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Posts in ‘Things to do in New York’

Top 5 Cities For Shopping In The World

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Shopping is one of the great must-do activities for tourists no matter where in the world they go.  Something has to be bought as a keepsake to remind them of where they had been and also as a showpiece.

However, the shopping that we will be talking about is about other bands of the shopping spectrum – from the glamorous to the bargain varieties.  We will also try to give you a flavour of the experience that you will encounter in the top 5 shopping cities we have chosen here.

Milan

Milan is often associated with haute couture fashion and deservedly so.  However, she has much more eclectic offerings.  Scattered across different areas and amidst her brilliant Medieval and Renaissance architecture you will find a variety of shopping choices.  Some are speciality areas, while other areas stock a mix of fashions and products.

Some of the upmarket streets are Via Montenapoleone, Via della SpigaVia Sant’Andrea, Via Manzoni, Via Borgospesso and Via Santo Spirito.

The less wallet emptying shopping experiences in Milan include Corso Vittorio Emmanuelle, Corso Buenos Aires, Via Torino and Corso di Porta Ticinese where you will find more casual styles.  Around the Navigli area are the second-hand stores, eccentric designers’ boutiques and a vintage market.

No matter where you are you will never be far from a café, to have an aperitif and rest from your shopping exertions.

MilanShopping

Dubai

Dubai’s original attraction for visitors was it’s shopping enhanced by the duty free tag.  The Emirate has evolved and moved into other business streams including the world of finance.  However, it is still the lure of huge glittering malls with over-the-top decor, entertainment features, discounts and a host of offerings will lighten any ones purse, that is draws visitors from all over the world.

What sets Dubai’s experience apart from other shopping destinations are its malls.  Some like the Ibn Battuta Mall, The Dubai Mall, Mercato Shopping Mall and Mall of the Emirates have acquired legendary status.  These vast complexes house the brand names of just about every fashion, retail, electronic, home appliance and other goods from around the world.  The magnificent decor, endless rows of attractively arranged stores will spoil you for choice.  Some malls, like the Gold Souk, specialise in one item – jewellery.

Besides the modern malls, Dubai is famous for its traditional souks.  There is the nasal bewildering Perfume Souk offering thousands of scents; the aromatic Spice Souk and the Antique Market with shops filled with Arabian pots, chests, daggers and Bedouin carvings.

So indulge yourself in this made-for-shoppers’ paradise where you will be sure to find some incredible bargains.

DubaiMall

Paris

Paris to some is considered the spiritual forerunner of shopping destinations. ‘Boutique’, ‘haute couture’ and ‘chic’ are French words that are intricately linked with fashion and spending your francs.  No one leaves “La Ville-Lumière” without plunging into its many and varied markets, galleries and shopping districts.  The wonderful aspects to shopping in Paris are the amazing range of choices that it offers. From the discreet Avenue Montaigne to the atmospheric Marais or the bustling, shoulder-rubbing flea market of Clignancourt.

Many of Paris’ shopping places are now iconic and representative of the goods sold.  For instance the Avenue Montaigne and Rue Saint Honoré is where you will find all the famous designers like Yves St Laurent and Gucci.  The wide and famous Avenue des Champs Elysées has a mix of shops and price ranges.

The Rue de Rennes offers a wide assortment of boutique clothing, accessories and shoe stores right next to the church of Saint Sulpice.  Boulevard Haussman is where Printems and Galeries Lafayettes are located.  These famous department stores are worlds unto themselves and sell cosmetics, fashion and home accessories.  Each floor has a theme. A complete contrast is the Les Puces de Saint-Ouen at Clignancourt. With over 3,000 stalls and shops you can get great bargains in antiques and find just about anything.

Antiques

Paris shopping is a wonderful world of elegance, galleries, boutiques, old-fashioned toy shops and roadside stalls selling everything from luxury goods to books to antiques and more.

London

Cornhill, Bread Street, Poultry and Ironmonger Lane are names so redolent of the goods that were once sold on them.  That hoary London tradition continues with many markets still organized according to specialities and themes.  London has a very large number of shopping districts and we hope our selection will help you on your shopping spree.

