New York City Top Attractions
New York City Top Attractions
Top Attractions in New York City
Want to take a bite out of the Big Apple, and plan the ultimate New York City trip? It’s not as hard as you think! The city that never sleeps is loaded with adventure for all ages, regardless of budget or tastes. Whether it’s shopping, art, architecture, theater, museums, or dining, New York’s got it all. Here are our favorite picks for your must-do, and must-see lists to help you get the most out of your next NYC vacation.
1. Empire State Building
The Empire State Building was once the tallest building in the world (1930-1970), and still stands as one of the most iconic, at a massive 102 stories and 1,250 feet (380 m) in height. From the observation deck at the top you’ll see unparalleled views of the Big Apple skyline, and on a clear day you can see across the city to New Jersey on the west side, and Long Island on the east side.
This is one of New York City’s top attractions, so if you want to visit without the crowds, you should go between 8-11AM. Also, be sure to buy your tickets in advance. This will help you skip the long line at the ticket office, and give you more flexibility in planning the rest of your day.
2. 9/11 Memorial & Museum
Though it’s a somber experience, visiting NYC’s 9/11 Memorial and Museum is an important reminder of one of the city’s darkest moments, and a valuable remembrance of history and the lives lost on that fateful day. Located on the original site of the World Trade Center, the museum categorizes itself as “the country’s principal institution concerned with exploring 9/11, documenting its impact, and examining its continuing significance.”
The memorial is free to enter for the public and the museum requires tickets, which are available for purchase online or at the entrance. Ticket prices vary depending on age, military status, package, and season.
3. Statue of Liberty
No trip to the Big Apple is complete without a visit to the Statue of Liberty. The statue, which was built nearly 150 years ago and given as a gift from the French, is open to the public year-round, and is a great place to visit to learn about New York History, and check out the view from the crown. The crown observation deck tends to sell out months in advance so make sure to purchase an e-ticket long before your scheduled trip to ensure entry.
The Statue of Liberty stands on Liberty Island, which is federally protected land accessible by ferry from both Manhattan (Battery Park) and New Jersey (Liberty Park). There are guided tours available at the site, as well as additional tours to Ellis Island nearby.
4. Central Park
The world’s most iconic park and the geographical center of Manhattan is not to be missed on any trip to the Big Apple, no matter how short or long your stay. This 840-acre (or 340-hectare) mega park spans over 50 blocks in length, connects four neighborhoods together, and is home to a reservoir, miles of jogging/walking paths, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Central Park zoo. We recommend renting a bike to get around quicker, and to make sure you see everything!
Hungry after all that walking? Grab a snack at one of the Big Apple’s famous hot dog carts, or dine in style at the iconic Tavern on The Green, just off West 66th Street and Central Park West.
5. One World Observatory
One World Observatory, also known as the Freedom Tower, stands next to the site of the former World Trade Center, and is the tallest building in the United States at a staggering 1,776 ft (541.3 m) high. From the observatory level, you will see the city’s most unobstructed views via floor-to-ceiling glass, with 360° access throughout. There are elevators that bring you to the top with an immersive cinematic experience about the history of NYC, as well as interactive exhibits for people of all ages.
6. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met)
Known to many as simply “The Met”, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is officially the largest art museum in the United States. It is also the third most visited art museum in the world. The museum was founded in 1870 and has over 2 million items showcased amongst its permanent exhibits, including famous pieces such as Leutze's “Washington Crossing the Delaware” and Van Gogh's “Wheat Field with Cypresses”. The main building is at 1000 Fifth Avenue, right in the heart of New York’s Museum Mile. Tickets are available online or on-site with many options available for multi-language guided tours.
7. The High Line
This is a really fun way to get a walking experience of New York City without the traffic or the hustle and bustle of its busy streets. The High Line is a 25-block raised walkway that used to be an elevated rail line, now meant exclusively for green space and pedestrian passage. You can walk on and off the High Line as you please, which is great, as you’ll find dozens of famous restaurants and some of New York’s best art galleries located on the ground level along the way.
