Earlier this year, I visited New York City for the first time. I went during late March and early April during that weird time when snowstorms were hitting New England during the start of “spring.” Thankfully, we managed to miss the snowstorms, and got to explore the city in somewhat peaceful weather. It might have been a little chilly but being able to explore NYC during non-peak tourist times was ideal and allowed us to feel more relaxed during our stay. And because we didn’t go in the middle of summer, there were hardly any odors from trash. All I was able to smell during my trip was the sweet perfume of delicious foods.
We only went for a week during our spring break so we had to pick those special spots that were worth visiting in such a short time. I learned during my time here that NYC has gorgeous architecture and some astounding engineering that makes taking a beautiful photo a lot easier. Any view with these incredible skyscrapers is already “Insta-Worthy,” but I am a little biased from my time there, so I’m sharing a few of the places that left me in awe during my trip. And if you decide to go visit this city, I would highly recommend you give these places a visit. And the best part??? I didn’t pay a single cent for admission into these sites. You only have to consider the travel costs and you’re good to go!
Pro Tip: NYC offers passes for their subways – called MetroCards – that give you unlimited rides. I purchased the 7-day pass, but they also offer a 30-day pass, as well. I paid $32 for my pass and I highly recommend it! You can go anywhere the subways take you (which is practically everywhere). The city is the limit!
1. Brooklyn Bridge
Everybody and their momma is gonna tell you that Brooklyn Bridge is a touristy spot and they’re right. You can find tourists walking across this bridge at any time during the day. Maybe you’re like me and you like avoiding tourists, so I recommend going in the early morning to avoid a huge traffic flow of walkers and bikers. It’ll make photos look even more breathtaking.
However, tourists or not, this site is undeniably gorgeous. Anywhere along this bridge is a perfect photo-op and it’s just a relaxing view to look at. You can see skyscrapers off into the distance and it feels so unreal. I think this bridge is my favorite place to visit in NYC, which is why I listed it first (and why it has more pics).
Known as a top fashion hot spot in NYC, this neighborhood offers trendy little boutiques and restaurants to visit. It’s also home to the famous lit archway at the entrance of the hotel, NoMo SoHo, where many people block off others from going through so they can take a pic. Guilty! But maybe this lit archway isn’t your cup of tea. You can also find edgy spots in this area like the graffiti wall right next to this entrance. We found a bellboy trolley and used it as a prop for some really stunning and dramatic photos. I’m more of a fan of architecture though so right after that, I immediately took some photos with the beautiful buildings as a background. They were literally on the corner of that hotel. So much beauty and style in such a small area! That’s why I recommend coming here because it’s so unbelievably stunning everywhere you look.
3. Washington Square Park
This park might usually be overlooked by tourists on a time crunch, but it also brings a lot of charm into your photos. The highlight of this park is clearly the enormous arch that dominates the landscape. The Washington Square Arch is a historical landmark and bears a striking similarity to Paris’s Arc de Triomphe, which it was modeled after. Although the Arc de Triomphe is twice the height of the Washington Square Arch, its beauty goes without saying. One could marvel at this structure for hours. One would also be crazy for wasting so much time, but you get the point.
Not pictured is a beautiful fountain that would also create some gorgeous photos and is also just relaxing to look at.
Looking for a fake Gucci bag? Then you’ve come to the right spot. Street vendors in this neighborhood are always trying to sell you some knock-off luxury items (Or maybe it’s real? Who knows?). All I know is that Chinatown offers the best deals on food with $10 giving you a huge plate of food that you couldn’t possibly finish in one sitting. You can also find some very trendy ice cream shops, like Taiyaki NYC, where you can get matcha soft serve in a fish cone topped off with a unicorn horn and some ears! Chinatown also offers some beautiful sightseeing with its vibrant Chinese decorations strung everywhere. I remember being in awe at how much color was displayed on some buildings, and I couldn’t help myself from taking a pic on this street corner. I love this neighborhood so much and it would be a shame to visit NYC and not go to Chinatown.
5. WNYC Transmitter Park
The last place I recommend visiting is the WNYC Transmitter Park. Not many people hear about this park, but it’s definitely a cool place to go visit. You get a spectacular view of the famous NYC skyline, and best of all, there are hardly any tourists around. When we came to this park, there was only a handful of people walking around, which made sense for a chilly weekday, but it gave us the perfect opportunity to be inventive without other people judging (hence the hair flip drama).
There’s really not much else to do here besides admire the nice view of the city, so I wouldn’t suggest staying here for too long because NYC offers so much more than pretty views. This is a rich city that deserves many visits before fully appreciating the breadth of its history, food, and culture. I don’t know when I will be coming back to NYC, but I will make sure that I do because there is really no other city quite like this one.