Oxford Street is a good place to start.  It is London’s shopping heart. There are Hundreds of shops from designer to general retail outlets and they line both sides of the road.  It is here you will find famous department stores such as John Lewis, Debenhams and Selfridges. Not too far away is the elegant Regent and Jermyn Streets where you can browse through a wide choice of mid-range priced goods at London’s oldest and most famous stores.

shopping in london

Exclusive Bond Street and Mayfair are home to the best in luxury and designer brands where you just might bump into a celebrity or two. Not too far away is the street that is synonymous with fashion, the legendary Carnaby Street.  Hard by, yet a fashion world away is Covent Garden Market offering brash urban street wear, cosmetics, shoes and funky arts and crafts.

On King’s Road you get unique and trendy designer wear along with the regular brands and lovely cafés to rest your aching feet and tired credit card. Harrod’s is Knightsbridge’s most famous resident with nearby Brompton Road providing excellent shopping back up.  Saville Row, Notting Hill and Portobello Road Market are just a few of the other legendary shopping places.

In London you can easily spend the whole day shopping while sightseeing (or vice versa).

New York City

In New York you can get anything, from the proverbial pin to an elephant.  The choice of shopping venues, stores, and streets is mind-boggling.  Every brand and chain store has a significant presence in the city.  For the beginner, occasional or diehard shopper New York is the city.

BJ’s, Costco, and Kmart stores are in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island. While Target stores can be found in Manhattan and Brooklyn.  The flagship stores of Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales and Henri Bendel are popular New York shopping stops.

Shopping in New York

Saks and Fifth Avenue are synonymous with each other.  The humungous Macy’s department store is large enough to get lost in and has a tempting choice of goods so vast you may never come out. Another 5th Avenue stalwart is Tiffany and Company the queen of jewellery with every gem bought presented to you in their trademark blue box.

Whether it is Macy’s famous window displays matched by those of Citarella’s “fish only” or the brightly lit pleasures of shopping malls; whether you are looking for the bargain of a lifetime or just browsing you will find decision making a wonderful yet difficult pleasure when shopping in New York.

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Five Fantastic Food Destinations

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At isango! we believe there are two essential yardsticks to measure your experiences when travelling.  One is seeing the sights and the other is sampling the food.  Here we give you a taste of what foods to look out for at five popular destinations.

Flavours of New York City
New York City has been and continues to be the gateway for people coming to the United States.  So you will find every ethnic and world cuisine available.  New York also prides itself on inventing many dishes and foods.

Manhattan Clam Chowder

Manhattan clam chowder

Taking a foodie tour of NYC is a delight for the taste buds.  Hot dogs and New York style pizzas in the East Village; a Manhattan clam chowder; Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches; savoury French quiche, and Mexican yucca are just some delights in store for you.  You could also try out a knish appetiser or some Greek spinach pie to go with a succulent lamb souvlaki.   Then there is a sinful choice of chocolates to top off your meal.

Lyon, Gastronomy and Beaujolais
Lyon’s ancient fame lay in its silk weaving industry.  That has however changed.  Over the centuries it has become known as the capital of French gastronomy and its renowned cuisine.  The city and municipality has a deliciously bewildering array of traditional Lyonnais restaurants, called bouchons, serving local dishes such as salade Lyonnais; marrons glacés; coussin de Lyon, sausages, duck pâte and roast pork, and local wines.

Marrons Glacés

Marrons Glaces

The Lyon bakeries, fromageries patisseries and chocolatiers continue to make their wines, breads, cheeses and chocolates the way have for centuries.  In addition to its gastronomic delights, the Lyon area is at the heart of Beaujolais wine region.

Tapas In Barcelona
Barcelona offers a variety of pleasures but none as staggering as tapas!  Choosing or even listing them is a near impossible task.  Salmon sashimi with cream cheese; honey and soy, or cod; passata and black olive pâté; fried fish and seafood, patatas bravas; Galician octopus and ensaladilla rusa; croquetas made with ham, fish, chicken or spinach are just some choices.

