Looking for the best things to do in NYC? Here are 12 Things to Do in New York City! Discover places to eat, where to stay, and things to do for FREE!

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Friends, we just returned from a week in New York City! So fun (and cold … brrr..:), the sun was out and it was a very special time with our daughter, who came for a few days from college. Above … have you ever walked The High Line in NYC?

It’s been a tradition since age 5, for our kids to hang their head out the window when we arrive in NYC!  So keeping up with traditions, when Abby arrived, we just had to do it :)

New York City!

Today I’m sharing our stay at the Paramount Hotel and 12 Things to Do in NYC! We’ve been many times, so each time we go, we try to do NEW things!

And keep reading, to learn more about the latest attraction in NYC … The Vessel.

We’ve been to New York many times, so I’m listing the things we enjoyed this time around, many things for FREE! My husband and I started at his speaking engagement in Staten Island, then moved into the city. We always have fun together!

Then I’m giving you a list of what you should do, if you’ve never been to NYC before!

The Paramount Hotel

But first, we stayed at one of Midtown Manhattan’s hotels, The Paramount Hotel, which is a great location! Even thought it’s right off of Times Square, the rooms were quiet enough for us. The hotel was renovated in 2019, so it’s clean, modern, and what we loved–easy access to the Broadway Theater District and Restaurant Row.

If you’re a shopper, then you’ll love the nearby upscale Madison and Fifth Avenue shopping!

It’s also easy access to Hell’s Kitchen, Rockefeller Center, the Javits Center, Central Park, Herald Square, the shops of Fifth Avenue, and the Fashion District and Garment District!

Scroll to the bottom for my favorite top 12 things to do in NYC!

The lobby in this hotel is super cool and gigantic! It’s a two-story lobby, with dramatic lighting, and rich textures, and you can get lost in the cozy lounges and chairs.

Executive King Room

We stayed in the Executive King room, with a very generous space and a king-sized bed!

The pillow-top mattress and down comforter and cotton sheets were lovely!

There’s a 32-inch, high-definition flat-screen TV, and an iHome iPod docking station with high-speed wireless internet access.

Our room was on the quiet part of the street, away from the hustle and bustle!

History of the hotel

In 1927, The Paramount Hotel was constructed as one of the first Times Square hotels, designed in the French Renaissance style. They opened with 700 rooms, an air-conditioned grill room with dancing and live entertainment, an intimate dining room, a large lobby with a mezzanine, and nine retail shops. Sounds like a small city!

Then in 1990 the Paramount renovated and reopened, contributing to the renewal of the Times Square area.

12 things to do in NYC

1. See a Broadway Show

There are 40 professional theaters in BNYC, with auditorium seating for over 500 people, presenting some of the highest-quality theatrical productions in the world.

We were so happy to see Come Far Away! It’s a remarkable true story! We had asked what “sleeper show” was currently playing, and we happened to get 2 cancelations one block over from our hotel. SO GOOD! I highly recommend this show!

2. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge and Dumbo area

The bridge is a beloved, circa-1883 landmark connecting Manhattan & Brooklyn via a unique stone-&-steel design. Once you walk to the other side, you get to Dumbo.

Dumbo’s cobblestone streets and converted Brooklyn warehouse buildings are the backdrop boutiques, high-end restaurants and trendy cafes.

We enjoyed a latte on the water!

The north end of Brooklyn Bridge Park features historic Jane’s Carousel, as well as picturesque views of the Manhattan skyline.

Before you get to the bridge, there’s so much history!

Beautiful walks through Madison Garden! The crocus were blooming just for us (even though it was freezing out)!

3. Walk to Greenwich Village for breakfast

Greenwich Village was once the center of the 1960s counterculture movement, with tree-lined streets. Now it’s a hub of popular cafes, bars and restaurants. There are jazz clubs and Off-Broadway shows, too.

We ate breakfast at our favorite Buvette. Everytime I go to NY, this is on my list.

The scones, coffee, and ambience make you feel you are right in France!

The next night we went to Van Leeuwen for the most amazing ice cream!

4. Visit Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market is a food hall, shopping mall, office building and television production facility (where the Food Network is), located in the Chelsea neighborhood.

We had a personal appointment set up with the Food Network (I’m friends with the head chef, Rob), so that was fun! We first walked around Chelsea Market and visited all the cute shops.

