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The Top 100 Things To Do in New York City (Complete NYC Bucket List)

The Top 100 Things To Do in New York City (Complete NYC Bucket List)

As the most visited city in the United States, New York City offers so many different attractions, activities, experiences, and more all throughout its streets.

During the last 10+ years of my life, I have had the chance to live in NYC and explore all the different corners of the city.

From all of those experiences, I have put together a list of the top 100 things to do in New York City during a visit.

By the end of reading through, you should be well on your way to better understanding many of the top offerings to add to your NYC itinerary.

So with that said, let’s get into the list!

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1) Best Things To Do in NYC Intro

As you are planning your trip to NYC, there are many different ways to go about putting together an itinerary.

In my opinion, though, it is always beneficial to have a good balance for a trip. This way you can experience a little bit of everything.

Instead of just listing out all 100 things to do in NYC, I have organized this guide into several different sections. This way, you can better understand many of the top spots for the categories.

These main categories include:

  • Parks
  • Neighborhoods & Areas
  • Water Activities
  • Piers
  • Museums
  • Sites & Attractions
  • Observations Decks
  • Island Excursions
  • Bridge Walks
  • Experiences
  • Food & Drink
  • Shows & Performances

As you think about what is most important for your trip, you can pick and choose some of the top things to do in NYC from each of these categories.

I also want to point out that New York City is split among five boroughs – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island.

While most people focus in on the main island of Manhattan, there will be some highlights throughout the other boroughs I will touch upon as well.

If you need a little bit of help, feel free to check out this 4 Day NYC Itinerary or 7 Day NYC Itinerary that cover a little bit of everything.

You can also check out the end of this guide that has a helpful interactive map, which shows where everything is located.

New York City Things To Do

2) New York City Parks

While New York City may be a city full of hectic streets and tall skyscrapers, there are ways to enjoy some nature as well.

Throughout NYC are plenty of parks to visit. These parks come in all different sizes, and are full of walking paths, flora, lakes, and more.

Check out some of the top parks to visit during a visit to the city:

Central Park

When it comes to parks in New York City, there are none that are more well known than Central Park.

The park makes up 843 acres of trees, plants, lakes, walking paths, statues, and much more.

There is no doubt that you could spend a day or more in the park and still not hit all of the top spots.

Some of my favorite things to do in Central Park include the Pond, the Mall & Literary Walk, the Lake, Bow Bridge, Bethesda Terrace, the Ramble, Belvedere Castle, the Reservoir, Conservatory Garden, and North Woods.

To learn more, be sure to check out this overview to the top things to do in Central Park during a visit. You can also follow along on this Central Park self guided walking tour.

Central Park Fall Foliage 2022 11

Battery Park

At the very southern tip of Manhattan is an area called Battery Park, also known as just The Battery.

This waterfront park is the perfect place to take a stroll around as you get some of the best views of the NYC waterfront & the Statue of Liberty.

In addition to the views, you will come across several memorials such as the East Coast Memorial, American Merchant Mariner’s Memorial, and Korean War Memorial.

The Castle Clinton National Monument is also located within the park. This was the first immigration location for the area prior to Ellis Island.

If looking to head on a Statue of Liberty Cruise, you will find the launch point right around this area as well.

Battery Park Sunset Statue of Liberty

Madison Square Park

Located at the heart of the Flatiron District is Madison Square Park. The park is located between 23rd Street and 26th Street, with 5th Avenue & Madison Avenue on either side.

Within the park you will find walking paths, seating areas, historical statues, a dog park, and some of the best trees & flowers in the city.

Also situated in the park is a Shake Shack restaurant, and across the way is the Eataly supermarket and Serra by Birreria rooftop.

If you take a visit during the spring time, be sure to check out the blossoms bloom as the park comes to life in color.

Madison Square Park Cherry Blossoms

Hudson River Park

When it comes to Hudson River Park, there really is an endless list of places to see.

The park runs from downtown Manhattan near Battery park, all the way up to 59th Street.

Over the course of 4.5 miles, you will find piers, viewpoints, lawns, playgrounds, rooftops, restaurants, and more to enjoy.

The park also includes some of my favorite NYC photo spots.

It is the perfect walking, running, or biking path for those that want to spend some time outside and take in some views along the way.

Learn More | Hudson River Park

Hudson River Walk New York City

High Line Park

One of the more unique parks in NYC is the High Line Park. What used to be an elevated train line over the city streets has been converted into a walking path and park.

Throughout the High Line, you can find many different types of plants, trees, and flowers in addition to various pieces of artwork.

The High Line starts in the West Village on Gansevoort Street and heads all the way to Hudson Yards.

It is the perfect place to see the city from a whole new perspective.

Learn More | High Line Park

The High Line NYC Views

Union Square Park

One of the main hubs of downtown Manhattan is Union Square Park.

While the park is on the smaller side, there is always something going on around its walkways.

You will find a farmer’s market there several days of the week alongside some artists booths too.

During the holiday season, there is a more robust holiday market set up around the southern end of the park.

Be sure to also catch a game of chess or backgammon, or just sit on the steps watch the people of NY stroll on by.

Union Square Cherry Blossom View

Washington Square Park

Located in the heart of Greenwich Village is Washington Square Park.

This is also the focal point of the NYU campus and it is full of activity all day and night.

The famous fountain sits right in the middle with the Washington Square Arch on the northern side of the park.

When it comes to the most happening places in the city, this is the place to be.

Washington Square Park New York City Views

East River Greenway

All along the eastern part of Manhattan is the East River Greenway.

The greenway runs from Battery Park all the way up to 125th Street (with a 1+ mile detour near the United Nations).

All throughout the greenway are parks, benches, lawns, sporting fields, and plenty of views.

Whether you want to walk, run, or bike the greenway, that is all possible to do during a visit.

You can also make stops along the way, such as at Pier 35 or the South Street Seaport.

Learn More | East River Greenway

East River Greenway Foliage

Brooklyn Bridge Park

On the Brooklyn side of the East River you will find Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The park runs along the Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights neighborhoods for 1.3 miles.

All along the area you will find parks, lawns, piers, beaches, restaurants, and more to enjoy.

With perfect views of downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge, it has become one of my top spots in the city.

Be sure to check out Pebble Beach for a great sunset location overlooking the waters with the bridge and city out back.

I would also recommend checking out the Squibb Park Bridge, which connects the park with the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood.

Learn More | Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn Bridge Park Walkway

Bryant Park

When it comes to parks in Midtown Manhattan, Bryant Park is the go to public space.

The park is home to the famous “lawn”, which is perfect for people to lay out and enjoy the sun during the warmer months.

In the winter, the park is transformed into an ice skating rink (and holiday market), for those that want to spend some time on the ice.

Bryant Park is also home to many events throughout the year. Whether that be a yoga session, outdoor movie, or carousel ride, Bryant Park has so much to offer.

Brooklyn Heights Promenade

While Brooklyn Bridge Park is a beautiful walkway along the waterfront, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade is an elevated walkway overlooking the waterfront.

The promenade takes just about 10 minutes to walk along, but offers some of the best views of the NYC skyline from Brooklyn.

