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"Little Island", a new, free public park pier opened May 21,2021 at Green Space Located Within Hudson River Park, NYC,USA. May 21,2021.

The 100 best things to do in NYC for locals and tourists

Experience the absolute best things to do in NYC with this epic guide to essential eats, drinks, culture, parks and more

Rossilynne Skena Culgan

May 2024:   Looking for t he best things to do as  spring blooms  in NYC? Our iconic museums, big attractions,  and favorite restaurants have the coolest exhibits, shows and menus right now. This month, welcome the warmer weather with outdoor festivals, must-see museum exhibits and buzzy Broadway shows.

From its  art museums  (The Met and Frick Madison) to its  attractions  (The Bronx Zoo and sunrises from the Empire State Building), New York City is the best city in the world. Its dining and drinking scenes are still unbeatable and boast killer bars,  restaurants  and offering creative new inventions. Every day, we’re discovering something new and wonderful about our city, whether it’s one of the best parks , some  incredible views , must-see art, or hidden gem stores.

Time Out editors comb through our exhaustive things to do lists, restaurant reviews and theater reporting to highlight and select the best of the best for this ultimate guide each month.

So, c onsider below your NYC Bible. 

An email you’ll actually love

Time Out Market New York

Time Out Market New York

  • Restaurants
  • price 1 of 4

Time Out Market New York brings together amazing chefs, restaurants and dishes in one place for the perfect culinary sample of NYC—ideal for tourists and locals. Plus,  the fifth-floor rooftop hosts regular live performances on its stage and ongoing art installations can be found throughout the Market. You can find out what's happening every week here .

The 100 best things to do in NYC

Dine around at Smorgasburg

1.  Dine around at Smorgasburg

What is it?  Smorgasburg , the food bazaar spectacular, pops up at three locations around New York City with dozens of great local vendors. Smorgasburg WTC runs on Fridays; Williamsburg is on Saturdays; and Prospect Park is on Sundays. Each location is open from 11am-6pm and operates weekly through October. 

Why go? With more than 70 vendors, it's the largest Smorgasburg lineup since 2018!

Don't miss:  Vendors this year will serve up  fragrant Ethiopian stews, Hawaii-style street comforts, explosive pani puri, potato puff poutine, and lots more.

Pickleball at Central Park's Wollman Rink

2.  Pickleball at Central Park's Wollman Rink

  • Sports and fitness
  • Sports & Fitness

What is it? A 14-court pickleball installation via CityPickle taking over Wollman Rink in Central Park. 

Why go? The experience offering players of all skill levels the chance to reserve courts or partake in open play sessions every day—all in an iconic location. 

Don't miss:  Some courts will even offer cabanas that can be reserved for special occasions, think birthday parties, corporate team building exercises, family gatherings, proposals and more.

Walk through lost NYC landmarks

3.  Walk through lost NYC landmarks

What is it? A new exhibit, titled Lost New York , at New-York Historical Society. 

Why go?  It transports viewers to a time when pigs roamed the streets, shopping was a radical act, and New Yorkers used to brave polluted waters for a swim. The exhibition also documents long-gone landmarks like the original Penn Station, Met Opera House, Chinese Theater, and Croton Reservoir. 

Don't miss: More than 90 paintings, photographs, objects, and lithographs combine to tell the story of the city’s history and the importance of preserving pieces of our otherwise vanishing past. 

Get artsy at the Whitney Biennial

4.  Get artsy at the Whitney Biennial

What is it? The Whitney Museum of American Art’s landmark exhibition series, which pops up every two years. Expect a  gigantic showcase of some of the coolest, newest, and most provocative art at a big New York City museum.

Why go? It’s  the longest-running survey of American Art and this year, it's packed with fascinating pieces.  This year, the Biennial is themed “ Even Better Than The Real Thing” and features the  work of 71 artists and collectives.

Don't miss:  T he survey examines rapidly advancing technologies and machine learning tools; t he body and subjectivity as it pertains to queer identity, body sovereignty, motherhood, the aging body, and the trans body; m aterial agency and the use of unstable media;  and lots more.

Explore the history of Black New Yorkers in the 1800s

5.  Explore the history of Black New Yorkers in the 1800s

  • Things to do
  • Events & Festivals

What is it? A new exhibit at The Tenement Museum called "A Union of Hope: 1869." The exhibition tells the story of the Moore family who lived in Soho during and after the Civil War.

Why go? It's the renowned museum's first exhibit highlighting a Black family's story.

Don't miss: The chance to walk through re-creations of the family's two-room tenement, see a neighborhood map from that time, explore Census records, and hear readings of newspaper excerpts. 

Catch "Water for Elephants" on Broadway

6.  Catch "Water for Elephants" on Broadway

  • Midtown West Open run

What is it? The Broadway adaptation of Sara Gruen’s 2006 romance novel of the same name, which operates on the level of a fairy tale.

Why go?  Although Water for Elephants is set at a circus, and includes several moments of thrilling spectacle, what makes it so appealing is its modesty, not glitz.

Don't miss:   Where Water for Elephants  soars is in the real-life physical talents on display. Members of the ensemble perform impressive aerial routines on ropes, silks, hoops and straps, and show off a dazzling variety of skills: acrobatics, tumbling, balancing, juggling, Cyr Wheel.

Eat at a hidden pizzeria in a train station

7.  Eat at a hidden pizzeria in a train station

What is it?  A  subterranean pizzeria called   See No Evil Pizza  located  on the concourse level of the downtown-bound 1 train station at 50th Street and Broadway. 

Why go?  Ten, 12-inch varieties are crafted from three-day fermented dough made with artisanal flour from Italy and ladled with raw sauce (tomato pulp, salt, oil, mix), topped with ingredients like mozzarella, mushrooms, hot soppressata and broccoli rabe and baked for about three-and-a-half to four minutes. 

Don't miss:  A rotating lasagna is also on the menu, presently a Sunday gravy-style.

See The Met's history-making Harlem Renaissance exhibition

8.  See The Met's history-making Harlem Renaissance exhibition

What is it?   "The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism," a  groundbreaking exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum celebrating Black artists and intellectuals. 

Why go?  The Harlem Renaissance had an indisputable impact on American culture, but chances are that you probably didn’t spend much time learning about it in school. That’s because, even though it shaped global literature, music, and art, Black Americans’ historical contributions have been systematically erased or gone unacknowledged for centuries.

Don't miss:  The exhibit presents 160 works by Black artists from the Harlem Renaissance and delves into many different aspects of the movement, mostly through the lens of paintings and sculpture.  

Dig into life of Langston Hughes

9.  Dig into life of Langston Hughes

What is it? T he Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is honoring poet Langston Hughes and his friendship with photographer, filmmaker, and U.S. Foreign Service Officer Griffith J. Davis in its exhibit " The Ways of Langston Hughes ." 

Why go?   The free exhibit at the Schomburg Center's Latimer Gallery in Harlem will include photographs of Hughes and Davis, who met in Atlanta, as well as more of Hughes' friendships through letters, artwork and other memorabilia.

Don't miss: Not only will the exhibit bring to life an important era in New York City’s history, but it is also an intimate look into the friendships that thrived during the Harlem Renaissance. Among other items on display will be a watercolor painting by Joseph Barker of Langston Hughes' home and a letter from Hughes to his playwright friend, Lorraine Hansberry.

Dine at Untable

10.  Dine at Untable

  • Carroll Gardens

What is it?  Untable, a new restaurant in Carroll Gardens, calls itself an "unconventional" Thai restaurant. 

Why go?   It serves some of the best cocktails in the city,  the most vibrant tom yum purée you'll likely taste, knockout tiger shrimp and a fried rice that's out of this world.

Explore 100 years of NYC 'warts and all'

11.  Explore 100 years of NYC 'warts and all'

What is it?  A major exhibit by the Museum of the City of New York titled " This Is New York: 100 Years of the City in Art and Pop Culture " explores the contradictions of life in NYC through the lenses of visual art, television, film, music, theater, literature and fashion.

Why go? In this landmark exhibition, the museum showcases more than 400 iconic NYC items, from Carrie Bradshaw’s tutu to poetry by the Young Lords. 

Don't miss: A collection of hundreds of film clips paying homage to the city.

Be awed by 16 miles of colorful ribbons

12.  Be awed by 16 miles of colorful ribbons

What is it?  Titled "Divine Pathways," this monumental art installation is made up of more than 1,100 lengths of blue, red and gold fabric. Each ribbon measures 75 feet in length (approximately seven stories high). Find it inside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Morningside Heights.

Why go? Not only is the work of art beautiful, it's located inside the world's largest Gothic cathedral. 

Don't miss:  Public programming offering a chance to write yourself into the work by scrawling hopes, dreams and prayers onto the ribbons. Register here . 

Get a bullseye at this cool archery range

13.  Get a bullseye at this cool archery range

What is it?  Wild Captives, the nation’s first female- and LGBTQ-owned archery studio, which is now open in Brooklyn. It's a place where everyone can "be their own superhero." The studio in Brooklyn’s Industry City offers empowering and fun hour-long introduction to archery classes every weekend for $45/person.

Why go? Each intro class includes a chance to learn about different parts of the bow and safety requirements. After the lesson, you'll get a chance to shoot the bow trying to pop a balloon pinned onto the bullseye. 

Do a day trip to Governors Island

14.  Do a day trip to Governors Island

  • Parks and gardens
  • Governors Island

What is it? Thanks to its strategic position in the middle of New York Harbor, Governors Island was a military outpost and off-limits to the public for 200 years, but it's finally open to the public. The verdant, 172-acre isle still retains a significant chunk of its military-era architecture, including Fort Jay, started in 1776, and Castle Williams, which was completed in 1812 and used as a prison. The 22-acre area containing the forts and historical officers’ residences is now a national landmark.

Why go?  It's open year-round with fun activities for every season. The island provides a peaceful setting for cycling (bring a bike on the ferry, or rent from Blazing Saddles once there). The island hosts a program of events, such as concert series and art exhibitions (see the park's website  for schedule), and where else can you have a picnic directly across from the Statue of Liberty? 

Discover AMNH's new scientific wing

15.  Discover AMNH's new scientific wing

What is it? The architecturally stunning new wing at the American Museum of Natural History officially called the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation. 

Why go? Scientific wonders—including a butterfly vivarium, an insectarium and a 360-degree immersive experience—fill every inch of the space.

Don't miss:  With an insectarium and a butterfly vivarium, bugs get center stage at the Gilder Center. Why? Insects are the most diverse group of animals on the planet—and they play a critically important role in our world. 

Eat at one of the best pizza places in the world

16.  Eat at one of the best pizza places in the world

What is it?  The Lower East Side’s Una Pizza Napoletana , which was recently named the best pizza place in America, per the site 50 Top Pizza, billed as a "guide to the best pizzerias in the world."

Why go? The pizzeria's c hef, Anthony Mangieri, first started wood-firing pizzas in New Jersey in 1996, so he's definitely a pro.

Get naked at this comedy show

17.  Get naked at this comedy show

What is it? True to its name, comedians perform in the buff at Naked Comedy — and the audience is welcome to get naked, too. The show runs monthly in Brooklyn.

Why go?  The comics who perform at The Naked Comedy Show say it's a way to push themselves, and they promise it's a lot of fun. Plus, they insist, you'll never meet a more attentive audience.

Don't miss: The show! Sign up here for updates on upcoming events.

Visit the Museum of Broadway

18.  Visit the Museum of Broadway

What is it? The long-awaited Museum of Broadway highlights over 500 productions from the 1700s all the way to the present. 

Why go? You get to see props, ornate costumes, production notes and so much more that you wouldn’t get to see otherwise.

Score a deal at a sample sale

19.  Score a deal at a sample sale

  • Sample sales

What is it?  Every week, the city’s fashionistas flock to top-notch sample sales to grab beautiful frocks at a fraction of their original price, plus accessories, outerwear, shoes, home finds and more—why not take a page out of their book to stock up on some awesome holiday gifts instead? 

Why go? To score some designer goods for less whether you're updating your wardrobe, shopping for gifts or refreshing your apartment.

Play with bubbles at NYSCI

20.  Play with bubbles at NYSCI

What is it? The Big Bubble Experiment, an exhibit at New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) in Queens, celebrating beautiful, buoyant, beguiling bubbles.

Why go? The exhibit encourages kids of all ages to experiment and discover through the joy of playing with bubbles. That includes blowing, stretching, popping and looking closely to see what happens at each move. 

Don't miss: A chance to stretch large sheets of bubble film showcasing the medium's rainbow iridescence—and offering an excellent selfie opportunity.

Stretch out at Little Island

21.  Stretch out at Little Island

  • West Village

What is it?  Since it opened, Little Island has brought in plenty of visitors who flocked to see Manhattan’s newest “floating” greenspace.

Why go? It's filled with open lawns, colorful shrubs and trees and a secret garden. It's free to visit.

Don't miss: The park’s amphitheaters, The Glade and The Amph, offer a spectacular view of the Hudson River.

Head out to Masalawala & Sons

22.  Head out to Masalawala & Sons

What is it? A  buzzy but warm Indian restaurant from Unapologetic Foods.  

Why go? It’s a “celebration of India’s yesteryears” with wonderful macher dim, keema kaleji and unforgettably comforting rice.

Trip out at the House of Cannabis, NYC’s weed museum

23.  Trip out at the House of Cannabis, NYC’s weed museum

  • Weird & Wonderful

What is it? The House of Cannabis (a.k.a. THC NYC) is a weed museum in Soho.

Why go? While the museum boasts plenty of mind-bending multi-sensory bells and whistles, it also showcases art, highlights science and confronts the social justice issues baked into cannabis prosecution.

Don't miss: The Euphorium, a massive spinning record you can sit or lay on while listening to music, from The Doors to Santana. With the room's impressive light show and hazy vibes, it's like a merry-go-round for adults.  

Walk beneath a floral gateway honoring an LGBTQ+ trailblazer

24.  Walk beneath a floral gateway honoring an LGBTQ+ trailblazer

What is it? A colorful floral archway at Marsha P. Johnson Park in Brooklyn in honor of the park's namesake, the late transgender activist.  

Why go?  Beautiful large floral sculptures in pink, blue, red and yellow decorate the top of the archway, with gem-like petal designs along the sides.

Don't miss: Johnson adopted the full name Marsha P. Johnson with the "P" standing for "Pay It No Mind." "To her, this was a life motto and a response to questions about her gender," according to   the New-York Historical Society .

Sip local at Great Jones Distillery

25.  Sip local at Great Jones Distillery

What is it? Great Jones Distilling Co. is Manhattan’s first and only legal whiskey distillery in over 100 years.

Why go?  The 28,000-square-foot venue features a fully functioning distillery, a tasting room and several drinking and dining venues, including an underground speakeasy and full restaurant called The Grid.

Don’t miss: A tour detailing the whiskey-making process ($35), a culinary cocktail pairing experience ($145) and a hands-on mixology class ($110).

Find this secret artwork in Times Square

26.  Find this secret artwork in Times Square

What is it? Auditory art by the late artist Max Neuhaus. The installation called " Times Square " sounds like the echo of a bell ringing. It's hard to place this droning tone among all the other noises there, especially because the sound emanates from a typical grate right beneath your feet.

Why go? It's a revolutionary art project that's been a part of the city for decades but most people step right over it. It's easy to miss, but once you hear it, you notice it every time you walk past.

Don't miss:  This art! Head to the Broadway Pedestrian Plaza between 45th and 46th Streets (between Broadway and Seventh Avenue) and listen. We recommend visiting in the early morning when the area's a little quieter. 

Stay awhile at Milady’s

27.  Stay awhile at Milady’s

What is it?  A  new classic restaurant inspired by the iconic dive bar.

Why go?   Divided into “dive” and “high dive” categories, selections like the former’s jalapeño corn dog poppers and burgers are a treat. The latter’s shrimp cocktail and crab mac and cheese are quite nice, too.

Check out a ‘psychedelic’ sushi conveyor belt restaurant

28.  Check out a ‘psychedelic’ sushi conveyor belt restaurant

What is it?   Sushidelic , a psychedelic Kawaii-themed sushi restaurant complete with a sushi counter conveyor belt and plenty of kitschy, neon decor. It's now open at 177 Lafayette Street.

Why go?  It's the first project in the U.S. by Japanese artist  Sebastian Masuda, who is known as  the leading figure behind the Japanese concept of " kawaii ," as well as for his particular unique aesthetic and style.

Don't miss: The six-course "Pure Imagination" sushi tasting. The playful menu starts with an appetizer that looks like a dessert, the main course that is served in a sundae glass and the dessert looks like sushi.

Take the kids to the Bronx Children’s Museum

29.  Take the kids to the Bronx Children’s Museum

What is it: The 13,650-square-foot permanent space at 725 Exterior Street near Yankee Stadium is geared for infants through kids in fourth grade, with site-specific installations and exhibits focused on patrons’ relationships with the neighborhood. 

Why go: The destination currently boasts a 35-foot-long water table kids love, plus an exhibit where guests will get to look at animals and plants through a microscope.

Don’t bring anything to this Potluck Club

30.  Don’t bring anything to this Potluck Club

  • Lower East Side

What is it? A  Cantonese-American spot with a  “newish take on old classics.”

Why go?  It’s c asual, fun and easy (probably easiest when you make a reservation since it’s pretty popular) with the room and the mood for groups. 

Chill out at this giant urban bathhouse

31.  Chill out at this giant urban bathhouse

What is it? World Spa, a 50,000-square-foot space offering a slew of authentic spa experiences from all around the world smack-dab in the middle of Brooklyn.

Why go? Visitors get to indulge in Eastern European banyas (Russian steam baths with wood stoves), Finnish saunas, cleansing Himalayan salt therapy sessions, Turkish and Morrocan hammams (types of steam baths), Japanese onsens (hot springs) and much more. 

Take a class at the Starbucks Reserve

32.  Take a class at the Starbucks Reserve

What is it?  The Starbucks Reserve store at the Empire State Building.

Why go? You can take classes like the Starbucks Reserve Brewtender for a Day, Whiskey Barrel-Aged 101 and Espresso Martini Flight Fundamentals.

Play at nation’s first pétanque bar

33.  Play at nation’s first pétanque bar

What is it?  The  Carreau Club , the nation’s indoor pétanque bar, with indoor and outdoor courts.

Why go? Pétanque (pronounced puh-TONK) is a bocce-ball style French boules sport. Carreau Club makes it a great night out with a full bar, craft beer, wine and cocktails, and a small deli counter.

Immerse yourself in Harry Potter's world

34.  Immerse yourself in Harry Potter's world

What is it?  The touring show, "Harry Potter: The Exhibition," is now open in Herald Square, and it’s going transport you. 

Why go?  This experience presents more than a display of props and costumes. Through the use of dramatic lighting, set design, interactive technology and even scent, the exhibit will make you feel like you are actually there—in Hagrid’s hut, in potions class, dining in the Great Hall, learning how to fight the dark arts, fighting the Battle of Hogwarts and more.

Don't miss: Countless photos opps. There are numerous scenes set up for you to enjoy being photographed in, from Hagrid’s Hut and his giant chair to Professor Umbridge’s all-pink, cat-encrusted office.

Visit the Jackie Robinson Museum

35.  Visit the Jackie Robinson Museum

What is it? A 19,380-square-foot space with 40,000 historical images and over 4,000 artifacts that celebrate the late Jackie Robinson, who was the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era.

Why go?  Visitors will also get to explore an immersive experience “to better understand the racism and prejudice Robinson encountered beyond the baseball field, as well as stories of his lasting influence on sports, politics and entertainment today.”

Laugh out loud at "The Book of Mormon" on Broadway

36.  Laugh out loud at "The Book of Mormon" on Broadway

What is it? A viciously hilarious treat crafted by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, of South Park fame, and composer-lyricist Robert Lopez, who cowrote Avenue Q . The show brims with cheerful obscenity, sharp satire and catchy tunes, making it the most exuberantly entertaining Broadway musical in years.

Why go?  The high quality of the writing, design and direction. It's more than a collection of offensive jokes about female genital mutilation, bestiality and Mormon kitsch. You'll be left laughing your head off and saying, "wait, did they just say THAT?" 

Get a hole-in-one at Swingers NoMad

37.  Get a hole-in-one at Swingers NoMad

What is it? A "crazy mini-golf course" and entertainment complex straight from London with three nine-hole golf courses across 23,000 square feet under 20-foot-high ceilings.

Why go? "Crazy golf" is a British spin on mini-golf, but it's for a 21-and-over audience since craft cocktails are served by caddies on the course. At Swingers NoMad, expect six cocktail bars with signature classic cocktails from London and D.C., as well as 12 cocktails created specifically for NYC, private rooms you can rent, an opulent clubhouse and four gourmet street food vendors—Sauce Pizzeria, Miznon, Fonda and Mah Ze Dahr Bakery.

Don't miss: Taking your photo on the winner's podium.

Swap books at the Free Black Women's Library

38.  Swap books at the Free Black Women's Library

What is it?   The Free Black Women’s Library , a new free library in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy neighborhood, which also serves as a social art project, a reading room, a co-working space and a community gathering center.

Why go? All 5,000 books in the library's collection are written by Black women and non-binary authors. Anybody can visit the space to read, work or hang out. If you want to take a book home, simply bring a book written by a Black woman or Black non-binary author, and you can trade. Whether you decide to bring the book back after you're done reading or keep it for your collection is up to you.

Dine fancy at Le Rock

39.  Dine fancy at Le Rock

  • Midtown West

What is it? A l ovely, lofty and spacious restaurant with  French-adjacent dishes, including escargots and chicken liver mousse and excellent pasta, bison and duck. 

Why go?  Le Rock’s best plates are high enough above what most of its contemporaries are cooking to catapult it to the realm of very good. 

Get into MoMA for free

40.  Get into MoMA for free

What is it?   UNIQLO NYC Nights  offers free admission to NYC residents on the first Friday of every month from 4 to 8pm.

Why go? On these days, you'll get to explore the museum during extended hours and enjoy its second-floor café and Museum store.

Do LES Gallery Nights

41.  Do LES Gallery Nights

What is it? A free, monthly self-guided tour of local art galleries on the Lower East Side. 

Why go? Participating galleries and studios stay open after hours to allow visitors to interact with the work and the neighborhood in a new way. And yes, it’s all free!

Don't miss: It takes place the third Thursday of every month, from 4pm–8pm, with dozens of spaces to stop into, all organized via Google Map . 

Snap a photo with New York's "The Bean" sculpture

42.  Snap a photo with New York's "The Bean" sculpture

What is it?  The New York version of "The Bean," the iconic public artwork by Anish Kapoor that all but defines the city of Chicago. After five years of work, the sculpture officially called "Cloud Gate" is now on view in Tribeca. 

Why go? The mirrored piece weighs 40 tons and is 48 feet long by 19 feet high and sits right at the base of the 60-story tower found at 56 Leonard Street, by many referred to as the "Jenga building" given the particular design reminiscent of the classic game.

Get romantic at The Met's Date Nights

43.  Get romantic at The Met's Date Nights

  • Sex and dating
  • Sex & Dating

What is it?   The Metropolitan Museum of Art 's "Date Nights" gives visitors an opportunity to become acquainted with artwork with informal drop-in gallery chats, the chance to listen in on gorgeous live music and sip on yummy cocktails.

Why go? It's pay-what-you-wish!

Don't miss: Performances like include the celebrated contemporary string quartet ETHEL in the American Wing Café as well as a special edition of Juilliard’s ChamberFest featuring performances in the European Paintings galleries.

Relax at Governors Island's luxury spa

44.  Relax at Governors Island's luxury spa

What is it? The luxurious Italian wellness spa QC NY (by QC Terme Spas and Resorts) on Governors Island.

Why go?  The spa has relaxation rooms (each with its own meticulously curated personality, scent, and music), themed saunas, Vichy showers, infrared beds, foot baths, hydro jets, steam baths and other amazingly lush experiences.

Don't miss: The upside-down relaxation room. When you walk in, it's like you're walking on the ceiling—furniture and even a chess board have been painted and affixed to the actual ceiling to create this illusion.

Sit in for a tea ceremony at The Loft

45.  Sit in for a tea ceremony at The Loft

What is it?  Japan Village  at Industry City, which is both a food hall and supermarket full of Japanese groceries, has expanded upward with a 20,000-square-foot second floor it's calling The Loft.

Why go? You'll step into a representation of Japan with cool shops with items straight from the country as well as fun experiences like tea ceremonies and cultural classes.

Don't miss: Daiso, Book Off and tea ceremonies, which are announced on The Loft's website.

Have a night at the intimate piano bar at Fraunces Tavern

46.  Have a night at the intimate piano bar at Fraunces Tavern

What is it?   Fraunces Tavern's intimate Piano Bar Upstairs.

Why go?   The room above The Independence Bar is soaked in a shade of cerulean across its paneled walls, with pops of color on tufted red banquettes and gilded picture frames. Beer, wine, all manner of cocktails and a dedicated list of gin and tonics are all available, in addition to broad-appeal snacks, apps and entrées. Live piano music, of course, is also on the menu. 

Have your coffee brewed in a pan of hot sand

47.  Have your coffee brewed in a pan of hot sand

What is it? Sands of Persia, a dessert bar and hookah lounge, serving up Turkish sand coffee brewed in a pan filled with sand and heated over an open flame.

Why go?  Given New Yorkers' dedication to all things coffee, this not-generally-known method of brewing is sure to delight many palates.

Don't miss: The sweets menu (Fingerlime Chiffon Meringue, the Persimmon Wide, the Desert Sunset and the All is Well brownie with soft serve), a mocktail and zero-proof drink list, as well as hookah.

Experience Summit One Vanderbilt

48.  Experience Summit One Vanderbilt

  • Sightseeing
  • Midtown East

What is it? A heart-pounding immersive experience at  Summit One Vanderbilt  that sits atop the new 67-floor One Vanderbilt super-tall—a 1,401-foot-high—skyscraper.

Why go? It has a totally mirrored infinity room called "Air" that reflects the sky and city views over and over, making you feel like you're walking in the sky or on another plane of existence. Besides the absolutely breathtaking view of the city (where you can see all the major landmarks and bridges), is that it changes with the weather and time of day.

Laugh at this secret comedy show pop-up

49.  Laugh at this secret comedy show pop-up

What is it? "Underground Overground Comedy," a comedy show that takes place in unexpected NYC shops and venues like a gym, a rooftop, a candy shop, a music studio and a barbershop in a train station.

Why go? Since it only lists shows on its Instagram and each show is pretty small, it feels exclusive when you're one of only a couple dozen being performed to. 

Play ping pong 24/7

50.  Play ping pong 24/7

What is it? Ping pod pods—appropriately called PingPod—that have popped up around NYC recently. 

Why go? You can play at any time of day. The whole booking process is totally autonomous for some futuristic fun. Balls and paddles are provided, and you can even buy some drinks and snacks while you're there.  

Get sultry at Coby Club

51.  Get sultry at Coby Club

What is it?   Coby Club is a new, subterranean lounge on Seventh Ave that’s inspired by 1960s San Francisco nightlife.

Why go? The lush space pays homage to San Francisco Chinatown nightlife in the 1960s and one woman in particular who was at the heart of it: Miss Coby Yee, the glamorous dancer and owner of the iconic club Forbidden City. Yo u can swing by for craft cocktails and small plates as well as live musical performances and other forms of live entertainment.

Catch "Hamilton" on Broadway

52.  Catch "Hamilton" on Broadway

What is it?  Lin-Manuel Miranda's retelling of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton's biography—the greatest American musical in decades. 

Why go?  The show offers a sublime conjunction of radio-ready hip-hop (as well as R&B, Britpop and trad showstoppers), under-dramatized American history and Miranda’s uniquely personal focus as a first-generation Puerto Rican and inexhaustible wordsmith.

Shop at the world's largest Harry Potter Store

53.  Shop at the world's largest Harry Potter Store

What is it? The world's largest collection of Harry Potter merch is now at Harry potter Store New York  (935 Broadway in the Flatiron District).

Why go?  Every detail of Harry Potter Store New York  has been intricately designed, from the decor sitting on the shelves above all the incredible merch (yes, there are full house robes) to the design of the store itself, including  a room full of gorgeous HP stationary by MinaLima, massive models of Fawkes the Phoenix and a spiral staircase that descends into a space made to look like the Ministry of Magic.

Don't miss: Throughout the whole store, props from the films are displayed among the merchandise, from the major characters' actual wands to some of Voldemort's horcruxes like Tom Riddle's journal and the Ravenclaw's diadem. You can see these all up close but also scan a code next to them with the Harry Potter Fan Club app   that'll give you information about the items and a single letter that you will need to solve a puzzle. If you do, you'll get a reward at checkout.

Play games at Cellar Dog (FKA: Fat Cat)

54.  Play games at Cellar Dog (FKA: Fat Cat)

What is it? The venue formerly known as Fat Cat has reemerged with a new name, new games, and custom ice cream. Cellar Dog (75 Christopher St.) is reviving the Fat Cat tradition of late-night basement gaming.

Why go?  Games include pool tables, ping pong, shuffleboard, foosball, checkers and chess, as well as antique and novelty arcade games like Pac Man and many more. Live jazz and additional entertainment will also be booked throughout the week.

Don't miss:  Restored historic furniture familiar to the space, contactless ordering, updated restrooms and a a menu with small bites like movie theater-style nachos, grandma-style pizza, pretzels and custom ice cream. Wine, seltzers, and a variety of beers on tap will be served to drink. 

Belt it out at Ms. Kim’s karaoke lounge

55.  Belt it out at Ms. Kim’s karaoke lounge

What is it?  Ms. Kim's is a K-town karaoke lounge from Korean beauty entrepreneur Anna Kim that combines sophisticated style with sing-alongs.

Why go? Ms. Kim's offers both communal space and soundproof private karaoke rooms, so guests can customize their experience as it suits their needs.

Don't miss:  Signature drinks from the main bar, which start at $16, that include ingredients like butterfly pea flower, herbal infused syrups and top shelf spirits. Also check out the menu of Japanese and Korean finger foods.

Get sweeping views from the Panorama Room

56.  Get sweeping views from the Panorama Room

  • Roosevelt Island

What is it? Roosevelt Island's first rooftop bar and lounge.

Why go? Located on the 18th floor of the hotel, the "jewel box" space opens up to incredible views of the boroughs, the bridges and the East River, which shine like stars at night.

Don't miss: Art from artists like Julia Chiang, Spencer Lewis, Alake Shilling, JPW3, Chris Martin, Brian Belott and Ida Eklbad, selected by Venus Over Manhattan partner Anna Furney and designer/creative director Darren Romanelli (aka Dr. Romanelli or DRx). Artist Sophie Parker and her botanical studio, Wife NYC, will also make custom arrangements and sculptural artwork for the lounge.

Check out 4,000 years of history at the NYPL

57.  Check out 4,000 years of history at the NYPL

  • Midtown West Until Dec 31, 2025

What is it?  " The Polonsky Exhibition of New York Public Library’s Treasures"  spans 4,000 years of history and includes a wide range of history-making pieces, including the only surviving letter from Christoper Columbus announcing his “discovery” of the Americas to King Ferdinand’s court and the first Gutenberg Bible brought over to the Americas.

Why go?   It's free and fascinating.

Don't miss:   T homas Jefferson’s handwritten copy of the Declaration of   Independence;  stuffed animals that belonged to the real-life Christopher Robin and   inspired the Winnie-the-Pooh stories;  Virginia Woolf’s walking stick ; t he set model for the Off-Broadway production of In The Heights  and more.

Meet friends at the Talea Beer Co. taproom

58.  Meet friends at the Talea Beer Co. taproom

  • Williamsburg

What is it?  This woman-owned brewery with locations in Williamsburg, Cobble Hill, Bryant Park and the West Village serving up perfect pints.

Why go?  It's NYC's first-ever woman-owned and run brewery and taproom and it does beer differently than any other brewery — it's good for beer beginners and aficionados alike.

Don't miss: The Beer cocktails that use brews rather than seltzer or liquor, including The Talea Punch.

Visit the Frick Madison

59.  Visit the Frick Madison

What is it? The Frick Madison  is now open 945 Madison Avenue—the former home of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Met Breuer—while Henry Clay Frick's mansion undergoes a massive renovation. This new stint will last two years, and while the Brutalist building by Marcel Breuer is a huge departure from the Gilded Age mansion, the space offers a much different and rare look at the collection.

Why go? Unlike at the Frick Mansion, the Breuer building is a clean slate—stark in contrast, which actually helps to attract the viewer's attention to individual works. Eyes aren't busy looking at ornate furniture here. It's all about seeing the smaller details in the artwork that you might have overlooked at the mansion. 

Don't miss: The room reserved for three Vermeer paintings and Bellini’s St. Francis in   Room 13.

Pay your respects at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum

60.  Pay your respects at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum

  • Monuments and memorials
  • Financial District

What is it?  A moving tributes to the victims of the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and  February 26, 1993 .  

Why go?  Designed by Israeli architect Michael Arad, two of North America’s largest man-made waterfalls mark the footprint of each tower, framing the perimeter and cascading into reflecting pools almost an acre wide. The trees surrounding the area add to the mood of somber, tranquil reflection: Each one was selected from a 500-mile radius of the World Trade Center site, with others brought in from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington, D.C., the other places directly affected on 9/11. 

Don't miss:  The museum provides a complete picture of the courage and compassion demonstrated locally, nationally and internationally after the attacks, and it’s interspersed with pieces of the towers and other debris recovered by those who risked their own lives to save others . 

Take in a show at City Winery

61.  Take in a show at City Winery

What is it? City Winery's flagship location at Pier 57 in Hudson River Park always has a stacked lineup. 

Why go?  In addition to powerhouse entertainement from comedy to live music, you're assured a memorable meal and plenty of wine options.

Get creative at an '80s-style risograph workshop

62.  Get creative at an '80s-style risograph workshop

What is it? A class on  the speedy way to screen print layers of paint-like ink in order to create vibrant designs for posters, comics and illustrations.

Why go? It's a bit more complex but produces a really cool result you can call your own.

Don't miss:  NYC has several incredible riso studios to visit offering private sessions including  Lucky Risograph  and  Secret Riso Club .

Make something at Brooklyn Craft Company

63.  Make something at Brooklyn Craft Company

  • Arts, crafts & hobbies

What is it? A DIY mecca with workshops on all kinds of crafting skills, from knitting to macrame.

Why go?  They'll put your hands to work and your mind at ease. 

Don't miss:  There's an online store where you can purchase the necessary supplies you'll need.

Order some bagels and lox at Russ & Daughters

64.  Order some bagels and lox at Russ & Daughters

  • Specialist food and drink

What is it?  Russ & Daughters has been serving lox, herring and other specialty foods on the Lower East Side since 1914.

Why go? Russ & Daughters is already is our go-to spot for Jewish apps shelling out the best lox in town, so stock up on sweets while you're there. The classic black & whites, a stunning iteration of the classic cookies, are a must.

Don’t miss: The   Super Heebster, a mix of horseradish dill cream cheese, wasabi-flavored roe and sublime whitefish salad that forms a holy trinity with an unholy name.

Have a cuppa at Brooklyn High Low

65.  Have a cuppa at Brooklyn High Low

  • Prospect Heights

What is it? A hidden tea salon by vintage shop 1 of a Find.

Why go? The locale is meant to be a respite, where you can catch a break from the energetic buzz of New York’s metropolis.  Diners can choose from over 20 teas, from lavender earl grey blends to green tea jasmine.  In the kitchen, head chef Carlos Jimenez gets creative with his ever-changing menu, but guests can always find traditional scones and an assortment of finger sandwiches.

Don't miss:  Antiques and artifacts from Brooklyn's long history strewn about the salon.

Visit the American Museum of Natural History

66.  Visit the American Museum of Natural History

  • Science and technology
  • Upper West Side
  • price 2 of 4

What is it?  Whether you’re interested in the world below our feet or the cultures of faraway lands or the stars light-years beyond our reach, the American Museum of Natural History is bound to teach you a few things you never knew.

Why go? You can spend a whole day just looking at the taxidermied animals that hail from across the world and the ocean, study the human species and the evolutionary origins of humans and our near (now extinct) cousins, spend the day like a geologist, and be filled with child-like awe in the presence of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Wooly Mammoth and the Apatosaurus in the fourth floor’s world-renowned fossil collection.

Don't miss: The planetarium show "Worlds Beyond Earth."

Pick up produce at Union Square Greenmarket

67.  Pick up produce at Union Square Greenmarket

  • Union Square

What is it?  An outdoor, year-round market featuring seasonal fruits and vegetables, farmstead cheeses, artisanal breads, fresh-cut flowers, wine and more.

Why go?  You’ll find yourself shopping elbow-to-elbow with top chefs for all manner of regionally grown culinary pleasures.

Don't miss: Cooking demonstrations, beer and spirits pop-ups and book signings. 

Snack on some sweet treats at Fan-Fan Doughnuts

68.  Snack on some sweet treats at Fan-Fan Doughnuts

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant

What is it?  Doughnut fans surely know about Fany Gerson’s cult-favorite treats at Dough Doughnuts. Now she’s gone out on her own with Fan-Fan Doughnuts and the menu looks as good as ever. Be prepared for long lines outside— it’s worth the wait.

Why go?  From Mexican cinnamon to the glazed braided doughnuts, the menu is consistently changing with new sugary surprises.

Don't miss:  Get your hands on a Mensch fan-fan, filled with praline cream and topped with choc-choc glaze and toasted hazelnuts, before they sell out.

Stroll into Eddie's Sweet Shop

69.  Stroll into Eddie's Sweet Shop

  • Ice cream parlors
  • Forest Hills

What is it? If you want a real trip down memory lane, this old-school soda fountain and diner will tap right into the New York nostalgia you're craving.

Why go? This Forest Hills gem has been in business for more than 100 years and still that attracts all generations to come in for a homemade scoop. Aside from the famous sundaes, the chocolate egg cream is one of the most famous in the city.

Don’t miss:  The sundaes are still served in the same metal tins for the perfect retro touch. 

Explore Central Park like a pro

70.  Explore Central Park like a pro

  • Central Park

What is it?   The world's most famous green space.  Why go?   Explore Strawberry Fields, the Sheep Meadow, Cherry Hill, Bow Bridge, the Bethesda Fountain, the Naumburg Bandshell, the Loeb Boathouse, the Hans Christian Andersen Monument, the Alice in Wonderland statue, all in a "New York hour." To get the closest access, take   the subway to 72nd Street and Central Park West, then head east.

Don’t miss:  Head to the shore of the Lake at 72nd Street and rent a rowboat or take a gondola tour. 

Conquer the Empire State Building

71.  Conquer the Empire State Building

What is it? A world-famous landmark that towers above Manhattan.  

Why go? The main deck on the 86th floor offers stunning 360-degree views of the Hudson and East Rivers, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and more. For some fascinating historical background, duck down to the "Dare to Dream" exhibit on the 80th floor, which honors the 3,400 people who built the 1,454-foot skyscraper and features original photographs, architectural sketches and construction notes. 

Don’t miss:  You can now watch sunrise  from the open-air observatory, with Starbucks coffee and pastries in hand. 

Throw back a pint at McSorley’s Old Ale House

72.  Throw back a pint at McSorley’s Old Ale House

  • East Village

What is it? NYC’s oldest continuously operated saloon. Why go?  We love a bar with character, plus you’ll be able to join the ranks of past patrons like Abe Lincoln and John Lennon.  In traditional Irish-pub fashion,  McSorley’s floor has been thoroughly scattered with sawdust to take care of the spills and other messes that often accompany large quantities of cheap beer. Established in 1854, it has became an institution by remaining steadfastly authentic. 

Don't miss: McSorley’s Dark Ale and McSorley’s Light Ale. Both beverages have a lot more character than PBR, though at these prices, it won’t be long before you stop noticing. 

Pick up a tome at Strand Book Store

73.  Pick up a tome at Strand Book Store

What is it?  Founded in 1927, Strand is perhaps the most beloved indie bookseller in NYC.  

Why go?  With more than 2.5 million new, used and rare tomes—or as the sign outside says, 18 MILES OF BOOKS—Strand absolutely crams its shelves, with many new titles sold well below list price. Bibliophiles can spend hours checking the staff picks, classic novels, poetry, novels and nonfiction. We suggest walking up to the third floor, where early editions and rare signed copies are available for purchase.

Don’t miss: Perusing the $1 shelves.

Have a classic NYC bagel at Tal Bagels

74.  Have a classic NYC bagel at Tal Bagels

What is it? An iconic Upper West Side bagel counter. 

Why go? Is there a more distinctly New York (or at least NYC- beloved) dish than the bagel? Maybe. During morning hours? Absolutely not. The fact is that we do this weekend wakeup must—or afternoon stomach-padder, depending on how last night went—better than anyone. And although Tal Bagels provides by no means the most calming bagel experience in New York—for that, head to High Street on Hudson or Sadelle's—OG New Yorkers know that they're best eaten hunched over on park bench or at a bagelry counter top anyway. And we can't think of a better spot than this.   Don't miss:  The everything bagel toasted with scallion cream cheese. Still hungry? Discover all of the best bagels in NYC . 

Walk around and take in impressive street art

75.  Walk around and take in impressive street art

  • Coney Island

What is it? New York is the city where street art was born, and it’s still the best place to see it in the world. 

Why go? Catching art on the street is a far more visceral experience that seeing it on a museum wall. For proof, check out the Bowery Graffiti Wall on the corner of Houston and Bowery to see what world-class street artist is currently on display (past artists have included Banksy, JR and Shepard Fairey) or peep the rotating lineup of artists at Coney Island Art Walls.

Don’t miss: If you’re looking for an arty outing after dark, head down to the Lower East Side for the 100 Gates Project , which displays impressive works on the grates that cover businesses at night. 

Snag some doughnuts from Peter Pan Bakery

76.  Snag some doughnuts from Peter Pan Bakery

What is it? An old-school bakery famous for their doughnuts. Why go?  Start Sunday with a Bavarian cream from Peter Pan. Peter Pan isn’t a gourmet doughnut shop by any stretch, and in this neck of the woods, thank God for that. Its freshly made fried sweets and legit 1950s environs, complete with an S-shaped counter, means it’s busy daily with regulars. But trust us: The lines are worth it. Don’t miss: Pair your doughnut with one of the bakery’s tasty egg creams.

Take in Brooklyn Heights and the Promenade

77.  Take in Brooklyn Heights and the Promenade

  • Brooklyn Heights

What is it?  A ridiculously photogentic neighborhood teeming with tree-lined streets and Brooklyn brownstones. 

Why go? Be sure to walk the fruit streets of Brooklyn Heights (Cranberry, Orange and Pineapple) for that "Brooklyn-from-the-movies feel." And there's a nifty backstory: In the mid-1800s, prominent Brooklyn Heights resident Lady Middagh saw the "pretentious" street names in her ’hood—those named after Brooklyn’s wealthy families—and decided to take matters into her own hands by changing the street signs under cover of darkness to Cranberry, Orange and Pineapple. 

Don’t miss: Head to the water and hit the Brooklyn Promenade, a one-third-mile stretch of pavement along the East River overlooking an unforgettable span of NYC’s skyline. 

Adventure to the Queens County Farm Museum

78.  Adventure to the Queens County Farm Museum

  • Special interest

What is it? Though not as easily accessible by public transit as most NYC museums, this Queens County treasure is well worth the bus trek or car ride.

Why go? As the city’s longest continually farmed site in the city (it’s been in operation since 1697), the 47 acres feels like an entirely different world compared to Manhattan. Feed and pet the barnyard animals, including sheep, ponies and goats, hop aboard a hayride and come back during the fall harvest season when you can go pumpkin picking and attempt to find your way through the Amazing Maize Maze.

Pay tribute to those at Green-Wood Cemetery

79.  Pay tribute to those at Green-Wood Cemetery

  • Walks and tours

What is it? A beautiful final resting place in Brooklyn filled with Victorian mausoleums, cherubs and gargoyles.  

Why go? If you were alive in the 19th century, one of your goals in life was to reserve a place to rest here. Today, this cemetery boasts over 560,000 residents—including Civil War generals. But there’s more to do here than grave-spot: Check out the massive Gothic arch at the main entrance or climb to the top of Battle Hill, one of the highest points in Kings County and a pivotal spot during the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776.

Don’t miss:   A fan of all things spooky? Take one of the moonlight tours of the cemetery hosted around Halloween.

Hang out at Washington Square Park

80.  Hang out at Washington Square Park

  • Historic buildings and sites
  • Greenwich Village

What is it? A 9.75-acre public park that serves as the beating heart of Greenwich Village.  Why go?  It's one of the most iconic spots in NYC and has a ton of history, serving as the backdrop to many civil rights movements, celebrations and more. Don’t miss:  The chance to people watch, from admiring skateboarders' tricks to enjoying some music by buskers.

Visit Madison Square Park

81.  Visit Madison Square Park

What is it? Madison Square Park is a green oasis in the Flatiron district—not to be confused with Madison Square Garden.

Why go? There’s always something going in the environs (three streets by one avenue block) from outdoor art exhibits to free concerts.   The park is also home to the first Shake Shack, which still consistently see lines that would make the hottest clubs jealous. Tourists go for Shake Shack, workers go to eat their lunch, pooch owners go for the dog run, guardians go for the children’s playground… and because the park is dotted with benches, it lends for the best leisurely people-watching.

Don’t miss: Stepping onto the southwest corner of the park is debatably the hallowed grounds on which baseball was born.  

Reconnect with wildlife at The Bronx Zoo

82.  Reconnect with wildlife at The Bronx Zoo

  • Zoo and aquariums

What is it?  The biggest metropolitan zoo in North America. 

Why go?  If you’ve got a hankering to reconnect with wildlife, check out this Bronx go-to. With more than 265-acres of animals and wildlife, you won’t be able to see everything in one day, so consider taking a two-hour tour of the Congo Gorilla Forest, World of Reptiles or the Himalayan Highlands exhibits. Be sure to pay a special visit to the American Bison, too, which was declared America’s national mammal.         

Don’t miss:  Strapped for cash? “The Bronx Zoo is free on Wednesdays,” points out Danny of Flushing. 

Explore the massive Pelham Bay Park

83.  Explore the massive Pelham Bay Park

What is it? A sprawling public park in the Bronx.  Why go?  Explore the trails around Pelham Bay Park teeming with natural wonders. Pelham Bay Park isn’t just the end of the 6 line—it’s a green space three times bigger than Central Park. Among its treasures: two golf courses, a massive historic mansion, a 13-mile saltwater shoreline along the Long Island Sound, plenty of hiking trials and, for you bird watchers, a hearty population of osprey. Don’t miss: The Bronx’s only public beach, Orchard Beach.

Meander the Brooklyn Promenade

84.  Meander the Brooklyn Promenade

What is it?  A perfect place to enjoy a panoramic view of the city.

Why go?  This one-third-mile stretch of pavement along the East River is a favorite destination of residents, tourists and couples looking to make out next to an unforgettable span of NYC’s skyline. Breathtaking views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty are both visible from here, but the Promenade wasn’t originally built for aesthetic reasons: City planner Robert Moses originally wanted the Brooklyn Queens Expressway to run through Brooklyn Heights. After lots of opposition from the local community, the promenade was built to insulate the mansions and tree-lined streets nearby from highway noise and has been doing so since it opened in October 1950.  

