The 36 Best Things To Do in New York City

The best things to do in new york city

The Big Apple is brimming with culture, iconic landmarks, and endless entertainment options. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, there's always something new to discover in this bustling metropolis. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the best things to do in New York City, from world-famous attractions to hidden gems, ensuring you make the most of your time in the city that never sleeps.

Central Park, New York CityUnsplash

1. Central Park

Location: Central Park, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Spring and fall when the park is most colorful.

Spanning over 843 acres, Central Park is a green oasis in the heart of the city. It offers a retreat from the urban hustle and is perfect for a leisurely stroll, horse carriage ride, or picnic. The park also hosts concerts, ice-skating in winter, and is home to popular landmarks like the Bethesda Terrace and Central Park Zoo.

Times Square, New York CityUnsplash

2. Times Square

Location: Intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Anytime, but the area truly comes alive after sunset.

Times Square is the heart of the Broadway theater district and is known for its iconic billboards and bustling atmosphere. The area is vibrant day and night, offering shopping, dining, and entertainment options for all. Don't miss the opportunity to catch a Broadway show or be part of the famous New Year's Eve celebration.

The Statue of Liberty, New York CityUnsplash

3. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Location: Liberty Island and Ellis Island, New York Harbor
Best time to visit: Weekdays or early mornings to avoid crowds.

The Statue of Liberty is a must-visit landmark in New York City. Take a ferry to Liberty Island and climb the pedestal for stunning views of the city skyline. Nearby, Ellis Island tells the story of millions of immigrants who arrived in America, making it a fascinating historical site.

The Empire State Building, New York CityUnsplash

4. Empire State Building

Location: 350 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Early morning or late evening to avoid long queues.

One of the most iconic skyscrapers in the world, the Empire State Building offers unparalleled views of the city from its observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors. Visit during sunset to witness the magic of the city lights coming to life.

Brooklyn Bridge, New York CityUnsplash

5. Brooklyn Bridge

Location: Brooklyn Bridge, connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn
Best time to visit: Early morning or late afternoon for fewer crowds.

The Brooklyn Bridge is a beloved landmark that offers stunning views of the city's skyline and the East River. Take a leisurely walk across the bridge, capturing Instagram-worthy photos along the way, or rent a bike to explore the neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York CityUnsplash

6. Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)

Location: 1000 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Weekdays to avoid weekend crowds.

One of the world's largest art museums, The Met houses an extensive collection spanning thousands of years. From ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary masterpieces, art enthusiasts will be captivated by the diverse exhibitions. 

Pro tip: Admission is "pay what you wish" for New York residents and students.

7. The High Line

Location: Gansevoort Street to 34th Street, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Spring and summer months when the gardens are in full bloom.

The High Line is an elevated park built on a historic freight rail line. This unique urban green space offers stunning views of the cityscape, art installations, beautiful gardens, and a peaceful escape from the busy streets below. 

Museum of Modern Art, New York CityUnsplash

8. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Location: 11 West 53rd Street, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Weekdays or late afternoons to avoid crowds.

MoMA is a must-visit for art enthusiasts, showcasing an impressive collection of modern and contemporary works. From Picasso to Warhol, the museum houses some of the most renowned art pieces in the world. Be sure to check out their rotating exhibitions and educational programs.

Inside Grand Central Terminal, New York CityUnsplash

9. Grand Central Terminal

Location: 89 East 42nd Street, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Weekdays to witness the hustle and bustle of a busy transit hub.

Grand Central Terminal is more than just a transportation hub; it's a masterpiece of architecture. Marvel at the grandeur of the Main Concourse adorned with celestial murals and the iconic four-sided clock. Grab a bite to eat at the food vendors or simply soak in the vibrant atmosphere.

Inside the The Metropolitan Opera, New York CityUnsplash

10. The Metropolitan Opera

Location: Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, 30 Lincoln Center Plaza, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Check their schedule and book tickets in advance to secure your spot.

If you're a fan of opera, a visit to The Metropolitan Opera is a must. Known for its world-class performances, this iconic venue hosts some of the most talented artists in the world. 

Dinosaur fossil in the American Museum of Natural HistoryUnsplash

11. American Museum of Natural History

Location: Central Park West & 79th St, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Weekdays or early mornings to beat the crowds.

