You will be surprised to know that New York wasn’t a famous tourist destination until the 1970s. Known as the “Big Apple,” or the “City that Never Sleeps,” New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world today. It is filled with places of culture, entertainment, history, nightlife, music, food and drinks to entertain tourists all through the year. Here is a pro-tip – don’t try to see everything in New York on your trip, because you can’t. Take it easy, and enjoy the city as it unfolds unto you naturally.
Top things to see and do in New York
1. Central Park
The scenic Central Park is one of the top tourist destinations in New York. While it is near many attractions, you shouldn’t use the park to cross by to get to these places. The lush, green park covers an area of 843 acres, and is located right in the heart of Manhattan. With a history of over 150 years, Central Park is home to many hidden treasures like museums, zoos, exercise tracks, galleries and more.
2. Rockefeller Centre and Top of the Rock Observation Deck
This is a famous tourist-y thing to do when you are in New York. The Rockefeller Centre is a huge plaza, which houses many sculptures, skating rinks, shopping outlets, bars and restaurants. While you are here, don’t miss out on getting on the Observation Deck to get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful locales of Manhattan. If you don’t mind the crowds, visit the plaza during Christmas to see the colorful lights that adorn the structure and accentuate its beauty.
3. National 9/11 Memorial and Museum
This place pays tribute to the thousands of people killed during the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the lives lost during the 1993 bombing. The memorial houses a pool, which is covered by bronze panels. On this panel, you can see all the names of the victims of these attacks. The museum inside stretches across 110,000 square feet, and is a moving collection of information related to the attacks – social media posts, recordings, original artifacts and more.
4. Empire State Building
A trip to New York is definitely incomplete without visiting the Empire State Building in Manhattan. You can head to the top of the building on a clear day to get undisrupted views of New York City from a height of 1050m above sea level. The observatory on the 102nd floor is a must-visit, when you take a trip to this iconic skyscraper of New York. On important occasions and in the evenings, the entire building is lit up in attractive colors, making it one of the top tourist spots in New York.
5. Statue of Liberty
The Statute of Liberty, the most defining structure of freedom and democracy, was inaugurated in 1886. The people of France dedicated this statue to the USA, as a token of friendship. Since then, this iconic structure has become the face of New York. In 1924, this statue was elevated to the status of a National Monument. Take a ferry to Liberty Island, to view this remarkable beacon, but plan your trip well in advance to avoid crowds.
6. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Commonly known as the “Met,” the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the epitome of class, culture and art. It takes an entire day to visit all the exhibits displayed at different levels of this museum. The rich Egyptian and Roman art & architecture spread across the first floor and the Islamic art exhibits on the second floor deserve a special mention.
7. Grand Central Terminal
The Grand Central Terminal is not just any other ordinary railway station. It is a place that has traces of history written in every single corner. With its marble floors, neoclassical architecture, massive ceilings with the theme of a sky, legendary bars & restaurants and scores of stores, the Grand Central Terminal is a tourist destination in itself.
8. Times Square
The Times Square is a stretch of commercial outlets from the West 42nd to the West 47th Streets in midtown Manhattan. A visit to this place will give you a glimpse of the lifestyle and culture of New York in an instant. The New Year’s Eve Ball Drop event, where a huge crystal ball descends 77feet on the Times Square building, attracts thousands of tourists. Visit here after sunset to witness the grand neon lights on display.
9. Manhattan High Line
The High Line Park, located on an abandoned rail track on the West Side of Manhattan stretches across the three famous and active neighborhood locations of New York – the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen. This park gives a beautiful view of the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the renowned Hudson River. The constantly-changing public art installations, sunbathing hub and local food vendors cannot be missed, when you come here.
10. Brooklyn Bridge
Walking along one of the biggest suspension bridges in the USA, the Brooklyn Bridge, is one of the must-do activities, when you visit the city. In addition to its six lanes, this bridge also has 2 exclusive lanes for pedestrians and cyclists. It takes about 30 minutes to walk the entire stretch of the bridge, and it is one of the best walking tours you can enjoy free of cost. This bridge was inaugurated in 1883 to connect Brooklyn and Manhattan, and it is known for its architectural design. With great views of the East River and the skyline of the city, this bridge gives you lots of places to take photographs.
New York Travel Tips
- Plan your trip and budget in advance, because New York is one of the most expensive places in the world.
- Use public transport, especially the subway, wherever you want to go, as you can save time and money.
- Don’t forget to go on food tours, explore the local markets and enjoy the delicacies.
- Always use the sidewalks to move on foot, and respect your fellow pedestrians to avoid jams on the sidewalks.
When to visit New York
New York is one of the few places in the world, which exhibits different colors during different times of the year. So, you can come here anytime you want. Visiting during the winters (January and February) may get you cheaper hotel rates. The summer and spring seasons are great, as they are great for many outdoor activities in New York.