New York City is one of the most popular places to visit in the United States. It has an incredible amount of culture, history, and attractions to offer. And best of all, it’s conveniently just a few hours away from most major cities in North America. There are countless things to do in New York City for every type of traveler.
However, here are the main highlights, attractions, and 10 best things to do in New York City; the highlights you should not miss.
Best Time To Visit New York City
Sitting in the northeastern part of the United States, the empire state is home to over 8 million people.
The most convenient and best time to visit New York is from April to June and November to December.
New York is an iconic place to explore, especially during the holiday season with the snow, sparkling holiday lights, and overall festive vibes that genuinely warms the heart and soul.
You need a minimum of three to five days in New York to soak in the empire state. Whether it is a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, or taking a voyage on the Staten Island Ferry, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy.
New York City Pass
Traveling through New York City may be intimidating initially, but there is a solution to the hustle and bustle that New York is recognized for.
In some cases, a New York Pass allows free or discounted admission to over 80 places to visit in New York. The pass is only active for a brief period of time, with some good for as little as 10 days up to 60 days. A few types of passes available include:
(check links for latest prices and details)
- New York CityPASS: starting at $136 per person. This pass is perfect for people looking to check out every nook and cranny of the skyscraper capital. Well, maybe not every nook and cranny, but absolutely the entertaining ones.
- New York Explorer Pass: starting at $65 per person, this pass offers you access to your favorite attractions any time within 60 days of activation. This pass is ideal for both locals and tourists looking to take their time getting familiar with the concrete jungle and all of its hidden gems.
- New York Pass: this pass is the real deal. With access to well over 100 tours and attractions, this sightseeing pass is perfect for those who want to explore everything New York has to offer. Starting at $134 per person, there is no limit to the number of thrilling attractions to visit with this supreme pass.
- The Sightseeing Pass – New York: Available immediately online upon purchase, this is one of the most affordable ways to explore the Big Apple. Starting at just $64, this pass is an excellent option for all types of visitors. This pass offers unlimited sightseeing in a fun-filled cost-effective way.
There are many places to see, things to do, and delicious foods to consume in the Big Apple. Keep reading for a list of local and tourist favorites that highlights the top enjoyable things to do in New York.
Best Things To Do In New York
Feel The City At Times Square
Right in New York City’s heart, Times Square must be on any visitor’s travel list. Times Square encompasses what New York City is all about.
Standing in the middle of the square, you feel the heartbeat of New York through the hustle all around you. This part of the city never sleeps as you can roam the streets at wee hours and there’s still a bunch of people around.
Times Square is home to many lovely shops, tasty restaurants, lavish office buildings, and shining billboards; there’s always something exciting happening in Times Square.
It can get pretty busy so expect to spend typically no more than 1 to 2 hours roaming the scenic walkways around the neighborhood.
Escape The Bustle At Central Park
Located in the Upper part of Manhattan, Central Park covers approximately 843 acres of land, making it the fifth-largest park in New York City.
This lush green landscape is an icon in the city and offers an assortment of activities to partake in during operating hours. Central Park is a perfect place to escape the surrounding concrete jungle.
Get the whole experience and engage in an exclusive walking tour, bike rentals, or a romantic carriage ride. On average, expect to spend up to 3 hours exploring the urban park.
The park is accessible during the flexible hours of 6 am to 1 am daily; whether early bird or night owl, the park welcomes all. The perfect time to visit Central Park is during Spring.
Chilling at Central Park is by far one of the most relaxing things to do in New York. There is no entry fee to visit Central Park, but there are admission fees for the Central Park Zoo and any other attractions onsite.
Soak In The Views At Empire State Building
Standing tall at 1,454 feet with 102 stories, the Empire State Building is the most famous steel-framed structure in the entire world.
This sizeable skyscraper is located in Midtown Manhattan, right off Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. Its exquisite Art Deco design does not go unnoticed to visitors and passersby.
The Empire State Building offers 360˚ floor-to-ceiling panoramic views on the 86th and 102nd-floor observatories, open to visitors daily from 12 pm to 9 pm.
The best time to visit the Empire State Building is in the early morning between 8 am to 11 am. If you thrive in the night, the best time of day to visit is after 10 pm when the city is lit up and alive more than ever.
To skip the queue to this iconic attraction, get your skip-the-line tickets beforehand.
Admire Masterpieces At Metropolitan Museum Of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is considered the most traveled place to visit in New York. New Yorkers established the nickname, The Met. It is showcasing some of the world’s top-quality art exhibitions.
The Met celebrates over 2 million art pieces dating back from ancient Egypt to the modern-day. At only $25 per person, get ready to embark on a journey of over 5,000 years of art hand-picked from around the world.
