Finally, you are in New York, an iconic city that springs to mind when we think of the United States of America. Hailed frequently as a media, cultural and financial icon, the city of New York is known to all. Residents, tourists and students alike have New York on their lists. One can never truly run out of things to do in New York, as the city constantly changes. The city has something for everyone, you may not know the Mets from the Met, but one way or another, it will leave you satisfied.
Is New York a good place to visit?
“In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do.
Now you are in New York; these streets will make you feel brand-new, big lights will inspire you.
Welcome to New York”
As Alicia Keys rightly says in the song ‘Empire State of Mind’, New York is indeed a city of dreams with its concrete jungle of skyscrapers and observation decks. The city streets are alive 24/7, and places like Times Square are bound to leave you awestruck. While it is an expensive city as compared to other cities in the USA, the numerous things to do in New York are going to be worth it.
Top Attractions in New York
We have compiled a list of the top 20 things to do in New York that will slot into your plans no matter what season it is
Empire State Building: Channel your inner King Kong
The tallest building in New York until 1970, the Empire State building is known to many for its appearances in movies like Independence Day, King Kong and Superman 2, to name a few. A well-known building in the world, it offers visitors access to two observation decks. An observation deck is located on the 102nd floor, and an outdoor one is on the 86th. Tickets to visit the decks at sunrise and nighttime can be purchased at an extra cost. The normal ticket includes access to the outdoor deck during the daytime only.
Statue of Liberty
A copper statue keeping her torch held high and signifying American liberty, the Statue of Liberty is a must for your list of things to do in New York. The statue served as a gift from France to the USA as a token of friendship, the details about which can be found on the statue’s pedestal. The crown of this 305-foot statue also houses an observation deck for which tickets need to be bought in advance as they sell out rather quickly.
Located in Midtown Manhattan, Times Square is one of the most mind-blowing intersections in the world. Wait, an intersection?
Yes, Times Square is essentially an intersection. The square hosts approximately 50 million people a year. Street performers and artists will leave you entertained, while the sheer amount of neon billboards and lights will add to the aesthetic appeal of your social media posts. Times Square constantly changes as new billboards are put up, stores are opened, and performances are carried out. It offers different experiences during the day and night hours.
New York is a different city altogether during Christmas and New Year, so create your itinerary for Things To Do In New York In December accordingly.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Were you wondering about ‘The Mets from the Met’?
The Met, or the Metropolitan museum of art, is the largest art museum in the USA and is a must-see for all art fans. The Met has maintained its foothold as the cultural epicenter of NYC, housing an extensive collection. Various art exhibitions are showcased throughout the year, making it a new experience of the old every time. A separate branch of the museum known as the Met Cloisters be added to your list of things to do in New York, as it is dedicated to medieval art. Make sure to check out other Museums in New York, as they all have something unique to offer.
Rockefeller Center: on Top of the Rock
A complex consisting of 19 buildings, the Rockefeller Center is home to the statues of Atlas and Prometheus, radio city music hall, Rockefeller Christmas tree and Rockefeller plaza. Located in Midtown Manhattan between fifth and sixth avenue, the Rockefeller Center allows you to visit nearby attractions of New York. The Rockefeller Center also has an observation deck known as the Top of the Rock, allowing you to view midtown Manhattan and Central Park.
The location of the modern LGBT movement, one can tour Washington square park and stroll along Bleeker Street when in Greenwich Village. The walking tour is advisable if you do not want to miss out on finding the apartments from the show ‘Friends’ Take a break at Bleeker Street pizza to recharge your batteries.
The Brooklyn Bridge and its surrounding areas are some of the favorite things to do in New York for a vast majority. The Bridge has dedicated walking lanes and walking along this suspension bridge while viewing the Manhattan skyline makes up for a beautiful experience. A visit to the nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park for a picnic can add to the experience.
While at the Park, one can head to a spot known as DUMBO or ‘Down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass’ where you can get a rather iconic view of the Bridge.
The Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is home to around 8,000 animals and has established itself as one of the largest zoos in the states. The zoo has played a role in conserving animals and breeding rhinos and bisons. One can watch animal feedings based on schedules and get up close and personal with animals like cheetahs and penguins while strolling through animal exhibits.
Staten Island Ferry
Out of things to do in New York, our favorite is the Staten Island Ferry. A free ride from the terminal near Battery Park to Staten Island, the ferry has multiple decks and runs every 30 minutes. The ride offers views of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty. The one-way ride takes around 25 minutes, while a round trip takes an hour.
