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13 Best Things to Do in New York City

Discover the best things to do when you are in the Big Apple.
Last Updated
February 17, 2024
Editorial Staff
Times Square at Night in New York City
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We can all agree that New York is overwhelming. One second you’re gazing up at glittering skyscrapers, the next you’re dodging sidewalk rage from angry locals yelling “I’m walkin’ here!” But before you shove your “I ♥ NY” souvenir T-shirt to the bottom of your suitcase and high-tail it out of town, take a deep breath. NYC’s got a ton to offer, you just have to know where to look.

And who better than a born-and-raised New Yorker like us (alright, we’re from Jersey, but still) to steer you away from the flashy tourist traps and towards the good stuff — like the pizza joint with the line around the block (trust us, it’s worth the wait), or that hole-in-the-wall jazz club where the music is almost as smooth as the whiskey cocktails. Getting lost on a subway platform? Struggling to hail a taxi? No worries, stick with us and we’ll help you navigate this urban jungle without getting chomped.

There’s a whole lotta magic hidden beneath Gotham’s grit — let us show you the New York even locals love. Just watch your step, we’ve got rotten garbage bags and we hear the Ninja Turtles lurk below!


Times Square

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This bustling thoroughfare is located at the intersection of Broadway, Seventh Avenue, 42nd Street, and many other streets in New York City. It’s considered “The Crossroads of the World,” and it is home to some of the best theater productions on earth. The area also has a number of other cultural attractions and prominent buildings.

This busy neighborhood spans eight avenues and is easily accessible by subway or bus. It is easy to find your way there using a map and a Google search. Make sure to purchase a MetroCard and learn about how to navigate the city’s subways, as the price of a cab in NYC can be higher than the price of a metro pass.

After exploring the theaters and shops, you should spend some time at the public library. The New York Public Library is a great place to read about the history of New York. Despite the fact that Times Square is crowded with tourists, you will be able to get around without a problem if you plan to stay in the neighborhood. For those who don’t want to spend too much time in the museum, a public library is an excellent option.


Central Park

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This is another one of the best things to do in New York City, and for good reason. This one of the largest parks in the city (over 882 acres!) is an oasis from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan and has a lot to offer first-time visitors. You can enjoy the many green spaces and picturesque views while taking in the architecture of this famous city.

The park also has a lot of history behind it. It was first opened in 1857 and was designed by famed architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. If you’re interested in architecture, be sure to check out the Bethesda Terrace which features an impressive stone staircase and exquisite carvings.

You can walk along the central park mall to experience the pristine beauty of the surrounding areas. The path is wide and straight, and runs beneath a canopy of gigantic trees. It’s the perfect place for a stroll on a winter day. The park also includes the picturesque Literary Walk, which features statues of literary giants.

Central Park is also home to the best outdoor concerts during the summer which are completely free. You can also find sports courts, horseback riding, or rent a boat in one of its many ponds if you want to do something different.

Whether you want to see the park’s cherry blossoms or take a picnic, there are plenty of places to rest and relax in the park. The Turtle Pond is a popular place for children, and you can admire the cherry trees at the top of Cherry Hill. April to May is the best time to visit Central Park, when the cherry trees are in full bloom.


The Empire State Building

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Completed in 1931, this Art Deco skyscraper was the world’s tallest building for more than 40 years. It has been featured in movies like King Kong and Sleepless in Seattle, and it continues to be one of the most popular tourist destinations in New York City. Visitors can go up to the 86th-floor observatory for an excellent view of Manhattan. On a clear day, you can see as far as 80 miles.

Make sure to stay on the 86th floor and check out the views at sunset or sunrise, when there are fewer people around. You can take an elevator to any of these floors for no extra cost, but if you want to go up higher than the 86th floor it will cost $17 per adult and $13 per child under 18 years old.

This isn’t cheap, so think about what best fits your budget before deciding how high you’re willing to climb. Despite some of its drawbacks, this is one of best things to do in NYC that’s almost guaranteed not to disappoint visitors who love skyscrapers and views.