Don’t miss:  Be sure to break off the path and head further inland to explore the beautiful brownstones of Brooklyn Heights. 

Take in a show at The Shed at Hudson Yards

85.  Take in a show at The Shed at Hudson Yards

What is it?  The Shed—the much-discussed cultural center in Hudson Yards featuring a retractable roof—is home to powerful shows. 

Why go?  The Shed brings together established and emerging artists to create new work in fields ranging from pop to classical music, painting to digital media, theater to literature, and sculpture to dance. Check their schedule for a show that fits your interests.

Stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge

86.  Stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge

What is it?  A true feat of 19th century engineering and arguably the one walk every local and visitor must take. 

Why go? This essential trek is is truly romantic, whether you're falling in love with yourself, a partner or the city itself. The 1.3-mile-long stunner was the world's largest suspension bridge when it opened in 1883 it has remained an iconic landmark of the city ever since. 

Don’t miss:  The Brooklyn side of the bridge ends in gorgeous Dumbo, where you can explore  Brooklyn Bridge Park , gaze at Lady Liberty, visit the Brooklyn Flea on Sundays.

Visit The Statue of Liberty

87.  Visit The Statue of Liberty

  • Liberty Island

What is it?  Since 1886, t he most famous copper statue in the world has held her torch high in New York Harbor as the quintessential symbol of American liberty. 

Why go?  The statue’s massive pedestal houses an observation deck as well as exhibits detailing the fascinating history of the 305-foot copper statue gifted to the U.S. from France to celebrate the friendship of the two nations. Check out the original torch and read the bronze plaque with Emma Lazarus’s poem “A New Colossus” (you know, the tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to be free). 

Don’t miss: Strapped for cash? The Staten Island Ferry is free and sails near the icon so you can get a peek. 

Meander along The High Line

88.  Meander along The High Line

What is it?  Chelsea's above-ground park and garden set on old train tracks offers a natural respite and 1.4 miles of car-free walking space set between the daring skyscrapers of Manhattan's west side.

Why go?   It's an innovative reclaimed space that inpsires no matter how many times you've walked along it.

Don't miss:   A rotating display of artworks that fill the space. Plus, there's a beautiful new bridge called the Moynihan Train Hall Connector , which allows pedestrians to walk all the way from the Meatpacking District straight to Penn Station using the elevated park.

Relax at Brooklyn Bridge Park

89.  Relax at Brooklyn Bridge Park

What is it?   Brooklyn Bridge Park, with its   grassy expanses, copious bike paths,   public art displays, basketball courts and soccer pitches, holdas a lot of fun attractions.

Why go?   The Pier 2 Uplands, three-acre site that includes a 6,300-square-foot lawn and a water play area, and the Squibb Bridge.

Don't miss:  Brunch or dinner at Fornino's on the waterfront.

Spend a leisurely afternoon in Prospect Park

90.  Spend a leisurely afternoon in Prospect Park

  • Prospect Park

What is it? A 526-acre sprawling public park in the heart of Brooklyn. 

Why go?  While bicycling, warm-weather picnics and weekend runs are a must at this park, you can do pretty much any outdoor activity your heart desires: there’s bird-watching, baseball, basketball and more. Don’t miss: We recommend roller skating or renting a paddle boat at LeFrak, which transforms into an ice skating rink in the winter.

Hang at the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere

91.  Hang at the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere

What is it?  A 1,131-foot-high-observation deck atop 20 Hudson Yards.

Why go?  To take in panoramic views of the entire city on a 7,500-square-foot triangular platform. 

Don’t miss: If you’re terrified of heights in the open air, but want in on the action, there’s also a champagne bar inside the 100th floor where you can sip cocktails with the same 360-degree views of NYC.  

Bask in art and architecture at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

92.  Bask in art and architecture at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

  • Art and design
  • Upper East Side
  • price 3 of 4

What is it?  A renowned art museum and architectural icon with works by Picasso, Peggy Guggenheim’s trove of Cubist, Surrealist and Abstract Expressionist works, as well as the largest collection of Kandinskys in the United States.

Why go?  Designed by original starchitect Frank Lloyd Wright, it's arguably the only New York museum that shows art inside a work of art. 

Don't miss : What makes the building a global icon is its stunning interior rotunda and oculus. There, along its ascending ramps, you’ll find a world-class collection, as well a full slate of temporary shows.

Get high at One World Observatory

93.  Get high at One World Observatory

  • Towers and viewpoints

What is it? An observation deck affording one hell of a view. 

Why go? Not only does it have the trippiest elevator in the city, One World Observatory is also a fierce contender for best views in the city. Ride up to the 102nd floor surrounded by a VR-like film, then admire the 360-degree views at the top of the tower. 

Don’t miss:  Gawk at the entirety of Manhattan and the Empire State Building on one side and the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges on the other—and then Governors Island and the Statue of Liberty on the other.

Peep paintings at the Whitney Museum of American Art

94.  Peep paintings at the Whitney Museum of American Art

  • Meatpacking District

What is it?  After nearly 50 years in its Marcel-Breur-designed building on Madison Avenue at 75th Street, the Whitney Museum decamped in 2015 to a new home in the Meatpacking District. 

Why go? Founded in 1931 by sculptor and art patron Gertrude Vanderbilt, the Whitney is dedicated to presenting the work of American artists. Its collection holds about 25,000 works by more than 3,500 American artists. Check out musts by  Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Edward Hopper (the museum holds his entire estate), Jasper Johns, Louise Nevelson, Georgia O’Keeffe and Claes Oldenburg.    

Don't miss: The views of the art inside are what you're here for, of course, but don't miss the skyline views from the museum's rooftop bar.

Go back in time at South Street Seaport Museum

95.  Go back in time at South Street Seaport Museum

What is it? A museum located in the historic Seaport District that tells the story of New York as a port city. There's an extensive collection art and artifacts, a working 19th-century print shop, and a fleet of historic vessels that all work to tell the story of "Where New York Begins."

Why go?  You can step aboard the famous 1885 Wavertree . Plus, admission is pay-what-you-wish.

See world-class works at the Museum of Modern Art

96.  See world-class works at the Museum of Modern Art

What is it? Institution housing one of the world’s finest collections of art from the 18th century through today.

Why go?  Around nearly every corner of the venerated museum is a seminal piece by an artist trumpeted in art history or coveted by contemporary collectors. During the height of tourist season, around Christmas and again in late spring and summer, expect a shoving-match just to catch a momentary glance at Van Gogh’s Starry Night or Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon . 

Don’t miss: Can't swing the entrance free? Visit during MoMA's free Friday nights, held on select evenings.

Immerse yourself in Buddhist culture at the Rubin

97.  Immerse yourself in Buddhist culture at the Rubin

What is it? Donald and Shelley Rubin’s impressive collection of Himalayan, Indian and Buddhist art and artifacts on display.

Why go? Spiritual types will love this museum, which is dedicated to Himalayan and Buddhist art and features lectures, movies, music and more. The museum is layered over five gallery floors in the old Barney’s New York space on 17th street. The awe-inspiring works range from classical to contemporary giving visitors a well-rounded experience with Eastern cultures.

Have a feast at Chelsea Market

98.  Have a feast at Chelsea Market

  • Shopping centers

What is it?  One of New York’s most notable food halls that boasts more than 35 vendors. 

Why go? While this  hot spot for foodies and shopping addicts  can get congested with tourists during peak hours, it’s worth throwing some elbows for Middle Eastern bites from Miznon, tacos from Los Tacos No.1 and halva from Seed + Mill.  Aside from finger-lickin’ fare and sweet merchandise, the attraction offers historical charms such as the market’s iconic fountain, which was crafted using discarded drill bits and exposed pipe from the former Nabisco factory. 

Get slimy at Sloomoo

99.  Get slimy at Sloomoo

What is it? Part visual splendor, part olfactory wonder and part ooey-gooey sensory fun, Sloomoo Institute’s slime museum welcomes all ages to its home in Soho.

Why go?  While Sloomoo is a highly Instagrammable experience, the founders hope you’ll spend some time away from your phone and immersed in the moment during your 90-minute visit to truly have the slime of your life.

Don't miss: The DIY slime bar where you can make your own slime to take home. 

Make a great escape to the Cloisters

100.  Make a great escape to the Cloisters

  • Washington Heights

What is it?  Set in a lovely park overlooking the Hudson River, the Cloisters houses the Met’s medieval art and architecture collections.

Why go?  Soak it all in by following a path that winds through the peaceful grounds to a castle that seems to have survived from the Middle Ages. (It was built less than 100 years ago, using material from five medieval French cloisters.)  

Don’t miss:  The famous Unicorn Tapestries, the 12th-century Fuentidueña Chapel and the Annunciation Triptych by Robert Campin.  

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The best things to do in the world right now

The best things to do in the world right now

Music, art, food, nature and the year’s biggest parties—these are very best things to do and see right now, anywhere in the world.

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New York City   Travel Guide

local places to visit in nyc

34 Best Things to Do in NYC

There are countless reasons to be mesmerized by New York, from its skyscrapers and monuments to its vibrant art, food, fashion and nightlife. Across the city, fresh perspectives are yours to be found; go for a stroll in Central Park or along the High

  • All Things To Do
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local places to visit in nyc

Central Park Central Park free

This part-park, part-museum, part-concert hall swallows central Manhattan, and many of the city's most notable attractions are situated next to it or within its limits ( the Guggenheim , the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History , to name a few). But travelers insist that you shouldn't just pass through Central Park on your way to another place. This 843-acre green space is a favorite of New Yorkers and tourists; you can come here to exercise, dine, go to the zoo and more.

Almost everyone has a positive impression of the park, but no one has quite the same experience or recommends that you do quite the same thing. There's an almost impossible amount of sights to see here (hidden treasures, indeed), including more than 20 playgrounds, 48 fountains, monuments or sculptures, and 30 bridges. Here's a shortlist:

local places to visit in nyc

National September 11 Memorial & Museum National September 11 Memorial & Museum

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum serves as the primary tribute to the nearly 3,000 victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks, as well as the six lost in the 1993 bombing. The memorial's twin reflecting pools and human-made waterfalls rest as eerie footprints where the World Trade Center's twin towers once stood. The 1-acre pools are enclosed in bronze panels on which the names of every victim are inscribed. The museum spans across 110,000 square feet and relays the narrative of the attacks through a series of multimedia displays, real-time recordings, authentic artifacts and an interactive table.

Recent visitors cited the overall atmosphere of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum as sobering and moving. Many travelers say they were impressed with the site as a whole, noting its respectful and informational displays. Reviewers say you won't want to rush your time here, with some recommending that you budget three to four hours to see all of the exhibits.

local places to visit in nyc

Empire State Building Empire State Building

U.S. News Insider Tip: Watch out for "sunset peak" pricing, which adds an extra $10 per ticket for two hours around sunset each evening. But on a clear day, it just might be worth it. – Elizabeth Von Tersch, Senior Editor

New York City Tourist 101 dictates that you must swing by this landmark structure in midtown Manhattan. And despite the hefty admission fees, the crowds and the long lines, recent visitors insist that you won't be sorry. In fact, taking a trip to the top of the Empire State Building is either the perfect way to begin or end your Big Apple excursion – on a clear day you'll be able to the see the city's major highlights some 1,250 feet beneath you. 

local places to visit in nyc

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local places to visit in nyc

Metropolitan Museum of Art Metropolitan Museum of Art

U.S. News Insider Tip: Come for the art, stay for the rooftop cocktails. A seasonal rooftop garden bar offers views over Central Park, which is especially coveted at sunset. The roof garden stays open into the evening on Friday and Saturday. – Jessica Colley Clarke

No museum in the United States is as celebrated as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Spilling over with masterpieces from all over the world, including notable collections from ancient Egypt and classical antiquity, "the Met" is an art experience unlike any other, and like much in New York, it's impossible to see all the museum has to offer in one day (or even two days, for that matter). 

local places to visit in nyc

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Statue of Liberty is at the top of many travelers’ must-see lists. A feat of 19th-century technical engineering and a beacon for immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, the statue can be admired from several different vantage points around Manhattan, including Battery Park and the High Line . But to truly appreciate its size and significance, you’ll want to visit the statue and Ellis Island while on your NYC vacation.

The only way to access the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is by using the official National Park Service ferry operator, Statue City Cruises. If you’re departing from the New York side, you’ll hop on a ferry at Battery Park in lower Manhattan. If you’re departing from the New Jersey side, you’ll depart from Liberty State Park in Jersey City. The ferry ride takes approximately 15 minutes.

local places to visit in nyc

Brooklyn Bridge Brooklyn Bridge free

One of many signature landmarks of New York City, the Brooklyn Bridge is also one of the oldest suspension bridges in the country and a National Historic Landmark. Its six lanes (and one pedestrian and bicycle walkway) span the East River, connecting Manhattan to Brooklyn. Walking across the bridge remains a tourist pastime.

Some visitors decide to skip the bridge in favor of other attractions, but if you're short on money, this truly is one of the best ways to experience the city and to get a unique view of either borough at no cost. Several reviewers warn that since there is no shade along the bridge, it can get quite hot in the summertime (though there are vendors selling bottles of water). Many also warned that it can get quite crowded, and advised visiting in the morning before 9 a.m. if you don't want to maneuver around crowds.

local places to visit in nyc

The High Line The High Line free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Visit early in the morning or on a weekday to avoid crowds. If you walk from north to south, add on a visit to The Standard Biergarten or the vibrant Chelsea Market for great people-watching, food and drink. – Erin Evans, Managing Editor

Set on an abandoned rail track on Manhattan's West Side, this sprawling, nearly 1½-mile-long landscaped park stretches over three of the city's most lively neighborhoods: the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen. Standing 30 feet above street level, the High Line offers sweeping views of the Hudson River and Manhattan's cityscape. But the vista isn't the only reason visitors and Manhattanites flock to this manicured green space. Here, you'll find continually changing public art installations, a handful of food vendors and a sprawling picnic and sunbathing area (known as the 23rd Street Lawn).

local places to visit in nyc

NYC Food Tours NYC Food Tours

Known for everything from cheap eats to authentic international fare to Michelin-starred restaurants, New York City is a culinary hot spot and undoubtedly one of the best foodie cities in America . However, chances are you won't have time to experience everything the city has to offer in just one trip. One way to get a taste of New York's excellent cuisine across a variety of neighborhoods is to take a food tour.

Whether you want to explore a particular borough or neighborhood, or even a specific cuisine or dish, you'll find a tour to appease your taste buds. Relying on traveler reviews and expert analysis, U.S. News rounded up the best food tours in New York City . Though tours vary in length and price, they all receive rave reviews from past travelers, who applauded the variety of food and the expert knowledge of the guides.

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Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour: All Options

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New York Helicopter Tour: Ultimate Manhattan Sightseeing

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local places to visit in nyc

Washington Square Park Washington Square Park free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Finding an empty bench in Washington Square Park after visiting one of the neighborhood's independent bookstores – from The Strand to Three Lives & Company to Left Bank Books – is a true lower Manhattan pleasure. – Jessica Colley Clarke

The central gathering place of Greenwich Village is Washington Square Park, an almost 10-acre green space known for its downtown buzz. Here, kids splash in the fountain, musicians perform to a crowd, artists sell sketches or photographs, and chess enthusiasts gather to challenge each other to a game. What was historically a cemetery and later a bohemian hot spot is now a neighborhood institution that draws locals and visitors alike with its kids' playground, sizable dog run and ample shady space for picnics. An arch dedicated to George Washington is the dominant architectural feature of the park. 

local places to visit in nyc

Broadway Broadway

U.S. News Insider Tip: Start your day with a stop at the TKTS booth in Times Square or at the Lincoln Center location to snag discounted same-day tickets for an array of Broadway and off-Broadway shows. – Catriona Kendall, Associate Editor

Some out-of-towners spend their entire New York trip at one show or another on the Broadway circuit. And if you like plays and musicals, this is where you should be: "The Great White Way" represents the heart and soul of American theater. Considering that nearby Times Square is a dizzying maze of sights and sounds with no real starting point, some visitors suggest you can see all you need to of that neighborhood just by trundling back and forth between shows. 

local places to visit in nyc

One World Observatory One World Observatory

Formerly known as Freedom Tower, One World Trade Center is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex in lower Manhattan. This observatory sits atop the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the highest point in the city. You'll find it adjacent to the 9/11 Memorial . At more than 125,000 square feet, the three-level observatory is located on the 100th, 101st and 102nd floors of this office skyscraper. Travelers enjoy the panoramic, 360-degree views, up to 45 miles in every direction on clear days. 

Visitors reach the observatory by direct express elevators known as SkyPods. The trip upward includes a visual presentation showing how New York has changed over the decades, from open land to smaller buildings to skyscrapers. The trip takes less than a minute. Expect a multimedia presentation at the top before stunning views are revealed. A restaurant and bar on the 101st floor are open to guests who have purchased tickets to the observatory. 

local places to visit in nyc

Grand Central Terminal Grand Central Terminal free

At this beautiful train station, you can eat some lunch or shop till you drop, but recent travelers most enjoyed just taking in the scenery. Before you enter, be sure to snap a few shots of the exterior's ornate beaux-arts neoclassical architecture. Inside the celebrated main concourse, you're treated to glimmering marble floors, gold and nickel-plated chandeliers and a sky-themed ceiling. Other must-sees include the Information Booth clock, the Whispering Gallery and Grand Central Market, a European-style food market that sells produce, gourmet ingredients and treats. Food options range from the upscale (Cipriani Dolci and The Campbell Bar) to the legendary (the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant) to the fast and easy (Shake Shack). As mentioned, there are also plenty of shopping options, though most travelers suggest you leave most of Grand Central's pricey merchandise in the store. If you want a train-themed souvenir, visit The New York Transit Museum Store in the shuttle passage.

Travelers call the train station "iconic" and say it's a beautiful space to walk through or to grab a meal and people-watch.

local places to visit in nyc

Bryant Park Bryant Park free

U.S. News Insider Tip: This Midtown park draws crowds for two seasonal events: summer movie nights under the stars and a holiday market complete with ice skating. For summer picnics or winter shopping sprees, Bryant Park delivers year-round. – Jessica Colley Clarke

Sprawling across nearly 10 acres, Bryant Park sits just south of Times Square – though it feels a world away. Though its lush green space has existed for more than 150 years, Bryant Park was a revitalization project of the 1990s that made it a sanctuary for locals and tourists alike. This is the preferred place for midtown Manhattan professionals to eat lunch, for fashionistas to strut during fashion week and for performers to showcase their talents during annual events like Broadway in Bryant Park and Piano in Bryant Park. If you're interested in learning more about the park's history, consider joining one of its free tours. Tours, which last 45 minutes, are free and offered every other Wednesday, year-round. 

local places to visit in nyc

New York City Statue of Liberty Super Express Cruise

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local places to visit in nyc

Staten Island Ferry Staten Island Ferry free

Perhaps the most famous ferry service in the United States, the Staten Island Ferry runs daily between the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in lower Manhattan and St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island. The city has been operating the ferry service since 1905 and transports some 70,000 passengers across New York Harbor every day. It’s one of the last remaining vestiges of an entire ferry system that served New York City residents before the construction of any bridges.  

But the Staten Island Ferry is more than a transportation service; it’s an attraction, drawing tens of thousands of out-of-town visitors a year for a free ride across the harbor (that’s right, no charge; the service is provided by the City of New York). The 5-mile ride lasts about 25 minutes. Passengers must disembark and then reboard to make the return trip to Manhattan. Travelers remark about the views of the Statue of Liberty , Ellis Island, Manhattan skyscrapers and the bridges of lower Manhattan. 

local places to visit in nyc

Museum of Modern Art Museum of Modern Art

You don't have to be an art lover to appreciate the Museum of Modern Art; this airy midtown gallery also doubles as a shrine of pop culture and 20th century history. Some of the most significant contemporary pieces hang on its walls, including Picasso's "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," Warhol's "Campbell's Soup Cans," Van Gogh's "Starry Night," Dalí's "The Persistence of Memory," Monet's "Water Lilies," and the list goes on and on. In October 2019, the museum reopened after completing an expansion project that added more than 40,000 square feet of gallery space, as well as a performance studio that features live programming.

Recent travelers were impressed by the extensive art collection and loved being able to see the museum's famous paintings. The $30 entry fee for adults ($17 for students; $22 for seniors; free for kids 16 and younger) can be hard to stomach for some, but reviewers insist you won't regret the money spent. A few travelers express disappointment with the crowds (which are most common on rainy days), but suggest getting some fresh air at the museum's Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden.

local places to visit in nyc

New York Public Library New York Public Library free

U.S. News Insider Tip:  If you love all things book-related, consider visiting The Morgan Library & Museum nearby, which features J.P. Morgan's stunning 1906 library. The museum offers free admisson (and live jazz music) on Fridays from 5 to 7 p.m. – Elizabeth Von Tersch, Senior Editor

This main branch, officially called the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, attracts plenty of book lovers, history junkies and architecture aficionados. Most people swing by the Bryant Park landmark to say hello to Patience and Fortitude (the famous marble lions guarding the entrance) and to admire the lovely beaux-arts design.

local places to visit in nyc

American Museum of Natural History American Museum of Natural History

Visitors love the American Museum of Natural History off Central Park West. Whether you're exploring the interactive exhibits on the land, the sea or outer space; user reviews take on a common theme. This museum is incredible. Even the cafeteria and gift shop are worth your notice.

There are more than 34 million artifacts inside, spread across four city blocks, 26 buildings and through 45 exhibition halls, so don't plan on seeing everything in one day. The Rose Center for Earth and Space is a particular favorite, but you should also plan on visiting the dinosaurs, the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Hall of the Universe and the Butterfly Conservatory (accessible November through May), which houses nearly 500 butterflies. Local experts say the institution is one of the city's can't-miss museums , especially for families.

local places to visit in nyc

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Wander along Brooklyn's Washington Avenue, and you can't avoid stumbling upon this verdant 52-acre park. A main highlight here is the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, punctuated by wooden bridges and Japanese maples. And if you arrive at the end of April, you can't miss the Cherry Esplanade ( Sakura Matsuri ) when rosy cherry blossoms burst into bloom. Another standout: the Shakespeare Garden, which contains more than 80 plants described in the playwright's works.

Thanks to the garden's extensive collection, which includes 13 gardens and five conservatories, there's plenty of scenery to soak up here. Plus, you can take advantage of year-round exhibits and events, such as children's gardening workshops and Lightscape, the annual wintertime lights display. After you've taken respite in Brooklyn's cherished green space, recent visitors suggest moseying over to two staples located down the street: Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Museum.

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local places to visit in nyc

Brooklyn Bridge Park Brooklyn Bridge Park free

Located on the Brooklyn side of the East River, Brooklyn Bridge Park is an 85-acre oasis at the foot of the famous bridge connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn. The park stretches 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s waterfront, connecting Columbia Heights and Dumbo, an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, an eclectic neighborhood of boutiques, trendy cafes and restaurants. Travelers rave about the views of the lower Manhattan skyline, the New York Harbor and the bridge.

Among the city’s newest parks, Brooklyn Bridge Park was once an industrial district and home to a transportation terminal that served as an entry point for immigrants. Today, the park features rolling hills, promenades, playgrounds, basketball courts, sports fields, a roller skating rink, gardens, and more among six piers and the riverfront. What’s more, the park is home to more than 12,000 species of plants and wildlife. It also hosts a variety of events and programs throughout the year, such as sunset yoga and stargazing.

local places to visit in nyc

The Guggenheim The Guggenheim

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, or simply, "The Guggenheim," is one of the most well-known art museums in the country, and it's just as renowned for its cutting-edge design as it is for its pieces. The coiled building (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) stands out on Fifth Avenue at 89th Street. Inside, the halls are chock full of works from the likes of Picasso, Cézanne, Degas, Manet and Van Gogh, among others.

Visitors loved the building's design and architecture, but offered more mixed reviews for the art on display. Some raved about the permanent collection and the special exhibitions, while others felt the cost of entrance tickets was overpriced for the amount of art displayed. Reviewers recommended the Museum of Modern Art over the Guggenheim if you're short on time. 

local places to visit in nyc

Off-Broadway Shows Off-Broadway Shows

Off-Broadway may not have the glitter of the Great White Way , but these smaller theaters and their productions are often innovative and are no less engaging. Unlike Broadway, these theaters are not centered around Times Square , but scattered all over Manhattan and generally seat fewer people (between 100 to 499 audience members). Smaller venues provide a more intimate experience for plays, musicals and revues. Many of New York’s most famous productions found their start off-Broadway, such as “Hair,” “Rent” and “In the Heights.”

Tickets also are more affordable, generally between $20 and $75 per person. Look for innovative productions at places like the Public Theater, Cherry Lane Theatre or Playwrights Horizons. The Signature Theatre showcases revivals and new plays.

local places to visit in nyc

Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock Observation Deck Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock Observation Deck

This iconic plaza has it all – beautiful sculptures, an enormous skating rink, a fishbowl view of NBC Studios, plus a plethora of stores and restaurants. Though undoubtedly there will be intense crowds, this is an experience that's worth having at least once. During the wintertime holidays, the plaza sparkles with an illuminated Christmas tree and skaters gliding across the ice rink. But don't fret if your New York adventure doesn't take place during the cold months. There's plenty to do year-round. If you plan ahead, 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 catching a performance at Radio City Music Hall .

Travelers say the Top of the Rock offers some of the best views of Manhattan and say the experience is worth every penny. Visitors recommend booking the Rock Pass ticket that includes a tour of the building and observation deck access.

local places to visit in nyc

Little Island Little Island free

New Yorkers have long needed to get creative to maximize space on the island of Manhattan, where space is limited. But with the opening of Little Island in 2021, that creativity stretched beyond the island's borders and into the water. Little Island is an artificial island located on the west side of Manhattan in the Hudson River. This public park, which is free to visit, offers a new space for locals and visitors alike to immerse themselves in nature, art, free events like concerts and one of the most memorable locations in New York City to catch the sunset.

Most recent visitors praised Little Island for its peaceful atmosphere, splash of greenery and views of the Hudson River and beyond. Some recent visitors recommend planning a visit on a weekday rather than a weekend, when this attraction can be crowded with people picnicking, especially during the golden sunset hours. Regardless of what time of day visitors stop by, almost everyone is left with a positive impression of the park and note its sculptures, family-friendly vibe, impressive variety of plants and free concerts.

local places to visit in nyc

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9/11 Memorial Museum Admission Ticket

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local places to visit in nyc

St. Patrick's Cathedral St. Patrick's Cathedral free

This sprawling cathedral sits amid the hustle and distinctively secular bustle of Rockefeller Center . But that doesn't take away from its otherworldly vibe. Whether you're religious or just making an architectural pilgrimage, you can't help but be impressed by St. Patrick's. Opened in 1879, the neo-Gothic cathedral spans the length of an entire city block and features 330-foot spires. Its interior is just as impressive thanks to its numerous altars, stained-glass windows, organs and imposing 9,000-pound bronze doors. The church welcomes more than 5 million visitors annually.  

Travelers love the historical church's beauty and stained-glass windows, but say you don't have to carve out too much time to see it. Previous vacationers also suggest visiting at Christmastime to really see the church in all its glory. 

local places to visit in nyc

Little Italy Little Italy free

U.S. News Insider Tip: Taste the best of Little Italy at C. Di Palo Wine Bar. With connections to the fine foods store serving this neighborhood for more than a century, this wine bar serves Italian cheeses, meats and wines in a comfortable, modern environment. – Jessica Colley Clarke

Once a thriving enclave of Italian immigrants, Little Italy is now a popular tourist destination (though remnants of the past remain). Restaurants serving classic Italian dishes on red-and-white checkered tablecloths can still be found in the neighborhood. Among the neighborhood staples is Lombardi’s, a restaurant that has been tossing pizzas since 1905 and claims to be the first pizzeria in the United States. Ferrara Bakery & Cafe, another famous Little Italy eatery best known for its cannolis and espresso, has been around since 1892. 

local places to visit in nyc

Times Square Times Square free

Some say that Times Square is like a five-block metaphor for New York City itself – it's exciting, colorful and always jumping. Others describe this area of midtown Manhattan as artless, overpriced and congested. Perhaps this commercial stretch from West 42nd to West 47th streets is a little of both, and though locals would advise you to avoid it, you should at least catch a glimpse of its neon lights. Most travelers recommend visiting the area after dark to see the marquee displays. Many add checking out Times Square before or after a Broadway show is the perfect time to fit it into your schedule. However, if you're not a fan of crowds, reviewers suggest you avoid this area altogether.

Times Square's biggest tourist draw is the annual New Year's Eve ball drop. Revelers crowd the area to see New York's famous Waterford crystal ball descend 77 feet from a pole on the One Times Square building. If you're feeling brave, take a trip to New York and Times Square at this time of year and watch the ball drop for free! Just plan on coming in the early morning and staying all day, and note that the area is super crowded, even by New York standards.

local places to visit in nyc

Fifth Avenue Fifth Avenue free

It's fitting that St. Patrick's Cathedral would be on the same street as stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany & Co. and Van Cleef & Arpels. That's because for many people, shopping is a religious experience, and here between 34th and 59th streets you'll find the holy grail. 

Even if you're not planning to put your credit card to work at high-end stores, travelers say a stroll along Fifth Avenue is a must. It's one of the top places to shop in the city, according to local experts. Plus, during the winter holidays, the street is decked out in festive decor.

local places to visit in nyc

Bronx Zoo Bronx Zoo

According to travelers, these 265 acres sheltering more than 10,000 animals should be near the top of every young family's itinerary in New York. And if you're an older visitor, the Bronx Zoo could be a great way to escape the nonstop activity in Manhattan. This zoo's claim to fame is that it's one of the largest metropolitan animal parks in the country. It's also one of the best zoos in the U.S . Originally opened at 1899, the zoo also houses several famous landmarks, including the Rainey Memorial Gates, the Rockefeller Fountain and the historic Zoo Center, which was constructed to look like a palace.

Among the zoo's popular exhibits is JungleWorld, which aims to recreate the jungles of Asia with animals like white-cheeked gibbons, gharials, tapirs, fruit bats and more. There's also the Wild Asia Monorail, a seasonal outdoor monorail that allows visitors to observe animals like rhinos, tigers and red pandas roaming freely in the outdoor habitat. Other star attractions include the Congo Gorilla Forest, the seasonal butterfly garden, Tiger Mountain and the Children's Zoo. Along with the animals, there are also several rides and experiences, such as a carousel and sea lion feedings.

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local places to visit in nyc

Apollo Theater Apollo Theater

U.S. News Insider Tip: Go to BLVD Bistro on 116th St. before or after your visit to the Apollo. They serve breakfast all day and literally have the best grits and pancakes I have ever had in my life. It is also Black-owned! – Lawrence Phillips, founder and CEO of Green Book Global

One of the most famous music halls in the United States, "the Apollo" started as a burlesque theater in 1914. By the 1930s, it transformed into a concert hall that helped launch the career of several black musicians. A then-unknown Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Jackson (with the Jackson 5) and Stevie Wonder all performed on the Apollo stage during an Amateur Night competition. If you're in Harlem on a Wednesday you can still go to Amateur Night, an experience some previous travelers highly recommend.

local places to visit in nyc

Metropolitan Opera House Metropolitan Opera House

Stroll through the courtyard of the Metropolitan Opera House even if you're not going inside for a performance. Every element of this opulent building – from the limestone architecture, to the lobby's glittering chandelier, to the acoustics in the concert hall – is gorgeous. Travelers call this opera house a feast for the eyes and ears. Tickets are notoriously expensive (as much as several hundred dollars for the best seats), but the sticker shock evaporates quickly if you're into performing arts. You can try to score a same-day ticket at a discounted rate, plus there are discounts for senior citizens.

The Metropolitan Opera House features spring performances by the American Ballet Theatre and fall and winter performances by the Met Opera Company. Showtimes and ticket prices vary by performance and seating, so check the Met Opera's website for additional details. You'll find the opera house at Lincoln Center Plaza on Manhattan's Upper West Side – take the 1 train to 66th Street.

local places to visit in nyc

Radio City Music Hall Radio City Music Hall

It's where Ella Fitzgerald pined for the man she loved, the Rolling Stones couldn't get no satisfaction and Lady Gaga had a "Bad Romance." Among performers, there's no New York concert venue that's quite like Radio City Music Hall. Not only is it the largest indoor theater in the world, its marquee spans a full city block. Opened in 1932, the theater is a New York City Landmark. Today, the theater welcomes musical performers like Ben Platt and Lil Nas X, as well as comedians like Chris Rock.

If you're in town any dates between November and January, consider attending the famous Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which stars the Rockettes. According to recent visitors who attended a show, there's not a bad seat in the house. If you're not able to attend a performance, consider signing up for the hourlong Radio City Stage Door Tour. The guided tour includes stops at areas of the historic venue not typically seen by the public, such as Radio City’s secret apartment, The Roxy Suite. You'll also an enjoy an in-depth history lesson about the stage and its iconic art deco design. The tour concludes with a meet-and-greet with a Radio City Rockette. Tours are offered daily starting at 9:30 a.m.; tickets cost $42 per adult and $38 per kid 12 and younger.  

local places to visit in nyc

The Battery The Battery free

Also known as The Battery, this 25-ace park sits at the very southern tip of Manhattan Island, and offers a green respite from the steel and concrete of lower Manhattan. The park, named after artillery batteries that protected the settlement in the 17th century, is popular with visitors because of its views of the harbor and the Statue of Liberty . 

The park is home to perennial gardens, bike paths, grand lawns, an urban farm and a unique carousel, known as the SeaGlass Carousel. On the carousel, riders sit within iridescent fish and glide through a 360-degree aquatic adventure. The carousel’s bioluminescent design honors the waterfront site as well as another landmark, the Castle Clinton, one of the country’s earliest aquariums. 

local places to visit in nyc

Coney Island Coney Island

Known as the "the People's Playground," this famous amusement area in Brooklyn has witnessed an illustrious past. In the early 1900s, Coney Island enticed New Yorkers to visit with its bathing pavilions, seaside resorts and amusement park. The Great Depression took its toll on the fun-loving spot, causing many attractions to close. But after years of economic instability, Coney Island has reclaimed its place on the Brooklyn map, with a fresh roster of eateries and entertainment (including a July Fourth hot dog-eating contest and an annual Mermaid Parade ) found along the boardwalk. Coney Island now features several separate amusement parks, as well as a museum, which hosts a variety of exhibits and shows.

According to recent visitors, Coney Island is a worthwhile trip in the summer if you have the time and are traveling with young kids who would enjoy the rides. If you're not up for indulging your inner thrill-seeker, you can also walk along the beach, which spans nearly 3 miles and features several sports courts, as well as playgrounds. A walk along the iconic Riegelmann Boardwalk is just as memorable, according to recent visitors.

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Chrysler Building Chrysler Building free

Technically, the Chrysler Building is an office building open Monday through Friday, but you don't need to go inside to appreciate its aesthetic appeal. Recent visitors praised the building's unique architectural style (though a few wished you could still go inside to admire its intricate lobby and elevators).

Built in 1930, the Chrysler had a short-lived run as the tallest building in the city, before it was usurped of its title by the Empire State Building . Nevertheless, this 1,046-foot-high skyscraper remains a favorite among New Yorkers for its classic art deco style. And unlike the Empire State, at this site you won't need an expensive entry ticket, a strong stomach to stand soaring heights or patience for long lines to see what all the fuss is about. You can behold the building's menacing gargoyles and triangular openings from many spots in Manhattan. Though the lobby is currently closed to visitors, there have been talks of building an observation deck, though none is available at this time.

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The Globetrotting Teacher

The Best 100 Things to Do in New York City (Written by a Local)

Overwhelmed by the sheer number of things to do in New York City as you plan your trip?

Don’t fret! I’ve put together this master list of the top 100 New York attractions to help you put together your New York City itinerary. Plus, at the bottom, you’ll find a bonus section with special NYC things to do that happen only around specific holidays.

But why should you trust me when there are so many guides listing the top NYC attractions?!?

I’ve lived in New York City for 20+ years and have long since been made an honorary New Yorker. Nearly everything on this list is a place I’ve personally visited or an experience I’ve tried. So in addition to my local expertise, this list of 100 best things to do in New York has been travel-tested.

So, are you ready to plan your trip to NYC? Let’s go!

New York Attractions Map

I put together this map to correspond with the list below of the best places to visit in New York City. The only things missing are things that are experiences like dining or tours that don’t have a single set location.

As you decide which things are on your NYC sightseeing list, use the map to help plan the things to do to avoid backtracking or planning visits to multiple places that are too far from one another. (i.e. The Met Cloisters and the Financial District probably don’t make sense on the same day.)

New York Sightseeing Pass: Do You Need One?

View from the top of the Empire State Building NYC

Sightseeing passes are a great idea if you’re going to make full use of them. Assuming you do, they can help you save money by bundling costs for attraction tickets compared to buying individual tickets.

Go City offers an Explorer Pass which lets you choose the number of sights you want to see. You’ll have 60 days to visit them. This pass could be right for you if you don’t plan on seeing every sight in NYC and/or if you don’t want to sightsee every day.

If you plan to make the most of every minute in New York City, Go City offers an All-Inclusive Pass . Instead of choosing sights, the pass is good for the number of days you purchase. For example, if you choose a 3-day pass, you can visit as many of the included New York attractions as you want in those 3 days.

New York CityPASS also offers a bundled sightseeing pass that includes 5 attractions. Two are set with the pass and the other 3 are of your choosing. The pass is valid for 9 days so it offers some breathing room if you don’t want to see everything on consecutive days.

No matter which you choose, passes like these offer savings and a ton of convenience. You just need to do the math to decide whether they make sense for your New York trip.

The Best 100 Things to Do in New York City

View from Summit One Vanderbilt in NYC

1. Summit One Vanderbilt

The Summit One Vanderbilt attraction is New York City’s most recently built birds-eye view experience. And it does not disappoint! Even for a New Yorker like me who’s seen the Manhattan skyline from above many times, the sweeping NYC vistas in every direction are absolutely breathtaking! The experience is creative and interactive, too, which only adds to the fun.

The most popular time of day to go is just before dusk because you can see the skyline with the daylight and as the sun sets and the lights of the city go on. If you can’t go then, no worries! You can’t go wrong anytime on a blue sky day but if you go earlier in the morning, you’ll have fewer people photo-bombing your shots.

Just be sure to book your timed-entry tickets in advance because Summit One Vanderbilt is one of the most popular things to do in New York City.

2. 9/11 Memorial & Museum

9/11 Memorial Reflection Pool

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum consists of the reflecting pools in the original footprints of the Twin Towers and the museum inside. Both are meant to remember the events of 9/11 and honor its many victims.

As you descend into the 9/11 museum, you’ll find an overwhelming display of artifacts, first-person accounts, recordings, and photos to teach about the horrific events of 9/11. It’s an emotional visit, to say the least, and certainly one of the most moving and memorable things to do in New York.

Plan ahead with a 9/11 Museum skip-the-line ticket . The line to buy tickets can be quite long, especially during peak times. You’ll be glad to have a timed ticket to streamline your entrance into the museum. You can also read my full guide on the 9/11 Museum to know more about what to expect inside the museum.

3. Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

View of the Statue of Liberty NYC

Of all the NYC attractions on this list, visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are probably the most famous! You can take a boat to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty up close. While you’re on Liberty Island, you can also visit the Statue of Liberty Museum and enjoy the gorgeous views looking back on Manhattan and New York Harbor.

Statue Cruises offers tickets from Battery Park to Liberty Island and Ellis Island to see the Statue of Liberty from the outside and visit the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. If you want to go inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, you’ll need a separate reservation which you can book here.

Don’t skip the Immigration Museum on Ellis Island, especially if you had any ancestors pass through this gateway! It highlights the journey and the arduous process the millions of people who emigrated to the United States at the turn of the 20th century experienced to enter the country. You can even look for the names of distant relatives on the Wall of Honor outside the museum.

Arriving by boat, I could grasp just a small sense of what it must have been like for my great-grandparents to finally see the Statue of Liberty in the harbor.

4. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge NYC at sunrise

The Brooklyn Bridge’s design, position alongside the city skyline, and the incredible story, about how the bridge came to be, makes it one of the most special New York attractions on this list!

Just across from the side of City Hall Park in Lower Manhattan , you’ll see the majestic Gothic arches of the Manhattan Tower and the pedestrian promenade that takes you up onto the center of the bridge.

As you walk, you’ll pass the draping 4 main cables and the suspension cables and diagonal stays that create a gorgeous geometric aesthetic. Think about how the bridge was constructed entirely by hand over 14 years. (It only took 1 year to build the Empire State Building!)

Imagine that the Brooklyn Bridge was the tallest structure in Manhattan when it opened in 1883 and offered the first opportunity for the public to see what the growing city and the East River looked like from overhead.

I recommend this amazing book for kids and adults to get some quick history on the Brooklyn Bridge. If you walk to the Brooklyn side, descend the steps on the left side and make the 5-minute walk to Juliana’s Pizza. It might just be the BEST pizza in all of New York City.

5. Discover Battery Park.

This historic park on the southern tip of Manhattan is named for its former purpose as a military and artillery battery dating back to the late 1600s when the Dutch used it as a strategic vantage point to protect the then colony of New Amsterdam. Before that, the Native Lenape who lived on Manhattan also considered this rocky outcropping to be of logistical importance.

Today, Battery Park has winding pathways leading to numerous monuments, the 19th-Century defense fort Castle Clinton (named for DeWitt Clinton, a former NYC Mayor), and the Seaglass Carousel. Castle Clinton is a National Monument where Park Rangers offer daily guided tours

Boats also leave from docks along the park’s shores heading to the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island, Governor’s Island, and Staten Island.

As you visit the park, consider that the streets just adjacent to the park are among the oldest in NYC. In fact, the building housing the National Museum of the American Indian was the former Alexander Hamilton Customs House. And before that, the building was built at the site of the original Fort Amsterdam, built by the first Dutch settlers.

6. Ascend the Empire State Building.

New York Empire State Building seen from the street

If this isn’t one of the most iconic New York attractions, I don’t know what is! The Empire State Building is synonymous with New York City.

This art deco building is an absolute classic. You’ll have the opportunity to ride the elevators up to the 86th floor and its 360° open-air observation deck. Or if you’d like to go higher, ascend to the 102nd floor for an ultimate panorama over the city.

Throughout your visit, you’ll pass through several exhibitions. You’ll have the chance to learn about how the Empire State Building was built and how it became solidified as one of the most famous buildings of all time. You might even come face to face with King Kong who famously scaled the building in King Kong the movie!

As with all of the best things to do in New York, get your tickets in advance . The timed entry will guarantee you don’t waste any time waiting in line.

7. Savor Central Park.

Central Park Lake NYC

Urban parks don’t get any better than the beautifully elegant Central Park. It’s an absolute must on any New York itinerary!

Central Park is a perfect rectangle positioned within Manhattan’s grid street layout. It spans from 59th Street up to 110th Street (about 2.5 miles long) between 5th Avenue and Central Park West (about .5 miles wide). Central Park’s most famous sights are mainly between 59th and 86th Streets. Although, if you go further north in the park, you’ll discover the gems like the Reservoir, the Conservatory Gardens, and Harlem Meer.

Must-see spots to see in Central Park include the Mall leading to the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain area. Walk across and along the paths in and around the Bow Bridge. Take a boat out onto the Lake. Picnic in Sheep’s Meadow. Enjoy the views from Belvedere Castle. Admire the Imagine Mosaic at Strawberry Fields. Hike in the Ramble. Stroll in the area of the Gapstow Bridge. It’s easy to laze away many days in this incredible green space.

Most visitors stroll the park on foot or opt to rent bikes to sightsee throughout Cental Park. You can even join a guided Central Park Bike Tour to see all of the park’s prettiest spots.

It’s also easy to combine a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of New York or the American Museum of Natural History since they’re just across from one other on opposite sides of the park’s fringes.

8. Rocket up to One World Observatory. (The tallest building in NYC!)

NYC One World Observatory

If you’ve planned a visit to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, grab the chance to also ascend the 102 stories of One World Trade to the indoor observatory. The building is also known as the Freedom Tower and was built after the attacks of 9/11.

On a visit to One World Observatory, you’ll zoom to the top in just 47 seconds while getting a quick history lesson of the island from the time when Native Americans lived on the wild island of Mannahatta to now as a global city teeming with skyscrapers and activity.

At the top, be rewarded with sweeping panoramic views of the NYC skyline and the waterways surrounding the island of Manhattan. You can also have a snack, a drink, or a meal at the restaurant and bar on the 101st floor which also comes with jaw-dropping views!

As with many top things to do in NYC, get your skip-the-line ticket in advance to maximize the time you spend visiting.

9. Shop at The Oculus.

You can’t miss the white modern structure across from the 9/11 Memorial & One World Observatory. The Oculus was built as part of the 9/11 redevelopment plan. Its purpose was to replace the transit hub that existed below the Twin Towers. And the design was meant to inspire. It symbolizes a dove flying out of the hands of a child.

In addition to the many train lines that converge at the Oculus, you’ll find shops, bathrooms, and a cool photo-op spot near the entry overlooking the atrium inside. It’s also a convenient place to warm up, cool off, or escape the weather if you’re visiting the Financial District on a less-than-ideal day.

10. Stroll Fifth Avenue.

World-famous Fifth Avenue is in the heart of Manhattan. In fact, it’s the dividing line between the east and west sides of the island. People come from all over to sightsee, window-shop, and maybe even splurge at the avenue’s high-end shops.

Focus on the area from the luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue between 57th and 58th Streets to the main New York Public Library Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

In between these 16 blocks, you’ll find places like Tiffany & Co., Louis Vitton, Cartier, Ferragamo, Saks Fifth Avenue Department Store, as well as Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Bryant Park. As far as things to see in New York goes, Fifth Avenue has it all.

ProTip: If you were to continue further down Fifth Avenue past 42nd Street, you’ll see the Empire State Building at 34th Street and Fifth Avenue and the Flatiron Building between 22nd and 23rd Streets.

11. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)


This top New York City sight needs no introduction. MoMA is the most popular modern art museum in NYC. When planning a visit here, get a skip-the-line ticket to avoid wasting time in a long line.

Once inside, you have your pick of masterpieces by Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Frieda Kahlo, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollack, and more. There are also temporary exhibitions which you get access to with your ticket.

Unlike many museums in New York City, MoMA is open on Mondays and it tends to be busy. Avoid Mondays if possible. MoMA is also free on Fridays between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Arrive early if you intend to take advantage of this because as you might imagine there are lots of people who like free.

Audio guides are included with your ticket and, if you’re visiting for the first time, begin on the 5th floor and work your way down.

ProTip: If you’re in MoMA’s neighborhood and feeling hungry, grab a pita or platter from the Halal Guys food cart at 53rd Street and 6th Avenue. It’s just down the block from MoMA and will likely have a line of people waiting for some deliciousness.

12. Visit Rockefeller Center.

This is one of the most popular places to visit in New York and even more so at Christmastime when the famed Rockefeller Center tree is sparkling over the ice rink below.

