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Things to do in New York City

Things to do in  New York City

Welcome to New York City

New York City is one of the most visited places in the world—and for good reason. The city’s diverse population makes it a cultural capital for art, music, food, and much, much more.

When to visit

New York City is one of those rare cities where every season has unique attractions:

Summer weather means the perfect time to walk the Brooklyn Bridge, or even take a visit to the iconic Coney Island.

Chilly fall temps bring the changing foliage; renting a car for “leaf peeping” upstate is a great way to experience the Hudson Valley.

Winter activities center around the holiday season, with the legendary Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and skating rink topping travelers’ lists.

Spring thaw is an ideal time to experience the blooming trees of Central Park or even the Highline, if you can catch a break between rain showers.

Getting around

Walking: New York is a great walking city and relatively straightforward, given each borough’s numbered streets and grid layouts. Exploring by foot is ideal in the bustling neighborhoods with great shops, restaurants, and cafes tucked away in the city’s many corners.

Subway: New York is big, which means walking to and from destinations may not always be feasible. That’s where the city’s subway comes in. Single-fare tickets on the many different subway lines can bring you to virtually any part or borough and runs around the clock.

Taxi: New York is known for its famous yellow taxis. They are easy to flag down by waving your hand (look for taxis with the roof light on for vacancy). Uber and Lyft have large networks in New York, so if you are looking for a guaranteed ride, then apps are a safe bet.

Traveler tips

New York City is known for its wealth of fun dive bars and legendary pizza slice shops. No matter which attraction or neighborhood you end up visiting, there’s a good chance you are within walking distance to a notorious NYC establishment. If you’re walking the Williamsburg Bridge, or exploring Chinatown, you can’t miss 169 Bar—a local favorite adorned with leopard prints, color lights, palm trees, and a hits-only jukebox.

A trip to Times Square isn’t complete without stopping by Joe’s Pizza on Broadway. Originally a Greenwich Village shop, Joe’s went on to expand to multiple locations throughout the city—and for good reason. The owner has been at it since 1975, slowly perfecting the art of the slice, landing Joe’s on numerous Top 10 lists in a competitive pizza city.

Top 10 attractions in New York City


Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is one of New York City's (and the USA's) most iconic attractions. The monument was a gift from France in 1886, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The statue is 151 feet (46m) tall and stands, fittingly, on Liberty Island at the mouth of New York Harbor. Lady Liberty welcomes visitors and immigrants with the famous words, "Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."More

Ellis Island

New York City’s Ellis Island was America’s busiest immigrant inspection station for more than 60 years, from 1892 to 1954. As the gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the United States, it processed more than 50 percent of the nation’s current ancestors.More

Empire State Building

When it comes to buildings, New York's Empire State Building is top of the heap. The 102-story iconic skyscraper, completed in 1931, is not only an architectural wonder but it offers wondrous 360-degree views of Gotham from its two observation decks. Glass-enclosed high-speed elevators shuttle visitors to both decks, where high-powered binoculars allow for zeroing in on favorite New York attractions from above. The art deco skyscraper stands at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and W. 34th St.More

National September 11 Memorial & Museum

It is a rare greenscape in lower Manhattan, shaded by rustling white oaks that were chosen for their muted yellow hue come autumn. Two enormous fountains, designed by architects Michael Arad and Peter Walker, mark the footprints of the fallen towers with plunging waterfalls. These are surrounded by bronze parapets, engraved with the names of those lost. Personal tributes are welcome, and may be incorporated into the Memorial Museum, due to open in 2012.  More

Brooklyn Bridge

New York's most famous bridge crosses the East River from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Taking a walk across this historic suspension bridge is a must-do NYC activity, with fabulous views on every side. Built in the 1870s and '80s, the Brooklyn Bridge was one of the first suspension bridges to be constructed in the USA. At the time, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. The soaring Gothic towers at either end are particularly dramatic when floodlit at night, their tall elongated arches an iconic New York sight. Check out the observation points under the support towers, with panoramic illustrations depicting the history of New York's waterfront, then stay on to watch as the city lights of Manhattan and Brooklyn switch on at dusk.More

