Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited – #3 New York, United States of America

Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited

With 33 countries under my belt, I’ve experienced some of the most amazing cities that the world has to offer. From great beaches, climate, friendly people, personal interests, world-famous attractions, architecture, history, and culture, there are many different factors that make a city great, let alone top ten!

#3 New York, United States of America 

New York has nearly 47 million visitors per year.

New York City is a melting pot of cultures moving in unity on 305 square miles of land. During the day, Central Park, Wall Street, United Nations, the Empire State Building, and the Statue of Liberty, along with Ellis Island, capture the attention of every tourist. However, the city is alive 24-hours a day and nightlife is thriving. Times Square lights up while Broadway displays some of the best theater options the world has to offer. From Times Square and Central Park to the Empire State Building and Broadway, New York City is one of the world’s most exciting places to visit.

No monument symbolizes the nation’s beliefs of political freedom better than the Statue of Liberty. Though she also stands proudly in Israel, Japan, France, and Las Vegas, none compare to the majesty she holds over New York City. We were able to appreciate her grandeur without the long wait times and impatient crowds by arriving early. We caught one of the first ferries from Battery Park to the statue on Liberty Island, then made a stop on Ellis Island before returning to the mainland. The airport-like security screenings and the $12 ferry fee were well worth the historic, awe-inspiring journey. The Statue of Liberty stood proud and tall over our heads and reminded us that we are free to experience the world and revel in all its beauty. The Ellis Island Immigration Museum offered us a fascinating look into the immigrant experience. With interactive exhibits, photos, and movies, the hardships and challenges faced by immigrants passing through Ellis Island were revealed. As our day began fresh in New York City, we felt grateful for the opportunity to explore the streets freely. All of downtown Manhattan lay before us as we embarked on a full day of New York City adventures.

The Charging Bull, created and installed following the 1987 stock market crash as a symbol of the strength and power of the American people, was a good indication that we were near Wall Street. The amount of money exchanged in the New York financial district is overwhelming. Sights like Federal Hall, the site of Washington’s inauguration as first President, and the New York Stock Exchange, a global marketplace, gave me a sense of wonder at the vast possibilities in the world, while the bull provided a funny photo opportunity.

Rows and rows of skyscrapers sprawled before us but it was impossible not to notice this landmark structure in Midtown Manhattan – the Empire State Building. It offers unmatched views of New York and neighboring states from its world-famous 86th and 102nd floor observatories. By buying our tickets online in advance, we once again avoided the ticket line. Taking a trip to the top of the Empire State Building was the perfect way to continue our New York excursion on foot. We could see the city’s major highlights some 1,050 feet beneath us and we easily mapped out our day. The Chrysler Building, Times Square, Central Park, and Broadway, some of the most famous landmarks in the world, were all at our feet.

Technically, the Chrysler Building is an office building open Monday through Friday, but we didn’t need to go inside to appreciate its appeal. This 1,046-foot high skyscraper was one of my favorite buildings in the city. Its menacing gargoyles and triangular openings reminded me of neoclassical France and its sheer magnitude was all encompassing.  Unlike the Empire State Building, we didn’t need an expensive ticket or a patience for long lines to enjoy its beauty.

We couldn’t visit New York City without touring the amazing neon spectacle that is Times Square. Although congested, the people seemed to move in harmony, creating one massive, multicultural conglomeration. Each city block of people flowed with the lights and the traffic with perfect timing. In a sea of faces, I felt part of something bigger. When I looked into the street, the harmony was broken by a single man. Better known as the Naked Cowboy, this busker is a legendary fixture on the corner of 45th and Seventh Avenue. Dressed in cowboy boots, boxer briefs and a hat, he was the only walking, talking, and singing tourist attraction of New York. As stereotypical as it was, I enviably took his picture. The lights, density, and sights of Times Square definitely astounded me.

The hour long United Nations guided tour instilled a life-changing desire within me.  During the tour, we saw an ivory carving from China, drums from the Caribbean, and a replica of the Royal Thai barge – all gifts donated to the United Nations from members of the Organization over the years. We viewed the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, followed by an exhibit on disarmament. Among the artifacts presented were remnants of the nuclear explosion in Nagasaki and Hiroshima and landmines of various types and shapes. In The General Assembly Hall, we sat where the 192 members of the Organization convene to discuss global issues. The final part of our visit included a presentation of the Security Council, the contributions of peacekeepers, and the work of the United Nations system. Learning about the UN’s peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts peeked an interest in me to do more. I wanted to become an active volunteer who helped to improve the welfare and happiness of other people. It was this tour, more than any other single event in my life, that encouraged me to coach sports, volunteer at local hospitals and orphanages, tutor students, and organize charity events. I’ve since gained over 5000 volunteer hours all sparked by visiting the United Nations Headquarters.

