New York, the city that never sleeps, is a city that’s as diverse as it is dynamic, with something to offer everyone.
From the iconic skyline dominated by towering skyscrapers to the vibrant arts, food, fashion, and nightlife scenes, New York is a city that demands to be explored.
In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through the Empire State, highlighting 17 unforgettable things to do in New York.
In this article...
1. Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island: A Symbol of Freedom and Hope
If it’s your first time in New York City, the Statue of Liberty is a must-see.
This copper statue, a gift from France to the United States in 1886, greeted millions of immigrants in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
You can visit just the Statue of Liberty or combine it with a visit to Ellis Island, an immigrant inspection station where approximately 12 million immigrants were processed between 1905 and 1954.
2. Central Park: An Oasis in the Concrete Jungle
Taking a stroll through Central Park is one of the best things to do in New York City.
It’s free to visit and a beautiful place to unwind after walking the busy city streets. Central Park is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world.
It’s also one of the most filmed locations in the world.
You can simply wander through it on your own two feet, rent bikes and cycle a lap or two through the entire park, or do something very touristy and go for a horse and carriage ride.
3. Times Square: The Crossroads of the World
Times Square, known as “The Crossroads of the World,” is a sensory overload of bright lights, big city energy, and non-stop action.
This iconic intersection is a must-see, whether you’re catching a Broadway show, shopping for souvenirs, or simply soaking in the vibrant atmosphere.
4. Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Cultural Treasure Trove
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or “The Met,” is one of the world’s largest and most important art museums.
Its vast collection spans 5,000 years and includes everything from ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary art.
5. Broadway: The Theater Capital of the World
Broadway, the heart of the American theater industry, is where you can catch some of the best plays and musicals in the world.
Whether you’re a fan of classic musicals or cutting-edge plays, there’s something for everyone on Broadway.
6. Empire State Building: A Sky-High Perspective
No visit to New York would be complete without a trip to the top of the Empire State Building.
Despite the crowds and the admission fees, the breathtaking city views from this landmark structure in midtown Manhattan are worth every penny.
On a clear day, you’ll be able to see the city’s major highlights some 1,250 feet beneath you.
7. Rockefeller Center: A Hub of Entertainment
Rockefeller Center, with its beautiful sculptures, enormous skating rink, and a fishbowl view of NBC studios, is a must-visit.
During the winter holidays, the plaza sparkles with an illuminated Christmas tree and skaters gliding across the ice rink.
But there’s plenty to do year-round.
You can watch a taping of the Today Show, admire the city from the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, or catch a performance at Radio City Music Hall.
8. Pay Your Respects at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum
The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is a solemn tribute to the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, and the World Trade Center bombing in 1993.
The memorial’s twin reflecting pools, each nearly an acre in size, sit within the footprints of the Twin Towers.
The names of every person who died in the attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the pools, a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil.
The museum tells the story of 9/11 through multimedia displays, archives, narratives, and a collection of monumental and authentic artifacts.
It presents intimate stories of loss, compassion, reckoning, and recovery that are central to telling the story of the attacks and the aftermath.
9. Discover AMNH’s New Scientific Wing
The American Museum of Natural History has a new wing that is a must-visit.
Officially called the Richard Gilder Center for Science Education and Innovation, this architecturally stunning new wing is filled with scientific wonders.
From a butterfly vivarium to an insectarium and a 360-degree immersive experience, there’s something to pique everyone’s curiosity.
10. Admire Couture Fashion at Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty
Fashion enthusiasts, this one’s for you.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is hosting a show called Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty, featuring 200 pieces by the famed designer.
From flouncy floral dresses to menswear-inspired suits, this show is a dazzling tribute to couture fashion.
11. Dine at NYC’s Only Floating Lobster Shack
North River Lobster Company, New York City’s beloved floating seafood restaurant, is now open for summer.
Eating by the water is always a treat, but eating lobster rolls and seafood platters on the water is next level.
12. Spend Some Time at MoMA’s Georgia O’Keeffe Exhibit
Art lovers, make sure to visit the Museum of Modern Art’s new show, Georgia O’Keeffe: To See Takes Time.
This sprawling show, featuring 120 works from the renowned artist, is the first to reunite O’Keeffe’s works on paper made in series.
13. Eat Deliciously at Japan Fes
Japan Fes is a delicious pop-up that runs from spring through the fall, transforming parts of NYC into a sliver of Japan.
With 750 vendors inspired by Japanese and East Asian street food, you’re in for a culinary treat.
14. Be Scared at Sweeney Todd on Broadway
For theater enthusiasts, a Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s 1979 killer-cannibal musical, Sweeney Todd, is a must-see.
This musical about a demon barber bent on revenge against the corrupt justice system that did him wrong is headlined by Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford.
15. Visit the High Line
The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, greenway, and rail trail created on a former New York Central Railroad spur on the west side of Manhattan.
It’s a great place to take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the city from a different perspective.
16. Explore the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest roadway bridges in the United States and is an iconic part of New York City’s skyline.
Walking across the bridge offers stunning views of the city and is a great way to explore both Manhattan and Brooklyn.
17. Visit the New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is not just a place to borrow books. It’s a historic landmark and a cultural hub with free exhibitions, public programs, and research opportunities.
Plus, the building itself is a beautiful piece of architecture.
From the iconic Statue of Liberty to the vibrant Times Square, the tranquil Central Park to the awe-inspiring Empire State Building, New York City is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered.
Its dynamic nature ensures that no two visits are ever the same.
So whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, the city that never sleeps is sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.
Don’t forget to check out our other guides on visitusaguide.com for more travel tips and insights. Whether you’re planning to visit the sunny beaches of Florida or explore the natural beauty of Arizona, we’ve got you covered. Safe travels!