants in the city. The service and ambience are second to none for sure, but the food is what people keep coming back to experience.
L'Ecole at The French Culinary Institute
Excellent food and service, in this all student testing ground. Enjoy a five-course, upscale, full-service prix-fixe dinner for approximately $32. Don't be fooled by the price and the fact that this is a student run operation. The cuisine is contemporary French, the service is wonderful and attentive, the presentation is beautiful and it is some of the best food in the city.
The River Café
It's a toss-up, which is better, the food or the view, either way you see it, you will be impressed with both. The River Café and its owner, Michael "Buzzy" O'Keeffe, have become renowned for producing more great American chefs than any other restaurant in America.
The story goes that in the early 20th Century, this was the residence of author, O'Henry. This was the first of the Sal Anthony family of restaurants, with thirty-nine years to perfect its high quality cuisine and friendly service. Choose from an array of tasty appetizers like the delectable clams oreganata.
Alain Ducasse at the Essex House
Once you step into this opulent restaurant you will know that a special evening is ahead. The artwork, the black columns, gold-leaf inlays and jewel-toned banquettes are merely a prelude to the exceptional service and most importantly, outstanding French cuisine.
Choose between the Tavern room or the fancier dining room and the food is equally excellent in both. Your selections include fresh seafood and creative, delicious meat dishes. The dining room has a Prix Fixe menu option for both lunch and dinner.
Asia de Cuba
The menu is Asia meets Latin in Ian Schrager's, Morgans Hotel offering imaginative dishes like Tuna Tartare and Grilled Mojito Glazed steak . Portions are served family style making this an excellent place to try new things and to bring large groups.
Tavern on the Green
The views are spectacular, especially at night. It is just the place for a special occasion because it is such a beautiful, romantic setting within Central Park. The menu and food are kind of ordinary but people don't go to this restaurant for the food.
Peter Luger Steak House
First opened in 1887, Peter Luger is known for the very best steaks in New York. It is pricey, but if you are looking to splurge, you should consider this landmark eatery and enjoy a spectacular meal that is sure to be worth every penny. They also have a restaurant in Long Island.
Gabriel's Bar & Restaurant
This Northern Italian style eatery specializes in homemade pastas. Also noteworthy are a number of meat selections cooked on their wood grill.
From the beautiful dining room to the delicious French food and impeccable service, Daniel is one of the top restaurants in the city. The tasting meal is a terrific way to sample the chefs creativity and is a popular choice among patrons.
The Saddle River Inn
With its small scale historic ambience, outstanding cuisine and impeccable service your evening will be marvelous. The chef's innovative menu offers a wide selection of creative and delicious choices. You will need to bring your wine or Champagne with you if you prefer to have it accompany your dining experience.
Highlawn Pavilion At The Eagle Rock Reservation
Located on the Reservation's spectacular overlook, this restored Florentine style building is the perfect setting for a glamorous evening. Featuring a French rotisserie, a wood-burning Italian brick oven and char-grill allows the menu to offer a wide selection of seafood and steaks.
Don Pepe Restaurant
Featuring the very best selection from the cuisine of Spain offered with a flair for the unique. There is something for everyone including filet mignon flambe, broiled sirloin steak served with the specialty sauce of the house, lobster and of course the famous Spanish dish Paella.
Restaurant Jean Louis
The charming dining room accommodates only forty diners but it offers big time tastes of wonderful soups and entrees. For dessert, try the petite dégustation for two for a unique treat. You can select just the right wine from the very extensive wine cellar.
Eat Up the Local Culture - Must visits for the local favorites
Sylvia's Restaurant of Harlem
Since 1962, Sylvia's has been cooking dishes that have made her place quite popular. Chef Specialties include: barbequed ribs, short ribs, pork chops, smothered , baked and fried Chicken. Also popular favorites include mashed potatoes with the rich brown gravy, collard greens, cornbread, catfish, grits, pigtails, lima beans, hamhocks, and neck bones.
A popular neighborhood eatery for many years, Juniors is great for a nostalgia trip, a fabulous meal or a superb dessert. Looking at the menu, makes your mouth water for every tasty delight from the brisket, burgers, blintzes and their world famous cheesecake and lemon meringue pies.
The Tasting Room
A nice cozy restaurant with a soothing ambience. You'll find a wide variety of choices on the innovative and creative menu, whether you are a vegetarian or a meat-lover. The portions are not large, but they are wonderfully prepared. Enjoy the large selection of wines and try the ice wines.