You will find a few different entrances that are situated along the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, where you can enter and enjoy the view.

Head on over in the Fall time when the foliage is at its peak. This makes the overall landscape that much better to take in.

Learn More | Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Brooklyn Heights Promenade Views

Little Island

Hovering above the Hudson River, just off of the Manhattan mainland is an elevated island called Little Island.

The island is full of open spaces, greenery, an amphitheater, viewpoint areas, and many walking paths.

Beneath the 2.4 acre island are 132 pot shaped structures called Tulips. These tulips range from 15-62 feet in height, creating a very unique multi level space.

Since the island is not that large and it can get quite busy, I would recommend heading there earlier on in the day (or later at night even).

This will give you a better chance to fully enjoy the experience without the crowds.

Learn More | Little Island NYC

Little Island NYC Sunrise

Prospect Park

If you are looking for a park to visit in Brooklyn, there are few that can compare to Prospect Park.

The park is on the border of several neighborhoods including Prospect Heights, Park Slope, and Prospect Leffert Gardens.

It was actually designed by the same people that designed Central Park – Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmstead.

Throughout the 526 acres of the park you will find the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Prospect Park Zoo, and Brooklyn Museum. Not to mention the lakes, lawns, greenery, and flora that make it so special.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Located in the same area of Prospect Park is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. While the park is free to roam, the garden does have its own entrance with a fee.

Throughout the garden are 14,000+ various plant species from around the world over the course of 50+ acres.

There are several areas to explore including the Japanese Hill, Pond Garden, Cherry Esplanade, Herb Garden, Rock Garden, among others.

I would recommend a visit during peak cherry blossom bloom time, when the cherry esplanade really comes to life.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Heading further into the borough of Queens is one of the largest parks in the city – Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Just next to the park is where Citi Field is located, so this is a great spot to check out if heading to a game.

The World’s Fair was held here in 1939 and 1964 and still has some of the iconic structures built for the events such as the Unisphere and New York State Pavilion.

There are over 1,200 acres to explore throughout the park, so you will have no issues finding something to do.

If heading there during cherry blossom season, you will find many okame trees in bloom!

Flushing Meadows Park Cherry Blossoms

Liberty State Park

Just south of the Jersey City waterfront, you will find Liberty State Park. Although not in NYC, it will still give you those New York views.

The park starts right around the old Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal in the north and heads down to Flag Plaza in the south.

Along the way, views of NYC will be out in the distance, in addition to having the most up close & personal views to the Statue of Liberty from the mainland.

There are multiple paths that wind around the park, but you can’t go wrong with the one right along the riverside.

Statue of Liberty from Liberty State Park

3) Neighborhoods & Areas

One of my favorite things about NYC, is that it is full of diverse neighborhoods and areas to explore.

Throughout a day of walking around, you can visit several different neighborhoods along the way. Each one of them will have a different feel & vibe from one another.

Sometimes it can feel like you are in several completely different cities all in one day.

Check out some of the most visited and recommended areas to visit during a trip to the city:

Times Square

A NYC visit is not complete without heading to the lights of Times Square.

While it may be on the bottom of the list for locals, it is on the top of the list for many tourists.

Getting to see the bright lights, massive advertisement screens, entertainers, and more all converge into the area is something that few other cities can offer.

All around the area you will find restaurants, bars, fun stores, and of course some Broadway theaters.

To get a good view of all of the action, head to the TKTS staircase at 47th street and Broadway.

Times Square NY

Rockefeller Center

In the heart of Midtown Manhattan, you will find Rockefeller Center. Named after John D Rockefeller, the center encompasses six square blocks.

The highlight of Rockefeller Center can be found in the wintertime, when they bring over the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and light it up for the holidays.

At the base of tree, you will find an ice skating rink, which also sometimes converts to a roller rink in the summer.

NBC Studios also calls Rock Center home, where you can join in for an early morning viewing of the Today Show.

At the top of Rockefeller Center, you will find the Top of the Rock observation deck – more on that soon.

Rockefeller Center Tree

Chinatown

All throughout NYC, there are various neighborhoods to consider. Throughout Chinatown though, you will feel like you are in a whole other world.

For those foodies out there, Chinatown offers the best of the best when it comes to Asian cuisine (and very affordable at that!).

In addition to its restaurants, there are many temples, tea shops, bars, walking streets, museums, and more.

Spending some time just walking its streets will be a highlight on its own.

Tip: walk across the Manhattan Bridge to get views of Chinatown from above.

Manhattan Bridge Chinatown

South Street Seaport

One of the most historical areas of NYC is the South Street Seaport, also known as just The Seaport.

The area used to be the center of trade for New York and the United States. Over the years though, the Seaport area was no longer utilized.

In recent history, the Seaport has been revitalized with the South Street Seaport museum, boutique shops, food halls (such as the Tin Building), and more.

Just walking along the area and enjoying this historic architecture that really can’t be found in other part of the city, is going to be a top thing to do in NYC.

As part of the Seaport, you will also come across a few piers – 15, 16, & 17 (more on those later).

Learn More | South Street Seaport

South Street Seaport Entrance

Soho

New York is known for its shopping. And if there is one district where shopping is at its most prominent, it is in Soho.

Soho stands for “south of Houston”, referring to the famous Houston Street.

Throughout Soho you will find anything and everything you are looking for when it comes to fashion.

You can head down the main street of Broadway, before checking out many of the side streets that are filled with well known brands as well as some boutiques.

There will be no shortage of places to choose from during a shopping holiday in Soho.

Greenwich Village

One of the best neighborhoods in NYC has to be Greenwich Village. Home to smaller districts such as the West Village and Meatpacking District, Greenwich has a little bit of everything.

The center of the village will be Washington Square Park. Surrounding the park will be shops, restaurants, and lively streets to walk around.

There aren’t many high-rises around the area, making it a different type of vibe compared to the rest of Manhattan.

Heading all the way to the west and you will soon come across the Hudson River, the High Line, and Little Island. So, the village is an ideal spot to start your day and continue on to other highlights in NYC.

Learn More | Best Greenwich Village Hotels

Greenwich Village View

Fifth Avenue

There is no street more iconic than Fifth Avenue.

Running from Washington Square Park all the way uptown, you will find a little bit of everything along its storefronts.

Some of the most popular shopping areas are just near Central Park, where you will have a never ending choice of top luxury brands to browse.

Heading further downtown towards Madison Square Park and you will have even more of a variety of stores to choose from too.

Just walking along the street will have you seeing what NYC is all about, as you hop from one neighborhood to the next.

Hudson Yards

One of the fastest growing areas in New York City is Hudson Yards. The neighborhood is located on the western side of Manhattan between 30th Street and 41st Street.

What used to be a pretty empty piece of land with a rail yard, has now turned into a mega project with 15+ (mostly glass) buildings sprawled throughout.

The area has been completely transformed over the years with even more to come.

Office buildings, residential towers, hotels, malls, and public spaces have rejuvenated this section of the city.

During a visit you can walk around it all as you shop & sightsee along the way.

Hudson Yards and Edge View

Little Italy

Throughout the history of NYC, people from all around the world made it to city. This of course included many from the Italian population.

