The Best Activities & Things to Do in Manhattan

Manhattan is the most visited borough of New York City, and as such this dynamic and busy island offers plenty of things to do, activities, and attractions to visitors of the Big Apple. From it's glitzy skyscrapers and signs around Times Square to the booming business of Wall Street to the world-class museums to the delicious restaurants, Manhattan offers something for everyone. But what activities should you do first? Don't worry, if you're not sure what to do, we have put together this list of the best things to do in Manhattan on your next trip. Everything below is popular, fun, and inspirational for a reason, so check 'em out!
Central Park
Central Park
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
Fifth Avenue
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.
Planning a trip to New York City? You might also be interested in The Best Neighborhoods for Nightlife in New York City and What to Do in Brooklyn.
Little Italy
Little Italy
Little Italy is a popular tourist neighborhood with its traditional Italian restaurants, bakeries, and cute shops. The neighborhood has narrow streets that fill with people during the frequent festivals. The main thoroughfare through the neighborhood is Mulberry Street, which becomes a pedestrian mall on summer weekends.
Edge Observation Deck
Edge Observation Deck
Located at Hudson Yards, this viewpoint sticks out from the 100th floor of one of the tallest buildings in New York, and offers views of all of Manhattan, as well as a glass floor area so you can look down at the streets below (if you have the courage). Enter on the 4th floor of the shops and restaurants at Hudson Yards opposite of the Vessel. And don't forget your camera!
Hudson Boulevard at Hudson Yards, Manhattan, New York City, New York
Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Lower Manhattan is one of the city's most famous public parks. Visitors here can find the huge Washington Arch which is a large, marble triumphant arch which serves as a landmark and honors the nation's first president. In front of the arch is a nice fountain. The arch also serves as the terminus for 5th Avenue. Also located in the square is a monument to Alexander Lyman Holley, along with some walking paths, benches, and shaded tree areas which make for a nice and relaxing picnic spot.
Washington Square Village, NYC, New York
The Vessel
The Vessel
The Vessel at Hudson Yards in Manhattan was completed in 2019 as part art installation and part observation tower. The elaborate honeycomb-like structure rises 16 stories and offers views from the top of the surrounding area, along with some amazing views from within the structure itself. With 154 flights of stairs, 2,500 steps, and 80 landings for visitors to climb, there's an interesting view and photographic angle from every platform. Even though it's only been around for a few years, it has quickly become one of the most interesting and visited sites in New York. Tickets are free the first hour of opening, and then an admission fee is charged for the rest of the day.
20 Hudson Yards, New York, New York, 10017
Times Square
Times Square
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
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
Interested in more travel advice for New York City? Check out Off-Broadway Theatres in New York City and Children's Theatres in New York City.
The Rockefeller Center
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
One World Observatory
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
Metropolitan Opera House
Metropolitan Opera House
The Metropolitan Opera House (also known as The Met), located on Broadway at Lincoln Square on the Upper West Side is part of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Opened in 1966 with approximately 3,800 seats, this is the largest repertory opera house in the world. It is home to the Metropolitan Opera Company but also hosts the American Ballet Theatre in the summer.
30 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC, New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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
Lincoln Center Theater
Lincoln Center Theater
The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts operates multiple theatres including the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, the Clare Tow Theatre, and the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theatre. This location has put on a variety of spectacular shows that have come up in the ranks over the years.
150 West 65th Street, NYC, New York, 10023
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
This world-class museum opened in 1959 and is recognized not just for its impressive collection of modern art, but also for its architectural design, created by the famous Frank Lloyd Wright. The inverted ziggernaut breaks the mold from the typical clean square museum style of the time. This price is steep ($25 for adults), so make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to fully enjoy the experience.
1071 5th Ave, Upper East Side, New York, NY, 10128
New York City has plenty more to offer, so see also our other articles: The Best Science Museums in New York City and The 17 Best Children's Museums in New York City.
Empire State Building
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
Chelsea Market
Chelsea Market
Chelsea Market is an impressive food hall that is one block long and one block wide. This was one of the first major food halls, a concept that has taken off not just in New York City, but in other cities around the country as well. Chelsea Market has more than 35 vendors and includes a number of unique cuisines including Japanese inspired Mexican tacos and homemade donuts.
75 Ninth Avenue (between 15th & 16th St.), New York, NY, 10011
American Museum of Natural History
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
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
Orpheum Theatre
One of the most famous off-Broadway theatres, the Orpheum hosts a number of great shows, most recently of which is the smash-hit Stomp. The theatre was originally constructed in 1904, and over the decades has hosted plenty of popular productions such as Anything Goes and Little Shop of Horrors.
126 2nd Avenue, NYC, New York, 10003
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
New York City has plenty more to offer, so see also our other articles: The Best Parks, Gardens, and Things to Do Outdoors in New York City and The Best Iconic Skyscrapers to Visit in New York City.
Whitney Museum of American Art
This impressive museum relocated in 2015 to the Meatpacking District in Lower Manhattan. It sits at the edge of High Line and has more than 63,000 square feet of space that includes both indoor and outdoor settings. The collection has about 15,000 pieces that represent works from more than 2,000 artists including Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Edward Hopper, and Georgia O'Keeffe.
99 Gansevoort St., Meatpacking District, New York, NY, 10014
How much does it cost?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $12 to $1,099. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $112. A few of the best options are below.

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New York City has plenty more to offer, so see also our other articles: Famous Squares and Plazas to Visit in New York City and The Best Planetariums to Visit near New York City.
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