Central Park offered a relaxing escape from a day of concrete and skyscrapers. We took a stroll through the park while eating our dinner and discovered why Central Park is so popular. Its 843 acres of landscape was like stepping into the country. The landmarks in the park were vast; we found everything from sparking waters, luscious gardens, and green fields to stunning bridges and performance centers. Its picturesque beauty was an escape in the heart of one of the busiest cities in the world. It gave us time to come down from the heights of Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.

Although I only witnessed one show, I could easily have spent my entire trip on Broadway. The Lion King was a fantastic experience. Broadway was alive and suddenly I was a child again. The parade of elephants, hippopotamuses, zebras, gazzeles, giraffes… the entire show was breathtaking and the playhouse was enchanting.

New York City has diversity, energy, and culture and it’s available 24 hours a day. The entire city is covered in some of the most recognizable icons in the country, including the unmistakable Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Times Square. Ending our day with the Lion King completed the circle of tourist life in New York City. If I returned a thousand times, there would always be something new to discover and explore. New York will always hold a place in my top five favorite cities in the world.


Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited – #4 Djanet, Algeria

Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited – #5 San Diego, United States of America

Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited – #6 Dublin, Ireland

Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited – #7 Santorini, Greece

Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited – #8 Las Vegas, United States of America

Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited – #9 Paris, France

Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited – #10 London – United Kingdom

148 thoughts on “Top 10 Favorite Cities Visited – #3 New York, United States of America

  1. That is so funny. It’s like a right of passage in NY for tourists. I too had to get a picture with the bull doing the same thing. And there was about a dozen people waiting to do the same. Great blog Lesley, your travels are inspiring. I am planning a train trip this spring so I can visit many places at during one trip.


  2. Lesley,
    The photo of you and the Wall Street bull is same type of photo my wife poses for on our trips. But she won’t let me post them:) I am waiting for number #1. I have a feeling it is the same one that is my favorite.


  3. Lesley! You have a great way of writing and using your pictures to bring the dynamite to your story. Great pictures by the way. All your posts have great images! Thanks for sharing your experience of NYC and how it changed you:)


  4. Great post, you seem to have done everything that I did when I visited NYC, except I saw Spiderman on Broadway but I think you made the right decision seeing the Lion King! Can’t believe you didn’t mention New York pizza though 😉 The only city in the world that I’ve loved more than New York is Boston, but there’s definitely more to do in New York.


  5. Fun fact for next time that I didn’t know until recently, there’s a carousel in central park. It’s not like epic or anything, but it only costs $3 and it’s a carousel… in central park…. aka it pretty much has to be awesome. I’m glad this made the list!!





  7. This makes me miss NYC, even though, i was there for only 3 days. I wish I had the opportunity to go around and explore as much as you did. Thank you for this awesome blog post, Lesley.


  8. Its makes me realize what little appreciation one has when a tourist has more personal experience in your own hometown. I was born in Manhattan and have never been able to grab the bull by the balls.


  9. Fantastic article … makes braving the molesting hands of the TSA worth it … will definitely visit for an extended stay next time I am in the US!


  10. Have never been to New York, but the wish is as strong as for someone living in Antiquity and wanting to visit Rome or in the Middle Ages and wanting to visit Constantinople…
    Perhaps our archaeologically oriented blog should attempt such a top-ten destination list 😉
    Thanks for sharing your trips with us and looking forward to seeing #2 and #1!!!


  11. Oh, I am soooo jealous Lesley! NY is really on top of my bucket list for places yet to visit. The desire is further deepened every time I flick on the TV and see a romantic movie playing out in The Big Apple. A few friends that have been, have mixed opinions about this iconic city and some have actually tried to convince me not to go, but the desire just keeps growing stronger. My hubby & I have a dream to travel and work around the world for at least 6months next year. Our two young daughters will join us and NY is very high on the priority list. You continue to inspire me! Hope you’ll be able to share some tips for our trip 🙂


  12. Amazing, bustling and captivating city – we share quite a few of the best now including Vegas, Dublin, London and NYC!
    I was only there for three days but what a breathtaking experience, great article.



  13. When you said life changing inspiration from the UN, I thought it would be something more like a desire to have increased efficiency, but your resulting volunteer hours certainly are impressive. It may be one of the best things the UN has done, just by being itself.


  14. What a wonderful review of my beloved city; made me miss my favorite parts – the blooming of the trees and flowers in spring, the sidewalk cafes, the ‘people-to-see, places-to-be, money-to-make’ hustle-bustle, oh and the fashion!


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