New York City is the most populous city in the United States and was initially known as New Amsterdam.
It has a population of over 8 million people and the residents of New York speak over 800 different languages. Along with all this, there is a lot to explore and you will come across many fun things to do in NYC.
Also known as the ‘Big Apple’, some of the NYC attractions include its iconic skyscrapers, museums, art galleries, mouth-watering cuisines, and many more.
18 Things to do in NYC
If you are planning on visiting New York City – the city that never sleeps and wants to make your experience as a tourist in this vibrant city more memorable and fun, here are a few things to do in NYC that you should explore.
There are an endless number of things to do in NYC whether you are alone or with someone. While planning things to do in NYC do not miss out on the best places to stay in New York.
1. Visit the Central Park
Located in Manhattan, Central Park is the fifth largest park in New York City. A visit to New York City is incomplete without popping over to Central Park.
It is the most popular urban park in the United States and also the most captured location in the world.
Central park has been designated the National historic landmark in 1963 and the New York City scenic landmark in 1974 because of its size and cultural position.
Spending the day exploring Central Park is one of the best things to do in NYC and another amazing thing is that it won’t even cost you a penny.
From enjoying the music of the street performers to attending free events and concerts to visiting the Central Park Zoo to having fun with bike rentals and picnics, there is a lot to do in this park.
Whether you are visiting with friends, family, kids, or alone, you are always going to have fun.
You should visit the Central Park landmarks like the Central Park Zoo, the Bethesda Terrace, the Sheep Meadow, the Strawberry Fields, the Central Park mall, and the lake.
2. Look at the Empire State Building
Also designated as the National Historic Landmark and New York City landmark in 1981, the empire state building in Midtown Manhattan was New York City’s tallest building until 2012 when it was transcended by the World Trade Center.
The Empire State Building is also the most famous in the world.
The construction of this building was completed in a record-breaking time of 1 year and 45 days.
Most of the floors of the empire state building are used as office spaces, however, the 86th and 102nd floors are for observation. You can enjoy the best view of the city that never sleeps from these observatories.
Book your tickets in advance and get stunned by the building’s architecture and design and don’t forget to visit the Art Deco library.
The perfect time to visit the Empire State Building is during the sunset because the view you will get to see at sunset will be magnificent.
So, you should add this experience to your list of things to do in NYC for sure.
3. Explore the Museums
Another one of the amazing things to do in NYC is to explore the museums. New York City has world-class museums for every interest whether it is art, history, or science. You will get to explore and learn about everything in the NYC museums.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) is the largest and finest art museum in New York City. It is also the fifth-largest museum in the world.
Ranging from prehistory to modern times, the metropolitan museum showcases art and culture from all across the globe. This museum has over 2 million art pieces and is located in Central Park.
Apart from the metropolitan museum, some other famous art museums in New York City are the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). All of these museums house a huge collection of art of all different types.
If you are interested in ”natural history” then you should visit the American Museum of Natural History. It is the largest natural history museum in the world having 25 interconnected buildings.
The diversity of Earth’s species, life in the ancient past, and the universe are studied by scientists at the American museum.
4. Walk on the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge built over the east river connecting Brooklyn to New York City was a suspension bridge built using steel for cable wire.
You all must have seen this bridge being featured in various movies and television shows. It has also been designated as New York City Landmark.
Strolling across this iconic bridge whether during the day or at night, you can enjoy the New York City skyline and take in views of skyscrapers across the east river.
You can also bike over the bridge but prefer walking so that you could enjoy the view better.
Taking a walk across this bridge is one of the best things to do in NYC if you want to feel like a resident.
After that, you can also visit the Brooklyn Bridge park, a waterfront park along the East river about a 10 to 15-minute walk from the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian, where you can enjoy amazing views, lush gardens, food and do various activities.
Another place to visit near the Brooklyn Bridge is DUMBO which stands for Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass is a waterfront neighbourhood between the Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge.
You can enjoy a lot of fun activities and be amused by the beautiful views of the city skyline.
5. The Rockefeller Center
The Rockefeller Center is an art deco, consisting of 19 huge buildings located in Midtown Manhattan.
If you are visiting New York in winter, seeing the famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree is a must among the things to do in NYC.
The Rockefeller Christmas Tree tradition was started even before the construction of the Rockefeller Center began as the first tree was put up a year before the construction began. A visit to this centre is a must-add to your list of things to do in NYC.
You can also watch a show at the Radio City music hall. There are music, comedy and theatre show at radio city you can choose any of these that suits your interest.
Times Square, the world’s busiest pedestrian is also located near Rockefeller centre. Enjoy the street performances, and the statues, watch a Broadway show (Broadway is the heart of NYC’s performing arts scene) and don’t miss the Madame Tussauds.
If you are visiting in winter, you must try ice skating at the rink. The Rockefeller Center also offers superb shopping and dining options and you will surely enjoy your experience here and it will be worth every penny.