It’s common to expect to spend around 2 to 3 hours on this enlightening experience. With no time to waste, sign-up for a skip-the-line guided tour for immediate access to history unveiled before your eyes.
Pay Your Respect At 9/11 Memorial & Museum
In memory of the victims on September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993, New York City established the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
Open to the public from Thursday to Monday from 10 am to 5 pm, the memorial is a place to visit, learn, and remember the victims, families, and survivors of these horrendous attacks.
Museum admission tickets starts at $26-30 per person. The Museum & Memorial is an exhilarating experience to see in person.
Go Back In Time At American Museum Of Natural History
Although I am not a museum nut, the American Museum of Natural History is one of my top 3 favorite museums I have visited. You can easily spend a whole day getting lost in impressive exhibits and tons of knowledge. From mummies to giant dino skeletons, it is an immersive experience even just browsing through the galleries. The museum is one of the most fascinating places to visit in New York.
You should book the ticket in advance during peak seasons as there are usually long queues.
Hear The Immigrant Stories At Statue Of Liberty
Located on Liberty Island, The Statue of Liberty is a New York staple and an absolute must-see attraction. As a symbol of freedom a democracy, it is a National Monument.
Most visitors tend to spend at least 3 hours here. Admission starts at $30.50 per person and reserves ferry access to and from the location. The best time to see The Statue of Liberty is during the refreshing Autumn and Winter seasons. There are fewer wait times and shorter lines.
You should head over on the ferry before 2 pm if you’re looking to get a peek at the crown of the statue. Ellis Island is a short distance away from the iconic, symbolic figure. To allow enough time for both attractions, expect around 5 to 6 hours of exploring.
This is one of the most meaningful New York monuments, featuring stories from the past.
Get Freaky At New York City Catacombs
New York has plenty of hidden gems, including, but not limited to, a candlelit guided tour of the infamous New York City catacombs.
The catacombs tour is an electrifying experience as you venture on an exciting 1.5-hour tour directly underneath St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral. The exclusive tour shares a taste of New York City’s history from below the streets.
Some might consider this one of the most romantic things to do in New York City if you’re into that.
Bohemian Vibes At Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village is an impressive part of New York neighborhoods. The streets are lined with trees and towering brick townhouses that embody the beautiful city’s essence.
Fun activities include the infamous Greenwich Village Food Tour, Ghost tours, a visit to High Line Park, and more. Locals consider Greenwich Village to be the bohemian capital of New York City.
Everyone who visits always seems to leave with a smile on their face after experiencing the vibrant and diverse art, music, and culture that fills the streets.
With over 400 restaurants and over 90 attractions, there is a lot to see. You can put together an itinerary and schedule some fun tours in this area. Greenwich Village is easily a 6 to 8-minute walk from the Subway.
Visit The Rockefeller Center
The Rockefeller Center is one of the most admired New York landmarks since 1985. It is filled with a cluster of intricate Art Deco architectural-style buildings that spans over 20 acres. It also features an ice rink, underground lobby and good vibes.
Stopping by the Rockefeller Center during Winter holidays is a proven magical experience. Every year, the city celebrates the holiday by placing a large Christmas tree to spread love, cheer, and holiday spirit.
The Rockefeller is one of New York’s must-see attractions and most fun things to do in New York.
Feel The Passion At Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden is one of the world’s most famous arena’s. History has been made here time and time again and is one of the most popular places to visit in New York.
Locals refer to it as The Garden and is a staple to any traveler’s itinerary. The Garden is home to the New York Rangers and The New York Nicks and has become an entertainment hub for concerts and events that bring the community together.
The Garden hosts tours daily starting from 9:30 am. Be sure to wear comfortable sneakers as the tours can last at least 75 minutes.
Tennis Action At Flushing Meadows
When it comes to Sports, the Flushing Meadows is an exciting place to visit in New York if you happen to visit during the US Open season. Home to 1 of only 4 Tennis Grand Slam Tournaments in the world, catch some first-class action in this world-famous arena. You can easily get there using the subway.
The US Open usually runs in August/September annually. The state’s ability to attract these top level competitions and events is one of the most exciting facts about New York for fans.
Discovering Things To Do In New York City
New York City is packed with hundreds of exciting and memorable activities and places to visit. After all, New York is known for both its day and nightlife.
While it is a fast-paced city occupied by busy people, it can provide a sustainable way of living, including high-end real estate, investments, and more.
If you are into mixing with people, weekends are probably one of the best times to visit New York City and check out the local attractions. Otherwise, weekdays will mean lesser crowd in the already bustling city. That goes for both day adventures and indulging the nightlife New York offers.