When most people think about traveling to New York State, their eyes are set on visiting New York City. Although it’s one of the best places to visit in New York State, there are many other destinations that you don’t want to miss out on.
New York State is full of exciting attractions that you’ll have to see to believe. It’s a large state where you’ll find major cities, some of the most picturesque natural scenery, natural landmarks, and much more. Explore all the regions of the state to get a genuine appreciation of all it has to offer.
The New York State attractions in the northern region showcase incredible nature for outdoor activities in every season – hiking nature trails to skiing mountain slopes. Other areas gained prominence as vacation getaway destinations for people living in the big city.
Still, New York City remains unmatched when it comes to tourism – it's one of the world's top travel destinations. There are many must-visit attractions in the state ranging from incredible architectural wonders to the largest urban zoo in the United States.
Let’s explore some of the top attractions in New York State that you’ll have to add to your bucket list during your next visit.
|Table of Contents [Show]|
Affiliate links may be used in this post. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you use my affiliate link.
Times Square, the bustling commercial center at the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue, is often called the Crossroads of the World, and it certainly lives up to that nickname.
It sees one million new people every three days making it one of the most visited tourist attractions in New York State.
It glows day and night with neon advertisements and signs, giving the streets a carnival atmosphere. Here you'll find the TKTS booth, selling discounted tickets for hot Broadway shows.
There is also a wealth of shopping to do at Forever 21, and Planet Hollywood and the Hard Rock Cafe are also located nearby, adding to the spectacle.
Accommodation: Where to stay near Times Square
Address: Broadway, New York City, NY 10036
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in New York City
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." These famous lines came from a poem celebrating this monumental symbol of freedom.
The neoclassical marvel was a gift from France to the United States in 1886 and is probably one of the best-known statues in the world.
Visitors to Liberty Island, where the statue resides, can choose to enjoy the sight from the ground or ascend to the crown for an unparalleled view.
The statue can't help but inspire no matter how it is observed. It stands as a reminder of its role as the first face to greet immigrants coming to America to seek a better life.
It really is one stunning spot and one of the best places to visit in New York State.
Accommodation: Where to stay near Statue of Liberty
Address: Liberty Island, NY
Niagara Falls is actually a series of three waterfalls which, when taken together, send more water cascading over the edge than any other falls in the world. They straddle the United States and Canada, with waterfalls being visible on both sides of the border.
With the increasing availability of boat tours like Maid of the Mist, it became more accessible to the public, making it a popular honeymoon destination.
Its superlative nature has inspired some of the more death-defying stunts ever pulled in the 20th century, with people going over the edge in barrels or walking on tightropes across it. It seems that Niagara can't help but capture the imagination of anyone who sees it.
Without a doubt, it is one of the most charming and picturesque places to visit in the New York State.
Accommodation: Where to stay near Niagara Falls NY
Address: 24 Buffalo Avenue, Niagara Falls, NY, 14303
New York City is America's unofficial capital because of places like this: the Met, as it's commonly known, is the largest museum in the United States.
It contains artworks from all over the world and all throughout history, like those of ancient Egypt and Greece, or the European masters of painting, or various collections from Asia, Oceania, and Africa.
The collection even goes back to the Neolithic era with cuneiform tablets and Bronze Era artifacts. Much of the world is represented here in one way or another, making the Met truly the people's art museum.
Accommodation: Where to stay near Metropolitan Museum of Art
Address: 1000 5th Ave, New York City, NY 10028
Also Read: Top 5 Most Visited Museums In New York City
One of the coolest New York State attractions by far! The design of this sprawling urban green space was inspired by architect Frederick Law Olmsted's frequent visits to major European cities where parks of its kind were commonly found.
Hansom cabs are a popular transportation mode through the park, adding to the European feel. Ride the famous carousel, stop in at the Central Park Zoo, or marvel at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre.
