Views of the Empire State Building set against the Manhattan skyline
Stay up with the city that never sleeps
Start your Big Apple adventure at the Top of the Rock, perched on the pinnacle of the Rockefeller Centre. The 70th story observation deck offers stunning, unobstructed views of the city, and a breathtaking view of Central Park and the Empire State Building set against the Manhattan skyline. Next, head to the Flatiron Building, one of the tallest buildings when it was built over a hundred years ago. Nothing screams bright lights, big city quite like Times Square. Soak in the full on explosion of flashing neon lights, giant digital billboards, loud Broadway marquees, and remember to book a ticket to a Broadway show or two. Then, end your day at the Theater District Shake Shack for some all-American burgers, fries and milkshake.
Statue of Liberty
Ellis Island National Museum
Left: Statue of Liberty Right: Ellis Island National Museum
DIVE INTO SOME HISTORY
A symbol of freedom, the Statue of Liberty needs no introduction. Tickets for visiting the grounds are readily available but so popular is the 93-metre iron and copper goddess that advance online bookings are needed for a peek inside the pedestal and crown. Do remember that you have to climb all 377 steps to get to the top but the spectacular views from the windows of Lady Liberty’s crown is well worth the effort. For a deeper appreciation of what the early migrants went through to get to America, pop by the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration nearby. Choose the audio tour and listen to immigrants recount their struggles to survive and start a new life as you inspect artefacts, photographs, videos and interactive displays.
American Museum of Natural History
EASY DOES IT
Spend a day at Central Park, a world class urban park in Manhattan. Take a quiet walk and look out for attractions like the Shakespeare Garden and the Alice in Wonderland sculpture. Also, check out the Central Park Zoo where penguins take centre stage, and catch them perform during feeding time. Little ones will enjoy the petting zoo where they get to feed the goats, sheep, and cows. Head to the American Museum of Natural History next, where you can get up close to the “stars” of the movie Night at the Museum. For a piece of living history, head down to Brooklyn Bridge before kicking back for a picnic at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, and watch the sun set over New York Harbour.
Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
Left: Independence Hall Right: Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
SPEND A DAY IN PHILLY
Hop on a 90-minute train ride to Philadelphia and head to the Independence Historical National Park for a close look at the Liberty Bell, an iconic relic and symbol of freedom. Then, drop by the Independence Hall where America’s Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. For a touch of the old world charm, visit Elfreth's Alley paths. Check ahead for guided tours of the alley and the museum. End your day at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, a mesmerising mosaic dreamscape that pays tribute to artist Isaiah Zagar, who started creating his mosaics in the South Street neighbourhood in the 1960s. Wander through the labyrinth of stairways, corridors and hideaways, covered with mosaics of every form, shape, and size, from kitchen tiles to bike wheels.
Niagara Falls during sunset
Maid of the Mist ride
Left: Niagara Falls during sunset Right: Maid of the Mist ride
DAY 6 ONWARDS
END YOUR VISIT WITH A SPLASH
Niagara Falls is a must-visit when you are in New York. Accessible via train or a short two-hour flight, this natural wonder is the epitome of majestic beauty. Made up of three waterfalls, the Horseshoe, the American and the Bridal Veil, it is 51-metres high and was formed more than 12,000 years ago. Climb the wooden stairs to the Hurricane Deck to soak up the powerful spray or ride on the Maid of the Mist to hear the crashing waves as the boat takes you on a dramatic passage through the rolling waterfall and massive rock formations. Set sail on a sunset cruise on the Niagara Belle, a New Orleans-style paddle wheeler and take in the sights and sounds as you enjoy a buffet dinner and sip on Niagara wines.