Outside of the holiday season, the plaza is buzzing with activity from the shops, restaurants, art, gardens, temporary exhibitions, and TV studios within its borders. The most visible is the popular TODAY Show which is filmed here and where the show’s summer concert series takes place.

No matter when you visit, it’s nearly obligatory to take a few photos with Rockefeller Center as the backdrop!

13. Admire the View from Top of the Rock.

Also situated in Rockefeller Center is the famed 30 Rockefeller Skyscraper. This is where the Saturday Night Live Studios and the NBC Studios are located. It’s also home to the Top of the Rock observation deck.

The indoor and open-air observation terraces at the Top of the Rock cover viewing spaces across 3 levels culminating on the 70th floor. You’ll have spectacular unobstructed views over the city in all directions.

Undoubtedly, the best time to make the ascent is at night. The NYC night skyline is breathtaking and from the Top of the Rock, you can get front-and-center views of the Empire State Building in your photos, as well as One World Observatory in the distance.

Avoid waiting in the long lines that develop, especially during peak seasons, and get your Top of the Rock tickets in advance.

14. St. Patrick’s Cathedral

local places to visit in nyc

This Gothic Revival Cathedral on Fifth Avenue welcomes thousands of visitors each day. It opened in 1879 after taking 21 years to build and still is the largest cathedral of its kind in the United States.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral stands next to Saks Fifth Avenue Department Store and across from Rockefeller Center so it’s easy to stop in to admire the architecture and the stained glass. In addition to being one of the things to see in NYC, the Cathedral still holds Masses throughout the week. Check the website for exact times depending on when you visit.

15. Bryant Park

Bryant Park is located behind the main New York Public Library building, along 42nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. This public park space in the heart of midtown Manhattan is a bustling hive of activity all year long.

In the winter, it’s where you’ll find the most popular New York City Christmas Market and an ice rink. Outside of this time, the park’s green space becomes a spot to picnic, watch movies (in summer), take part in dance parties, stroll, dine, watch a chess match, play ping pong, read, and people-watch. It’s truly beloved by local New Yorkers and visitors, alike.

In between NYC sightseeing spots from Fifth Avenue to Times Square, Bryant Park is the perfect place to pause and enjoy the urban park vibe.

ProTip: Bryant Park also has some of the best public restrooms in the entire city. They are staff-attended, well-kept, and centrally located.

16. Eat Wafels & Dinges.

It’s no exaggeration to say this will probably be the best waffle you’ll ever eat. Imagine a Belgian waffle encased in a sweet glaze-y crunchiness and topped with heavenly sweet toppings from Nutella to ice cream to whipped cream. (In fact, I’ll BRB!)

There are several locations around the city but if you’re in Bryant Park, there’s a Wafels & Dinges kiosk on the corner of 42nd Street and 6th Avenue. Don’t pass by without trying one! You can build your own with the toppings of your choice or go with one of their “legendary” options.

17. See a Broadway Show.

local places to visit in nyc

New York City is known for its world-class theater! Seeing a musical or a play on Broadway is a rite of passage and absolutely one of the best things to do in NYC.

New York Citys Theater District stems in and around the Times Square area. If you’re walking along Broadway in the W.40s and W.50s, look left or right down any of the streets. You’ll almost always see the bright lights of a Broadway marquis or two shimmering with the name of the show playing at that theater.

You can get discounted tickets at the TKTS booth on 47th Street in Times Square for both Broadway and Off-Broadway shows or you can book your tickets in advance. If there is a particular show you’d like to see, be sure to book those tickets online before your NYC trip. The selection at TKTS changes daily so there is no guarantee that the show you want to see is listed.

Keep in mind, the line at the TKTS booth can get quite long.

If you’re flexible about what show you see, you could wait until about 30-60 minutes before show time to buy tickets for a show with tickets available. You could also visit the TKTS location near Lincoln Center on 62nd Street just off Broadway which tends to be less crowded. Sometimes, it’s even worth a visit to the actual theater’s box office to see what their best-priced tickets are for performances that day.

ProTip: Download the TKTS app to see what shows are available that day. You’ll still need to go to one of the booth locations to buy the tickets and availability changes quickly. Mondays have the fewest shows available as it’s typically the day when most theaters are closed.

18. Marvel at Times Square

local places to visit in nyc

Times Square is the absolute ground zero for New York sightseeing. If you’re visiting NYC, you have to take at least a few moments to marvel at the flashing bright lights of Times Square with its pedestrians, traffic, and street performers crisscrossing in seemingly every direction.

The best vantage point is from the top of the red stairs just behind the TKTS booth at 47th Street and Broadway. From here, you get a birds-eye view of the entire frenzied, flickering, nonstop scene.

If you’re in Times Square at night, check out the “Midnight Moment.” From 11:57 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. each night, all 90+ digital display boards in Times Square pause their ads and show the works of today’s brightest artists. For these moments, Times Square becomes the largest public art display in the world!

19. Metropolitan Museum of Art

local places to visit in nyc

The Met, as it’s affectionately called, is one of the most popular art museums in the world. It’s the biggest in the Americas and draws comparisons to the Louvre in Paris. So it comes as no surprise that this is among the top New York tourist attractions.

Even if you’re not a “museum person,” the Met is one of those places where you should at least spend a couple of hours. The museum contains 2 million+ works of art from paintings to sculptures to objects, furniture, and armor. These works represent over 5,000 years of history and culture from around the world

Highlights include the Temple of Dendur in the Egyptian section of the museum. It’s an actual Egyptian Temple that stood along the banks of the Nile 2000 years ago. There are self-portraits by Van Gogh and Rembrandt and an epic painting by Emanuel Leutze called “Washington Crossing the Delaware” in the museum’s American wing.

While you’re at the museum, be sure to check out the gorgeous view from the terrace! You can see Central Park and the skyscrapers that border the greenery on all sides.

Purchase tickets ahead of time online or use the automated kiosks at the museum to avoid waiting in line.

20. Hudson Yards & the Vessel

Hudson Yards and the Vessel New York City

Located on Manhattan’s far west side, Hudson Yards and the Vessel are between W. 30th and W.33rd Streets in between 10th and 11th Avenues. There are over 100 shops and 20+ restaurants, including the delicious Mercado Little Spain which is a combination market and eatery. The shops skew luxury but you’ll also find favorites like H&M, Zara, Uniqlo, and Madewell.

The Vessel is a nest-like structure that climbs 16 levels with 80 different landings visitors can use to take in the Hudson River views. Unfortunately, the Vessel is temporarily closed but it’s still well worth going over to take photos of this architectural piece of art.

The #7 subway train was extended years ago to add a Hudson Yards stop after Times Square so it’s easier than ever to get to this part of the island. Not to mention, Hudson Yards has bathrooms which are not always easy to find when you’re out and about for a day of NYC sightseeing.

21. Edge Observation Deck

Atop Hudson Yards is the outdoor Edge Observation Deck . Edge is one of Manhattan’s premiere observation decks! It soars 100 stories over the city and has 360° views. There’s also a bar and a glass floor!

What truly sets it apart from other observation decks in Manhattan is its location on the far west side. You get a totally unique vantage point. Go just before sunset. The sunset to the west of the Hudson River casts gorgeous warm light over the cityscape. And, as the sky darkens, you’ll also get to see the city light up.

22. City Climb

Are you someone who loves a thrill? Then, add the City Climb Experience to your NYC itinerary!

You’ll get to channel your inner (quasi) Spiderman and climb 30 Hudson Yards, a 1,200-foot high skyscraper, using a 45° angled staircase. (Code for exceptionally steep!) And in case you’re wondering, that staircase is out in the open, high above New York City. Then, if you dare, you can lean out over the Manhattan skyline for a total adrenaline rush!

This experience also includes access to Edge at Hudson Yards. Keep in mind you need to be 13+ to take on this challenge. Climbers must also be between 4’9″ and 6’7″ and 65 lbs. to 310 lbs.

23. Walk the High Line.

High Line Chelsea NYC

This elevated urban park is one of NYC’s true gems and is rightfully included on many what to do in NYC lists. The High Line stretches from W. 34th Street and the Hudson Yards area to Gansevoort St. in the West Village along old rail tracks above the street. It’s the perfect blend of repurposing urban structures to preserve the past while transforming the space for modern use.

As you walk the High Line, enjoy the city and river views, street art, the plants and flowers growing among the former train tracks, and the modern architecture that runs along either side of the pathway. Sometimes, there are temporary art exhibitions along the way, too.

When you need a rest, stop for a snack or even a beverage at one of the food carts. You can exit or enter the High Line from 12 different access stairways. The next item on this list is one of the main reasons to temporarily pause your walk.

24. Sample Bites at Chelsea Market.

New York. Manhattan. The Lobster Place at Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market is one of the best New York City attractions, especially for foodies and anyone who loves good eats! The market takes up an entire city block in a building that once was the old Nabisico factory and where the Oreo was made and invented.

Today, the market is home to popular eateries like Los Tacos No.1, Miznon, and Very Fresh Noodles. There are also bakeries, gelato, and other sweets like the halva at Seed + Mill and the Doughnuttery. You’ll also find some shops like Pearl River Market and Imports from Morocco where you can shop for goods from Asia and Morocco.

Chelsea Market gets crowded midday for lunch. Unless, you’re one of the lucky few to find a seat somewhere in the market, be prepared to grab and go or head to one of the seating areas that line the sidewalk outside. Regardless, it’s worth the hype and the crowds!


Below Chelsea Market on W. 15th Street, ARTECHOUSE transforms a utilitarian space into a digital art display. The interactive and immersive displays are projected onto the walls, floors, and ceiling and show the vibrant work of different media artists. The exhibitions change, too, so it’s possible to have a different experience on a return visit.

The artwork projections run on a loop and you’re welcome to stay for as long as you want. It could be a great way to sit and just enjoy the show if you’re legs are tired from too much nyc sightseeing or you just need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. ARTECHOUSE would also make a fun stop on a rainy day in New York.

If you want to guarantee entry at a specific time, get your ARTECHOUSE tickets in advance.

26. Little Island Park

As you walk along the High Line, you’ll likely spot Little Island Park in the Hudson River. From a distance, it might appear to be giant golf tees or a group of heels from high-heeled shoes all bunched together and at different levels.

The park is a creative outdoor space that attracts a lot of visitors. It’s open daily and, in the warmer months, offers free and low-cost performances and educational programming for kids put on by various artists.

Stroll the pathways to admire the many plants and flowers on display and to take in the Hudson River views. From the park, you can see the rounded edge of Lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, and the Verazzano Bridge in the distance.

27. Manhattan Helicopter Tour

While it’s most certainly one of the priciest New York activities, a helicopter tour over the city is an unforgettable way to experience the city’s incredible beauty.

Depending on which option you choose, you’ll be in the air for anywhere between 12-30 minutes. From the sky, you’ll see NYC’s most iconic sights like Central Park, the Empire State Building, the Financial District, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island, and more. The views are absolutely breathtaking!

The tour also includes narration to give context to what you’re seeing and floor-to-ceiling windows for optimal birds-eye sightseeing!

28. Enjoy Greenwich Village.

Greenwich Village NYC Apartments

When you arrive in historic and chic Greenwich Village, you’ll have left the steel and glass towers of midtown behind for smaller and much quieter tree-lined blocks. Greenwich Village is home to classic cafes, shops, celebrity homes, and cultural and historical landmarks. It’s the type of neighborhood meant for strolling!

You can walk past the Friends apartment building at the corner of Grove and Bedford Streets. People watch in Washington Square Park. Find the cutest cafes tucked into the cobblestone lanes weaving through the neighborhood. Go boutique shopping. Or have a fun night out singing show tunes at Marie’s Crisis!

You can check out my complete Greenwich Village guide to help you plan your visit. The neighborhood is also the setting for many popular walking tours including this neighborhood tour .

29. Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park NYC

If you’re only passing through Greenwich Village and want to make just a quick stop, visit Washington Square Park. The park is in the heart of NYU’s urban campus so you’re likely to notice groups of students. But in addition to that, the park is a microcosm of New York City life.

You’ll see people chatting on park benches and chess players deep in thought as they strategize over their next move. Artists, musicians, acrobats, activists…you’re likely to see a bit of everything in this historic park. There are plenty of grab-and-go eats from pizza to falafel just outside the park. Bring your snack into the park and join in the scene.

Take a moment to admire the Washington Square Arch which was built to remember the 100th anniversary of George Washington’s inauguration. And years before, when New York was just a growing colony, Washington Square Park was used as a potter’s field. This is why it’s a prominent stop on many Greenwich Village ghost tours.

30. American Museum of Natural History

New York City, American Museum Of Natural History

NYC has no shortage of family-friendly activities when you’re planning an NYC trip with kids. But truly, this Upper West Side gem is a space for all ages to marvel at animals from prehistoric to modern times, fossils, the biodiversity of the planet, human origins, and early civilizations.

Visit the Hayden Planetarium to gaze at the stars and transport yourself through the vast universe. In addition to the planetarium, the Rose Center for Earth and Space has exhibitions that walk you through the history of the universe and help you imagine the vastness of Outer Space.

New in 2023, the museum’s newly opened Gilder Center is 230,000 square feet of space spread over 4 floors. The new science center has immersive exhibits that are all new and are designed to teach visitors about the natural world from butterflies and insects to ecosystems and DNA. It’s a new addition not to be missed!

At the time of rewriting and updating this guide (2023), it was still necessary to have a timed entry to visit the American Museum of Natural History. If you purchase your ticket in advance , you’ll still need to go to the AMNH website and select a specific time on your date.

31. Cathedral of St. John the Divine

St. John the Divine, a Romanesque and Gothic revival cathedral on the Upper West Side, sits on Amsterdam Avenue between W. 110th Street (a.k.a Cathedral Parkway) and W. 113th Street. When you see the cathedral, you’re bound to scratch your head at its unusual appearance.

Despite construction starting over 100 years ago, the cathedral remains unfinished and has a mix of styles due to changes in design, funding issues, and fire. Yet, St. John the Divine, with its gorgeous stained glass rose window, is one of the largest churches in the world.

You can visit with a timed entry ticket or join one of the public guided tours including the Vertical Tour which takes you up to the top of the cathedral. Tickets are available on the cathedral’s website.

ProTip: For 20 years, a trio of peacocks, Jim, Phil, and Harry, lived the good life wandering the 13 acres of the cathedral grounds. However, if you were hoping to see them, they are no longer there (although there is a possibility of a new trio at some point). They’ve been moved to an animal sanctuary to receive care and comfort as they live a happy retirement.

32. General Grant National Memorial

Riverside Park Hudson River Views and Grant's Tomb NYC

This hidden gem National Memorial is tucked in between Harlem and the Upper West Side of Manhattan at the northern edge of Riverside Park near W. 122nd Street.

The mausoleum is the final resting place of President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia. The site is managed by the National Park Service and park rangers are onsite to retell the history and stories of this President and the era in which he lived.

The Memorial is open Wednesday-Sunday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. At the time of rewriting and updating this guide (2023), the Memorial Site was still limiting the number of people allowed inside the mausoleum at any given time. Additionally, the mausoleum and mosaic bench areas close at 4 p.m. while the other areas of the National Monument are open until 5 p.m.

And with no ticket needed to visit, it’s absolutely one of the most interesting free things to do in NYC.

ProTip: Riverside Park is beloved by NYers. Particularly beginning in the low 100s, you’ll find grand open walkways, river views, and monuments like the Firemen’s Memorial at 100th Street. You can also rent Citibikes and ride along the Hudson River Greenway to the Battery Park area in lower Manhattan.

33. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Lincoln Center is home to iconic cultural institutions including the New York City Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the Lincoln Center Theater, the Julliard School, and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, among several others.

It’s situated between W. 62nd and W. 65th Streets just where Broadway and Columbus Avenue intersect. At night, the lights of the buildings illuminate around the center fountain. If you’re planning to see a show at one of the theaters or performance spaces at Lincoln Center, you’ll be taking part in a quintessential NYC performing arts outing.

If you like jazz, take a look at the Jazz at Lincoln Center performance schedule. Part of Lincoln Center, though performances take place in Columbus Circle, a show at a place like the Allen Room or Dizzy’s Club comes with fantastic Columbus Park and Central Park views.

34. Grand Central Terminal

NYC Grand Central Terminal View

This famous train station is both a National Historic Landmark and Beaux-Arts masterpiece, as well as a connection point for NYC’s subway and many commuter trains. It’s also got shops, a food court, the famous Oyster Bar, and even a gourmet market. It’s almost a small city unto itself!

Take a moment to look at the constellations on the domed green ceiling in the main concourse. Walk the ramps to the lower level to arrive in front of the Oyster Bar. You might notice other people talking into one of the corners just outside the Oyster Bar. Because of the acoustics in the space, you can talk into one of the corners while another person at the opposite diagonal corner can hear every word you say.

Grand Central is on 42nd Street between Park and Lexington Avenues. It’s just a quick 5-minute walk from Fifth Avenue and Bryant Park. It’s also just next to Summit One Vanderbilt with internal access between the buildings.

35. Chrysler Building

chrysler building NYC

If you’re walking down 42nd Street toward Grand Central Terminal, look up! You can’t miss the iconic Art Deco Chrysler Building. It was completed at the end of May in 1930 and, for about 1 year, was the tallest building in the world until the Empire State Building was completed.

In fact, there was a race to build the tallest building among the Chrysler Building, 40 Wall Street, and the Empire State Building. 40 Wall Street was completed first and was the tallest for just a couple of months.

In secret, the former business partner of the guy at 40 Wall Street who also happened to be building the Chrysler Building, had the building’s spire made within the building. Once the building was finished and the spire added, the Chrysler Building had (temporarily) won the race to the sky.

Although there are no tours or observation decks to visit the Chrysler Building, you can go inside to admire the lobby on weekdays between 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. The best close-up sky views of the Chrysler Building are from atop Summit One Vanderbilt.

36. The FRIENDS Experience

Can’t get enough of Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler, and Joey? Here’s your chance to immerse yourself in the show!

Across 2 levels, you can visit the apartments, Central Perk, recreate your own couch-moving “pivot” photo-op, and see many original props and costumes from the show. It’s a ton of fun for fans of the show, who, let’s admit it, always wanted to join the “Friends” group at Monica’s apartment!

The experience is located at the corner of E. 23rd Street and Lexington Avenue. Get your tickets in advance to select the time and date you’d like to visit. There are a limited number of people allowed in at any given time so that you can enjoy the experience and take photos without crowds of people.

37. Museum of Broadway

Finally, Broadway has a museum to celebrate its fascinating history! Opened in November 2022, the museum is broken into 3 parts to show visitors the evolution of Broadway shows over the decades, information about New York City’s theater district, and exhibits that explain the making of a Broadway show.

The museum is full of original costumes, props, and set designs. There are rooms dedicated to specific shows depending on where you are in the Broadway timeline. And the interactive displays let you have your moment in the spotlight of your favorite show. Ever wanted to be Mimi from Rent singing “Out Tonight” on the staircase? You can climb the staircase there and pose for your perfect Mimi shot!

The Museum of Broadway is located in the theater district, of course! It’s on W.45th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. It’s open 7 days a week, from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. The museum is one of the top things to do in NYC for theater lovers!

38. Intrepid Sea Air, & Space Museum

USS Intrepid Floating Museum docked on Manhattan Island, New York City.

The Intrepid is a permanently docked American naval history museum along the Hudson River at Pier 86 (W. 46th Street) on the far west side of Midtown Manhattan. This famous aircraft carrier served in World War II, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and helped Nasa as a recovery vessel.

Today, you’ll find military planes, a submarine, and other vessels on board, as well as a real U.S. Space Shuttle and a Concorde. There are a ton of exhibits and interactive activities for all ages to enjoy. If you have a question while you’re visiting, ask one of the retired Navy Sailors who volunteer their time.

As with nearly all top things to do in NYC, avoid the line by booking your Intrepid ticket in advance .

39. Get a Hudson River Perspective on a Circle Line Cruise.

In my opinion, everyone who visits NYC should see it at least once from the water. It’s the best vantage point to understand that Manhattan is truly an island, as well as pass under bridges and see the city from a different angle. And the view is even more stunning when you go at night and see the city skyline lit up.

Circle Line offers several sightseeing cruises. This Harbor Lights Cruise is about 2 hours long and takes you from Pier 83 (W. 43rd Street) in Midtown Manhattan south into New York Harbor, around the southern tip of the island, and then up the east side as far as the Williamsburg Bridge.

Along the way, you’ll pass by the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Intrepid, and more. There are indoor and outdoor decks, as well as a place to buy snacks and drinks.

40. Guggenheim Museum

Even before you go inside to see the exhibits, stop to admire the Guggenheim’s exterior. It was designed by master architect Frank Lloyd Wright and completed in 1959. It’s since been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The building works in tandem as a piece of art containing numerous contemporary exhibitions on display inside. The works change so check the exhibitions that are on at the time of your visit.

The Guggenheim sits along Fifth Avenue between E. 88th and E. 89th Streets and is part of New York City’s Museum Mile. Once inside, you begin at the top and experience the exhibits as the rotunda spirals lead to the works of art being shown.

The museum is just a few blocks from The Metropolitan Museum of Art and is opposite Central Park. It’s easy to combine museum visits or combine time at the Guggenheim with some exploration in this part of Central Park including the Reservoir and its popular loop path.

You can get your tickets in advance to avoid the line.

41. Visit Chinatown NYC.

Pell Street Chinatown NYC at night with the lanterns over the street lit.

A visit to Chinatown has to be one of the most fun things to do in NYC, especially if you’re a foodie! There are a seemingly endless number of places to taste dumplings, noodles, pork rolls, and the like. The key is knowing where and how to allocate you’re valuable stomach real estate. You can get all my tips in my Chinatown NYC guide !

In addition, a stroll through the neighborhood (especially along Mott Street) during the day gives a glimpse of the lively fish and produce markets lining the streets. Chinatown is also known for its shopping, particularly for knock-off designer items. You’ll find these types of goods on Canal and the side streets in between.

I prefer to spend money in local shops like Ting’s Gift Shop at the corner of Pell and Doyers Streets after indulging in some of my favorite dishes at Wo Hop.

42. Manhattan Bridge Arch & Colonnade

Birds eye view of the Manhattan Bridge Arch and Colonnade Chinatown NYC

While you’re in Chinatown, walk a few minutes along Canal Street to the Bowery. This is also where the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge is. The arch and the colonnade of the bridge date back to 1915. Together, they create a half-circular monument with columns and sculptures and have been recognized as an NYC landmark.

Aside from viewing the arch and the colonnade from street level, you can go to The Crown, a rooftop bar (all ages welcome with someone 21+ during the day) that overlooks the city and provides a spectacular view of the bridge’s arch and colonnade.

If you have a little time, walk onto the pedestrian walkway of the Manhattan Bridge. It’s located on the right side if you’re facing the arch and colonnade. There are several great photo spots of the city and the bridge even if you walk just a bit of the pathway.

43. See Historic Little Italy.

Just next to Chinatown, you’ll find the remaining streets of NYC’s Little Italy. In fact, for a truly one-of-a-kind look at how close these neighborhoods are, stand at the corner of Canal Street and Mulberry Street. If you look one way down Mulberry Street, you’ll see the hanging lanterns of Chinatown, while the other direction has the tinsel, lights, and Italian welcome to Little Italy.

Mahattan’s Little Italy is centered on the north side of Canal Street in and around the Mulberry, Baxter, Hester, and Grand Streets. The neighborhood is lined with restaurants and shops selling Italian pastries, cheese, and fresh pasta.

It pays to do a little homework before eating in Little Italy. There are more than a few mediocre restaurants catering to tourists.

Parm has excellent eggplant and meatball heroes. Il Cortile and Umberto’s Clam House are both delicious spots to sit down and enjoy a meal. Rubirosa and Lombardi’s (a little north of Little Italy in “Nolita”) both are classic spots for pizza. And for Italian pastries, go straight to Ferrara’s Bakery, open since 1892.

44. Catacombs by Candlelight

The Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, or Old St. Patrick’s, is a Catholic church that was built in the early 1800s. It’s on Mulberry Street between Prince and Houston Streets. It was built because of the increasing number of Catholics who were immigrating to the United States, mainly from Ireland and Italy. Today the cathedral is both a New York City Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places.

Included in the cathedral’s past is its Catacombs, which can be toured with a guide. While touring the catacombs may be one of the more unique things to do in NYC, it’s a fascinating way to learn about the cathedral and hear little-known historical tales about the neighborhood as it experienced waves of change due to immigration in the 1800s and 1900s.

The Catacombs by Candlelight tour is about 90 minutes and gives you access to non-public areas of the cathedral, including 2 enclosed cemeteries where many high-profile figures have their final resting place.

45. The Frick Collection

The Frick Collection is comprised of the paintings and decorative art pieces that once belonged to Henry Clay Frick, a wealthy businessman and art patron. The small museum is one of the most important in the entire country and is a favorite among New Yorkers and visitors alike. It’s a can’t-miss for art lovers visiting NYC.

The collection includes works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Monet, Goya, and Bellini among many others. There are also valuable pieces of 18th-century furniture, sculptures, and porcelain pieces. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions.

Typically, the collection is housed in Frick’s former mansion on E. 70th Street at Fifth Avenue. However, for the past few years, the space has been undergoing renovations. In the interim, the Frick Collection has been moved to a temporary location called Frick Madison on Madison Avenue at E. 75th Street. There are hopeful signs the Frick Collection will re-open in its original location in 2024.

You can visit the museum’s website to purchase tickets.

46. United Nations Headquarters

Flags in front of the UN Headquarters in New York

We all know what the United Nations is but it may be less clear to understand what the United Nations does on a daily basis. That’s why this is one of those New York activities that is truly noteworthy.

The United Nations offers daily 1 hour tours in a variety of languages. The Standard Guided Tour takes you through the history and work of the United Nations, as you pass through the same spaces as diplomats from around the world. You’ll get to see the General Assembly Hall and the Security Council Meeting room, among other important spaces. There are also themed tours focusing on the architecture of the building, women’s rights, black history, and even a tour geared toward children.

To book the Standard Guided Tour, visit the United Nations booking page .

The United Nations Headquarters occupies several city blocks between E. 42nd and E. 48th Street on Manhattan’s far east side along the FDR Highway overlooking the East River. If you’re visiting Grand Central Terminal or near the Chrysler Building, walk east across any street from 42nd to 48th until you reach The United Nations Plaza. You can also take the M42 bus across town.

47. New York Public Library

local places to visit in nyc

The main branch of the New York Public Library along Fifth Avenue is a prominent midtown landmark and the 2nd biggest library in the country after the Library of Congress. The Beaux-Arts building opened in 1911 and has millions of books, manuscripts, and objects in its collection.

It’s also been the filming location for countless movies and TV shows including the library ghost scene in Ghostbusters and the place where Carrie Bradshaw gets left standing at the altar in the first Sex and the City movie.

The library is open to the public. Even before you truly admire the architecture of the building, you’ll pass the 2 lion statues, named Patience and Fortitude. Once inside, you can visit Astor Hall, the McGraw Rotunda with its painted ceiling, the Map Collection, and, of course, the stunning Rose Room and Gallery.

The best way to see the Rose Room and Gallery, in particular, is by joining one of the docent-led tours which take place Monday-Saturday. There are full building tours which last 1 hour and Rose Reading Room tours which are just 15 minutes. These tours are free and are available to a limited group of 20-25 people on a first-come-first-serve basis.

You can book online for the full tour starting on Sunday for the upcoming week. For the 15-minute tour, sign up in the McGraw Rotunda up to 30 minutes before the tour starts. For tour times, visit the NYPL’s website for the most current information.

48. South Street Seaport

South Street Seaport NYC

South Street Seaport is one of the oldest parts of the city and has been brightly revitalized. You’ll come across historic buildings and restored ships, cobblestone streets, shops, and dining. And from the piers, you’ll have beautiful views of the harbor.

This area is on the southern end of the island, situated on the east side near the Financial District and the East River. The South Street Seaport Museum on Fulton Street highlights the area’s history. The museum also includes access to the Wavertree, a 19th-century cargo ship that is also the largest ship made of iron afloat today.

One of my favorite spots is Brown & Co. Stationers on Water Street. Printing was big business for maritime companies needing to print invoices, cargo lists, and the like. Today, the business still has its 19th-century printing presses and customers can print cards, stationery, and other novelty items.

49. Street Art in Bushwick

Brooklyn Street Art New York City

The Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick is a mecca for New York City’s street art scene. The Bushwick Collective is the organization behind the murals that cover the walls of the neighborhood’s industrial spaces.

The street art movement here has transformed the neighborhood for the better, with artists from around the world coming to share their work with the public. Murals and works of art in Bushwick are part of a “living” exhibition. Murals change regularly so on a visit today, you’ll see works that are different from a few years ago. If your timing is right, you might even see an artist in action creating a new mural!

You can take the “L” subway train to Bushwick and get off at the Jefferson Street station to wander the neighborhood. A better plan is to go on a guided walking tour . Not only will the guide know where all the best murals are, but you’ll also get background on the neighborhood and the artists who create the public art.

You can read my review of the Bushwick Street Art Walking Tour.

50. Shop and Stroll in Soho.

Soho NYC

This iconic NYC neighborhood is known for its architecture, shopping, cobblestone streets, art galleries, and cafes. Soho is situated between 6th Avenue and Crosby Street from west to east and Houston and Canal Streets from north to south. The name itself refers to its location which is SO uth of HO uston Street.

From big-name brands to trendy boutiques and vintage shops, Soho is a shopper’s delight! Whether you’re looking for new shoes, used books, or a one-of-a-kind piece of clothing, simply wander along Broadway and streets stemming from it in a westward direction (toward the Hudson River if you’re looking at a map).

While you explore the neighborhood, it’s impossible to miss the gorgeous cast-iron buildings! The construction of this type of architecture was short-lived, mainly during the latter half of the 19th century, before giving way to the skyscraper. I highly recommend the Cast Iron Soho Walking Tour app (it’s free) to help you find Soho’s prettiest buildings and learn more about their history.

During your time in Soho, be sure to taste a cronut from the famed Dominique Ansel Bakery. You might even want to reserve a table for a classic NYC brunch at Balthazar or have some pub bites at the historic Fanelli Cafe.

51. Tenement Museum

At the start of the 20th century, New York City welcomed millions of immigrants in search of a better life. Many of them stayed in NYC, particularly in the tenement housing on the city’s lower east side.

The Tenement Museum, located in the same neighborhood where these new arrivals lived and worked, tells the stories of some of these immigrants.

The museum is unique in that a guide takes you through a specific tenement apartment and/or even through parts of the neighborhood. During the visit, you’ll get an intimate look at what life was like for that particular person or family.

The Tenement Museum has a varying schedule of tours. So, even if you visit once, you can always return for a different-themed tour and a fresh perspective. If you’re planning a visit to Ellis Island, this can be a great way to expand your understanding of these hopeful new arrivals.

52. Merchant House Museum

local places to visit in nyc

If you visit The Tenement Museum (and even if you didn’t), plan an hour or so at the Merchant House Museum .

Less than a mile from The Tenement Museum, this family house turned museum shows the opposite side of life in the late 18th and early 19th century in NYC. Home to a wealthy New York family, the historic house has been preserved fully intact.

The Tredwell family raised their 8 children here, with the youngest Gertrude, living in the house up until she died in 1933. At that point, the house was closed as it was (like a time capsule) until a cousin saved the house in 1936 from demolition and turned it into a museum.

Today, you’ll see the house just as the wealthy family left it, complete with many of their personal possessions. You might also catch a glimpse of Gertrude herself! The house has been nicknamed the most haunted house in NYC.

53. Essex Market

Just near the Tenement Museum between Essex and Ludlow Streets, Essex Market is an indoor market with vendors at ground level selling fruits, vegetables, meats, cheese, and other gourmet food items. There’s also a craft beer-tasting bar and shop.

Downstairs, you’ll find a food court with an eclectic mix of cuisines from Mexican, Turkish, Vietnamese, Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Moroccan, and Ukrainian.

This historic market is a great spot on the lower east side to stroll indoors and find a delicious respite from the busy NYC streets.

54. Relax at a Rooftop Bar.

Crown Rooftop Bar Chinatown NYC, skyline at dusk

There’s no denying how spectacular the New York City skyline is when seen from above. And while you can see it from numerous highrise experiences, enjoying the view from a rooftop bar is a quintessentially NYC thing to do.

As you might expect, there’s no shortage of NYC rooftop bars to choose from! The location of the rooftop bar will determine what buildings you’ll see up close. There are also rooftop bars that are more of a party scene versus others where you can lounge with a cocktail and enjoy the view. Some, like The Crown in Chinatown, even welcome children (when accompanied by an of-age adult) during the daytime.

The rooftop bar at 230 Fifth Avenue might just be the most famous rooftop in New York City. There’s no denying that its front and center views of the Empire State Building are incredible.

For a bit of a more special experience, check out the Ophelia Lounge at the top of the Beekman Tower near 1st Avenue and E.49th Street in Midtown East. The views of the East River and the 59th Street Bridge are stunning at night. And the 360° views from the wrap-around terrace let you look gaze at the full scope of Manhattan’s gorgeous skyline.

Gallow Green wins the award for the most beautiful rooftop. And if you’re up for an adventure, take the tramway to Roosevelt Island to enjoy a cocktail from the Panorama Room. You’ll be rewarded with sweeping NYC skyline views!

55. Rubin Museum of Art

This museum in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood flies under the radar compared to New York City’s more famous spots like The Met or MoMA. Yet, this gem of a museum is worth a bit of your time!

The exhibits include works from the Himalayas, India, and Central Asia. Paintings, photographs, tapestries, artifacts, and sculptures are all part of the permanent collections, with temporary exhibitions serving as a complement.

The Rubin is an extremely peaceful place, too. I particularly love the Shrine Room! For a moment, you just might forget you’re in loud and chaotic New York City! The also museum hosts events as well including mindful meditation sessions and family-themed experiences so that all ages can take advantage of the museum’s interactive experience.

You can book your tickets for The Rubin Museum in advance to enjoy this unique New York City cultural site.

56. Tour Filming Locations.

Dakota Building in New York

We can all name movies or TV series that took place in New York City. One of them may have even inspired you to plan a trip to NYC. As a local NYer, I can confirm that it’s a common occurrence to see film trailers around the city shooting TV episodes and movie scenes. Even still, I can’t resist stopping to see what they’re filming and perhaps even glimpse a celebrity.

While I can’t guarantee you’ll see something actually being filmed, you can take a fun tour to visit the filming locations of your favorite TV show or movie.

On Location Tours has TV and movie-themed tours, as well as show-specific tours for die-hard fans of shows like Sex and the City, Gossip Girl, or The Sopranos.

57. Union Square Greenmarket

The Greenmarket in Union Square is chock full of vendors selling local fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, baked goods, fish, and homemade foods from the farms closest to New York City. It’s beloved by NYers and visitors alike. You’re guaranteed to see local shoppers picking up some of their favorite foods!

Spend a little time walking through the open-air market, talking with the food sellers, sampling, and buying fresh foods. The market hosts events like cooking demonstrations and cookbook signings, too.

Union Square Greenmarket is located along the north and west sides of Union Square Park between E.14th and E.17th streets. It runs all year on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

58. Strand Book Store

The Strand is a New York institution with a few locations around the city. However, the flagship space is near Union Square on Broadway and E.12th Street.

What’s so special about a bookstore? The original Strand is nearly 100 years old. Opening in 1927, its founder wanted it to be a place for true book lovers to browse, read, and talk about books. Today, Strand has 2.5 million used, new, and rare books for sale, which is nearly 18 miles of books! Some are for sale for as little as $1 for a total NYC steal!

Its staff are passionate bibliophiles who are experts at helping you find what you’re looking for…even if you’re not sure yourself! If you’re like me and love books, add this stop to your New York City itinerary. Perhaps you’ll discover a perfect, gently-used, dog-eared souvenir to take home with you.

59. Admire the Flatiron Building.

Flatiron Building NYC

When you come upon the Flatiron Building, you’ll know it instantly. Its characteristic triangular shape makes it one of the most recognizable skyscrapers in the world. It actually looks like an iron you’d use on your clothes!

The building sits on a triangle-shaped block where Broadway and 5th Avenue crisscross at E.23rd Street. The building isn’t open for visits but it’s still too photogenic to miss. Stand in one of the pedestrian plazas just north of the building to get the best photos.

ProTip: If you walk to the corner of E. 26th Street and 5th Avenue, look north for a great photo-op with the Empire State Building and some New York City street art.

60. Mangia at Eataly!

Once you’ve taken in the views of the Flatiron Building, you and your appetite should head into Eataly on 5th Avenue between E. 23rd and E.24th Streets. It’s NYC’s original Eataly location with over 50,000 square feet of delicious Italian foods.

You can sit down and have pizza, wine, coffee, or gelato. There are also prepared foods available to take away. Others shop for Italian cheeses meats, products, and ingredients that may not be sold elsewhere in the U.S. (except at other Eataly locations).

Another highlight of Eataly’s combined marketplace and eatery is the rooftop restaurant, Serra. Make a reservation, though, because seats fill up quickly.

61. Search for History on Wall Street & in the Financial District.

New York City’s economic headquarters is undoubtedly Wall Street. The New York Stock Exchange is at the corner of Broad and Wall Streets and is one of the most well-known places in the city.

But in and around the Wall Street area, there are several other sights not to miss.

The famed “Fearless Girl” statue stands proudly staring at the Stock Exchange building. The popular “Charging Bull” statue is just 3 minutes south of Wall Street on Broadway.

If you’re standing on Wall Street itself, next to the New York Stock Exchange, look down. Find the wooden squares on the road. These are the former wooden posts that were used for the actual wall built by the Dutch colonists. That’s how Wall Street got its name!

62. Federal Hall

Contex Travel NYC

When you’re on Wall Street looking at the New York Stock Exchange, you can’t miss Federal Hall with its giant statue of George Washington overlooking the square.

The building that is Federal Hall today was built in 1842. However, at this site, also stood a building that served as the United States’ first capital, hosting the first congress and the inauguration of George Washington.

Today, Federal Hall is managed by the National Park Service and is a National Monument.

Inside, you’ll find a small museum with artifacts and information about the American Revolution and George Washington’s inauguration. Park rangers also lead guided tours. You may even run into George himself! He occasionally appears to greet visitors and talk about the Revolutionary War.

Federal Hall is without a doubt one of the most interesting free things to do in New York City!

63. Trinity Church & Cemetery

Contex Travel NYC

At Broadway and Rector Street in the financial district and close to Wall Street, you’ll find the Trinity Church Cemetery. It’s one of the oldest official burial sites in all of New York City. In fact, one of the graves dates back to 1681 which is 16 years before Trinity officially purchased the land to be used as a churchyard.

The cemetery also happens to be the final resting place of many influential New Yorkers. Alexander Hamilton is undoubtedly the most famous, along with his wife Eliza, sister-in-law Angelica, and son Philip. Other graves are those of American Revolutionary figures like American spy Hercules Mulligan and famous early American military officials, congressmen, and senators.

You can also visit the inside of Trinity Church. It’s actually the third Trinity Church to stand in this spot. It was built in 1846. The first was built in 1698 but was burned in the Great Fire of New York in 1776. The second was irreversibly damaged during a snowstorm in 1839.

64. Stone Street

To continue on your lower Manhattan history tour, head south on Broad Street from the New York Stock Exchange until you reach Stone Street.

Stone Street is one of the oldest streets in the city. Back when New York was New Amsterdam and controlled by the Dutch, some of the local housewives complained about the dust and debris constantly messing the front of their houses. As a result, Stone Street became the first paved road in the colony.

Today, the street is still cobblestoned but is now lined with restaurants and bars. The street is closed to car traffic which makes it a picturesque spot to sit down for a drink and some snacks.

65. Fraunces Tavern

Contex Travel NYC

While you’re in the Financial District near Stone Street, walk one more block to the corner of Pearl and Broad Streets.

Fraunces Tavern is a historic restaurant with a connection to George Washington and the Revolutionary War. Once the American Revolution had been won, George Washington held a private dinner here to thank his officers, talking to each one individually.

Today, Fraunces Tavern is both a restaurant and a museum. Inside, you’ll find maps and artifacts from the colonial and American Revolutionary days. The building and the immediate neighborhood are part of the National Historic Registry.

In addition to its restaurant and museum, Fraunces Tavern also has a piano bar with live performances every night except Monday.

66. Ride the Staten Island Ferry.

If you’re looking for free things to do in NYC, take the 25-minute ferry ride to Staten Island and see New York Harbor, the Manhattan Skyline, and Lady Liberty before catching a return ferry from the terminal on Staten Island.

You won’t get to visit the Statue of Liberty but you’ll get a close-up view. On the return trip, the views are equally as beautiful as the boat approaches lower Manhattan.

The Staten Island Ferry departs from the Whitehall Ferry Terminal (a.k.a. South Ferry) on Manhattan’s southern tip. Depending on the time of day, ferries depart every 15-30 minutes. It is possible to take the ferry to Staten Island and hop on the next boat back for an immediate return trip.

If you decide to ride the ferry, try to do it outside of commuting hours when it’s naturally more crowded.

67. Take a Trip to Governors Island.

Chairs on Governors Island facing the skyline at Lower Manhattan in New York City

New York Harbor has several islands open to the public, including Governors Island . However, visitors (and even some NYers!) may not be all that familiar with this NYC hidden gem. Would you believe it’s just 5 minutes by boat from lower Manhattan!? And yet, feels as if you’re worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The island is home to 2 former military buildings, Fort Jay and Castle Williams, which are now managed by the National Park Service and also a combined National Monument. These military outposts were built after the Revolutionary War as the city and the new nation worked to improve coastal defense. During the Civil War, they served as military barracks for new soldiers and a Confederate POW prison.

Today both are open to the public to visit on weekends in the summer, with Park Rangers giving free guided tours.

The rest of the island hosts art exhibitions, free walking tours, and cultural events. Some of these exhibitions are in the former houses of the military families who used to live on the island.

There are bike paths and open outdoor spaces, as well. Bikes are available to rent on the island. Or if you prefer to simply take in the amazing Manhattan views, sit back at one of the waterside restaurants. There’s even the QC NY, a luxury spa on the island where you can indulge in all types of body treatments.

Take the ferry from the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street on the lower tip of Manhattan. You’ll also likely see signs pointing in the direction of the Governors Island ferry. The island is open every day year-round with ferries departing lower Manhattan at 7 a.m. and returning until 6 p.m. At the time of rewriting/updating this guide, round-trip ferry tickets are $4.

68. Morgan Library & Museum

This gem of a museum stems from the collection of rare books, historical manuscripts, drawings, and objects that once belonged to Pierpont Morgan. His son, J.P. Morgan, gifted the collection so that it could be used and admired by the public, be it for cultural enrichment or research.

Visitors today can see incredible pieces of history including an original Declaration of Independence, sheet music in Mozart’s handwriting, and an original manuscript of a Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Objects date back 4000 years and the Morgan Library also is the only place to have 3 Gutenberg Bibles, the first book printed with a printing press.

The building itself is a work of architectural art. From its rich wood interior and frescoed ceilings to the modern Renzo Piano entrance, the Morgan Library building should be equally as admired as the works in the library’s collection.

The Morgan Library is located on Madison Avenue between E. 36th and E 37th Streets and is open every day except Monday. It’s easily one of the best places to visit in New York City.

69. Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Japanese Garden in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, New York City, U.S.A.

Botanical gardens are always impressive to me, given my total lack of a green thumb. But the Brooklyn Botanic Garden even more so because of its location in the heart of Brooklyn. Like many green spaces in New York City, it’s (pleasantly) surprising and also perhaps temporarily disorienting to go from a concrete jungle to a verdant oasis.

Situated on 52 acres next to Prospect Park, the botanical gardens take you along winding paths through themed gardens showcasing roses, daffodils, a Japanese-style garden, and 12,000 more plant species. There are also a variety of guided tours through the gardens that are free with your entry ticket.

Visiting the Botanic Gardens is a great way to escape the island of Manhattan (the gardens are accessible by subway) for a couple of hours and see one of the best things to do in Brooklyn.

70. Get Spooked on an NYC Ghost Tour.

New York City has been lived in by millions of people over hundreds of years. Some of these past residents have found it hard to leave. I bet you never thought of “the city that never sleeps” in this way before!

Truth be told, NYC has its fair share of haunted places and spooky tales. From private homes, hotels, taverns, restaurants, and even popular places like the Empire State Building and Washington Square Park, they’ve all had reports of ghostly sightings.

If you’re brave enough, join an NYC ghost tour to visit and hear some of the city’s most haunted places. This ghost tour takes you through neighborhoods like Chinatown and Little Italy with a focus on mafia-related ghost stories. While this ghost tour focuses on Greenwich Village, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods.

71. Attend a Sporting Event.

Aerial pov Yankee Stadium NYC

New York City is home to some of the best sporting venues and world-famous teams. Depending on when you’re in town, go to a Yankees Game (or Mets…not trying to offend)! The New York City subway runs directly to both baseball stadiums.

Visiting outside of baseball season? Grab seats to a New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets basketball game. Or watch the New York Rangers or New York Islanders battle it out on the ice.

72. Jackie Robinson Museum

Open in the Fall of 2022, the Jackie Robinson Museum honors the life and work of this remarkable American and his achievements as an athlete and a Civil Rights advocate. In fact, it’s the first museum in New York City to highlight the Civil Rights Movement.

The museum’s collection contains thousands of artifacts, some of which have come directly from Jackie Robinson’s family.

If you don’t know much about the life of Jackie Robinson, I highly recommend spending some time at this museum. He’s an incredible historical figure who, through his passion to just play baseball, has left behind countless lessons on character and equality that are impactful for people of all ages.

The Jackie Robinson Museum is located on the corner of Varick and Canal Streets in the Tribeca neighborhood. The museum is open Thursday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and tickets can be purchased on the museum’s website.

73. Sing at a Koreatown Karaoke Bar.

If you’re traveling with a group of family or friends, look no further than Korea Town for an unforgetable and fun night out. You can rent a private room with waiter service at one of the neighborhood’s Karaoke bars and sing your heart out just amongst your group without the pressure of an entire bar staring at you.

I’ve done this with friends and even a group of teachers who I worked with. Each time, it was a night full of laughs and good times!

Each karaoke bar will have different packages for rooms, amount of time, and optional food and drinks included. As you compare options, take a look at Gagopa Karaoke, Space Karaoke, and Spot Karaoke.

74. Eat Pizza. Lots of It.


I will be completely upfront and say I have planned entire days out in NYC that revolved around tasting different pizzas. And, I highly encourage you to eat as much pizza as your body will allow during your trip to New York. Eating pizza is absolutely one of the best things to do in New York! (For the record, the best pizza I’ve ever had in NYC is at Juliana’s in Brooklyn, just a few minutes walk from the end of the Brooklyn Bridge.)

There are pizza tours you can do like this one . You can also put together your own DIY pizza tour by looking up some of the best pizzerias around the 5 boroughs of NYC and use the subway to hop from place to place.

Here’s an NYC pizza itinerary going from Greenwich Village to Soho.

Start at Bleecker Street Pizza for a Nonna Maria slice. Turn left on Bleecker Street for a stop at John’s of Bleecker Street or Keste. Both sell full pies only so it’s best to choose one of them and not overstuff yourself yet.

