Must-See Places in New York City
Few cities in the world have that characteristic style and long list of iconic activities and places to see as New York City. Just thinking of the city conjures up images that everyone has seen in the movies and on TV of the famous destinations such as Central Park, the Empire State Building, Manhattan's skyline, the historic bridges, and more.
If you're visiting New York City for the first time, then you probably already have a bucket list of items that you want to visit. But just to make sure you see all of the most famous and iconic places, we have assembled this list of the best Bucket List activities an things to do in New York City. So here it is, let's start planning a trip!
Coney Island is a classic, old-school amusement park and entertainment area that offers visitors a glimpse into the past. The park is just over an hour outside of Manhattan and it has several classic thrills including a wooden roller coaster, an aquarium, and a boardwalk. The island also has a beach and a chill atmosphere that makes a strong contrast to the vibe in the city.
1218 Bowery Street, West Brighton, NYC, New York, 11224
The heart and lungs of New York City, the famous, expansive, and huge Central Park is an iconic destination in the city featuring a variety of smaller attractions and features within itself. From ball fields and jogging paths to botanical gardens, concert spaces, cafes, ponds, playgrounds, and more, the park offers something for everyone. Don't forget to take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the park - one of the quintessential tourist activities in the city.
New York City, New York
Fifth Avenue is a world famous shopping street that is recognized for its high end flagship designer stores which include Cartier, Tiffany, Bergdorf-Goodman, and Saks Fifth Avenue. The street is an interesting place to wander, whether you're in to high end fashion, or simply want to take in the sites. For the most interesting stretch, explore between the south end of Central Park and the New York Public Library, with the blocks between 60th Street and 40th Street offering the most.
Times Square is one of the most famous areas in New York City. It's known for its brightly lit billboards which really brighten the city at night. But even if you visit during the day you'll find the area filled with energy, activity, and people. If the crowds get to be too much, there are bleachers set up on one side where you can sit and take a break. Times Square is also recognizable as the location of the iconic ball drop on New Years Eve. It's also an entertainment center for the city.
Times Square is in the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue.
Statue Of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is an iconic symbol of American freedom, and it's a must-see for all visitors to New York City. The statue was given as a gift to America by France, and it is one of the world's largest statues, standing 152 feet tall from the base to the torch. You can get views of the statue from Battery Park, but the best way to experience it is to take a boat trip to Liberty Island and see it up close. Many tours also stop at Ellis Island where you can explore the Immigration Museum.
NYC, Liberty Island, 07302-4522
The Rockefeller Center
New York's iconic Rockefeller Center is a must-see for visitors. It is a large complex that includes 19 commercial buildings and spreads out over 22 acres in Midtown Manhattan. There's an observation deck called Top of the Rock that offers beautiful views from a tower that stands 70 floors high. It has been the home of NBC Studios since 1933 and is open for public tours.
The Rockefeller Center is a quintessential destination during the Christmas season when the iconic Christmas tree is lit and the ice skating rink is opened in the plaza.
45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY, 10111
Radio City Music Hall
The "Showplace of the Nation", this historic theatre is not just home to the Rockettes dance company, but also hosts a number of concerts, performances, stage shows, comedy acts, and other events that keep New Yorkers and visitors entertained year-round. Dating back to 1932, and significantly remodeled in 1999, this was once the world's largest auditorium. Now it's a terrific venue to take in a show any time of the year.
1260 6th Ave, New York City, New York, 10020
One World Observatory
One World Observatory is located at the top of the One World Trade Center building. It is an observation deck that makes up the 100, 101, and 102nd floors, 1776 feet above the city. The glass building is a beautiful sight and the elevator ride to the top offers a changing scene of how New York City has changed and grown over the years.
NYC, New York, 10048
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
This world-class museum has one of the most in depth collections of art, spanning more than 5,000 years and representing cultures from around the globe. This is one of the largest museums in the world and it features a wide variety of topics. Everything from fashion to photography, and ancient times is represented. For the best price and the least crowds, visit the museum early on a weekday.
1000 5th Ave, New York, NY, 10028
Empire State Building
The iconic Empire State Building has long been a symbol of New York City. It's one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world and the Art-Deco tower has been called one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world from 1931 to 1970 and, at 102 stories, it is currently the 2nd tallest in New York City.
A highlight for many visitors to New York is the ride and view from the Top Deck observatory, which offers breathtaking views in every direction.
20 W 34th St, New York, NY, 10001
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in New York City. The bridge crosses the East River, connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn. It was completed in 1883 and, with its arches and suspension cables, it was the world's first steel suspension bridge. The bridge offers impressive views of the city and many visitors enjoy biking or walking across the bridge.
NYC, New York, 10038
Bethesda Terrace & Fountain
In the heart of Central Park sits the Bethesda Fountain and the Terrace which overlooks it along with the lake. This scenic spot has appeared in multiple films and TV shows over the decades, and it's a very popular spot with tourists and locals alike.
Central Park, NYC, New York
American Museum of Natural History
This is one of the largest museums in the world and it is made up of 28 interconnected buildings that house 45 permanent exhibition halls. There's also a planetarium and a library. The museum's collection includes more than 33 million specimens of animals, plants, minerals, fossils, rocks, and more.
180 Central Park West, Lincoln Towers, NYC, New York, 10024
9/11 Memorial and Museum
This memorial commemorates the tragic loss of life felt on September 11, 2001 when suicide-piloted planes flew into the two towers of the World Trade Center. More than 3,000 people were killed as a result of the attacks on that day. The memorial is designed with a series of cascading waterfalls, recessed pools, and bronze panels that show the names of those killed during the attacks. The museum shows photos, videos, and artifacts from the events. It is recommended you purchase tickets in advance to visit the memorial. You can also visit for free on Mondays between 3:30 and 5:00, but reservations are still required.
180 Greenwich Street, NYC, New York, 10007
Tavern on the Green
This famous restaurant in Central Park serves American cuisine to locals and visitors. It has had multiple owners over the last few decades, but has continued to draw a crowd because of its terrific setting in the park and its delicious food and friendly service. Many visitors to New York enjoy a meal here while exploring the various sites and activities in Central Park.
67th Street & Central Park West, NYC, New York, 10023
New Amsterdam Theatre
Built in 1903, the New Amsterdam Theatre has been host to a variety of popular shows for more than 100 years. In fact, the iconic architecture and decor often plays second fiddle to the big names that have entertained audiences here such as the Lion King, Mary Poppins, and recently Aladdin. As the theater is owned by Disney, visitors can expect more popular family-friendly musicals in the future.
214 West 42nd Street, NYC, New York, 10036
How much does it cost?
Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $6 to $530. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $81. A few of the best options are below.
Where to Stay in New York City