Located in downtown Manhattan is the Little Italy neighborhood. Here you will find shops, restaurants, bars, and more, all with some original Italian heritage.

You may also be lucky enough to experience the annual Feast of San Gennaro in September, which is a celebration for the patron saint of Naples.

Meatpacking District

Situated in the northwest corner of the wider Greenwich Village lays the Meatpacking District.

Throughout the district are some of the best NYC restaurants, bars, and shops lining its cobble stone streets.

Nearby is the Whitney Museum and the southern entrance to the High Line Park. Just a bit more west is the Hudson River walkway too!

The name derives from the meatpacking plants that historically were in the area. But today, it stands as one of the trendiest and desirable places to visit in NYC.

High Line Meatpacking

Jersey City & Hoboken Waterfront

They say the best views of NYC are from New Jersey, and I have a hard time disagreeing.

If you are looking for those skyline views and don’t want to head up to an observation deck, then why not head across the Hudson.

While you will be in another state, it just takes a quick PATH train or ferry ride to get from Manhattan to NJ.

All along the Jersey City waterfront and Hoboken waterfront, you will find a walking path that offers a perfect place to take in the views.

You can take some time walking the paths, heading to some restaurants/bars, and checking out some highlights (like the famous Colgate clock).

If you want to stay in NJ, be sure to check out the best hotels near NYC in New Jersey.

New Jersey View of NYC

4) Water Activities

While exploring NYC by land is one option, why not spend some time out on the water too.

Since Manhattan is an island, you will find waterways all around. On the east side is the East River and on the west side is the Hudson River. At the southern tip of Manhattan, these rivers meet in New York Harbor.

Below are various ways to experience the water around NYC:

Boat Cruise

One way to experience it all is to take a sightseeing cruise along the rivers.

These cruises leave from both the Hudson & East River sides and explore some of the top spots along the way.

The Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge are a couple of the places you will get to see from the boat. But you will also be able to take in some of the best views of the NYC skyline from afar.

While you can sign up for a normal sightseeing cruise, there are some other options available.

These include sunset cruises, dinner cruises, and even some more intimate sailing rides instead.

NYC Ferry Brooklyn Bridge

NYC Ferry

While taking a boat cruise is one way to go about it, there is a cheaper way do see NYC on the water.

Throughout the East River, you will find multiple NYC ferry lines going between Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

For just a few dollars, you can hop on a ferry and get to have those same views that the cruises do.

While you may not get as close to the Statue of Liberty for example, you still will get to experience a fun time out on the water for a fraction of the cost.

NYC Ferry River

Staten Island Ferry

Separate from the NYC ferry network is the Staten Island Ferry that runs between lower Manhattan and Staten Island.

Best of all – the ferry is completely free!

Throughout this 25 minute journey, you will be able to cruise right through New York Harbor, passing by the Statue of Liberty along the way.

Views of the downtown Manhattan skyline will be at their best, as you head along the water.

Just note – you will need to take the ferry back at some point too (unless you opt for the bus). So, really you may get to experience the ferry ride twice!

Governors Island Ferry View

The Beast

Perhaps the most exhilarating way to experience the water of NYC is to head on the infamous Beast boat ride.

The Beast is a speed boat ride that operates in the warmer months of the year, and takes riders on a thrilling ride around NYC.

The tour starts at Pier 83 on the west side, heads down the Hudson, encircles the Statue of Liberty, and then returns back to the pier.

Throughout the 30 minute ride, the Beast will reach speeds up to 40 mph. And be warned – you definitely can get wet during this journey.

Kayak

A little bit of a more relaxing way to enjoy the Manhattan rivers is by kayak.

Around NYC, there are actually free kayak rentals that operate during the warmer months.

These can be found at Pier 26 on the Hudson River, Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Pier 101 on Governors Island (among others).

While you wont be able to take the kayaks far out, it is an enjoyable activity to take part of during a hot summer day.

Kayaking East River

5) New York City Piers

Along the New York City waterfronts, there are many renovated pier areas that include great views, parks, activities, and more. Below are some of the top piers to visit during your time in NYC.

Pier 15

While its neighboring Pier 17 is the more famous of piers, Pier 15 is a place to add to a visit. This bi-level pier offers a couple different options for visitors.

On the bottom level is the Watermark restaurant. This outdoor restaurant is located right on the East River, and is the perfect spot to have a scenic meal.

In the wintertime, the restaurant has small individual heated structures, and in the Fall you will find an Oktoberfest scene here.

On the top level is an open area park with grass and seating areas. You can get some great views from up there during your time around the Seaport.

Pier 15 Manhattan

Pier 17

The largest of piers near the Seaport is Pier 17. Within Pier 17 is a fresh new look building full of restaurants and bars.

If you are looking to have a meal or drink with a view, then Pier 17 has you covered.

In addition to the restaurants, you will also find an outdoor deck area that overlooks the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge.

Heading to the rooftop, you will be able to enjoy those views from up above. During the summertime, there are even concerts that happen on the rooftop if that is of interest to you.

Pier 17 Pumpkins

Pier 35

A lesser known pier on the East River of Manhattan is Pier 35. The pier is located just north of the Manhattan Bridge.

Due to its location, visitors will get to take in a panorama landscape of the East River, Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, and downtown Manhattan skyline.

It is a top spot to take in a sunset as they have plenty of seating areas in addition to a few swinging chairs.

When the pier was re-developed, there were also some installments to promote urban sustainability. These include a tidal estuary called Mussel Beach, and a green wall full of plants & vines.

Pier 35 NYC

Pier 26

At Pier 26 on Hudson River Park, there are many different activities and sites to see.

You can head for a meal or drink at City Winery, visit the famous tide deck, or hang out on one of the swinging chairs.

It is the perfect spot to spend some time outside with views of the downtown and uptown Manhattan skyline in view.

This is also where you can find some free kayaking during the warmer months of the year. So, if you are looking for some time out on the water, give Pier 26 a try.

Learn More | Pier 26 at Hudson River Park

Pier 26 at Hudson River Park NYC

Pier 57

One of my favorite viewpoints in New York City is located at the Pier 57 Rooftop Park.

This free rooftop is spread over two floors with lawns, seating areas, and plenty of views looking over downtown Manhattan.

Right down below is Little Island, and further out in the distance is the rest of Hudson River Park.

It is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon or to enjoy a sunset at.

Be on the lookout for the new food hall opening up in the building too!

Learn More | Pier 57 Rooftop Park

Pier 57 View Downtown Manhattan

6) Museums

Believe it or not, there are well over 100 museums all throughout New York City. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to museums, but I am hoping this list below covers a wide range of selection.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as just “The Met”, is the largest and most visited museum in the United States.

The museum is located essentially within Central Park at 5th Avenue and 85th Street.

At the Met you will find permanent and temporary exhibitions throughout its 2.2 million square feet.

The Met represents over 5,000 years of art from around the world with over 2 million pieces of artwork.

If you would like an additional Met experience, you can also head up to Fort Tryon Park, where you will find the Met Cloisters. Here is a secondary museum dedicated to the art & architecture of the Middle Ages.

