Top 50 NYC Attractions & Things To Do You Can't Miss

Last Updated on January 02, 2024 by Nikki Jain

It's safe to say that New York City is one of the most famous cities in the entire world. Commonly referred to as the Big Apple, the city is a vibrant hub with a significant influence on the world's media, commerce, and research. It's also the United States' most populous city, and that size means there are so many things to do in New York City.

Famous for its star-studded entertainment scene, flashy shops, and high-flying entrepreneurs, New York City attractions focus on history, culture, recreation, and performance. They're also often very diverse in terms of both background and popularity. Some of the best places in New York City are hyper-popular tourist hotspots, while others are quiet, hidden gems that you have to seek out.

So, what should you do while you're visiting the Big Apple? To help you decide, here are the top NYC attractions.

Things To Do in NYC

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1: Central Park

Central Park
Dreamstime/Jon Bilous

There's simply no way to vacation in New York City without heading to Central Park. This is a gigantic man-made haven spanning 843 acres, with hillsides, gardens, forests, and 58 miles of pathways.

Sculptures, bridges, artworks, monuments, fountains, playgrounds, tunnels, and plenty of facilities dot the landscape, giving you endless things to do. It's no surprise that this green space is one of the top attractions in New York City!

It's not possible to get into every single one of the individual features of Central Park. There are a few notable spots, of course.

There's the seasonal pond of Conservatory Water, the romantic Bethesda Fountain topped by a sculpture of the Angel of Water, and the Loeb Boathouse.

There's also the Strawberry Fields, the Wollman Memorial Rink, and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. And don't forget the 11-foot Alice in Wonderland statue!

Special events, concerts, and other festivals often occur at Central Park, so check the city's local events to see if there's anything extra going on at the park while you're there. The chances are that there'll be something interesting happening!

Recommended activities around Central Park

Accommodation: Where to stay near Central Park

Address: 14 E 60th St, Central Park Conservancy, New York City, NY 10022

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2: Empire State Building

Empire State Building
Dreamstime/Markus Gann

The Empire State Building is one of the most iconic and beloved New York City tourist attractions.

The stunning art deco creation is nothing short of spectacular, with a modern but dynamic lighting system boasting 16 million potential colors. Light shows are common during special events and holidays. 

Trips to the top of the Empire State Building are especially popular and are practically a must-do.

The fees are high, and the lines are long, but it's an ordeal very much worth the effort, so you can see all of the city below from a 1,050-foot height.

There's also a multimedia tour of the building that helps guide you through the various views and exhibits that the building has to offer.

Book Skip-the-Line Empire State Building Tickets

Accommodation: Where to stay near Empire State Building

Address: 20 W 34th St, New York City, NY 10001

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3: Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty
Dreamstime/Jennifer Pitiquen

There's no denying that the Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic landmarks in the US and among the top NYC attractions.

Built in 1886 as a gift to America from France, it's almost synonymous with America. It's also one of the biggest statues in the world, weighing 450,000 pounds and measuring nearly 152 feet in height.

You have to take a boat or ferry to visit the Statue of Liberty up close to Liberty Island.

Most people come from Battery Park, and you'll have to get in line pretty early for a smooth experience and ticket pre-purchases are highly recommended.

There are also helicopter tours of New York City that will fly over the statue for a bird's-eye view of the stunning green landmark.

Recommended activities around the Statue of Liberty

Address: Liberty Island, New York City, NY 10004

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Also Read: Most Breathtaking and Tallest Statues in the USA

4: Times Square

Times Square
Dreamstime/Luciano Mortula

It's hard to consider what to do in New York City without considering Times Square.

Many people think this five-block expanse to be almost synonymous with the city itself, congested and high priced as a commercial tourist trap.

There's nothing quite as simultaneously overwhelming and awe-inspiring as standing in Times Square and watching the world go by around you.

The bright screens and billboards add even more to the visual noise. Hang out here at night and people watch or just get lost in the lights!

Accommodation: Where to stay near Times Square

Address: Manhattan, NY 10036

5: Broadway and the Theater District

Broadway and the Theater District
Night scene of Broadway at Times Square in Manhattan | Dreamstime/Paul Hakimata

Broadway, or the Theater District, is a key spot for artistic types seeking vacation ideas in New York City.

Many avid fans of musicals, plays, and theatre spend their whole trip just watching different shows.

There's no real "start point" to Broadway. Start wherever you want and check out the show calendars of local theaters to determine what performances you'd like to catch.

You'll find something for everyone of all ages and preferences.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Broadway Theatre

Address: Theater District, New York City, NY 10019

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6: Fifth Avenue

Fifth Avenue
Flickr/Randy OHC

It's simply not possible to discuss the places to go in New York City without mentioning Fifth Avenue.

It's packed with high-end shopping and historic buildings one after the other. Whether you're a big spender or a browser, you'll enjoy the retail offerings and well-known businesses that populate the location.

Flagship stores, trendy designers, and luxurious products of all sorts line Fifth Avenue.