Explore the wonders of our natural world at the American Museum of Natural History. From dinosaur fossils to cosmic discoveries, this museum offers a fascinating journey through time and space. Visit the Hayden Planetarium for an immersive experience under a virtual starry sky.

One World Observatory, New York CityUnsplash

12. One World Observatory

Location: One World Trade Center, 285 Fulton Street, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Weekday mornings for a quieter experience.

Offering breathtaking views of the city, the One World Observatory is located at the top of One World Trade Center. Ascend in a high-speed elevator and witness the city skyline unfold before your eyes. Don't forget to explore the interactive exhibits and learn about the building's history.

The Guggenheim Museum, New York CityUnsplash

13. The Guggenheim Museum

Location: 1071 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Weekdays, preferably in the morning.

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Guggenheim Museum is not only a work of art in itself but also houses an exceptional collection of modern and contemporary art. Explore the spiral-shaped building and immerse yourself in the diverse art exhibits.

14. Broadway Shows

Location: Various theaters in Manhattan's Theater District
Best time to visit: Evenings to fully immerse yourself in the Broadway experience.

As the center of the theater world, catching a Broadway show is a quintessential New York experience. From musical extravaganzas to thought-provoking plays, there's a show for every taste. Book tickets in advance or rush to the box office for same-day discounted tickets.

The Vessel at Hudson Yards, New York CityUnsplash

15. The Vessel at Hudson Yards

Location: 20 Hudson Yards, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Late afternoon for beautiful sunset views.

The Vessel is a striking honeycomb-shaped structure located in Hudson Yards. Visitors can climb the interconnected staircases to enjoy unique viewpoints of the city. This architectural marvel has become an Instagram hotspot, so don't forget to snap a photo while you're there.

16. The Frick 

Location: 1 East 70th Street, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Weekdays, especially during quieter hours.

Housed in an exquisite mansion, The Frick Collection is a small yet remarkable art museum. It features masterpieces by renowned artists such as Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Renoir. Enjoy the intimate setting and appreciate the carefully curated collection.

17. Coney Island

Location: 1208 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn
Best time to visit: Summer for the full Coney Island experience.

Take a trip to Coney Island for a nostalgic experience by the seaside. Ride the historic Cyclone roller coaster, indulge in Nathan's Famous hot dogs, and relax on the beach. The annual Mermaid Parade is a colorful spectacle not to be missed.

The Cloisters, New York CityUnsplash

18. The Cloisters

Location: 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Spring or fall to admire the changing colors of the surrounding foliage.

Located in Fort Tryon Park, The Cloisters transports you to medieval Europe. This branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art focuses on medieval art and architecture, featuring stunning cloisters, tapestries, and illuminated manuscripts.

19. Rockefeller Center

Location: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Late fall and winter for the festive atmosphere.

Experience the magic of Rockefeller Center, particularly during the winter months. Admire the iconic Christmas tree, go ice skating at The Rink, or visit the Top of the Rock observation deck for stunning city views.

20. Roosevelt Island Tramway

Location: Tram Plaza, Manhattan (59th Street and 2nd Avenue)
Best time to visit: Late afternoons for picturesque views during golden hour.

Take a unique mode of transportation to Roosevelt Island aboard the Roosevelt Island Tramway. Enjoy spectacular aerial views of the city while gliding across the East River. Once on the island, visit the beautiful parks and take a stroll along the waterfront promenade.

Inside the Morgan Library and Museum, New York CityUnsplash

21. The Morgan Library & Museum

Location: 225 Madison Avenue, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Weekdays for a less crowded experience.

Discover a treasure trove of rare books, manuscripts, and artwork at The Morgan Library & Museum. Explore the former private library of J.P. Morgan, which houses an extensive collection of literary and historical artifacts.

22. Bryant Park

Location: 476 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018
Best time to visit: Spring and summer months for various events and activities.

Escape the chaos of Midtown in this peaceful oasis. Enjoy free events, relaxing green spaces, and the Winter Village with an ice skating rink during the colder months. 

Airplane at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, New York CityUnsplash

23. Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Location: Pier 86, W 46th Street & 12th Avenue, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Weekdays for a less crowded experience.