The Met Cherry Trees

Guggenheim

The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum on the Upper East Side is a museum full of modern and contemporary art.

At this New York museum, you will find a circular structure designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that was opened back in 1959.

While the architecture of the museum is something to enjoy, there are also plenty of famous pieces of artwork throughout. These include works by Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollack, among several others.

Guggenheim museums can also be found around the world, including Venice, Bilbao, and Abu Dhabi.

The Guggenheim Museum

Whitney Museum

Located in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan, just near the Hudson River is the Whitney Museum.

The Whitney is a contemporary art museum that was founded in 1930 and named after Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney.

Throughout the museum’s 25,00 piece collection there are all sorts of artwork including sculptures, paintings, photographs, and more.

In addition, there is always going to be something new to enjoy there as exhibitions come and go throughout the year.

Be sure to also head to the outdoor decks, where you will come across more artwork and views of NYC.

Frick Collection

On the Upper East Side of Manhattan is where the Frick Collection is located. An industrialist named Henry Clay Frick founded the collection, which can be found in his former residence.

While the museum was founded in 1935, the collection has grown substantially over the years and is home to art pieces ranging from the Renaissance through the 19th century.

Some highlighted artists include Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Goya.

9/11 Museum

Directly next to the 9/11 memorial pools, you will find the 9/11 Museum. While there are many art focused museums in NYC, the 9/11 museum is one that offers a different type of experience.

Here you will get to learn more about the story of 9/11, how it unfolded, and the aftermath of the attack.

Within the museum there are stories, artifacts, and personal anecdotes surrounding the events of 9/11.

It is a humbling and eye-opening museum to visit during your time in NYC, & one I would highly recommend checking out.

9:11 Lights

Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art, also just known as the MOMA, is known for its contemporary and modern art exhibitions.

The museum was founded in 1929 and has a collection of over 200,000 pieces of artwork.

Some of this artwork includes photography, film, paintings, and sculptures just to name a few.

Within the collection are pieces by famous artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol.

Museum of Natural History

Located on Central Park West is the Museum of Natural History, perhaps the most well known natural history museum in the world.

The museum was founded in 1869 and has a collection of over 30 million pieces. Whether you want to see dinosaur skeletons, cultural artifacts, or a giant sized whale, the museum has it all and much more.

From special exhibitions to its giant screen film to the planetarium, guests will have no trouble finding highlights that they are interested in.

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

As you are walking along the northern section of Hudson River Park, you will pass by a giant ship. This is where the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is located.

The ship is called the USS Intrepid that was used during WWII and the Vietnam War.

Today it has been converted into a museum all about military and maritime history.

During a visit, you can head onto the ship’s decks, check out some aircraft, and browse through the exhibitions.

Once done, you can head on down along Hudson River Park to continue with your day.

Intrepid Museum Hudson

Morgan Library & Museum

While it may not be as famous as the New York Public Library, the Morgan Library & Museum is well worth the visit too.

The library & museum was founded by none other than JP Morgan. Within its walls you will come across rare books, drawings, prints, manuscripts, and other historical pieces.

What started as his own private collection, was opened up to the public several years after his death. Since then, the collection has grown extensively, and is one of the most unique places in the city to visit.

And when it comes to the most photogenic museums / libraries, the Morgan Library is at the top of the list.

Morgan Library Museum

NY Transit Museum

One of the most interesting museums in the city is the NY Transit Museum.

As one the world’s oldest mass public transportation systems, the NYC system has much history to be told about how it has progressed over time.

The museum is actually underground in an original subway station in Brooklyn. Throughout the station are various subway cars that house the exhibitions.

What better way to learn about the public transport history than to actually see & go into the vintage subway cars of NYC.

Tenement Museum

New York is one of the most diverse places in the country given it was one of the main entry points for immigrants.

If you would like to learn all about the rich history of immigration, then a visit to the Tenement Museum is for you.

Located in the Lower East Side, the museum houses many exhibitions and stories of the immigrants who came through NYC in the 1800’s and 1900’s.

The museum is located within an original tenement building, which housed 15,000+ people over the years.

7) NYC Sites & Attractions

As you make your way around the various NYC neighborhoods, you are sure to pass by some top sites & attractions along the way.

Here is a list of some of the more iconic buildings, statues, structures, and more in NYC.

Flatiron Building

There are several iconic skyscraper buildings throughout the NYC skyline. One of the smaller buildings though is the Flatiron Building.

Located on the corner of 23rd and Broadway is the triangular shaped building that appears as a “flat iron”.

They even named an entire district after the building – surrounding it you will find the Flatiron District, which is full of shops, restaurants, and parks.

The Atlas Statue

Located just outside of Rock Center is the Atlas statue. Created by Lee Lawrie (who had the idea & designed it) and Rene Paul Chambellan (modeled the statue), the Atlas is a figure from Greek mythology.

The Atlas figure was known to be a half man, half god giant named Titan. The story goes that after Titan was defeated in a war with the Olympic gods, he had to “carry the world on his shoulders”.

Atlas portrays that scene with a 45-foot statue, which weighs nearly 15,000 lbs.

Atlas NYC

St Patrick’s Cathedral

The most famous of cathedrals in Manhattan is St Patricks Cathedral.

The catholic cathedral is located in Midtown Manhattan, just steps from Rockefeller Center and Central Park.

It is known to be the largest gothic Catholic cathedral in the United States, with its 330 foot spires and 2,400 person seating capacity.

When visiting the Cathedral you have the option to take part of a 50 minute self-guided audio tour, or opt for a private VIP guided tour.

St Patricks Cathedral

9/11 Memorial Pools

Located in downtown Manhattan, you will come across the two 9/11 Memorial Pools.

The pools were built in the locations of the World Trade Center Twin Towers, that were tragically attacked on September 11 2001.

In place of the towers, you will now find two waterfall pools (north & south) etched with the names of those people that were lost on 9/11.

The memorial pool area is free to visit, and you can take your time to walk around one or both of them during a visit.

Surrounding the pools themselves, you will find several walking paths and plenty of trees. One of these trees is called the Survivor Tree, which was damaged during 9/11 & then rehabilitated back to health.

9:11 Memorial Pool

Charging Bull

Perhaps the most famous sculpture in New York City is the Charging Bull in the Financial District.

This bronze piece of art weighs over 7,000 pounds and comes in at 11 feet tall!

The bull was built by an Italian immigrant artist named Arturo Di Modica. He built it as an ode to Wall Street and the optimism of financial growth.

Today, the bull sits on Broadway just north of Bowling Green. Plenty of tourists flock to the bull to take photos and enjoy this massive piece of Wall Street history.

New York Stock Exchange

Located at 11 Wall Street in the Financial District, is the New York Stock Exchange building.

Within the building, there is the famous NYSE trading floor. It used to be one of the (if not the most) chaotic trading floors in the world, before electronic trading really took over.

While visitors cannot go inside the exchange itself, they are able to take in the views of the iconic landmark & its columns from the outside.

NY Stock Exchange

Manhattanhenge

A phenomenon that happens a couple times a year, where the sun set lines up perfectly with the streets of Manhattan is called Manhattanhenge.

This happens in May & July as you get to see the sunset aligning right down the Manhattan grid.

