Top 5 places to visit in New York

I was recently lucky enough to head out to NYC for a holiday, and whilst I was there I decided to collect some information for Partnership International that might be of interest to those people who sign up to our fantastic U.S. programs! It wasn’t my first time in New York so I wanted to see some of the more interesting or obscure sights you wouldn’t normally see as a tourist. Here is my top five list of things that I would highly recommend you check out if you have the chance!

Shakespeare in the Park

This is definitely one of the absolute best free experiences you can get in New York. Even if you’re not a massive fan of the bard, the productions are always interesting and the atmosphere in the open-air Delacorte theatre in Central Park is amazing! I was lucky enough to catch a fantastic performance of the Taming of the shrew by an all-female cast on a warm summer’s night!

Now the one thing to remember about Shakespeare in the Park is that you have to queue early for tickets, and when I say early, I really mean early! I was there at around 6am (tickets are on offer at 12 noon, and you can only get two per person) and I was not the first person. Don’t make the same mistake I did and turn up without a seat, blanket, food or drink – standing reading a copy of the Economist and slightly shivering was not the best plan! However standing in a queue for six hours (If you turn up too late you can forget getting a ticket), was almost as fun as watching the play. I got to laugh and chat with a huge range of people, people watch, order some coffee from guys on bikes who went up and down the line, and listen to music from performers who set up on the grass nearby. For a unique experience, Shakespeare in the Park ticks all the boxes!

 Shakespeare in the Park

Morris-Jumel Mansion

As a historian I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check out Manhattan’s oldest house, the Morris-Jumel Mansion. The house was built in 1765 and occupies one of the city’s highest points. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington occupied the house, and later Aaron Burr who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, was married to the house owner. It is now a fantastic museum with passionate and highly knowledgeable tour guides to show you around. Our guide not only knew all the history of the house, but of the surrounding neighborhood, and pointed out some really interesting fact, including that Duke Ellington lived nearby. The house and gardens are like an oasis in the middle of a bustling, built-up area, and a lovely place to enjoy a picnic and a relax, whilst also getting a great history lesson. The mansion is open Tues-Sunday and costs $10 entry.

Morris-Jumel Mansion

Roosevelt Island

From Google Maps Roosevelt Island might just look like a strip of land in the East River with not much going on, but looks can be deceptive. For starters to get there you can take an aerial tram car ride (which has appeared in films like Spiderman and Leon) which gives you some of the most spectacular views of the city you can get. It really is breath-taking, and only costs the same as a normal subway ride.

When you get to the island there’s lots to see, and similar spectacular views of the skyscrapers of the city. You can visit NYC’s newest park, the ‘Franklin D Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park’ at the Southern tip (passing by an old smallpox hospital), and visit an old lighthouse at the northern tip. A bus runs on the island if you don’t fancy walking, and there are often food trucks by the parks so you can get something to eat. From the peaceful grass area of the Four Freedoms Park you can spend a lovely afternoon, eating a picnic and enjoying the feeling of tranquility by the water.

The Roosevelt Island tramway to New York City

High Line

On a bright, sunny day, there are far worse places to be in NYC than on the magnificent High Line in Manhattan. Originally built to allow cargo to be moved by rail above the crowded streets, the line fell into disrepair during the later part of the 20th Century. It was saved from demolition by a group called ‘Friends of the High Line’ and repurposed as an aerial park and opened in 2009. Today it extends for over 2 km and provides some of the most unique and beautiful views of Manhattan’s Lower West Side. The line is covered with trees, plants and benches, and has food stalls under Chelsea Market. It’s a great place to see New Yorkers take a break from work, read a book or sketch the city. Surrounding the line are boutique shops, pubs and restaurants, and on the line itself there are periodic installations such as an urban theatre and art projects. If the weather is good, there is nothing better than strolling along the high line, and experiencing this beautiful oasis in the sky.

High Line NYC

Staten Island Ferry

Staten Island is one of the five boroughs of NYC and has a rich history of its own. Its oldest houses have appeared in many period films and TV shows, and it is known as the borough of parks as it is full of green space. There is a living history village, a zoo, and many other museums to visit. The real reason I have included it here though is the ferry ride to get there. I recommend returning from Staten Island to Manhattan as early as possible in order to catch the sunrise (check your calendars for this). Sailing on one of the distinctive orange ferries is a fantastic experience. Get out on deck in the fresh air and you’ll get incredible views of the skyscrapers of Manhattan, Governor’s Island and most importantly The Statue of Liberty.

Seeing these as the sun comes up as you sip a coffee and listen to the workers riding the ferry to start their days is an amazing experience, and most importantly one that will cost you nothing! The ferry ride is absolutely free and runs regularly, so there’s no excuse not to make use of this brilliant opportunity!

Staten Island Ferry RIDE


Au Pair, Partnership International Blog, Places to see, Travel Tips, Useful Information Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,