You'll find stores for Apple, Cartier, Bergdorf-Goodman, Saks, Tiffany, Prada, and much more. Many of these shops are also the most popular of their respective brands, even considered famous on a global scale.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Saks Fifth Avenue

Address: 5th Ave, New York City, NY 10018

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Also Read: 15 Best Shopping Malls in New York City

7: Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock Observation Deck

Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock Observation Deck
Rockefeller Center - One of the top NYC attractions | Dreamstime/Marcos Souza

The Rockefeller Center is one of the most iconic NYC attractions, boasting a fishbowl glimpse into the studios of NBC and decorated with awe-inspiring sculptures.

There's a huge skating rink, several restaurants and stores, and much more to enjoy at this entertainment complex.

There's an additional draw of the central plaza: the Top of the Rock Observation Deck.

Here, you'll get some of the very best views in all of Manhattan atop a 70-story skyscraper that serves as the centerpiece of the Rockefeller Center.

The deck takes up a total of three floors, providing jaw-dropping views of the world around you no matter what time of the day it is!

Accommodation: Where to stay near Rockefeller Center

Address: 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York City, NY 10111

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Planning a trip to New York soon? Check out the top NYC State attractions and the best New York beaches

8: Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal
Dreamstime/Stuart Monk

Grand Central Terminal is an absolute must-see in New York City, a stunning train station with retail stores and eateries galore alongside gorgeous scenery.

Its architecture is already pretty impressive, with a neoclassical beaux-arts design with surprisingly ornate details. 

Grand Central Terminal is one of the world's most bustling train stations, transporting 82 million passengers each year and still making room for history and architecture enthusiasts.

The concourse boasts floors of marble, chandeliers plated with nickel and gold, and a ceiling designed to look like the sky.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Grand Central Terminal

Address: 89 E 42nd St, New York City, NY 10017

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9: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

There are only a few more famous and revered museums across America than the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It's not just renowned in New York City but across the planet too, often referred to affectionately as The Met.

The vast permanent collection covers 5,000 years of art history and is pretty much impossible to see in its entirety in one day.

There's so much to see at The Met that, like Central Park, it's impossible to cover every single interesting facet.

There are works by great European masters, textiles from Asian countries, sculptures from ancient Rome and Greece, and clothing made by famous designers.

There's an authentic Egyptian temple dating back 2,000 years, armor and weapons from around the world, photographs, musical instruments, and beyond.

Rotating exhibits ensure that The Met is always fresh, even with all its already existing variety.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Metropolitan Museum of Art

Address: 1000 5th Ave, New York City, NY 10028

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Also Read: The Best Museums in New York City

10: National September 11 Memorial & Museum

National September 11 Memorial & Museum
National September 11 Memorial is one of the must-see New York attractions | Dreamstime/Leonid Andronov

If you visit New York City, it's almost a no-brainer to pay a visit and your respects at the sobering National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

This is the country's main tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks of 2001 and the bombing of 1993.

With 110,000 square feet of ground to its name, the museum covers numerous narratives of the attacks via recordings, videos, interactive displays, and genuine artifacts.

The main highlight of the 9/11 memorial is the one-acre twin reflecting pools. Here, bronze panels enclose the pools, with the names of every single victim inscribed on them.

Water from the pool appears to flow into a square that seems bottomless thanks to a recessed design, and the falls here are the largest manmade ones in the entire country.

Accommodation: Where to stay near National September 11 Memorial

Address: 180 Greenwich St, New York City, NY 10007

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11: American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History is situated close to Central Park West.

It's one of the most crucial New York City attractions for history buffs, teaching you all about space, land, sea, history, and more across four city blocks, 32 million artifacts, 45 halls, and 25 buildings. 

In a similar theme to The Met and Central Park, there is simply so much to do at the American Museum of Natural History that it's impossible to cover every one of its facets.

Notable stops are the Hall of the Universe, the dinosaur skeletons, the Rose Center for Earth and Space, the Butterfly Conservatory, the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, and the unique Asiatic Leopard Diorama.

Accommodation: Where to stay near American Museum of Natural History

Address: 200 Central Park West, New York City, NY 10024

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12: Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art is a blend of 20th-century history, pop culture, and an airy trendy gallery space.

With 630,000 square feet to its name, it's one of the most popular New York City attractions and is still growing in size. There are spaces for art exhibits, screenings, events, research, and special programs.

The permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art is especially delightful. You'll see Van Gogh's Starry Night, Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, and Monet's Water Lilies.

Other famous works like The Persistence of Memory by Dali and Campbell's Soup Cans by Warhol also call this museum their home.

The range and variety of the Museum of Modern Art are awe-inspiring, so take your time perusing every one of the bright galleries.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Museum of Modern Art

Address: 11 W 53rd St, New York City, NY 10019

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13: The High Line

The High Line
Dreamstime/Stuart Monk

The High Line is a delightfully landscaped stretch of the park built upon a former rail track.

