According to Alicia Keys, this concrete jungle is where dreams are made of. One walk through Manhattan and you’ll feel that same sense of opportunity that inspired so many others who have wandered these streets. Here are 12 fabulous things to do in New York City!
1. GO UP TO AN OBSERVATION DECK
New York City has 3 major observations decks:
Rockerfeller Center has arguably the best views of NYC as you can see both the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center to the south, and Central Park to the north. Access to Top of the Rock and Empire State Observatory are both included in the New York CityPass.
2. SEE THE STATUE OF LIBERTY
Lady Liberty is an essential attraction for any first-time visitor to NYC. You have 3 options for seeing the Statue of Liberty: the Staten Island Ferry, Circle Line Cruises, or Statue Cruises. Find more information about each of these options in our guide to the Statue of Liberty.Check out the best ways to see the Statue of Liberty
3. WALK THROUGH TIMES SQUARE
You can’t go to New York City without paying Times Square a visit. It’s nice to see Times Square both in the day time and the evening, as the bright lights and advertisements look different depending on the time of day. If you want to beat the crowds, go early in the morning (before 9am), and late at night (after 11pm).Where to stay: Hotel Mela Times Square
4. SEE A BROADWAY SHOW
Who could say no to seeing a bunch of people in flamboyant costumes dancing and singing for a few hours. Not me. I’ve been to Broadway twice now (once to see Chicago, and once to see Matilda). Every time I walk away with the upbeat tunes playing merrily in my head.
Choose a show that you’d like to see that day, then head the TKTS vendors in Times Square either around 9:00-10:00 AM or 2:00-3:00 PM. You’ll have to line up for a bit, but as a reward you’ll likely get your same-day Broadway tickets for around half the price!
5. EXPLORE CENTRAL PARK
Central Park is one of the best free activities you can do in New York City. My favorite route to walk through starts at The Metropolitan Museum on 82nd street, then heads into the park and goes by the Shakespeare Garden, Belvedere Castle, Bow Bridge, Bethesda Fountain, down ‘The Mall’ and then ends at the south-east corner of the park.
6. SEE THE FAMOUS FLATIRON BUILDING
The Flatiron Building is my favorite building in New York City! Named because it’s triangular shape roughly resembles an old flat iron, the architecture of this building is absolutely stunning up close.
While you’re in the area, take a walk through Madison Square Park. Here you’ll find a dog park, public sculpture art, and the first ever Shake Shack which is guaranteed to have a ridiculously long queue.
7. STROLL ALONG THE HIGH LINE
The High Line is an abandoned raised railroad that has been turned into public space by the city of New York. It’s now a walking path/garden, with plenty of public art and city views to admire along the way. Start at the entrance on 30th street and 10th Ave, and work your way down to the end at Gansevoort Street. Afterwards, grab some lunch at Chelsea Market which is only a 5 minute walk away.Where to stay: The High Line Hotel
8. WALK ACROSS THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE
There’s nothing like walking across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset! This bridge is so popular because of it’s photogenic qualities and city views. Take your camera and get snap happy.
9. GET SOME SKYLINE VIEWS FROM DUMBO
After you’ve walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, head down to Brooklyn Bridge Park. This area is also popular at sunset as it’s where you’ll get some of the best city skyline views of Manhattan.
10. VISIT THE 9/11 MEMORIAL
This memorial was completed for the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 and is a very tactful and beautiful memorial. The area that was left empty now has two large insets in the ground to mark where the towers once stood, and also has a large public space with plenty of trees and places to sit.Where to stay: Holiday Inn Financial District
11. EXPLORE THE FINANCIAL DISTRICT
The Financial District sounds rather boring, but it actually packs a punch as far as sightseeing goes. After you’ve visited the 9/11 memorial, head to Wall Street (which you’ll recognize from the thousands of movies it’s been featured in) and the Charging Bull statue on Bowling Green Park (which is supposed to bring you luck in money if you touch the bull’s balls).
12. EXPLORE SOME MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES
There are about a gazillion museums in NYC. If you’re planning to visit a few, you can take advantage of the New York CityPass which gives you entry into:
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum
- Guggenheim Museum
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- American Museum of Natural History
- Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum