This article lists down 20 Best things to do in New York City, Major attractions in New York City and best places to visit in New York. Have a read till the end to go fully prepared to New York and enjoy the city to the fullest. Here is the list of 20 best things to do in New York City or you can say 20 places to visit in New York. If you follow the list, you will not miss anything.
It took me 18 years to put a dream into reality and when I did, I did it in style. For me New York was just not New York, it was a check in my bucket list, it was a check in my Father’s bucket list for he did not go but he saw the place through my eyes. And now it’s my responsibility to ensure that he sees the place too and gets drenched in the magnanimity the city has to offer. New York city is a city of dreams, aspirations and above all- Freedom.
Fabrizio:I can see the Statue of Liberty already!… Very small, of course.
Me (2015) Ditto!
The New york city is a buzzing riot, non-stop people, non-stop life. From the alleys of Manhattan to the distant Long Island, there is an air of confidence, fun, work, laughter and belonging. Attractions in New York city are immense. People who belong there are just like people from New Delhi- we guys just love our cities. You can take the Girl out of the City, But you can’t take the city out of the Girl. There is a madness that you smell, an addiction to the hustle and bustle and an aura soaked in the motto- Live and Let Live. New York city is addictive.
Over a span of 8 days, I walked, talked and breathed the city with my mom. I ran, I hogged, I drank loads of coffee and I smiled, after all I was in NYC. From the Hailing Statue of Liberty to the alive and kicking Central Park, from Chipotle to umpteen Starbucks cappuccinos, from the Trinity Church to the One World Trade Center, I ran pillar to post to feel the city in my every vein. And Oh! I did succeed and compiled this list of Best Places to visit in New York.
Here are 20 Best Things to do in New York City
1. The Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island ferry Tour
You can see The Statue of Liberty from far away but it’s a must to do the ferry tour and see her upclose and personal. A visit to New York is incomplete without visiting this famous Landmark. There are departures throughout the day from both New York and New Jersey. The ferry tour takes to the Statue of Liberty Island and the Ellis Island. Half a day goes in sight seeing these Historical places. You can climb up the Statue of Liberty Pedestal and have a real close look. The museum at the Liberty Island takes you through the story of the Statue of Liberty. Ellis Island takes you through the history of US immigration.
P.S: One can go up till the crown of the Statue of Liberty. Bookings are done 3 months in advance for the same. So if you’re planning, book your crown tickets online well in time. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Islands are the Best Places to visit in New York.
2. Half a day at the Central Park
There’s always something to do here. Weekends are the best time to visit. Soak in the real flavour of New York city here. It’s a huge park, so depending upon your attraction, pick a side. Walk in between the mid-park or south end or the north end or rent bicycles or ride a chariot. There is alot happening! From dancing to singing to chit chat to a solace walk to a jig by local New Yorkers, you can find everything here.
P.S: I spent my time walking with family at the Sheep Meadow near the south end. Keep aside half a day for The Central Park. A must do in New York City, Central park is one of the Best Places to visit in New York.
3. Sit at the Times Square
The major attraction of midtown Manhattan, Times Square is a bustle bustle and a true delight to walk by. With huge billboards and advertisements, it is the busiest pedestrian’s intersection. Shop, eat, watch, sit and breathe in the real New York city. With locals and tourists hopping this place, it’s a world coming together everyday. Say hello to the walking Batman, Superman and all your favourite Comic Con characters.
P.S: New York is checked as soon as you visit Times Square. See the New Yorkers and feel the real vibe of New York City here. The New Year eve sees the annual ball drop at Times square, which attracts a million visitors every year. Times Square is one of the best things to do in New York City and figures in Top 3 Best Places to visit in New York.
4. Shop at the Fifth Avenue
This is one of the most expensive shopping streets of the world. Browse through the luxury brands and feel like a princess. From Tiffany to Gap to Cartier to Victoria’s Secret, there is everything here. See, see and see more. It is a shoppers paradise and every girl’s dreamland. Be an alice in wonderland here 🙂
P.S: Check out the world’s largest Macy’s at 151 West 34th St.. Also, I totally recommend checking the outlet malls for luxury shopping, covered under Point 16 below. These shops at fifth avenue are best things in New York to visit.
5. Walk at the Brooklyn Bridge
An icon of New York city, it connects Brooklyn to the boroughs of Manhattan. It is a steel wire suspension bridge and a National Historic Landmark. You can walk it, bike it and drive it. There is a dedicated pedestrian walkway on the bridge above the high speed traffic for a beautiful stroll. Walk the bridge at any time of the day and click lots of pictures.