Explore the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier-turned-museum and discover the history of aviation and space exploration. Climb aboard vintage aircraft, walk through interactive exhibits, and even enter a retired Space Shuttle.

24. Chelsea Market

Location: 75 9th Avenue, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Anytime for a culinary adventure.

Food lovers rejoice at Chelsea Market, a food hall located in the former Nabisco factory. Indulge in a variety of culinary delights, from artisanal chocolates to fresh seafood. Browse the boutique shops or simply soak up the vibrant atmosphere.

25. The Whitney Museum of American Art

Location: 99 Gansevoort Street, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Weekdays or during member hours for a quieter experience.

Celebrating American art, The Whitney Museum showcases contemporary work across various mediums. Explore the ever-changing exhibitions and enjoy stunning views from the museum's outdoor terraces.

The New York Public LibraryUnsplash

26. The New York Public Library

Location: Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Weekdays for a quieter atmosphere.

Step into a world of knowledge at the New York Public Library, a cultural landmark that houses millions of books and stunning architecture. Marvel at the Rose Main Reading Room, explore the exhibits, or attend a literary event.

27. St. Patrick's Cathedral

Location: 5th Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Anytime

A masterpiece of Gothic architecture, St. Patrick's Cathedral is a spiritual and architectural marvel. Admire the intricate stained glass windows, ornate altars, and the peaceful ambiance of this historic house of worship.

28. Chinatown

Location: Lower Manhattan, centered around Canal Street
Best time to visit: Weekdays to avoid weekend crowds.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Chinatown, bustling with shops, restaurants, and street markets. Indulge in mouthwatering dumplings, search for unique souvenirs, and soak up the lively atmosphere.

Radio City Music Hall, New York CityUnsplash

29. Radio City Music Hall

Location: 1260 Avenue of the Americas, Manhattan

Best time to visit: Evenings for showtimes or during the Christmas Spectacular season.

Experience the magic of live entertainment at Radio City Music Hall, an iconic venue known for its elaborate stage shows and the world-famous Rockettes. Catch a musical performance, dance extravaganza, or even the annual Christmas Spectacular.

30. The Tenement Museum

Location: 103 Orchard Street, Manhattan
Best time to visit: Weekdays for a more intimate experience.

Step into the past at The Tenement Museum, which tells the stories of immigrant families who lived in cramped quarters during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Take a guided tour and gain insight into the challenges and triumphs of their lives.

31. The Museum of the Moving Image

Location: 36-01 35th Avenue, Queens
Best time to visit: Weekdays to avoid weekend crowds.

Film buffs will delight in the Museum of the Moving Image, which explores the art, history, and technology behind motion pictures, television, and digital media. Test your filmmaking skills in the interactive exhibits and catch screenings of classic movies.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden, New York CityUnsplash

32. Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Location: 990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225
Best time to visit: Spring for cherry blossoms or fall for vibrant foliage.

Explore a lush and tranquil garden in the heart of Brooklyn. Take a leisurely walk through diverse landscapes, including a Japanese garden and a stunning cherry blossom display in spring. 

33. Greenwich Village

Location: Manhattan, NY 10012
Best time to visit: Anytime

Explore the charming and bohemian neighborhood of Greenwich Village. Stroll through tree-lined streets, browse unique shops, dine at quaint cafes, and experience the vibrant nightlife. 

View of the Brooklyn Bridge from DUMBO, New York CityUnsplash


Location: Brooklyn, NY 11201
Best time to visit: Anytime for its unique charm.

Explore the trendy neighborhood of DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). Admire the iconic views of Manhattan from the waterfront, stroll along cobblestone streets, and visit art galleries and local boutiques. 

35. The Apollo Theater

Location: 253 West 125th Street, New York, NY 10027
Best time to visit: Check the schedule for upcoming shows.

Witness the birthplace of legends at the Apollo Theater. Known for its legendary amateur night and iconic performances, this theater is a haven for music enthusiasts.

36. Little Italy

Location: Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10013
Best time to visit: Weekdays to avoid crowds.

Experience a taste of Italy in the heart of Manhattan's Little Italy. Indulge in mouthwatering cannoli, pasta, and espresso as you immerse yourself in the charming atmosphere of this cultural enclave.

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