A bucket list of must-see attractions in New York City is so long it could fill a library. Iconic attractions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty may top your list of Big Apple essentials, but trust us, there won’t be time for everything. Accept that you’ll need to return and, instead, make time to do what real New Yorkers do — enjoy the good life. With that said, here are six must-try experiences for the luxury traveler in Manhattan.
New York steak
Get into a New York “steak of mind” at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, a place that serves up premium cuts in a larger-than-life atmosphere (two-story windows give panoramic views of Midtown). Whether you’re looking for a power lunch or elegant dinner, don’t miss the famous Double Eagle Strip steak and the epic crab cakes (Michael Strahan’s favorite).
If it’s elegance you’re after, head to longtime West Village favorite Gotham Bar and Grill. Order the 28-day, dry-aged New York steak served with Dijon mustard custard, Vidalia onion rings and bordelaise sauce. Other prime spots for a porterhouse include Keens Steakhouse, Strip House and Wolfgang’s Steakhouse.
Old New York
The retro glam of dinner and live entertainment is alive and well in New York City, if you know where to look. Quite frankly, nothing feels more New York than “old” New York. Experience the nostalgic trip at the legendary Rainbow Room. With unparalleled views from 65 stories up, a live band, a famous rotating dance floor and the glittering glow from the oversized, vintage chandelier, the place dazzles long before the prix-fixe menu has even come to the table.
For an intimate dinner and a show, head to Café Carlyle (at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel), where the cabaret comes to life each night. This celebrated establishment regularly books top musical talent, ranging from Chita Rivera to Sutton Foster and Woody Allen, who plays weekly Monday and Saturday night gigs here with the Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band.
Broadway’s blockbuster productions are annually one of the biggest draws of New York City and a must for every visitor. While sold-out spectacles like hip-hop hit Hamilton may be nearly impossible to get tickets for unless you have Lin-Manual Miranda’s cell phone number, you’ll fare much better in an attempt to snag seats to long-running theatrical hits like Book of Mormon or Wicked. But truthfully, it won’t matter which production you catch on the Great White Way — once you post a few pics from the orchestra section, your friends back home will be green with envy.
Because New Yorkers love to be the center of attention, immersive theater lets audience members take part in the show. With The McKittrick Hotel’s Sleep No More, you will enjoy a haunting spin on Macbeth while wandering through an interactive six-story funhouse. Prepare to feel like a voyeur as you silently follow performers on a Jazz-Age adventure. Don’t be surprised if cast members interact with you and fellow audience guests — it’s half the fun.
The newest show to enter the immersive theater market is The Grand Paradise. Take a trip back to the 1970s and join a family vacation that proves an awakening of the senses. This two-hour production is extremely interactive so be prepared to get dragged into all the fun (we recommend loosening up with a cocktail or two before curtains are raised).
With all of Gotham’s bustle, it’s easy to forget to breathe. Take a moment to unwind with the time-honored tradition of Afternoon Tea at Four-Star The Plaza, A Fairmont Managed Hotel’s iconic The Palm Court. With custom tableware and china, an extensive tea list and even a special Eloise-themed menu for kids, The Palm Court is the perfect place to exhale. For an even quainter experience, we recommend Star Lounge at Five-Star The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, which serves delicate tea sandwiches and specialty blends.
There is no place in the world more extravagant than the Big Apple so join the ladies who lunch for a day of pampering at some of the top spas in the world. Though you can find fabulous facials and hot-stone massages all over the city, two of our top picks go to Four-Star L. Raphael Beauty Spa at the Four Seasons Hotel New York (attentive staff makes sure everything is perfect) and the Five-Star spa at the Mandarin Oriental, New York (sweeping views of Central Park help alleviate any stress that the kneading can’t).