Grand Central Terminal

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Designed in 1913, this impressive building is best known for its beautiful architecture and large interior concourse. It’s also one of the best things to do in Manhattan if you are interested in trains. A wide range of Amtrak trains can take you all across America, including routes to Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, Seattle or LA. You can also find high-speed Acela service that makes shorter trips to cities like Baltimore or Washington DC.

The best way to get there is by subway with a stop directly underneath at 42nd Street and Park Avenue. It opens daily from 6 am until 2 am most days of the week on Sundays when it closes at 2:30 am. There is a small entrance fee to enter the terminal, but it’s only around $8 for adults, and children under 12 to get in free.

If you want cheap best things to do in NYC that are even more budget-friendly, this is one of your best options. It may not be as impressive as other places on the list, but there are often interesting events going on that make it an enjoyable visit. For example, watch a ball game at Yankee Stadium or see a musical performance at Radio City Music Hall without paying an arm and a leg for tickets.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Otherwise known as “The Met,” this museum is best known for its large collection of art from around the world. It’s one of the best things to do in New York City for those who love art and has something for everyone no matter what their interests are. With over 2 million pieces of art on display, it’s impossible to see everything in a single visit.

The best way to experience it is by taking your time and wandering through the different wings. There’s the American Wing with its classic paintings from artists like Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper, the ancient Egyptian wing with its hieroglyphs and pyramids, and the modern art wing with pieces from Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock. You could spend an entire day here and still not see everything.

The Met is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10:00 am-5:30 pm (it’s open until 9:00 pm on Fridays) and admission is free for everyone all day on Saturday and Sunday. It’s located in The Metropolitan Museum of Art and is one of the best things to do in New York City for those who love art and has something for everyone no matter what their interests are. With over 2 million pieces of art on display, it’s impossible to see everything in a single visit.


Statue of Liberty

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This impressive statue is best known for welcoming immigrants to the United States in the late 1800s. It stands tall on Liberty Island with the best views of the New York City skyline from all around it. Visitors can get there by bus, ferry or subway, but most opt for the free ferry ride that’s available every day between 8 am and 3:30 pm.

If you’d rather not wait in line to get tickets ahead of time, just go straight to Battery Park which is located at the southern tip of Manhattan near Wall Street. From there, walk toward Castle Clinton National Monument where you’ll pick up your tickets before boarding a ferry that will take you to Liberty Island and Ellis Island where many new Americans arrived when they first moved to the United States.

This is one of the best things to do in NYC with kids as they will learn about American history and have the opportunity to see where their ancestors may have started their new lives. It’s also a great place to visit if you’re interested in architecture as the statue was designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi who was born in France.


Rockefeller Center

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This is best known for being home to the iconic NBC Studios, “Saturday Night Live” and other late-night talk shows. However, it’s also one of the best things to do in New York City during the winter. That’s because Rockefeller Center is best known for its Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony which starts every year in early November. You can take part in this tradition by visiting each day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day.

The best way to get there is by subway or bus, but if you plan on driving, be aware that there will most likely be a lot of traffic due to all the tourists and locals who want to watch as well. It takes place at around 7:30 pm and includes both entertainment and special guests before they turn on the tree lights which happen just before 8:00 pm. After the tree is lit, be sure to wander around the plaza and check out the ice-skating rink, Christmas market, and beautiful decorations.


Top of the Rock Observation Deck

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This best thing to do in New York City is also one of the best viewpoints you’ll find. It’s one of the best places to see Central Park and NYC as a whole because it provides an amazing 360° view of the entire city. The best part about this attraction is that admission is free! There are no ticket scans or lines, so you can just walk right up to the entrance with everyone else. If you want some exclusive access to more scenic photos, be sure to reserve your tickets online beforehand so they can scan your card when you arrive at the top.

The ticket costs $30 for adults and $20 for children, but it’s best if you go later in the evening when there are fewer people around and you can enjoy a more peaceful visit. You don’t just have to take our word that this is one of the best things to do in New York City. Trip Advisor ranks Top of the Rock as the best attraction in New York City, and Lonely Planet calls it one of NYC’s best attractions on its website. There’s something surprising on every floor that helps keep things interesting on each visit even if you go multiple times per year!


