my 5 favourite NYC experiences

New York City has no shortage of things to do, which is why I go back as often as possible. As one of my favourite cities in the world {to visit}, I have a long list of top memories in NYC. Here are my 5 favourite Big Apple experiences I recommend to everyone who is visiting. You might be surprised to note the many things that didn't quite make the cut: attend a Broadway Musical, visit the Highline, etc. Make no mistake, anything you do in New York will probably be a total blast. There is so much to experience, and even after multiple trips I've barely made a dent. All that aside, here are my personal 5 favourite NYC experiences! 

In no particular order...

eating pizza this weekend at Grimaldi's in Brooklyn

eating pizza this weekend at Grimaldi's in Brooklyn

invading Keegan's space at John's, summer 2015

invading Keegan's space at John's, summer 2015

1. Eat New York Pizza

New York pizza cannot be missed. It's like going to Paris and not having a pastry. My first taste came from John's Pizzeria near Times Square. It's a classic brick oven pizzeria in a converted church. John's was good, but my personal favourite is Grimaldi's at their original location in Brooklyn. They don't serve slices and it's a cash only establishment with a lot of character. Small pizzas are more than enough for two people and start at $14. 

2. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

Despite the temperatures being icy in the spring, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge feels like a true New York right of passage. If you take my advice and eat at Grimaldi's, walk off the fresh mozzarella on the 1.1 mile stroll across the famous overpass while taking in views of the Statue of Liberty. The pedestrian stairs are only a few blocks up from the pizzeria. I suggest walking from Brooklyn over to Manhattan for the best views in front of you, otherwise you will be turning around to snap pictures of the Manhattan skyline. 

Keegan, Tash, and I at the Empire State Building, summer 2015

Keegan, Tash, and I at the Empire State Building, summer 2015

3. Stand at the top of the Empire State Building

The Empire State Building boasts the highest open-air observatory in New York City. The views of the city from the top are incredible, though I've heard Top of the Rock is better {I intend to find out soon enough}. You'll want to book your tickets in advance, especially if you are visiting during peak-season. While this experience is pricey, it's well worth every dollar. The kiwis and I went at sunset and it was breathtaking. Seeing the city from that high up really puts into perspective its density. I really thought, 'Wow, I'm in New York!'  

4. Enjoy Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater

Yeah, this beat seeing Wicked. Guys, the Apollo. There aren't enough words. Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Marvin Gaye...they've all performedon the Apollo stage. If I had to rank experiences in order, Amateur Night at the Apollo might {just might} be number 1. Since we were staying just a block or two away from the iconic theater in Harlem, we couldn't miss Amateur Night. And I am so glad we didn't! The 'amateur' night competition is notorious for the audience deciding who will “be good or be gone." We laughed our asses off, danced in the aisles during intermission, applauded the amazing talent and listened as the crowd heckled. Drinks at the small bar in the back aren't overpriced. The place doesn't feel pretentious or off-limits. It's a community's theater full of love, history, and tradition. Book tickets online in advance, as seats will be sold out. 

5.  Practice Yoga in Bryant Park

Most of you are probably like 'wtf?!' Just hear me out. I had long wanted to participate in Yoga In the Park. During our stay in New York, Tash found an ad for free yoga in Bryant Park and I was thrilled. Bryant Park hosts free yoga on Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings. Mats are provided and beginners are welcome!  If you like yoga like I do, you can imagine how invigorating it would be to practice with a few of your girl friends with a hundred kind strangers in beautiful green space behind the New York Public Library. I felt so humbled practicing next to skyscrapers with so many others. It's truly energizing! 

**Special extra: 9/11 Memorial + Museum**

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is absolutely moving. The last two times I've visited NYC, I've made a point to visit. I felt like it deserved it's own post entirely, and not a blurb on a list. Thus, my next post will be all about the 9/11 Memorial and why it's imperative you go.