Central Park

Central Park, a huge rectangular slice of oxygenating greenness, is New York City's lungs and soul. Taking up a mammoth 843 acres (341 hectares) in Uptown Manhattan, Central Park is laced with walkways, jogging paths, and woodlands. Not just a place for relaxation, Central Park is also home to a zoo, skating rink, theater, reservoir, boating lake, fountains, bridle paths, and a carousel. If you’re feeling peckish after all that activity, drop into the Loeb Boathouse for a buffet brunch or dinner. Popular photo stops in Central Park include the Alice in Wonderland and Balto the Malamute statues, the Belvedere Castle atop Vista Rock and the John Lennon memorial gardens at Strawberry Fields, opposite Lennon’s former home in the Dakota apartment building.More

Rockefeller Center

For a memorable dose of Art Deco design in all its glory, immerse yourself in the 1930s Rockefeller Center. A complex of 19 buildings and gardens, the Rockefeller Center is where you'll find the famous ice rink and Christmas tree, Radio City Music Hall, the NBC Studios, and the Top of the Rock observation deck atop the soaring Art Deco GE Building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. (Fans of the television show '30 Rock' will also recognize this as the TGS studio offices.)For shopping and dining there are more than 100 stores, 40 eateries, and an underground shopping concourse.Go behind the scenes on an NBC Studios tour, stopping off to have your photo taken at the news desk or give an impromptu weather report. Rockefeller Center tours highlight the rich assortment of Art Deco statues, sculptures, and murals on display, including the famous gilt statue of Prometheus in the Lower Plaza and Atlas on Fifth Avenue.More

Niagara Falls

Every second, 750,000 gallons of water thunder over Niagara Falls. Visitors from around the world travel to witness this thunderous natural wonder and feel the spray from the powerful falls on their skin. Situated on the border between New York and Canada, Niagara Falls is one of the world's most spectacular sights. The Niagara Falls State Park on the New York side of the falls boasts the superlative of America's oldest state park. The natural wonderland features miles upon miles of hiking trails, an interactive visitor's center, a multi-screen theater and even a rock-climbing wall. On any given day, a trail of yellow poncho-clad visitors snake down wooden staircases that zig-zag through mountainous terrain to viewing points close to and even behind the falls. The ever-popular Maid of the Mist boats traverse the waters, soaking every patron as their screams of delight are drowned by the roar.More

One World Observatory

Travelers looking to experience life on the top of the world need look no further than the spire of One World Observatory. The tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, this lower Manhattan skyscraper has a high-speed elevator that shoots visitors straight to the 102nd floor in less than 60 seconds. Impressive time-lapse technology showcases the transformation of the city from the 1500s to modern day as guests make their ascent. The major attraction, known as the Discovery Level, is located on the 100th floor of One World Observatory. Visitors say the 360-degree views highlight the best of Manhattan and offer impressive looks at surrounding waterways and iconic city skyline. Several high-tech installations provide travelers with the unique experience of zeroing in on specific neighborhoods or checking out real-time footage of streets far below.More

Times Square

Times Square is a legendary NYC landmark, synonymous with all the glam and glitz of the Big Apple. It’s New York’s hub for flashing neon advertisements, Broadway’s famous theaters, rubbernecking tourists, and the ball drop on New Year’s Eve. Of course, Times Square isn’t a square at all, but the triangular intersection of several main thoroughfares. Thankfully, Broadway is pedestrianised as it passes through Times Square, from 42nd to 47th Streets, with plaza seating allowing visitors to actually stop, look, and relax. A visit to Times Square is an essential part of the New York experience, whether you come here to shop, dine, drink, see a show, or just gawp at the flurry of different architectural styles, spectacular neon signs, and bustling New Yorkers.More