Situated on the West Side of Manhattan, this is a 1.5-mile expanse that stretches across three neighborhoods.

As its name suggests, it's located "high" in the air - 30 feet above the street level, to be precise.

On the High Line, you can view the cityscape of Manhattan and see the Hudson River from above. Public art installations pepper the park, constantly changing and updating.

Food vendors sell some scrumptious offerings along the walk, and there's a lovely spot called 23rd Street Line that's perfect for sunbathing and picnicking.

Accommodation: Where to stay near The High Line

Address: New York City, NY 10011

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14: St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral is one of the very best attractions in New York City for Gothic Revival architecture.

Boasting spires that reach heights of 330 feet, a grandiose set of bronze doors, and a regal white marble facade, this is a marvel you just have to see! 

You don't need to be religious to appreciate the decorated neo-Gothic beauty of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Inside, you'll see a jaw-dropping stained-glass rose window, enough seats for 2,400 members of the congregation, a stunning Great Organ, and a bronze baldachin.

Accommodation: Where to stay near St Patrick's Cathedral

Address: 5th Ave, New York City, NY 10022

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15: Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most iconic landmark sites in New York City.

It's also one of America's oldest suspension bridges and the very first steel suspension bridge on the planet.

The 1883 creation is known for its Gothic arches and thick, strong suspension cables that support its six traffic lanes.

The Brooklyn Bridge runs from Brooklyn to Manhattan, crossing the East River.

A walkway for pedestrians has facilitated many tourist walks over the years as people travel across the bridge on foot or bike.

The 1,595-foot stretch is suitable for a pleasant excursion and is entirely free, though guided walks are also offered at a price!

Accommodation: Where to stay neat Brooklyn Bridge

Address: Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, NY 10038

Also Read: Most Famous Bridges in New York City

16: Bryant Park

Bryant Park
Dreamstime/Andrew Kazmierski

Widely considered the most beautiful spot in Manhattan, Bryant Park is one of the most relaxing green things to do in NYC.

Covering 4 acres of land, the park is a lush verdant space that has been around for over 150 years.

A 1990s revitalization effort allowed the park to be transformed into an ideal hangout sanctuary for a mix of locals and tourists. 

There is plenty to do at Bryant Park. Make use of the free Wi-Fi, ride a carousel, join an event or class, or play some board games in the games area.

It's hard to believe that this area was once a seedy location filled with unsavory characters.

Now, it's a tranquil environment with well-kept grounds, a skating rink, and weekly summer movie nights.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Bryant Park

Address: New York City, NY 10018

17: One World Observatory

One World Observatory
Dreamstime/Igor Chumakov

The One World Observatory is a part of the relatively new Old World Trade Center, a skyscraper built with remnants from the north building of the Twin Towers.

The building, made primarily with glass, is quite unique and can be easily spotted from most parts of Manhattan.

The One World Observatory offers a delightful panoramic view of NYC and many different New York City attractions.

You'll get a full 360-degree view of all the best parts of New York. You'll be surprised how far you can see from the deck, especially at sunset, when you can slowly watch the whole city light itself up.

Elevators that bring you 1,776 feet off the ground towards the One World Observatory provide educational information on the transformation of NYC and its history over the generations.

How did this city grow from nothing more than a laid-back, rural landscape to the bustling world that it is today? This elevator will tell you, so you'll be all learned up before you exit it to gaze out and enjoy the view!

Accommodation: Where to stay near One World Observatory

Address: 117 West St, New York City, NY 10006

Also Read: Best Observation Decks in the USA

18: Coney Island & Amusement Park

Coney Island & Amusement Park

Coney Island is one of the most famous destinations in New York City for amusement. After all, it's the proud owner of the title of the People's Playground.

You can come here anytime, especially during the summer, to enjoy the many different amusement parks, museums, shows, and more that this island has to offer.

But Coney Island has a lot of history to its name that adds some mystique to a surprisingly storied location.

The island began gaining popularity in the 1900s with resorts, pavilions, and an amusement park.

During the Great Depression, many attractions had no choice but to close, and economic uncertainty plagued them for a long time.

Now, the former barrier island has managed to regain its reputation as an escape from the city—the amusement park's delight and attraction.

Luna Park contains the Coney Island Cyclone, one of the globe's oldest wooden rollercoasters that continues to function safely. Then, there's Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park and its titular Wonder Wheel.

There are also some more unique spots on Coney Island. These include the outdoor graffiti gallery of the Coney Art Walls and the hot-dog-shaped structure of the Coney Island Hot Dog Stand.

Fans of the unusual will especially love Coney Island Creek, a waterway filled with various unfinished water vessel projects.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Coney Island

Address: 1208 Surf Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11224

19: New York Botanical Garden

New York Botanical Garden
Dreamstime/June M Sobrito

The New York Botanical Garden is one of the most beautiful places to go in New York City.

Boasting fields, gardens, hills, and greenhouses, each garden feels both intimate and larger than life all at once. 