Be aware though – this can bring the crowds and many photographers set up for hours before the real thing.

The most popular place to capture it is from the Tudor City Bridge on 42nd Street.

I would actually recommend heading there in the days after or leading up to it, as you still can capture a similar shot without the crowds (although there still may be some there).

For another unique experience – head to the High Line during “reverse” Manhattanhenge in the winter to see the sunrise align with the streets.

Learn More | Manhattanhenge

Manhattanhenge NYC Spot

Grand Central Station

Located on 42nd Street and Park Avenue, you will find the most historic train station terminal in NYC.

Grand Central Station was opened all the way back in 1913 and has since transported millions of people around NYC and beyond.

The terminal is home to subway lines (4/5/6/7), the Metro North, and most recently the LIRR (Long Island Railroad).

In addition to its transportation options, it is also home to plenty of dining and shopping options all throughout.

While it may seem odd to include a train station on a list of things to do in NYC, the main transport hall is an architectural (and photographer’s) dream.

You will find the famous clock centered in the middle of the station with some massive windows shining light through.

Whether you are walking by it, or happen to take a subway through, be sure to check out Grand Central during your time in the city.

Metlife Building Grand Central

New York Public Library

Located on Bryant Park is New York’s most famous library – the Stephen A Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library.

While there are certainly books and other historical items within the library, many people visit to simply enjoy the historical & architectural beauty of the building.

Throughout the library you will find exhibitions, rooms, staircases and hallways to explore.

If you are looking for a place to study, then Rose Main Reading Room is the spot to be.

For those that want to learn more about the building, they do offer free daily tours that last an hour.

NY Public Library

Manhattan Bridge View

If you are looking for one of the most photographed locations in the city, look no further than the Manhattan Bridge viewpoint in Dumbo.

This iconic photo location is along Washington Street in Brooklyn. On either side of the cobble stoned streets you will find some photogenic red buildings.

Aligned right in the middle of them will be the Manhattan Bridge. And aligned right underneath the bridge will be the Empire State Building.

While it is a beautiful spot to walk around and enjoy, it is not that large of an area. So, it can get quite crowded with everyone trying to grab that same picture.

Head on over early in the morning or later at night to avoid those rush hour tourist crowds.

Learn More | Manhattan Bridge Dumbo View

Dumbo Bridge Picture

United Nations

Along the East River, stands the headquarters of the United Nations.

The building was constructed back in 1952 and within the complex there are four main buildings. These include the Secretariat, General Assembly Hall, the Library, and Conference Building.

During a visit you can take a guided tour around the complex, where you learn all about the UN’s history as you make your way through the General Assembly Hall and Security Council Chamber.

Be sure to reserve a spot ahead of time to take part of a UN tour.

United Nations NYC

The Vessel

Within the Hudson Yards complex is one of the more unique pieces of architecture in NYC called The Vessel.

The 150-foot-tall Vessel structure was opened back in 2019 and was designed by Thomas Heathwerwick.

Throughout the Vessel are 154 flights of stairs, 80 landing areas, and 2,500 steps to explore.

Currently, climbing the Vessel is not allowed as they enhance some safety features of the structure. However, visitors can still enter the base of the Vessel and get a view of the unique architecture from down below. 

The Vessel NYC Photo Spot

Oculus

Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the Oculus houses a transportation hub and shopping mall.

Located in downtown Manhattan, the Oculus was one of the buildings built after 9/11 to revitalize the area.

You will find the PATH train lines as well as several MTA subway lines all connected to the Oculus. So, you should have no trouble making your way there during your time in the city.

Throughout the two-floor building there are also countless shops and food options to choose from.

Be sure to head up to either end of the second floor to get a grand view of this unique white colored piece of architecture.

Oculus NYC

8) Observation Decks

Getting an elevated view of the New York skyline from above is something that is a must do during a trip to NYC.

While there are restaurants, bars, and other ways to get elevated views, none will compare to what the observations decks have to offer.

There are five paid observations decks in the city to choose from. Below is a short overview for each one.

One World Observatory

Located near the southern tip of Manhattan is the tallest building in the city – One World Trade (also known as the Freedom Tower).

On the top few floors of the building you will find the One World Observatory.

This is the only observatory located in downtown Manhattan and it gives visitors some of the best views of the NYC skyline.

From the observatory you will have the entirety of Manhattan out in front of you, in addition to great views of the Statue of Liberty.

Not only that, but you will also have a view of Staten Island, New Jersey, Brooklyn, and plenty iconic NYC buildings all around.

Learn More | One World Observatory

NYC Skyline One World Observatory

Top of the Rock

Perhaps my favorite observation deck in NYC, the Top of the Rock is situated in the heart of midtown Manhattan.

Although it is the shortest of the decks, it does offer quite the outdoor experience.

From the multi level observation deck you will have 360 degree views of the surroundings.

Central Park to the north and One World Trade to the south, with plenty more in between.

The best part for me is that the top floor of the observation deck offers an unobstructed outdoor viewing experience. There will be no glass in front of you to block any of the beautiful views.

Learn More | Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock Sunset

The Edge

Located in the Hudson Yards area of NYC, you will find the highest outdoor observation deck on top of The Edge.

The Edge offers an outdoor triangular shaped deck with views of all of the top landmarks all around.

On the outdoor deck you will find a giant staircase to sit down at and enjoy the view. Or you can stare down the glass bottom portion of the deck all the way to street level.

For those adventurers out there, The Edge offers a City Climb experience. Here you will actually be able to walk along the edge of the building as you are strapped into a harness.

The Edge Hudson River

City Climb

While taking in the view from on top of the Edge is one thing, hanging off of its side is going to be a whole other experience.

City Climb is not for the faint of heart. This activity takes visitors on top of the building itself.

You will be strapped in and harnessed up, as you walk along the outside of the building’s edge.

This will have you seeing NYC in a whole new perspective, as you get to experience the highest open air building ascent in the world!

After climbing up the staircase along the building’s edge, you will actually get to lean over the city (literally!).

Summit One Vanderbilt

If you are looking for an observation deck with more of an overall experience, then Summit One Vanderbilt is for you.

While the views will be some of the best you can ask for, there are some more artistic and thrilling parts at Summit One.

You can head up “Ascent” which is the world’s largest external glass bottomed elevator and you can visit “Air” – an installation full of mirrors and reflective spheres.

There are also some outdoor areas to enjoy the view with the city all around.

Summit One Vanderbilt NYC View

Empire State Building

The last observation deck, and perhaps most iconic, is the Empire State Building.

The ESB is home to two observation decks – the 86th floor outdoor deck and the 102nd floor indoor deck.

While you can’t see the Empire State Building from the Empire State Building, the views are still one of a kind. Having the city laid out in front of you, all the way down to One World Trade, is going to be a memorable panorama.

I should also note that the ESB is the only deck that offers sunrise hours (on select Saturdays) for those that want to see the city come to life.

Learn More | Empire State Building

Empire State Building Night

9) NYC Islands

While Manhattan is an island itself, there are some other islands to visit during a visit to NYC. These are all great ways to get off the mainland and explore some more that the city has to offer.