Trip ideas

Ways to Beat the Crowds in New York City

Ways to Beat the Crowds in New York City

Free Museum Days in NYC You Need to Visit

Free Museum Days in NYC You Need to Visit

Top Parks and Gardens in New York City

Top Parks and Gardens in New York City

Don’t-Miss Dishes in New York City

Don’t-Miss Dishes in New York City

Recent reviews from experiences in New York City

cynthiaalday, Jan. 2020
Washington DC Day Tour from New York City
Travel tour to Washington DC was a good experience and we were able to visit most of the federal historic govt buildings.
Holiday pics in NYC
juliesmallpage55, Dec. 2019
Private New York Walking Tour with a Personal Photographer
Having a professional walking photographer at the beginning of our week in New York City was amazing to see so much and do so much in two hours was appreciated
Compact Tour
G M, Oct. 2019
New York in One Day Guided Sightseeing Tour
Best way to see New York City if constrained by time.
A fun group activity
lucievictoria3, Oct. 2019
New York City Ghost Tour of Greenwich Village
Everyone said it was a fun, interesting way to see the city that we all have lived in for years.
Summer in the city
Robert D, Aug. 2019
Private TCM Classic Film Tour
I would highly recommend both Jason and this tour- a great summer day out
A Very Pleasant Evening
DGarison, Aug. 2019
New York City Harbor Lights Cruise
The city skylight and Statue of Liberty were beautiful to see as the sun was setting.
Do this first!
g4272019, Jul. 2019
New York in One Day Guided Sightseeing Tour
The tips you will receive from our excellent guide include where to visit, to what to eat and even how to buy stuff ...
9/11 Memorial tour.
GrandTour21703565443, Jun. 2019
9/11 Memorial & Ground Zero Tour with Optional Skip-the-Line 9/11 Museum Ticket
My wife and I decided to go to New York city to view the Freedom tower and 9/11 memorial, to make it easier to see everything we decided to buy a tour guided package.
Great Tour
jennifernA1927EH, Jun. 2019
Private Super Tour of NYC: Heroes, Comics and More!
We got to see many NYC sites and the information about how they were related to the superhero movies was really interesting.
Jeffrey is a fabulous tour guide
albertlc, Jun. 2019
NYC Tour with Statue of Liberty Pedestal Access
This tour is the best way to see NYC quickly and well!
Great Detailed Tour
Freedom01778713821, May 2019
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island with One World Observatory
Our tour guide Rob was extremely knowledgeable about the city and its attractions.
Excellent Tour!
cjleonards, Sep. 2018
NYC Tour with Statue of Liberty Pedestal Access
Got to see some of the highlights of New York City.
What a Wonderful View!
Lecinda B, Aug. 2018
New York Helicopter Flight: Grand Island
We flew all around New York City and got to see things we'd never before seen.
A perfect way for preteens, not...
Greg K, Jul. 2009
Circle Line: Beast Speedboat Ride
A perfect way for preteens, not interested in sightseeing, to see the Statue of Liberty and the New York City skyline.
Our guide Alice was the best! She...
ROZALIA L, Aug. 2017
OPEN: Skip-Line Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Tour + Pedestal Ticket Upgrade
Gave us great tips on attractions and navigating New York City.
Really interesting trip around...
Janelle M, Dec. 2017
Harlem Gospel Sunday Tour
It was great to see other parts of New York City.
We had Kernan, he was really funny...
Sokphear Y, Sep. 2017
OPEN: Skip-Line Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Tour + Pedestal Ticket Upgrade
The tour is tiring because it's about 4 hours long but I think it's definitely worth it if you're in New York City to see the statue and also learn a little history.
A great way to see New York City and...
LLOYD C, Dec. 2017
Big Bus New York Hop-On Hop-Off Open Top Tour
A great way to see New York City and learn some facts that you would not have learned on your own.
Breath taking night scenic view of...
hariharan B, Nov. 2017
New York Double-Decker Bus Night Tour
Have it in your things to do list when you are going to NY.
Serge and Robert, the driver, gave...
John H, Jun. 2016
New York City Guided Sightseeing Tour by Double Decker Bus
There was actually too much to see in even an 8-hour tour but that's New York.

Frequently Asked Questions