It’s hard to think of a city seen more in movies and TV than New York City. You could easily spend days, or weeks, just exploring filming locations in NYC.
On This Site…
Some of the filming locations featured on my site are Ghostbusters 1 and 2, Home Alone 2, Isn’t It Romantic, The Dance Academy Movie, as well as establishing locations used on Friends, Will & Grace, and Seinfeld.
Of course, no visit to the city is complete without seeing a Broadway show. As a big fan of musical theatre, I can’t recommend this enough. Despite my site focusing on movies and TV, I have to say there is no bigger thrill than having a cast sing, dance, and act just a few feet from you. The amount of talent it takes is hard to imagine. It’s also common to see Broadway and Hollywood celebrities on stage as well. I’ve seen shows that featured Matthew Broderick, Brooke Shields, Bebe Neuwirth, Eric McCormack, John Larroquette, Candice Bergen, James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Samuel L Jackson, Angela Bassett, Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, and more.
While some people have specific shows in mind, you may just be looking for the general Broadway experience. If this is the case, a TKTS booth is a great way to grab tickets. The idea is simple, you line up a few hours before you want to see a show, and buy tickets 30-50% off. The TKTS booth in Times Square is incredibly popular, and the lines can be very long (although they do move quickly). If it seems too long, there are also booths at Lincoln Center and the South Street Seaport that are usually much faster.
If you are interested in the history of Broadway and New York City, I highly recommend the Broadway Up Close tours. These walking tours are lead by guides who work in the theatre industry.
There are a number of attractions at Rockefeller Center that make it well worth a visit. Any fan of films will not want to miss the skating rink. It’s been featured in lots of movies, including the climax of Home Alone 2.
One activity I highly recommend is the NBC Studios Tour. In addition to learning about the history of the Rockefeller Center, you can also visit studios from Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Fallon, and NBC News (based on availability).
Another recommendation I have is going up to Top Of The Rock. This observation deck at the top of the skyscraper gives you amazing views of Manhattan and the surrounding area. Also, unlike the Empire State Building, you can see Central Park from here.
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
Ok, Madame Tussauds is a cheesy tourist attraction, but it’s also pretty darn cool. It’s located on 42nd street, right near Times Square. Some of the sculptures look so real, you half expect them to jump out at you.
Baked By Melissa
The chain of Baked By Melissa can be found in several locations around Manhattan. These adorable mini cupcakes and macarons come in a variety of delicious flavours, and I always pick up a pack or two to bring home.
How To Get Around
If you are thinking about renting a car in Manhattan, stop! Are you crazy? Driving in Manhattan is a white-knuckle experience than even some New Yorkers can’t do.
In addition, the logistics of finding parking can be a nightmare that makes driving very impractical for tourists. You could spend hours of your vacation just looking for parking.
Taking public transportation in the city is very easy to do. Despite locals frequent complaining about the subway system, I find it very well laid out and reliable. It may help to study the subway map a little before you leave, to get an idea of how the system works and what lines/stops will work for you.
The yellow New York City Taxis have long been an imagine of the city. While taxis may have gone out of fashion in many places, it’s still a great way to get around. The drivers know the city streets and the best routes to get to your destination. They also have TVs in the cabs, so you can catch up on news, attractions, or just listen to music. I find the fares for NYC taxis very reasonable, especially compared to other cities.
Ride sharing programs are also available, and are popular with many people, especially using the app. I use Uber often when I travel, but in NYC I find it faster to just hail a taxi on the street, instead of opening the app, and waiting for your ride to arrive. Nonetheless, it is a popular option for many people.
Hop-on-Hop-off tours are available as an option as well. They may be a good option to consider if you are visiting the city for the first time and want a general overview of the city. You have either a live or pre-recorded tour guide to listen to, and you’ll see different parts of the city. Keep in mind these can be time consuming, as city traffic means the route will take at least a couple hours to complete, even if you don’t get off. Also, consider weather, as the upper decks are mostly not covered, so rain or cold weather could make it a very unpleasant experience.
Walking! Yup…. the best way to get around is often to walk. The streets are laid out very well, and it’s easy to find your way around. Plus with the amount of one-way streets, it can be faster to just walk than wait for a cab to circle the block. If you happen to get lost, stop by any hotel and ask for a map. Your phone’s GPS is another great way to find your way around. If all else fails, stop and ask someone. In my experience, New Yorkers are a lot friendlier than their reputation.
*Please note I haven’t received compensation for any recommendations on this site. These are my own opinions*