Then, at the end of Bleecker, turn left onto Carmine Street and taste a classic cheese slice from Joe’s. Cross over 6th Avenue and walk up Minetta Lane. Turn left on MacDougal and sample a Sicilian slice from Ben’s Pizzeria. Then trace your footsteps back on MacDougal for an artichoke slice from Artichoke Pizza. This is a slice that’s shareable among a few people…trust me!

If you have it in you for one more slice, make the 15-minute walk to Prince Street Pizza. Go for a pepperoni square and/or a square with their vodka sauce. At this point, you’ll be in pizza coma heaven.

75. Coney Island

Merry Go Round at Coney Island NYC

Coney Island, on the southern end of Brooklyn, is famous for its sandy beaches and retro amusement rides at Luna Park. And it’s all just a subway ride away from Manhattan using the D, F, N, or Q trains.

The most famous ride at Coney Island is the Cyclone at Luna Park . This wooden roller coaster has been running for nearly 100 years and is now the 2nd steepest wooden roller coaster in the world. It’s even a New York City and National Historic Landmark!

In addition to the amusement rides at Luna Park, walk the Coney Island Boardwalk and maybe even walk along the beach and dip your toes in the Atlantic Ocean. Your friends and family back home won’t believe you when you tell them you went to the beach in New York City!

76. Eat up at Smorgasburg!

Calling all foodies…and anyone who likes to eat! Smorgasburg is a sweet and savory New York experience not to be missed. It’s extremely popular and on blue-sky days, expect to see a mix of locals and NYC visitors.

This weekly open-air food market is an eclectic mix of cuisines by some of the best local food sellers in the tri-state area. Visitors can walk through the market deciding which tempting bites are simply too much to resist.

Smorgasburg has 3 locations (in 2023). On Fridays, you can find the market in the Financial District along the side of the Oculus near the 9/11 Museum. On Saturdays, head to Marsha P. Johnson State Park in Williamsburg Brooklyn. And Sundays, you’ll find Smorgasburg in Prospect Park in Brooklyn. The market starts at 11 a.m. and runs through the day.

77. The Met Cloisters

Met Cloisters NYC DP

The lovely Cloisters Museum focuses on medieval art that will transport you back to the Middle Ages. Located in the far northern reaches of Manhattan on a hill in Fort Tryon Park, The Cloisters combine artifacts, gardens, architecture, and tapestries to shed light on the artistry of the dark ages.

If you’re like me, you’ll be completely swept away by the beauty of this place! It’s hard to believe you’re still technically in Manhattan. Of the 3 sections of the museum, the spectacular Unicorn Tapestries stole the show for me. Made around 1500, the panels show the pursuit to catch the mythical unicorn. It’s mind-bending to think how skilled one would need to be to create such an intricate piece of art.

When you’re done in the museum, walk the grounds outside. From this perch, you’ll have sweeping Hudson River views.

The Cloisters Museum is an extension of The Met. In fact, your ticket is good for both places as long as you visit both on the same day. The quickest way to reach The Cloisters is by subway. Take the A train uptown to 190th Street. Then, walk for about 10 minutes up Margaret Corbin Drive until you reach the museum.

78. Try a Bagel with Lox.

Bagels are as synonymous with New York City as pizza is! You can’t leave without trying at least one.

Visitors usually go for their favorite bagel type with a schmear of cream cheese. But, if you want a classic NYC bagel experience, order a bagel with cream cheese, Lox, tomato, and red onion. You won’t taste this any better, anywhere else!

Russ & Daughters is one of the most famous places to try a bagel with Lox. Their location at 179 E. Houston Street has been open for more than 100 years. They’re clearly doing something right!

I’m also a big fan of Leo’s Bagels in Hanover Square in the Financial District, as well as Absolute Bagels (cash only) on the Upper West Side between W. 107th and W. 108th Streets on Broadway. Don’t be surprised to find lines out the door at either place.

79. Belt Out Showtunes.

If you can’t get enough of Broadway, spend an evening singing your heart out at a piano cabaret bar. There are plenty to choose from it just depends on what type of experience you’re looking for.

Marie’s Crisis on Grove Street just off 7th Avenue in the West Village is an all-time favorite of mine. The pianist plays a mix of musical theater songs while either a performer or the entire bar belts it out. It’s a lot of fun and laughs and a uniquely New York City thing to do!

Others like Don’t Tell Mama in the theater district, The Duplex in the West Village, and Sid Gold’s Request Room in Chelsea are all fun nights out. Singing here is optional if you just prefer to sit back with a cocktail and let the rotating cast of performers (who often also dub as bartenders and waitstaff) perform their favorite show tunes.

80. New York Transit Museum

Have you ever wondered what the subway system in New York City looked like 100+ years ago? Head to downtown Brooklyn to see how the transit system the city can’t live without got its start.

The museum is spread over 2 floors with the lower level being an actual unused retro 1940s train station with vintage train cars that you can go inside. You can even see old signs and advertisements that were in the subway cars decades ago, which I must admit, are pretty funny to see today.

The rest of the museum has exhibits showing the history of the transit system with the information presented in a way that’s friendly for all ages. If you’re traveling to NYC with young kids, put the New York Transit Museum on your itinerary.

81. Attend a Live Music Performance.

New York City is full of amazing musicians who perform every night of the week at the city’s many music venues. No matter what you’re preferred music is, you’re guaranteed to find it playing live somewhere in NYC.

Famed music venues like Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, and The Beacon Theater to name a few will feature headliner performers.

But there are smaller venues dotted across the city where you can enjoy everything from jazz to indie rock. Best of all, the settings are more intimate allowing you to be a part of the experience with the musician(s).

Check out who’s playing at places like The Iridium, Village Vanguard, and 54 Below during your time in NYC.

82. Laugh Hysterically at a Comedy Show.

Besides music and theater, New York is home to legendary and hole-in-the-wall comedy clubs alike. Whether it’s the Greenwich Village Comedy Club, Comedy Cellar, West Side Comedy Club, or Gotham Comedy Club, your sides will ache as you listen to the up-and-coming comedians practice their latest material.

Most of these places are small venues with a laid-back vibe. Plus, you never know when someone big like Chris Rock or Jerry Seinfeld will stop in as a surprise guest for an impromptu set.

83. Splurge on a Fine Dining Experience.


New York City has incredible restaurants in every cuisine you can imagine in every price range. But once in a while, perhaps on a trip to New York City for a special occasion , it’s fun to get dressed up and go for a gourmet meal. So why not indulge in a memorable NYC dining experience?!

Consider making reservations at Le Bernardin, Gotham, Per Se, Daniel, Gramercy Tavern, Marea, Eleven Madison Park, or Blue Hill and savor an expertly prepared meal in a luxurious and romantic setting.

Most of these restaurants refresh at least part of their menus seasonally. They also may offer set menus with a specific number of courses and/or a la carte options. So be sure to check the restaurants’ websites to make the menu suits your palate.

84. Go for a Quintessential NYC Brunch.

Weekend Brunch is a New York institution! Whether you’re in the mood for a more classic brunch menu or want an ethnic twist on the cuisine, you’re likely to find it somewhere in New York City! It’s also not uncommon for an NYC brunch to include alcoholic beverages (although they’re always optional).

If there’s a particular place you’d like to go for brunch, try making a reservation. While it’s not always necessary, it’s not surprising to arrive for brunch only to find there’s a (considerable) wait for a table.

For a few brunch ideas, take a look at Jacob’s Pickles, Good Enough to Eat, Clinton Street Baking Company, Shuka, Cafe Luxembourg, Balthazar, or Jack’s Wife Freda. And if you happen to be on the Upper West Side and prefer somewhere a little more low-key than these suggestions, try neighborhood favorite, Fred’s Restaurant.

85. Katz’s Delicatessen

Katzs Deli NYC DP

Katz’s Deli has been stacking sandwiches since 1888. And when I say stack, imagine sandwiches that you can only try to get your mouth around! If it’s your first time in New York City or you’ve never been, it’s worth a stop to taste one of these epic sandwiches.

Katz’s Deli is most famous for its pastrami on rye. People line up to get one because it’s worth the hype! (The matzo ball soup is also really tasty!) The deli was also a filming location for the movie “When Harry Met Sally” and its famous I’ll have what she’s having scene.

Despite what seems like chaos when you arrive, Katz’s is one of the legendary and fun places in New York that you just have to experience!

86. Have a Drink at a Historic Pub.

local places to visit in nyc

New York City’s roots as a port and rapidly growing city means pubs were some of the earliest businesses established here. Merchants, sailors, locals, and famous figures are all a part of New York’s pub history.

Pete’s Tavern is one of a few bars claiming to be the oldest continuously operating bar in New York having disguised itself as a flower shop during Prohibition. It opened in 1864 and aptly has an 1864 ale that’s worth a taste!

McSorley’s dates back to 1854 and is the oldest Irish pub in the United States. Complete with sawdust on the floor and years worth of memorabilia layered on the walls, McSorley’s is a true time capsule.

The Ear Inn is also a worthy historic pub for a stop, not to mention a historic building in its own right. The Federal-designed building is one of the last standing in the city. When you’re there, imagine that this used to be where the shore of the Hudson River met the island of Manhattan before the coastline was extended with landfill.

If you prefer, join a historic pub tour to learn more about specific pubs and some history of prohibition in New York City.

87. Watch a Foreign Film.

One of the advantages of seeing a movie in New York City is the variety. From mainstream to indie to foreign films, there’s something for everyone. But going to an independent theater or arthouse is one of those cool things to do in NYC. In fact, it’s typically something unique to big cities like New York because you can find films you can’t see in most other places.

The Walter Reade Theater on the Upper West Side and the IFC Center and the Angelika Film Center, both in Greenwich Village, are great spots to find independent, foreign, and cult movies. Check the schedules and times to see what’s playing and when during your trip to New York.

88. Shop the Grand Bazaar.

This year-round market takes place every Sunday at W. 77th Street and Columbus Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. And, it’s the perfect spot to find that one-of-a-kind NYC souvenir to take home with you!

Each Sunday, different themed vendors come to sell their crafts and products. You can find handmade items from local artists, curated collectibles, antiques, clothes, art, furniture, and even international goods.

The Grand Bazaar supports local sellers by providing a venue and also contributes some of the proceeds to a few local public schools.

89. Party in NYC Nightlife Scene.

New York City isn’t only for sightseeing! The nightlife is also legendary.

If you’re looking for a night out in New York City, you have your pick from heart-thumping nightclubs to swanky lounges to more laid-back cocktail bars. Neighborhoods like the Meatpacking District, the East Village, Chelsea, Midtown, and Nolita offer a plethora of choices.

Admittedly, it’s been a few years since I was out clubbing, but it was always the type of night where you walk away with the type of memories you laugh about with your friends years later!

When you head out for a night of drinking and dancing, expect to pay cover charges to get in, as well as drink minimums of table charges if you have a seated area. Also, check the dress code. Some places don’t allow sneakers or other casual wear.

Tao in Chelsea is one of the most famous spots for nightlife in New York City. Lavo in Midtown East lets guests enjoy a meal first before they head upstairs for a night of house and techno music on the dancefloor.

90. Eat at a Classic New York City Diner

Looking for some comfort food in a classic New York City setting? Head to the nearest diner and choose from favorites like grilled cheese, burgers, french fries, and, of course, breakfast any time.

Many NYC diners have booth seating and a counter with stools where you can imagine a day when milkshakes were being served while the jukebox was playing. Today, though, diners are casual spots for no-frills favorites.

You’ll find diners in nearly every neighborhood around the city, some like the Waverly Diner or the Tick Tock Diner are even open 24/7 for those late nights when you need something after a night out.

Seinfeld fans may even want to make the trip up to Broadway and W. 112th Street to Tom’s Restaurant, otherwise known as the fictional setting for Monk’s Cafe in the hit sitcom. And if you’re in the theater district, the Red Flame Diner is on W. 44th Street and 6th Avenue and is open until 11 p.m. every night. A lifesaver when you want a quick post-show bite without breaking the bank!

91. City Winery

This epic restaurant, wine bar, and performance venue has everything you need within its 32,000-square-foot location for a memorable afternoon or evening in NYC.

City Winery is situated on Pier 57 along the Hudson River in New York’s Tribeca neighborhood and comes with gorgeous views and sunsets. Wine is made on-site with grapes sourced mainly from the west coast. You can do tastings and winery tours.

The patio and dining areas serve a full menu of food, and in winter there are also private heated bubbles (igloos) for visitors to keep warm while still enjoying the food.

The winery also boasts a full schedule of live music and comedy shows, of course, all enjoyed while sipping on one of the winery’s vintages.

City Winery is quite popular. So if you have a specific time of day you want to be there (i.e. sunset), make a reservation.

92. Get Tickets for a Live Show Taping.

Numerous TV shows are filmed right in the heart of Manhattan. Watching or being a part of the studio audience is one of those unique and fun things to do in New York City. The trick is getting tickets!

Luckily, there are a few where all you need to do is show up. The TODAY Show is filmed in Rockefeller Center and no tickets are needed to be part of the crowd gathered outside.

For shows like The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, and Live with Kelly and Mark, check this website to request tickets or join a waitlist for a specific date.

Saturday Night Live is also exciting to see but tickets can be somewhat difficult to get. If you do snag a few seats, you’ll likely have to arrange your trip to New York City around the date of your tickets versus the other way around.

SNL ticket requests can typically only be made in August. Audience members are selected from a lottery system. The great news is you win the lottery, your tickets are free. This SNL website details the procedure for getting SNL tickets and is updated yearly.

93. Fotografiska New York

Fotografiska is a photography museum that stems from the original museum location in Stockholm. Now there are several Fotografiska’s around the world all with the same purpose.

The museum’s exhibits highlight fantastic photographers whether they’re famous or just getting started. Through their photos, you get an intimate look at the story each photo portrays. I’ve been to the Fotografiska in New York and Stockholm and found each visit to be an experience that drew me into the scene the photographer was capturing.

Fotografiska New York is in a renovated Renaissance-Revival landmark building dating back to the late 1800s. Exhibitions rotate regularly so there are always fresh photos to see. Find the museum on Park Avenue South between E. 21st and E. 22nd Streets.

94. Discover Harlem.

New York Malcom X Blbd Lenox Avenue street sign in Harlem

Rich in culture, history, and great food, a trip up to Harlem is a great way to get out of the bright lights of midtown to experience one of NYC’s most authentic neighborhoods.

Along Frederick Douglas Blvd between W. 110th and W. 125th streets is Harlem’s own restaurant row. There’s an eclectic mix of cuisines from southern comfort dishes at Melba’s to Caribbean-inspired seafood delights at Lolo’s Seafood Shack.

The historic Apollo Theater opened in 1913, with performances continuing today. The legendary Amateur Night at the Apollo is one of the most famous weekly talent shows and the place where many artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, got their start. Check the Apollo Theater’s website for the calendar of shows and ticket information.

To go deeper into Harlem’s unique culture and history, consider joining a Harlem Highlights and Gospel Tour or a guided neighborhood walking tour .

95. New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden is the largest botanical garden in any city across the United States. It has 50 different garden areas, indoor exhibits and attractions, as well as special events like the annual Orchid Show and the much-loved Holiday Train Show.

One of my favorite areas at the Botanical Garden is the Thain Forest. It’s the largest piece of old-growth forest remaining in New York City. It winds past the Bronx River and into thick areas of forest which can help you imagine what the island of Manhattan looked like 400+ years ago. You might even spot a beaver, an animal that continues to make a comeback in NYC.

The New York Botanical Garden is located in the Bronx, one of the 5 boroughs of New York City. Instead of taking the subway, use the Metro-North Harlem Local line from Grand Central to the Botanical Garden Station. The ride is just 20 minutes from midtown Manhattan.

96. Take the Tram to Roosevelt Island.

Roosevelt Island NYC

If you’re on the far east side of Manhattan close to E.59th Street, you may see the Roosevelt Island Tramway overhead gliding along its cables in between Manhattan and Roosevelt Island. This intriguing island sits in the East River between Manhattan and Queens. And besides the tramway, the F train also stops on Roosevelt Island.

Blackwell Island, as it was called during the 17th and 18th centuries, has a dark past. The island once housed an active smallpox hospital, a prison, and a lunatic asylum, to name a few. Roosevelt Island’s location was a perfect place to isolate unwanted members of the population.

Today, these historic and eerie institutions have started to be restored and open for visitors to see. Roosevelt Island also has one of the city’s oldest farmhouses dating back to the late 1700s.

You can do a DIY walking tour like this one to learn more about the history of the island. Or if you prefer to go with a guide, take a look at this guided tour . It doesn’t run often but is led by expert guides. If you want your “what to see in New York list” to be filled with unusual, off-beat places, Roosevelt Island is for you.

97. Levain Bakery

Levain Bakery Cookie NYC

In a city like New York with a seemingly endless number of things to do, is it wrong to feature a bakery and its cookies on a list of top things to do in New York? Not in the case of Levain.

Their cookies are more like colossal indulgences that come in at nearly 1/2 pound (6 oz to be exact). In fact, they’re the best “meal replacement” I’ve ever had! The cookies are baked fresh daily which certainly accounts for their perfect balance of gooey and crispy.

The chocolate chip walnut or double chocolate are my personal favorites, but you can’t go wrong no matter what you choose. Levain’s original location is on W. 74th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues. It’s a hole-in-the-wall shop that you could walk right by if it wasn’t for the to-die-for-smell coming from inside and the people waiting in line outside.

98. Gray’s Papaya Hot Dog

I bet you never expected “hot dog” to come after “papaya!”

Gray’s Papaya has become a New York City icon after 50 years of serving the finest hot dogs around paired with fruit juices like papaya or coconut.

The location on the corner of W. 72nd Street and Broadway is the original location. You can’t miss it as you exit the 1, 2, or 3 train at 72nd Street.

Top your frank with ketchup, mustard, relish, sauerkraut, onions, cheese, and/or chili. If you’re extra hungry, go for the “Recession Special” which includes 2 hot dogs and a drink for a flat rate.

99. Tour the Boroughs of NYC.

Brooklyn street scene with block of buildings near the Williamsburg Bridge in New York City

New York City is made up of 5 boroughs, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Together, there is an endless number of places to discover, eateries to sample bites, and cultures to experience.

It’s normal for a trip to New York City to center around Manhattan with its Broadway Theaters, museums, and sights. But if you can spare some time, visit one or more of the other boroughs to get a fuller sense of how incredible New York City is with its diverse neighborhoods and the customs and traditions that have become part of the city’s melting pot.

If you’re up for an adventure, take the subway to a neighborhood like Greenpoint, Williamsburg, or Bushwick in Brooklyn. Or instead, head to Flushing or Astoria in Queens. These are great neighborhoods for first-time exploration beyond Manhattan and are relatively easy to get to with public transportation.

You can also join a guided bus tour which will take you to different spots around the 5 boroughs to show you the contrasts that make New York City such a fascinating city.

Either way, it’s a fun and terrific thing to do in New York City to expand your perspective on the city’s true essence.

100. Take a Sunset Yacht Cruise.

Hudson River NYC Sunset

If you’d like to see New York City from the water but want to avoid a larger sightseeing or dinner cruise, this sunset yacht cruise might be the perfect choice!

The boat is a bit smaller and the ride is just an hour and a half. So, it’s a great way to see the skyline and relax after a day of sightseeing without sacrificing your evening plans.

Toast to a day of spectacular sightseeing while you pass by some of New York City’s most iconic spots aglow in the orange hue of sunset and as the lights are switched on to illuminate the night sky.

Bonus! Holiday & Seasonal Things To Do in New York City!

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City

In addition to the countless year-round New York attractions, different times of the year come with special events and things to see. This would be an extensive list on its own so instead I’ve handpicked a few of the more popular activities should they match up with your trip to New York.

If you’re planning Christmas in New York , take a look at my detailed guide for this special season, as well as these Christmastime mistakes to avoid in NYC .

101. See the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons Come to Life.

You’ve undoubtedly heard of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But, what about the balloon inflation party that happens the night before?

Each year along the streets in and around the American Museum of Natural History on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, thousands of people come the evening before the parade to see the balloons take shape.

Balloon handlers inflate each tethered balloon on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. They stay there on display until the next morning when the parade starts. Visitors can stream past and photograph each balloon.

This event has become increasingly popular. If you go, watch for signs pointing you to the entry point, typically W. 72nd Street and Central Park West. From there, you move toward the balloons.

After you see the balloons, head to a local restaurant along Columbus or Amsterdam Avenues for a fun festive meal.

102. Ice Skate in Central Park.

Ice skating at Wollman Rink in Central Park is one of the most iconic things to do in New York in December and throughout the cooler months.

While skating on the large rink, you’ll be surrounded by the park’s gorgeous scenery (and hopefully a dusting of snow, too)! Towering above the treeline are some of New York City’s most expensive high-rise apartments. It’s a beautiful setting that has been used as a backdrop for countless films and TV shows.

If you don’t have ice skates, not to worry. You can rent them there.

103. Immerse Yourself in the Christmas Spirit at Rolf’s.

Dripping in Christmas decorative decor, a visit to Rolf’s during a Christmas holiday trip is a must! This German restaurant in Gramercy Park takes holiday decorating to another dimension. There are lights, ornaments, and sparkles in every direction you look.

Of course, it’s very crowded in the Christmas season. Expect to wait in line even just to grab a drink at the bar. If you’d like a table, be sure to make a reservation well in advance.

104. Photograph the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

Yes, it’s the ultimate in touristy holiday sights, but if you’re in NYC for the Christmas holiday season, braving the crowds to glimpse the tree is a must!

The tree is typically lit the first Wednesday after Thanksgiving. The lights stay on until early January.

105. Admire the Department Store Holiday Windows.

From Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street down to Macy’s in Herald Square, holiday store windows are a sight to see!

Saks Fifth Avenue is opposite Rockefeller Center and adds an evening light show to complement its store windows. Expect crowds and a lot of jostling to get the perfect viewing angle and photos.

106. Stroll the Bryant Park Winter Village.

Bryant Park is the most famous Christmas Market in New York City.

Kiosks and huts circle the ice rink (installed for the season) at the center of the park with vendors selling all types of goods from novelty gifts, clothes, food, art, jewelry, home decor, and more. Many of these vendors are local artisans who typically sell only online and/or at markets like this one.

The festive atmosphere puts everyone in the Christmas spirit! If there is one holiday market you visit during your NYC Christmas trip, it has to be the one in Bryant Park.

107. Watch the Ball Drop on New Year’s Eve.

The New Year’s celebration in Times Square is one of the most famous in the world. I did it once in my early 20s and had a great time. When the countdown begins and the ball drops, it’s an unforgettable moment to be part of a cheering crowd in Times Square with confetti and balloons falling from the buildings overhead.

That being said, it’s a commitment. For the closest/best possible spots, you’ll need to start your wait hours (and hours) beforehand. Once you’re in your place, you can’t leave because you won’t be able to come back.

What’s my advice? If you’re in NYC for New Year’s Eve and you’re on the fence about going, look at the weather. If it looks to be a decent weather night (no rain/sleet/arctic temps), then go for it. It’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime events.

108. See Shakespeare in Central Park.

Every summer, Shakespeare productions are performed at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The featured play or plays change each summer, oftentimes with a well-known Broadway actor appearing in a title role.

Tickets are free but you need to wait in line to get them. Or you can use the TodayTix app to enter a digital lottery. People tend to line up early to be ready for the noon ticket distribution time. Each person in line is eligible to receive 2 seats.

109. Wear Spooky Halloween Costumes.

The annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade is the place to be if you’re in the city on October 31st. Dress up in your most creative goblin and head to the village for the festivities.

The parade travels up 6th Avenue from King Street to W.15th Street. You can line up for free along the parade route (get there early) or buy tickets for access to a VIP viewing location. Better yet, if you’re wearing a costume and a related mask, you can join the parade by heading to Canal Street and 6th Avenue!

Each year, the parade has a theme that inspires many of the costumes you’ll see. I guarantee they’ll be some of the most original Halloween costumes you’ve ever seen!

110. Watch the NYC July 4th Fireworks.

New York City puts on a massive fireworks display to celebrate July 4th. If you’re in New York, don’t miss the chance to see the show as up close as possible.

The fireworks are set off from barges in the East River. The FDR, the highway along the east side of Manhattan, closes to traffic and people walk the entry ramps to get a front-row seat to the fireworks display over the East River. Access points tend to be from E.23rd, E.34th, and E.42nd Streets.

If you can’t get to the FDR, find a spot along the East Side of Manhattan where you can see the river. Better yet, if you have a friend or family member with access to a rooftop, hit them up for a favor!

111. Celebrate San Gennaro in Little Italy.

Every year, Little Italy’s streets fill with booths and festivalgoers for the Feast of San Gennaro.

For roughly a week and a half starting in the middle of September, Mulberry Street is transformed into a street party honoring San Gennaro of Naples who was a martyred Bishop from Benevento in Italy. Aside from all the delicious food, there are concerts, a cannoli-eating contest, and parades.

112. Photograph Mahattanhenge.

If you haven’t heard of it before, Manhattanhenge is when the setting sun is perfectly positioned between the east and west streets of Manhattan’s grid layout. This phenomenon usually happens around May, June, and July.

Find a vantage point along a wide crosstown street like 14th to see the sunset line up perfectly between the buildings and shine across Manhattan from west to east for a fantastic New York City photo-op!

Bottom Line: Best Things to Do in New York City

Subway Train in New York before Sunset

New York City is an absolute treasure trove of culture, arts, spectacular food, and one-of-a-kind sightseeing experiences! You can spend a lifetime here and still continually discover more.

For your trip to New York, decide which New York activities are at the top of your list. Then, set off on an unforgettable adventure as you enjoy all NYC has to offer!

What questions do you have about what to do in NYC?

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28 thoughts on “the best 100 things to do in new york city (written by a local)”.

local places to visit in nyc

What an incredibly comprehensive list! Wow! It must have taken you forever to compile this! I’ve only visited New York once, when I was 16, back in 2001…a trip to the States is long overdue 🙂 I will keep your list in mind for my trip!

local places to visit in nyc

Thanks, Tess! I’m glad the list will be helpful for when you’re able to make it back to the U.S. NYC is a must! 🙂

local places to visit in nyc

Thanks for such an awesome list! I still haven’t visited New York, but am hoping to in 2017 – bring it on!

Thanks, Shandos! Glad the list will be useful for your 2017 NYC travel plans. 🙂

local places to visit in nyc

Great list! I’ve gone through about a 1/4 of it. I’ll have to make an effort to cross off the rest the next time I’m in NY.

Thanks, Jeh-C! New York has so many great things to see and do. Hope you can cross off some more on your list next time! 🙂

local places to visit in nyc

This is the perfect list for the NYC traveler! I’ll have to keep it in my back pocket for the next time I head to the city for a trip!

Thanks, Carmen! Glad it’ll come in handy for you!

local places to visit in nyc

Wow! What a fantastic list! It must have taken you forever to complete. I’ve experience a lot of them but over many years. I think have so much to see there though.

Thanks, Lesley! To be honest, I got the idea for the post and didn’t really understand what I was getting involved with until I was knee-deep! NYC is one of those cities, though, you have to return to over and over. There’s just so much to do! 🙂

local places to visit in nyc

2 trips to New York and i’ve only done 19 of these. Guess I need to go back 😉 Great list. I love New York (and congrats on the 100th post)

Thanks, Claire! It’s best not to rush through all of them at once. Come back and enjoy a few more when you can! 🙂

local places to visit in nyc

Great list! I love NYC! We’ve done quite a few on the list. I would also add the Kramer tour (if it still runs) for all the Seinfeld fans out there. It was such a fun day out! We’ll have to return and complete the rest of the list next time! 😉

Thanks, Kim-Ling! The Kramer tour still runs and looks like a good time! Thanks for the suggestion. 🙂 Hope you make it back to NYC soon!

local places to visit in nyc

That is really impressive! You really know your city! I haven’t done all the things from your list but there is always a reason to go back to NYC! Thanks for sharing!

Thanks, Jey! Reasons to return to such a great city are never a bad thing! 🙂 Hope you make it back soon!

local places to visit in nyc

There’s just so much to do in NYC! I’ve only been once, but I loved it and I can’t wait to go again! Oh, and congrats on the 100th post 😉

Thanks so much Vicky and Buddy! You definitely need to get back here and check out some of these 100 awesome things! 🙂

local places to visit in nyc

What a list! And it’s a good one! I bookmarked this for future use! Thanks for the post!

Thanks, Joe! Hope you get to NYC soon and start checking off each one! 🙂

local places to visit in nyc

I’m pleased to say I did many of the things on your list whilst visiting NYC in May 2016. The most amazing city ever! One thing not on your list, that I truly believe deserves to be there is – Levain bakery – those cookies are to die for! Awesome blog post, thanks for sharing. x

Patrice, you must have had an amazing NYC trip! How great! You are so right about Levain Bakery. I have to actually plan detours away from that place!! I will be adding it to my next 100 things to do in NYC. 🙂

local places to visit in nyc

Traveled to NYC for the first time last fall. Had a wonderful time and even home stayed to make it more enjoyable. There was so much to see and do in the short time. We did walk the Brooklyn Bridge and have pizza at Grimaldi’s! As luck had it, we even got to see a Yankee’s game. 🙂

Awesome trip, Robert, and fall really is the best time to visit! I love that pizza at Grimaldi’s! It’s so delicious. Hope you’ll be able to make it back to NYC for another getaway. There’s always more to do. 😉

local places to visit in nyc

Thank you so much to sharing it. this will make our trip Awesome. But i have a week to spend my holiday in New York after this my Visa will be expired. Could you suggest me some top places where i should need to visit And i feel I really have seen something.

Thanks for reading, Jackson. Visitors love the main sights in NYC like the Empire State Building or Times Square. But, make sure to visit Lower Manhattan and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. For more NYC info, you can also get itinerary ideas here.

local places to visit in nyc

Ride the Staten Island ferry was the coolest thing in NY. I like that too much. Thanks.

Glad you liked the ferry, Lana. The view of NYC and Lady Liberty are great from the boat.

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Dana Berez

Locals Guide to NYC: How to Visit NYC Like a Local

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Chinatown NYC

Locals Guide to NYC

Whenever I travel someplace new, I always want to get a sense of how the locals really live. Do New Yorkers really visit the Empire State Building on the weekend? The collective answer would be no . Here is a full locals guide to NYC.

New Yorkers are probably not even on 34th Street during the weekend unless they HAVE to go shopping.

So if you’re looking to tour NYC with a local’s perspective in mind, this will be your ultimate local’s guide to NYC.

Things to do in NYC: 

Sightseeing nyc:.

Museums | New Yorkers love the classic museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the MoMa , but NYC has over 80 museums in all 5 boroughs that span all kinds of interests. So if you’re looking for something different, these are my personal favorite:

  • Museum of Ice Cream : yes this exists! Sample Ice cream and walk through immersive rooms!
  • My ultimate favorite museum in NYC is the Tenement Museum . Did I say favorite? I have visited this museum over 5 times and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to see what life was like in the Lower East Side in the late 1800s to early 1900s. During your tour, you get to visit the restored apartments of the families who used to live in this exact building. It’s so informative and wonderful, I’d say it’s a must-do!
  • The  Museum of the City of NY  is a perfect museum for anyone who loves the history of New York!
  • The FIT Museum  is a specialized fashion museum located in the Fashion Institute of Technology. As an Alum, I’m a bit biased, but there is an amazing collection, and entrance admittance is free !
  • If Al Capone and organized crime spark your interest, check out the Gangster Museum  which includes a tour of a historic speakeasy in the East Village.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Boutiques | Check out the side streets in Nolita or Soho away from Broadway. You will find unique shops that you wouldn’t find in your local mall. I found Sezane , a french boutique with the most adorable spring set up!

Another boutique shopping street is on 9th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue. You’ll find clothing and jewelry shops like Verameat, Elliot Mann, and Cloak and Dagger.

Shopping in NYC

Thrift Shop in East Village  | There are so many places to thrift in NYC including Goodwill, Salvation Army & Beacons Closet, but you’ll find many curated stores in the East Village.

Some shops include Buffalo Exchange, L Train Vintage, AuH2O, Cure Thrift Shop, and Housing Works in SoHo.

Consignment Shop  | When in NYC, your chances of finding luxury second-hand goods are extremely high!

They have specialized shops that only sell luxury consignments like the Real Real, a Second Chance, and Eleven Consignment boutique.

Union Square Greenmarket | The Union Square Market is a favorite drawing in all the locals. This outdoor market primarily sells fresh fruits and vegetables, homemade jams and bread, flowers, and produce.

If you’re in the area, it is worth checking out. * Note closed on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

New York City Wallpaper

Picnic | Bring a blanket, some food, and drink, and you’re ready for a picnic in NYC! It is a great way to spend an afternoon relaxing and catching in some sun amongst the hustle of NYC.

The best locations are in central park and my personal favorite the Christopher Street Pier on the West Side Highway.

Rockaway Beach | If you have a free full day in NYC, I suggest having a beach day in the Rockaways! Thanks to a new ferry service, you can get there within an hour from Manhattan letting you relax in the sun all day!

There aren’t a lot of food options in the Rockaways so come prepared with your own snacks and water.

Long Walks  | Sometimes having no plan is the best plan. You can aimlessly walk around NYC and never get bored. You’ll probably stumble upon a new restaurant or even a festival you had no idea was going on.

This is probably my favorite reason for living in NYC, how each neighborhood has its own vibe! Some of my favorite aimless walks include:

  • Highline Park
  • Walking over the Williamsburg, or Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge Park

  • Check out the art galleries in West Chelsea on 24th Street
  • Battery Park Promenade and the Yacht Club
  • Anywhere in the West Village staring at gorgeous townhomes
  • Anywhere in Soho admiring the lofts



Biking | Biking is my favorite way to get around the city. You’re not confined to an underground smelly subway car and you’ll get some exercise while at it.

If you don’t want to navigate the streets in NYC, I would practice on the West Side Highway or Central Park where there are only bike lanes. After a while, you’ll get the hang of it!

Local Tip : use CitiBike . For guests, you can rent a daily pass for $12 which you can use throughout the entire city. The only downside is once you take a bike out of the station, you have 30 minutes to dock it into another station.

I would download the app to see where and what stations are open.

How to Visit NYC like a Local | Locals Guide to NYC: Rent a Citi Bike

Subway | Although not the most glamorous way of transportation, the Subway is the most efficient way to get from point A to B, especially during rush hour when traffic is insane.

However, the Subway during rush hour will be the most horrific NYC experience, especially when there are train delays.

Usually, the Subway runs just fine, but there are some days, especially on the weekends where it would have been better just to walk.

NYC subway Entrance

Locals Guide for Food & Drink

Coffee shops.

A coffee shop is a perfect place to catch up with friends or enjoy a delicious cup of joe! There are so many unique artisan coffee shops that you shouldn’t dare step inside a Starbucks.

In fact, if you walk around my block in the East Village you’ll probably find over 5 coffee shops. So to name them all in this post would be insane. Instead, I will name a few of my favorites (even though they’re all my fave).

  • Third Rail Coffee

La Colombe Coffee

New Yorkers take brunch very seriously. I’d even say that a New Yorker’s weekend plans revolve around brunch! There are countless places in NYC for brunch but some of my personal favorites are:

  • Upland  – Chic interior space serving American/Italian fare
  • Cafe Mogador – East Village staple serving Moroccan flavors with outdoor cafe seating.
  • Jack’s Wife Freda – Cozy spot serving American Mediterranean-inspired dishes.
  • Bar Pitti – This trendy spot is known for its blackboard menu, outdoor seating, and people-watching.
  • Tiny’s – Located in a pink 1800s townhouse with most of the original material restored, this is the ideal place for a cozy brunch. There even is a real fireplace burning in the back dining room!

Want a boozy brunch?   30 Best Bottomless Brunch Spots in NYC (2022)

How to Visit NYC like a Local | Locals Guide to NYC: Brunch

What better way to take in the New York skyline and have a few cocktails while at it?

With endless amounts of rooftops to choose from, I picked my favorites with the best views and delish cocktails!

  • 50 Bowery  | The Crown is the rooftop lounge where unobstructed views of Manhattan await.
  • Refinery Rooftop |  A Midtown Classic, this spot offers stunning views of the Empire State Building.
  • 1 Rooftop | On top of the 1 Hotel in Brooklyn, the entire Manhattan skyline is a sight to see! *Closed until Memorial Day Weekend.
  • Magic Hour | New Rooftop with an amusement park theme on top of the Moxy hotel in Times Square.
Related:  27 Best Rooftop Bars in NYC with Stunning Views (2022) 26 Best Rooftop Restaurants in NYC (UPDATED 2022)

Other Food & Drink Options

Smorgasburg | Smorgasburg  is the largest open-air food market drawing in thousands of foodie lovers to Brooklyn to check out more than 100 vendors selling all types of food and drinks.

This market takes place on Saturdays on the Brooklyn waterfront in Williamsburg and Sundays in Prospect Park. You’ll find some unique options like smoked smores ice cream and a pineapple bowl.

Smorgasburg Brooklyn

Wine Tasting | Astor Wine & Spirits in Astor Place offers free daily wine and liquor tastings! Who doesn’t dig a free tasting? I also love this place because the price point isn’t insane. I’ve found delicious bottles of wine for $8.

Check out their schedule online to see what tastings are happening!

Eataly | This gourmet grocery and restaurant has all New Yorkers and tourists thinking they are in Italy. If you have never been to Eataly , it’s definitely worth checking out.

They have it all from to-go counters, wine bars, sit-down restaurants, gelato, coffee, as well as a cooking school.

More NYC Posts:

12 Hotels With the Best Views In NYC (2022)

Two Days In NYC: Perfect Itinerary for First Time Travelers

First Timers Guide to NYC | Top Tips from A Local

Best NYC Instagram Spots: 21 Locations With Map

What to Pack for a Trip to NYC: NYC Packing List by Season (2022)

See all my NYC Posts

I hope you enjoyed this local guide to NYC! Here’s a handy map of the places I mentioned in this post!

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Dana Berez is a fashion and travel blogger with a focus on affordable style and outfit ideas, especially when traveling. Dana Berez has been featured on the Wall Street Journal, CNN Underscored, Apartment Therapy and more! Plus , you can also watch Dana on Youtube for fashion hauls and travel guides that has over 9 million views.


i have been to NYC but this post tells me theres a lot more to see..

Yes! There are plenty of things to see in NYC, just wanted to make a local’s guide for visitors who want ideas for a more authentic trip!

Good to know what New York City is like from a locals perspective for a change. Most articles focus on the tourist, so this is a refreshing change.

Thank you! I tried to put a true local’s guide in case you have seen all the touristy things and want to have new fresh ideas!

I love this! I love the idea of experiencing a new city the way I local would. It’s my favorite way to travel. I pinned this post for when we go to NYC!

Great! I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed this post! Hope you have an amazing time in New York City

This is a fabulous list of things to do! I may pass this along to visiting friends and family. I love that you included biking as I agree it’s the way to get around. I often recommend a local bike tour company , their tours are designed to feel like a local friend is taking you around their favorite neighborhoods. You may want to check them out! I often host local travel influencers on their rides.

Hi! Thanks for writing such an informative post! Where was the picture with the bike covered with flowers taken? The one that’s right above the transportation section…

Hi! This was taken in front of the Sezanne Store in Noho, Manhattan !

Love, love, love your post! Thank you so much for great info. We are going for the first time in July and I can’t wait to see some of the things you suggest!

I am so glad you enjoyed! I mentioned the things I usually do on a weekend! Its great to add in some local flair in your trip!

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24 Places in NYC That New Yorkers Love to Visit

The best things to see, do, eat, and more in NYC, according to locals.

local places to visit in nyc

There's an unassuming brownstone in Harlem, where the walls vibrate every Sunday. Step inside the downstairs door, and you'll find it's the work of a soulful saxophone, bass guitar, and rat-a-tat-tatting drums — assembled with the kind of verve that gets your toes tapping and head bopping on command.

For over two decades, the American Legion Post 398 has hosted weekly jam sessions in which rotating jazz musicians from around the world share a humble stage. Haze fills the tight quarters, cut only by the thumping music and wafting scent of homemade Southern-style cooking.

It's a time machine of sorts, a window into Harlem back in the day — some of the musicians have played with big-names like Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole. These days, the audience is an improbable group of old-timey veterans and a new generation of locals and tourists, who follow the menagerie of bluesy, brassy sounds to find an unexpected surprise waiting inside. (Oh, to be back in that room again.)

That's the thing about NYC — it's filled with hidden gems, no matter if you're a lifer or a fresh transplant. Live here long enough and the city becomes the kind of place where even the new starts to feel familiar — a man training a parrot on the J train won't phase a true New Yorker. But you'll still stumble upon something novel every day, whether that means discovering a hole-in-the-wall restaurant or finding a temporary home in a jazz club that feels a lot like a living room. The city unequivocally takes you in, giving you a home.

But as a place of contradictions — it can be both magical and merciless — the city also tests your loyalty in unforgiving ways. And the pandemic this year pushed our limits to an extreme. We went from rubbing shoulders with strangers in packed subway cars and bars to keeping our distance, slowing down, withdrawing inside, and staying still — it was not our fast and frenetic nature. But as New Yorkers do, we adapted and found new ways to come together : singing and dancing from the rooftops, celebrating milestones like weddings outdoors on sidewalks, and of course, marking time by clapping for our first responders and frontline heroes.

When the city does open again, and it will, those surprises will be there, and we'll unwrap each one like little gifts. Until then, here's a list of the tops spots in New York — places we can't wait to get back to again — according to New Yorkers themselves.