Tapas

Tapas Barcelona

Whether you are strolling down La Rambla or feasting your eyes on the fruit, vegetables, fish, cheese or meats of La Boqueria (Barcelona’s food market), you will never be far from a tapas bar.  So feel free to wade into one of them and pick out your choice.  Don’t forget to wash it down with some cava, wine or draught beer.

Bangkok & Food
The two are synonymous and no one needs coaxing to dig in to a plate of Pad Thai (or phat Thai).  Take a walk down any street in Bangkok and you will be constantly reminded of food.  The innumerable fragrances waft out at you from myriad street stalls and restaurants.

Yong Tau Foo

yong tau foo

Thai street food is the safest and tastiest in the world and probably the most reasonably priced too.  Whether it be juicy pieces of grilled pork on a stick or a fiery bowl of ‘Tom Yum’ soup or Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup) or good yong tau foo and pork stew with green chilli dip, you will find it really difficult to pass it up or stop eating.  Thai food is among the most appetising and popular cuisines in the world and it is an exciting experience to take a cooking class and learn how to make some!

When In Rome – Eat
That’s right!  Food in Rome is just as fascinating as the Colosseum, the churches and the Vatican museums.  Roman cuisine is some of the most delicious in Italy.  It is based on seasonal ingredients, plenty of fresh vegetables, meat and cheeses.  All put together in a simple way.  Lamb roasted with herbs and spices is a very important part of the cuisine so is pizza, of course.  In Rome they have three different ways of making pizza but a Roman characteristic is that it is thin with no lip to the crust.

Pizza

rome pizza

The Testaccio is the best place to find the original and traditional Roman food.  Another great place is the Rione Monti area, a stone’s throw away from the Colosseum, where you will find a range of authentic Italian delicacies in local family run shops and pizzerias.

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Great Places To Celebrate The 4th Of July

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With Independence Day in the United States coming up this Friday, most Americans have been excitedly making preparations for the holiday and how they’ll spend the weekend that follows. After all, the Fourth of July is one of the most beloved holidays in the US. If you’ll be in the United States for the holiday, then you have already taken the first step in assuring yourself that a fantastic weekend is ahead of you. Let us help you take the next few! We’ve made it possible for you to visit four of the most unforgettable places this weekend at lower prices.

New York City

Picture it: walking through the famed streets of the most popular city in the United States, riding above skyscrapers and climbing atop the Empire State Building giving you a view of the city like none other, and taking a trip along the Hudson River as the sun goes down and fireworks come out. This is what New York City has to offer to you this weekend!

New York

The NY Sky Ride and Empire State Building both provide unbeatable views of New York City. It’s perfect for a day spent walking around the city and for getting to know the city from a different perspective. Another must-see in NYC is the Hudson River. But don’t just see it from a bridge; experience it on its waters on the Spirit of New York Dinner Cruise. There is no experience like watching the fireworks on the Fourth of July from the middle of the Hudson River while feasting on a delectable meal and dancing along to the music of the live band onboard.

Niagara Falls

Though admittedly not located in the United States, Niagara Falls is a magnificent and adventurous way to spend any weekend. And it’s only a short 650 km from New York, the equivalent of a few hours trip.  Spend three days in Niagara Falls and Toronto this coming weekend, where you can ride on the famed Maid of the Mist boat ride, experience the Falls in all of their majesty, sight-see through Toronto, and view the natural beauty of the 1000 Islands on your trip back to New York.

For the adventurer in you, Niagara Falls is where you need to be this Fourth of July weekend!

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

Another great way to spend your holiday weekend is by exploring and taking in the landscapes that cover the Southwestern United States from the nearby city Las Vegas. Though Vegas is typically known for its attractions inside the city itself, the natural attractions located just a short trip away from the city will allow you to see the United States in a light you probably never have before. Take a day trip from Las Vegas and be amazed by the grandiose of the southern rim of the Grand Canyon as well as the beautiful paths running through Zion National Park. Both are true American treasures.