Brooklyn Bridge

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The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most iconic sights in New York City. The bridge was built in 1883 and stretches over 1600 feet. It was the world’s longest suspension bridge at the time of its construction. Today, this landmark is a National Historic Landmark. It offers great views of the city skyline and is a popular spot for tourists. Be warned though – the bridge can be very crowded during the day.

The bridge is easily accessible via the subway. The closest subway stations are Brooklyn Bridge City Hall and High Street Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge spans over 1.3 miles and offers picturesque views of the Manhattan skyline and New York Harbor. While visiting the bridge, be sure to take the time to visit Brooklyn Bridge Park, which spans across the bridge.

Visiting the bridge at sunrise and sunset is one of the best ways to enjoy the spectacular views. The light will be much cleaner at sunrise and there will be fewer tourists. Visiting at sunset will produce a warm glow and more crowds.


The High Line

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This is a unique attraction that’s best described as an “urban park.” It was originally built in the 1930s as an elevated railway but fell into disuse in the 1980s. However, it was later turned into a public park and has become one of the best things to do in New York City.

The best way to experience it is by walking from end to end, which will take you around 30 minutes. There are plenty of benches and places to sit so you can relax and enjoy the views of the cityscape below. You’ll also see some of the best architecture in NYC as you walk along, including buildings from Frank Lloyd Wright, I.M. Pei, and Norman Foster.

The High Line is best known for its landscaping and plant life, but it’s also a great place to see art installations from various artists. You never know what you might find when you visit! The best part is how peaceful it is because there aren’t many people since no one wants to climb all the stairs just to have a look around.


Bryant Park

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Bryant Park is a nine-acre public park in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. It is located between Fifth Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas, between 40th and 42nd Streets. The park is well-maintained and is a great place for a picnic, a walk, or watching a baseball game.

This park is also home to the New York Public Library, which is a must-see during your New York trip. You can also explore the grand lobby of the Chrysler Building and walk through Grand Central Terminal. While you’re here, don’t forget to check out the sights and sounds of Midtown Manhattan, including the endless skyscrapers and crowded sidewalks. In the winter, you can go ice skating in the park!

Another great place to visit is the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum. This museum focuses on transport and science and has hands-on experience. You’ll get up close to rare vehicles and planes, including the USS Intrepid, which saw action during World War II. It also houses over two dozen restored vintage planes and the retired Enterprise space shuttle.


Brooklyn Botanic Garden

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The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a botanical garden located in Brooklyn, New York. Founded in 1910, this historic garden is home to over 14,000 different species of plants. Nearly a million people visit the garden each year. Visitors can enjoy the stunning views of the city and its surroundings, and learn about the fascinating history of plants and botany.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a beautiful botanical garden with an abundance of colorful flowers and trees. The garden is also home to several rare orchids and bonsais, desert plants, and a Shakespeare garden.

There’s a lily pond in the middle of the gardens and a Japanese-style garden. The Garden also includes one of the oldest continuously-operating children’s gardens in the world. During the spring and summer, visitors can see over 45,000 bluebells, and in the fall, you’ll find gorgeous red and yellow begonias.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is an urban oasis located near Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Museum. The 52-acre garden is a staple of Brooklyn culture. There are many ways to get to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, from taking the subway to walking around the lush grounds. The Garden is open every day except Monday. However, hours vary according to the season.


New York Hall of Science

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Located in the Queens borough of NYC, the New York Hall of Science is an interactive science museum that gives visitors the opportunity to experiment with science and nature. There are over 400 interactive exhibits, including a sports challenge that integrates physiology, physics, and materials science.

The center also hosts an annual World Maker Faire, a celebration of young inventors’ creations. The museum opened in 1964 as a pavilion for the World’s Fair, but has evolved into one of the region’s premier educational institutions. Visitors of all ages will love exploring this unique science museum.

The New York Hall of Science has over 400 hands-on exhibits that introduce visitors to physics, chemistry, and biology. It is New York City’s only hands-on science center. Originally part of the 1964 World’s Fair, it has been updated and expanded and welcomes more than 500,000 visitors a year.







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