New York travel guide Day 1: Top of the Rock, Grand Central Station and Empire State Building

Recently I took a trip to the big apple with my family as an early gift for my mam’s 50th birthday. The trip lasted 5 days and was completely exhausting so this has took me a while to put together. When researching New York I found most of my help and recommendations came from online websites such as Pintrest, Instagram and other blogs so here is the first part of my five part travel guide to New York city!

Travelling to New York

Outside the Wyndham A New Yorker hotel

My family and I travelled to New York using Norweigan airlines on a direct flight from Edinburgh Airport to Stewart Airport. We travelled from Sunderland to Edinburgh by car and then from Stewart Airport to Manhattan we got the bus which was 20$ each. I will explain more about my flight experiences in a later post but my journey there was tolerable althought the aeroplane had no Wifi or entertainment which was very dissappointing as we were expecting it.

We stayed in the Wyndham A New Yorker hotel on 8th avenue which I was pleasantly surprised with. Although a 3* they were very accomodating, the kind lady at the front desk, Julia, upgraded us to a larger room the second night which had a fantastic view of the Empire State building. I also found the other front desk and security staff very friendly as well as the mail room staff who helped me with my Halloween costume order!

First day in New York

New York Public Library

View of the New York public library
Outside the New York public library

Firstly, we started the day mainly sightseeing and getting our bearings in mid-town which was the area we were staying in. One of our first photo stops was the New York public library which was featured in the popular film, Ghostbusters.

Top of the rock

Ice rink in Rockefeller plaza
Ice rink in Rockefeller plaza

We then headed over to Rockefeller plaza, home of the Rockerfellar centre along with NCB News and various shops and restaurants. We decided our first excursion would be the Top of the Rock, a fantasic view of the New York city skyline. 

View from Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller centre
Views from Top of the Rock

I took a lot of photo’s on Top of the Rock as the view was phenomenal. One side you could see how huge central park is and the other was mainly the large buildings including the Empire State building which you can see above. It’s best to get here early so expect to que both for the tickets and to get into the actual attraction as it’s super busy, I’d also recommend making sure you go on a clear day or you wont see a thing. My family used a New York explorer pass which you can find here on Expedia for 3,4,5 and 7 New York attractions.

Pumpkins in Rockefeller Plaza
Pumpkin decor in Rockefeller Plaza

After that we had a wander around Rockefeller Plaza and visited some cute shops, I really loved the Kawaii shop! My sisters firm favourite however, was definately the Nintendo shop as she went to New York with two soft toys and came back with eight!

Donkey Kong in the Nintendo Store
Statue of Donkey Kong in the Nintendo Store

My favourite meal in New York

Pizza burger from Black Tap New York city
Amazing pizza burger!

After stumbling upon them on their Instagram which is linked here, I could not come to New York and not try Black Tap on my first day. The food completely lived up to the hype and the que outside. I ordered the pizza burger which is above which arrived with the most amazing pizza sauce EVER. The two servers we had which were Daniel and Samantha were also very attentive and since it was so busy they regularly updated us with how long we were expecting to wait.

Cookies 'N' Cream milkshake from Black Tap NYC
This cookies’n’cream milkshake was the best!

I then finished off with this absolutely amazing cookies ‘n’ cream milkshake which had oreo pieces and a huge cookie sandwich on top. The milkshakes here were absolutely amazing and I was so torn whether to opt for this one of the standard cookie milkshake but I would have enjoyed both. My dad also opted for one of these but his was the fruity pebbles version and he also finished that. Although the bill was quite pricey here at 15$ for the milkshake alone it was well worth it and I’d highly recommend you visit if in New York. It also is enough to fill you for the full day as I couldn’t eat anything else!

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station

Our second photo stop was Grand Central Stations. Although not much to do here it’s worth a see and a photo due to it being so famous. There’s a few little shops inside too but they are rather pricey, typical for a train station.

Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station

Empire State building

At the Empire State Building view of New York at night
The view from the Empire State was amazing

We decided to visit the Empire State building by night which was amazing as it was a magical experience seeing the city all light up at night. We decided to go at night as I saw many blogs and Instagram posts recommending it and it was a great recommendation as there was barely any ques! We once again used our New York explorer pass for this and it was our second attraction.

New York at night from the Empire State building
New York at night from the Empire State building

First look around Times Square

Times Square at night
Times Square at night

We ended the evening by having a look around Times Square which was full of people shopping, dining and visiting the theatre. We sadly did not go and see a show because the tickets were very expensive and we couldn’t agree on which one we wanted.  Harry Potter and The Cursed Child would be my choice which was the most expensive (still looks amazing, I will see it one day).

M&M world
M&M world Statue Of Liberty

We did however, visit the M&M’s world which was similar to the one’s I’ve been to in London and Florida and we got bags of the one’s we couldn’t get in a standard pack as it wasn’t worth getting the standard M&M’s as it was around 7$ per half a pound! We also saw a gigantic teddy bear and some other cool shops around Times Square.

I hope you enjoyed the first of my four part travel guide and are looking forward to the next post. Next week I will tell you all about the 9/11 memorial museum and Brooklyn Bridge so keep watching! What’s your favourite place in New York?

You can find part two of the guide here.

I have also added part three here.

Thanks for reading,

Lots of love

Cara x

23 thoughts on “New York travel guide Day 1: Top of the Rock, Grand Central Station and Empire State Building

    1. Yeah this was only day one haha! Still my favourite meal totally craving the sauce 😭
      Thank you so much for your comment!
      x

  1. Sounds like you had a great first day in New York! I’ve been a couple times and it’s always a shock being there. Times Square is always incredible and it’s crazy how many people are always there. Also that cookie milkshake looks absolutely incredible! I can’t wait to hear how the rest of your trip went.

    1. It was amazing! I’ll be uploading my second day maybe Friday or next week. Thank you so much for your comment x

  2. Wow, what an incredible trip – seems like you’ve managed to get a lot in to a few days. That milkshake looks unbelievable!! I also can’t get over the size of that teddy bear haha. I really enjoyed reading this, and thank you for sharing your lovely pictures. Looking forward to seeing some more!

    1. Yeah there’s so much to do here in such little time but the milkshake was definitely a highlight 😂
      Thank you so much for your comment x

    1. Yeah it’s a different experience never been anywhere quite like it before.
      Thank you so much for your comment x

    1. Thank you! This was only one day so I have another post coming up about my second it’s such a big place. Thank you so much for your comment x

  3. I’d love to visit New York there are so many different things I’d like to see there especially the 9/11 memorial! I’d love to go for New Year although it would be super busy it’d be amazing!

    Jess // foundationsandfairytales.wordpress.com
    xx

    1. Yeah the 9/11 memorial is amazing I’ve just wrote about it in my second part! Yeah it’s super busy can imagine it’s even worse at New Year time but agree it would be amazing. Thank you so much for your comment x

  4. What a wonderful time you had! I loved looking at all your pictures. My first time in New York City was a few years ago and we always have a good time! Thanks for sharing your experience.

    1. You’re welcome!
      It was a great experience I’m so glad you enjoyed the post.
      Thank you so much for your comment x

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