Washington D.C.

The nation’s capital! Where else could anyone who wanted a true American Fourth of July experience endeavor to spend their weekend?

Experience the fireworks on the Fourth of July aboard the Washington Odyssey Dinner Cruise where you will eat a fabulous meal, listen to a remarkable band play, and be surrounded by a wonderful group of people and a beautiful sky full of lights. Later on that weekend you can discover all the landmarks and history that the US capital has in store for you.
Prepare yourself for a weekend you won’t forget, filled with brilliant fireworks, fantastic celebrations, and experiences that you’ll be sharing with others for years to come!

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Oscar-Nominated Films Bound To Impact Tourism

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The Oscar nominees are out!  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present the 86th Academy Awards on 2nd March 2014 at the Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles.  The ceremony will be watched by millions all over the world. 

These Oscar-nominated films also have a massive impact on tourism around the world.  This phenomenon has been on the rise for a while now.  The Lord of the Rings and Narnia series saw tourism to New Zealand grow by leaps and bounds.  Braveheart and Mamma Mia! did precisely the same for Scotland and Greece respectively.

The latest Oscar-nominated films are bound to see people “discovering” the settings.  Here are a couple of movies from the latest batch that are sure to put the spotlight on locations where they were shot.


12 Years A Slave

This movie is bound to increase visits to the pre-civil war and historic plantations of Louisiana. Based on the memoirs of Solomon Northup,  a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery to work on plantations in Louisiana.

There are several plantations in the area, such as the idyllic Oak Alley and Laura that have been beautifully preserved.  Their rooms echo with the history and drama of a bygone era, while providing insights into the unique Louisiana Creole society.  Significantly the slave quarters still survive, which is sure to resonate with scenes from the movie. 

12 Years a Slave won the 2014 Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama.  It has been nominated for nine Academy Awards.


The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the real-life exploits of Jordan Belfort, a New York stockbroker.  He set up several securities frauds that reflected the high stakes corruption on Wall Street in the 1990s.  It depicts a decadent lifestyle, sex and drug fuelled parties and dangerous stock trading deals.

The movie is surely going to motivate people to visit this best known street among New York’s avenues and districts.  Wall Street had previously gained notoriety for its financial shenanigans that caused the epic meltdown of 2007-2009.  It is now looked upon as the lair of rogue traders carrying out complex dirty deals, that have the power to ruin lives and even the economies of entire countries.

On Wall Street traders made billions of dollars through their trading excesses while millions of people lost everything and banks collapsed.  The Wolf of Wall Street plays into that reputation, while drawing visitors from far and near.

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Romantic Winter Getaways (Part 2)

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This is the second and final part of our feature on romantic experiences around the world. You can read part one of this feature here

1)    DINNER ON THE GRAND PEARL FLOATING RESTAURANT, BANGKOK

Wat Arun Temple at sunsetLeave Bangkok’s chaotic traffic behind and whisk your loved one for a delightful cruise along the Chao Phraya river in Thailand’s capital city. On board the luxurious Grand Pearl floating restaurant you will be able to marvel at famous Thai landmarks – Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and the Grand Palace; shimmering in the night while you enjoy sumptuous Thai and international cuisine with your partner in a candle lit ambience.   

2)    PORTRAITS IN PARIS PHOTO SHOOT, PARIS, FRANCE

Portrait in ParisWrap yourself in the beauty and romance of the City of Love by booking a professional vacation photographer to capture your love story. Packed with charming vintage locations, Paris is a lover’s fantasy and a photographer’s delight. Get your photos taken in the most eclectic neighbourhood of Paris. Latin Quarter is situated on the left bank of the Seine, in the 5th and 6th arrondissement of Paris. There is no better setting to capture your engagement, honeymoon or anniversary photos.  