Central Park Reservoir

"Located just across the street from my apartment — when I lived in NYC — I would escape between the trees of Central Park and run around the reservoir almost daily. One time, when I was dating my husband, we were both running and saw that a stranded duck had found its way out of the water and couldn't get back in to its babies because of the fence around the water. The duck gave chase, but we finally caught it, and put it back over the fence." — Deanne Kaczerski, Digital Content Editor

Anable Basin Sailing

"For my money, there's no better place for an outdoor beer than this no-frills patio on the banks of the East River in Queens, as you watch the sun set behind the Chrysler Building, the UN, and the rest of the Manhattan skyline. Grab a picnic table, order some out-of-this-world chevapi (Balkan sausages), and watch the boats cruise by. And if you happen to notice that strange digital clock on the facade of the next building over, you can even impress your friends with this factoid: It's counting down the days and hours left in President Trump's term." — Paul Brady, Articles Editor

AIDS Memorial Park at St. Vincent's Triangle

"The AIDS Memorial Park opened just before I first moved to New York City and something about this perfect little green space being new to the area — just like me — always made it feel extra special. Looking into its history, the park is dedicated to the 100,000 New Yorkers who died of AIDS and is purposely situated outside of what used to be known as St. Vincent Hospital, which housed one of the first wards on the East Coast dedicated to fighting the disease. Today, a beautiful and massive memorial stands with a fountain, along with dozens of benches and tables for reading or eating lunch. The park serves as a little piece of solace next to busy 7th Avenue and a great spot to meet up with friends before browsing around the West Village." — Christine Burroni, Digital News Editor

Lower East Side Tenement Museum

"Museums have had to pivot this year, and it's important that we support them — particularly smaller institutions that don't have the funding of larger ones. The Tenement Museum , which normally gives tours in their two buildings on Orchard Street, has now shifted to doing outdoor walking tours of the neighborhood. Nothing can totally replace seeing in person what the cramped indoor quarters of a tenement were like — and truly understanding what living conditions in the late 19th century were like for many families. But a guided walking tour does provide other context: We were able to see the area's first movie house, the Spanish-Baroque Loew's Canal Street theater, and the Jarmulowsky Bank, still standing after all these years." — Jacqui Gifford, Editor-in-Chief

Classic Harbor Line

"In all my years of living in New York City, I've never been to the Statue of Liberty. For now, the interior of the monument remains closed. But I was able to get an up-close view on a beautiful fall day with Classic Harbor Line , which offers two-hour, socially distanced, jazz sailings on 80-foot schooners — wine and snacks included. Architecture tours are also available for those who want a more in-depth understanding of the history of New York City." — Jacqui Gifford, Editor-in-Chief

"Chef Stefano Secchi's intimate restaurant , inspired by the culture and cuisine of Italy's Emilia-Romagna region, is one of my favorite places to go for a decadent plate of pasta and a glass of wine. And the energy around outdoor dining is fantastic — you never know when you'll bump into celebrities like Anne Hathaway and Danny Meyer. Don't miss the gnocco fritto or the cacio e pepe in Emilia (lettuce draped with pecorino dressing and cracked pepper). It puts the Caesar salad to shame." — Jacqui Gifford, Editor-in-Chief

City Island

"Everyone who moves to New York has certain expectations of the city. Mine, I must say, did not include a New England-inflected fishing town on a tiny island in the Bronx — but there you have it. To get from my apartment to this little enclave in Pelham Bay, I take the 4/5 to the 6 to the Bx29 bus for a ride totaling 90 minutes on a good day. But what awaits is a getaway that feels totally removed from the city: a quaint main street with antique stores and galleries, Hennessy piña coladas at Johnny's Reef, crowds (in non-pandemic times) gathering in the sunshine to eat fried seafood on the waterfront, a walking path to Orchard Beach that takes me through grassy marshes populated by turtles and egrets. New York really has everything." — Hannah Walhout, Associate Editor

Washington Square Park

"I'm always reminded of this John Updike quote when wandering through Washington Square Park: 'The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.' Stroll through this nearly 10-acre oasis in NYC's Greenwich Village, and you'll soon understand why. I've visited this iconic neighborhood spot — thrumming day and night — more times than I can count, but each time, the experience is wholly different. Here, a menagerie of musicians, jugglers, chess players, street artists, skateboarders, NYU students, and neighborhood residents all vie for attention — an endless swell of people pulling your gaze here, then there. It's the type of place you can visit every single day and still find something new, and although you can cover the entire place in 20 minutes tops, lingering on one of the park benches, by the fountain, or under the Washington Arch is highly recommended to truly absorb the contagious energy reverberating from every corner." — Alisha Prakash, Senior Digital Editor

Enoteca Maria

"Enoteca Maria, a warm and inviting restaurant tucked away in Staten Island, attracts locals from all five boroughs with an extra-special secret ingredient: grandmothers. Here, a rotating cast of nonnas from Italy and beyond whip up authentic, comforting, good-for-your-soul dishes from their home countries. The menu changes daily — one day, you might find yourself luxuriating over lasagna bianca (each sheet of pasta lovingly layered with parmesan, mozzarella, artichoke, mushrooms, and butternut squash and coated with bechamel sauce) or canolicchi di mare (razor clams simmered in white wine with garlic); the next, savoring specialties from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Japan, Russia, and the list goes on. Every day offers a new surprise — and if that's not a perfect metaphor for living in New York City, then I don't know what is." — Alisha Prakash, Senior Digital Editor

Happyfun Hideaway

"Bushwick — the Brooklyn neighborhood home to street art, Dominican restaurants, and the JMZ train — will always hold a special place in my heart. And Happyfun Hideaway, a queer dive bar with a big backyard and even bigger characters, is an essential part of my NYC. For years, it's been the place I catch up with my friend on Mondays over Tecate and tequila. On weekends, it's home to drag queens and dancing, but also quaint little nooks to chat with friends or strangers about this or that. Most importantly, it's welcoming of all — and that's something we very much need right now." — Tanner Saunders, Associate Digital Editor

Tompkins Square Park

"For a real taste of New York City, wander through the East Village and spend an afternoon — rain or shine — at Tompkins Square Park . Here, you'll find finance-types walking their dogs, live musicians playing rock covers, sunbathers in the summer and even winter, skateboarders, artisans, chess players, and a motley crew of people that make up the vibrant and textured fabric of the neighborhood. It's the place for people-watchers, and you'll probably find me there — in the dog park — on any given Sunday." — Tanner Saunders, Associate Digital Editor

Whispering Gallery at Grand Central Terminal

"If you're heading down to the Oyster Bar (or to catch a train on the lower level), you'll often spot a couple people facing opposite corners and speaking quietly into the walls. It's a cool acoustical trick: The arched ceilings in that spot conduct the sound in a way that one person can hear the other perfectly — even amid the rush hour crowds and announcements." — Sarah Bruning, Senior Editor

The Elevated Acre

"You'd be forgiven for breezing right by the outdoor escalators of 55 Water Street in Lower Manhattan. They don't look like much from the street, but if you take them one flight up, you'll be rewarded with this lovely one-acre green space. It has East River and Brooklyn Bridge views, plus plenty of beautifully landscaped pockets, so it's a great place to bring a picnic (or takeout from one of the local poke spots)." — Sarah Bruning, Senior Editor

Cobble Hill Park

"This past spring and summer, when everyone in Brooklyn was mostly confined to their apartments and immediate neighborhoods, this little patch of green offered an escape for those in the surrounding areas of Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens. The park's small size — just a half-block long — makes it seem like you've stumbled on a secret garden, and it's bordered by 19th-century brownstones and row houses so that it feels as if you're in a period film about Old New York. My favorite thing to do when the weather is nice is grab a prosciutto sandwich from Poppy's to-go window (they also have excellent baked goods) and eat it here after finding an empty bench under the shade of a plane tree." — John Wogan, Special Projects Editor

Rockaway Beach

"I grew up, in part, at the beach in Southern California, and I didn't think the ocean was something I'd see much of when I moved to New York. Luckily, the Rockaways are just the escape from the city that I'd been missing. And after a long day of swimming and sunbathing, there's nothing better than fish tacos and a beer from Tacoway Beach before taking the train or the ferry back home." — Madeline Diamond, Associate Digital Editor

King Mother

"My husband and I moved into a new apartment in Brooklyn in late March, exactly when the city shut down due to the pandemic. We would walk through our new neighborhood, peering inside dark restaurants and looking up menus online, preparing for the day when we could dine out again. One in particular caught our eye: King Mother , on Cortelyou Road, with extensive wine and cheese lists. The minute it opened for takeaway, we were at its door for to-go drinks and, hands down, the best focaccia I've ever had. It quickly became our neighborhood spot. The tables are generously spaced, the staff feel like your best friends, and the wine flows endlessly." — Erin Agostinelli, Editorial Operations Manager

Green-wood Cemetery

" Green-Wood Cemetery is such an enchanting part of South Brooklyn. Most wouldn't consider such a place reminiscent of death to be described that way, but during the height of the pandemic in NYC, it became my refuge. It was a place I could safely walk without running into crowds, and the relative silence of the large historical place was perfect for reflecting. Pick any part of Green-Wood and you'll discover nature and wildlife, like the famed parakeets, groundhogs, and enormous, breathtaking trees. The expansive green space is also the perfect place to uncover New York history, from the family mausoleums to the famous historical figures. Even if I lived nearby for over a year without going in, I'm so happy I spent those weekends and afternoons finding solitude and learning more about the history of this beautiful city and its people." — Mariah Tyler, Photo Editor

Peaches HotHouse

"A majority of my seven years in Brooklyn was spent in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. It will always be the best neighborhood, in my humble transplant opinion. While my favorite coffee shop with the best Haitian patties closed its doors this year, the best place to spend a hot afternoon or cold night is Peaches HotHouse . Arguably some of the best fried chicken and cornbread in Brooklyn can be found here." — Mariah Tyler, Photo Editor

Border of Lower East Side With Two Bridges

"If I had to choose my favorite five square blocks in all of New York City, it would be below Broome Street and above East Broadway, between Bowery and Essex in the lower Lower East Side. It's got the greatest concentration of my favorite bars, restaurants, and authentic ethnic food spots all in one little pocket. I just love wandering those streets — lined with street art and always buzzing with that unmistakable New York energy — picking up my favorite bites (pastries from Kamboat Bakery, pork buns from Super Taste, tamales from Factory Tamal, pizza from Scarr's), meeting friends for dinner and a drink (Cervo's or Kiki's followed by Reception and Bar Belly), or just soaking up the sun with a good book on the benches lining the small pedestrian park along Allen Street (Google Maps apparently calls it 'Allen Malls')." — Karen Chen, Editorial Producer

Louis Valentino, Jr. Park, Red Hook

"During the height of the pandemic, when we were really only meant to leave our apartments for the essentials (exercise, fresh air, groceries), I found my salvation in running to different neighborhoods around Brooklyn. This small park at the tip of Red Hook was an amazing place to feel the sun and sea breeze on my skin, smell the ocean, and feel a little bit removed from, well, everything. Now, it's still a favorite spot to spend an afternoon. Get some picnicking essentials from nearby neighborhood favorites — a bottle of wine from Red Hook Winery, a sandwich from Court Street Grocers (the Red Hook outpost), dessert from Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies — and watch the sun set behind the Statue of Liberty with the Manhattan skyline twinkling in the distance." — Karen Chen, Editorial Producer

"As soon as outdoor dining reopened in the city, my husband and I decided to pick one of the regular-ish spots in our brunch rotation and make it our only brunch spot. We've been outdoor brunching at Blossom , a friendly plant-based spot on a lively stretch of Columbus Avenue in the Upper West Side where the restaurants have really nailed their outdoor dining games every weekend this summer and fall. I've got a standing order for a Bloody Mary at this point, though it's anyone's guess whether I'll accompany it with a burger, a pizza, a vegan Benedict, or a plate of nachos; my husband's fully devoted to the Southern sandwich and a plate full of French toast." — Skye Senterfeit, Photo Editor

College Walk, Columbia University

"I'm lucky to live in a neighborhood sandwiched between Morningside and Riverside parks, two great expansive green spaces. But when I'm too lazy to commit to a proper park outing (which is often) I head to College Walk , on the Columbia University campus, for a quick breath of fresh air. The wide, greenery-lined pathway cuts through the campus at 116th Street and is fairly serene, but also a little buzzy. It's a well-loved local spot, so you'll rarely ever be there alone, but there's plenty of room to spread out and ample benches (and the steps of the Low Library!) on which to perch with a coffee or book. I've always used the pathway as a convenient neighborhood cut-through, but have really appreciated this local bit of public space more than ever this year." — Skye Senterfeit, Photo Editor

Paisanos Butcher Shop

"Living in Cobble Hill has allowed most of my European lifestyle dreams to come true stateside. One of these dreams is virtually never stepping foot into a supermarket and only visiting local specialty shops for whatever I may be making for dinner that evening. Paisanos Butcher Shop, one of the oldest and most well-known in the neighborhood, is dangerously close to my home, so I spend at least two hours every week waiting in the short line outside (a new COVID-19 safety effort) and perusing the seemingly endless isle of quality cuts. Strangely, this is one of my happiest places in NYC, and I can't recommend the chimichurri skirt steak enough." — Kendall Cornish, Associate Digital Editor

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

"I haven't lived in the city for very long, so I don't have cool, under-the-radar spots to share. When I first moved to New York City, though, my parents gave me a membership to The Metropolitan Museum of Art , and it's one of the best, most useful gifts I've received. I've spent countless hours wandering the galleries, and each time I visit, I find something new I've never noticed before. My perfect Sunday consists of a Met visit followed by cookies from the nearby Levain Bakery and a stroll through Central Park." — Elizabeth Rhodes, Associate Digital Editor

Related Articles

65 Best & Fun Things To Do In NYC (New York)

By: Author Jerric Chong

Posted on Published: December 24, 2022  - Last updated: October 16, 2023

things to do in New York City

The Big Apple.

The City of Dreams.

The City So Nice, They Named It Twice.

New York City is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet.

Welcoming more than 60 million visitors per year, it’s an absolute treasure trove of attractions, landmarks, resorts, skyscrapers, and general vacation destinations.

You’ve probably seen large swatches of NYC even if you’ve never stepped foot in the city.

It’s been used in countless films since the inception of Hollywood, so places like Times Square, Grand Central Station, and the Empire State Building have all taken on a legendary status for aspiring travelers.

Another nice thing about NYC is that it’s a truly year round destination, so it doesn’t matter when you’re planning to go.

You can attend New York Fashion Week in the spring and catch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the winter.

There’s always something going on.

Are you ready for the vacation of a lifetime?

Do you want to experience the best, brightest, and most bodacious things to do in NYC?

Dive right to Empire City!

Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links. If you make a booking through these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Table of Contents

1. Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

Matej Hudovernik / Shutterstock

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…

The Statue of Liberty has been welcoming visitors to New York since 1886.

A gift from France, this robed, torch-bearing goddess is a symbol of freedom, enlightenment, and safe harbor for people from around the world.

It’s a pretty cool tourist attraction, too.

You’ll take a ferry to get there, and you can either climb the stairs or ride the elevator to the top of the goddess’s crown.

A panoramic view of NYC will await.

No matter where you’re coming from, the Statue of Liberty is a must see in terms of NYC attractions.

She’s a once-in-a-lifetime sight for many, so she’s definitely worth your bucket list.

Check out these awesome activities around the Statue of Liberty.

Address: New York, NY 10004, United States

2. Central Park

Central Park

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One of the most famous places to go in all of New York City, Central Park is a lush and lavish destination.

You’d never expect from its vibrant greenery that it’s surrounded on all sides by gleaming skyscrapers!

Entertainment options in the park include everything from a shopping mall to a full-sized zoo.

There are more than two dozen playgrounds, and you can walk, bike, skate, or take a horse-drawn carriage ride between them.

In the summertime, there are free outdoor concerts and movie nights; in the winter, there are ski tracks and ice skating rinks.

Another great thing about Central Park is that there’s never an admission charge, so if you’re looking for free things to do in NYC, here’s an option that won’t cost you a dime!

You’ve probably already seen Central Park in a dozen different movies, but there’s nothing like walking the paths and smelling the roses on your own.

There’s a reason why it’s a top sightseeing destination in the city, and you won’t want to miss it!

Check out these tours & activities around Central Park.

Address: New York, NY, United States

3. Times Square

Times Square

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You know Times Square .

Everyone knows Times Square.

It’s one of the most recognizable tourist attractions in the world, especially during major, fireworks-shooting events like New Year’s Eve.

You don’t have to wait for a holiday to hit up Times Square, however.

Just like NYC, it’s a destination that never sleeps.

The billboards are always flickering with new, neon-colored ads.

The streets are always crowded with buskers, magicians, musicians, and street vendors.

Some people even say that seeing Times Square at night is better than seeing it during the day, so it’s something to put on your bucket list twice!

Make time for the Times.

It’s a top 10 destination in New York City, especially if you’re trying to hit all of the major landmarks during your visit.

You’ll look back on these particular photos for years to come.

Address: Manhattan, NY 10036, United States


JJFarq / Shutterstock

For the trendy, there’s no place like Tribeca.

It’s a youthful neighborhood in NYC where cobblestone streets are lined with cafes, bistros, and boutiques of every variety, many of them set against a backdrop of industrial buildings converted into chic lofts.

There’s a deeper history to Tribeca, too, and it’s related to 9/11.

The neighborhood was hit hard in the aftermath, so it pays tribute to the tragedy with a number of memorial events and activities.

One of these is actually the Tribeca Film Festival: It was created to boost the local economy after the attacks, and it’s since evolved into the world-famous attraction that it is today.

Ultimately, if you’re looking for swanky things to do in New York City this weekend, hit up Tribeca.

The coffeehouses are open day and night, and the shops, galleries, and restaurants are more than enough to fill your Instagram reel.

Any money that you spend will be supporting a vital NYC community, too.

Check out this walking tour around Tribeca.

Address: Tribeca, New York, NY, United States

5. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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If you’re an art lover wondering what to do in NYC, the answer is the Met.

The largest art gallery on the entire continent, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is so big that it’s measured in acres, not feet.

It’s home to a staggering two million objects, including paintings, sculptures, musical instruments, vintage fashion, suits of armor, and much, much more.

You could literally get lost among them all.

Depending on when you visit, there are many special events to enjoy at the Met, too.

Kids can join storytime.

Lovebirds can sip cocktails during couples’ nights.

Visitors of all ages can sign up for tours, performances, lectures, and family activities.

There’s a reason why The Metropolitan Museum of Art is such a world-famous destination.

Believe the hype, and book your ticket this week!

Check details, prices and reviews here.

Address: 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028, United States

6. Rockaway Beach

Rockaway Beach

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You don’t have to fly to the Bahamas to enjoy a sun-soaked vacation.

NYC is close to a number of beaches that offer surf and turf, including Rockaway Beach .

Nestled on the coast, Rockaway Beach is a beautiful destination with waves as far as the eye can see.

You can go swimming and surfing; you can join in sand volleyball games; you can explore the boardwalk and its quaint little shops that sell everything from skateboards to snow cones.

It should be noted that Rockaway Beach isn’t technically located in NYC, but thanks to a free ferry service sponsored by the city, it’s quite easy to reach.

Many natives hop aboard to enjoy a day by the water before returning home.

All in all, if you’ve been dreaming of sandcastles and umbrella drinks, Rockaway Beach is a must do for your New York vacation.

It’ll offer all of the benefits of a tropical getaway, but you’ll stay close to the action of NYC, too!

Address: Far Rockaway, NY 11693, United States

7. City Climb

New York City has no shortage of skyscrapers, and you can see them from all kinds of towers, observation decks, and helicopter tours.

If you really want a thrill, however, consider strapping on a harness and scaling one yourself!

Billed as an “open-air building ascent,” City Climb offers the utterly unique experience of climbing a skyscraper with your own two hands.

You’ll rise more than 1,200 feet in the sky after mounting steps and platforms one by one.

You’ll be strapped into a safety harness the entire time, so you won’t fall, but your hind brain might not realize it.

Your heart will definitely be in your throat as you scale some of these jaw-dropping heights!

If you’re looking for cool things to do in the Big Apple, consider climbing a skyscraper.

There’s nothing like a bird’s eye view of NYC, especially when you’ve made it to the top under your own power.

You’ll have earned every breathless glimpse of the city below.

Address: 30 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001, United States

8. Brooklyn Pizza Tour

Brooklyn Pizza Tour

OKMG / Shutterstock

One of the most archetypal dishes in New York City is a folded-over pizza slice, and with the Brooklyn Pizza Tour, you can sample your way through the borough’s best.

A bus will take you to multiple pizzerias during the 4.5 hour tour.

In between stops, you’ll also have the chance to explore the Brooklyn Bridge, the Coney Island Boardwalk, and several other notable landmarks of NYC.

Your tour guide will be a Brooklyn native who’s able to point out everything from Saturday Night Fever filming locations to the army terminal where Elvis Presley went off to war.

Enjoy pizza like a true New Yorker when you sign up for the Brooklyn Pizza Tour .

It’ll provide a tasty trip through the city, and what’s more, it’ll let you rest your full belly on a bus ride as you go!

9. FAO Schwarz

FAO Schwarz

Jessica B. Kirk / Shutterstock

Design your own Barbie doll.

Dance on the light-up floor piano.

Ride a train or a fire truck.

These are just a few of the childhood wonders available at FAO Schwarz , the world’s oldest toy store.

Walking into FAO Schwarz is like walking into Santa Claus’s workshop.

Toys line every available surface, and your eyes won’t know where to look as things flash, whizz, bang, sparkle, and pop in all directions.

If you’re ready to buy, you’ll have shelf after shelf of ideas.

But you can also have a good time without spending any money at all.

Just let your little ones race down the aisles, hug the life-sized stuffed animals, or press the “try me” button on everything they see.

If you’re speculating on what to do with kids in NYC, FAO Schwarz is the answer.

It’s such a beloved institution of the city that it actually re-opened in a new location after the original was shut down.

Folks just couldn’t bear to lose it!

Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111, United States

10. Empire State Building

Empire State Building

TTstudio / Shutterstock

Considered one of the man-made wonders of the world, the Empire State Building is a truly stunning piece of architecture.

At the time of its construction in 1931, it was the tallest building ever!

Today, it’s been out-built by other skyscrapers, but it’s never been outdone.

It still stands proud among the giants as one of the most popular NYC attractions.

Countless movies have used it as a backdrop or a scene stealer, including King Kong, Independence Day, and Sleepless in Seattle.

Its observation decks are also a marvel: You’re sure to get dizzy as you gaze out from the 86th or 102nd floor.

At that height, everything below seems like a speck of dust!

Buy a ticket for the Empire State Building if you’re looking to experience all of NYC’s most iconic landmarks.

It’s a must see for anyone who’s ever been awestruck at the gigantic building in their favorite New York based movies.

Address: 20 W 34th St., New York, NY 10001, United States

Visiting other parts of the New York State? Why not check out some of the things to do in Buffalo, NY ?

11. Area 53

While generally temperate in terms of weather, NYC can have some inclement days, especially in the winter when snow and sleet are common.

How can you entertain yourself when you’re stuck indoors?

Try somewhere like Area 53 !

One of the biggest “activity centers” in the city, Area 53 offers all kinds of fun for both the young and the young at heart.

There’s laser tag; there’s paintball; there’s an inline skating rink.

An adventure park offers slides, battle beams, obstacle courses, and rock climbing walls.

An old-fashioned arcade is filled with nostalgic classics like Skee-Ball.

Area 53 isn’t just for kids, either, unlike other activity venues with a playhouse theme.

They even host 21+ nights where you can hang out with other adults and bring your own beer.

Are you looking for cool stuff to do on a rainy or snowy day in NYC?

Work up a sweat at Area 53, a land where you’re never too old to climb a rope ladder or whack your friends with ninja sticks.

Address: 53 Bridge St, Brooklyn, NY 11201, United States

12. New York City Walking Tours

New York City Walking Tours

oneinchpunch / Shutterstock

There are so many NYC walking tours that it would be impossible to list them all.

However, here’s a small sample of what you can expect to find from local tour groups:

– Sightseeing tours that will take you on a loop of the city’s most famous attractions – Food tasting tours of Hell’s Kitchen – Underground catacomb tours via New York City’s cathedrals – Sunday morning tours of Harlem that include brunch and gospel services – Graffiti and street art tours that change weekly as new works are created, covered, and re-tagged

At the end of the day, the experience that you’ll have is up to you.

Put on your sneakers and get going!

13. American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History

Ravenash / Shutterstock

The American Museum of Natural History is a mammoth, and this description doesn’t just refer to the gigantic woolly mammoth skeleton hanging out in the gallery.

It’s a way of conceptualizing the staggering size of the museum.

Housing more than 34 million objects, it’s so large that it spans 26 interconnected buildings.

You could spend days exploring and still not see everything.

And what things there are to see!

There’s a reason why the American Museum of Natural History is one of NYC’s top tourist destinations.

From mummies to meteorites, it’s full of interesting, engaging exhibits that’ll inspire wonder about the natural world.

You can touch whale bones; you can traipse among the hanging globes of a solar system; you can learn about ancient human civilizations and their art, fashion, tools, and belief systems.

You don’t have to be a “museum person” to appreciate the American Museum of Natural History.

Just like its scenes in Night of the Museum, it’ll come alive in your imagination.

Address: 200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024, United States

14. Little Italy

Little Italy

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NYC is home to several neighborhoods that have grown immigrant populations so vast that they’ve become tourist destinations.

Little Italy is one of them.

Home to bakeries, pizzerias, and cheese shops, Little Italy celebrates Italian culture on every street corner.

You’ll find flags hanging from the windows and vendors shouting “buon appetito!” as they serve piping hot platters of lasagna.

You’ll also see the Italian American Museum , which can teach you about the first Italian seafarers that landed in NYC and brought their language, food, art, and customs.

A quick note if you’re visiting in September: Little Italy hosts the Feast of San Gennaro every year, which includes parades, opera performances, meatball eating contests, blessings from religious leaders, and other social and cultural events.

You might have heard that Little Italy is much smaller than it used to be, and that’s true.

However, it’s still one of the most amazing things to do in New York City when you’re craving a cannoli, and it can still deliver an authentic experience for culture enthusiasts who want to pretend that they’re in Naples.

Check out these tours & activities around Little Italy.

Address: Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10013, United States

15. Apollo Theater

Apollo Theater

Chie Inoue / Shutterstock

A mainstay of Harlem, the Apollo is one of the longest-running theaters in NYC, and it’s been the birthplace of countless stars.

From Diana Rossa to Ray Charles to Aretha Franklin, it’s basically hallowed ground for legendary performers.

Originally a “whites only” burlesque theater, the Apollo started to attract African-American performers in the 1930s, eventually becoming one of the best places to visit for people of color who wanted to make a name for themselves in the biz.

It gave rise to all kinds of jazz, blues, and R&B, though it offered other acts as well.

You might have heard of staples like “Amateur Night at the Apollo” and “Showtime at the Apollo.”

They’re still running today!

Other events at the Apollo include concerts, comedy shows, swing dances, gospel nights, vaudeville performances, and more.

You can check their online schedule to see what’s coming soon.

The Apollo Theater is an emblematic destination in NYC’s arts and theater scene, and it’s been that way for almost a century.

If you’re planning on dinner and show while in the city, this is the place to see the show!

Address: 253 W 125th St, New York, NY 10027, United States

16. The Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art

1000 Words / Shutterstock

The Starry Night by Van Gogh.

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali.

Fruit Dish by Pablo Picasso.

These are just a few of the heavy hitters that you can see at The Museum of Modern Art , NYC’s most biggest and most prestigious art museum.

Offering hundreds of thousands of works, MoMA is a horn of plenty when it comes to art.

You can browse paintings, prints, sculptures, films, illustrations, photography collections, architectural models, and more.

Some exhibitions are permanent; others rotate in and out of the museum, buoyed by the work by international artists and the influences of other cultures and histories.

There’s an admission fee to MoMA, but if you’re on a budget, you can plan your visit for a discount day such as Friday afternoons after 5:30PM.

It’s entirely possible to experience Van Gogh as one of the free things to do in NYC.

Isn’t that amazing?

Address: 11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019, United States

17. Broadway


Pit Stock / Shutterstock

If you’re a fan of the theater, going to a Broadway show will be like a dream come true.

Not only will it send you on a journey through the glitzy lights of Times Square, but it’ll also put you front and center for award-winning productions of Hamilton, Hairspray, The Lion King, and more.

The one downside of Broadway is that it’s immensely popular, so you’ll want to book your tickets well in advance.

Think months, not weeks.

You can also apply for Broadway’s lottery system to score seats even for sold-out shows.

Are you on a budget?

Consider exploring off-Broadway or even off-off-Broadway, the latter of which can be a hilariously quirky experience even more memorable than a “real” show.

Broadway is the ultimate of New York City attractions, so even though it’ll take some prepping and planning to get your ducks in a row, the curtain call will make everything worth it.

18. New York Aquarium

New York Aquarium

shu2260 / Shutterstock

New York City is such a big, bustling place that it’s home to multiple aquariums and marine sanctuaries.

However, everyone agrees that the New York Aquarium is the best.

Housing literally hundreds of species, the New York Aquarium has to be seen to be believed.

You’ll walk through underwater tunnels with millions of gallons of water above your head.

You’ll see sharks, dolphins, fish, and coral, everything darlingly large and dazzlingly colorful.

There are many activities to enjoy at the aquarium, too.

You can watch sea lion shows; you can observe the penguins being fed.

There’s a 4D theater for educational films and a “playquarium” where you can actually touch crabs, urchins, and sea snails.

Whether you’re a wide-eyed kid or an adult who’s never grown out of their shark phase, the New York Aquarium is one of the most fun things to do in NYC.

Visit for yourself to understand why it’s a top 10 destination in the Big Apple!

Address: 602 Surf Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11224, United States

Planning to visit Brooklyn? Be sure to check out some of the things to do in Brooklyn !

19. Strand Book Store

Strand Book Store

The Strand Book Store isn’t one of the loftier things to see in New York City.

In fact, it’s downright humble.

But don’t let its appearance fool you: It’s one of the oldest bookshops in the city, and it’s the only survivor of “Book Row,” a former neighborhood of almost 50 bookstores that closed one by one.

The tomes are piled high inside of the building.

Everywhere you turn, there’s another table, another shelf, or another heap.

Book-related memorabilia is also available, and you can find a wide assortment of stationery as well.

The Strand buys used books, too, though you probably won’t have any in your vacation luggage.

But their acceptance of a broad range of novels, comics, memoirs, and textbooks means that you can benefit as a buyer from a very diverse collection!

The Strand Book Store is considered a New York City staple.

It’ll make a great stop on your tour of NYC, and if you wind up buying anything, you can take pride in supporting the local economy.

Address: 828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003, United States

20. Grand Bazaar NYC

Grand Bazaar NYC

Grand Bazaar NYC

You can think of the Grand Bazaar as the biggest flea market in New York City.

Held every Sunday, rain or shine, it’s an electric mix of vendors from every borough, but they all have one thing in common: They value affordability.

The bazaar was created in response to the rising costs of NYC retailers, and profits go to public schools and enrichment programs across the city.

It’s the kind of place where you can feel good about spending your money.

As for how you can spend your money, the sky’s the limit.

There’s food, drink, jewelry, antiques, and more.

Full-room furniture spreads are next to amateur art galleries.

There are florists, bakers, artisans, and craftsmen.

Every stall has something new to discover.

Best of all, since it’s open every Sunday, you can visit the Grand Bazaar year round.

If you’re wondering what to do this weekend on a last-minute trip to NYC, it’ll offer a fun, colorful excursion with the possibility of picking up some great souvenirs.

Address: 100 W 77th St, New York, NY 10024, United States

21. Bryant Park

Bryant Park

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A staple of Midtown Manhattan, Bryant Park is where everyone goes to unwind.

From office workers on their lunch breaks to families enjoying picnics and ping pong tables, it’s a popular site with visitors of every demographic.

This includes tourists!

Places to go in the park include gardens, cafes, carousels, playgrounds, and pop-up shops.

You’ll find lawns staked out by everyone from chess players to yoga and tai chai classes.

In the summer, giant screens are erected for outdoor movie nights.

In the winter, the park transforms into a holiday wonderland complete with a free ice skating rink.

There’s honestly no limit to the fun offered by Bryant Park.

There are traditional outdoor activities, and there are quirky things like bingo games and ribbon dancing performances.

Head on over during your NYC vacation and let yourself forget your troubles for awhile!

Address: New York, NY 10018, United States

22. Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

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You might have seen photos, but they’re nothing like reality.

Madame Tussauds is one of the craziest things to do in New York City, especially if you spring for the “immersive” tour package.

You see, the museum offers a lot more than just life-sized wax figures of celebrities and politicians.

It’s also an entertainment venue with gleefully outlandish attractions.

The Marvel movie theater will rattle, rumble, and mist you with water as you follow the adventures of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

The interactive roleplaying games will let you shoot lasers at deranged clowns.

You can even take home a personalized souvenir in the form of your own wax hand!

If you want to put a kooky page in your NYC scrapbook, visit Madame Tussauds.

A wax museum is already interesting enough, but when you add immersive and interactive special effects, it becomes something truly unique.

Address: 234 W 42nd St, New York, NY 10036, United States

23. Brotherhood Winery

Brotherhood Winery

Brotherhood Winery

The Brotherhood Winery is located about an hour outside of NYC, but if you’re looking for an authentic experience in wine country, you’ll need to leave the city limits and roll into the lush green hills of Washingtonville.

Established in 1839, the Brotherhood Winery is the oldest winery in America, a mark of esteem that even Napa Valley can’t match.

The Brotherhood takes the honor seriously and continues to use the same cellars and aged oak barrels that started it all.

Especially impressive is the fact that its underground, dimly-lit vault was excavated by hand back in the day!

As a visitor, you’ll be allowed to see these cellars for yourself.

You can also sign up for tours, tastings, and other special events that range from holiday lighting ceremonies to murder mystery dinners hosted at the on-site restaurant.

Of the many excellent places to visit in NYC, the Brotherhood Winery is one with real history.

If you’re a connoisseur of spirits, this is a place you won’t want to miss.

Address: 100 Brotherhood Plaza Dr, Washingtonville, NY 10992, United States

24. Smorgasburg


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Smorgasburg is an open-air food market that you can find in New York City during the spring and summer months.

Nicknamed “the Woodstock of eating,” it’ll give you the chance to try cuisine from all around the world, usually at very reasonable prices or with samples and mini-plates that won’t strain your budget.

Another option is to go with a friend and split portions so that you can both try a little bit of everything!

Menu options range from traditional favorites to out-of-this-world experiments like ramen burgers, spaghetti donuts, and spicy lemonades.

Seating is available, but it can get crowded during tourist season, you might want to bring a blanket and have a picnic.

Vendors often rotate throughout the day, so it’s worth coming back more than once and seeing what’s new.

If you’re thinking about what to do in NYC when you’ve worked up an appetite, consider Smorgasburg.

You’ll definitely get full, and what’s more, you’ll discover tons of new dishes and cuisines along the way.

Address: 90 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211, United States

25. Greenbelt Nature Center

Greenbelt Nature Center

Greenbelt Nature Center

Though it’s best known for its economic development, the state of New York has large reserves of untouched, undeveloped wilderness, and these can serve as some of the most beautiful vacation spots in the US .

One such example is the Greenbelt Nature Center .

Located in the heart of Staten Island, it has a lovely building that’s often used as a venue for weddings and other events, but its true claim to fame is what lies around the property.

Beyond the borders of the venue, there are nearly 3,000 acres of wilderness, and they’re primed for outdoor activities of all kinds.

You can hike. You can bike.

You can even pack a lunch and eat among the local flora and fauna.

The area is known for its biodiversity, so you might spot everything from green tree frogs to black-capped chickadees.

When you’re eager to get away from it all, hike for miles around the Greenbelt Nature Center.

You might even forget that you’re in NYC.

It’s a truly special area for greenery.

Address: 700 Rockland Ave, Staten Island, NY 10314, United States

26. Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

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Dog lovers, this one is for you.

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is an annual, multi-day competition that determines the “best in show” for all types of dog breeds.

You might’ve caught highlights on TV before, but nothing beats actually being in the stands as a spectator!

Usually held at Madison Square Garden, the show offers a fun and lively look at some of the best-trained and best-groomed canines in the country.

Multiple events unfold over the course of the competition, including fan favorites that showcase things like doggie obstacle courses.

When you aren’t watching the dogs vie for a blue ribbon, you can explore nearby neighborhoods for food, drink, and other amusements.

Tarrytown always has good deals for tourists, and so does Irvington.

If you love seeing what fur balls can do when they really set their minds to it, buy a ticket for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

It’ll definitely be a fun memory for you during your New York City extravaganza.

Address: 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001, United States

27. Boroughs of the Dead Ghost Tours

Boroughs of the Dead Ghost Tours

Boroughs of the Dead Ghost Tours

Do you feel a chill on the back of your neck?

You might be experiencing the call of Boroughs of the Dead , NYC’s premiere company for ghost tours.

They’ll take you on an unforgettable adventure through the spookiest sanctums of the city.

Tours are grouped by location, so you can choose to explore Brooklyn , Queens, Manhattan , Roosevelt Island, and other areas in and around the city.

Depending on your destination, you might explore everything from haunted cemeteries to murder mansions with grisly pasts.

You’ll hear tales of voodoo, vampires, poltergeists, and hidden treasures.

You’ll even get to visit the home of horror novelist H.P. Lovecraft.

Taking a ghost tour will be one of the most fun and memorable things to do in NYC.

You’ll see the sights, but you won’t be a typical tourist; instead, you’ll be a brazen paranormal investigator.

Get ready to invoke the spirit of the Winchester brothers with the Boroughs of the Dead!

28. Marquee


The nightlife scene in NYC is spectacular, and so if you’re looking to cut loose, this is the city to let your hair down and let the rhythm move you.

There are countless number of bars, pubs, clubs, cabarets, and music lounges.

The Marquee is one of the more established names in Manhattan, so much so that it’s branched out to other locations like Las Vegas .

There are two floors for drinks and dancing, and DJs spin almost every night, including top talent like Steve Aoki and DJ Snake.

The lights, music, deco, and neon-tinted crowds are all designed to immerse you in a magical environment where it feels like anything could happen.

The Marquee is one of the best things to do for adults in NYC.

When you’re wide awake in the city that never sleeps, hit the dance floor and see if you can meet somebody new!

Address: 289 10th Ave, New York, NY 10001, United States

29. Coney Island

Coney Island

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If you enjoy cotton candy, carnival games, and old-fashioned roller coasters, Coney Island is one of the best vacation places in the world .

In fact, there was a time when it was the vacation destination.

At the turn of the century, Coney Island had the most famous boardwalk in the world, lit up every night by carousels, tilt-a-whirls, bumper cars, arcade rooms, and Ferris wheels.

Today, Coney Island hasn’t lost a bit of its magic.

It’s leaned into its vintage charm, and it’s become a place where generations of visitors keep coming back with their kids and grandkids.

Entertainment at the island ranges from “The Cyclone,” one of the world’s last remaining wooden roller coasters, to “The First Symphony of the Sea,” a 332-foot mural of marine life.

Outside of amusement park thrills, you can also enjoy parks, playgrounds, and aquariums.

Grab a hot dog and stay awhile.

Coney Island is basically a tourist destination in its own right, so you won’t lack for unique things to do while you’re there.

Address: Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11224, United States

30. General Grant National Memorial

General Grant National Memorial

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Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States, wanted to be buried next to his wife when he died.

It was a sweet request, but since there were archaic laws about burying women in military cemeteries, it couldn’t happen in the traditional way.

Instead, the mayor of NYC and the Grant family came together to build their very own mausoleum.

Today, the General Grant National Memorial is the largest of its kind in the entire country.

It’s also one of the coolest things to do in New York City for history buffs.

You can tour the grounds, look at historical artifacts, and watch an educational film about Grant’s life.

In the summertime, West Point’s military band plays a tribute concert on the front lawn.

You can also, of course, pay your respects to the tombs of Grant and his wife.

His final wish was granted in the end.

Visit the General Grant National Memorial if you’re looking for fun and interesting attractions for a day trip.

You might not expect a mausoleum to be in the same neighborhood as a shopping mall, but that’s the beauty and diversity of NYC!

Address: W 122nd St &, Riverside Dr, New York, 10027, United States

Exploring other areas of the New York State? Why not check out some of the things to do in Rochester, NY ?

31. Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

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The Brooklyn Bridge is such an iconic part of the New York City skyline that many people don’t even realize it’s part of Brooklyn.

Spanning over 6,000 feet, it feels like a ubiquitous part of NYC, especially when you’re walking it on foot.

It does have a beginning and an end, however, intersected with by its gigantic stone arches.

It connects Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights.

You’ll probably cross the bridge at some point via car, bus, or trolley, but you can also take its pedestrian pathways for a scenic stroll.

There are also bike lanes for cyclists.

As you might expect from such a landmark destination, the Brooklyn Bridge is also centrally located.

There are many fun places to visit near and around it, and it can serve as a touchstone for your travels if you’re worried about getting swallowed by the NYC maze.

Ultimately, it’s worth a trip across the Brooklyn Bridge.

It isn’t a mind-blowing experience, but it’s a nifty one, and it’ll make you feel like you’re really crossing off the hot spots of your NYC to-do list.

Check out these tours & activities around the Brooklyn Bridge.

Address: Brooklyn Bridge Blvd, New York, NY 10038, United States

32. Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center

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Rockefeller Center is another one of those things to see that you’ve probably already seen.

From the plaza to the radio hall to the statues of Atlas and Prometheus, it’s an iconic destination that’s frequented many NYC-based shows and movies.

Stuff to do at Rockefeller Center depends on what time of year that you visit.

In the winter, there’s ice skating under the twinkling lights of the famous Christmas tree.

In the summer, there are boogie nights and sleepover camps.

Sightseeing is another popular activity, and it’s something that you can enjoy year-round.

If you’ve ever wanted to join the waving crowds outside of The Today Show, this is your chance to get on TV!

Rockefeller Center is an iconic destination in Midtown Manhattan, so it’s definitely something to put on your travel itinerary.

Whether you’re in the mood for winter wonderlands or summer adventures, you can experience it through the legacy of the Rockefellers.

Address: 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111, United States

33. Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium

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Yankee Stadium is one of those iconic NYC attractions that every baseball addict has on their bucket list, but it can provide a rollicking good time for casual fans, too.

The field is amazing, of course, with its vivid green pitch and nostalgic, old-school setup.

Other memorable spots range from the seven-story Great Hall to the Monument Park museum with its retired jerseys of famous players.

The stadium is best known as the home of the New York Yankees, but it sees other action as well, primarily soccer and football.

Concerts are also popular since the venue can get nice and loud with its 50,000 seat capacity.

If you’re in the mood for peanuts and popcorn this weekend, consider catching a game at Yankee Stadium.

You’ll be the envy of every MLB fan in your life, and you might just find a new appreciation for America’s favorite pastime as well.

Address: 1 E 161 St, The Bronx, NY 10451, United States

34. Historic Richmond Town

Historic Richmond Town

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As rich as its name, the Historic Richmond Town is a place where history comes alive.

You’ll be treated to an amazing demonstration of colonial living that encompasses more than two dozen buildings, a working farm, and a full staff of customized actors who are committed to playing their roles.

The main campus consists of churches, cottages, schoolhouses, outhouses, post offices, and railway stations.

Farther on the grounds, there’s a farm where visitors can participate in fun seasonal activities like apple picking and pumpkin decorating.

Actors are always on standby to lead tours and answer questions about everything from blacksmithing to butter churning.

Every building has educational merit, but if you really want to know your stuff, consider visiting the on-site museum with its exhibitions on American history dating back to the 1700s.

The Historic Richmond Town is one of the most enchanting places to visit for historians in NYC.

Not only will it teach you about turn-of-the-century living, but it’ll do so in a memorable way that’ll help the lessons stick.

Address: 441 Clarke Ave, Staten Island, NY 10306, United States

35. Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village

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Greenwich Village is one of the most famous neighborhoods in New York City.

Known as “the cradle of the LGBT movement,” it spent most of the ’60s and ’70s as an artsy, bohemian kind of place where creativity flourished thanks to the free spirits of its residents.

Today, Greenwich Village has undergone a lot of gentrification, so it isn’t quite the boho capital that it used to be.

However, you can see still its roots in everything from its street murals to its cozy cafes and vintage clothing boutiques.

There are tons of fun, non touristy things to do, including off-Broadway shows and walking tours of famous film and TV destinations.

If you’re interested in the history of Greenwich Village, it’s also a great destination for landmarks, particularly LGBT landmarks.

The Stonewall National Monument is located here.

Are you wondering what to do to experience the true culture of New York City?

Go for a ramble through Greenwich Village, a legacy destination with a lot to offer open-minded visitors from all walks of life.

Check out this 2-Hour Greenwich Village Tour.

Address: 14th Street and West of Broadway, New York, NY 10003, United States

36. Fifth Avenue

Fifth Avenue

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Shopping on Fifth Avenue might sound like something out of a dream, but it can become a reality when you visit Manhattan .

It offers a score of high-end boutiques ranging from Tiffany and Co. to Saks Fifth Avenue.

That said, there’s a lot more to the neighborhood than just its retail outlets.

If you’re into museums, for example, there’s a stretch called the “Museum Mile” because of its congregation of artistic and cultural institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

If you enjoy architecture, you might like “Millionaire’s Row” with its collection of historic, top-dollar mansions.

Other points of interest include churches, cathedrals, hotels, and gentleman’s clubs.

Sipping a latte and strolling down Fifth Avenue is one of the most glamorous things to do in NYC.

Even if you don’t spend a dime, you’ll want to go sightseeing to soak up the atmosphere.

Don’t forget to snap a selfie or two to show off to your friends later!

Address: 5th Ave, New York, NY 10118, United States

37. Big Apple Circus

Big Apple Circus

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Circuses are something of a dying art, but one place where you can still enjoy the magic of a ringmaster is the Big Apple Circus .

Acrobats will walk the high wire.

Animal trainers will show off tricks.

Trapeze artists will make you gasp, and juggling masters will make you laugh.

Other performers include aerialists, daredevils, musicians, and even comics!

Another thing worth noting about the Big Apple Circus is that it’s kept in touch with changing standards of care, so you don’t have to worry about supporting a bad cause.

It’s known for its humane treatment of animals and its community outreach programs that send clowns to children’s hospitals.

Duck into the big top tonight and see an old-fashioned yet modern-minded circus.

Everyone in the family will have a great time, and you can enjoy the spectacle guilt free.

Address: 60 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023, United States

38. Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

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New York City is a melting pot of cultures and communities, and nowhere is that more apparent than Chelsea Market .

It’s a “global marketplace” where every corner has been claimed by something new.

Food vendors, for example, range from taco shacks to ramen noodle stalls.

Shopping outlets include everything from European fashion boutiques to import stores with crafts and furnishings from the Middle East.

You can also get your nails done, send off a letter, browse art galleries, and enjoy live music shows.

There are even dance troupes that perform at Chelsea, so you never know when you might be able to catch a free ballet performance!

Part flea market, part food court, and all fun, Chelsea Market is one of the best places to go if you’re looking for adventure in NYC.

It’ll take you all around the world within just a few city blocks.

Address: 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011, United States

39. Roosevelt Island

Roosevelt Island

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Roosevelt Island has some of the most unique of New York City’s attractions.

From the crumbling ruins of a smallpox hospital to a 19th century lighthouse that offers incredible views of the water, it’s definitely worth a day trip.

You can explore by foot, bike, car, or tram.

If you decide to take the tram, which is on an elevated railway, you’ll also be treated to panoramic views of NYC that are similar to an observation deck but for only a fraction of the cost.

Landmarks at Roosevelt Island are numerous.

There’s an old insane asylum that’ll give you the creeps; there’s a beautiful park that’ll let you frolic with the fam.

Some people skip Roosevelt Island when they come to New York City, but that’s a mistake.

It might be a lesser-known locale, but that just makes it a hidden gem, and uncovering it will make you an explorer.

dress: Roosevelt Island, New York, NY, United States

40. High Line

High Line

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The High Line is a top NYC attraction.

It’s an elevated walking path or “rail trail” that was built on the remnants of abandoned train tracks, and since its transformation, it’s become one of the coolest, most unique things to see in the city.

The entire trail is a little under 1.5 miles, so it’s walkable for all kinds of visitors.

You’ll enjoy sweeping views of downtown NYC as well as the Hudson River running alongside it.

Another point of interest is the architecture of the trail: It’s a fusion of man and nature where gleaming metal structures meet wild foliage.

Take a stroll along the High Line when you’re looking for fun experiences in NYC that aren’t big-budget tourist attractions.

Not only is it free, but it’s something that you can enjoy anytime and for any duration, making it a perfect pit stop during a whirlwind vacation.

Check out these tours & activities around the High Line.

Address: New York, NY 10011, United States

Looking for more thrills around New York State? Why not check out some of the things to do in Lake George ?

41. The Battery

The Battery

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The Battery is a tranquil spot in the urban landscape that is NYC.

It’s also a must do for anyone trying to get to Ellis Island or the Statue of Liberty; the ferry takes off from the park.

Otherwise, activities at The Battery are pretty low key.

Kids can ride an aquatic carousel.

Families can stroll along the nature trails, have picnic lunches on the grass, or participate in locally organized scavenger hunts.

There are waterfront views of the harbor.

Flower gardens fill the air with fragrances.

All in all, The Battery can serve as a very peaceful site for weary travelers.

If you ever find yourself needing a breather while on vacation, sit under one of its shady trees and just “be” for awhile.

42. The Guggenheim

The Guggenheim

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The Guggenheim is one of those tourist attractions that’ll make you do a double take when you’re walking down the street.

White and circular, it doesn’t look like anything else on NYC’s Fifth Avenue, and it was deliberately designed that way.

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright wanted it to be something new.

The building was such a shock upon its completion that it caused controversy in the art world among people who were concerned that the architecture would overshadow the artwork!

The inside of the museum, however, is just as splendorous as the outside.

It’s a home for everything from paintings to sculptures, many of them in surreal or abstract styles, so they aren’t necessarily realistic.

Instead, they’re studies of art, shape, color, and form.

They’ll definitely serve as a visual extravaganza as well as one of the best things to do in NYC.

Check out the Guggenheim if you’re looking for fun and unique experiences in New York City.

Not only will its architecture make you reach for your camera, but its exhibitions will broaden your horizons in terms of art and how it can move you.

Address: 1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128, United States

43. Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

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You don’t have to leave NYC to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.

In addition in green spaces like Central Park, you can also enjoy a pocket of paradise at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden .

Covering 52 acres in total, the garden is actually a series of gardens that cover the globe in terms of ecology.

There’s an aquatic plant house to showcase flowers that bloom in wetlands.

There’s a three-story conservatory that separates desert, tropical, and temperate flora.

To represent Japan, there are cherry blossom esplanades and gated archways leading to waterfalls.

To represent the English countryside, there are small cottages overgrown with the flowers and trees of Shakespearean works.

When you tire of the gleaming metal of New York City’s metropolis, take a breather with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

It’s quite literally a destination where you can stop and smell the roses.

Address: 990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225, United States

44. Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building

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You’ve probably heard the phrase “as big as the Chrysler Building .”

At the time of its completion in 1930, it was the tallest building in the world, and it’s still among the top dozen.

It’s easily one of the most famous and notable of NYC attractions.

The bad news is that you can’t ascend the Chrysler Building.

While there are plenty of tours that let you experience NYC’s heights, this building doesn’t offer them.

It’s still worth a visit, however, for being a highly recognizable fixture in NYC media.

You’ve seen Spider-Man climb it.

You’ve seen Godzilla squash it.

You’ve even seen UFOs flying overhead in Independence Day!

Checking out the Chrysler Building is just one of those activities that you have to undertake while visiting New York City.

It’s a classic even when you’re seeing it from the sidewalk or milling around the ground floor lobby.

Address: 405 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10174, United States



Ajay Suresh from New York, NY, USA , CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

SPYSCAPE is a quirky and niche interest museum, not the kind that’s common in NYC.

In this case, it’s all about the world of subterfuge!

Sneak through the front doors like Jason Bourne, then embark on a mission to discover the hidden secrets of the museum’s exhibitions.

You’ll be tested both physically and mentally as you break codes, duck under lasers, interact with clues and checkpoints, and test your skills at lie detection.

At the end of your visit, you’ll be given a customized dossier about your spy skills, and you’ll learn where you rank among the great espionage agents of history.

Special attractions at the museum have included things like Batman crossovers, but these gimmicks, while fun, aren’t the true foundation of the venue.

There are real facts to be learned here about everything from WWII reconnaissance to modern day cybercrime; they’re just delivered in an electrifying “edutainment” format.

