A week in The Empire State gave us time to explore New York City and venture north to see what Upstate had to offer. I was aiming to take in the outdoorsy side of New York and short of strapping on my pack I think we had a successful trip! Here are my top 10 sites (in no particular order):
1. The High Line – Walk this elevated linear park built on a historic freight rail line on Manhattan’s West Side. I suggest starting at the West 30th Street and Tenth Avenue access point. Stroll through the park for an hour or more enjoying the city views, landscape, and artwork. Then take the West 14th Street stairs and enjoy the cobblestone streets along the way to A Salt & Battery for delightful fish and chips!
2. Statue Hunt – New York City is teaming with statues. Your mission is to find as many as you can and take entertaining photos. Go!
3. Top of the Rock – Talk about a view! Do this on the first day to get a lay of the land and enjoy the view of Central Park, Hudson and East River, Chrysler Building, Time Square, and just about everything else on Manhattan. We chose to go to the top of Rockefeller Center instead of the Empire State Building so that our view included this famous building (and the hordes of visitors on its observation deck).
4. Central Park – I feel like this one is pretty obvious for any New York City trip. Get an idea of what this famous urban park has to offer on the Central Park Conservancy website.
5. Museum of Natural History – To be honest we just admired the main entrance of the museum – love that Teddy Roosevelt! However, if I visit The Big Apple again I am putting a visit to the American Museum of Natural History on my to do list.
6. Grand Central Terminal – I vaguely recall seeing this terminal in movies, but never noticed how striking the ceiling was. We walked into the main concourse and the sky opened up above with constellations and I was in aw.
7. Geocaching – As a geocacher this was a must! We picked up a cache in Central Park, traveling through New Jersey, and one with a Canadian view of Niagara Falls. This earned me three new geocaching tokens – two new states and my first international cache!
8. Ithaca – I could have spent all week exploring this outdoorsy town and the surrounding Finger Lakes area. There was a 150-foot waterfall right in town for crying out loud! Hikes, waterfalls, and wine tasting?! Yes please!
9. Niagara Falls – While I typically prefer my waterfalls in a more remote wilderness setting, this is a must see at least once. I will warn, beware of the flashy lights, flag-waiving car directors, and nonsensical souvenirs. Get past the tourist traps to the heart of the park whether you’re in the United States or Canada.
10. Aquarium of Niagara – I’ll admit, Monterey Bay Aquarium has ruined me for most other aquariums. However, this one wasn’t trying to compete with the big fish, and I can appreciate and respect that. Overall the aquarium had a quaint and intimate feeling. Plus the sea lion show was fun!
I didn’t put this on the list, but I will note the only way to go when traveling about New York City is the subway system! Half of the fun was figuring out how to get to your destination. But don’t worry – there’s an app for that!
Do you have any New York sites to add to this list?
P.S. I just realized this is the one year anniversary of Trails’ Guide! Let’s celebrate – take a hike!
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