Also known as the Big Apple and the City that Never Sleeps, New York has an incredibly powerful draw; like moths to a flame, millions of travelers visit this iconic city every year, attracted by museums, Broadway, Fifth Avenue shopping, and so much more.
The world’s most famous city has a tourist to-do list longer than the east coast, so instead of listing things to do (which you can find in this post), we’ve decided to try and pin down why the city is so magical.
Sure, it’s easy to say that there’s nowhere else in the world quite like New York, but why? What makes travelers so enamored and fall in love so quickly with this buzzing cultural capital?
Each person’s love of New York will be entirely personal, but we’ve managed to pin down the reasons people commonly visit New York.
3 Reasons Travelers Are So Drawn to New York City
Catching a show on Broadway is one of those bucket list experiences on par with stealing a kiss under the Eiffel Tower, or climbing the Harbor Bridge in Australia; it’s a cultural aspiration that sees travelers flock to New York City.
‘Broadway shows are synonymous with NYC, and the word Broadway is often used as shorthand for theater itself.’ With 41 large theatres concentrated near the iconic Times Square, millions of tourists descend upon Manhattan each year.
This is the world’s biggest center for imagination, escapism, and will transport you to hundreds of different worlds. The best Broadway shows include long-running phenomenons such as The Lion King, to more recent hits like Hamilton and Aladdin.
That said, you’ll find that even those who don’t count themselves fans of the theatre are drawn in by the awe. You of course have traditional theatre stage shows and big, grand musicals – but you also have more unusual shows like magic and entertainment.
If you’re willing to stand in line for a little while, you can snap up excellent last minute seats to the latest shows, and you can also try your luck by entering a show lottery. This one is a little riskier, but is all part of the fun!
That said, if there’s a show you’re dying to see, make sure you book Broadway tickets in advance, as popular shows sell out pretty quickly.
The Glitz of Film & Television
There’s the glitz and glamour of Broadway, but being that New York is the most filmed city in the world, a massive draw to the city is the glitz of film and television.
What do the films Vanilla Sky, Captain America, Glee, Friends with Benefits & New Years Eve all have in common? What about Sleepless in Seattle, King Kong, How I Met Your Mother, Elf, Independence Day & Gossip Girl?
That’s pretty easy – they all shot scenes in NYC … if not being almost solely based there!
One of the major tourist spots that people visit is 30 Rockefeller Plaza, home of the long-running American television network NBC. You can take a tour of the studios, and even sit in the audience for a live recording of Saturday Night Live, which is something of a cultural icon.
NYC doesn’t just attract travelers though – it’s also a very popular city among celebrities, and many TV and film stars live here permanently. If you’re lucky, you might bump into one or two famous people, so keep your eyes open while out in the city!
One of the most common celebrities spotted out and about in New York City is Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex in the City) and her husband Matthew Broderick.
New York is home to some of the world’s best restaurants, and food culture is definitely a reason people visit the city. Whether you like to eat Italian, French or Chinese, there are amazing NY eateries no matter where you are in the city.
While there are many famous upper class restaurants in New York City, there’s actually no reason to spend a fortune on every meal. Sure, there are trendy Michelin star restaurants, but we recommend one “expensive” meal per day so you’re not blowing your whole budget.
Street food is a big part of the NYC culture and lifestyle, so aim for a hotel breakfast, street food for lunch, and if you’re so inclined you can splash out on a fancier dinner each night.
Getting a Sabrett hot dog in Central Park, or Southeast Asian-style tacos from a food truck on 6th Avenue are big staples of the New York experience, and they won’t cost you more than $5.
There are many more reasons people are drawn to New York City, including cultural icons like the Statue of Liberty, tracing back their ancestry (the 1880’s – 1920 saw a huge boom of European immigration to NYC), and for the overall experience of NYC living.
What are your reasons for loving New York City?