Do something different with a trip to SPYSCAPE.

You’ll learn, and you’ll have a blast while you’re doing it.

Take that, James Bond!

Address: 928 8th Ave, New York, NY 10019, United States

46. Chinatown


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Are you in the mood for dim sum?

New York City’s Chinatown is one of the largest in the world, so it’s the perfect destination to experience a little jiayou without having to leave NYC.

The first thing that you’ll notice about Chinatown is that it’s crowded.

The sidewalks will put you shoulder to shoulder with vendors and visitors alike, and the effect can make you lightheaded, especially when you’re taking in all of the sights simultaneously.

Lights will flicker from laundromats and convenience stores.

Food marts will pile produce on tables and hang poultry from the windows.

Street vendors will hawk everything from fresh bao buns to fake designer bags.

Other, quieter areas of Chinatown are near the busy blocks, and this is where you’ll find attractions like the Museum of Chinese in America .

Chinese immigrants have been in the area since the 1850s, so there’s a lot of history to unpack for the interested.

Ultimately, however, the real fun of Chinatown is in its bright and buoyant streets.

It’s one of the most vibrant places to visit in all of New York City, and unlike other destinations, it’s escaped gentrification.

It’s the kind of neighborhood where you can walk and talk the real NYC.

Check out these tours & activities around Chinatown.

Address: Canal Street to Bayard Street, New York, NY 10013, United States

47. New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week

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You’re probably familiar with the glitzy and glamorous New York Fashion Week that’s invitation-only for the Anna Wintours of the world.

But did you know that Fashion Week also has shows that are open to the public?

You’ll need to be prepared for fierce competition to secure tickets, but if you’re a fashionista, emerging triumphant from the battle will be worth it.

You’ll have an up close and personal view of the runway and all of its emerging looks.

If you splurge for VIP tickets, you’ll be treated to a “designer experience” that can include everything from after-party access to meet-and-greets with the models.

If you can swing it, New York Fashion Week is one of the most fantastic things to do in NYC.

Live your daydreams of The Devil Wears Prada by strutting your stuff right through the velvet ropes!

48. Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

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The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is one of the grandest things to see in NYC.

Between its spires, steeples, arches, columns, and towers, it’s a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture, and it’s all the more impressive for being technically unfinished.

That’s right: Only two-thirds of the cathedral were completed, so it was meant to be even grander.

Looking at it now, of course, you’d never guess that its construction was cut short.

It’s been welcoming the devout since the early 1900s, and it offers plenty to admire, including iconography etched into everything from bronze doors to stained glass windows.

The cathedral is open daily, and it’s free for prayer and worship purposes.

To take a tour, you’ll need to pay a small fee, but the experience can be worth it for a behind-the-scene look of its many and varied architectural features.

For example, the tour gives you the chance to climb all 124 feet of the church’s spiral staircases.

Secular or not, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine is an amazing tourist destination in New York City, and it’s worth a visit when you’re in the neighborhood.

If nothing else, it’s cool to see such an old-fashioned church surrounded by the modern metropolis of NYC!

Address: 1047 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025, United States

49. Little Island

Little Island

Creative Family / Shutterstock

Little Island is an artificial island that was designed by architects to serve as a outdoor space amid NYC’s urban jungle.

Notably, it was built atop a series of rounded structures called “tulips” that jut out of the river and bloom with greenery, giving it the feeling of a storybook landscape where you might expect gnomes or fairies to come and greet you.

There’s no cost to visiting Little Island, so you can count it as one of the free things to do in NYC.

Potential activities include going for walks, grabbing a bite to eat at one of the food kiosks, or attending local music or theater events.

There are also a series of playful installations ranging from spinning disc posts to dance chimes installed in the asphalt, so you could make a game out of discovering them all!

Take a trip to Little Island if you’re looking for unique ways to spend your time in NYC.

Its designers worked hard to make it an appealing retreat, and your enjoyment will be their reward.

Address: West 13th Street Pier55 in Hudson River Park, New York, NY 10014, United States


Officially known as “South of Houston Street,” SoHo is one of the most fun places to go for shopaholics, influencers, and other trendsetters in NYC.

It can get expensive when you’re buying off the rack, but it’s also possible to find good deals or even limit yourself to window shopping so that you don’t spend a dime.

The atmosphere is the best part of SoHo.

Once a grid of factories and foundries, it’s been converted to a very chic neighborhood filled with upscale shopping.

You can buy clothes, shoes, perfumes, handbags, and more.

You can also dine at trendy cafes and gourmet white tablecloth restaurants.

There are even a few nightclubs if you like to party among the elite!

Visit SoHo for a taste of the high life in New York City.

Again, you don’t have to pull out your wallet if you’re zealously guarding your vacation fund.

You can just pop on some sunglasses, sip a bubble tea, and stroll among the shopfronts with all of their retail promises.

Check out these tours around the SoHo.

Address: South of Houston Street, New York, NY 10022, United States

Have more time? Why not check out some of the best things to do on Long Island ?

51. Chelsea Piers

Chelsea Piers

Marcel René Kalt alias Groovio , CC BY-SA 2.5 , via Wikimedia Commons

Covering more than 28 acres as an indoor/outdoor complex, Chelsea Piers is a venue that’ll keep you busy.

It offers golf ranges, tennis courts, batting cages, climbing walls, an indoor ice rink, and more.

You can run a track or toss a football.

You can learn parkour.

You can swing on gymnastics bars.

Everyone in the family can find something to do, too, making Chelsea Piers an excellent cure for boredom.

There’s even a toddler gym!

Visitors of all ages can encourage mind and body development by engaging in physical activity.

It’s often difficult not to overindulge during a vacation, but if you’re watching your waistline, you might appreciate the fitness classes at Chelsea Piers.

You can also engage in other athletic activities that’ll get you moving.

If you feel the need to stay active this week in NYC, book some time at Chelsea Piers.

Address: 62 Chelsea Piers, New York, NY 10011, United States

52. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises

Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises

Some people say that NYC attractions look the most beautiful from the water.

You can decide if they’re right when you book an excursion with Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises .

Operating on the Hudson River, the cruise line provides exciting day trips around New York.

Different tours are available on different boats depending on the type of experience that you want to have.

The full island cruise, for example, circles Manhattan in its entirety; the semi-circle cruise only covers half the sights but is twice as fast.

The speedboat tour is the absolute fastest, and it’s undertaken on a fun, colorful vessel called “The Beast.”

A night cruise will let you see the lights of the harbor during and after sunset.

The kiddie cruise includes games and activities that’ll keep your little ones entertained.

All things considered, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises offers a little something for everyone.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a parent with kids or a corporate shareholder looking for a nice retreat for your employees.

A cruise will be a good time for all.

Address: 83 North River Piers West 43rd Street and, 12th Ave, New York, NY 10036, United States

53. Bronx Week

Bronx Week

The Bronx doesn’t always have the best reputation, but this is doing a disservice to one of the oldest boroughs in New York City.

It’s a historic, character-rich part of NYC with a lot to offer visitors and residents alike.

To experience the best of the Bronx, try visiting during Bronx Week.

This annual celebration is a showcase of the art, food, culture, and customs that have kept the neighborhood going strong for decades.

It also offers some of the most interesting things to do in NYC if you’re looking for activities that are off the beaten path!

The week kicks off with a parade, and things only get better from there.

Festivities include everything from outdoor concerts to induction ceremonies in the Bronx Hall of Fame.

Hit up Bronx Week to explore an oft-misunderstood area of New York City.

Once you’ve realized how much fun it can be, you’ll be glad that you visited.

54. Hershey’s Chocolate World

Hershey's Chocolate World

Hershey’s Chocolate World

If you can’t get enough Kisses, this is the attraction for you!

Hershey’s Chocolate World is more than just a shop: It’s an cocoa-flavored emporium.

In addition to twirling around the stacks and stacks of chocolate, you can also indulge in fun, sweet activities like concocting your own milkshakes, building gigantic s’mores, pulling the lever on candy machines, and posing with chocolate bars as big as your head.

All of your favorite Hershey brands will be represented, including Kit Kats, Reese’s, and Hershey itself.

In addition to buying edible goodies, you can also shop for chocolate-themed NYC memorabilia that ranges from plushies to tee shirts.

Go a little crazy in Hershey’s Chocolate World.

You can always blame it on a sugar rush!

Address: 20 Times Square, 701 7th Ave, New York, NY 10036, United States

55. Hudson Yards

Hudson Yards

Viktor Fuchs / Shutterstock

You’ve never seen anything like Hudson Yards .

That’s the point of its existence.

An utterly unique real estate development, it’s been a playground for architects since its inception in 2012, resulting in several blocks of ultra-modern, ultra-amazing buildings.

You can be forgiven for thinking that the whole thing looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.

The skyscrapers seem to defy gravity as they bend and twist; the plazas are dominated by mind-bending skylines.

For example, the Vessel is a 16-story spiral staircase that looks like a labyrinth risen out of the ground.

The Edge is a glass-and-metal observation deck that overlooks Manhattan at dizzying angles.

This isn’t even getting into the dozens of shops, restaurants, hotels, and other commercial business that line the area like pearls on a necklace.

It might surprise you to learn that Hudson Yards was originally a junkyard, but that’s NYC for you.

It’s a city that can transform its ugly and abandoned spaces into urban wonders.

If you want to visit tomorrow land, just visit Hudson Yards.

Address: Hudson Yards, New York, NY, United States

56. Sloomoo Institute

Sloomoo Institute

DW labs Incorporated / Shutterstock

Have you ever wanted to sink your hands into a vat of multicolored slime?

How about standing under a slime shower like you’re on Nickelodeon’s Double Dare?

The Sloomoo Institute is one of those bizarre, “only in NYC” attractions that’ll make for a great story when you get home.

Billing itself as a sensory experience, it’s all about slime: creating it, squishing it, splattering it on the walls.

You can learn the science behind slime even as you’re playing with it or cooking it up like a mad scientist in a lab.

Kids will have a blast at the museum, of course, but adults are welcome as well.

It’s an all-ages destination for anyone who’d like ASMR slime stations or immersive slime CGI videos.

Slink your way over to the Sloomoo Institute for a truly one-of-a-kind experience with slime.

You’ve never seen anything like this before, and you never will again.

Address: 475 Broadway, New York, NY 10013, United States

57. United Nations Headquarters

United Nations Headquarters

Osugi / Shutterstock

Get a truly global perspective at the United Nations Headquarters .

It’s the real worksite of not just domestic and foreign government officials but also of international organizations such as UNICEF.

You’ll need to sign up for a guided tour of the UN; you can’t just walk around.

You’ll have several options for your experience.

The standard tour will teach you about the UN’s work while letting you peek into important rooms like the General Assembly Hall and the Security Council Chamber.

The children’s tour will incorporate games and quizzes for the next generation of leaders.

The garden tour will take everyone outside, allowing you to smell the cherry trees, snap photos of famous fountains and statues, and check out historic relics like fragments of the Berlin Wall.

You won’t want to miss the opportunity to check out the United Nations Headquarters.

It’s one of a kind, and it’s only in New York City.

Address: 405 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017, United States

58. Dominique Ansel Bakery

Dominique Ansel Bakery

Nami Uchida / Shutterstock

Have you ever tried a cronut, that delectable mix between a croissant and a doughnut?

It was invented by a chef named Dominique Ansel right in the heart of NYC, and you can relish in his recipe firsthand at the Dominique Ansel Bakery .

Just to be clear, you won’t be the only one angling for the doughy deliciousness of a cronut.

It has such a cult-like following in New York City that the line outside of its home bakery can stretch for blocks, and the cronuts are typically sold out by mid-morning.

If you can manage to nab one, however, it’ll be a mouthwatering experience.

If you don’t make it to the front of the line in time, don’t fret: There are plenty of other goodies to try, including the cookie shot, blossoming hot chocolate, and frozen s’mores.

Visit the Dominique Ansel Bakery to tell your friends and family back home that you visited ground zero of the cronut.

It’s a fun and unique opportunity that’ll make for a great NYC travel story.

Address: 189 Spring St, New York, NY 10012, United States

59. Whitney Museum of American Art

Whitney Museum of American Art

Brian Logan Photography / Shutterstock

With a tall, multi-story building staggered by tiers and dominated by windows, the Whitney Museum of American Art is a work of art.

You’ll gawk at the views of the river outside just as much as you’ll marvel at the paintings and portraits hanging on the walls.

There are even terraces where you can breathe in the fresh, crisp air while exploring sculpture gardens!

As for the names that you can expect, there’s an impressive roster: Andy Warhol, Edward Hopper, Jean-Michel Basquiat.

This is another example of New York City museums where prestige carries a real weight.

Special events at the museum range from lectures to exhibition tours to film screenings, so depending on when you go, you might be able to experience all kinds of education or entertainment.

Put the Whitney Museum of American Art on your shortlist if you’re looking to experience class and culture while in NYC.

From the whitewashed walls to the staircases dripping with art deco lights, it’s a luxe destination for highbrow art.

Address: 99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014, United States

60. Carnegie Hall

Carnegie Hall

Felix Lipov / Shutterstock

Carnegie Hall is such a venerable institution in the music world that visiting it is basically a pilgrimage.

Founded in 1891, it’s seen a staggering amount of legends perform on its stage, including Johnny Cash, Led Zeppelin, Louis Armstrong, and Tchaikovsky.

Speakers have included Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Comedians have included Groucho Marx.

Even the Beatles once played at Carnegie Hall!

As you can see, it’s a diverse place of music, and that tradition continues to this day.

When you look at upcoming events at Carnegie Hall, you’ll be dazzled at the sheer range of the acts that you can enjoy.

Carnegie Hall is one of the landmark places to go for music lovers of all styles.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re into classical orchestras or contemporary bands.

If you’re in NYC, you can’t miss it.

Address: 881 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019, United States

Planning to visit other areas of New York State? Why not check out some of the things to do in Albany, NY ?

61. Resorts World New York City

Resorts World New York City

Resorts World New York City

Resorts World is the only casino in NYC, giving it a monopoly in terms of gambling.

You’ll have to chase Lady Luck right into its plushly carpeted halls of slot machines and electronic gaming tables.

If you like to toss the dice, however, a trip to Resorts World is easily one of the best things to do in NYC.

You can win big by betting on everything from baccarat to blackjack.

Most of the games are digital, including video poker, but there are real window dressings in the form of craps tables and roulette wheels.

Once you start raking in the cash, of course, you won’t care that everything is online.

Amenities at the casino include a number of hotels and restaurants.

Make sure to drop by the Sugar Factory, Food and Wine Magazine’s pick for the “most Instagrammable restaurant in America.”

When you’re looking to hit a jackpot in NYC, there’s literally only one place to go.

Book a suite at Resorts World this weekend and let the chimes sing you to success!

Address: 110-00 Rockaway Blvd, Queens, NY 11420, United States

62. The Morgan Library & Museum

The Morgan Library & Museum

H.J. Herrera / Shutterstock

New York City has dozens of libraries, but The Morgan Library & Museum is the only one where you’ll find documents dating back to 4000 BCE.

Its rare and valuable collections will absolutely amaze you in terms of historical merit.

Here are just a few of its gems:

– An original copy of the Declaration of Independence; – A version of the Haffner Symphony handwritten by Mozart – Charles Dickens’s personal manuscript of A Christmas Carol.

The texts can be found by going into the hushed depths of the library archives where heavy wooden bookshelves glow between dimly lit lamps.

It’s exactly the kind of atmosphere where you’d expect to find old, rare books, which gives it a delightful sort of charm.

If you’re wondering what to see as a bibliophile in the Big Apple, you won’t want to miss The Morgan Library & Museum.

Its aesthetic is outdone only by its prestige.

Address: 225 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016, United States

63. Turnstyle Underground Market

You’ve marveled at the malls.

You’ve unearthed treasures at the flea markets and thrift shops.

Now it’s time for something completely different: an underground market hosted below a subway station!

The Turnstyle Underground Market is an utterly unique destination that’ll make you feel like you’ve entered a strange new world.

Spanning an entire city block, it has retail stores, pop-up shops, kiosks, stands, stalls, and all manner of eateries.

You can grab a cinnamon roll and a coffee; you can sit down for a three-course meal.

Everything will be completely underground.

There are multiple descent points from the streets to the tunnels, and despite the fact that it’s all built like subway station, you won’t need a metro card to enter.

Wandering around the Turnstyle Underground Market is one of the coolest things to do in New York City.

Just ask yourself how many times in your life that you’ve had the opportunity to go shopping in a mole-like shopping mall, and you’ll have your answer for whether it’s worth visiting.

Address: 1000 S 8th Ave, New York, NY 10019, United States

64. SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

Located near Grand Central, the SUMMIT One Vanderbilt gives you the chance to see NYC from 1,200 feet high.

However, it’s a lot more than just an observation deck.

Every moment of the experience is designed to thrill you.

You’ll start with an elevator ride to the 91st floor that includes a light and sound show.

Once you’re at the top, you’ll pass through an artist-designed mirror room with more than 30,000 square feet of reflective surfaces.

Last but not least, you’ll enjoy breathtaking aerial views of New York City’s attractions, and you can pick your poison in terms of perspectives: There’s a glass “skybox,” an elevator with floor-to-ceiling windows, and a number of outdoor terraces spread over the open air.

Special tickets are available if you want to visit at sunset or at night.

All things considered, the SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is an experience like none other.

Whether you’re saying hello to the city for the first time or wishing it a fond farewell at the end of your vacation, do it with a bird’s eye view.

Address: 45 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017, United States

65. NYC Must-See Week

NYC Must-See Week

Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock

Last but certainly not least, if you’re looking to wring every bit of fun that you can get out of your New York City vacation, consider visiting during the NYC Must-See Week.

Held every year in January, it offers 2-for-1 tickets to many of the most iconic tourist attractions in the city.

The line-up changes annually, but previous participants have included the Bronx Zoo, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.

Some years have also offered free tickets to local festivals.

If you can’t decide what to do in the city, do it all.

Plan your trip for the NYC Must-See Week and hit up the very best that the five boroughs have to offer.

Start Planning Your Trip To NYC

These are just a few of the best and brightest things to do in NYC.

There’s a reason why it’s one of the top tourist destinations on the planet, so whether you’re in the mood for festivals, parades, malls, museums, concertos, or casinos, try taking a bite out of the Big Apple!

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The Savvy Backpacker

City Guides .\33 a132798-3f3b-4585-954d-7e70cf863447{fill:#231f20}

Things to do in nyc | a local’s guide to the best of new york city.

There is never a shortage of amazing things to do in NYC and here is a list of our absolute favorites.

New York City

local places to visit in nyc

I’ll be honest with you… there are so many things to do in New York City that even thinking about making this list is quite daunting.

But I’m going to try my best!

Will I miss stuff? Absolutely! But you can be assured that you’ll love everything we put on this list. And feel free to leave a comment if there is something you love that we’ve missed.

I’ve tried to list both “local” tips and well-known touristy things that are still worth checking out.

Don’t forget to buy a mobile data plan for your phone when you visit. Check out The Savvy Backpacker’s  Guide To The Best Prepaid Data Plans For the USA .

Find The Perfect Slice of Pizza

best pizza in NYC

One of the best things to do in New York City is eating lots of pizza.

Many an argument has been had over the “best” pizza in NYC — so we’re not even going to try. But we can list our favorite pizza spots in NYC so you can decide for yourself.

  • Prince Street Pizza: Always extremely busy joint with very little seating. Some of the best slices in the city. See on Google Maps  ( SoHo/NoLita )
  • Mama’s Too!: Newcomer to the NYC pizza scene that both locals and critics love. Not many seats. See On Google Maps  ( Upper West Side )
  • John’s Of Bleeker Street: NYC pizza institution. Only sells full pies. See On Google Maps  ( West Village)
  • Rubirosa: Amazing thin crust pizza. Full pies only. See On Google Maps  ( SoHo/Little Italy)
  • NY Pizza Suprema: Another longtime local favorite. No frills. Sit down or takeaway. See On Google Maps  ( Midtown/Madison Square Garden / Penn Station )
  • Joe’s Pizza: Much loved by NYU students, locals, and hungry tourists. No frills. Limited seating. See Locations on Google Maps  ( West Village )
  • Scarr’s Pizza: No frills local favorite. Small bar in the back and takeaway slices in front. See On Google Maps  ( Lower East Side )
  • Sal and Carmine Pizza: Neighborhood favorite for big, classic NYC slices. See On Google Maps  ( Upper West Side )
  • Kesté Pizza: Higher-end pizza joint. On Google Maps  ( Greenwich Village )
  • Arturo’s: Serving coal-fired pizza since the 1950s. They also have live jazz multiple nights a week. See On Google Maps  ( Greenwich Village )
  • Emily: Gourmet pizza and burgers. See On Google Maps  ( West Village & Brooklyn )
  • Lombardi’s: Oldest pizza joint in the US and still very popular. See On Google Maps  ( Little Italy )
  • Grimaldi’s Pizzeria: Very popular spot. Excellent pizza. Always busy. See On Google Maps  ( DUMBO, Brooklyn & Flatiron )
  • Juliana’s: Neighbor of Grimaldi’s. Also very popular and always busy. See On Google Maps  ( DUMBO Brooklyn )
  • Best Pizza: Excellent slices of NYC-style pizza. See On Google Maps  ( Williamsburg, Brooklyn )
  • Lucali: The hottest pizza restaurant in NY. Getting a table is tough. See On Google Maps  ( Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn )

Take A Deep Dive Into A Neighborhood With A Good Guidebook

local places to visit in nyc

I know it might sound weird for a travel website to suggest buying an “old fashion” guidebook but we still love them. Having easy access to local information is extremely beneficial and most guidebooks have self-guided walking tours that hit the neighborhood highlights.

If nothing else, a guidebook is usually worth its weight in gold for the restaurant recommendations that have been broken down by neighborhood.

I’m a big fan of Lonely Planet NYC .


local places to visit in nyc

The Met is the jewel of NYC’s museum scene so if you just visit one museum then this should be the one to check out. It’s one of the largest museums in the US and its collection spans more than 5000 years — from mummies to modern art. Don’t expect to see everything as it will wear you out.

  • Admission: $25 (pay-what-you-wish for NY Residents)
  • See On Google Maps
  • Offical Met Website
  • Take A Specialized Met Guided Tour

Local Tip: The Met has a really nice rooftop bar/cafe that has great views of Central Park and the city’s skyline.

Spend An Afternoon In Central Park

Central Park | Things To Do In NYC

Central Park is one of the things that makes NYC such a magical place — and it undoubtedly that this massive green oasis helps keep its citizens stay little saner.

You can easily spend multiple hours in the park and not see everything. We recommend starting at the southern end of the park and making your way up. You can also pick up park maps at a few information points in the park if you want to explore specific points of interest.

Personally, we love enjoying a picnic lunch in the park. There is a Whole Foods Market at the southwest side of the park (i.e. Columbus Circle – See On Google Maps ) where you can buy whatever you need (including prepared foods).

More Highlights of Central Park Include:

  • Biking The Park:  Central Park has an excellent bike path that snakes through the entirety of the park so a bike is a nice way to get around!  Here is a list  of the multiple bike rental companies.
  • Go For A Row In A Boat:  Renting a rowboat is a fun way to spend an hour or two in the park. Boats cost $15 per hour (cash only), $4.00 for each additional 15 minutes with a $20 cash deposit.  Visit Website
  • Take A Walking Tour:  Get to know the park’s history with a walking tour. There are  free walking tours and  paid walking tours .
  • More Fun Things: Central Park has plenty of other fun activities and Central Park Tours, Bike Rentals, Carriage Rides, etc.

See On Central Park On Google Maps Visit The Central Park Website

See NYC From Above

New York City Views | Things To Do In NYC

New York City is magical when seen from above — it’s one of the few times the city actually feels peaceful. There are a handful of tall buildings that have observation decks but the big three are Top Of The Rock at Rockefeller Center, The Empire State Building, and One World Observatory at the One World Trade Center.

Personally, we’re fans of Top Of The Rock at Rockefeller Center. That’s because you get to see the city skyline (including the Empire State Building and One World Trade) and Central Park. But anywhere you choose is going to be a great experience.

Expect to pay around $40 per ticket and booking online is highly recommended.

  • Official Top Of The Rock Website
  • Official Empire State Building Website
  • Official One World Observatory
  • Empire State Skip The Line Tickets

Local Tip : Most observation decks sell a dual ticket which gives you access to visit during the day and again at night.


MoMA | Things To Do In NYC

NOTE: The MoMA is closed due to renovation until October 21, 2019

Fans of modern art should head directly to the MoMA. In addition to housing major works like Warhol’s  Campbell’s Soup Cans and van Gogh’s  The Starry Night , the MoMA contains many other impressive works.

And fans of not spending money should visit every Friday from 4-8 pm because tickets are free (but get there a little early because the line gets very long).

  • Free entry every Friday 4-8 pm
  • Official Website
  • Skip The Line Tickets  and  Guided MoMA Tour

Explore The West Village and Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village | Best Things To Do In NYC

Another one of the best things to do in NYC is spending some time exploring its diverse neighborhoods.

The West Village and Greenwich Village are much-loved neighborhoods in NYC are packed with charm and steeped with counterculture history. This is the place where New Yorkers wished they lived if they could afford it. It’s also home to NYU so there is always a youthful vibe.

The neighborhood is filled with many of the city’s coolest and hippest bars, restaurants, coffee shops, retail shopping, and the iconic Washington Square Park. So we suggest exploring the neighborhood during the day and then coming back at night to see how the area truly comes alive.

  • See Greenwich Village and The West Village On Google Maps

Hit Up A Rooftop Bar

local places to visit in nyc

One of the best ways to spend an evening in the Big Apple is by chilling out on one of NYC’s many rooftop bars — there are even a few that have heating during the winter. The main downside is that you’ll always pay a premium for drinks but the atmosphere makes up for the prices.

Here are a few recommended spots but this certainly isn’t an exhaustive list:

  • CloudM: CloudM has a fairly spacious rooftop terrace and a stylish indoor bar as well. There is a laidback vibe and great views of the financial district and midtown Manhattan. See On Google Maps ( Lower East Side/SoHo )
  • Wythe Hotel: For some of the best views of NYC you have to head across the river into Brooklyn. Case in point… the Wythe Hotel’s rooftop. Their art-deco rooftop bar has a breathtaking unobstructed view of Manhattan’s skyline. See On Google Maps ( Brooklyn )
  • Broken Shaker: The Broken Shaker has a tropical feel and its outdoor garden gives this spot a nice atmosphere. It also has some very solid city views. See On Google Maps ( Gramercy/Midtown East )
  • The Polynesian: Sometimes you just want to hang out at a cool tiki bar — which is why we love The Polynesian. The outdoor terrace has that laidback island vibe and they pour tasty tropical cocktails. See On Google Maps ( Midtown West/Hell’s Kitchen )
  • The Lookup: For one of the best views of the Empire State Building head to The Lookup. In addition, this bar is rarely too crowded so finding a seat shouldn’t be too difficult. See On Google Maps ( Midtown )
  • Ophelia Lounge NYC: This is the kind of spot you hit up if you’re looking for a laidback and classy kind of night. The cocktails are solid and the views are even more impressive. See On Google Maps ( Midtown East)
  • Gallow Green: This spot is super hip thanks to its garden vibes. They even heat it in the winter so this is a nice year-round destination. See On Google Maps ( Chelsea )
  • Refinery Rooftop: Another laidback rooftop bar with great Empire State Building views. See On Google Maps ( Midtown )
  • Empellon Al Pastor Rooftop Bar: Upscale Mexican streetfood + a beautiful rooftop? Yes, please. It does get busy thanks to the after-work crowd. See On Google Maps ( Midtown East )
  • 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar: The largest rooftop bar in NYC and it has excellent Empire State Building views. There are VIP tickets available on Friday and Saturday nights that cost $40 — but you get three drinks and you don’t have to wait in line (I don’t think you’re required to buy these tickets, though). It’s a good spot for people watching but the food/drinks are nothing to write home about. See On Google Maps ( Midtown )
  • Mr. Purple: Soak in the breathtaking views of both downtown and uptown from this Lower East Side rooftop bar. See On Google Maps ( Lower East Side )

Take A River Cruise

local places to visit in nyc

We love seeing the city from the water and luckily there are plenty of river cruises — from huge touristy boats to intimate sunset cruises on small sailboats. Most cruises last between 2-3 hours and you can expect to pay $45-$80/person but the prices can be higher on more specialty cruises.

  • Circle Line River Cruise
  • 2.5 Hour River Cruise
  • Twilight River Cruise
  • Sailboat Cruises

If you’re on a budget, take the free Staten Island Ferry! This ferry runs between lower Manhattan and Staten Island about every 20-30 minutes 24/7. The ferry also goes by the Statue Of Liberty so it’s a nice way to check off two things from your bucket list.

See NYC’s Highlights On An Open Top Bus

local places to visit in nyc

Yes, these kind of buses are ultra touristy but it’s honestly one of the best ways to get a “lay of the land” and to see a lot in a short amount of time — which is great in a big city like NYC. Tickets are typically around $50 for 24-hours but you can pay a little more for 48-hour tickets.  Book your tickets here .

Catch Some Live Jazz, Daddy-O

local places to visit in nyc

New York City is the best place in the world to see live jazz — you can find a show, whether in a hole-in-the-wall joint or at a famous venue, just about every night of the week.

Note: Most jazz clubs charge a cover and/or have a minimum spend on food/drinks.

Here are a few jazz joints worth checking out:

  • Blue Note: A truly legendary jazz venue. Small, expensive, but great acts. See On Google Maps ( Greenwich Village )
  • Village Vanguard: Another iconic jazz club that’s hosted every famous jazz performer. Fairly small space but the prices are reasonable. See On Google Maps ( West Village )
  • Birdland: Large space with great music. Prices are reasonable. See On Google Maps ( Midtown/Theatre District )
  • Smalls: Tiny no-frills spot with nice music and good prices. Lots of younger talent. See On Google Maps ( Greenwich Village )
  • Jazz Standard: This is one of the city’s largest jazz clubs. They host both new and established acts. As an added bonus, they serve BBQ from restaurateur Danny Meyer. See On Google Maps ( Midtown East )
  • Smoke Jazz & Supper Club: If you want great jazz and a fixed-price meal then Smoke is an excellent option. Nice, relaxed atmosphere. See On Google Maps ( Upper West Side )
  • Bill’s Place: Bill’s Place is located in the basement if an old Harlem brownstone which was a speakeasy during Prohibition. It’s a very small, no-frills spot — it’s basically like you’re in Bill’s living room. It’s BYOB (they don’t sell alcohol). Reservations required since there are only about 15 seats. $20 cash at the door. See On Google Maps ( Harlem )
  • Fat Cat Jazz Club: The place to go to play pool, shuffleboard, and ping-pong while listening to students from Juilliard play their jam sessions. See On Google Maps ( West Village )
  • Minton’s Playhouse: Unassuming Harlem jazz bar with great jazz and nice quality food. See On Google Maps ( Harlem )
  • Paris Blues: Another old-school local joint in Harlem with live jazz. Two drink minimum but no cover. Friendly folks. Open since 1968. See On Google Maps ( Harlem )

Discover A Hidden Speakeasy

You’ll never have trouble finding a place a get a drink in NYC but there are a few hidden bars that you’ll never discover unless you seek them out. These days, all these hidden speakeasy bars aren’t really that “secret” but their hidden/kitschy nature is still kind of fun.

By the way, these speakeasy joints are universally expensive so expect to pay $15-$20+ for a cocktail.

  • Please Don’t Tell: You enter through a hotdog joint called Crif Dogs and then find a phonebooth in the back that’s actually a hidden door to Please Don’t Tell. It’s a small spot but there is a no standing rule so it never feels crowded — plus they serve up hotdogs from Crif Dogs. See On Google Maps ( East Village )
  • Manhattan Cricket Club: Located behind a big green leather door inside the Burke & Wills Restaurant, the Manhattan Cricket Club is a fancy cricket-themed bar with high-end cocktails. Laidback vibe. See On Google Maps (Upper West Side)
  • Bathtub Gin: Located behind an innocuous door inside The Stone Coffee Company, Bathtub Gin is a Prohibition Era-style speakeasy that specializes in gin-based drinks. They also have burlesque and jazz nights. See On Google Maps ( Chelsea )
  • Little Branch: Located behind an unmarked door, Little Branch is a tiny basement bar that makes some serious cocktails. See On Google Maps ( West Village )
  • Attaboy: Press a buzzer and an unmarked black metal door will open, inside you’ll find Attaboy — an intimate but laidback speakeasy bar with expert bartenders. In fact, there is no menu so let the bartenders make something interesting. No reservations. See On Google Maps ( Lower East Side )
  • Angel’s Share: This Japanese cocktail lounge speakeasy is actually kind of hard to find (but it’s still always packed). Hidden inside a Japanese restaurant (Village Yokocho), Angel’s Share has a no-standing policy so it never feels busy (but that makes it hard to get a seat). See On Google Maps ( Lower East Side )

Take A Walking Tour

local places to visit in nyc

We love walking tours because they’re an excellent way to really get to know a city (or even neighborhood). We suggest browsing Get Your Guide to see if any of their tours look interesting but here are a few cool looking ones:

  • Street Art Tour
  • 3-Hour Food and History Tour
  • 2-Hour Cupcake Tour of Greenwich Village
  • Wall Street Tour
  • 5.5 Hour NYC Tour

Of course, there are also a number of free walking tours where you tip your guide at the end. These are an excellent option if you’re on a budget.

  • Free Tours By Foot: NYC
  • Sandeman’s Free Tours

See Modern American Art at The Whitney Museum

Whitney Museum | Things To Do In NYC

The Whitney Museum is one of America’s premier museums for 20th and 21st-century American art. Their collection is always changing so it’s a nice place to revisit as well.

The Whitney also has some nice outdoor space on its rooftop (including a cafe) so be sure to check that out.

  • Pay-What-You-Wish on Fridays from 7 pm-9:30 pm.
  • Visit Offical Website

See What’s New At The Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim Museum | Best Things To Do In NYC

Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum is one of the city’s most recognizable buildings. The museum features an always-changing temporary collection as well as a small permeate collection.

  • Saturday from 5–8 pm is Pay-What-You-Wish but we suggest arriving early to beat the line which wraps halfway around the building.
  • Visit The Website

Frick Collection

local places to visit in nyc

Housed inside a former Gilded Age mansion, the Frick showcases the impressive private collection of industrialist Henry Clay Frick. The collection contains many works by European masters like Vermeer and Rembrandt. The building itself is also impressive — including its beautiful garden.

  • Wednesday from 2–6 pm is Pay-What-You-Wish.

Eat NYC’s Best Cookie at Levain Bakery

local places to visit in nyc

In our opinion, the absolute best cookie in NYC comes from Levain Bakery. These things are massive, soooo good, and worth the wait in line. They have a few locations in NYC.

  • See Locations on Google Maps  ( Upper West Side, Harlem, & Upper East Side )

Stretch Your Legs On The High Line

local places to visit in nyc

This former elevated rail line has been converted into a 1.45-mile-long urban greenway and it’s now one of the most popular places to stroll in NYC. The High Line does get busy during peak times since it’s such a popular attraction.

  • See The High Line On Google Maps

Eat Everything at Chelsea Market

local places to visit in nyc

Chelsea Market is an indoor fool hall that’s filled with multiple food vendors offering just about every kind of food — from amazing tacos and Cambodian sandwiches to burgers and lobster.

It does get very busy here around lunch so expect a crowd.

  • See Chelsea Market On Google Maps
  • Chelsea Market and Highline Tour

Local Tip: There is a fairly well-hidden cocktail bar under the Chelsea Market called The Tippler . The drinks are solid, they often have a DJ spinning tunes, and it is rarely crowded. Local Tip : Los Tacos No. 1 is located in the market and it’s often reggarded as one of the best taco spots in NYC.

Walk The Brooklyn Bridge

local places to visit in nyc

The Brooklyn Bridge is easily the most iconic bridge in New York and walking the mile between lower Manhattan and Brooklyn is a lot of fun.

That said, it does get very crowded so you might want to visit in the morning or later in the evening to avoid all the selfie sticks.

  • Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO Tour
  • Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge Bike Tour

See What’s New At the New Museum

local places to visit in nyc

The New Museum is Manhattan’s only solely dedicated contemporary art museum. They’re always displaying something new, interesting, and sometimes weird.

  • Thursday: 7 p.m.–9 p.m. is Pay-What-You-Wish
  • Visit the Official Website

Get Some Soul (Food) In Harlem

local places to visit in nyc

If you’re in NYC for more than a few days we recommend spending a little time in Harlem — especially if you’re a fan of stick-to-your-ribs soul food. Here are a few local favorites:

  • Amy Ruth’s: See On Google Maps
  • Sylvia’s: See On Google Maps
  • Red Rooster: See On Google Maps

Walk The Deck On An WWII Aircraft Carrier

local places to visit in nyc

If you’re a military nerd like me then you’ll love exploring the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier. The deck is filled with various aircraft. You can also check out a space shuttle.

The  Growler  submarine is docked alongside the Intrepid and it can also be explored.

  • Admission: $33

Catch A Show On Broadway

local places to visit in nyc

New York City is the theatre capital of the world so there are always a dozen excellent shows playing at any given time. Tickets for the popular shows aren’t cheap and tickets for the hottest shows are downright expensive (and hard to get).

One way to save money is by purchasing tickets via  TKTS — they sell same-day tickets for up to 50% off. You should line up early as the line gets long and the best shows sell out first.

You can also book tickets to some shows and books behind-the-scenes/backstage tours via  Get Your Guide .

Brave Times Square

local places to visit in nyc

You can’t visit NYC without seeing Times Square at least one time — one time is enough in our opinion. Visit at night to get the full electronic overload experience. Times Square gets extremely packed so we recommend visiting late in the evening to avoid the bulk of the crowds (the signs never turn off so you can even visit at 3 am if you want).

Local Foodie Tip:  Hungry and in a rush? Check out  Xi’an Famous Foods  ( See On Google Maps ) for excellent counter-service Chinese food/soups,  Los Tacos No.1  ( See On Google Maps ) for amazing tacos, and Shake Shack ( See On Google Maps ) for tasty burgers and shakes.

Start Your Morning With A Bagel

Best Bagels in NYC | Things to do in New York City

All bagels are not created equal. In fact, most bagels in NYC are industrially made so don’t waste all those carbs on a junky bagel. Here are a few of our favorite places to get an excellent, handmade bagel:

  • See On Google Maps  ( Upper West Side )
  • See On Google Maps  ( East Village )
  • See On Google Maps  ( Midtown )
  • See On Google Maps  ( Lower East Side )
  • See Locations on Google Maps  ( Midtown, Greenwich Village, and Queens )
  • See On Google Maps  ( Midtown East )
  • See Locations On Google Maps  ( Greenwich Village & Chelsea )

Or Start Your Morning With A Doughnut

local places to visit in nyc

Take a break from bagels with a delicious doughnut. Here are a few of our favorite spots:

  • Doughnut Plant: These dudes have been making doughnuts by hand with quality all-natural ingredients since 1994. Their creations come in all shapes, sizes, and interesting flavors. A local favorite with multiple locations. See Locations On Google Maps
  • Dough Doughnuts: This longtime Brooklyn doughnut shop has expanded to a few locations in Manhattan. Everything is handmade and they have a selection of interesting flavors. See Locations On Google Maps
  • Donut Pub: This charming, old-fashioned doughnut shop has been selling delicious doughnuts 24/7 since 1964. See On Google Maps
  • Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop: Make the quick trip over to Greenpoint in Queens to visit Peter Pan. This local institution has been around since 1953 and their doughnuts are old-school perfection. Cash only. See On Google Maps
  • Doughnut Project: This quirky spot serves up uniquely flavored doughnuts. They make everything in small batches so many of their popular flavors sell out quickly. See On Google Maps
  • Dun-Well Doughnuts: This is THE place to go for vegan doughnuts. See On Google Maps

Catch A Comedy Show

local places to visit in nyc

You can catch a stand-up show or some other kind of comedy act any night of the week in NYC. Many major comedians will randomly stop by clubs to try out new material so you never know who you’ll see (i.e. Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Jim Gaffigan, etc.).

Where To See Stand-Up:

  • Comedy Cellar: The Comedy Cellar is one of the most popular comedy clubs in NYC and it’s very common for big-name acts to drop in to practice new material. It’s a very small joint so getting tickets can be a little tough. See On Google Maps ( Greenwich Village )
  • Gotham: This Chelsea comedy club is a favorite spot for Jim Gaffigan, Jerry Seinfeld, and other comedians. See On Google Maps ( Chelsea )
  • Carolines on Broadway: Carolines is another extremely popular venue that attracts multiple excellent comedians. See On Google Maps ( Times Square )
  • The Comic Strip Live: The Comic Strip Live is the oldest stand-up club in NYC. It’s a small joint and they get a mix of established and new acts. See On Google Maps ( Upper East Side )
  • Dangerfield’s: Founded by Rodney Dangerfield in 1969, this longstanding comedy club has shows seven nights a week.  See On Google Maps ( Upper East Side )

Where To See Improv and Sketch Comedy:

  • Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre: This is easily the most famous improv spot in NYC and it’s where many famous comedians got their start. There are multiple shows each week. See On Google Maps ( Hell’s Kitchen )
  • Magnet Theater: A small spot in Midtown with shows every night of the week. Affordable prices. See On Google Maps ( Midtown )

See Another Side Of NYC At the Tenement Museum

local places to visit in nyc

The tenement houses of the Lower East Side used to be home to NYC’s poorest citizens and the Tenement Museum does an excellent job of telling their story. They offer multiple tours like the Irish Outsiders tour, Sweat Shop tour, Shop Life tour, etc. so you can get a different look the different facets of immigrant life.

  • Admission : $27+
  • Visit Official Website

Find Peace at the Met Cloisters & Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan

local places to visit in nyc

The Met Museum has a small outpost in upper Manhattan called the Cloisters — which is an old French monastery that was disassembled and rebuilt in New York’s Fort Tryon Park back in 1938. It now houses a collection of medieval architecture, sculpture, and decorative arts.

The Cloisters is located inside Fort Tryon Park — which is an excellent small park that has amazing views of the Hudson River and beautiful gardens.

  • Note: Your ticket to the Met includes entrance the Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters (and it’s valid for three days so you don’t have to see everything in one day).
  • Visit The Offical Cloisters Website

Chow Down On A Burger

local places to visit in nyc

You can get a burger just about anywhere in NYC but here are a few of our favorite burger joints (but this isn’t an exhaustive list as NYC has a ton of great burger spots):

  • Emily: Constantly voted one of the best burgers in NYC. They also have great pizza. See On Google Maps  ( West Village and Brooklyn )
  • Emmy Squared: Spinoff from Emily. A bit more casual with Shake Shack/ In-N-Out-style burgers. See On Google Maps  ( East Village and Brooklyn )
  • Corner Bistro: Tasty, no-nonsense burgers in a dive bar setting. Neighborhood favorite. Cash only. See On Google Maps  ( West Village )
  • Shake Shack: About as good as it gets for a fast-food burger. They have more than 30 locations in NYC. See Locations On Google Maps
  • Burger Joint: A not-so-secret NYC gem that’s hidden inside the lobby of the upscale Le Parker Meridien hotel. Featured on Anthony Bourdain. No-frills. Cash only. See On Google Maps  ( Midtown/Central Park )
  • The Spotted Pig:  A hip and super popular no-reservations spot in the West Village. See On Google Maps  ( West Village )
  • J.G. Melon: A laidback old-school pub that’s been around since the early 70s. See On Google Maps  ( Upper West Side, Upper East Side, & Greenwich Village )
  • Bar Sardine : A charming West Village gastropub that serves up an excellent burger and expensive cocktails.  See On Google Maps  ( West Village )
  • P. J. Clarke’s: A Midtown staple since 1884. A favorite of Sinatra & Jackie Kennedy. They’ve expanded to three locations. See On Google Maps  ( Midtown East, Upper West Side, & FiDi/World Trade Center )

Indulge In The Best Hot Chocolate and Frozen Hot Chocolate

local places to visit in nyc

City Bakery and Serendipity 3 are two must-visit spots for all you chocoholics out there.

First up, we have City Bakery . They are famous for their ultra-rich hot chocolate that’s topped with a huge marshmallow. See On Google Maps  ( Chelsea )

Don’t feel like sipping hot chocolate in the middle of summer? Then head to Serendipity 3 for their excellent frozen hot chocolate. See On Google Maps  ( Upper East Side/Midtown East )

Visit The Statue of Liberty (Or See It From The Staten Island Ferry)

local places to visit in nyc

The Statue of Liberty is another iconic NYC landmark that is extremely popular with visitors. There are multiple ticket options for visiting the statue but if you want to go up into the crown then you’ll have to book six months in advance.

If you don’t feel like visiting Ellis Island but still want to get a good look at the statue then we recommend taking the free Staten Island Ferry (it runs 24/7 and there are boats every 20-30 minutes). It passes fairly close to the statue and it gives you nice views of downtown Manhattan. See On Google Maps

  • Statue Cruises  is the only official ticket seller for visiting Ellis Island so ignore all the dudes trying to sell you a ticket. Purchase your tickets online and pick them up at the ticket window — otherwise, you’ll wait in a huge line.
  • Visit The Official Website
  • See On Google Maps (Departure Ferry)
  • Take A Guided Tour Of Ellis Island

See Nature At American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History | Things to do in NYC

The American Museum of Natural History is the largest natural history museum in the world so it is filled with dinosaurs, taxidermied animals, and a huge 94-foot-long blue whale model.

  • Admission: $23 (pay-what-you-wish for NY residents)
  • Se On Google Maps
  • Take A Guided Tour Of The Museum

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral | Things To Do In NYC

In a city filled with modern skyscrapers, St Patrick’s Cathedral offers a much-needed change of scenery. This Neo-Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral was built in 1879 and it’s been welcoming weary visitors to marvel at its grand architecture ever since. It’s free to enter so stop inside if you’re in the area.

  • See on Google Maps

See The Sunset Along The Hudson River in Riverside Park

Riverside Park | Things To Do In New York City

Riverside Park, which is situated along the Hudson River, is a great park on the Upper West Side that not many visitors take time to explore. It’s also one of the best places to catch the sunset.

The park stretches four miles from 72nd to 158th streets. It also has some of the best river views and two laidback outdoor, waterside bars —  Pier i Cafe  and  Boat Basin Cafe .

Connect With Nature At The Bronx Zoo

local places to visit in nyc

Lions. Tigers. Bears. They’re all at the Bronx Zoo! It’s one of the largest zoos in the US so it’s worth checking out if you want to escape the “concrete jungle” of NYC.

  • Free Wednesday (but it gets very busy)

Soak In The Skyline from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade

local places to visit in nyc

One of the best views of the NYC skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge is from the lovely Brooklyn Heights Promenade. This tree-lined walkway has plenty of benches so it’s an excellent spot to stop for a while soaking in the lovely city.

It’s a fairly easy walk from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade to Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood.

Explore Arthur Avenue For An Authentic Little Italy In The Bronx

local places to visit in nyc

Little Italy in Manhattan needs no introduction but these days the neighborhood is very touristy/expensive. If you want a more authentic Italian vibe with cheaper prices we suggest heading up to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. Here is a good article about Authur Avenue via Eater .

