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New York is considered the greatest city in the world. It’s loud, fast and full of tourist attractions. Times Square, the Empire State Building, Central Park and a myriad of other icons are always mentioned. However, hotspots have become so commercialised and packed that they’re impossible to enjoy. But there are ways you can enjoy a trip to NYC that don’t involve being sandwiched between two people scoffing deep-fried hotdogs in the TKTS line in the middle of winter. Here are 5 of them:
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New York is made up of five boroughs; Manhattan, The Bronx, Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn. Manhattan is where most of the action is at; however, the outer boroughs are seriously underrated! Brooklyn is home to some fabulous eateries, boutiques, and of course the resplendent Prospect Park. It’s generally cheaper than Manhattan and doesn’t have that steady stream of people pouring through the streets. Williamsburg in Brooklyn is particularly cool; very hipster without being emo and populated by a surprising amount of celebrities, including Ed Westwick aka Chuck Bass (thank you, Gossip Girl!).
2. Trader Joe’s
Love chowing down on all the epic food in NYC but hate what it’s doing to your waistline? No problem! Head down to Trader Joe’s supermarket, most notably situated on 14th Street at Union Square. They have everything from bagels to almond/coconut milk to peanut butter cups, and best of all; they only sell products with zero high fructose corn syrup. Corn syrup is a cheap sweetener found in lot of American food; it’s probably the worst possible thing you can put into your body. Shop at Trader Joe’s and get tasty, healthy, and inexpensive food in a flash!
3. Union Square
It’s a giant square (go figure) of cement tiles at the top of the East Village and is a little hive of shopping, food, and a super cool “sculpture” of sky high flashing numbers that I eventually found out was a sort of palindromic clock. Go around Christmas and you’ll get the Union Square Markets. It’s also a great point of reference if you get lost: “Meet you at Union Square?” Of course!
4. The rooftops
On a rooftop, any rooftop, you will find happiness in New York. Unless it’s January, then it sucks. But any other time is great! Because New York is so condensed, everything is sort of stacked on top everything. As such, you end up with these rooftop terraces, all of which have an AMAZING view of that iconic New York City skyline. They are the perfect place for a party, a barbeque, or even a quiet cup of coffee. You don’t know New York until you’ve seen it from the very top!
5. Night time
This may seem like a weird one, but it’s true. If you’re a night person, you will LOVE New York. Nothing in that city opens until 10am (shops, supermarkets, literally anything), which means that loads of diners, convenience stores, quirky shops, etc are open 24 hours. Have a 2am Ben & Jerry’s craving? No problem! Grab your coat and stroll down any street in Manhattan. You’re guaranteed to find at least three places still open. Aside from that, New York is just super cool at night. Something happens to the place, like a magic curtain has been drawn and all the fantasy creatures come out to play. I’ve found myself inexplicably in the middle of Union Square in minus 5 degrees, armed with a tub of ice cream, a fork and no regrets at 4am way too many times. New York at night is like nowhere else!
Image via Workandtravel.biz.tr
Just because gambling, boozing and late nights (come early mornings) isn’t your scene doesn’t mean that you should discount visiting Las Vegas on your next trip to the US of A – and here are some reasons why…
Highroller Ferries Wheel at the LINQ
Situated in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, the High Roller is the main feature of a $550 million open-air entertainment district, The LINQ Promenade. The High Roller in Las Vegas isn’t your average Ferris wheel, it’s actually an observation wheel – currently the biggest in the world a staggering 550-feet-tall. It still holds the Guinness World Record for largest observation wheel.
Grand Canyon by Plane or Helicopter
Definitely a must-do. Take off from Las Vegas Airport on a breathtaking helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon. Approximately a 45-minute helicopter flight each way. For something special land deep in the canyon for champagne picnic, and fly low over the famous Las Vegas Strip on your return.
Lightshow at Fremont Street – Neighbourhood Block Party
Downtown Las Vegas is famous for The Fremont Street Experience, it has been described as a project that blends vintage Las Vegas with high-tech wonder, live entertainment and more to create an attraction that rivals the famed Vegas Strip. It provides an intimate party atmosphere with a laid-back feel. The street experience also features a Viva Vision canopy and light show, zip lining, food trucks and live music. It’s hosted monthly on every second Saturday.
OMG, the shopping outlets in Vegas are cray cray, depending where on the strip you are staying outlets are approximately a 15min cab ride or there are regular shuttles/buses that depart from various points on the strip. My favourite is Las Vegas North Premium Outlet which has over a 115 store, with the likes of Burberry, Calvin Klein, Diane Von Furstenberg, Kate Spade New York and many more.
Sahra Spa and Hammam, The Cosmopolitan
After you have completed exploring the LINQ Promenade, had your picnic in the Grand Canyon, partied hard at the neighbourhood block party and pretty much maxed out your credit card at the shopping outlets, there is only one last thing to do; experience the luxurious spas The Strip has to offer. My favourite is The Cosmopolitan Sahra Spa and Hammam, one of the newest hotels on The Strip. The hotel itself is understated luxury with a very funky twist, it’s also home to Marquee nightclub. The Sahra Spa and Hamman is a 43,000 square-foot oasis inspired by desert cultures from around the world. With over 25 treatment rooms, luxurious penthouse spa suite and an authentic Turasis of indulgence and rejuvenation. You must try the body wrap!
The menu is inspired by regional flavours of Spain and France where Pablo Picasso spent much of his like. Highly recommend the White Alba Truffle Menu, the Ravioli of Butternut Squash is to die for, plus the restaurant boost over 1500 of the world’s best European wine. Definitely a treat!
Hotspot: Hakkasan at the MGM Grand
Not only is Hakkasan one of the greatest nightclubs on the Strip, attracting all my main men Steve Aoki,Calvin Harris and Tiësto but it also has the finest authentic Cantonese cuisine. Their description: “To enter Hakkasan is to enter a different world, a mysterious realm of the senses that exists beyond a hidden passageway. The Hakkasan DNA is all about a relaxed mood with a sensual vibe. The interior design exudes a sultry Shanghai-Chinois chic” – and I would have to agree!
Signature dishes include Stir-fry black pepper beef ribeye with merlot and Roasted silver cod with Champagne and Chinese honey.
And if you are just looking for that 2:30am burger and fries, I would highly recommend a visit to Grand Lux Café at the Venetian (the same inventors of The Cheesecake Factory). Their Avocado-Chipotle Cheeseburger definitely hits the spot, (the burger has avocado it’s still healthy)!
By Lisha Singh
Images via kuriositas.com, Google images, Legacy of Taste UK