6. Enjoy the Breathtaking View of the Hudson River Valley
If you want to spend a perfect, fun, and relaxing day in New York, the Hudson River Valley is the perfect place for you.
Located along the Hudson river, the Hudson Valley is known for its scenic beauty.
There are a variety of things and activities that you can do in this valley if you are here with your friends, family, or partner, or even if you are travelling solo you are still gonna have a lot of fun here.
You can enjoy the breathtaking view of the Hudson river from the valley.
Hudson Highlands State Park gives you a great view of the Hudson river and along with that, you can also enjoy hiking, fishing, boating, or bird-watching. You will get to see and explore a lot of nature in the Hudson Valley.
Farmers in the Hudson valley grow organic products on their local farms and the chefs in this region use these organic products in their dishes which makes them more delicious and healthy.
If you are a foodie, then the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde park is a paradise for you where you can enjoy the world’s greatest cuisines made from Hudson valley farm products.
The oldest wine is also produced in the Hudson Valley. You will find everything here from food to museums to nature and definitely will have a lot of fun time visiting this valley.
7. Spend time in the Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park is one of the best parks in New York City. It is known for its majestic fountain, a popular meeting spot, and Washington Square Arch, made in honour of George Washington (after whom the park is named).
Here you will find all types of people from children to artists. Explore the restaurants, vintage shops, and late-night music shows.
Walk around the park and enjoy the beautiful view of nature.
You can also visit the historical buildings or have fun doing picnics, sunbathing, playing chess, and other board games.
8. Take a view from One World Trade Center
One World Trade Center, earlier known as the Freedom Tower is located in Lower Manhattan, New York. It is 104-storeyed, the tallest in the western hemisphere, and the seventh tallest building in the world.
From the top of the One World Trade Center, one can get a 360° view of Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge, the east river, and the Statue of Liberty.
The One World Observatory hosts on the 3 topmost floors, where you can watch exhibits, eat delicious food in restaurants, and enjoy sightseeing.
If you are visiting the One World Trade Center, then you must also go to the 9/11 Tribute Museum which hosts original videos and personal stories of people who experienced 9/11.
Tourists will be able to connect to the real victims of the attack on the world trade centre and also learn about the loss that occurred to New York and its community on 9/11.
To get a more deep knowledge about the attacks, you can also visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum which displays original artefacts from the attacks.
9. Embrace the Beauty of Staten Island
Staten Island is a borough in New York City, that is often overlooked by tourists but is a great place to visit if you are on a long vacation.
The island is about a 25 to 30-minute ride from Manhattan on the Staten Island Ferry, which is a completely free ride and offers the riders a view of the New York Harbor, Statue of Liberty, and the beautiful York skyline.
On Staten Island, you can go to the Staten Island Museum, the National Lighthouse Museum, the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, enjoy the grand interior and performances in the St. George Theatre, and many more.
10. New York Public Library
The New York Public Library has acquired the title of the United States’ second-largest public library and the world’s fourth-largest library.
It is a private and non-profit corporation. The library has three branches in Staten Island, Bronx, and Manhattan boroughs.
Whether you are a book lover or not, you should pay a visit to this library as it is a majestic building that took almost 16 years to build.
The York Public Library is completely free for New Yorkers, however, if you are from outside the state of New York, then you should apply for a temporary card if you wish to visit.
11. Relax in the Bryant Park
A public park located in the New York City borough of Midtown Manhattan, Bryant Park was the site of deadly race riots during the Civil War.
The park became a public space after the Crystal Palace here was burned down in 1858. If this place is among your bunch of things to do in NYC, then the article has got you covered.
If you are visiting Bryant Park somewhere between October end to January start, you have got to try ice skating here which is completely free of cost given that you bring your skates otherwise you can also rent skates here which won’t cost you much.
Just like the Rockefeller Center, Bryant park also has a Christmas Tree illuminating ceremony where ice skaters dance and perform live.
If you are visiting in summer, then also there are a lot of activities that you can spend your day doing like yoga classes, dance classes, a reading room, an entertainment corner with board games, and the classic film festival that streams on Monday nights.
12. Plan a visit to the Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village is in the neighbourhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan. It is also known as the capital Bohemian capital and you should add it to your list of things to do in NYC.
One of New York city’s famous parks, that is, Washington Square Park has located in this village.
If you are a F.R.I.E.N.D.S fan then you cannot miss taking a trip to this village as the famous Friends Apartment Building is a part of this village.
Take a stroll on the streets of this village and MacDougal Street, located in the heart of the village.
You may get an opportunity to watch a superstar or to check out a world-famous comedian at the Comedy Cellar. You may also come across Gay Street, New York’s smallest street.
Do you want to watch a movie? IFC Center got you covered, which is a unique movie theatre. Here you will not get to watch some Hollywood movies rather they will put on some amazing independent movies.