P.S: Choose from either the Manhattan or the Brooklyn side to walk. It is a beautiful experience. Walking on the bridge is one of the best things to do in New York. Brooklyn Bridge comes under the best places to visit in New York.
6. Wall Street Bull
Depicting the financial industry of the New York, The Charging Bull is a famous tourist spot. Grab a quick picture by this iconic statue at Broadway & Morris St. This 3 ton of Bronze sculpture is located near the Wall Street. The bull and The Times Square at its walking distance are Best Things in New York to visit.
7. Pay tribute at the One World Trade Center
One World Trade Center is the tallest skyscraper in New York City. It has surpassed the Empire State Building which makes it the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. The building is 104 floors high. See the city of New York from the top view. It is constructed near the original Twin Towers that were destroyed in the 9/11 attacks.
Visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum which is a tribute and remembrance to the nearly 3000 people killed in the 9/11 attack. The Memorial’s twin pools sit where the Twin Towers once stood. The Memorial takes through the sequence of all the attacks that happened on 9/11, a reminder of loss of life from a foreign attack.
P.S: Visiting One World Trade Center is a priority amongst best things to do in New York City. Along with the Memorial museum, these are major attractions in New York city.
8. Trinity Church
Located at 75 Broadway New York, near the One World Trade Center, one cannot miss The Trinity Church. Whichever faith you may be from, pay a visit to hold yourself for some time. New York is fast paced and as a tourist, you will only be running from one place to another. Take a breath here. Go inside the church and see what it stands for. This will be your Me Time.
9. Rockefeller Center
In the heart of Midtown Manhattan, shop, eat and explore at the Rockefeller Center. With Art & History, food & drinks, take a view of the city from top of the Rock. Buildings, gardens and spaces will touch upon all the art and architecture that the building comprises of today. The place just livens up at night. A Christmas Tree is annually placed in the Rockefeller Center as a major attraction. The Ice Skating rink here is a quintessential NYC Experience in winters.
10. The Empire State Building
Located in the midtown Manhattan, this 102 story sky-scrapper is New York’s observation deck. Feel at Top of the World on this iconic building. The main deck is at the 86th floor and the top deck is on 102nd floor. Have a mesmerising look at New York and take a bird’s eye view from the top.
11. The Staten Island Ferry Free Ride
Only a New Yorker can tell you about this or I’m telling you:) . The Staten Island Ferry runs 5 miles between Manhattan and Staten Island. The ferry runs 24/7, is A FREE RIDE for the passengers and runs every 30 minutes. The trip takes 30 minutes each side and gives a beautiful view of the Manhattan sky line and The Statue of Liberty. You can board the ferry from Manhattan at the Staten Island Ferry Whitehall Terminal at South Ferry near the Battery Park.
Not to miss: The docking of the ferry at the port. Just go and stand at the exit a minute before the ferry is about to reach and see how the ferry docks and makes a seamless passage to walk out. One has to get off the ferry and board it again to go back. So without wasting any time, just go to the entry point which is inter-connected to the exit gateway to take the next ferry back.
12. Museums to know the past and present
NYC has lots of museums. So depending upon your taste and preferences, choose where you would like to go. MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) is very famous. Visiting one museum is a must thing to do in New York City. We went to the American Museum of Natural History to see the wide variety of specimens of animals, plants, fossils, humans, rocks, minerals and cultural artifacts from different continents. It’s at the Central Park W & 79th St. The interactive museum is a pure delight for children and adults. Museums are the best things in New York to visit and huge attractions in New York city across all age groups.
13. Walk through NYC to feel the city
New York is best felt by walking the streets and alleys. You can watch the New Yorkers zooming by in their best speed. Everyone is walking around, reaching somewhere, going somewhere or coming home. That’s also one of the reasons why most of the people are fit there. The city walks the most and smiles the most. Walking and seeing around are certainly the best things to do in New York.
14. Use the Public Transport to be one with NYC
Parking is expensive, cabs are expensive. Buses, Jitneys and subways are the best and the cheapest options to commute. You not only save on money but feel the real New York too for the real New Yorkers travel by these mediums the most. If you haven’t been on a subway, you haven’t done New York. I rode on a Jitney from New Jersey Beach street to Times Square; on a subway from Times Square to Brooklyn Bridge and back; on a path rail road between NYC and New Jersey. And that’s when I felt one with New York.