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

While taking in the views of the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island is one thing, visiting the two will be a whole different type of experience.

There is one company called Statue Cruises, which runs boats back and forth to Liberty Island and Ellis Island.

The boats leave from Battery Park and Liberty State Park (Jersey City) all throughout the day.

As part of a ticket, you will be able to take boats between both islands and explore them at your own pace.

If interested, you can even head up the crown of the Statue of Liberty (additional fee), which offers a completely unique view of NYC.

Liberty State Park View

Governors Island

Located between downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn is a small piece of land called Governors Island.

The island was once used as a military base but has been transformed over the years to a public place for people to visit.

Ferries operate year round to bring people to and from the island. There you can walk along the walking paths, check out some of the historical buildings, head up some hills for those views, and have a bite at one of the restaurants or food trucks.

It is the perfect place to spend some time out of the hustle and bustle of NYC but only be a stone’s throw away.

Learn More | Governors Island

Quadricycle Governors Island

Roosevelt Island

Another island to to add to your NYC bucket list is Roosevelt Island.

The island is located right in the middle of the East River between Manhattan and Queens.

While you can drive or subway to the island, the most unique way to go about it, is to take the tram.

Once you are on the island, you can go ahead and walk along the paths on the western shores for the best views.

If visiting in the spring time, you should hopefully be able to catch some NYC cherry blossoms lined along the walkway.

Be sure to also head to the southern tip, where you will find the Franklin D Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park.

For a unique accommodation, why not check out the Graduate Hotel – one of the top NYC hotels with a view.

Learn More | Roosevelt Island Things To Do

Queensboro Bridge Walk

10) New York City Bridge Walks

Since Manhattan is an island, there are many bridges and tunnels connecting it to the other boroughs and New Jersey.

In fact, there are 21 bridges along the perimeter of Manhattan. While I have not visited them all, below are four bridges that are worth the walk.

Brooklyn Bridge

When it comes to the bridges of New York City, none are more well known than the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian path offers visitors the chance to walk on an elevated pathway directly in the middle of the bridge underneath the steel cables and giant stone columns.

Since the bridge can get very crowded, I would recommend heading to the bridge in the earlier hours of the day (perhaps even for Brooklyn Bridge sunrise experience).

Seeing the Brooklyn Bridge at night is not a bad idea either as you have the skyline all lit up in the background.

Learn More | Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge NYC Walk

Manhattan Bridge

While I can’t say that the pedestrian pathway itself on the Manhattan Bridge is worth the visit, the views from the pathway certainly are.

If you are trying to get views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the East River, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and downtown Manhattan, then this is your spot.

Throughout the pathway you will be able to enjoy some of the best unobstructed views of it all.

Learn More | Manhattan Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge Sunset from the Manhattan Bridge

Williamsburg Bridge

Another fun walk to take part of across the East River is over the Williamsburg Bridge.

The bridge connects the Lower East Side in Manhattan with Williamsburg in Brooklyn.

Although the views are somewhat blocked by the layered fence, it is a great way to get between two boroughs.

Feel free to head to places like Domino Park, right alongside the Brooklyn waterfront, after heading across the bridge.

Learn More | Williamsburg Bridge

NYC Skyline from Williamsburg

Queensboro Bridge

Heading further up the East River you will find the 59th Street Bridge, also called the Queensboro Bridge.

The bridge offers a walking/bicycling path on the north side, where you can get some great views over the Upper East Side of Manhattan and Roosevelt Island.

My favorite part of the bridge though is seeing the Roosevelt Island tram make its way between Manhattan and the island.

Be sure you are quick with your camera as the trams go quickly. But don’t worry if you miss a shot – the trams come and go every 5-10 minutes.

Learn More | Queensboro Bridge

Queensboro Bridge Manhattan

11) Experiences Around New York

New York City is also full of various experiences to take part of. Whether that is a helicopter tour above the city or heading out to a ballgame, there is no shortage of things to do in NYC.

Helicopter

Getting to see New York City from above is an experience few get to take part of.

Instead of just seeing the skyline from an observation deck or from a ground level viewpoint, a helicopter ride gives you that bird’s eye view.

Whether it is the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, or Central Park, a helicopter ride over NYC will have you seeing it all.

Some of these rides even offer a “doors off” experience, where you can let your legs swing off the chopper and have unobstructed views of the city.

Feel free to book your NYC helicopter ahead of time to guarantee your spot!

NYC Helicopter View Brooklyn Bridge

QC Spa

Now, while Governors Island does have much to do and see throughout the island, there are some more upscale options to consider.

One of those options is to head to the QC Spa. Here you will find outdoor pools, massage options, and spa rooms all throughout.

Getting to spend some time truly relaxing, while taking in those views of the skyline, is going to be a memorable experience when visiting NYC.

Collective Retreats

In addition to the spa, you will also find the nearby Collective Retreats.

While visiting the island on a day trip is one thing, why not spend an overnight on the option instead.

This will give you the chance to have a true glamping experience in the middle of New York Harbor.

Collective Retreats offers several types of accommodation options and even has an onsite restaurant for guests.

Having the island to yourself in the early mornings and late nights is a great way to go about a visit to Governors Island.

Collective Retreats

Baseball Game

New York is home to two baseball teams – the New York Mets & New York Yankees.

Spending an afternoon or evening at the ballpark is a fun addition to any NYC itinerary.

The Mets play in Flushing, Queens at Citi Field, which is easily accessible by the 7 train. If you are looking to visit Yankee Stadium, the 4 train will take you directly there.

Baseball games run from April until early October. Unless there is a playoff appearance, with games going into November.

Mets Game

Basketball Game

There is a reason why they call Madison Square Garden the World’s Most Famous Arena.

Here you will find the New York Knicks home stadium, in the heart of midtown Manhattan.

While tickets are on the expensive side, the arena is one of the liveliest places to watch a sporting event in the country.

You will find 41 homes games played at The Garden between October and April, with playoffs heading into June.

If you want a cheaper ticket in town, head into Brooklyn, where the Nets call the Barclays Center home.

Hockey Game

If baseball or basketball doesn’t do it for you, maybe hockey does. Within the tri state area, you will find three teams – the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and New Jersey Devils.

The Rangers also play at Madison Square Garden alongside the Knicks, the Islanders play out in Long Island, while the Devils play in NJ.

Games run from October to April, with playoffs going into June.

Hop On Hop Off

As you are walking through the streets on NYC, you are bound to come across the famous Hop On Hop Off busses.

There are a few companies that run these busses, which have routes all around the city. Usually these include a downtown route & an uptown route.

The busses give you the chance to take part of one longer tour, or you can “hop on, hop off” throughout the day.

This will give you the opportunity to visit attractions in a certain area, hop on the bus to another area, and then hop off to take part of other activities.

Comedy Cellar

If you are looking for a laugh, then head out to one of NYC’s most famous comedy clubs.

Located in Greenwich Village, the Comedy Cellar hosts a variety of events throughout the week going late into the night.

You never know who may come on stage for an appearance either. Surprise guests sometime show up, like Chris Rock, Louis CK and Amy Schumer.