8. Top of the Rock
For another fantastic view of the city that never sleeps, check out the top of New York’s iconic Rockefeller Center, casually known as Top of the Rock. This is a huge winter attraction, as the street level hosts the country’s most famous Christmas tree, outdoor ice skating rink, and holiday shopping area. From the top, you can see all of Manhattan, with a specifically unique view of Central Park that’s practically unobstructed. Tickets are available online and on-site, with VIP packages and tours available for purchase as well.
9. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Another can’t-miss museum you’ll want to include on your NYC travel itinerary is the The Museum of Modern Art (or “MoMA”). It is considered one of the most influential museums of modern art in the world, and includes a library which houses around 300,000 books and over 40,000 files on artists that are accessible to the public. The museum averages between 2.5 and 3 million visitors a year, so make sure to plan a good amount of time to check it out, as it can get crowded during peak season.
10. Brooklyn Bridge
What trip to New York would be complete without a visit to the famous Brooklyn Bridge. This Big Apple landmark is a true feet of 19-century engineering and urban planning, and is a great way to cross from Manhattan into Brooklyn, New York’s most famous outer borough. The bridge spans the East River between Manhattan’s Seaport District and Brooklyn’s “Dumbo” District. We recommend walking or biking on the bridge’s pedestrian and bike-only pathways, and make sure to stop in the middle for an unforgettable view!
11. Time Square & Broadway
Broadway, specifically in the area of Times Square (45th Street) is the world’s premier destination for live theater. There are 41 professional theaters in New York City’s Broadway Theater District, each with an average of 500 seats, and shows run year-round. This means that no matter what your taste or time of year you visit, you’ll find a great show to check out during your trip.
Of course, Times Square is a can’t miss, and is right at the heart of where Broadway interacts with the center of the city. There is a pedestrian-only area where you can walk and see live entertainers, as well as the bright lights and bustling businesses that make the Big Apple so famous.
You can purchase tickets in advance online for most shows, and even get last-minute deals on tickets to shows while you’re there, if you’re open to early times or off-peak days.
12. The Guggenheim Museum
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is almost as famous for its appearance as what it has inside, and for good reason. The museum was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and was built to inspire its guests through its cylindrical design, in what Wright referred to as a “temple of the spirit.” The art museum is best known for its impressionist, post-impressionist, and contemporary paintings and sculptures. The Guggenheim hosts many events throughout the year, and is often visited as an architectural landmark, as well as an art museum. It’s located on Fifth Avenue and 88th Street, and tickets are available for purchase both online or at the entrance.
13. The American Museum of Natural History
This museum, located at 200 Central Park West near the center of the park is the world’s most-visited natural history museum. Passing through its halls is like walking through living history, with exhibits ranging from the prehistoric era to modern man, and everything in between. The American Museum of Natural History is the perfect place for fans of science and biological evolution, and a great interactive learning experience for visitors of all ages. There are 45 permanent exhibition halls as well as a planetarium and library. As it’s a top attraction, buy tickets online to save time waiting in line when you arrive, and try to go early in the day.
14. Fifth Avenue
Traversing some of the Big Apple’s most historic neighborhoods, Fifth Avenue is a cultural landmark for New York City. The large city thoroughfare runs from Harlem all the way to Washington Square Park, with the most popular area between 32nd and 59th street. In this strip (between 32nd and 59th) you’ll find the city’s most luxurious brand shopping, Museum Mile, and many famous global business headquarters. Towards the north end of Fifth Avenue (between 59th and 96th) you’ll find “Millionaire’s Row”, where some of the city’s most famous residents live, with spectacular Deco and modern urban architecture to be seen at every turn.
15. Grand Central Terminal
While it is still a fully-functioning, busy train and bus terminal, it’s still a fantastic place to visit. Check out the classic urban Deco architecture, highlighted by the vaulted ceilings of the main concourse, which contain chandeliers and the iconic clock that sets the time for the trains. Grand Central is centrally located (42nd Street), and an easy walk from Midtown, Broadway, and Rockefeller Center.