There are many different gardens across the 250 acres of the New York Botanical Garden.

The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory is a notable favorite, filled with greenhouse plants, and a tram tour gives you the chance to see even more and decide where to go next.

The New York Botanical Garden is also a host to the incredibly popular Orchid Show, a themed annual event featuring thousands of unique and blooming orchids.

The garden also hosts a Holiday Train Show during the holiday season, where several model trains travel across a miniature version of NYC populated by 150 iconic landmarks.

Accommodation: Where to stay near New York Botanical Garden

Address: 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458

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20: Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Music Hall

There are few New York City attractions more central to the world of music and entertainment as Radio City Music Hall.

This concert venue has been the location for countless big names in the entertainment industry, and it continues to be such a host till today.

The best way to experience Radio City Music Hall is through a Stage Door Tour, which takes about an hour.

You'll be led through the Great Stage, hydraulic elevators, and backstage area by knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides.

Of course, you can also catch a show at Radio City Music Hall. Tickets aren't typically cheap, but if there's a big event or concert and you're willing to spring for it, you won't regret the experience.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Radio City Music Hall

Address: 1260 6th Ave, New York City, NY 10020

21: The Met Cloisters

The Met Cloisters
Dreamstime/Peter L Gould

The Met Cloisters are an offshoot of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which naturally means it's one of the respected art-related New York City attractions.

The cloisters can be found in Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan, where they sit on four acres of land.

The Met Cloisters are primarily dedicated to medieval European gardens, art, and architecture.

It is built upon five cloisters, each one inspired by medieval design and neo-Romanesque architecture, to create a surprisingly modern building of granite and limestone.

You'll be able to view over 5,000 artifacts and works of art from the Middle Ages.

This includes textiles, metalwork, sculptures, and paintings. You'll feel almost like you have stepped back in time.

Address: 99 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York City, NY 10040

Also Read: Unique & Unusual Things To Do in NYC

22: New York Public Library

New York Public Library
Dreamstime/Marcos Souza

If you're a bibliophile looking for things to do in New York City, head to the New York Public Library.

A mix of architecture, book and history fans flock to the main branch of the library to experience all that it has to offer. 

Fans of design will be impressed by the Beaux Art architecture that features prominently across the library's facade and rooms.

From the entrance, you're greeted by Patience and Fortitude, a pair of large stone lions that flank the grand doors.

Meanwhile, readers will be thrilled by the huge collection of American and English literature.

There are rare books, works from the English Romanticism genre, and a huge map collection. Kids can head to the children's section and academic minds may enjoy the lecture programs.

Accommodation: Where to stay near New York Public Library

Address: 476 5th Ave New York City, NY 10018

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23: Frick Collection

Frick Collection

The Frick Collection is named after Henry Clay Frick, a steel tycoon who once owned the 18th-century mansion where the collection is now housed.

This is one of the best spots in New York City for art enthusiasts; boasting works from the Renaissance all the way up to the 19th century.

Among the artists whose works are on display at the Frick Collection are Monet, Turner, Goya, Vermeer, Degas, and Rembrandt.

There are many different permanent galleries complemented by temporary exhibits, and they cover everything from decorative arts to sculptures and from ceramics to furniture.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Frick Collection

Address: 1 E 70th St, New York City, NY 10021

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24: Prospect Park

Prospect Park

For recreational attractions in New York City, Prospect Park is a great choice. It's less overwhelmingly crowded but boasts many similar ideas to Central Park.

You'll find many features that make it a generous location: a stunning lake, forests, meadows, playgrounds, courts for sports, and a looping 3.35-mile trail.

Prospect Park also has an old carousel from 1912. It can still be ridden today and is a whimsical experience, with 53 horses and a few other assortments of animals to choose from.

This is just one unique part of the surprisingly historic 526-acre park. Take your time exploring and you'll find wonders like the Soldiers' and Sailors' Arch, the Boathouse on the Lullwater, The Ravine, and Prospect Park Zoo.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Prospect Park

Address: 450 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225

25: Bronx Zoo

Bronx Zoo

Bronx Zoo is a lively home to over 5,000 animals from 700 species, arranged in exhibits and enclosures across 265 acres.

It's one of the best things to do in New York City for animal lovers, families with kids, or just anyone seeking a more peaceful escape from the rush of the metropolis.

Bronx Zoo focuses on conservation above all else but still provides plenty of entertainment and excitement.

You'll see komodo dragons, giraffes, monitor lizards, giant tortoises, white rhinos, etc.

Exhibits like the Baboon Reserve, Sea Lion Pool, Tiger Mountain, and Congo Gorilla Forest add even more variety.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Bronx Zoo

Address: 2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10460

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Also Read: 5 Best Zoos for Tourists in the Boroughs of New York City

26: Governors Island

Governors Island

Governors Island might just be 172 acres to its name, but it's a storied location with lots to tell.