3)    MOUNT PILATUS EXCURSION FROM LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND

Cable car to the Swiss AlpsWith the snow-capped Mount Pilatus towering over the city, and the pristine Lake Lucerne in the heart of it, Switzerland is everything that a romantic getaway should be. After you and your partner are done gallivanting through picture perfect Swiss villages, medieval walled towns and enchanted castles, take a panoramic cable car ride (40 minutes) to Mount Pilatus, at an altitude of 2132 metres. Enjoy the vibrant skyline of the Swiss Alps and the snow decked slopes of Mount Pilatus while you savour traditional Swiss cuisine from the delectable restaurants or on the terrace where the views are to die for.

4)    METROPOLITAN OPERA & DINNER – WITH PRIVATE TRANSPORT, NEW YORK

When in New York City, a visit to The Metropolitan Opera is a must for Opera lovers. Make it extra special for our beloved by booking a luxurious package that includes a limousine pickup from your hotel, a meal at the popular Frankie & Johnnie’s Steakhouse, drinks, and opera tickets for your favorite production. This is perfect for an elegant proposal or a Valentine’s Day treat!

5)    ROMANTIC PRIVATE HELICOPTER TOUR FROM QUEENSTOWN, NEW ZEALAND

Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New ZealandThe magnificent scenery and views around Queenstown can only truly be experienced from the air via a scenic helicopter flight which will fly you over the highpoints of Lake Wakatipu. Look down on snow-capped peaks, dense forests and gleaming blue waters. The highlight of the luxury helicopter tours has to be shutting down on a remote alpine peak to take some time out to enjoy a delicious gourmet picnic and sparkling wine while you take in the pristine beauty of the alpine landscape. Perfect for couples looking to celebrate a special occasion. 

6)    ALHAMBRA PALACE GUIDED TOUR AND HAMMAM EXPERIENCE, GRANADA, SPAIN

Hammam in Granada, SpainThe city of Granada has one of the most dramatic locations in Spain, poised right below the magnificent “snowy range” Sierra Nevada. It is the perfect setting for one of Europe's most stunning monuments – Alhambra Palace, a romantic palace-fortress of the Nasrid Sultans, rulers of the last Spanish Muslim Kingdom. This red castle in Granada contains some of the world's finest examples of Moorish architecture. Relive the charm, magic and opulence of Alhambra’s glorious past by dipping in Arab-style public steam baths or ‘hammam’ where you and your partner can unwind in warm thermal baths complete with an exotic oil massage. 

7)    NEW YEARS EVE IN GRINZING – TOUR FROM VIENNA, AUSTRIA

Celebrating in a traditional tavernCelebrate the end of the year in one of the most famous wine growing villages in Austria. Just minutes from Vienna lies the wine hamlet of Grinzig with its traditional taverns serving local wine and hearty food, often accompanied by live Viennese music. The district of Grinzing is full of such beautifully preserved establishments that lend the whole district a magical feel. Numerous vineyards are located nearby and make a great place for a tranquil, romantic walk. Welcome the New Year in a traditional tavern, with "dinner à la Grinzing", sparkling wine and classical Viennese music.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Millions of Americans are set to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday on November 28th this year. The festival marks homecoming for many who come together to share this holiday with their families. A hearty thanksgiving dinner of roasted turkey, butternut squash, cranberry sauce, corn on the cob, green beans, carrots and pumpkin pie is shared with loved ones. It is the time when families thank the Lord for what they have and remember their ancestors for providing them with bountiful harvest.

Thanksgiving DayIn 1621, the European settlers and Native Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For later generations of Colonists, Thanksgiving was more of a religious holiday descended from Puritan days of fasting, prayer and giving thanks to God. The Governor of each colony every year would declare certain days of Thanksgiving for plentiful harvests, victorious battles and timely rains. In 1777, George Washington decreed a national day of Thanksgiving to celebrate America's victory over the British in the Battle of Saratoga. By the 19th century, every state was celebrating the holiday with varying dates and months. Soon writer Sarah Josepha Hale began a one woman letter writing campaign, urging politicians to establish an annual day of Thanksgiving to help the country heading towards strife and Civil War. In 1863, her efforts were rewarded when Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday of November to be the Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving has now became a welcome day of leisure from a six day work week. Some people have a four-day weekend so it is a popular time for trips and to visit family and friends. Thanksgiving day football game, celebratory parades and early Christmas shopping have since become part of this great American tradition.