P.S: Hoping over public transport is the best way to understand a city and its people. This is one of the definite & best things to do in New York City.
15. Shop your heart out in New York City
NYC is meant for shopping. From H&M to World’s largest Macy’s, from luxury stores to street shopping, from window shopping to paying in Dollars, be ready for a spectacular shopping experience. Make the best of the ongoing in-shop deals and make the most of your shopping list. Shopping in America is not expensive provided you know how to shop. Huge stores are best things in New York to visit.
Tips for shopping:
Ask for deals when you enter the shops. Do not hesitate. Make the most of the discounted offers.
Use coupons. There are alot of coupons offered while shopping. Make use of them.
Shop with a local. If you are visiting family or friends, take their advice for shopping. They will tell you the best ways to save and splurge. Shopping is the biggest attractions in New York City.
16. Outlet mall for luxury shopping
There is an outlet mall for every state in America. I went to an outlet mall each in Virginia, Atlantic city, New Jersey and New York. For New York City, there are 2 outlet malls- Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in New York and The Mills at Jersey Gardens in New Jersey. Woodbury Common is at an hour from NYC and Jersey Gardens is 40 minutes from Jersey City. A full whole day is needed to shop at a premium outlet. The deals for some of the most sought after luxury brands are just fantastic. Check out Nike, Coach, Michael Kors, Guess, DKNY and many other popular brands and find fantastic discounts and offers. I bought a Coach bag for myself at 50% off and a Coach wallet for husband at 30% off. And I am very happy :).
P.S: If luxury brand shopping is your priority, then this automatically is a Must Do amongst best things to do in New York City. These outlet malls are great attractions in New York City and Best things in New York to visit.
17. The Roosevelt Island Tramway- Fly high over New York City
A lesser known iconic sight in New York City, The Roosevelt Island Tramway runs from Manhattan ( 59th Street and 2nd Avenue) to Roosevelt Island. One can see amazing views of Midtown Manhattan’s East side from the air. It just takes 3 minutes to travel each side and costs about $2.25 each way (check the current fare), the same as a subway fare. It runs over the East river and soars 250 feet above the river. The metro card for the subway can be used for it.
The Tramway is one of the secrets of New York city that only locals know. And now you have that secret too. A must do in New York City and if possible, catch the tram during the evening hours to see the hues of the evening city. We rode the Tram from Manhattan to the Island and sat next to the river for an hour to relax and chit chat and then made our way back to Manhattan to see the Bull and The Times Square. What an evening!
18. Restaurant Hopping- Have the best food from around the world
Enjoy some of the finest restaurants and food options in New York City. Enjoy the ambience and the courteousness and the entire food eating experience. From Indian to Chinese to Japanese to Mexican, there is a treat for the senses. The food presentation, the aroma, the taste- everything is to die for.
Please note: There is absolutely no problem for the vegetarians. There are ample veg options. Talk to your server in every restaurant and explain what you want- you will get as it is. Use words like -“No meat”, “No Beef” and they will understand. For food on the go, Taco Bell, Subway and Chipotle are everywhere. These were my favourite veg options. At Taco Bell and Chipotle, tell them to swap beef with beans and you can get a mouth watering burrito or a chalupa. Don’t forget to order Nachos with cheese along :). At a Subway, have a sub with veggies and you are good to go. They have a veg patty option too.
Eating world cuisines are famous attractions in New York city.
19. Coffee on the Go
There is a Starbucks at every nook and corner. And if not that, there are dime a dozen cafes around every block. Sip and get drenched in cafe lattes, chai lattes and double shot cappuccinos. Take a moment and feel every sip. When you sit at a cafe shop realise what you are doing and where you plan to head next. These will be ‘Your Moments’ and make the most of them. For your tired body and soul, a coffee break would be a healing touch. And if you’re really shot on time, grab one on the go.
Coffee shops are best things in New York to visit for soul and sole pampering 🙂
20. Feel the city
I felt like Carrie Bradshaw throughout my stay. For one thing is for sure, you will never come back the same. You will be New York smitten. Feel the city, feel the people, feel the craziness, for when you will come back you will miss it and then your beautiful stories will become beautiful memories till you reach the city of dreams again. Watch a Broadway show, see the huge Apple Glass Building, see the skyscrapers- That’s New York for you.
This is my story of New York City. I have covered all the Best places to visit in New York. Have I tempted you enough to plan New York next? Have you already been there? What are your attractions in New York City? Share your best things to do in New York City in the comments below 🙂