If you want some summer vacation ideas in New York City, get yourself a round-trip ferry ticket and visit the island's monuments, exhibits, and parks.

Once upon a time, this was a military base, serving the nation for two centuries. Now, it's a recreational spot away from the bustle of the city.

There is a lot to do on Governors Island. Fort Jay remains on the mass of land, showcasing old military architecture.

Concerts and exhibitions are held here regularly, especially during the busy summer months.

You can also see the Statue of Liberty perfectly from here, making it an ideal picnic spot with Lady Liberty watching over you. In the winter, there's a village where sledding and ice skating are possible!

One exciting part of Governors Island is Castle Williams. Once home to 100 cannons and many, many prisoners, this circular building and its eight-foot-thick walls are a historic landmark that transports you back in time.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Governors Island

Address: Governors Island, Upper New York Bay, New York City

27: Union Square and Union Square Greenmarket

Union Square and Union Square Greenmarket
Dreamstime/Sean Pavone

Union Square is a central part of the city, so it's been a crucial part of NYC's function ever since it was created in the 1830s.

Protests, demonstrations, events, and art installations have taken their turn at this convenient spot where Bowery Road and Broadway meet.

It's here that you'll find the renowned Union Square Metronome, a rather confusing clock and public art piece.

One of the things to do in New York City is to visit the Union Square Greenmarket, a haven with hundreds of vendors selling flowers, artisan goods, seasonal produce, heritage meats, and beyond.

Over 60,000 people swing by the market every day, so this is a great spot to head to if you'd like to do some shopping and don't mind a crowd.

Address: Union Square W &, E 17th St, New York City, NY 10003

28: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Dreamstime/Sergii Figurnyi

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is renowned as one of the best New York City attractions for art, and it's known across the world, too.

Its architecture makes it stand out from everything around it, designed by the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright himself.

An oculus and interior rotunda, several ascending ramps, and other unique features make this a must-see.

Often simply called the Guggenheim, this museum's halls are filled with all sorts of art, primarily focused on early modern and Impressionist works.

Abstract Expressionist, Surrealist, and Cubist genres all have a home here. You'll find creations by Marc, Cézanne, Picasso, Léger, Mondrian, Rockwell, Kirchner, Kandinsky, and Chagall among the exhibits.

Accommodation: Where to stay nearSolomon R Guggenheim Museum

Address: 1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128

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29: Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park

Sitting quietly at the bottom of Fifth Avenue, Washington Square Park is a 10-acre, intimate recreational spot for entertainment, relaxation, and people-watching.

Leave the city behind and escape from the metropolitan bustle through one of the most refreshing New York City attractions!

People from all walks of life come to unwind and spend time here at Washington Square Park.

The main fountain of the park is lovely to look at and served as an inspiring backdrop to the works of great artists like Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Henry James, and Joan Baez. 

While you're here, head to the northwest corner of the park, where you'll find the Hangman's Elm, Manhattan's oldest living tree.

Legends and myths haunt the storied flora, with some believing that the tree was used for executions via hanging.

The tree stands at 110 feet in height and is more than 330 years of age, and it's both eerie and beautiful to behold.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Washington Square Park

Address: Washington Square, New York City, NY 10012

30: Whitney Museum of American Art

Whitney Museum of American Art
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The Whitney Museum of American Art is a 50,000-square-foot institution featuring four outdoor exhibit spaces, plenty of indoor galleries, and several terraces.

It is home to over 23,000 different artworks from the 20th and 21st centuries and has reading rooms, a library, a theater, a bar, and a restaurant!

More than 3,000 different artists have their works displayed here. There's barely any wall space in the galleries that aren't covered in frames and masterpieces, with no two exhibits ever being the same.

There are names like Georgia O'Keefe, Alexander Calder, Helen Frankenthaler, Andy Warhol, Edward Hopper, and Jackson Pollock celebrated here.

The Whitney Museum of American Art is also the host of the Whitney Biennial event, which has gone on since 1932.

Modern art lovers will consider this a must-visit among New York City tourist attractions.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Whitney Museum of American Art

Address: 99 Gansevoort St, New York City, NY 10014

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31: Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building
Dreamstime/Joe Sohm

The Chrysler Building is an art deco office building, but despite its use, it's still one of the key places to visit in New York City.

The architecture of this 1,046-foot skyscraper is nothing short of stunning. 

Its ceiling is beautifully painted and its elevators boast expertly crafted woodwork.

Gargoyles, tiered arches, triangular windows, a crown of stainless steel, and more draw tourists to stand and gawk at the gorgeous building.

Granite walls and travertine floors, made from imported materials, add to the overall luxury.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Chrysler Building

Address: 405 Lexington Ave, New York City, NY 10174

32: Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration

Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration
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The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration commemorates the huge importance of Ellis Island, which welcomed over 13 million immigrants traveling into America until 1954.

This is one of the best NYC attractions for history buffs! You can only get to Ellis Island via ferry, but the hassle is well worth it for what you'll learn and see.

The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration is situated inside the old immigration station.