Thanksgiving paradeWatching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City has become a beloved Thansgiving custom for New Yorkers and outsiders who come to witness this grand spectacle. This annual extravaganza has over 3.5 million people attending the parade along the parade route, and over 50 million people watching it on television. The parade works its way through the 2.5 mile route in Manhattan from Central Park West to Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square. This year's line-up will see family favorites such as Hello Kitty, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Spider Man, Ronald McDonald, Pillsbury Doughboy, Pikachu, Buzz Lightyear, Smurf, SpongeBob and others. Giant baseballs, stars, pumpkins, and candy canes will be among the novelty balloons. Floats will include Santa's Sleigh, True Spirit of Thanksgiving and Winter Wonderland in Central Park. The line-up of music performances include Carrie Underwood, Ariana Grade, Gavin Degraw and Fall Out Boy among many others.

We wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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Native New Yorker: The Best Things to do in New York

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Here at Isango we love New York, a city that has so much going on it can feel dizzying at times trying to decide where to go and what to see. Lucky for us our new intern Christasia is from NYC and ready to share her insider tips with you!

 

Without further ado, here is the first post from our very own Native New Yorker.

 

 

“One day your life will flash right before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” This was one of the main reasons why I decided to leave the US and come to London. When in my life would I get the chance to just leave and go to another country for 15 weeks? Years from now I want to be able to look back at my undergraduate career and say: “Wow, I was brave enough to leave everyone and everything behind just to study abroad.” Fortunately, I’m sitting at this computer in London having the time of my life.

My name is Christasia Wilson and I’m a junior at Temple University. Currently I’m studying journalism, with the hopes to one day work for a fashion magazine. Coming to London wasn’t a hard transition because I went from one city to another. Originally I’m from New York but I attend school in Philadelphia.

Some of the main differences between New York and London is that pedestrians don’t have the right of way (something I learned the hard way), knowing that taking 100 pounds won’t be 100 American dollars, and I can go to clubs and pubs, which is a plus because in the United States I’m not old enough to do that.

From my time studying in London I’m hoping to come back to the States a changed person. I want to be able to step out of my box and do things I wouldn’t normally do. Actually, I’m already doing that by coming to London for 15 weeks. These next few weeks will contain life experiences that I will never forget, create friendships that will last a lifetime and most of all make me into a better person. It’s always insightful to see how other people from different cultures live – sometimes it makes you appreciate the culture you come from more, but also introduces new things from other cultures into your daily life.

Come along with me as I master the art of jaywalking, travel around the UK and Europe, but most of all as I try to track down the Royals. I’m just your average girl. A New Yorker by birth, Philadelphian because of school, and a Londoner by choice.

 

Native New Yorker:

The Best Things to do in New York

 

Whenever people tell me they’ve been to New York, most likely they’ve only been to Times Square, the Empire State Building and 34th Street. Not that these places aren’t wonderful in their own right, but there’s more to New York than the main tourist attractions. Take a trip across the Brooklyn Bridge or even a nice ferry ride to Governors Island. The best attitude to adopt when it comes to New York is accepting the fact that you’ll never see everything in New York. I have lived there all my life and it continues to amaze me. However, to make planning your trip to NYC a little bit easier, here are some of my favorite things to see and do in the City that Never Sleeps.

The High Line

NYhighline (400 x 265)

Originally a freight rail line, this park is built on the former New York railroad spur called the West Side Line. If you’re looking for a relaxing afternoon take a walk on the High Line. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to 34th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenue. No fear, if you get hungry that far up, there are multiple ways to ensure your lovely stroll won’t be cut short because of a grumbling stomach. From coffee to tacos and even peach gelato you can fill yourself up and then continue to walk. Keep your eyes open for graffiti on some of the nearby buildings.

