One of the biggest and most important cities in the world is New York City. With its extensive history, illustrious landmarks, museums, theaters, and ever-changing skyline, visitors have a ton to see and do. Although there are 10 things to do in New York City, there are a lot more things and places we could have included on this list.
One of the enigmas of New York City is how much more is visible the closer you look, even at something insignificant like a street corner. And the longer you gaze, the quicker it transforms in front of your eyes. Choosing what to do first in New York is difficult, which is why we’re limiting your options. People can live here for 100 years and never run out of places to go or people to meet. These brand-new and time-honored activities will dazzle you whether you’re a local itching to leave your neighborhood or an outsider who doesn’t know The Met from the Mets. These are some of our absolute favorite things to do in New York City, from Midtown to Brooklyn, from strolling through Central Park to slurping soup dumplings in Chinatown.
1- The Morgan Library & Museum
The Morgan is a museum/library/landmark/historic site/music venue, similar to a multi-hyphenate millennial. Rare artifacts, paintings, and books dating back to 4000 B.C. can be found inside the multimillionaire’s personal library, which has been expanded into a must-see museum and cultural space. The museum houses one of only 23 copies of the original Declaration of Independence, Mozart’s handwritten score of the Haffner Symphony, the collected works of African American poet Phillis Wheatley, Milton’s Paradise Lost manuscript, and Charles Dickens’ manuscript of A Christmas Carol. Swoon.
2- Statue Of Liberty And Ellis Island
If you’re visiting New York for the first time, the Statue of Liberty is a must-see. This copper statue, a gift from France to the United States in 1886, welcomed millions of immigrants in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi designed the Statue of Liberty, and Gustave Eiffel built the metal framework. The statue depicts Libertas, the Roman goddess of liberty. She is holding the tabula ansata, which is dated July 4, 1776, the date of the US Declaration of Independence.
You can visit the Statue of Liberty alone, or you can combine it with Ellis Island for a round-trip excursion from Manhattan.
3- Central Park
Many of the city’s most well-known attractions are nearby or within its boundaries, and this part-park, part-museum, and part-concert hall engulfs central Manhattan (the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art…). Travelers, on the other hand, argue that you shouldn’t just drive by Central Park on your way somewhere else. Locals and visitors to New York alike enjoy this 843-acre park, where you can exercise, eat, and visit the zoo, among other things.
4- Empire State Building
This midtown Manhattan landmark structure is a must-see for any New York City tourist. Despite the high admission prices, crowds, and long lines, recent visitors say you won’t be disappointed. In fact, a trip to the top of the Empire State Building is an excellent way to start or end your trip to New York; on a clear day, you’ll be able to see the city’s major landmarks from 1,250 feet below.
Looking up at the art deco skyscraper from the ground is also quite spectacular, especially in the evenings when mood lighting is used. Since 1976, the Empire State Building‘s tower lights have changed color to commemorate various occasions and organizations throughout the year. In 2012, the Empire State Building‘s iconic tower lighting system was updated by replacing flood lights with a dynamic lighting system unique to the Empire State Building. It now has over 16 million colors in an infinite number of combinations and effects.
5- Whitney Museum of American Art
In 2015, the Whitney Museum relocated from the Upper East Side to its vastly expanded Meatpacking District headquarters. It features 50,000 square feet of indoor galleries featuring works by Jean Michel Basquiat, Richard Avedon, and Alexander Calder, four outdoor exhibition spaces and terraces, and a ground-floor restaurant and top-floor bar by Danny Meyer, one of the city’s most well-known restaurateurs. Two artist-designed elevators connect the floors (albeit slow-moving, crowded ones). If your mobility isn’t an issue, take the stairs for uninterrupted views of the Hudson River. The upper floors and sculpture terraces are also linked by a series of exterior staircases, providing spectacular views of the downtown skyline and a rare opportunity to experience art in the open air.
6- Rockefeller Center
This iconic plaza has it all: beautiful sculptures, a massive skating rink, a fishbowl view of NBC Studios, and a slew of shops and restaurants. Though there will undoubtedly be large crowds, this is an experience worth having at least once. During the winter holidays, the plaza is illuminated with a Christmas tree and skaters glide across the ice rink. You can spend a morning watching a taping of the “Today” show, an afternoon admiring the city from the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, and an evening seeing a performance at Radio City Music Hall if you plan ahead of time.
Seeing a Broadway show in New York City is a distinctive and unforgettable experience for both locals and first-timers. The neon signs and lights in Times Square are typically unpleasant, but when you enter Midtown Manhattan for a show, they dazzle you rather than flashing in your face. Broadway productions’ costumes, sets, songs, and stories are the stuff of dreams. After going dark during the pandemic, Broadway is now open. As live performances make a comeback, take in acclaimed productions like Six and Hadestown.
8- Staten Island Ferry
The Staten Island Ferry, perhaps the most famous ferry service in the United States, runs daily between the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in lower Manhattan and the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island. Since 1905, the city has operated the ferry service, which transports approximately 70,000 passengers daily across New York Harbor. It’s one of the last remaining relics of an entire ferry system that served New York City residents before any bridges were built.
9- Museum of Modern Art
You don’t have to be an art lover to enjoy the Museum of Modern Art; this light-filled midtown gallery also serves as a shrine to pop culture and twentieth-century history. Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans,” Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” Dal’s “The Persistence of Memory,” Monet’s “Water Lilies,” and many other significant contemporary works hang on its walls. The museum reopened in October 2019 after completing an expansion project that added more than 40,000 square feet of gallery space as well as a performance studio with live programming.
Recent visitors were impressed by the extensive art collection and enjoyed seeing the museum’s famous paintings. The $25 admission fee for adults ($14 for students, $18 for seniors, and free for children 16 and under) may be difficult for some, but reviewers insist you won’t be disappointed. A few visitors express dissatisfaction with the crowds (which are especially prevalent on rainy days), but recommend getting some fresh air at the museum’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden.
10- Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park, located on the Brooklyn side of the East River, is an 85-acre oasis at the foot of the famous bridge that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn. The park stretches 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s waterfront, connecting Columbia Heights and Dumbo, an abbreviation for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, an eclectic neighborhood filled with boutiques, trendy cafes, and restaurants. Views of the lower Manhattan skyline, New York Harbor, and the bridge are popular among visitors.
Brooklyn Bridge Park, one of the city’s newest parks, was once an industrial district and home to a transportation terminal that served as an entry point for immigrants. Among six piers and the riverfront, the park now includes rolling hills, promenades, playgrounds, basketball courts, sports fields, a roller skating rink, gardens, and more. Furthermore, the park is home to over 12,000 plant and wildlife species. Throughout the year, it also hosts a variety of events and programs, such as sunset yoga and stargazing.