An audio tour offers over 120 hours of interesting information, and there are tons of interactive displays, videos, photos, info panels, oral histories, and artifacts to view.

The Wall of Honor outside contains the names of several individuals who were processed at the station.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Ellis Island

Address: Ellis Island Bridge, Jersey City, NJ 10280

33: Summit One Vanderbilt

Summit One Vanderbilt

If you want a jaw-dropping view of New York City, then Summit One Vanderbilt should be on your list of things to do in NYC.

Situated on the 91st floor of a modern skyscraper, this vast mirrored space presents sweeping views of the surrounding area. This creates an "infinity room" experience.

Summit One Vanderbilt also boasts an intimidating Levitation skybox, which is an entire glass structure that makes you feel like you're floating above the ground a thousand feet below.

There are also art installations and a different glass elevator that takes you up even higher!

Address: 45 E 42nd St, New York City, NY 10017

34: New York Transit Museum

New York Transit Museum

The New York Transit Museum is a haven for locomotive enthusiasts, being one of the only attractions in New York City dedicated to the interest.

It is situated on an abandoned station on Court Street, with artifacts spanning the past century up to today.

From fuel technology in buses to ticket-chopping machines, this museum is thorough in the coverage of its topic.

The New York Transit Museum has a lower platform filled with historic subway cars.

Wooden elevated cars from 1903, subway cars from 1916, turnstiles from 1904, and all sorts of equipment are on display. You'll be able to board and disembark from each car as desired, too.

This museum takes a close look at trains and how they impacted the culture and world of New York City over the years. You'll learn about both engineering and the broader urban environment all in one!

Accommodation: Where to stay near New York Transit Museum

Address: 99 Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

35: Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Dreamstime/Julie Feinstein

The Brooklyn Heights Promenade is situated in a gorgeous upmarket neighborhood close to the Brooklyn Bridge.

It's one of the most beautiful and calming NYC attractions, allowing you to gaze at Manhattan from across the East River.

The promenade elevates the experience, pun intended. The walkway, lined by trees, is high above the highway, going from the north to the south of Brooklyn Heights.

It's a delightful pedestrian experience and gives you a chance to enjoy the idyllic surroundings.

Address: Montague St &, Pierrepont Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11201

36: Museum of Chinese in America

Museum of Chinese in America

The Museum of Chinese in America is pretty much exactly what its title entails. One of the more interesting curated NYC attractions, this institute is nestled in an almost-hidden part of Chinatown.

Medium in size and surprisingly intimate, the museum offers a close look at Chinese history from an authentic perspective.

The building of the Museum of Chinese in America is easy to miss, with a modern exterior with wooden notes and green notes.

Across its single floor, you'll see over 65,000 different works and artifacts, including clothing, photos, textiles, and sculptures. 

The With A Single Step exhibit is central to the museum. It takes you back in time as far back as 1400 and leads you through a timeline to today.

You learn about Chinese American experiences and Chinese immigration and get to interact with lots of the displays.

Address: 215 Centre St, New York City, NY 10013

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37: Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
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The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is one of the best things to do around New York City for recreation.

The 52-acre expanse of the park is packed with 13 gardens, each themed and having different things to offer. There are also five conservatories!

The most popular attraction of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, which showcases Japanese maples, wooden bridges, and rosy cherry blossoms that bloom in April.

There's also the highly popular Shakespeare Garden, boasting over 80 different plants featured in the prolific writer's works.

You can also check out the Herb Garden, Daffodil Hill, the Rose Garden, the Rock Garden, and the formal Osborne Garden.

A unique feature of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is the Titan Arum, a rare plant with a highly terrible smell that is truly pungent and awful.

It seems like a subpar selling point, but it's really amazing to get to see the Arum as it blooms.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Address: 990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225

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38: The Morgan Library & Museum

The Morgan Library & Museum
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The Morgan Library & Museum was once a private library belonging to the famous J. P. Morgan.

In 2006, it was expanded into what can only be described as a campus, boasting 20 or so spaces, several of which are among the attractions in New York City.

The main draw of the now publicly-open Morgan Library & Museum is its huge collection of art, with works spanning all sorts of mediums.

You'll find works dating as far back as 4000 B.C and a fair share of modern art. The library is also equally popular, boasting several rare manuscripts and books.

This includes Phillis Wheatley's collected works, one of the copies of the Declaration of Independence, and the original Haffner Symphony score as handwritten by Mozart.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Morgan Library

Address: 225 Madison Ave, New York City, NY 10016

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39: City Hall Station

City Hall Station

Despite its particularly uninteresting-sounding name, touring the City Hall Station is one of the most interesting historical things to do in NYC.

This was the city's very first subway, opening in 1904 and packed with an impressive number of architectural attractions.

The skylights and vaulted ceilings were fitted with glass tiles, big chandeliers, and other opulent fixings.

Unfortunately, the City Hall Station soon became the least-used stop on the Interborough Rapid Transit track for the city.