At any time of year, but certainly in the warmer months, Central Park is alive with activity and music, and there are so many sculptures and curiosities that to truly experience all of what it has to offer takes multiple days.
Accommodation: Where to stay near Central Park
Address: 14 E 60th St, Central Park Conservancy, New York, NY 10022
Also Read: What's So Special About New York City?
The Hudson Valley surrounds the Hudson River between its endpoints in New York City and the Albany area. This gorgeous stretch of fertile ground contains hiking trails, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, fishing, as well as shopping, and museums detailing the stories of the region.
There is something to do in the valley all year round, with autumn being a particular favorite because of the changing of the leaves.
World-class restaurants specializing in locally sourced farm to table cuisine line the valley and beckon tourists to immerse themselves in their Hudson Valley experience.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Hudson Valley
Address: Hudson Valley, NY
Also known as the "Grand Canyon of the East," Letchworth State Park sits on the Genesee River and several of its tributaries. The river carved a deep gorge out of the rocks, and the result is breathtaking natural beauty for miles.
Waterfalls dot the river and its creeks, with the highest waterfall in New York State, Inspiration Falls, residing here.
People come to the park to enjoy hiking, hunting, fishing, whitewater rafting, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, camping, and whatever else can be done when the weather's right.
It is definitely one of the best attractions in New York State – especially if you love awe-inspiring nature.
Accommodation: Where to stay near Letchworth State Park
Address: 1 Letchworth State Park, Castile, NY 14427
Also Read: 25 Best State Parks in the USA
This curious mountain range does not follow a tectonic path like the Rockies or the Cascades in the West. These mountains are actually parts of one large dome that was raised due to geological unrest underneath.
Their beauty is unique, and it attracts outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. Canoers and kayakers have multiple bodies of water to choose from.
Hunting and fishing, though strictly regulated, are enjoyed by many. Rock climbers, bird watchers, and snowmobilers can all find happiness here.
The Wild Center in Tupper Lake provides a wealth of information about the natural history of the surrounding area and is open year-round.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Adirondacks
Address: Adirondack Mountains, NY
Also Read: Top 10 Things To Do In The Adirondacks
This collection of islands in the St. Lawrence River actually numbers closer to 2,000, although some of them are just barely big enough to support a single tree. Some islands belong to Canada and some to the United States, New York specifically.
In addition to the beautiful scenery of the area, there are several attractions here, including Boldt Castle on Heart Island, which was built by one man out of adoration for his wife.
The Antique Boat Museum gives the history of the area by way of boats that were built or sailed here. For those who scuba dive, the wreck diving here is purported to be some of the best in the world.
It really is one astounding attraction and one of the best places to visit in New York State.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Thousand Islands
Address: 43373 Collins Landing Rd, Alexandria Bay, NY 13607
This beautiful and picturesque place in the New York State is sure to give you an unforgettable experience.
The Finger Lakes are so-called because they are a series of long, thin water bodies with a north-south alignment, resembling fingers. The two longest, Seneca and Cayuga, are almost 40 miles long.
The area is well suited for winemaking, and wineries are in abundance. There are also museums dedicated to the region's rich history, including the Women's Rights Natural Historic Park in Seneca Falls, where the women's suffrage movement began.
The Corning Museum of Glass, the Strong National Museum of Play, the Museum of the Earth, and the Seward House, named for President Lincoln's secretary of state, can all be found here.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Finger Lakes
Address: Finger Lakes, NY
Visit the Watkins Glen State Park to experience a beautiful natural setting home to lots of waterfalls. Established in 1906 in New York’s Finger Lakes Region, the park centers around a gorge formed by the Glen Creek. Much of the landscape was shaped by historic glacier activity to create a great area worth exploring.
Watkins Glen State Park is one of the best places to visit in New York State during the fall when you’ll get to see the colorful fall foliage. It’s a seasonal park open from May to November that offers excellent hiking opportunities for all ages.
