Tips & Advice

How to plan a summer in NYC: 6 things you must do

dance in New York

School’s almost out, and we can’t wait for summer break. Are you planning a trip to New York City this summer? Whether traveling to NYC for a convention, family vacation or summer intensive, the big city can seem pretty overwhelming — especially if it’s your first time. We have come up with six things you must do in New York City to make the most out of your experience in the Big Apple.

#1. Dance! 

Take a dance class at one of New York’s premiere professional dance studios. No matter what style you’re looking for, you can drop in to take a dance class with some of the industry’s most sought-after and established teachers. Check out the Alvin Ailey Extension, Broadway Dance Center, Peridance and Steps on Broadway. Look at the studio’s website to get to know the teachers, offerings and levels (I’d recommend “leveling down” since New York classes tend to be more advanced on the whole — i.e. you’ll be with American Ballet Theatre principals in an intermediate/advanced ballet class and Broadway dancers in that level theatre, jazz or tap class).

#2. See a show.

Whether you want to see a Broadway musical, a ballet at Lincoln Center or a modern dance concert downtown, there is so much dance happening in New York, especially in the summertime. Ticket prices can be expensive, so check out discounted sites like TKTS and Today Tix, or consider “rushing” a show the morning of. Additionally, there are a lot of free events like Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Broadway in Bryant Park and Shakespeare in the Park (check out Time Out New York for more information).

#3. Take a walk.

Walking is the best way to get around andto really experience the magic of New York City. Explore more than just the tourist-hub of Times Square. Take the time to wander down 8th Avenue, travel up Broadway, bike along the Hudson River, or get lost in Central Park. Just make sure to always pack an umbrella; you never know when a summer rain shower might interrupt your afternoon stroll! Also bring a few pairs of comfortable and durable shoes. Never try out a brand new pair of boots or sky-high heels else you’ll find yourself with aching, blistered feet!

#4. Be a tourist.

New York is such a historical and spectacular city. Plan out at least a few landmarks that you want to see during your visit. The Statue of Liberty, the Top of the Rock, Central Park, One World Trade, the shops along Fifth Avenue and Times Square are some obvious picks. Other ideas are a tour of Radio City Music Hall, walking the Highline elevated park, exploring Lincoln Center, shopping in SoHo and wandering the windy streets in Greenwich Village. It’s also smart to research fun places to eat (hint: every pizza place claims it’s the “best in NYC”). No matter what cuisine you’re in the mood for, you can find some of the most delicious food in New York City.

#5. Manage your time.

New York City is a hustling and bustling city — people walk, and taxis drive much faster than you’re probably used to! Whether you are walking, driving or taking the subway, always leave yourself a little extra time to get where you’re going. Plan out enough activities to see things you want to see, but also leave free time to just explore and take in the beauty and magic of the city. It’s easy to feel burned out, even if you’re just here for a few days of vacation. And, of course, leave lots of time to get back to the airport because traffic in New York can be crazy!

#6. Treat yourself.

You don’t need to spend a ton of money to take home a special piece of memorabilia from your trip to the Big Apple. But instead of an “I ‘heart’ NY” t-shirt, maybe search for something for dancing that will remind you of the city where, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere! Visit LaDuca Shoes for a stunning pair of character shoes like the ones all the Broadway dancers wear. Check out the Capezio flagship store in Times Square to find a special new leotard with a mesh design of the city skyline on the back. Or take home a t-shirt from your favorite musical like Wicked or Hamilton. A personalized present for yourself is a great way to cherish your memory when you get home.

If you’ve already had the opportunity to visit New York, comment below with suggestions of your favorite places to visit or with tips to help make the most of your trip!

By Mary Callahan of Dance Informa.

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