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First Timer’s NYC Bucket List in 2024

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With a new year on the horizon, many of you may be thinking a trip to New York City is on the cards. So, with that in mind, here’s your NYC bucket list, 2024 edition – I hope it proves useful!

New York At Night

1. See the sights from the Top of the Rock

Many tourists choose to head to the top of the Empire State Building to take in the views, but then you’re missing out on seeing the Empire State towering over the rest of the city itself! My recommendation is to head to the Top of the Rock in the late afternoon so you can see the sights by day, by sunset and by night.

2. Marvel at the bright lights of Times Square

A truly iconic NYC landmark, Times Square might be a totally touristy thing to do, but you can’t possibly miss it on your first visit to the city that never sleeps. Watch out for common New York scams though!

Times Square, New York City

3. Wander around Central Park

Central Park in New York is akin to Hyde Park in London and is yet another place not to be missed. However, you can probably skip the horse-drawn carriage ride, and instead, opt to see the main parts of this park on foot across several days.

4. Conduct a minute’s silence at the 9/11 Memorial

I’ve always admired cities that don’t try to forget their past, and instead, choose to remember those who have tragically lost their lives. Berlin in Germany is great for this, and NYC is as well, thanks to the humbling 9/11 memorial.

5. Visit Grand Central Station & test the ‘Whispering Gallery’

As a bit of a ‘Gossip Girl’ fanatic, I couldn’t help but include Grand Central Station on this New York City bucket list. But actually, since watching an NYC episode of ‘Travel Man’, I was also dying to try out the ‘Whispering Gallery’. It’s said that if you and your partner stand in particular parts of the station, you can have a private conversation with one another with your voices travelling to each other through the stonework (even when whispering)! It really works!


Grand Central Secrets - The Whispering Gallery

6. Walk along both the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge

Two very iconic bridges, two very different walks, and you will want to do both!

7. Cruise near the Statue of Liberty

Although it’s possible to head to the top of the Statue of Liberty, I don’t think it’s necessary as you’ll be seeing the city sights from the Top of the Rock anyway. Instead, you can catch a FREE ferry, which takes you past the statue (and offers prime photo opportunities)… perfect!

8. Admire art at the MET Museum

I had wanted to visit the MET as soon as I found out about the Asian exhibits found there… and it most certainly did not disappoint! If you love zen gardens, statues, paintings, and historic artefacts, then you’ll also love the MET.

9. Photograph the Flatiron Building

A building that is said to resemble a flatiron (or iron), it’ll take you just a few seconds to grab a quick photo of it!

10. Eat your weight in chocolate at ‘Stick With Me Sweets’

I first heard about ‘Stick With Me Sweets’ via a Facebook video, and it quickly climbed to the top of my own bucket list. The chocolates are hand-painted and are absolutely delicious. So, with the purpose of conducting some vital blog research for you all (you know, as a totally selfless act), I gorged on a load of chocolates there… or at least as much as I could afford! (The chocolates don’t come cheap…) – Find out just how amazing the chocolates were here!

RELATED: 4 Day New York Itinerary For First Time Visitors

11. Walk through Chinatown & admire the Mahayana Buddhist Temple

Whenever I visit large cities, I always check out the local Chinatown, ‘cos let’s face it, there is always one! London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, and now NYC, I’m slowly making my way around them all! But in New York’s Chinatown, you should be particularly excited to see the Mahayana Buddhist Temple – it looks amazing!

New York Chinatown

12. Order some drinks in the ‘How I Met Your Mother’ pub

‘How I Met Your Mother’ used to be one of my favourite TV shows, and so when my fiancé Scott mentioned having a drink in the iconic pub as something to add to our own NYC bucket list, I didn’t need much convincing! The pub itself (McGee’s Pub) smells a little of chlorine, and I’m not convinced I’d actually want to eat there, but for a quick drink, it’s worth it if you like the show. You’ll find picture upon picture of the show’s cast, reminding you at every second of where you’re sitting.

13. Walk along the High Line

As a big fan of nature and walking through forests and such like, finding a cool little space like this in New York City is a must. Enter the ‘High Line’, which promises great city views, nature, a relaxing walk – and a beautiful sunset if you come at the right time. Find out more about the High Line walk here.

Sunset at the end of the High Line walk in New York City

14. Check out Union Square for the Farmer’s Market and artisan cakes

Union Square is home to a great Farmer’s Market, and within that is a great stall selling artisan cakes. You’ll have fun going on the hunt for this stall, whilst also perusing the many other awesome food and crafts found here!

15. Sip sophisticated cocktails at The Penrose or Weather Up (or both)

Found within most Lonely Planet NYC guidebooks and articles are The Penrose and Weather Up bars, which serve sophisticated, posh cocktails… you know, just so you can pretend you’re Charlotte York from ‘Sex and the City’…

BONUS: Window shop at 3FortySeven

Known as a posh gallery and home interior showroom, 3FortySeven is something for the posh elite of New York City. And you should plan on window shopping there at least once!

So… what do you think of this New York City bucket list? Which activity will be first on your own NYC bucket list? Write me a few notes in the comments…

Want to add some of these things to your own bucket list? Pin it for later!

New York City Bucket List
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Justine Jenkins

Justine is one half of the married couple behind the Wanderers of the World travel blog. She lives in Bristol, UK and has travelled extensively within Europe and beyond since 2013. After her trips, she shares detailed travel itineraries, helpful travel guides and inspiring blog posts about the places she's been to. When she's not travelling overseas, you'll find her joining her husband, Scott on various day trips, weekend getaways and walks within the UK, which she also writes about on Wanderers of the World. Aside from travelling and writing, she also loves reading, crafting and learning about nature.

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