After an amazing year a half of living in the greatest city in the world, my Alabamian parents finally came to visit me! As it was for my own first NYC visit, the first day was very overwhelming. Being from a Southern town with a population of over 47,000, the New York City’s traffic, people, noise, and mannerisms can be a bit much. However, as they got used to the Big Apple, they feel in love as much as I did!
While writing the itinerary upon their arrival, I knew that my parents wouldn’t love those trendy brunch spots and pop-up shops as much as my NYC girlfriends do. Likewise, I’m not a fan of spending more than an hour being touristy in Time Square (even though playing a moderate amount of tourist can be pretty fun!) But with New York City being, well, New York City, there are so many wonderful things to do that everyone can enjoy. And even though we weren’t able to tackle the whole list during the three days of the visit, at least I have them in mind for the next time!
Starting from downtown and ending uptown, here are the best spots that will make your parents understand your love for the Big Apple (and won’t scare them into forcing you back home!)
1. Bedford Avenue
This avenue within the neighborhood of Williamsburg is not only a hipster-haven, but it also holds some of the best antique and vintage shops to find those favorite collectibles. Take a break in between shopping at one of their cool restaurants.
2. Staten Island Ferry
If you want the perfect view of New York City, SIF is perfect of a skyline photo op. Just try not to go during rush-hour to avoid work commuters.
3. Wall Street
They probably remember the time of its growth in the 1980s, the Black Monday in 1987, and “Wall Street” movie made in that same year. Although we did not get to it during the trip, my parents have both worked in finance, and it would have been an amazing peak in back history for them.
4. World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial
Not only will they get to see the tallest building on the Western Hemisphere, but they will get to reflect on the strength on this country’s people during some of it’s most tragic moments.
5. Little Italy
Give your parents a taste of authentic Italian cuisines that they are bound to appreciate. My parents were in awe of how real and natural the pizza tasted!
6. Downtown Diners
Diners in downtown are always the best for a family-friendly meal at any hour. Katz Diner Est. 1888 from the classic movie “When Harry Met Sally” is an all-time favorite.
7. Madison Square Garden
Dad or any basketball fan would definitely appreciate this home of the Knicks!
For those who consider shopping more of a sport than NBA (me!), this world-famous department store is just a block from Madison Square Garden.
9. Time Square
Okay, so I did say that I’m not the biggest fan of Time Square, and this is probably one of those spots that would scare them considering all the crazies down there. However, Time Square is essential for any NYC visitor. Just don’t let them stop at the inflated chain restaurants that they can easily get back home.
10. Empire State Building
Take your parents to one of New York City’s most renowned monuments. I wouldn’t suggest paying $30 for Top of the Rock when this view can be accessed through any midtown rooftop. 230 Fifth or the rooftops of an accessible hotel lounge will give them an equally phenomenal view!
11. Museum Mile
Head to upper 5th Avenue to check out some of the most famous museums in the world. If the artwork wasn’t stunning enough, the architecture of the Metropolitan Museum and those surrounding Upper East Side apartments are beyond aesthetically pleasing.
12. Upper East Side
From the designer flagships on 5th and Madison Avenues to the luxurious apartment, this neighborhood will bound to send your parents wanting to move to NYC — that is, until they see the price for a one-bedroom!
13. Central Harlem
Whether your parents are Southern, like mine, or not, they’ll adore Sylvia’s comfort soul food. Also, the Apollo is perfect to reflecting on some of the best names on music from Duke Ellington to Michael Jackson. Although “Amateur Night At The Apollo” is no longer on television, your parents can still catch it live at that very location.
14. Yankee Stadium
Another perfect way dad can take a break from all that shopping, this renowned baseball stadium is a fave for all. I’m clearly not the biggest baseball fan, but when I went to the NY Yankees/LA Angels game this summer, the atmosphere was simply phenomenal!