Its lack of use meant it didn't receive technological updates, like turnstiles, for much longer than other stations on the line. Worse still, the curved platform meant that certain cars couldn't even be used at the station!

The City Hall Station was closed in 1945 and is now simply zoomed by as trains pass it.

You can visit it during tours and experience the abandoned location for yourself. Access is notably not easy, so be prepared to have to take many steps to score a trip.

Address: 31 Centre St, New York City, NY, 10007

40: Metropolitan Opera House

Metropolitan Opera House

The Metropolitan Opera House is a stunning, grand, opulent structure - the biggest of its kind on the planet!

Watching a performance here is one of the most regal things to do in NYC, though the building is so magnificent that you should visit it even if you're not watching anything.

The modernist limestone structure of the Metropolitan Opera House is a part of the Lincoln Center.

Built in the 1960s, it boasts a massive chandelier in the lobby, 3,800 or so seats, and an extremely advanced opera technology with motorized stages and hydraulic lifts.

There are 21 more chandeliers in the main auditorium, hanging from a ceiling coated with 4,000 gold leaf squares arranged in a petal design.

Tickets to shows at the Metropolitan Opera House are somewhat notorious for being extremely expensive.

But if you've got the money to spare in your budget, it's a great experience that will please and wow even the most seasoned performance arts consumers.

An impressive four different operas are performed here annually, as well as several highly respected seasonal shows.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Metropolitan Opera House

Address: 30 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York City, NY 10023

41: Mmuseumm


The Mmuseumm - pronounced "museum" - is one of the most unique NYC attractions.

This tiny museum is housed inside a simple freight elevator and specializes in showcasing collections of ignored and overlooked items. 

Just three people can fit inside the little Mmuseumm at a time. Artifacts have covered a wide range of unusual objects, such as homemade defensive weapons, the shoe thrown at President George W. Bush, a plastic glove, a coil heater for hot water from Lithuania, and paper works left behind in copiers. 

The collection of the Mmuseumm is changed each year, and there's a simple audio guide that you can use for free.

Temporary items are also displayed throughout the year, and there's even a little gift shop in a window close by the elevator.

Address: 4 Cortlandt Alley, New York, NY 10013

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42: Wall Street

Wall Street
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The eight-block stretch of Wall Street is among NYC attractions in itself. World-famous and renowned, it is here that you'll find all the planet's most important exchanges.

The NASDAQ, the New York Stock Exchange, and the New York Mercantile Exchange are all here.

For a more sobering look at Wall Street, look for 23 Wall Street. This limestone wall is peppered with holes where chunks were blown off during a terrorist attack in 1920.

A large bomb was detonated here, wounding several and ending 39 lives. The case was never resolved, and this wall was never repaired as a reminder of the harrowing tragedy.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Wall Street

Address: Wall Street, New York City, NY 10005

43: Smorgasburg Williamsburg

Smorgasburg Williamsburg

If you're seeking things to do around New York City on a weekend, head right to Smorgasburg Williamsburg.

This event runs from April to November each year and is essentially a weekly food fest in the open air. There's so much good food to sample and take photos of, no matter what your tastes are!

Smorgasburg Williamsburg has many must-eats. Rainbow empanadas, fig tarts, oysters, fried Korean rice, souffle pancakes, hotdogs, croissants, chocolate treats, poutine, deep-fried cookie dough, lobster noodles, ice cream sandwiches, and even spaghetti donuts color the fair.

It's no surprise that 30,000 people are drawn to the food market each time it opens for the weekend.

Address: 90 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

44: Mysterious Bookshop

Mysterious Bookshop

With a name like the Mysterious Bookshop, it's no surprise that this is one of the most popular New York City attractions for bibliophiles.

This is the biggest and oldest store of its kind on the planet, focusing heavily on works related to espionage, mysteries, thrillers, and crime fiction.

The Mysterious Bookshop greets you excitedly from the get-go. Founded in 1979, it is completely stuffed with virtually every book you can think of within the genre. Not a single wall spot goes to waste; each inch is covered entirely by books.

A quiet back door in the bookshop is roped off with a huge X made from thematic police tape.

You'll then walk down some stairs to enter the office of Otto Penzler, the owner of the establishment, which is fitted with bookshelves spanning from floor to ceiling, covering all walls.

These shelves are packed with anthologies, mass-market paperbacks, prized hardbacks, and rare first edition books.

Address: 58 Warren St, New York, NY 10007

45: Tenement Museum

Tenement Museum

The Tenement Museum comprises two historic tenement houses combined. Once upon a time, this site housed 15,000 or so immigrants from over 20 different countries.

With apartments as small as 325 square feet for families of many, these cramped spaces were crucial to allowing these individuals to seek a new life in different spots in New York City.

Today, you'll be able to tour the tenement houses in the Tenement Museum, hearing the stories of those who once lived here and viewing the small spaces they shared.

Tours provide several options for how you can experience the museum. One option lets you interact with various actors portraying people who lived in the tenements!