13. Have fun in Brooklyn Heights
Brooklyn Heights is a residential neighbourhood situated in the New York City borough of Brooklyn and is known for its brownstone rowhouses and low-rise architecture.
There is so much in here if you want to explore or even if you are here just wanting to have fun.
Brooklyn Heights Promenade is the perfect place for you if you want to be stunned by the best views of New York City.
Visit the Brooklyn Heights Promenade during sunrise or sunset and get a chance to admire the beauty of New York by seeing the best views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and Lower Manhattan. Don’t forget to click amazing pictures.
Take a stroll in the streets of Brooklyn Heights and visit the famous “Fruit Streets”. The Pineapple, Orange, and Cranberry Fruit Streets are located just off the promenade.
By the name of these streets, you may be thinking that these are some streets famous for selling these fruits. But, you are wrong!
A large number of the pre-Civil War brownstones were made here and these streets are famous for their stunning architecture.
14. Watch events in Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden is a multi-purpose indoor arena, located in Midtown Manhattan, New York.
It is the world’s most famous arena. The garden hosts most of the biggest events of the season and the events range from basketball to concerts to ice hockey to circuses and many more.
The Garden also hosted the most famous and memorable Knicks NBA Championship in the 1970s.
A tour of this world-famous arena is highly recommended among the things to do in NYC whether you are a sports enthusiast or not.
You can do the Madison Square all-access tour to get to know and have a close look at how the Garden works from behind the scenes.
If you are hungry, go straight to the Pennsy Street Food Hall. The vendors here are serving something that suits everybody’s taste.
15. Go through the Bronx Park
Bronx Park is a public park in the Bronx, New York. America’s largest zoo and the Yankee Stadium are the two main attractions of this park which you check out.
Bronx zoo is the greatest urban zoo in the United States. Visiting Bronx Zoo is one of the best things to do in NYC if you are an animal lover.
It features 650 species and uses the tagline “Wildest Place in the City“. Bronx Zoo has more than 4,000 animals and covers an area of 250 acres.
The Yankee Stadium is a baseball stadium and is the home field of the New York Yankees. Whether you are a baseball fan or not, you are surely gonna enjoy the experience of watching a match here. The Yankees give you a completely next-level experience.
16. See the Outstanding Structure of the Grand Central Terminal
The Grand Central Terminal or the Grand Central Station located in Midtown Manhattan is the largest commuter rail terminal in the United States.
However, it is not just like any other train station, here you will get to learn a lot of history and see the outstanding architecture. It should be included in your list of things to do in NYC.
Here you will find a clock called the “Crown Jewel of Grand Central“, the information booth clock at Grand Central Station, which is a very well-known and most popular clock in the world and tells you the most precise timing in the world.
Outside the Grand Central Terminal, you can also find the second most famous clock in the world, the Tiffany.
One of the most popular spots in Grand Central Terminal is the Whispering Gallery. This place is an architectural wonder.
If you and your friend stand in two opposite corners of this gallery and whisper into the wall, you will still be able to hear each other. Isn’t that amazing?
There are a lot of other fun activities to do here like gazing at stars on the Main Concourse Ceiling, going on a shopping spree, learning history, dine-in the best restaurants, finding out why the Biltmore Room is known as the Kissing Room, and many more.
17. Explore other Islands
Another exciting thing to do in NYC explores the beautiful Islands. Ellis Island located in New York Harbor and is a federally owned island.
It can only be reached by ferries, which are operated by Statue Cruises and the Department of Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, New York City.
The two main attractions of this island are the Statue of Liberty and the Nation Immigration Museum.
Another famous island is Coney Island located in the New York City borough of Brooklyn which should be there on your list of things to do in NYC is Coney Island.
The famous attraction of Coney Island is the New York Aquarium, Deno’s Wonder Wheel, Nathan’s Famous hotdog eating contest, and Luna Park.
18. Get a Wide View from the High Line
The High Line is an elevated public park set on a railway line above the streets of Manhattan’s West Side.
On the Highline, you can see beautiful 360° views of New York City and contemporary art installations.
Eat tasty food at the Chelsea Market along with shopping. Visit the best Chelsea art galleries and museums on the High Line. Join free tours of the High Line by the volunteer guides.
There are a lot of things to do in NYC and visiting different parks and interesting places in the country should be among them.
In this article, we have discussed 18 amazing things which you can do once you are in New York City. Hope the excitement will rush you to visit this city on your next long vacation.
- Are 3 days enough in NYC?
Ans. In 3 days you can visit most of the sights of NYC. You can check out the main tourist attractions in just 3 days.
2. What is the number 1 attraction in New York?
Ans. The Statue of Liberty is the No. 1 attraction in NY.
3. Which are the cheapest months to visit in NYC?
Ans. January to March are the cheapest months to visit NYC. During these months, flight and hotel prices are low compared to the whole year.