Cherry Blossoms

Starting in March and lasting until the middle of May, you will come across the spring blooms of NYC.

None are more famous though than the cherry blossoms trees. These come in a variety of types such as Okame, Yoshino, Kwanzan, among others.

Some of the top places to see them bloom include Central Park, Roosevelt Island, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, and Riverside Park.

If you time your visit correctly, you will get to see the city come alive out of the cold winter as the trees bring out the vibrancy of NYC.

Learn More | NYC Cherry Blossoms

Reservoir Cherry Blossoms Central Park

Coney Island Luna Park

During the warmer months of the year, you will find that Luna Park is open on Coney Island.

Luna Park is NYC’s largest amusement park located just besides Coney Island’s beaches.

Throughout the park are roller coasters, arcade games, food options, and plenty of other rides & activities.

Although it is a bit farther out from Manhattan, there is no other place like it in NYC.

Just be sure to check the park’s latest hours of operation to get a better idea of when they will be open.

Coney Island NYC

Visit an NYC Bookstore

All throughout NYC, you will find many independent bookstores to browse through.

Some of these bookstores focus on one specific genre, while others may have some rare and antique books to browse through.

No matter what you are looking for though, you are sure to find a bookstore that works for you.

Some of the top NYC bookstores to consider include: Strand, Three Lives & Company, Albertine, among many others.

Learn More | NYC Bookstores

NYC Bookstores

Bronx Zoo

While there are some other zoos in NYC, none are more well-known and visited than the Bronx Zoo.

The zoo was opened all the way back in 1899 and has since turned into a place where you can find over 6,000 animals among 700 species.

At the Bronx Zoo, visitors can explore all different types of attractions. These include the Congo Gorilla Forest, Treetop Adventure, Riverwalk, Jungle World, among plenty of others.

This is a great place to visit in NYC for the whole family, and offers the chance to head on up to another borough of the city.

Walking Tour

No matter what neighborhood you are trying to learn more about, odds are there is a walking tour available to take part of.

Whether it’s the Lower East Side, Greenwich Village, Harlem, or Dumbo, there are walking tours that will take you all throughout these areas and teach you about their history.

It is a fun and interactive way to see the city and learn about it at the same time. Below are a few of the highly rated tours out there:

Chelsea Piers

The most famous of sports complexes in NYC has to be the Chelsea Piers area.

All along this multi pier complex, you will come across a driving range, bowling alley, arcade, fitness center, indoor skating rink, and much more.

It is the perfect spot if you want to spend time enjoying some fun activities while exploring NYC.

Even if you don’t want to take part of any of the sports activities, you can still walk along and around the piers for some great views of the Hudson River and NJ skyline.

Chelsea Piers Hudson River Park

Pier 25 Mini Golf

If you are looking for some outdoor fun, you can head on over to the mini golf course right along Pier 25.

The mini golf course is one of the only outdoor ones you will find on Manhattan, and it offers some great views along with it.

You can spend some time walking along the Hudson River and other nearby attractions before heading onto the pier and hitting some balls around.

The pier also has a massive playground, volleyball courts, and an open field, so there it is perfect for those with kids.

12) Eat & Drink

There is no doubt that some people come to NYC just to eat & drink their way through the city.

Beyond just going to a normal restaurant or bar, there are many food experiences out there to choose from.

Check out some of the top spots to eat & drink at in the city:

Timeout Market

Just on the outskirts of Brooklyn Bridge Park you will find the Timeout Market. The market is located in a renovated warehouse building at 55 Water Street.

There are 24 different food options to choose from within the market. This makes it the absolute perfect place to bring a group of friends who all may have different preferences.

Some top spots to consider include Clinton St Baking Company, Wayla, Ess a Bagel, Felice, Dough, and their rooftop bar.

After a day of running around Brooklyn Bridge Park, the market is a great spot to relax and have a good meal.

Time Out Market Rooftop Night

Central Park Restaurants

While Central Park is a main highlight of NYC to explore on its own, why not get a view of it from above too.

All around Columbus Circle & Central Park South, there are several restaurants and bars where you can take in a view of the park along with a meal.

Spots such as Porter Steakhouse, Robert Restaurant, Per Se, and the Darling Bar are just some of the top places to consider.

Learn More | Central Park Restaurants with a View

Robert Restaurant Central Park View

NYC Pizza

If there is one type of food to try in New York City, it has to be a good old slice of pizza.

It is estimated that there are over 1,500 pizzerias in the NYC area, so you know you won’t be too far from one no matter where you are.

Although there are many to choose from, there is certainly a top tier of pizza joints out there.

Some of the best of the best include Lucali, Joe’s, John’s on Bleekers, Joe & Pat’s, Di Fara, Patsy’s, Prince Street, and Rubirosa.

NYC Food Tour

You can’t go about a visit to NYC without taste testing all types of cuisines.

All throughout the city you will come across any type of food you can ask for – whether that is the authentic food of Chinatown or the Central Park hotdog vendor.

But what better way to explore the food scene, then by taking a food tour!

These tours come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them focus on specific areas of the city, while others focus on certain types of cuisine (i.e. pizza tours).

If you are a foodie, and want to experience some of the best out there, take a look at a few food tour options to choose from:

Smorgasburg

What better way to have a whole diversity of selection of food than to visit Smorgasburg.

Open from the Spring to Fall are a few different locations that have so many local offerings all in one open air market.

You can find Smorgasburg at the World Trade Center, Williamsburg and Prospect Park.

Chelsea Market

When it comes to indoor food markets in Manhattan, it does not get much better than Chelsea Market.

Located in the Chelsea neighborhood between 9th and 10th Avenues along 15th Street, is multi level marketplace filled with 50+ different restaurants 7 shops.

They don’t just offer restaurants here, but also bars, specialty food shops, and other various merchants.

The building also has quite the history, as it was once home to the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco).

It is the perfect spot to bring the family as there will be something for everyone to enjoy throughout the market.

Chelsea Market Visit

13) Shows & Performances

NYC is also full of some of the top spots to take in a musical, play, concert, and more.

No matter what type of genre of performance you are looking for, there is bound to be something that catches your eye.

These can be some of the best things to do in NYC at night!

Broadway

When it comes to entertainment in the city, it doesn’t get much better than taking in a Broadway show.

At any given time, there could be upwards of 40+ shows going on throughout the Broadway theaters (plus all the off Broadway offerings as well).

You can head to a matinee showing or to an evening performance, giving you a wide variety of showtime offerings.

Be sure to sign up for some Broadway lotteries or head to the TKTS office in Times Square, where you can score some cheap seats.

Broadway nyc

Lincoln Center

On the Upper West Side of Manhattan, not too far from Central Park, is Lincoln Center.

Within the center are several organizations that put on shows & performances throughout the year.

For the music, dance, and theater love out there, a visit to Lincoln Center is a must.

Some to consider include the New York Philharmonic, The Metropolitan Opera, and the New York City Ballet.

Be sure to take a look at the Lincoln Center calendar beforehand and book your tickets to guarantee a seat at your performance of choice.

Apollo Theater

Located in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan is one of the top NYC landmarks – the Apollo Theater.

