Christmas on 5th Ave
Christmas on 5th Ave, NYC, Photo by Mark Giarrusso, 2013

Manhattan is the best city in the world, period. You can’t get better than what NYC has to offer in so many ways, that it is the most iconic location in the world to visit at any given time of the year. With endless attractions, restaurants, parks, shopping, and so much more, it gives that first time (or repeat) visitor that chance to really see and hear all that it has to offer.

If you are visiting for the first time, here are 5 simple essentials to make your Manhattan stay one for the books. Follow these steps and leave with your face looking like one of the several happy emojis you find on your smart phone. ?

Hotel Belleclaire, Manhattan Digest
Credit to: Hotel Belleclaire

1. Think local, stay local

When it comes to booking a hotel in Manhattan, there are a myriad of choices available at your disposal. I am a big supporter of shopping local and not on the conglomerate tip, especially when it comes to my hotel stays. Manhattan has a ton of amazing boutique hotels from The Library Hotel Collection, The Row Hotel and Hotel Belleclaire where you get that added touch of customer service that will leave you pleasantly happy upon your departure.

God's Grace
God’s Grace and the Hudson River, 2016, NYC

2. Times Square really isn’t a necessity.

Growing up in the 90’s, Times Square really was an amazing place to be as it had a gritty and raw nature to it that made it so real for me. Now, it’s a strip mall with locations you can find down the street from you. I’ll suggest going through it briefly, however there are much more amazing parts of Manhattan to divulge that Times Square really just leaves you exhausted and with a minor headache. Meh.

Credit to: Yelp
Credit to: Yelp

3. Pizza, pizza!

You’d be a fool to come to NYC and not have a slice of pizza, something our city is known for as much as Donald Trump is known for being an Oompa Loompa replacement with his skin tone over the years. Anything from dollar slices along 7th Avenue, to Artichoke Pizza’s gigantic slices in the Lower East Side, to even a quick slice at Rosa’s in Penn Station, it is a quintessential must when it comes to your first visit to The Big Apple.

Credit to: Bateaux New York
Credit to: Bateaux New York

4. Explore Uncharted Territories

Whether you are looking for a stroll around the city, or to shop til you drop with your friends, there is so much of NYC to discover that ranges outside of Central Park and Times Square when it comes to doing both. See the beauty of the city on the Chelsea Highline, or take a tour around Manhattan for a cruise on Spirit of New York. Shop at some amazing local places in the Lower East Side, Hell’s Kitchen and TriBeCa, there is something for everybody. Sometimes that places unknown are the ones that turn out to be the best at the end.

Credit: Hotel 48 Lex New York
Credit: Hotel 48 Lex New York

5. Just Enjoy Yourself

Always go at your own pace, don’t get overwhelmed, ask people for help if need be, and above all, have a great time. There is an endless amount of things to do in Manhattan, and you should take every advantage necessary in order to really enjoy what makes us the best city in the world.