205 East Houston Street New York City New York 10002
If you like Hot Pastrami or other delicatessen food, you won't be disappointed. Katz's has been around on the Lower East Side for generations. It was the site of the famous, "I'll have what she's having" scene between Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally.
302 East 12th Street New York City New York 10003
The home cooked Italian food is delicious and reasonably priced. The décor and waitstaff are like a scene right out of The Godfather but with warmth and a smile.
5724 Roosevelt Avenue Woodside New York 11377
Not the fanciest place, but the prices are right and the food is great. The menu includes fish, steaks and everything in between. They are famous for the best burgers in NYC which are truly amazing: huge, juicy and oozing with taste.
32 Spring Street New York City New York 11377
Founded in 1905, Lombardi's claims to be the very first American pizza parlor. Excellent thin crust pizza baked in their famous, antique coal oven. The crusts are crispy and the mozzarella is homemade, just as it has always been since they first opened over 100 years ago.
17 Mott Street New York City New York 10013
A visit to this Chinatown basement restaurant may not sound like a great dining adventure but it truly is some of the best Chinese food on the planet. With an extensive list of Szechwan and Asian specialties, there is something for everyone at very reasonable prices. If you have a craving at 2am, you're covered, it is open 24 hours.
157 Chrystie Street New York City New York 10002
This is a classic restaurant in the ethnic rich Lower East Side that is truly unique. You can experience a delicious meal and participate in the floor show by the waiters. Wonderful Jewish delicacies, steaks, and you can even make famous New York egg creams right at your table.
Veniero's Pasticceria and Caffe
Since 1884, Venieros in New York's East Village, has served up the most wonderful pastries, cakes and Italian cookies ever created. The café is a wonderful respite where one can enjoy a piece of cheesecake, a cannoli or any other Italian pasty that you desire along with a frothy cup of cappuccino.
Some people say that these are the best hot dogs in the world, remember Kramer from Seinfeld and his obsession. The menu includes natural fresh juice drinks and shakes, in a multitude of exotic tropical flavors such as Papaya, Mango, Coconut Champagne, Pina Colada, Banana Daiquiri and Strawberry Supreme, to name a few.
The most wonderful bagels you have ever eaten whether you choose plain or topped with excellent homemade salads, smoked fish and cheeses.
Nathans Coney Island
What began as a nickel hot dog stand in Coney Island in 1916 has grown to become the much-loved New York institution that it is today. The hot dogs and French fries are their signature items and they are wonderful, but also give the pea soup a try. Weather permitting; you can go on the amusement rides also.
129 East 18th Street New York City New York 10003
First opened in 1864, this cozy old "Cheers-Like" tavern looks exactly as it had when its most celebrated regular O. Henry wrote the classic "Gift of the Magi" here at his favorite booth in 1904. You may have seen it on Seinfeld, Law and Order, Sex and the City and other television programs. Known for their burgers and large prime rib, they have traditional tavern fare that is a cut above the rest.
You can't have a meal here but it is a wonderful place to get lots of sweet eats. An old-fashioned candy store that carries childhood favorites and imported delights as well as just about every other confection you can imagine. All types of nuts, dried fruits and loose chocolates as well are available to satisfy everyone's cravings.
87 Orchard Street New York City New York 10002
When was the last time you were walking down the street in any major metropolitan city and saw a storefront pickle stand. Now you can say that you have done it because at Guss', the pickles are fresh and crunchy, and fresh from barrels right on the street. Buy one or a whole quart of the green beauties.
Russ and Daughters
The highest quality smoked fish, caviar and specialty foods, at a quintessential old-world food shop. Established in 1914, this world-famous New York institution has been run by 4 generations of the Russ family. You can't eat here, but it is worth taking it home for a feast for kings.
The steaks look like they did on the Flintstones, luckily, the patrons don't. Along with their steaks they are known for their giant burgers and reasonable prices. They are now in four locations throughout New Jersey, with the original in Hoboken remaining the most famous.
This is a unique delicatessen that is like an amusement park for people who like food. The food is top-shelf and the portions are enormous. Whether you get a sandwich or pancakes, be prepared to share it with more than one other person. It's worth the trip for the food but the astonished, amusing looks on the faces of the other diners is an added bonus and great entertainment.