Snap That Famous DUMBO Photo

local places to visit in nyc

Head to the former-industrial DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn to take your photo under the Brooklyn Bridge from the iconic Washington Street ( Google Maps ). While you’re there, check out the areas many shops, restaurants, coffee shops, and more.

The neighborhood is also home to two of the most famous pizza restaurants in NYC — Juliana’s and Grimaldi’s . The new Time Out Market is also in DUMBO.

Feed Your Inner Bookworm

local places to visit in nyc

NYC is home to one of the largest independent bookstores in the US — The Strand Bookstore. Their claim to fame is having “18 miles of books” so you can essentially find anything here. They sell a lot of used books so this is a good place to score a good deal.

  • Visit The Strand Website

Eat A Monster-Sized Sandwich From A Classic Jewish Deli

local places to visit in nyc

Cure your hunger with a huge pastrami sandwich from a traditional Jewish deli. Here are a few legendary spots in NYC:

  • Katz Deli: The most famous deli in NYC. Attracts a ton of tourists. No frills, long lines, but great sandwiches. Open since 1888. See On Google Maps  ( Lower East Side )
  • Sarge’s Deli: A midtown favorite since 1964. Open 24/7 and they make NYC’s largest sandwich — The Monster. See On Google Maps  ( Midtown East )
  • 2nd Avenu Deli: Old-school deli vibe. Solid Jewish fare and sandwiches. See On Google Maps  ( Midtown East & Upper East Side )
  • Fine & Schapiro: It’s not very famous (outside the neighborhood at least) but it’s been around since 1920 and their sandwiches are excellent. See On Google Maps  ( Upper West Side )

Enjoy Some Banana Pudding At Magnolia Bakery

local places to visit in nyc

Magnolia Bakery helped usher in the cupcake craze (mainly because they were featured on Sex and the City ) but in our opinion, the real star of the show is their banana pudding. Trust us. It might sound a little weird but it’s amazing and you shouldn’t visit NYC without trying it. Their cheesecake is also solid.

  • See On Google Maps  ( Multiple Locations )

Eat Cheap In Chinatown

local places to visit in nyc

Finding a bargain isn’t easy in NYC but Chinatown is one of the few places where it’s fairly easy to eat on the cheap.

  • Vanessa’s Dumpling House: An NYC budget-foodie institution. A no-frills joint that’s always packed thanks to their amazing fried or steamed dumplings. Everything is made fresh right in front of your eyes. See On Google Maps  ( Chinatown )
  • Joe’s Shanghai: No frills. Super fast service. Affordable yet excellent soup dumplings (among other Shanghai dishes) — everything you could want in a great Chinese restaurant. Cash only. See On Google Maps  ( Chinatown )
  • Shanghai 21: Another no-frills joint with a huge menu of Chinese dishes but their soup dumplings get the most love. Portions are generous and prices are solid. Cash only. See On Google Maps  ( Chinatown )
  • Great NY Noodletown : Famous for their handmade noodles and roast pork & duck. Open until 4 am. See On Google Maps  ( Chinatown )
  • Wo Hop: Another much-loved and no-frills Chinese restaurant located in the heart of Chinatown. Open until 4:30 am. See On Google Maps  ( Chinatown )
  • Xi’an Famous Foods: We love this place. They’re a modern take on classic hand-pulled Chinese noodle joints. They’ve become so popular that they’ve expanded to 15+ different locations all across New York. The service is fast so it’s a very popular lunch spot for hungry New Yorkers. See On Google Maps  ( Multiple Locations )
  • Big Wong: A great Cantonese joint that is famous for their BBQ pork. No frills. Cash only. See On Google Maps  ( Chinatown )
  • Nom Wah Tea Parlor: The oldest dumpling restaurant in New York (1920). They’re always busy but service is fast and efficient. See On Google Maps  ( Chinatown )
  • Wah Fung Fast Food : Street-style Chinese food. Their roast pork is the go-to dish. See on Google Maps  ( Lower East Side )
  • Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles: Tasty hand-pulled noodles (obviously) and other Chinese comfort foods. Very affordable. See On Google Maps  (Chinatown)

Local Tip: If you want even more Chinese food then we suggest visiting Flushing, Queens  as it is home to a huge Chinese immigrant population. And prices will be even cheaper.

More Cheap Eats In NYC

local places to visit in nyc

Everyone loves a good bargain so here are a few more of our favorite budget-friendly place to get something to eat (that aren’t Chinese spots). Note: We generally consider “cheap” top be under $10.

  • Gray’s Papaya: This no-frills hotdog place serves up a much better dog than what you’ll find from those sidewalk vendors. They also have fun juice drinks. Open 24-hours. See On Google Maps  ( Upper West Side )
  • Halal Guys: A popular halal food cart that’s grown into a multi-location gyro restaurant. The food is delicious and affordable. It’s a great place for a quick and filling meal. See Locations on Google Maps  ( East Village, Midtown, & Upper West Side )
  • Dosa Man Food Cart: The true American success story. Thiru Kumar moves from Sri Lanka to NYC and opens a small food cart selling vegan South Indian crepes. The locals love it. Then he gets written up in New York  magazine and his popularity explodes. There are long lines every day but it’s worth the wait. He usually runs out of food around 4 p.m. ( Washington Square Park — look for the line)
  • Num Pang: We love the freshly-made Cambodian sandwiches at this multi-location restaurant in NYC. The Ginger BBQ Brisket is our favorite. See On Google Maps  ( Multiple Locations )
  • Veselka : Cheap and tasty Ukrainian pierogis and other traditional dishes. 24/7. Opened since 1954. See On Google Maps  ( East Village )
  • Shake Shack: The best budget-friendly “fast food” burger in the city. See Locations On Google Maps
  • 2 Bros Pizza: When it comes to $1 slices of pizza, 2 Bros is probably the best option. See On Google Maps ( Multiple Locations )
  • Joe’s Pizza: Opened in 1975, Joe’s is arguably one of the best “cheap” slices of classic NYC-style pizza. $3 for a cheese slice. See On Google Maps
  • Baohaus: Savory Taiwanese steamed buns served in a bare-bones East Village joint. See On Google Maps ( East Village )
  • Mamoun’s Falafel: Serving up cheap and delicious falafel sandwiches since 1971. Open until 5 am. See On Google Maps ( West Village and East Village )
  • Acuario Cafe: This no-frills Dominican restaurant is hidden away inside a freight dock/elevator so you’d never find it if you weren’t looking. Plates of food cost $5 to $8. Expect a line at lunch but it moves quickly. See On Google Maps ( Midtown )

Get A Slice of Classic New York Cheesecake

local places to visit in nyc

It would be a shame to visit NYC without trying some NY-style cheesecake. Here are a few solid places to try this decadent treat:

  • Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery: Many people claim that Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery makes the absolute best cheesecake in NYC and it’s easy to see why. See On Google Maps ( Greenwich Village )
  • Eileen’s Special Cheesecake: Established in 1975, Eileen’s is another longtime contender for making the best cheesecake in NYC. See On Google Maps ( SoHo )
  • Junior’s Restaurant: Junior’s first opened in Brooklyn in 1950 and they’ve become famous for their cheesecake. They’ve since expanded to two Times Square locations but, despite the “touristy” vibe, their cheesecake is still excellent. See On Google Maps ( Brooklyn and Times Square )
  • Veniero’s: This Italian-American bakery has been serving cheesecake, cannoli, and other Italian desserts since 1894. Old-school vibe. See On Google Maps ( East Village )

See NYC’s Most Iconic Buildings

local places to visit in nyc

New York is full of architectural icons so there are a number of buildings worth checking out — you’ll probably come across these buildings as you explore the city.

Here are a few of our favorite buildings:

  • Empire State Building: Staple of the NYC skyline. Great observation deck. See On Google Maps
  • Chrysler Building: Art-deco icon. You can visit the lobby but there is no observation deck. See On Google Maps
  • Rockefeller Center: See one of the best views of NYC from the Top Of The Rock. Also, home to the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree during the holidays.
  • One World Trade Center: The tallest building in NYC (complete with observation deck) and home of the former Twin Towers.
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art: One of the greatest museums in the US.
  • Flatiron Building: A Instagram-worthy stop in Chelsea.
  • Plaza Hotel: A beautiful old hotel at the base of Central Park. They have a decent food court in the basement if you’re hungry.
  • Dakota Building: A famous beautiful building that’s been home to many famous people — including John Lennon (he was also shot in front of the building).
  • Guggenheim Museum: A Frank Lloyd Wright-designed NYC icon.
  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral: A Neo-Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral church constructed in 1878.
  • American Museum of Natural History: The largest natural history museum in the US.
  • Grand Central Station: A huge and always busy train station in midtown Manhattan.
  • NYC Public Library Building: The second-largest public library in the United States and the third-largest in the world.

Go Crazy For Cronuts (And More) At Dominique Ansel Bakery

local places to visit in nyc

The cronut may have debuted back in 2013 but it’s still drawing big crowds to this French bakery (but it’s not as bad as it once was). Dominique Ansel has way more sweet treats like cookies, ice cream, s’more pops, and more.

Truffles, Cookies, and Cereal Milk Ice Cream At Milk Bar

local places to visit in nyc

I’m personally not a huge fan of the cereal milk ice cream at Milk Bar but people go crazy for it. That said, their truffles are truly amazing. And their cookies are very good as well. You can also find multiple other sweet treats here.

  • See All Their Locations On Google Maps

Eat A Bit Of Everything At A Food Hall/Market

local places to visit in nyc

Can’t decide what to eat? Head to one of NYC’s many food halls or markets to have your pick of tons of goodies in a single spot.

  • Chelsea Market: The most famous indoor food market in NYC. It’s filled with a bit of everything. Poke around their  website  to see which food stalls/restaurants. See On Google Maps ( Chelsea )
  • Urbanspace Vanderbilt (Main and largest location): See On Google Maps
  • Urbanspace at 570 Lex: See On Google Maps
  • Time Out Market: Time Out Markets have sprung up all over Europe but NYC finally got theirs in 2019. It features multiple top restaurants and bars from across the city under one roof. See On Google Maps ( Dumbo, Brooklyn )
  • Mercado Little Spain: This concept market is basically a mini version of Spain transported to the new Hudson Yards. Prices are a little high but it’s still a fun thing to do if you’re into Spanish fare. See On Google Maps ( Husdon Yards )
  • Smorgasburg Williamsburg: Saturday from 11am-6pm (100+ Vendors)
  • Smorgasburg Prospect Park: Sunday 11am-6pm (100+ Vendors)
  • Smorgasburg WTC: Fridays 11am-7pm (30 Vendors)
  • Smorgasburg Hudson Yards: Tuesday & Wednesday 11am-7pm (6 Vendors )

Escape Manhattan

Things to Do In NYC | Explore Brooklyn

We realize that this list is very Manhattan-focused but there are so many other great things to do in New York City that are found outside the island.

So, if you have the time, we recommend at least popping over to Brooklyn to experience a different side of this huge city — including more diverse and cheaper food options.

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The Ultimate NYC Bucket List (101 Things to Do in NYC)

  • In the City / New York / North America / NYC / USA

Whether you live here or you’re visiting for the 10th time, here is the ultimate list of 101 things to do in NYC.

While we had a love-hate relationship when visiting NYC, we absolutely loved the city when living here. We spent most of our visits eating our way through the city, and later realized that we hadn’t seen much of the city other than the insides of restaurants.

I’ve always had an extensive list of things we wanted to do, but with the help of our friends who’ve been living here for over a decade Charlene, Ted, Caty, and Debbie who was born and raised, we were able to narrow down the options and put together the ultimate NYC bucket list for you.

The Ultimate NYC Bucket List - 101 Things to Do in New York City

This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. All opinions are always our own. Read our full disclosure  for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated: April 20, 2024

− − Content Menu

  • Tourist + Local Attractions (1 – 22)
  • Spectate: Shows + Events (23 – 42)
  • Museums + Memorials + Monuments (43 – 70)
  • Outdoors + Urban Parks (71 – 88)
  • Shopping + Food Experiences (89 – 101)
  • Seasonal + Special Events
  • Map to Help You Get Around
  • Essential Tips for First Timers
  • Where to Stay

Planning Checklist

The ultimate nyc bucket list (101 unique things to do in new york city).

It’s easy to make an entire 101 list for each borough, but we’ll start with the city as a whole.

This list will continue to change and evolve as we find new things to see, do or eat in NYC so keep checking back. We focused more on experiences than food in this post, but we know how important food can be too, so you can check out our  full food bucket list .

Tourist Attractions

The largest metropolitan zoo in the US.

Brooklyn Bridge

Walk across or bike across or take in the views of one of NYC’s iconic symbols from Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Pick up some Eggloo waffle ice creams and eat the chicken over rice at Taiwan Pork Chop House.

Chrysler Building

(Midtown) Art Deco skyscraper that’s an iconic part of the skyline.

Classic Harbor Line

(Chelsea) Take the sunset cruise to see the Statue of Liberty and views of the NY Skyline from the water.

Columbia University

(Morningside Heights) Alexander Hamilton, Barack Obama, and many other notable alumni.

(Hudson Yards) Great views of the city from the highest outdoor sky deck in the western hemisphere. See your  ticket options here .

Empire State Building →

(Midtown) The most photographed building in the world and the tallest of its time until 1970.

Flatiron Building

(Flatiron District) another iconic and historic landmark

See More: 25 Best Things to Do Indoors in NYC

Brooklyn Bridge Pictures + 25 Best Instagram Spots in NYC

Gospel Church

(Harlem)  or Gospel Brunch

Grand Central Terminal →

(Midtown) Go upstairs and set up a long exposure shot.

Mahayana Buddhist Temple

(Chinatown) This temple houses the tallest Buddha in NYC.

New York Public Library

(Midtown) No photos are allowed in the main reading room.

(Financial District) The World Trade Center Transportation Hub and popular photography spot.

One World Observatory →

(Financial District) Not our favorite view but they still have nice views of the city. Also, the reveal is epic.

Rockefeller Center →

(Midtown) See  9 Amazing Things to Do in Rockefeller Center .

St. Patrick’s CATHEDRAL

(Midtown) popular for its Neo-Gothic style architecture

Staten Island Ferry

Have you tried a Staten Island? 🥂 The ferry is free.

(Midtown) The 360 views of the city. You can see ESB, Central Park, Chrysler, and more. They also have these instagrammy exhibits, art from Kusama, and a bar.

Times Square →

(Midtown) The crowds are part of the experience and it’s worth witnessing once, but for locals this is their least favorite place to be. If you want to take photos without crowds, your best bet is around 3 am or during a snowstorm.

Top of the Rock →

(Midtown) They have one of the best views of the city. Check out our guide here and  get tickets here .

The Vessel →

(Hudson Yards) New NYC landmark made of 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs. It’s  currently closed , so you can only see it from the outside.

See More: 9 Amazing Things to Do in Rockefeller Center NYC

Rockefeller Center Observation Deck NYC + 25 Most Instagrammable Places in NYC

Spectate: Shows + Events

Apollo theater →.

(Harlem) Jacob is actually in an episode he gets boo’d off stage!

Barclay’s Center →

Watch the Brooklyn Nets.

Broadway show →

Or Off-Broadway Show – Click to see essential tips for watching the best broadway shows.

See More: The Best Escape Rooms in New York City

Hamilton on Broadway New York City

Brooklyn bowl →

(Williamsburg, BK) High-tech lanes, live music, and good food.

Carnegie Hall →

(Midtown) Home to some of the most legendary performers – NY Philharmonic, NBC Symphony Orchestra, The Beatles, Billie Holiday, Simon & Garfunkel – just to name a few.

Comedy Cellar

(Greenwich Village) One of our favorite comedy clubs in the US.

Previously known as Fat Cat Jazz Club. Diverse venue, open late, offers live music, pool, Ping-Pong, board games, art exhibits, and more.

(South Village) An absolute treasure for indie films and other rare, classic movies.

Check  here for a schedule of Free Performances.

Las Chicas Locas

Salsa Dancing, great music, newcomers and beginners friendly.

Late Night Show Taping

Like SNL ( how to score free tickets ).

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts →

(UWS) Includes New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera.

Madison Square Garden →

(Midtown West) We did the All Access Tour, but you can also go see the Knicks.

Metlife Stadium →

(NJ) Watch a New York Giants game.

National Tennis Center →

(Flushing, QNS) For the US Open.

New York Philharmonic →

(UWS) Amazing environment, concerts with rich histories.

Nitehawk Cinema

(Williamsburg, BK) dine-in independent movie theater – perfect for date night.

The Public Theater →

(NoHo) An iconic theater and is famous for their logo design. We went and saw the play, Office Hour, which our friends were in.

Radio City Music Hall →

(Midtown) Watch  the Rockettes  or take the  Stage Door Tour to see behind the scenes .

Yankee Stadium →

(Bronx) Be sure to check out the famous “ball wall” and the museum located inside the stadium. Get tickets here .

Rockettes Radio City Christmas Spectacular ( Rockettes NYC )+ What to do in NYC at Christmas / Christmas Time in New York |

Museums + Memorials + Monuments

African burial ground national monument →.

(Financial District) National Park Unit – The largest colonial-era cemetery for people of African descent.

American Museum of Natural History →

(UWS) One of the largest natural history museums in the world. We loved the planetarium.

Brooklyn Museum

(Prospect Heights, Brooklyn) Over 1.5 million works of art to peruse.

Castle Clinton National Monument →

(Battery Park) National Park Unit – Free Admission. They’re open every day except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

The Cloisters

(The Heights) Part of the Met. Large collection of medieval artworks shown in the architectural settings of French monasteries and abbeys.

Chelsea Galleries

David Zwirner Gallery to see Yayoi Kusama’s exhibit.

Ellis Island

The United States’ busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 to 1954.

Federal Hall National Monument →

(Financial District) National Park Unit – A statue of George Washington marks the approximate site where he was inaugurated as President.

Frick Collection

(UES) Children under 10 are not admitted.

General Grant National Memorial →

(Morningside Heights) National Park Unit – Final resting place of Ulysses S. Grant.

Governors Island National Monument →

(Governors Island) National Park Unit – Free guided tours, first-come, first served.

The Guggenheim (Solomon R Guggenheim Museum) →

(UES) Landmark work of 20th-century architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Hamilton Grange National Memorial →

(Harlem) National Park Unit –  Home of a founding father, Alexander Hamilton.

Intrepid (Intrepid Sea and Air Museum) →

Great museum to see jets, planes, and an aircraft carrier.

Lower East Side Tenement Museum →

(LES) National Park Unit – An estimated 15,000 people, from over 20 nations, lived here between 1863 and 2011.

The Met (Metropolitan Museum or Art) →

(Central Park / UES) Fourth most visited art museum in the world.

See More: 11 National Parks in New York City

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Temple of Dendur + 25 Amazing Photography Spots in NYC

MOMA / Museum of Modern Art →

(Free Fri 4-8PM) We recognized so many more pieces of art here than at the Met.

(LIC, QNS) One of the largest art institutions in the United States dedicated solely to contemporary art.

Morgan Library and Museum

(Murray Hill) Short walk from Grand Central and Penn Station.

Museum of Moving Image

(Astoria, QNS) We loved how interactive it was. You can learn how to make a. puppet and puppeteer, do a voice over, etc. Kids will love playing the video games.

National 9/11 Memorial and Museum →

(Financial District) All tours are intended for adult and teenage visitors. It’s really well done but very heavy to see everything.

New York Transit Museum

(BK) We loved the vintage trains and buses on display.

The Noguchi Museum

Statue of liberty national monument →.

(Liberty Island) National Park Unit – Tickets can be purchased at Castle Clinton or at the Communipaw Terminal.

Stonewall National Monument →

(West Village) National Park Unit – The site of the Stonewall riots of June 28, 1969 start of modern LGBT rights movement in the US.

Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site →

(Flatiron) National Park Unit – Reconstructed home of the 26th President of the United States.

Museum of Illusions →

(Meatpacking District) A fun museum great for the whole family. Lots of mind-bending and interactive exhibits plus fun photo ops. Use code ADVENTURER15 for 15% off your tickets.

Whitney Museum of American Art →

(Meatpacking District) Every Friday evening from 7pm until 9:30pm, admission is pay-what-you-wish.

Sculpture by Other Means at the Noguchi Museum + Best NYC Pop Up Events // Local Adventurer #nyc #noguchimuseum #astoria #newyork #newyorkcity #queens

Outdoors + Urban Parks

The battery conservancy.

(Financial District) Great views of the harbor, skyline, and Statue of Liberty.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

(BK) 52-acre garden holds over 14,000 taxa of plants.

Vital Climbing Gym →

One of the best bouldering gyms in the US imo.  These are the best climbing gyms in NYC .

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Waterfront park with tons of rolling hills, great city views.

Coney Island Boardwalk + Brighton Beach

(BK) Be sure to grab a Nathan’s Famous hotdog.

Bryant Park

(Midtown) Thousands of free activities throughout the year.

Central Park →

See the Bethesda Fountain, made even more famous by the show, Friends.

See More: Central Park Secrets + Famous Attractions You Can’t Miss

Brooklyn Botanical Garden Cherry Blossom Festival + Best Spots to See Cherry Blossoms in New York // Local Adventurer #brooklyn #newyork

Conservatory Garden

(East Harlem) The only formal garden in Central Park.

Dumbo View of Manhattan Bridge

Best time to go is early morning before the crowds.

Gantry Park

(LIC, QNS) Our favorite park with great views and it has more locals than tourists.

The High Line

(Chelsea) Iconic path that was built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets.

Little Island

(Chelsea) Artificial island park on the Hudson River and is free to visit.

New York Botanical Garden

(Bronx Park) The historic stone mill is one of our favorite structures in the garden.

The New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden

(Staten Island) Especially beautiful and worth seeing in the Spring.

Prospect Park

(BK) Degsinated a New York City scenic landmark in 1975, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Rockaway Beach

(QNS) Easily accessible by the A train or NYC ferry at Pier 11 Wall Street.

Socrates Sculpture Park

(LIC, QNS) Really cool art exhibits, sculptures, and multi-media installations on display

Washington Square Park

(Greenwich Village) One of NYC’s most iconic public parks. Watch out for hoards of pigeons.

Empire Stores Rooftop in DUMBO BK + 25 Best Instagram Spots in NYC

Shopping + Food Experiences

Afternoon tea at the plaza.

(Midtown West) Plus, here are  some other great spots .

(Bronx) Apparently the real Little Italy if you want real Italian.

B&H Flagship Store →

This is a photographer’s heaven and was high priority on my very first NYC trip. Before you go make sure it isn’t a Jewish holiday. There are so many! P.S. You can pick up your free gift using  this voucher  or online code:  LOCALADVEN

Brooklyn Flea Market

(DUMBO) Antiques, repurposed furniture, vintage clothing, collectibles, local crafts, and more.

Chelsea Market

Housed in the former warehouse of food manufacturer, Nabisco.

Try Birch Coffee, A Little Taste, or Piccolo Cafe.

Eataly Market

(Flatiron) Famed Italian market, offering counters, restaurants, and cooking demos.

Fifth Avenue

One of the most expensive shopping streets in the world.

New York Bagel

At  one of these spots .

New York-Style Pizza

At any of  these iconic spots .

Smorgasburg at East River State Park

(Williamsburg, BK) The largest open-air food market in the US.

Strand Bookstore

(Union Square) Iconic bookstore with tons of rare books and gifts.

Union Square Farmer’s Market

The market runs every Saturday, from May 18 – November 23, 9am-1pm.

See More: 99 Best Places to Eat in NYC

Afternoon Tea at the Plaza Hotel NYC // New York in the Rain

Manhattanhenge →

(May + July) The sunset perfectly lines up with the east-west streets in Manhattan.

Victorian Gardens Amusement Park

(Central Park) Open May to Sept. Great for families and kids.

Sakura Matsuri at Brooklyn Botanic Garden →

(April) One of the best places to enjoy cherry blossoms.

New York Music Month

(June) New York City’s official celebration of the past, present, and future of its music scene.

Shakespeare in the Park

(Summer)  How to score free tickets.

See More: Everything You Need to Know About Manhattanhenge

Want to see an epic phenomenon in NYC? Save this pin and click through to find out where to see Manhattanhendge best views, 2018 Dates and Times, Photography Tips, and More • Stonehenge NYC (photo: Michael Kowalczyk) // Local Adventurer #nyc #newyorkcity

101 Things to Do in NYC City Map

illustrated map of nyc

Essential Tips for First Time Visitors to NYC

  • When to Visit:  Fall and Spring are the prettiest times to visit for fall foliage and cherry blossoms. December until New Years is crowded but has all the Christmas decor. January and February are the least crowded seasons but frigid cold. Summer is crowded and hot and humid.
  • When you’re planning your trip,  book a rental car  at  JFK  or  LGA .
  • Best Airports:  LGA is the easier airport to get in and out of. Unfortunately, there aren’t as many direct flights, but we always try to fly here if it’s available and the prices are comparable.
  • Best Way to Get Around? Take the train.  NYC hands down has the best public transportation we’ve seen in the US. If you’re planning on taking more than 12 rides then get the unlimited 7-day pass. You can uber, but traffic sucks.
  • Always pack flip flops and high boots for rainy days. When it’s really pouring, the rain has gotten into my waterproof shoes.
  • If you’re planning on visiting a lot of attractions during your visit, pick up a  New York Pass . There are multiple-day options and it gives you access to a ton of spots. We did a 2-day pass and visited over 11 spots saving us a lot of money.
  • If you’re a first time visitor, don’t forget to read  21 Things You Should Know Before Visiting NYC , and if you’re about to move here, check out our  Local Tips for Moving to NYC .
  • If you’re visiting in the winter, check out  our NYC winter packing and survival guide .
  • Want to take a day trip from NYC? Here’s  21 Best Things to Do in Upstate NY  and  15 Incredible Weekend Trips from NYC .

Best Places to Stay in NYC

  • Get comprehensive insurance for your trip.
  • Download these helpful language apps .
  • Find a great deal on NYC hotels .
  • Arrange a rental car for your trip.
  • Book a tour for your visit.
  • Get airport lounge access .
  • Buy a travel charger to keep your devices charged.
  • Get a new backpack for your trip.
  • Buy a New York travel guide .
  • Pack the appropriate shoes for your trip.
  • Don’t forget your in-flight essentials .
  • Save money on attractions with City Pass .

Have you set foot in all five boroughs? Anything on this list you weren’t impressed with? Anything you think we missed?

Did you enjoy this post? Pin it for later

NYC Must Do Bucket List - 101 Things to Do in NYC for tourists and locals

SEE More CITY Bucket Lists















“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes ” – M. Proust

Esther and Jacob

Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

Follow on Instagram (E + J) , YouTube , TikTok , and Pinterest.

This Post Has 67 Comments

Great article. Thanks for sharing.

Have a good day.

I didn’t know about a lot of these places, but the number one on this list is trying New York pizza! Cheers for this Article!

Thank you, Tash! Yes, NY Pizza is a must.

Thanks for sharing! I’m planning to visit NYC next year, this list will be useful for sure!

You’re so welcome. Hope you have a great visit!

Awesome post, guys! It’s a great list, and shows how different NYC really is – it’s not ALL just concrete!

Thanks, Justin!

You guys should check out Long Island City, Queens – specifically Gantry Plaza State Park. Has great views of the NYC and in the summer offers a ferry to the city. I lived in LIC for four years and I still go back every time I visit. Best neighborhood imo!

Thanks Lauren! :) We actually live in LIC and love Gantry Park.

Such a unique city. I could spend a year there and still probably not hit every thing I would want to do!

We totally agree!

Great post! New York is the best destination to travel. I have always wanted to see it. Thank you for the great information and more destinations to add to our list! You captured literally great pics. Loved this. Thank you.

Thanks for the information… Good Job..!!!

Thanks, Alexandra!

Thanks for the ideas! I’m planning a trip up to the big Apple myself and now I won’t be bored.

That’s great, Isadora!

Truly great list to explore NYC! Thanks a lot Esther for this informative post & it would definitely be useful for the us.

Thanks, Saania! We hope you enjoy it!

Thanks for sharing these easy tips. Need to follow up with this

Very comprehensive list here! In truth NYC is one of those places where you create a game plan and then it goes out the window once you arrive. Still, its nice to at least have a few things you just have to do when you get there.

Thanks!! So true. We def use this as a rough guide but the list is changing all the time because there are constantly new things to do. haha

Awesome list, will save it. Thanks for sharing such informative post.

I’ve been to NYC twice and was pretty sure I’ve seen and done all iconic things. Yet your list proves the opposite. I’ve missed out a LOT! Looks like I’m going there for the third time to fix it up. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for reading, Ethel! Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by all the things there is to do even living here. The crazy thing is that this is an abbreviated version of my personal list. I keep adding to my queue and it’s near 1000… maybe it’s getting out of hand. haha

Great Post! I would love to print these and take these with me! I cant wait to go to the zoo!!

Thanks, Zack. :) We’ll be working on putting up a printable pdf. Thanks for the reminder!

Oh wow, amazing list! I’ve spent five weeks in NYC but whole year sounds more than great! I wish I can do that too one day and explore every place mentioned in this list. :)

I hope you get to come back and see more here too, Nora! :)

NEW YORK… the most favorite city and this massive list is must do year holiday list done..thankyou for this article

New York is a city full of life. I would really love to have this bucket list with me and try everything here. Great list Esther.

Thanks for sharing. You sorted out our work by making list of places.

Outstanding post. I love how complete this bucket list is. I would definitely have this printed. Kudos to you for keeping things interesting Esther.

Recommend joining club free time. We lived in nyc for 4 years and saw some amazing shows and music

Thanks for posting these great ideas! Now I’m totally jazzed to go back to New York again!

This is such a good list! I’ve been to New York but obviously missed out on a lot. Can’t wait to go back one day :)

Thanks, Jenny. Hope you can come back to visit too!

Wow! This is one of the most detailed lists of things to do when in NYC, Esther and Jacob. You’ve covered all the important things that are to see there. How many days would be enough to explore the whole list?

Good question, Lydia! It would definitely take a few trips to do them all, and the idea is for this list to be for people who’ve lived in NYC all their lives but just don’t get out to explore and also for people who’ve been to NYC at least once. We’ve lived here for over 6 months and still haven’t gotten around to everything, but that’s also partly because new things keep popping up too.

Great source of information. I’m glad to recommend these lists. Thanks

Thanks, Rose!

I take for granted living so close to New York (Connecticut). There are so many things on this list I’d like to try. Thanks for posting.

Thanks, Kelcy! We feel the same way. :) That’s why we started the blog!

Wow – a very comprehensive list – thanks for sharing!

Thanks for reading, Linzi :)

Thanks for this great post! New York is my ultimate travel goal for 2018! I personally started traveling around two years ago and have been to several different countries including Egypt, Turkey and Spain.

I hope you get to visit soon, Herman :)

Nice List…

new york is one of my fav city to visit. really like your post bro. keep it up.

Thank you Ben! :D

These post and wonderful reviews makes me want to visit the city that never sleeps(NYC). I am currently visiting Africa. The wildlife is beautiful, the scenery is scenic. I would visit Seychelles next. For me traveling is a priority.

highly recommend Rough Trade NYC in Williamsburg for music lovers.

Great suggestion, Agine! :)

Wonderful! Clear cut list to do in New York City!

When I remember new york.. I remember NYPD, ha ha.. hollywood efects .. but the city is also very cool..

What a useful list! I am saving it for the next time I go to NYC!

Hi, The best ever cupcakes are fund at Little Cupcake Bakeshop! The Blue Velvet is my favourite. The store has the best atmosphere and the staff are awesome! They have a few in Brooklyn but I visited the Prince St store quite a few times.

Thank you, Sue. Will check them out. We’ve been trying to put food on a separate list and make this more about activities :)

I need to go back to New York City. Thanks for putting together this list because there is so much to do.

There really is! You can never run out of things to do here.

Hello! I’ve been following your blog for a long time now and finallygot the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Porter Texas!Just wanted to mention keep up the excellent work!

Thanks, Elsy!

nice New York City list!

Great NYC bucketlist! If you haven’t already tried them I also recommend the banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery and also the Chocolate & peanut cookie at Levain bakery, both located on Upper West Side.

Thank you, Alice. Oh yeah that banana pudding is really good. We had it the last two times we visited. I’ll have to make it up to Levain bakery next :)

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19 Must-Do New York Activities Only Known By Locals

Escape crushing crowds and explore the lesser known NYC attractions

New York is full of famous sites for tourists. From Times Square to the Empire State Building, and let’s not forget the Statue of Liberty of course, tourists aren’t short of well-known attractions in NYC. Why do you think people from all over the world flock there? It can’t be for the weather, so it must be for the amazing sightseeing opportunities. However, there are endless hidden gems that few tourists know about. Secrets only the locals know about – and not even all of those are familiar with them.

Escape crushing crowds and explore the lesser known NYC attractions. Beyond the bustling galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, there is so much more to New York. Whether that’s chilling out in hidden away parks, admiring street art neighborhoods or visiting one of NYC’s abandoned subways, there is way more to this city than the obvious ones. We know the New Yorkers probably aren’t too keen to share their secret escapes with the tourists, but some of these activities are too good to pass by.

Want to see beyond the Empire State Building? Check out these 20 activities you can do in New York that only locals know about. This is basically a manual on how to live like a NYC local.

19 Admire the 25-foot waterfall flows in Midtown

It’s hard to imagine something so beautiful in such an urban area and yet, it really is real. You can visit the 25-foot waterfall flows if you ever find yourself in NYC. In case you’re serious about making a trip, 51st street between 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue is the address. It was built in 1971 and has some stunning scenery to offer within the park. Mostly it’s only locals who know about this place but it’s worth a visit if you want to explore some of New York’s greenery. It’s what you would call one of NYC’s hidden gems.

18 Experience some incomparable theatre

NYC locals head to Chelsea when they want to experience some immersive theatre. Apparently one of the best and most common shows is called Sleep No More . The show is set across five floors of the McKittrick Hotel . This award-winning theatrical show is something you should not miss. While it’s usually the locals that go, that’s no reason for you to miss out on some fine theatre. It’s some of the best you will find in the city. Tickets sell out really fast, so don’t try booking at the last moment or you won’t get a seat. Be sure to book in advance.

17 Discover the stories of Central Park’s benches

Central Park is, of course, a tourist destination. Everybody’s heard of Central Park. But how many visitors have noticed and appreciated the quotes written on the park’s thousands of benches? Tourists certainly do sit down on the benches, but they really need to enjoy and take in the beautiful love stories that these benches tell. If you are willing to pay $10,000 , you too can get a quote engraved on a bench in Central Park.

Many people do it in memory of a loved one. That’s why you can’t miss discovering the stories that lie within these benches. Stories make the world go around, after all – and New York too.

16 Have a drink at one of Manhattan’s teeny-tiny bars

It’s not that tourists don’t see Manhattan’s teeny-tiny bars, it’s just that locals know where the best ones are. There are so many cool bars in Manhattan that every tourist must visit. One of them is Smith & Mills in Tribeca. Elegant and old-timey, it’s a great place to hang out on Friday night. If you’re more of a beer person, head over to the underground Rabbit Club which is located on Macdougal Street . A word of warning though: because it’s nearly pitch black in there, you will have to read the menu by candlelight. Little Branch is another recommendation.

15 Party at the House of Yes

Looking to let loose? There’s no better place to do that than at the House of Yes , a dance party located on 2 Wyckoff Avenue, Brooklyn. The theme always varies at this place, but you can guarantee they’ll always be elaborately dressed staff, trapeze performers and cage dancing. It’s a cool place.

In fact, if you go you will discover for yourself that it’s a surreal experience and one you should not miss at any cost. It will be one of the best nights out you’ve ever had. It’s the perfect way to start your adventure in NYC and have a blast!

14 Take a ride on the aerial tram over the East River

In the East River, there’s an island called Roosevelt Island. Because it’s residential, it’s not really popular for tourists. However, don’t let that stop you from taking a ride on the aerial tram that offers an amazing view of Manhattan’s skyline. The Roosevelt Island Aerial Tram uses the same MetroCard system as NY’s subway. It also offers the same fares - $2.75 per person. The tram runs every day, making 115 rides and holding up to 110 people. It travels at 3,100 feet, allowing you to see the exceptional view of Manhattan. It really is a wonderful experience that nobody should miss.

13 Browse through books at the Strand

New Yorkers are an intelligent bunch so naturally, they’re going to require a good bookstore to rely on to feed their quest for knowledge. And there is no better around than The Strand .

This bookstore is home to over 100 miles of books, which spiral vertically up the three stories of high-ceiling shelves.

Amongst the store’s huge collection, you will find bestsellers, foreign titles, and even first edition gems. Any book worm will love it here. You will find pretty much anything you’re looking for book wise in this place. You’ll also get a discount if you sell the book you just read at the back desk.

12 Have a go at old-hand shuffleboard

Old-school shuffleboard isn’t so common anymore. In fact, we bet a lot of people don’t even know what it is. That’s why it’s worth visiting the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Gowanus. Here, the place is outfitted with shuffleboard lanes and other cool amusements like Connect Four and Jenga.

So if you’re looking for a day of fun in the city, you should check out this cool club. It’s a great opportunity to burn off some steam and have fun. If you don’t want to play, you can also watch from a cabana. The options are endless.

11 Take a trip to the rooftop farms at Brooklyn Grange

Nobody visits New York for its farm culture. Does it even have a farm culture? Strictly speaking, it doesn’t. However, locals are familiar with the fully working 2.5-acre farm on the roof of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Locals visit because it’s their only chance to see a working urban farm in the city. The fact that it’s a rooftop farm makes it all the more impressive.

You can purchase tickets for $10 between the months of May and October if you’d like a tour of the farm. With the skyline views and amazing fresh produce you can get whilst you’re there, you won’t be disappointed.

10 See Queens Museum

Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows isn’t totally unknown to tourists, but it seems to be more a place the locals know about than the tourists. Nonetheless, visitors should definitely check out the enormous panorama model of New York City from the World’s Fair in 1964. Plus, there are lots of other interesting artifacts from that time to discover. The best time to go is in the summer so you can see the Unisphere while the beautiful fountain is working. Remember to bring your camera of course. You are going to want to take a lot of photos – but that’s obvious.

9 Catch a ferry to Governors Island

A trip to New York is not complete without a visit to Governors Island . For just 2 bucks for a round trip, you can spend the day there and enjoy all the activities and entertainment the island offers. There’s a hiking hill, a zip-line, mini-golf and a rock climbing wall. You can also check out the abandoned military base on the island, rent bikes to make site-seeing easier, and there’s even a farm with goats.

Don’t worry about going hungry because the island houses a number of food stands where you can have lunch. It will be a fun day out for you or the family.

8 Go sunbathing on Rockaway Beach

When we think of New York, we don’t really have beaches in our mind. Yet, a New York summer is not complete without a day at Rockaway Beach . All the locals hang out here in the summer to catch some sun and escape the urban city life. It’s perfect for surfers and offers a unique food scene for foodies.

Just so you know, it does get crowded at the weekend so if you can get a sunny day during the week days, that would probably be better for a day out at Rockaway. You can access the beach by subway.

7 Check out The Cloisters

If you are looking for an alternative to the touristy Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters is a good choice.

Located in the beautiful Fort Tryon Park, The Cloisters displays art and architecture from medieval Europe. Not many tourists come here because it isn’t widely known, especially in comparison to the Metropolitan Museum.

The building also showcases endless artifacts and illuminated manuscripts. But it’s not just what’s inside that’s important. The building itself looks like it belongs in Game of Thrones. Constructed from European monasteries, The Cloisters building is simply divine. You won’t be able to take enough pictures during your time there.

6 Enjoy a stroll through Fort Tryon Park

People go to Central Park to escape the city. But if you want to escape other people escaping the city, this probably isn’t your best option. Central Park is still a major tourist destination.

Fort Tryon Park , on the other hand, isn’t. This Washington Heights green space provides way more of a peaceful and intimate outdoor experience than Central Park. To soak up the best views, take a walk to Linden Terrace and wander through the local gardens.

You won’t even believe you are in New York during your stroll through this park. Locals come here because it’s not touristy.

5 Admire Bushwick street art

Although Times Square is definitely worth a visit, NYC locals do their best to avoid it. Ask any local and they’ll probably tell you that they don’t even Times Square. They prefer to visit more authentic NYC areas and sights, like the Bushwick Street Art. The Bushwick art neighborhood’s alleys boast some of the best local street art you will see. It truly is a magnificent experience to see the artwork here.

You’ll definitely be able to take some Instagram-worthy snaps through the outdoor galleries of Siegel Street, Morgan Avenue and East Moore Street. It’s especially intriguing for art lovers.

4 Book a tour to Woolworth building

Grand Central Terminal is worth a visit to admire the spectacular Beaux Arts architecture but if you are looking for a less touristy alternative to this attraction, try Woolworth Building .

First opened in 1913, at the time it was the tallest structure in the world.

This neo-gothic building is equally as impressive as Grand Central Terminal, it’s just a shame tourists aren’t made more aware of its presence.

However, if you want to see its grand marble arcade, you will need to book a guided tour. But it will be worth it when you get to discover it’s exterior and interior magnificence.

3 Go shopping at Smorgasburg

The alternative to touristy Chelsea Market (which you should still check out by the way) is Smorgasburg . This amazing food festival is a perfect choice for all the foodies out there. And it’s a place many locals flock to because, well, we guess they know how awesome the food is there.

Because of its outdoor setting and wider selection of food vendors, long lines are cut short here. At Smorgasburg, you will always find the next biggest food trend. There is such a variety of food you can try.

You are guaranteed to have an awesome time – as long as you try as much of the food as possible.

2 Get all culturally-wise at Snug Harbor

Snug Harbor used to be a retirement home for aging sailors. Today, it is an arts center and botanical garden and has been since the 1970s. This place is a perfect escape from the urban city. Home to nine distinctive gardens including the Chinese Scholar’s Garden and Connie Gretz Secret Garden, there is plenty to explore during your visit. What’s more, because it is located on the north shore of Staten Island, you won’t encounter many tourists here. It is definitely more of a local’s place.

As much as we love the New York Botanical Gardens, you can expect to be surrounded by a throng of tourists.

1 Get a glimpse of The Royal Tenenbaums House

Friends fans probably visit New York with the chief purpose of checking out The Friends Apartment on the corner of Grove Street and Bedford Street. But it’s actually pretty disappointing because the show wasn’t even filmed in New York City.

If you want to see something more authentic to NYC, The Royal Tenenbaums House is your best bet. Famous for its stunning architecture, you can check out this house from the sidewalk of the corner of 144th Street and Convent Avenue.

Unfortunately the home is of private residence today, but you can still admire its gorgeous exterior. And it’s still more authentic than the Friends apartment.

References: Nytransitmuseum, nytimes,, thrillist, houseofyes, strandbooks, nycgovparks,

22 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New York City

Written by Lana Law Updated Mar 18, 2024 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

One of the greatest cities in the world , New York is always a whirlwind of activity, with famous sights at every turn and never enough time to see them all.

Brooklyn Bridge and the New York City skyline

Some people come here to enjoy the Broadway shows; others come specifically to shop; and many come simply to see the tourist attractions: the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, historic neighborhoods, and world-famous museums . As someone who visits regularly, I like to come with friends, try new restaurants, and discover new experiences.

Many of the best places to visit in New York are within walking distance of each other, or just a short ride away, making this city a delight for sightseeing. If you have plenty of time and enjoy the water, touring New York City using the NYC Ferry System offers a unique way to see the sights.

Any time of year and any time of day or night there are an endless array of things to see and do in New York.

See also: Where to Stay in New York City

1. Statue of Liberty

2. central park, 3. rockefeller center & top of the rock observation deck, 4. metropolitan museum of art, 5. broadway and the theater district, 6. empire state building, 7. 9/11 memorial and museum, 8. american museum of natural history, 9. high line, 10. times square, 11. brooklyn bridge, 12. fifth avenue, 13. grand central terminal, 14. lincoln center, 15. one world observatory, 16. the frick collection (frick madison), 17. new york public library, 18. wall street, 19. radio city music hall, 20. st. patrick's cathedral, 21. carnegie hall, 22. bryant park, where to stay in new york city for sightseeing, tips and tours: how to make the most of your visit to new york, map of tourist attractions in new york city, best time to visit new york, ny.

Statue of Liberty

America's most iconic sight, the Statue of Liberty is at the top of every first-time visitor's list of things to do in New York. It was France's gift to America. Built in 1886, it remains a world symbol of freedom and is one of the top attractions in America .

It is one of the world's largest statues, standing just under 152 feet tall from the base to the torch, and weighing approximately 450,000 pounds. You can see the statue from land, with particularly good views from Battery Park , on the southern tip of Manhattan.

To truly appreciate the Statue of Liberty, the best thing to do is to take a short boat trip to Liberty Island and see it up close. Take a pleasant stroll around the base, and if you have reservations, enter the pedestal or the crown. The crown is open for tours, but book well in advance if you want to enjoy this special experience.

On a tour of the Statue of Liberty, you have the option to stop at Ellis Island and explore the Immigration Museum . This fantastic museum is located in the historic immigration station complex, where thousands of immigrants were processed before entering the United States.

Displays focus on the process, the experiences, and the stories of the people who came through here on their journey to the United States. You can even search the on-site computer database to see a record of immigrants who came through here.

Tickets to go inside the statue sell out. Pre-purchasing tickets is a must during the high season and a good idea at any time of year. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour takes you to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. This tour allows reserved access to board the ferry and includes access to the Museum at Ellis Island.

Author's Tip: Buying tickets near the ferry can be tricky, with hawkers swarming you as you exit the subway claiming to be "official representatives" and trying to sell you more expensive tickets before you can find the ticket booth. Be sure to buy in advance at the link above or ignore the hawkers until you reach the booth in Castle Clinton in Battery Park.

Read More: Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in New York State

Central Park

An oasis of green amongst New York's concrete canyons, Central Park is a sanctuary of peace and quiet for visitors and locals alike.

A walk, pedal, or carriage ride through the crisscrossing pathways of Central Park is a must-do on anyone's New York City itinerary. In winter, you can even lace up your skates and glide across Wollman Rink . This huge park in the city center, a half-mile wide and 2.5 miles long, is one of the things that makes New York such a beautiful and livable city.

Besides being a great place to experience a little nature, Central Park has many attractions within its borders, and most of them are free, making it one of the few cheap things to do in NYC. Some of the most popular places to visit include the Belvedere Castle , Strawberry Fields , the Central Park Zoo , and the Lake . If you are exploring the park on your own, start by picking up a map at one of the visitor centers and plot your route.

Central Park also offers activities throughout the year, from 5km runs and yoga classes to penguin feeding at the Central Park Zoo. Have a look at the park's events schedule for details on what's happening during your visit.

If you're visiting during the summer months, you may want to catch a performance of Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. This is a relaxing way to spend an evening in New York City and performances are free.