At the Food Network, Rachael Ray was there recording a Facebook live, but we were able to navigate around her and get a tour of the facility. We saw their test kitchen, the new magazine and recipes that will be featured, and how they work ahead six months for that season. Which means right now they are working on Christmas!

5. Have lunch at Chelsea Market

We met my friend, Jill, at Miznon for the most fantastic flatbread burgers, etc.

Have ice cream with tahini on top at Seed + Mill. It’s amazing!

6. Hang out in Times Square

One of the most iconic locations in the world, you just have to hang out in Times Square.

There’s lots of noise, excitement, and just a lot going on.

7. Visit the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

MoMA is located in the Midtown area and features collections that focus on more recent artistic productions and more diverse artistic media. Some of their most famous holdings include works by Jackson Pollock, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso!

My honey and I spent an afternoon hanging out here, where we started off with a cappucinco and Madeline. Then we just took our time. It was a blast. (This does cost to get in.)

8. Try a new church if you’re in NYC on a Sunday

We usually try a new church if we’re in NY on a Sunday. Sundays are a great day (especially early in the morning) to Uber around to a new area in the city.

This time we visited Trinity Grace Church Tribeca. The music was incredible, guitar, cellos, violin, a soft drum.

My husband and I walked away saying, more churches should do it this way. Of course I was thrilled, because stepping in for the pastor that day (whose wife was having a baby) was Shauna Niequist, one of my favorite authors.

9. Spend hours in Central Park

Seeing Central Park is a must-do while you’re in New York, even if you’ll only be staying for a very limited period of time.

This beautiful space offers a haven to the insanity of big city living, with so many trees, giant rocks, paths to walk on. Here you’ll see people from all over the world. I also noticed the flowers were just starting to bloom (barely) and the chipmunks and squirrels were very excited for the warm days!

Some of the things you’ll definitely want to do during your day at the park include a visit to the Central Park Zoo, a paddle boat ride on the lake, and a relaxing nap at Sheep Meadow.

10. Eat at Restaurant Row

Walk into any restaurant on Restaurant Row and you will not be disappointed, with some of the best culinary experiences! Restaurant Row is the block of 46th St, between 8th & 9th Aves, packed with pre-theater restaurants of all cuisine types.

Here we ate at ________.

We also ate at ____, and then walked to our broadway show!

11. Walk the High Line

What I love about NYC is there are a bunch of things that are free. One thing is walking the High Line.

The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail, created on a former New York Central Railroad spur on the west side of Manhattan in New York City.

It was one of the favorite things that Abby and I did together!

12. Visit the new Vessel

Vessel is a public structure and landmark that was built as part of the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project in Manhattan.

It looks like a giant honeycomb, a structure with 16 stories, 154 flights of stairs, 2,500 steps, and 80 landings for visitors to climb.

Those are the 12 great things that we did this past month, when we visited NYC for a week. And what a fun place to spend with your daughter!

But, you can always buy a ticket for Hop On Hop Off Big Bus New York Bus Tours, where you’ll get a chance to see many of the top buildings, and tourist attractions!

Here are things we did in the past, that are also a must-see!

  • Empire State Building
  • SOHO/ Little Italy
  • Wall Street/ Charging Bull
  • Madison Square Garden
  • The Top of the Rock Observatory (Rockefeller Plaza)
  • The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
  • 9/11 Memorial and Museum
  • World Trader Center
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • The Guggenheim Museum
  • Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
  • Yankee Stadium

And because I’m a foodie, and I love charcuterie boards, if you’ve never been to Eataly, then GO! It’s a real treat. I’ve been several times in NYC and also in Chicago. It’s a real culinary experience!

We also stayed across from Carnegie Hall for a few nights when we arrived, and that brought back great memories of this trip. That’s a great part of town (57th street), and it’s close to Times Square, too.


My trip to NYC was not sponsored, but Paramount Hotel gave us a media rate. I’ve also stayed at The Tuscany Hotel near Grand Central Station. This location is also great, and the rooms in this hotel are HUGE. At the Tuscany, they offer breakfast every morning. Check it out for reasonable rates! We’ve also stayed at The Court – A St. Giles Premier Hotel.

12 Things to Do in New York City #nyc #whattodoinNYC