Isango Highline Park Walking Tour

Central Park

If you’re short on time and looking to see only the most important sights of the city, be sure to visit every New Yorkers backyard: Central Park. This happens to be one of my frequent places to go when I want to get away from everyone and everything. Endless opportunities of fun can be found here. Whether you’re looking for a place for a romantic date or an energetic family outing, Central Park never goes out of style. During the warm season have a picnic or play frisbee on the Great Lawn. In the winter treat yourself to a ride through the park on a horse & carriage or ice skating at Wollman Rink.

Tour Central Park with Isango

Top of the Rock: Rockefeller Building

Forget the lines at the Empire State Building and go to the Top of the Rock instead. Day or night the view of New York City is absolutely breath-taking. Enjoy the food, gift shops and the floor to ceiling windows, without all the hassle of long queues and large crowds. From experience the best time to go is early in the morning or at night when everyone from the afternoon rush has gone back to Times Square.

Rockefeller Center Christmas Building

For over 80 years the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony has been one of the most celebrated events in New York. This is the kickstart to the Christmas holiday. No matter how many people are there, you’ll still get a nice photo with the 69 to 100 foot Norway spruce tree in the background. While basking in the joy of the holiday season, take a stroll down 5th Avenue; at night all the holiday lights are lit and there are countless stores to visit for every type of shopper. It does get very crowded so prepare to maneuver your way through throngs of people.

Sullivan Bistro

This cozy bistro is tucked away in the Sullivan MacDougal Historic District. Every foodies safe haven, Sullivan offers some of the best brunch options around and it will have your mouth watering for more. I’ve been going to Sullivan Bistro for 2 years now, after stumbling upon it walking around Houston Street. My personal favorites for brunch are the Classic Pancake Breakfast and Goat’s Cheese on Toasted Brioche. Whether you’re a veggie lover or meat crazy, Sullivan Bistro caters to every taste palate.

The Village

washingtonsqpark (400 x 266)

One one of the most interesting neighborhoods in lower Manhattan, you will never get bored down in the Village. There’s Washington Square Park, boutiques, thrift & vintage stores, the Meatpacking District, and one of the best Italian pastry shops in town Veniero’s. These are just a few of the things to see in and around the Village.

Explore Greenwich Village with Isango

Harlem

Home of the Harlem Renaissance movement, there’s more than enough to explore in Harlem. Go enjoy a show at the Apollo Theater, a place where stars such as Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin have performed. Explore the cultural legacy at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Studio Museum in Harlem. Do major shopping on 125th street and then finish the day off with a walk in Marcus Garvey Park or some food from one of the many restaurants in Harlem. If you want something quick and good find a Jimbo’s; breakfast is served all day and if you’re into burgers, you’ve come to the right place.  

Experience traditional gospel in Harlem

DUMBO

No, not the elephant, but the neighborhood in Brooklyn. DUMBO stands for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.” This neighborhood is one of New York’s hidden gems. With a combination of art galleries, shops and restaurants it’s one place you’ll definitely fall in love with in Brooklyn. When in DUMBO you must go to one of the best coal brick oven pizzerias called Grimaldi’s. Stop by St. Ann’s Warehouse for a show or rent a bike to ride around Brooklyn.

Park Slope

brooklynb (400 x 268)

Still loving Brooklyn, we’ll continue on to Park Slope. From here you can see a basketball game or one of your favorite artists at Barclays Center. Go up Flatbush Avenue to one of my personal favorite sushi spots, Geido. If your appetite for Brooklyn is still not satisfied, head over to BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) for films, theater, dance, music and much more. When the shopping bug hits you, check out some of the stores off of Atlantic Avenue. Two of my favorite stores are called Beacon’s Closet and Buffalo Exchange. After all this you’ll be dying to visit Brooklyn again.

Museums

When you want some peace and quiet or are just in the mood for history check out one of the dozen museums in New York. Here are some of my favorites just to name a few.

