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See More in Less Time: Sightseeing in NYC

New York is home to some of the world’s most iconic attractions, as well as one of the most recognizable cityscapes. Ask anyone to list some of NYC buildings or famous landmarks and you will probably hear the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, the Chrysler Building, Central park and the list goes on.

Now as you can imagine, New York City is a striving metropolis and vastly spread out, so trying to see all the most important attractions might cost you in missing some of the hidden gems that the Big Apple holds while standing in queues. In order to maximize your sightseeing time, you need to plan a strategy to see similar sites in one location, and speed up the waiting in lines.

In contrast to booking a NYC holiday apartment online, if you try and plan your sightseeing trip on the internet make sure you allow enough time in the day to get to the sights and make allowances for public transport times. Also, with most attractions in New York City, you can book most of the tickets online and this will save you a lot of time and heartache.

Now that we have a plan of action sorted out, what to see? Below is a list of my 4 must see sights for any first time visitor to New York:

Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Center

The Empire State Building is impressive from the ground looking up, but if you want to catch a glimpse of the Manhattan cityscape then I suggest you make your way up to the Observation Deck. From here you have a panoramic view across the city, but plan to wait in line for two hours and sometimes more during summer months. You can beat the queues by paying more, which brings the waiting time to 30 minutes.

The other option to see the skyline of New York is from the Observation Deck at the Rockefeller Center, which also offers breathtaking views of Central Park, upper Manhattan and of course the Empire State Building.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

There are a few ways to see these sights. The first option is to take the ferry that leaves regularly from Battery Park and will take you to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, but just keep in mind that this trip will take the whole day. If you plan on visiting these sights with this option, it might be worth considering hiring a guide to give you an intimate insight into the history and the island.

The second option is to take a boat tour of the harbor, which will last between 1-2 hours, and the tour will bring you past these attractions as well as offer photo opportunities’.

Lastly, if you do not want to leave dry land, make your way down to Battery Park, where you would normally catchthe ferry, and you will have a good view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

The Financial District

While you are near Battery Park in the financial district of New York City, you can walk through the pages of history by visiting Wall Street. It was here, during the American Revolution that legendary figures such as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison created the modern U.S financial system as we know it today, the Bill of Rights.

Allocate a few hours to explore downtown Manhattan, where you can see the U.S. Custom’s House, Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, Trinity Church, the Canyon of Heroes and Fraunces Tavern (where George Washington used to dine)

If you really want to get the full history of this area, I suggest you join a public walking tour or hire a guide.

The World Trade Center

Staying in the financial district of New York, a visit to “Ground “Zero” is a must for any visitor and here you will see the construction of two towers, a memorial site and a museum.  Unfortunately you can only see parts of the construction taking place, but you can see drawings of what the area will look like once finished, but I recommend you join a walking tour or hire a guide because the site is rich with history and heroism.

If you are visiting New York City for the first time and depending on the length of your stay, I would highly recommend you take a walking tour through the main sights of old New York around Wall Street and the World Trade Center.  The rest of the time you can visit other iconic symbols of the city by yourself such as the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station, the Chrysler Building and so on. However, the Big Apple as so many things to see and do, that you will have to return a few more times to the city that never sleeps!

This article was written by Steven, a travel enthusiast and writer for, suppliers of holiday apartments in Williamsburg and vacation rentals in NYC. Image by