There are three main hiking trails in the park. Hike the Gorge Trail to see the beautiful sight of 19 waterfalls cascading through the gorge. You cross over stone bridges and steps for accessibility for everyone. The other trails wind around the gorge rim to give you fantastic overview sights.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Watkins Glen
Address: 1009 N Franklin St, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Travel to the north of New York to visit Lake Placid, one of the most famous areas in the Tri-Lakes region. It’s most known for hosting the Winter Olympic Games in 1932 and 1980. It remains a popular destination for winter sports and touring the facilities used during the Olympics.
Lake Placid is a community built around the lake, tucked within the Adirondack Mountains. The landscape is perfect for enjoying outdoor activities in any season. During the winter, you can ski the slopes on Whiteface Mountain. During the summer, you can explore the mountainous region along several hiking and biking trails.
You’ll find plenty of boat rentals to take out into the lake for a few hours to enjoy the scenery. Gondola rides are also available to ride up the mountain for incredible views. As an alternative, take a scenic drive up to one of the highest peaks in the Adirondack Mountains range.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Lake Placid
Address: Lake Placid, New York
New York City is full of architectural wonders, and the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the highlights. It’s one of the most famous landmarks in NYC that you’ve undoubtedly seen in films and other media showcasing the city.
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the must-visit New York attractions where you’ll get to travel between Manhattan and Brooklyn. The bridge was constructed in 1883 as the first of many bridges connecting the two boroughs. The bridge crosses over the East River at 1595.5-feet long and rises 127-feet above the water below.
The bridge is a common traffic passageway between the boroughs, but it’s also a popular place to walk and bike. It has dedicated lanes for pedestrians and cyclists. Many tourists visit to take photos from either side where you’ll have incredible views. It’s recognized as a National Historic Landmark for its architecture and one of NYC’s most recognized structures.
Accommodation: Where to stay near Brooklyn Bridge
Address: Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY 10038
If you’re visiting NYC, take an hour train ride to reach the historic Coney Island, one of the top attractions in New York State. Coney Island is a neighborhood in Brooklyn located on the waterfront most known for its amusement parks.
Coney Island is a popular area for amusement park development with two current amusement parks onsite – Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park and Luna Park. There are a few miscellaneous rides that don’t belong to any specific park.
There are a few iconic rides on Coney Island, including the Wonder Wheel Ferris wheel, the Coney Island Cyclone, the last remaining wooden roller coaster in the state, and the B&B Carousel, a traditional-style carousel ride.
Coney Island is a fun place to escape the big city and have fun for all ages. It also features carnival-style games to win prizes.
In addition to the amusement park, Coney Island has a boardwalk lined with restaurants leading to the beach. It’s home to the famous Nathan’s Hot Dog.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Brooklyn
Address: Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11224
Also Read: Best Beaches in New York
Ever since opening in 1899, The Bronx Zoo has been a favorite family-friendly activity while visiting New York. It’s the biggest urban zoo in the country, making it one of the top attractions in New York State. Over two million people visit the zoo every year.
The Bronx Zoo covers 265 acres featuring over 6,000 animals of 650 different species. The zoo is divided into several exhibitions representing diverse habitats. Some sections include Jungle World, World of Reptiles, Tiger Mountain, and the Africa Plains. It also has a Children’s Zoo and live animal encounters.
Some of the favorite animals to see in the zoo are gorillas, zebras, giraffes, Komodo dragons, lions, leopards, elephants, and sea lions.
Arrive at the zoo early to get a chance to explore as much of the park as you can. There are lots of restaurants and snack shops to spend an entire day at the zoo. Don’t forget to pick up a few souvenirs.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Bronx
Address: 2300 Southern Blvd, The Bronx, NY 10460
Also Read: 30 Best Zoos in the USA
The Ausable Chasm is a large gorge carved out by the Ausable River. It creates an incredibly scenic destination worth exploring while traveling in New York state. It’s located in the Adirondack Mountains and a favorite place to visit to enjoy nature.