MoMA (Museum of Modern Art)

Museum of Natural History

Science Museum

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Museum of the City of New York

Museum of Sex

El Museo del Barrio (NYC’s only Latin museum dedicated to Puerto Rican, Caribbean and Latin American art)

Last but not least the Guggenheim Museum

These are not the only museums to check out in New York. For some reason the museums listed happen to be museums that I’ve been going to all my life and each holds a special memory. On a good day there aren’t too many people around and I never get tired of the old exhibits.

Of course there is so much more to do in New York and the examples above are just a few of my favorite things. Next time you visit the Big Apple go off the beaten path and explore everything the city has to offer.

 

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I Heart New York Tours

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The Big Apple, The Concrete Jungle, The City that Never Sleeps, call it what you want, New York has garnered an unrivalled reputation for good reason.  With so much to do and so many places to see, it can be overwhelming trying to decide. Here is a list of some of the top things to do whilst in NYC:

  1. New York Helicopter Tour

New York was built from the ground up, so it makes the most sense to see it from the sky! You’ll feel like a VIP as you soar around the New York skyline. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of iconic New York landmarks including Central Park, the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty. 

 

  1. Statue of Liberty Cruise

Take a cruise out to see the lovely “Lady Liberty” and the nearby Ellis Island on a Statue of Liberty Cruise.  You’ll also get spectacular views of the New York skyline including the Brooklyn Bridge and Chrysler Building.  

  1. Central Park Walking Tour

Escape the hustle-and-bustle of New York, without ever having to leave the city, on a peaceful Central Park Walking Tour. On this intimate tour you’ll learn about the park’s history whilst exploring major landmarks and other less common, local hotspots.

  1. Fifth Avenue Shopping Tour

Fifth Avenue is the epitome of luxury and wealth as it is one of the most expensive streets in the world. On this shopping tour, you’ll be treated to the expert services of an NYC-based stylist who will show you how to master New York style, regardless of whether your budget is more high street chic than luxury designer boutique. 

  1. Empire State Building Observatory Express Pass

Skip the queue and ascend 86 floors to the top of the Empire State Building. From the Observatory you’ll see all five boroughs that make up New York. On a clear day you’ll be able to see as far as Connecticut and New Jersey!

If a Helicopter Ride around New York sounds like your dream travel experience, then vote for it in the isango! travel experience poll. You’ll be entered for the chance to win a new iPad and other weekly giveaways. Bonus: you’ll get 10% off at isango! just for entering.

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Friday Favourites: New York

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newstatue

Favourite Place: New York.
Reason: It has a 24hr -lifestyle and a positive vibe, which makes you believe anything is possible!
Story behind the picture: It symbolises ultimate freedom for me (and the strength of women…) We were on our way to Ellis island where we learnt more about what an immigrant had to face before being able to start a new life in America.
Other place I’d like to visit: Bhutan – apparently they measure their inhabitants’ happiness there. That can’t be a bad thing!

For an insiders guide, take an audio tour in New York .

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JetBlue All You Can Jet pass special offers

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JetBlue All You Can Jet

JetBlue All You Can Jet

JetBlue is rolling out again their super duper All You Can Jet deal for 2010. In a nutshell: you buy a pass once, and then you can fly as much as you want for one month.

Yes. Unlimited flights, for one month.

JetBlue serves more than 60 destinations including major US cities (NYC, Chicago, Boston, LA, Miami, Orlando, Vegas….) and the Caribbeans, Mexico and Central American capitals.

So there is plenty of choice for seeing friends and family, taking a late vacation, city-hopping or even better – just fly somewhere, randomly!

This year we are proud to be part of JetBlue AYCJ travel partners and we will be offering exclusive special offers to AYCJ pass holders.

Considering you can fly around for free for one month, this is the unmissable time to experience unique activities – wherever they are, and at preferential rates.

How does it work? Pass holders will receive a welcome e-mail containing a link and special passcode to access the special offers page.

Even better: AYCJ special offers can be cumulated with our classic multiSave discount if you book any other product on isango! at the same time.

Useful links:

All You Can Jet passpage on JetBlue

- All You Can Jet page on Facebook

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