- In the 1920s, a sportswriter for the Morning Telegraph named John Fitzgerald, overheard stablehands in New Orleans refer to NYC's racetracks as "the Big Apple." He named his column "Around the Big Apple." A decade later, jazz musicians adopted the term to refer to New York City, and especially Harlem, as the jazz capital of the world. "There are many apples on the trees of success," they were saying, "but when you pick New York City, you pick the big apple."
- John Hertz, who founded the Yellow Cab Company in 1907, chose yellow because he had read a study conducted by the University of Chicago that indicated it was the easiest color to spot.
- The Statue of Liberty is 101 feet tall from base to torch, 305 feet tall from pedestal foundation to torch. She has a 35-foot waist and an 8-foot index finger, and she weighs 450,000 pounds.
- Macy's is the world's largest store, covers 2.1 million square feet of space and stocks over 500,000 different items. Macy's is also the world's second largest consumer of helium. The United States government is the first.
- The triangular shape of the Flatiron Building(an early skyscraper on 23rd Street) produced wind currents that made women's skirts billow and caused police to create the term '23 skiddoo' to shoo gapers from the area.
- The oldest schoolhouse still standing, built in 1695, is situated in Historic Richmond Town on Staten Island.
- In 1664, the city's tallest structure was a 2-story windmill.
- The vaults of the Federal Reserve Bank on Maiden Lane store more than one-quarter of the world's gold bullion.
- The first ticker-tape parade celebrated the dedication of the Statue of Liberty in 1886.
- Broadway began as an Algonquin trade route called the Wiechquaekeck Trail.
- The Brooklyn Bridge was the first bridge to be lit using electricity.
- New Jersey has more racehorses than Kentucky.
- New Jersey is the world leader in blueberry and cranberry production.
- The first baseball game was played in Hoboken, NJ.
Fun Day Trips
Ellis Island & Statue of Liberty
Located on 12-acre Liberty Island in New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty was a gift of international friendship from the people of France. The Ellis Island Immigration Museum is part of the complex. Between 1892 and 1954, approximately 12 million steerage and third class steamship passengers, who entered the United States through the port of New York, were legally and medically inspected at this facility. The museum and the Statue are important parts of our nation's history. You will have to take a ferry to the parks. Open 9:30am - 5pm
South Street Seaport
Located on the site of what was once the country's leading port, is now a twelve square block historic district in lower Manhattan. South Street provides visitors with an unforgettable glimpse into a past with 18th and 19th century buildings and stone paved streets as well as the nations largest wholesale fish market still operating. A thriving community complete with a world-class maritime museum, breathtaking views and more than 100 shops, cafes and restaurants. The Seaport Museum is home to a wealth of information with exhibits and historic ships.
Generations of New Yorkers came to Coney Island to relax on the beach, stroll along the boardwalk, go on the rides and get a hot dog at Nathans. The amusement area includes 35 or more separate rides and attractions. The beach and boardwalk are open all year round (although lifeguards are only on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day). Nathan's Hot Dogs and the New York Aquarium are open throughout the year. The Coney Island Museum is also open on Saturdays and Sundays, from noon to 5 PM. Coney Island is a seasonal center operating roughly between Easter and Labor Day
Lambertville NJ/New Hope, PA
Stroll through two quaint towns straddling both sides of the Delaware River. These "artsy" towns are especially fun places to shop and browse antiques and artist one-of-a-kind items. Some of the most wonderful restaurants are located here and make for a memorable lunch or dinner experience. The Bucks County Playhouse in the middle of New Hope features "Broadway style" shows and headliner entertainment year round.
Edison National Historic Site
The laboratory created by Thomas Alva Edison in West Orange, New Jersey, had an enormous impact on the lives of millions of people worldwide. Out of the West Orange laboratories came the motion picture camera, light-bulb, vastly improved phonographs, sound recordings, silent and sound movies and the nickel-iron alkaline electric storage battery.
The Theatre Development Fund has discount ticket booths for same-day discount tickets for Broadway and off-Broadway shows, up to 50% off the ticket prices. Locals have been using the service for years, and getting great deals. Be prepared to wait in line, get there early. There are two locations: Times Square, 47th Street & Broadway and South Street Seaport, Front and John Streets, the rear of the Resnick/Prudential Building at 199 Water Street for reduced tickets to Broadway shows.