Address: 103 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

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46: Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
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The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is one of the best sites in New York City for aviation enthusiasts, history buffs, and maritime or military aficionados alike.

While here, you'll get to learn all about the inner workings of various vessels and view an extensive collection of such artifacts.

The museum's centerpiece is the USS Intrepid, which gives the establishment its name.

The 1943 aircraft carrier has an impressive resume, having served during the Second World War and survived a total of five different kamikaze attacks.

It was rescued from two scrapping attempts before ending up at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

You can explore the USS Intrepid at the museum. You can also view the 1958 USS Growler, a guided missile submarine, and a British Airways Concorde. Don't forget to check out the jaw-dropping Space Shuttle Pavilion, too!

Accommodation: Where to stay near Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Address: Pier 86, W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

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47: Merchant's House Museum

Merchant's House Museum

The Merchant's House Museum is a small house museum, one of the more intimate historic things to do in New York City.

The building itself, a stunning Greek Revival creation, was built in 1832 and was home to the Tredwells, a family of wealthy merchants. They lived here for a century before the house was opened as a museum.

The Merchant's House Museum is a step back in time, showing you what life was like for the merchant class in the 1800s.

There are over 4,000 possessions left behind here, ranging from clothing to art and from books to furniture.

You'll see fine china, beautiful dresses, needlepoint projects unfinished by the Tredwells, bedsheets, and oil lamps. You can even tour the gardens and the servants' quarters.

There's another draw of the Merchant's House Museum, too. Paranormal events have been reported here for decades.

Temperature fluctuations, disembodied footsteps, disembodied voices, strange scents, and sounds of parties and pianos have been reported. In fact, this National Historic Landmark is considered Manhattan's most haunted house!

Address: 29 E 4th St, New York, NY 10003

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48: Battery Park

Battery Park

Battery Park is a relatively small park located in the very southern area of Manhattan, offering some nice views of the sunset and Upper New York Bay.

The park is named after the many coastal gun emplacements that used to populate its expanse, though they are no longer present.

Despite the removal of the emplacements, Battery Park still has quite a bit of history to it.

There's the Sphere by Fritz Koenig; a stunning 1971 sculpture moved here from the World Trade Center.

There's also the 1926 Netherland Monument and the Hope Garden, a touching tribute to victims of the AIDS epidemic.

Battery Park is also home to one of the most unique New York City attractions, the SeaGlass Carousel. The stunning carousel rests inside a nautilus shell made from glass panels.

The masterpieces took a whole decade to make and many million dollars. It features 30 stunning fish made from fiberglass, representing a total of 12 species.

Each fish has individual motors, meaning there's no need for a center pole on the carousel, creating an enchanting experience.

Each ride is lit by LED lights and accompanied by ocean sounds and music. All sounds were specially composed for the carousel, too.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Battery Park

Address: New York, NY 10004

49: Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

The Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum lives inside an old Georgian mansion that dates back to 1902.

It's one of the best NYC attractions for design experts and enthusiasts, though it's more of a hidden gem in such a big and bustling city!

The permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum contains a whopping 200,000 pieces and more.

You'll find all sorts of items about design and architecture, spanning centuries of time and influences. There are sculptures, pottery, furniture, musical instruments, metalworks, jewelry, and beyond. 

Unique temporary and rotating exhibits add to the variety and novelty of the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Free guided tours are also available for visitors.

Accommodation: Where to stay near Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Address: 2 E 91st St, New York, NY 10128

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50: Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital Ruins

Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital Ruins

Are you an odd location hunter wondering what to do in New York City? Do you tend to like unique and unusual attractions? The Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital Ruins will be right up your alley. 

Before the discovery of a vaccine against the virus in 1796, smallpox was a disease that impacted human civilization to an extreme extent.

For over 3,000 years, it held a terrifyingly high death toll, affecting people in all tiers of society, and was even used as biological warfare. 

Cities across the globe had to build special hospitals explicitly designed to hold and treat patients with this highly contagious disease.

The Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital was one of these. Situated on the far south of Blackwell's Island; it treated approximately 7,000 patients annually from 1856 to 1875.

The hospital was moved elsewhere in that final year due to the growing surrounding population, which made isolation less feasible.

By 1979, smallpox had become the first and only disease successfully eradicated via the intervention of humans. This meant that Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital had no more use long before this year, and it soon fell to ruins.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission declared it a city landmark a couple of decades after this abandonment, and now, you can visit the Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital Ruins and explore its walls and story.

Address: E Rd, New York, NY 10044

Final Words

Given the great size of the Big Apple, it's no surprise that there are so very many New York City attractions. With so much history, entertainment, culture, and art to its name, NYC offers a lot to its local residents and its touristy guests. No matter who you visit with, what you're into, and what catches your eye, you're in for a thrilling holiday jam-packed with all sorts of activities. Better yet, we've barely scratched the surface of all the things to do in New York City, too, so don't be afraid to branch out and explore.

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