Ausable Chasm has many things to do to explore than scenery, including nature trails, viewpoints, and waterfalls. It’s a popular place for hiking, rafting, rock climbing, and sightseeing.
Visitors can take adventure tours in the chasm for a guided experience and participate in the activities. You’ll get to hike along the river and climb into rafts to cruise down the choppy waters.
You’ll have a lot of incredible sights during your visit. One of the best landmarks to see is the Ausable Chasm Bridge, a picturesque arch bridge made of steel. It was completed in 1933 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visitors can stay overnight at designated campgrounds in the park.
Address: 2144 U.S. 9, Ausable Chasm, NY 12911
Everything that you see in the Corning Museum of Glass is glass. The museum focuses on all things related to glass, including artistic designs, glass history, and the science behind glassmaking.
Corning Museum of Glass is located in Corning, New York, established by the Corning Glass Works company in 1951 during its 100th anniversary. The museum collection has grown to include over 50,000 glass pieces dating as far back as thousands of years.
The glass collections are arranged in multiple galleries and exhibitions. It displays glass from different eras, regions of the world, and techniques in the art of glassmaking. The entire museum is beautifully arranged with structures you might not even believe are made from glass.
The Corning Museum of Glass includes several engaging activities for its hundreds of thousands of visitors that come every year. It hosts live glassmaking demonstrations and lectures about glass. It’s one of the best places in the country to explore the wonders of the material.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Corning
Address: 1 Museum Way, Corning, NY 14830
Also Read: Unique & Unusual Things To Do in NYC
Lake George has always been one of the top New York State attractions that first welcomed the region’s wealthy, but now a place for everyone to visit. It’s a frequent summertime vacation spot or a fall retreat for visitors to enjoy outdoor recreation and scenic views around the lake.
Lake George is an elongated lake stretching over 32 miles long and only 1-3 miles wide. It was first discovered by early European explores who competed over the land with Native Americans during the French and Indian War. Its popularity grew thanks to its position along the waterway and railway between New York and Montreal.
Today, Lake George is a fun destination for water fun on the lake. Visitors can rent boats such as kayaks and paddleboats to ride around the lake. It also has steamboat cruises available.
Other activities include swimming and hiking around the lakeshores. Many visitors plan overnight trips to the lake and stay in the many accommodations in the Village of Lake George or camping.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Lake George
Address: Lake George, NY
Also Read: 25 Most Beautiful Lakes in the USA
Buffalo, NY, is home to one of the best works from famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright - Darwin D. Martin House Complex. Wright built several notable houses in the region, and the Martin House is a favorite out of the collection.
The Darwin D. Martin House Complex features multiple structures, all boasting a Prairie School era style. The complex was completed in 1905 after being commissioned by Darwin D. Martin, a successful businessman.
The complex includes the main Martin House, conservatory, carriage house, gardener’s cottage, and more. It underwent significant restoration efforts and was rebuilt.
Darwin D. Martin House Complex is now a tourist destination for visitors to walk through the impressive architectural feat. It has a visitor center where you can watch a short film about the architect and learn more about the house.
You can then proceed on a guided or self-guided tour to explore the interior and grounds of the National Historic Landmark.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Buffalo
Address: 125 Jewett Pkwy, Buffalo, NY 14214
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Buffalo
Considered the birthplace of baseball, Cooperstown is one of the best places to visit in New York State, especially for lovers of the game. Although a small village, it attracts many tourists looking to explore the local museums and historic districts.
Cooperstown is famed for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Most people visiting the village stop by the museum during their trip to see an extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits about the sport. The hall of fame was established in 1939 and continued to induct players into the exclusive club.
After a visit to the museum, be sure to check out the Cooperstown Historic District. It includes over 200 buildings and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A walk through the district showcases the incredible architecture of the traditional-style structures. Many of the buildings are converted into accommodations and restaurants.
Accommodation: Where to stay in Cooperstown
Address: Cooperstown, NY