When you visit New York City for the first time, it can all be a bit overwhelming – Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Broadway, Empire State Building, United Nations Headquarters, Central Park…and the list goes on.
With the city’s culture famously enshrined into the music and lyrics of dozens of artists, from Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York, George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind to Jay Z’s Empire State of Mind, it’s easy to see the appeal of the Big Apple.
Fortunately, this was my second time in NYC and instead of checking things off the list, I was able to experience the city more as a local than a tourist.
So, here’s how I spent my 48 hours in NYC.
9/11 Memorial & Museum
I was six years old when 9/11 happened and was too young to comprehend the gravitas of the situation.
Visiting the 9/11 Memorial & Museum as a young adult was somewhat of an awakening. I was overcome with emotion as I walked through the exhibition filled with photographs, videos, personal stories, and recovered artefacts.
And as you visit the reflecting pools with names of innocent citizens who lost their lives for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time, your heart aches for their families.
We will always remember them.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Affectionately known as ‘The Met’, this museum houses art from all corners of the globe, revealing history from as far back as 5,000 years ago.
It’s easily one of the best museums I’ve visited and I attribute this to one specific feature – immersive learning.
I believe that history comes alive when you’re transported to that moment in time. The Met does exactly this by meticulously painting the scene for you – from housing Greek and Roman art with a Neoclassical interior, Chinese art with the memory of a courtyard from the Ming Dynasty, to Egyptian art surrounded by monolithic structures.
It is also a bit of a maze but one I’d gladly find myself in!
Bonus tip: For the best views of the city and Central Park, the Met Roof Garden Bar is an absolute must visit!
Birdland Jazz Club
If The Met Gala is home to the who’s who of Hollywood celebrities, then Birdland is home to the who’s who of jazz legends.
Easily one of the most iconic venues in NYC, Birdland has welcomed THE biggest names in jazz from Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra to Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, and Diana Krall.
Now situated in Midtown Manhattan, Birdland continues to showcase some of the best jazz musicians on tour as well as emerging artists.
On the night I went, I was fortunate to hear the Alexa Tarantino Quartet over a dinner show. Wonderfully versatile musicians who played tunes from their latest albums Firefly and Clarity. Some of my favourites include Daybreak and La Puerta. I’d recommend checking them out!
Side note: I was amazed at the elevator car park right next to Birdland – can’t say I see them too often!
“[Broadway] is not just for gays anymore” – the chorus to Neil Patrick Harris’ opening number at the 65th Tony Awards.
Musical theatre brings out the best of storytelling and live-action music. From charismatic magic genies to singing safari animals and Founding Fathers with a talent for rap.
On this occasion, I watched Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which was a delightful epilogue to the 8-part film series. Without spoiling the plot, this one-part play is filled with world-class special effects and nostalgic characters and costumes.
Bonus tip: If you’re feeling lucky, you may be able to score last-minute tickets through sites like TodayTix!
Where would you visit first in NYC? Let me know in the comments below!
This post is not sponsored. All views are my own.