A top choice for things to do in New York is to visit the circus–trap called Coney Island. Located in Brooklyn, Coney Island houses an amusement park called Luna Park and the Coney Island beach. One can ride an original wooden roller coaster, Cyclone, over 100 years old. Multiple events are held on the beach, which is bound to leave you amazed.
Catch a show on Broadway
When in New York, one needs to watch a Broadway show. Broadway is a unique experience from the things to do in New York, with its sets, songs and live performances. The schedule of the shows is constantly changing and quite extensive. Long-running classic shows like The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera, amongst newer shows, will leave you with a variety to choose from.
Located in Manhattan, Central Park offers acres of lush green gardens, meadows and forests. If you were to stroll down every path the park offers, you would cover 58 miles!
The peaceful park has various sculptures, arches and bridges, numerous playgrounds, and even a zoo and ice-skating rink. Visit the park’s landmarks like the Bow Bridge, Bethesda Fountain, the strawberry fields John Lennon Memorial and Belvedere castle. Central park has four major crosstown thoroughfares as foliage-covered tunnels. The park is the cornerstone of things to do in New York for how much it has to offer. With its large bird population, you can add bird-watching to things to do in New York.
Home to trendy shops, art galleries and restaurants, SoHo derives its name from South of Houston Street and is a rather posh neighborhood of Manhattan featuring cast-iron architecture. The ideal time to visit SoHo is during the afternoon. The real estate available here dates back to the 1800s, with multiple renovations done and came onto the map in the 1970s as artists moved in.
Soar at the One World Observatory
The One World Observatory is the name of the observation deck located on the top of the One World Trade Center, which also happens to be the tallest building in the entire western hemisphere. Being a modern building, it offers a state-of-the-art visit with high-tech elevators and digital guides of NYC. You can witness Manhattan, Queens, the Statue of Liberty, Staten Island and New Jersey from the observatory. While at the One World Trade Center, visit the nearby 9/11 memorial plaza and museum.
When in New York, it is essential to visit the home of the New York Yankees, the 27-time World Champions. Easily accessible via subway from the Grand Central Terminal, the stadium hosts not only Yankees games but also concerts, soccer matches and college football. Watching baseball in the true New York fashion is a must for things to do in New York. Of course, one may check out the New York Mets (yes, the Mets) in case they prefer the other team that calls New York home.
Grand Central Terminal
Witnessed in many movies like Avengers 2, Armageddon and the Girl on the Train, the Grand Central Terminal is the largest railway station in the world. Built-in 1913 with its Beaux-arts design, the Grand Central Terminal and its murals are absolutely beautiful. The main concourse of the station is said to be the best location for a visit.
Summit One Vanderbilt
The newest observation deck to grace New York, Summit One Vanderbilt, opened in October of 2021. It is located on top of one of the tallest skyscrapers in Manhattan. With floor-to-ceiling mirrors and art pieces, it adds to the spectacular views. Spread across three floors, you get beautiful views of midtown Manhattan and the majestic Empire State Building.
Established in Chelsea, Manhattan, Artechouse is an immersive digital art experience and is a unique item to add to your list of things to do in New York. The experience is situated in an old boiler room under the Chelsea Market and lasts 30 to 60 minutes. The display is in sync with the audio making it a rather psychedelic experience. Spread all over the roof, walls, and even the floors, Artechouse can be said to be truly modern art.
While Fifth avenue is a street, as the name suggests, it is the most expensive shopping street in the world and runs from Harlem to Washington Square Park. The museum mile between 82nd and 110th streets houses many museums. Some landmarks along Fifth avenue are the New York Public Library, the Met, Rockefeller Center, Guggenheim Museum, the Plaza Hotel and St. Patrick’s cathedral, to name a few. As it runs along the eastern side of central park, Fifth avenue encompasses many things to do in New York.
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Located in Upper Manhattan, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine is one of the largest cathedrals in the world. Built in Gothic architecture along with its tapestries and stained-glass windows, the cathedral is truly divine. What makes it a must for things to do in New York, however, is the art dedicated to the city. A sculpture using actual debris from the towers made by Meredith Bergmann serves as a 9/11 memorial. A small fee is charged for sightseeing purposes.
Things to do in New York are never-ending as the city evolves rapidly. However, we hope our list of the top 20 things to do in New York makes your visit memorable and fun. Get into that ‘Empire state of mind’ and explore New York to the fullest.