The Apollo opened back in 1913 and has been at the forefront of the music and arts scene of the city.

At first it was opened as a burlesque theater and did not allow black guests. However, over the years it became the place to be for black performers in the jazz, blues, and gospel scenes.

Today, the theater operates as a non-profit organization with various performances all throughout the year.

Carnegie Hall

Located in the heart of midtown Manhattan, just steps away from Central Park is Carnegie Hall.

Opened in 1891 and named after philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, the hall is one of the most famous performance venues in NYC.

Within the venue, there are three halls that host music – Stern Auditorium, Zankel Hall and Weill Recital Hall.

Today, visitors have the chance to attend an event, take a tour, stroll through the museum, or even take part of some musical programs.

Radio City Music Hall

At the base of Rockefeller Center, you will the famous Radio City Music Hall.

The venue was opened by in the 1930’s and is best known for being the showcase theater for the Rockettes.

Getting to see the music hall during the holiday season will be the main attraction here. The “Christmas Spectacular” show is put on between November and New Year’s, with up to 4 performances per day.

Outside of the holiday season, you can expect various artists and performers to play there, making it a year round destination.

Radio City Music Hall NYC

So, now that you have the details of the 100 best things to do in New York City, below are a few more helpful sections & summaries to plan out your time.

14) Things To Do in NYC Recap

To recap, below is the list of the 100 best things to do in NYC during a visit:

  1. Central Park
  2. Battery Park
  3. Madison Square Park
  4. Hudson River Park
  5. High Line Park
  6. Union Square Park
  7. Washington Square Park
  8. East River Greenway
  9. Brooklyn Bridge Park
  10. Bryant Park
  11. Brooklyn Heights Promenade
  12. Little Island
  13. Prospect Park
  14. Brooklyn Botanic Garden
  15. Flushing Meadows Corona Park
  16. Liberty State Park
  17. Times Square
  18. Rockefeller Center
  19. Chinatown
  20. South Street Seaport
  21. Soho
  22. Greenwich Village
  23. Fifth Avenue
  24. Hudson Yards
  25. Little Italy
  26. Meatpacking District
  27. Jersey City & Hoboken Waterfront
  28. Boat Cruise
  29. NYC Ferry
  30. Staten Island Ferry
  31. The Beast
  32. Kayak
  33. Pier 15
  34. Pier 17
  35. Pier 35
  36. Pier 26
  37. Pier 57
  38. The Met
  39. Guggenheim
  40. Whitney Museum
  41. Frick Collection
  42. 9/11 Museum
  43. MOMA
  44. Museum of Natural History
  45. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
  46. Morgan Library & Museum
  47. NY Transit Museum
  48. Tenement Museum
  49. Flatiron Building
  50. Atlas Statue
  51. St Patrick’s Cathedral
  52. 9/11 Memorial Pools
  53. Charging Bull
  54. New York Stock Exchange
  55. Manhattanhenge
  56. Grand Central Station
  57. New York Public Library
  58. Manhattan Bridge View
  59. United Nations
  60. The Vessel
  61. The Oculus
  62. One World Observatory
  63. Top of the Rock
  64. The Edge
  65. City Climb
  66. Summit One Vanderbilt
  67. Empire State Building
  68. Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
  69. Governors Island
  70. Roosevelt Island
  71. Brooklyn Bridge
  72. Manhattan Bridge
  73. Williamsburg Bridge
  74. Queensboro Bridge
  75. Helicopter Ride
  76. QC Spa
  77. Collective Retreats
  78. Baseball Game
  79. Basketball Game
  80. Hockey Game
  81. Hop On Hop Off Bus
  82. Comedy Cellar
  83. Cherry Blossoms
  84. Coney Island Luna Park
  85. NYC Bookstore
  86. Bronx Zoo
  87. Walking Tour
  88. Chelsea Piers
  89. Pier 25 Mini Golf
  90. Time Out Market
  91. Central Park Restaurants
  92. NYC Pizza
  93. NYC Food Tour
  94. Smorgasburg
  95. Chelsea Market
  96. Broadway
  97. Lincoln Center
  98. Apollo Theater
  99. Carnegie Hall
  100. Radio City Music Hall
NYC Things To Do

15) New York City Attractions Map

To better visualize it all, I have included a map below that shows where everything on this list is located.

As you plan your trip, you can pick and choose the route that works best for you.

16) New York Passes Overview

A great way to save some money while visiting NYC, is to buy an NYC Pass. Essentially, for one price you will be able to visit various attractions over a certain time period.

Some of the main ones to consider include the CityPass, the New York Pass, and the Go City Explorer Pass.

Purchase Your Pass Today!

With each one of these passes, you will have several options to choose from. This will be based on how many attractions you want to see during the duration of your trip.

Below for example are the New York CityPass options:

CityPass Ticket Options

17) New York City Itinerary

As you can tell there are a lot of things to do in NYC. To better help, I have put together a NYC itinerary that covers 4 days in the city.

Feel free to use this itinerary as a baseline, and then mix and match other places on this list as you see fit.

Day 1

  • Central Park
  • Pick a Museum!
  • Observation Deck Sunset

Day 2

  • Madison Square Park
  • Flatiron Building
  • Union Square
  • Washington Square Park
  • Greenwich Village
  • Soho
  • Chinatown
  • Times Square & Broadway

Day 3

  • Hudson Yards
  • The Vessel
  • High Line Park
  • Chelsea Market
  • Pier 57
  • Hudson River Park
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • The Battery

Day 4

  • Manhattan Bridge Walk
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park
  • Dumbo View Spot
  • Dumbo
  • Squibb Park Bridge
  • Brooklyn Heights Promenade
  • Brooklyn Bridge Walk
  • South Street Seaport
New York Itinerary Travel

18) Where to Stay in NYC

Choosing a place to stay is also going to be an important decision as you put together your trip.

I have written a guide that talks through the best areas to stay in NYC if you would like to learn more.

However, below would be a quick overview of my top recommendations:

While Midtown Manhattan is one of the most popular places to stay in, it can also feel the most overcrowded. It is centrally located and easy to get to various areas around the city making it a top option (check out some Times Square hotels with a view).

In my opinion, a great alternative to the Midtown area would be around Chelsea and Flatiron. The vibe around the neighborhoods is great at night and you won’t feel overwhelmed with office high-rises and other tourists right outside your doorstep.

If you are looking for an even more fun and enjoyable option, head further down into the Greenwich Village and East Village neighborhoods. There is a never ending list of top NYC food options here, if that is important to you.

Best Hotels in NYC

With that said, here are some of my top hotel recommendations in the various NYC neighborhoods:

Chelsea: Moxy NYC Chelsea | Hyatt Place NYC Chelsea

Flatiron: W New York Union Square | New York EDITION

Midtown Manhattan: Warwick New York | Citadines Connect 

Greenwich Village: The Standard High Line | Walker Hotel Greenwich Village

East Village: Moxy NYC East Village | The Standard East Village

Standard Hotel Greenwich Village

That wraps a guide to the the 100 best things to do in New York City. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to add them in below.

Also, be sure to check out other New York itineraries and guides up on the site.

Have fun out there and safe travels!

Things to do in NYC

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