Read More: Best Parks in New York City

Rockefeller Center

When it comes to New York attractions, Rockefeller Center is on almost all tourists' itineraries. This vast entertainment and shopping complex in the middle of Manhattan is home to NBC-TV and other media, but the centerpiece is the 70-story 30 Rockefeller Plaza , an Art Deco skyscraper that offers awesome views over Manhattan from the famous Top of the Rock Observation Deck .

The "deck," as it's known, includes three floors, located on the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors. Indoor and outdoor viewing spaces offer spectacular views by day or night. You can buy a Top of the Rock Observation Deck Ticket in advance. These tickets come with a flexible voucher redemption policy, so you can change the date if your plans change or the weather doesn't cooperate.

Skating on the outdoor skating rink at the base of the tower is one of the most popular things to do in winter in New York City and a fun activity for families and couples. The rink is typically open from October to April. If you aren't a strong skater, don't worry, the rink is tiny, and for many people, this is their first time on skates, so the skill level is pretty low.

After Thanksgiving, a huge Christmas tree is erected in front of the skating rink, lighting up the complex for the holiday season. Many people visit New York in December just to see this site.

Another point of interest in this area is the famous bronze sculpture of Atlas in front of the International Building. It's a popular subject for photographers.

Address: 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, New York

Read More: Best Places to Go for Christmas

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art , or the Met, as it is commonly known, was founded in 1870, and is one of the most famous museums in the United States. The permanent collection of The Met contains more than two million works of art, spanning a period of 5,000 years.

Although the museum has three sites, the centerpiece is The Met Fifth Avenue . Highlights of this collection include American decorative arts, arms and armor, costumes, Egyptian art, musical instruments, photographs, and much more.

Always-changing exhibitions bring some of the world's most famous works to the public.

The Met Cloisters , located in Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan, is another extremely popular New York museum. This branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, housed in an outstanding structure, built around medieval cloisters, chapels, and halls, focuses on the medieval art and architecture of Europe.

Address: 1000 5th Avenue, New York, New York

Read More: Top-Rated Museums in New York City

Broadway and the Theater District

Attending a Broadway show is one of the top things to do in New York City. Considered the pinnacle of American theater, this is the place to see the latest shows and the long-running classics.

Broadway usually refers simply to Broadway theater, which encompasses a large number of theater venues in the Theater District and along the street of Broadway. For the most popular shows , tickets should be purchased well in advance from the website.

Shubert Alley is a famous pedestrian-only alley in the Theater District and home to two well-known playhouses: the Shubert on 221 West 44th Street and the Booth at 22 West 45th Street. Historically, aspiring actors would frequent Shubert Alley looking for opportunities to perform in a play sponsored by theater baron, Sam S. Shubert.

A Chorus Line played at The Shubert for a record 6,137 shows. The musical Oklahoma debuted in 1941 at the St. James playhouse just down the street. Other legendary places include Sardi's restaurant, where many famous actors met, and the Music Box Theater, where Irving Berlin staged The Music Box Revue in 1921.

Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is one of New York's most famous landmark buildings and key tourist attractions. The 381-meter-tall, 102-story building was the tallest in the world until the 1 World Trade Center tower rose higher, 41 years later. Topped with a mooring mast for airships, the Empire State Building immediately became a landmark and a symbol for NYC when it opened in 1931.

There are actually two observatories atop the Empire State Building , both offering astounding views. On clear days, you can see up to 80 miles, looking into the neighboring states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

The 86th Floor Observatory (1,050 feet) is the city's highest open-air observation deck, and what most people are expecting to find when they go up the Empire State Building. If it feels familiar, it's because this area has been featured in countless movies and TV shows.

Reached by high-speed, automatic elevators, it has both a glass-enclosed area, which is heated in winter and cooled in summer, and spacious outdoor promenades on all four sides of the building. The views are incredible. The Top Deck on the 102nd Floor stands 1,250 feet above the bustling streets below. While you are 16 stories higher, the viewing area here is enclosed.

The line to go up the Empire State Building is almost always long; moves slowly; and during peak times, it can be ridiculous, making the whole experience more frustrating than it needs to be. Be aware you can easily burn up half your touring day just at this one attraction.

It's well worth buying the Empire State Building Ticket – Observatory and Optional Skip the Line Ticket that lets you bypass the lines .

9/11 Memorial and Museum

The World Trade Center's twin 110-story towers once dominated the Manhattan skyline but were destroyed by suicide-piloted jetliners on September 11, 2001, with a tragic loss of life. Where the two towers of the World Trade Center once stood, now stand two square reflecting pools, each one acre in size.

Known as the National September 11 Memorial , this area is a moving tribute to the almost 3,000 people killed as a result of attacks on September 11, 2001, and also the six people killed in the earlier World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.

Surrounded by trees and grass, the pools are recessed, with water cascading over the sides and flowing into a seemingly bottomless square. These are the largest manmade waterfalls in North America . Around the pools are bronze panels with the names of all those who were killed in the attacks.

The 9/11 Memorial Museum is located in an architecturally stunning, curving glass building, between the two pools. It features displays that include artifacts, photos, and videos, presenting the story of 9/11, as well as the aftermath and impacts.

The building is constructed around the remnants of the World Trade Center and incorporates the old structures within the extraordinary new museum building. The memorial and the museum are located on the south side of One World Trade Centre, on Greenwich Street.

Also worth seeing in this area, on the opposite side of Greenwich Street, is the eye-catching Westfield World Trade Center , which contains Oculus Plaza . You can't miss this building with its white fins and spaceship-like appearance. This is a public building with shops and high-end stores, but it's worth popping in for a quick look at the architecture.

Tickets to the 9/11 Museum must be purchased online or at the window in advance. This is one of New York's most popular things to do, so booking ahead is essential to avoid disappointment. If you are traveling as a family, be sure to book the discounted family rate for up to five.

When purchasing your tickets, you will have the ability to select a time to visit, and you must make your time slot. On Mondays, museum entry is free from 3:30 to 5pm, but tickets still need to be booked in advance, starting at 7am, and are limited to four per person.

Address: 180 Greenwich St, New York, New York

The Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation at the American Museum of Natural History, New York

One of New York City's best museums for a family outing, the American Museum of Natural History has always been an important institution, but now it's even more exciting.

One of the newest additions to the New York City attraction scene is the recent opening of the Richard Gilder Center for Science , in May of 2023. This impressive renovation and expansion is quickly becoming one of the city's top things to see, with a design reminiscent of the imaginative style of Antonio Gaudi.

The stunning four-story wing features flowing concrete in intriguing formations. Once inside, you can explore the brand-new insectarium, butterfly conservatory, research library, and a wealth of educational opportunities. It's an exciting addition to the city's cultural landscape that is sure to inspire visitors of all ages.

American Museum of Natural History

The museum's permanent exhibit halls showcase all that's interesting about the natural environment of our planet, from science and the environment to animals and fossils. It also hosts special exhibits that run for a set block of time.

Some of the current exhibits that are well worth seeing include one on sharks, featuring models of these amazing creatures that you can actually touch. Another fascinating display is the rare 22-carat Okavango Blue Diamond.

Address: 200 Central Park West, New York, New York

High Line

An exciting, and recently expanded, attraction in New York City, the High Line is a former rail line that has been transformed into an urban walking trail above the city streets.

This unique linear public park has been planted with a variety of plants and trees, many of which are native species. In spring many of these come into bloom. The park is lined with glass railings in most areas, giving it a natural feel, while still offering outstanding views of the city.

This oasis on Manhattan's West Side runs from Gansevoort Street at the south end (just south of West 13th Street) to West 34th Street at the north end, running parallel to 10th Ave most of the way. You can access it at various points along the route, some of which offer stair access only, and others with elevator access.

Although the High Line is only about two to three stories above street level, the views of the city's architecture and the lookouts over the streets offer a whole new perspective. Along the route are art installations and benches , and near the south end is a sitting area with bleacher-style seating and a glass wall looking out onto the city . The trail is heavily used, and on weekends it can be extremely busy, but without the surrounding traffic, it's still a peaceful retreat.

One of the highlights of the High Line is the Hudson Yards overlook, called The Vessel, near 34th Street. This is a stunning multilevel structure.

You'll find other interesting places to visit just off the High Line. The south section runs through the Meatpacking District , with plenty of trendy restaurants and fine dining. The southernmost access point is adjacent to the Whitney Museum of American Art, which is also worth a visit.

If you hop off the High Line at the 16th Street access (elevator access), it's just a short stroll to the popular Chelsea Market , located in a former Nabisco factory, where you'll find restaurants and unique shops.

In the spring of 2023, a new extension called the High Line — Moynihan Connector opened to much fanfare. This extension adds new access points, public spaces, and transit connections via the Moynihan train station. The new additions consist of two new 600-foot-long bridges, one made of steel and one made of wood.

Tours of the High Line are offered year-round and trace the history of the attraction from its industrial beginnings through to the structure it is today. Tours are free and are 90 minutes long in the spring, summer, and fall, and 45 minutes long in the winter.

Although a late-night stroll on the High Line on a hot summer's night or after a concert or Broadway show may sound enticing, the High Line closes at 10pm.

Location: Manhattan West Side

Times Square

Lined with huge, brilliantly lit billboards and screens, Times Square is the place to go in New York in the evening, but still exciting at any time of day. This is the location of New York's New Year's Eve Celebrations and the famous "ball drop" at midnight, when the square and surrounding streets are filled with people.

Times Square is busy and perpetually crowded but has its own unique appeal. Bleachers set up at one end are a great place to take a break and appreciate the scene.

Formerly Longacre Square, Times Square was named in 1904 after the New York Times tower. The newspaper first posted current headlines along its moving sign, the first of its kind in the world, in 1928.

If you've had your fill of sitting on the bleachers and are looking for something fun to do either as a group or a couple, stroll over to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum . The eerily life-like wax figurines feature NYC icons like Jimmy Fallon and the set of The Tonight Show , Broadway cast members, and shows where you actually get to dress up and participate. The building's glass dome protrudes over Times Square for awesome views.

Address: Broadway and 7th Avenue, New York, New York

Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge, with its Gothic-shaped arches and suspension cables, is one of the city's most recognizable landmarks and has inspired generations of poets, songwriters, and painters. This historic bridge, spanning the East River from Manhattan to Brooklyn, was completed in 1883 and was the world's first steel suspension bridge .

You can see it from many of the ferries, or the east side of Manhattan, but the best way to experience this icon is to take an hour and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. A wood plank walkway, only open to pedestrians and cyclists , runs above the lanes of traffic. If you are not up for walking the whole distance, at least go as far as the first pillar, where there is a viewing platform, and you can see one of the granite towers up close.

From the bridge are beautiful views over Manhattan, the East River, and beyond to the Statue of Liberty. Biking over the bridge is another option, but pedestrian traffic is often very heavy, and cycling can be slow and challenging on busy days. Be aware that the access to the bridge begins well back from the water's edge.

Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Brooklyn

Fifth Avenue

One of the most famous shopping streets in America, Fifth Avenue is New York's premier shopping area , where many top designers have their flagship stores. Cartier, Tiffany, Bergdorf-Goodman, the famous Apple Store Fifth Avenue, and of course, Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as many others, line this posh avenue.

Even non-shoppers can enjoy a walk along Fifth Avenue. The best area runs from approximately the south end of Central Park to the New York Public Library, or more specifically, between 60th Street and 40th Street.

Fifth Avenue - Layout map

Grand Central Terminal , often called Grand Central Station, is a fantastic Beaux Arts building, and it's definitely worth popping in to take a look at this famous landmark. The building first opened in 1913 as a terminal for the subway and train stations.

Outside, the 42nd Street colonnaded faces and the statuary on top are some of the key highlights. Inside, you can't miss the Grand Staircase , where you can stop to gaze out over the concourse. The beautifully restored ceiling here shows a celestial scene.

One of the most iconic sights within Grand Central Terminal is the Main Concourse Information Booth Clock. This four-sided clock has been the site of countless meet-ups (and even a marriage proposal or two) and has been featured in many famous movies including The Godfather , Men in Black , and Midnight Run .

You'll also find an extensive selection of retail shops and restaurants inside the terminal.

Address: 89 E 42nd St, New York, New York

Lincoln Center

If you plan on taking in one of the performing arts such as ballet, symphony, or opera, it's likely that your plans will involve an evening or afternoon at the Lincoln Center . Musicians, dancers, and performers of all kinds dream of gracing one of the 30 indoor and outdoor stages spread throughout the center.

Throughout the summer from mid-June through to mid-August Lincoln Center is one of New York's cheapest cultural hotspots with hundreds of free events during their Summer for the City series . All kinds of entertainment for all ages are on offer.

The Lincoln Center is home to the New York City Ballet, the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, the Juilliard School of Music, the Lincoln Center Theater, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and it's almost a certainty that some sort of event will be taking place during your time in town.

In addition to live performances, Film at Lincoln Center showcases innovative movies on a daily basis.

Location: 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, New York

One World Observatory

At the top of the newly constructed One World Trade Center building , One World Observatory is the highest observation deck in the city offering outstanding views from floors 100, 101, and 102, 1,776 feet above the ground. The elevator to the top is part of the attraction. As you ascend, the surrounding panels show New York as it transformed over the years, from a rural landscape to the metropolis you see today.

This glass building, which can be seen from all over the city, is a unique structure on the Manhattan skyline, with angles that give it a very distinct appearance. If you stand near the base and look straight up, the tower appears pyramidal.

If you want to go up and see the view, you can buy an NYC One World Observatory Skip-the-Line Ticket to save you some time, but note, you will still need to clear security.

Address: One World Trade Center, 285 Fulton Street, New York, New York

The Frick Collection

For ambience, the Frick Collection tops the list when it comes to New York City museums. Housed in an early 1900s mansion, the building and the original collection were donated by Henry Clay Frick, who had the mansion built to display his art collection.

However, the original mansion is currently closed for a massive renovation and will be for several more years. A decision was made to move elements of the Frick Collection to the former site of the Whitney Museum. The temporary home is known as Frick Madison .

A visit is still worthwhile — the most notable artwork, which includes a mix of paintings, porcelain, and furniture, are on display, as are works by Monet, Rembrandt, Bellini, El Greco , and many other famous artists.

Temporary Address: 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street

New York Public Library

The New York Public Library's main branch was designed by architects, Carrere & Hastings, in the Beaux Arts style. The library, with its impressive rooms, is a prominent city attraction that has been featured in many movies and TV shows over the years.

Although colloquially known as the main branch, the proper name is actually the Stephen A. Schwarzman building . It opened in 1911 to immediate acclaim. An enormous library, the Main Reading Room alone stretches two city blocks, and the Periodicals Room holds 10,000 current magazines. The collection at this location is vast, to say the least.

Location: Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York, New York

Wall Street

Stretching for eight city blocks from Broadway to South Street is the world-famous Wall Street. This street and the surrounding area are home to some of the most important exchanges in the world, including the New York Stock Exchange, the NASDAQ, and the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Also located nearby are the impressive Trinity Church and Federal Hall . Look for the bronze statue of Charging Bull at Bowling Green, on Broadway. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Financial District and a popular photo opportunity for visitors.

Radio City Music Hall

Lying in the shadow of Rockefeller Center is Radio City Music Hall , a famous entertainment venue and a designated city landmark. This 1932 Art Deco theater offers musical extravaganzas and films and is the home of the dance company, The Rockettes .

The building was built and financed by the Rockefellers during the 1930s and contained the largest indoor theater in the world at the time. Today, the venue frequently hosts major events, including the Grammy Awards and Tony Awards. Its prominent marquee is hard to miss as it curves around the building and stretches down the block.

Address: 1260 6th Avenue, New York, New York

St Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral is one of New York's finest examples of Gothic Revival, with its massive bronze doors, white marble façade, 330-foot spires, the Great Organ, rose window, bronze baldachin, 2,400 seating capacity, and the statue of Pieta at the side of the Lady Chapel. With millions of visitors annually, the cathedral is a major destination for believers and tourists alike.

The building was erected in 1879 and has been carefully restored and maintained throughout its existence, including a $200-million renovation that was completed in 2016.

Location: 5th Avenue, between 50th and 51st Streets, New York, New York

New York - St Patrick's Cathedral - Floor plan map

Carnegie Hall opened in 1891 as New York's first great concert hall. Musicians from Tchaikovsky, who conducted on opening night, to Leonard Bernstein and The Beatles have filled the hall. It is said to have some of the best acoustics in the world.

While the best way to enjoy the hall is to take in a performance, one of the best ways to learn about it is on a guided tour . The tour offers a comprehensive look at the hall, insight into the construction, and discusses some of the artists who have taken to the stage. Tours end at the Rose Museum.

Address: 881 7th Ave, New York, New York

Bryant Park

On a summer's day, it's hard to beat a leisurely afternoon at Bryant Park . The grounds feature monuments and gardens, and "Le Carrousel," a popular carousel. A games area makes available chess boards, checkers, and backgammon boards for a small fee.

Bryant Park was a seedy area known for crime and a hangout for undesirables until 1989, when the city reclaimed it and turned it into a beautiful urban oasis. Locals have embraced this park, and today, it's a pleasure to walk through. If you don't want to play a game, it is still interesting to watch others playing.

When the snow flies and the temperature drops, an outdoor skating rink emerges at Bryant Park. This small rink is free to use, unlike the one at Central Park. Bring your own skates or rent a pair at the concession stand. Don't know how to skate? No problem. Skating aids, similar to walkers that elderly people use, are available to rent. If you can, try to visit on Tuesdays or Thursdays. At 12:40pm, artistic skating performances by the Ice Theater of New York take place.

The park is located adjacent to the New York Public Library.

Location: Between W 40th Street and W 42nd Street, at 6th Ave, New York, New York

The best way to truly experience New York is to stay in Manhattan, rather than trying to commute from the suburbs, which can be time-consuming and a little tiring. The hotels mentioned below are all centrally located in Manhattan and close to many of the major attractions.

Luxury Hotels:

  • Known for impeccable service The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park is a New York landmark. The hotel has recently been renovated and upgraded, and now the 253 rooms have all the latest modern features the discerning traveler requires and demands.
  • The Mandarin Oriental is an outstanding luxury property with a great location near the south end of Central Park.
  • Farther south, near Bryant Park, the New York Public Library, and Grand Central Terminal, the posh 60-story Langham Place, Fifth Avenue is another reliable five-star hotel.
  • One of the hot new arrivals on New York's hotel scene is the Crowne Plaza HY36 Midtown Manhattan . This four-star property offers affordable luxury and is located within walking distance to the High Line, Penn Station, and Times Square.
  • In a similar price range, near Times Square, is the boutique Casablanca Hotel by Library Hotel Collection .

Mid-Range Hotels:

  • With a prime location, within walking distance of Times Square, Central Park, and Rockefeller Center, The Pearl Hotel is at the higher end of the mid-range. It offers quality rooms, great service, and very reasonable rates.
  • Another noteworthy mid-range hotel in a good location includes the Kasa, The Duffy Times Square . This small hotel has a B&B-style feel with only 22 rooms and as the name indicates, is close to Times Square.
  • The Hilton Garden Inn New York/West 35th Street is located in a great position near the Empire State Building.

Budget Hotels:

  • Hotel rates vary considerably depending on the season, but it's usually possible to find a few quality budget hotels offering reasonable rates. Some popular, modestly-priced hotel options include the Econo Lodge Times Square , just north of Times Square.
  • Near Seaton Hotel is the more modern and affordable Pod 39 Hotel , with funky, compact rooms featuring en-suite bathrooms, and sociable common areas.

With so much to see and do in New York, purchasing a couple of tours can really help cover all the main attractions and make sightseeing easy and enjoyable. Walking everywhere can be tiring, and figuring out the subway isn't for everyone. There are many tours to choose from, but the following offer a good mix of attractions and experiences, and they are all guaranteed lowest prices.

Explore the City :

  • For getting your bearings, seeing the sights, and learning a little history, there is no beating the traditional open-top sightseeing bus. Take a Big Bus New York Hop-on Hop-off Tour to cover all the top sights and save yourself a whole lot of walking, so you will still have some energy to take in dinner or a show in the evening.
  • If you are spending several days in the city and plan on sightseeing each day, you can save yourself money and hassle by picking up a New York CityPASS , which covers five major attractions and will allow you to bypass the lines. The pass is good for nine days.

See the Sights from the Water :

  • Take a Manhattan Island Cruise to see the city skyline and city landmarks from the water, along with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. These are 2.5-hour cruises that run in the morning and afternoon and include a live guided narration.

Get an Aerial Perspective :

  • Indulge yourself with a Manhattan Helicopter Tour and fly over one of the most amazing cities in the world. These 15-minute shared-occupancy flights take you past the landmark buildings in downtown, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. This tour will give you a whole new appreciation for the density of the buildings and the size of Central Park.

No matter the season, New York City shines, and there is truly no wrong time to visit this bustling metropolis. The best time to go to New York City depends on what you want your vacation to be. If your idea of New York stems from movies like When Harry Met Sally and You've Got Mail , with idyllic strolls through Central Park as colorful leaves gently fall on your shoulders, autumn is an ideal time.

If seeing the Rockettes after a day of skating under the Rockefeller Christmas Tree and admiring holiday window displays is what you've always dreamed of, winter is a magical time to be in the Big Apple.

But if you are looking for a quieter and more budget-friendly getaway, with perfect weather, spring is your best bet. Locals, happy to be shedding their winter armor, have a spring in their step as they make their way to outdoor dining spots and markets on sidewalks carpeted with spring blossoms.

Summer is hot and humid, but if the balmy months are the only time you can travel with your family, you can still enjoy New York City's many attractions.

High season in New York is from June to August and November to December during the holidays, when you can expect to pay high prices for accommodations and flights. March to May and September to early November are considered shoulder seasons, and you will experience pleasant weather and relatively low prices. Low season is during January and February when it's chilly, but you will get cheap deals.

An ideal New York City vacation involves mild weather and fewer travelers, and the times that have both are spring and fall. Visit the city anytime between April to early June, or around September to early November, when the kids are in school and people aren't swarming major attractions.

Flights and hotels are also less expensive than the summer months and during the holidays in December. Take advantage of the nice weather to walk the streets, have a picnic in a park, and catch sports games.

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The Boroughs of New York City: If you have time to tour areas outside of Manhattan, you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you find. Take a trip on the Staten Island Ferry and discover the sights of Staten Island . Hop on the subway and explore the attractions of Queens . Walk or bike over the Brooklyn Bridge and enjoy the numerous attractions in Brooklyn . Lastly, home to the Yankee Stadium and the largest zoo in the United States, it's worth taking some time to visit the Bronx


Where to Go near New York City: If you want a quick break from New York, have a look at our top day trips from New York City or our best weekend getaways . In summer, you might even want to consider heading out to explore the best beaches on Long Island .

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by Courtney Delfino • a San Diego based travel + lifestyle blog inspiring you to travel in style

Travel , Travel Guides , USA · Last Updated: February 17, 2024

A Locals Guide: 36 Must See Places in New York

36 must see places in new york.

Washington Square Park during Cherry Blossom Season

New York, New York! A city so nice they named it twice. It can be hard to narrow down the must see places in New York is that it’s the biggest city in America. Also since New York City is one of the most iconic and diverse cities in the world. NYC boasts a certain hustle and bustle energy. Some people love it, other people don’t – but everyone can agree on the fact that there is no place quite like New York City. I was born and raised 45 minutes from Manhattan and visited “The City” (as locals call it) with my family almost every month. So this my friends, was written by a local.

In this article, I share “The 36 must see Places in New York City” by neighborhood. With so many incredible sights and experiences to offer, it can be overwhelming to plan a trip to this bustling city. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the must see places in New York, from world-famous landmarks to hidden gems that are sure to delight any traveler.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned New Yorker, there’s always something new to discover in this vibrant city. So, let’s dive in and explore the top places in NYC. Some things are touristy, others not so much but I will tell you that if you check these places off of your list when you’re in town, you won’t be disappointed.

Best Time to Visit New York

New York City is a vibrant destination year-round, with each season offering a unique experience. However, the best time to visit New York City depends on your preferences and what you want to do while you’re there.

Whether you’re looking for autumn vibes, a Christmas wonderland, or summer in the city – New York offers it all. In my opinion, I would choose May/June or September October November for the most temperant weather and beautiful fall foliage at the end of October.

Finally, if you’re interested in seeing the famous Christmas displays and holiday decorations, winter (December to February) can be a magical time to visit. I may be biased but it is the best place to experience Christmas time in the States. However, keep in mind that it can be very cold during this time, as well as VERY crowded. So make sure to pack warm clothing and be prepped for the crowds. I have an entire guide on Christmas in New York .

Best Things to Do in NYC by Neighborhood

While all opinions and recommendations are always my own, my content on this blog post may contain affiliate links for hotels I’ve traveled to, tours I’ve completed, and products I recommend. This means I get a small commission if you book a stay or purchase a product after clicking one of these links. As always, I am so thankful for your support and will continue to share the best properties, things to do, and items I love!

Must See Places in New York: Uptown

Visit “the met” the metropolitan museum of art.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as “The Met”, is one of the most famous and prestigious museums in the world. Located in the heart of Manhattan on Fifth Avenue. It houses over 2 million works of art from around the globe, spanning 5,000 years of human history. It is one of the most extensive art collections in the world with art from ancient Egypt to modern-day contemporary art.

The Met’s vast collection includes everything from ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary paintings and sculptures. Visitors can explore galleries dedicated to American art, European art, Asian art, African art, and more. The museum also features special exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing works by famous artists and exploring specific themes or periods in art history.

Furthermore, most people don’t know this but there is a rooftop garden overlooking Central Park. It’s easy to miss, but the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden is one of the prettiest views in Manhattan.

Visitors can easily spend an entire day exploring the Met’s vast collection and taking in its many exhibits and features. With so much to see and do, the Met is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in art and culture. Finally, if you are looking for a guided tour this one is the best and is fairly reasonable!

Pro Tip: If you’re a New York resident, it’s free to enter but you should leave a small donation to support the arts .

Have Drinks at The Plaza Hotel

The Plaza is New York’s most iconic luxury hotel located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Central Park South in Manhattan. It was built in 1907 and has been a beloved landmark and cultural icon ever since.

The Plaza Hotel also features a variety of dining options, including the famous Palm Court, which serves high tea and light meals under a stunning stained glass ceiling. Palm Court is a New York institution and needs to be experienced at least once in your life.

The hotel’s other restaurants include The Todd English Food Hall, The Champagne Bar, and The Rose Club. It’s a great place to have lunch if you’re uptown and the prices are much more reasonable in the Food Hall versus Palm Court. Check out the list of dining options in the food hall.

Visit the Met Cloisters

The Met Cloisters is a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art located in Upper Manhattan, New York City. This unique museum is dedicated to the art, architecture, and gardens of medieval Europe, and is situated on a beautiful hill overlooking the Hudson River. One of NYC’s most prized hidden gems.

It features an impressive collection of over 5,000 works of art and artifacts from the medieval period, including illuminated manuscripts, sculptures, stained glass, metalwork, and textiles. The museum’s architecture and gardens are also stunning, featuring medieval cloisters, chapels, and courtyards, as well as a beautiful herb garden and a peaceful meditation garden.

See a Ballet or Performance at Lincoln Center

The New York City Ballet is one of the most prestigious and acclaimed ballet companies in the world and performs regularly at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Lincoln Center has housed many renowned and innovative and groundbreaking performances throughout the years. They perform all kinds of shows from opera, to ballet, to orchestra performances. Most notably, The New York City Ballet performs here year-round and Christmas is one of the best times to visit for a performance. For tickets and showtimes check out the Lincoln Center Website .

Catch a Yankee Game

Technically, Yankee Stadium is not uptown – it’s The Bronx – hence the name, The Bronx Bombers. But nevertheless, the Yankees are true baseball legends. And yes, I may be biased because they are my home team but visiting the stadium is a great way to experience New York culture.

With the new stadium built in 2009, you can choose from an array of dining options. Including sushi, Philly cheesesteaks, and a full-on buffet experience in the Legends Suite. However, nothing will ever compare to a ballpark frank, a beer, and watching those boys in pinstripes.

Must See Places in New York (Lower Manhattan)

Walk the brooklyn bridge.

Completed in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was the first suspension bridge to be built in the United States and remains an engineering marvel to this day. It’s one of if not the most famous New York City landmarks. It connects Brooklyn and Manhattan and offers beautiful views of both skylines.

In addition to its beauty and historic significance, the Brooklyn Bridge is also a popular spot for photographers and filmmakers, who are drawn to its iconic architecture and sweeping views. Whether you’re looking to take a leisurely stroll, enjoy a bike ride, or simply take in the breathtaking scenery, the Brooklyn Bridge is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting New York City.

Photo tip: If you’re looking to experience the bridge with fewer crowds visit before 8 am. And for the best lighting remember that the sun rises behind Manhattan and the sun sets behind Brooklyn.

Visit Little Island

The newest kid on the block. Little Island is a unique public park located in the Hudson River in New York City, near the Meatpacking District in Manhattan. The park opened in May 2021 and has quickly become a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

It’s completely free to visit and has stunning views of the city overlooking the Hudson. Furthermore, there are food trucks, a playground, and an open concert bowl that plays live music. It offers a peaceful and serene oasis in the heart of the bustling city. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a picnic, take a leisurely stroll, or simply take in the stunning views of the Hudson River and the surrounding skyline Finally, it’s open to the public from 6 am to 11 pm.

Walk The Highline

The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets in Manhattan’s West Side New York City. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues.

The park features gardens, art installations, and public spaces for walking, sitting, and taking in the city views. It offers a unique perspective of the city from above. Furthermore, it has been recognized as a model for urban renewal and sustainable design.

Shopping in SoHo

One of my favorite parts of the city! SoHo is the trendiest spot in the city with designer shops, cool eateries, cobblestone streets, and iconic cast-iron facades. One of the main things to do in Soho is shopping but it’s a destination for foodies as well. Make sure to check out Dominique Ansel’s bakery for frozen hot chocolate, Felix Roasting Co the most aesthetically pleasing coffee shop, and delicious coffee, and Balthazar for celebrity sightings.

Head to Chinatown for Dumplings

Chinatown is a popular spot that attracts foodies and tourists alike. It’s known for its soup dumplings, pork buns, boba tea shops, and some not-so-authentic designer goods (if you know, you know).

Also, it’s important to mention that Chinese Food in New York City is without a doubt, the best in the United States. I can say that because I’m a New Yorker and have never found comparable Chinese food outside of the state of New York. Really. I swear!

Visit One of the Oldest Streets in NYC

Stuyvesant Street located in NoHo is one of the oldest streets in the city! It’s unique since it runs diagonally. The ivy-covered building located on Stuyvesant and 10th is one of the most photographed places in lower Manhattan. It’s located in the St. Marks’s historical district which is another area of the city that you should get lost in. Finally, it’s beautiful to visit in all seasons, especially in the fall.

Visit Little Italy for the San Gennaro Festival

One week a year in September, Little Italy in New York goes all out for the San Gennaro festival. It’s one of my favorite times of the year! The streets are closed to cars, the shop owners line the street with food carts, and there is plenty of entertainment all around with musical acts, rides, etc. It’s reminiscent of a street fair and is the best time to really experience Little Italy.

Visit the World Trade Center + One World Trade

Visiting the World Trade Center is not for everyone. Due to the tragedy that occurred here on September 11th, 2001, it can be very emotional for some people so know your boundaries before visiting. If you want to pay your respects, it can be a humbling experience to visit the remembrance pools and the 9/11 museum. We will never forget it! Along with that, you can also visit One World Observatory which has 360-degree views of the entire city. Locals tip: The Oculus located adjacent to the WTC is a new architectural structure built a couple of years ago that houses multiple subway lines. It’s prime for photo opportunities!

Midtown NYC

Go to the top of the rock + rockefeller center.

The most famous place to visit (aside from Times Square) in Midtown Manhattan is Rockefeller Center. During Christmas, it houses “The Tree” and is most well known for its ice skating rink but you can enjoy Rockefeller Center year-round! It has plenty of dining options in the concourse. The Top of The Rock observation deck is located on top of Rockefeller Center and it boasts the prettiest views of the city. Make a reservation for sunset to get the best lighting possible! Finally, book your tickets in advance to get the best time slot.

Visit Hudson Yards + The Vessel

Hudson Yards is a brand new area in New York that was finished in 2019. It’s home to tons of new shops, dining options, and The Vessel. This architectural structure is reminiscent of a beehive. Sadly, the interior is no longer open to the public, and not sure if they will be opening it anytime soon. However, it’s still beautiful to view from the outside.

See a Show at Radio City Music Hall

The iconic concert hall, Radio City Music Hall is a must-see when visiting New York. It was opened in 1932 and is known for its Art Deco design, grand scale, and state-of-the-art technology. The Music Hall features a large auditorium that can seat over 6,000 people and has hosted numerous events, including concerts, awards shows, and theater productions.

The venue is perhaps best known for the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, a holiday show that has been performed annually since 1933 during the Christmas season. But you can catch a show here anytime during the year!

In addition to its entertainment offerings, Radio City Music Hall is also known for its architectural and historical significance. The venue has been designated a National Historic Landmark and is recognized as one of the most iconic buildings in New York City. Finally, the art-deco-style chandelier located inside is a beauty!

Visit The Edge

The newest kid on the block, The Edge is the highest viewing tower in the western hemisphere. It’s unique since it’s suspended in mid-air giving you the notion of floating. It’s located in the Hudson Yards development and stands 1,100 feet tall, making it the tallest building in the Hudson Yards development.

The Edge features a unique observation deck that extends 80 feet out from the side of the building, offering visitors a stunning panoramic view of the city. The deck is enclosed in a glass floor and walls, providing an exhilarating experience for those who dare to step out onto it. They even have a portion of the floor that is glass so you can look 100 stories down. Finally, book your tickets in advance since the best time slots (sunset) tend to sell out first!

Visit The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is an iconic skyscraper located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. And being that New York is the Empire State, you HAVE to visit the Empire State Building. It was completed in 1931 and was the tallest building in the world until 1970. The building stands at 1,454 feet tall and has 102 floors. It was designed in the Art Deco style by architects Shreve, Lamb & Harmon Associates.

In recent years, they have transformed the observation decks, on the 86th and 102nd floors, with panoramic views of the city. Finally, they have included new exhibits to showcase all the infamous movies filmed at the Empire State Building. Including King Kong, Sleepless in Seattle, and Independence Day. Book your tickets here !

Walk Around Times Square

Times Square is an incredibly touristy part of the city but if you’ve never been to New York before, you HAVE to at least walk through it for the experience. It is famous for its bright lights, billboards, and bustling crowds, and is often referred to as “The Center of the Universe.”

Times Square was originally called Longacre Square, but it was renamed in 1904 after The New York Times moved its headquarters to the area. Today, it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world, with over 330,000 people passing through it each day. Finally, the above photo was taken in October 2020. I can guarantee when you visit it won’t be this empty.

Catch a Broadway Show

There is nothing quite like seeing a Broadway show on Broadway. It’s such an important part of New York culture and supporting the arts is always a good idea! If you’re going to pick one experience in this “must see places in New York guide” – let it be this. There are numerous Broadway shows in New York City at any given time, ranging from classic musicals to new and innovative productions. They come in all shapes and sizes and they have a show for everyone to love. Check out for showtimes!

Visit Bryant Park

Bryant Park is a public park located in Midtown Manhattan. It is situated between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and between 40th and 42nd Streets, adjacent to the New York Public Library. The park features expansive lawns, gardens, walking paths, a fountain, and outdoor seating areas. It is also home to numerous events throughout the year, including outdoor film screenings, concerts, and ice skating during the winter months.

You could call it an urban oasis in the middle of the city and many locals enjoy the outdoor space during their lunch breaks. There are tons of good food options in the area like Maman Cafe, Joe’s Pizza, and The Bar Downstairs at the Andaz Hotel.

Visit The New York Public Library

Who wants to go to a library on vacation? Well when it looks like Hogwarts and it’s featured in movies like Ghostbusters, you go to the library on vacation. The New York Public Library (NYPL) is one of the largest public libraries in the world and a landmark institution in New York City.

The library was established in 1895 through the consolidation of the Astor and Lenox Libraries and the Tilden Foundation and has since grown to include 92 locations throughout the city. It’s completely free to enter and is open most days 11 am – 6 pm. Whether you’re a book lover, a history buff, or simply looking to explore one of New York City’s most iconic institutions, the New York Public Library is a must-visit destination that offers something for everyone.

Walk Through Grand Central Station

Grand Central Terminal, often referred to as Grand Central Station, is a historic transportation hub located in Midtown Manhattan in New York City (Subway, Metro-North, LIRR, and Buses). It was completed in 1913 and has since become one of the city’s most iconic landmarks and a major tourist destination.

The Main Concourse ceiling boasts a zodiac ceiling that is made up of 12 constellations painted in gold leaf. The concourse is home to a famous clock, which serves as a meeting spot for many New Yorkers. Finally, it has been featured in numerous movies and television shows, cementing its status as an iconic symbol of New York City. Whether you’re a history buff, architecture enthusiast, or just looking for a unique shopping and dining experience. Grand Central Terminal is a great free spot to visit!

West Village, New York

Visit washington square park.

Washington Square Park is a popular park located in Greenwich Village that is most known for its stately arch. It was presented to New York for the centennial year of George Washington’s inauguration as president (hence the name). And it was modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Furthermore, the park is home to many events and festivals throughout the year. Including the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit. A biannual event that features the work of local artists. The park also hosts numerous cultural and educational programs, as well as performances by musicians, dancers, and theater groups. It’s a prime spot for people-watching. Finally, you can catch cherry blossoms here in the spring.

Catch a show at the Comedy Cellar

The Comedy Cellar is widely known as the best Comedy Club in the states that has “kept comedy alive”. Every big-time comedian has performed here at one point in his/her career. They often have frequent surprise guests. So you might be lucky to be surprised by a big-time celebrity when you catch a show here!

Visit The Friends Building + Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment

The exterior of The Friends Building is not the actual filming place of Friends. It was however used as the footage for any opening scene that “The Friends” in the apartment. So we can all pretend it was filmed in New York and visit the exterior. It’s located in the West Village which in my opinion is the prettiest part of Manhattan. It is such a charming neighborhood and should be experienced by all!

Address: 90 Bedford Street, New York, NY

A couple of streets over you can also visit Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment. In Sex and The City, Carrie lives on the Upper East Side in the 70s streets. While it may seem like her life is very UES. The exterior of her apartment is actually located in the West Village. Many people come here to visit Carrie’s Apartment and some may just dress up as her while doing so!

Address: Perry Street, New York, NY, 10014

Visit Grove Court

Right down the way from The Friends Building, (you can easily check both of these off the list at the same time) is a small court that houses the most charming townhomes and during October they have the best pumpkin displays (above photo taken in 2020 and everyone was on a budget).

Grab a slice from Joe’s Pizza

Another local spot that is most popular for grabbing “a slice” on the go. This casual eatery doesn’t have any tables but you can post up in the window. Jerry Seinfeld himself endorses this spot as the best pizza in New York City. Make sure to try the Sicilian slice, you’ll thank me later! Finally, the West Village location only takes cash so make sure to have it handy and ready to go.

Address: 7 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

Must See Places in New York: Central Park

I wrote an entire blog post about The Best Photo Spots in Central Park , make sure to check that out for more detailed information.

Walk The Bow Bridge

Bow Bridge is a picturesque pedestrian bridge located in the heart of Central Park in New York City. The bridge, which spans over The Lake, was designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould and completed in 1862.

The bridge is a popular destination for visitors to Central Park, offering stunning views of the park and skyline. Its unique design, with its intricate cast-iron details and ornate features, has made it one of the most photographed landmarks in the park.

Visit Bethesda Terrace

Bethesda Terrace is a stunning architectural feature located in the heart of Central Park in New York City. The terrace, which was designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, was completed in 1863 and is considered one of the park’s most iconic landmarks.

Bethesda Terrace consists of two levels: the lower level features a beautiful fountain. And the upper level offers breathtaking views of the surrounding park and skyline. The upper level is also home to a covered arcade, which features ornate carvings and intricate details that make it a true architectural masterpiece.

One of the most striking features of Bethesda Terrace is the magnificent Minton tile ceiling that adorns the arcade. The ceiling features an elaborate pattern of floral and geometric designs and is made up of over 15,000 hand-crafted tiles. It’s the perfect spot to post up and people-watch! And you can almost always catch a live performance here.

Loeb Boat House

Adjacent to Bethesda Fountain is the Loeb Boat House. The Loeb Boathouse is a charming restaurant and boating venue located in the park. It was originally built in 1874 as a storage facility for boats and was later converted into a restaurant in the 1950s.

Today, the Loeb Boathouse is a popular destination. It offers delicious food, beautiful views of Central Park, and a range of boating options. Visitors can rent rowboats or take a romantic gondola ride on The Lake, which is located right outside the restaurant. The rowboat experience costs $20 an hour with a $20 deposit. They do only take cash and one hour is enough to see the sights.

Visit Belvedere Castle

A castle in Central Park? Sign me up! This beauty was built in 1869 and sits on the highest point in the park, Vista Rock. It was originally built as a decorative structure and was later converted into a weather station and nature observatory. The castle’s perch on a rocky outcropping provides a unique vantage point, making it a great spot for taking photos or just admiring the views. Finally, it’s completely free to visit!

DUMBO Brooklyn

DUMBO is a trendy and vibrant neighborhood located in Brooklyn, New York. It is situated between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges and offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. The view seen here is at Pebble Beach during sunset. One of my favorite photos we have ever taken.

Anyways, technically speaking Brooklyn is not part of New York City. However, I had to add this spot to the list as it’s become popular in recent years. The below photo was taken on Washington Street a prime spot for photos (but make sure to get there early). But don’t stop exploring Dumbo there.

Make sure to visit the waterfront park, Brooklyn Bridge Park. which offers beautiful waterfront views and a range of recreational activities, including basketball and volleyball courts, playgrounds, and Jane’s carousel.

Where to Stay in NYC

Andaz 5th avenue.

I’ve stayed in lots of NYC hotels over the years and The Andaz Fifth Avenue is one of the most luxurious. Not only are you located in the most central part of Manhattan. But the ambiance, staff, and views of the NYPL and Empire State Building make this stay perfect. It’s also located close to Bryant Park which is a great place to enjoy the outdoors in the middle of the city.

I was lucky enough to stay in the wellness suite that features a huge bathtub, a workout mirror, and a calming presence. The staff was the most welcoming and room service from the Bar Downstairs was delicious. I highly recommend staying here when you visit New York. You most definitely won’t regret it. Book your stay here !

What to Pack for New York

It all depends on what season you’re visiting for the spring/summer/fall:

  • Comfortable walking shoes but make them stylish. These Madewell Sneakers are not only comfortable but they are cute as well so it’s a win-win. I can walk in them all day with no issues.
  • Elevated basics. New Yorkers tend to dress very casually with elevated basics. I always find the best basics at Free People and  Abercrombie . It’s nice to have some neutral tees handy during your stay.
  • A chic leather jacket will help you blend in with the locals. I love this leather jacket from Revolve – it’s not only affordable but the oversized look is so chic. Pair it with classic denim and you’ll blend right in with the New Yorkers.
  • My favorite crossbody bag is perfect for sightseeing.

Thanks for reading my “36 Must See Places in New York”. If you’re headed there during the holidays check out my Christmas Activities in NYC post. Finally, forget to check out more of my USA travel guides !


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local places to visit in nyc

November 10, 2020 at 9:57 am

Thanks for all the great tips, especially the sunset and sunrise tips. I still haven’t made it to NY yet. Maybe next year!

local places to visit in nyc

November 10, 2020 at 10:10 am

I’m going to NYC this weekend to visit my boyfriend’s little sister at NYU!! PERFECT timing with this article, thank you!!

local places to visit in nyc

November 10, 2020 at 11:26 am

You’re so welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it

November 10, 2020 at 11:27 am

Thank you! That can be a tricky one so I’m glad you appreciated it!

local places to visit in nyc

November 10, 2020 at 12:45 pm

I love New York so much! I visit every single year at least once. There are still a few things on the list that I haven’t done. I am so excited about The Edge. It was not open yet last time I went.

November 10, 2020 at 1:12 pm

Have the best time! I haven’t been able to check it off my list yet!

local places to visit in nyc

November 11, 2020 at 10:51 am

I’ve never been to NY but I’d love to go! These things all sound amazing, I’d definitely visit the Edge!

November 11, 2020 at 1:48 pm

It’s a cool new spot!

local places to visit in nyc

November 12, 2020 at 9:17 am

Born and raised New yorker you tend to take all these for granted. Such a great guide!

XX Angelica

local places to visit in nyc

November 12, 2020 at 10:28 am

What an amazing tips! Thank you love, I cannot wait to really see NY for all her beauty one of these days.

November 12, 2020 at 5:10 pm

We need a trip together to experience the city as a boujee team! XOXO

November 12, 2020 at 5:11 pm

Thank you angelica! I totally agree, we forget how amazing our own backyard is!

local places to visit in nyc

November 13, 2020 at 1:14 pm

This is an amazing guide Courtney! I also love NYC during San Gennaro. I really hope they have it next year since it was canceled this year. I also need to get to the Edge now. 🙂

November 13, 2020 at 3:41 pm

It’s one of my favorite times in the city! Thanks for reaching Taylor! I still need to get to the edge too lol I hope you get to go soon!

local places to visit in nyc

December 11, 2020 at 5:55 am

Ohh my! Girl, you so make me wish to visit NYC. It’s my dream since I can remember! Such a useful post!

December 11, 2020 at 10:41 am

Thanks for saying that girl! Hoping you can get there in 2021!

local places to visit in nyc

May 12, 2024 at 2:41 am

I just got back from New York and I’m still reeling from all the amazing sights and sounds! This guide was so helpful in planning my trip and discovering some of the lesser-known spots. The High Line and Smalls Jazz Club were definite highlights for me. Your recommendations were spot on!

May 12, 2024 at 2:41 pm

thank you so much I’m so glad you had a fantastic trip!

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64 Best Non-Touristy Things To Do In NYC (From A Local)

By Dale P & Jessie Festa. This guide to alternative things to do in New York City contains affiliate links to trusted partners!

Looking for non-touristy things to do in NYC ?

Then you’re in the right place!

New York may be one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, receiving over 66 million visitors per year, but there are still many unique things to do in NYC. In a city so large, it’s not hard to get off the beaten path.

Whether you are a tourist wanting to see a different side of the city or a local looking for something different for your weekend plans, there are many cool non touristy things to do in NYC.

To help you create a memorable itinerary, here are some of the best not-so-touristy things to do in NYC — written by two local New Yorkers!

💡 Quick tip: Not all guided tours are necessarily touristy! A few top picks that take you away from the typical attractions include: 😋 Lower East Side Culture and Food Tastings Tour 🥘 Private Indian & Soul Food Cooking Class in East Harlem 📸 Chinatown Photography Workshop

Table of Contents

Unique Things To Do In NYC (Free Guide!)

But first, before we go over some of New York’s non-touristy attractions and experiences, we invite you to grab a copy of Jessie’s  NYC Top Picks From A Local Guide . The printable PDF guide takes you beyond the popular attractions to uncover a more local and lesser-known side of New York City.

things to do on the Upper East Side NYC

Just a few highlights from the guide include:

  • Where to get creative java drinks and delicious dishes
  • How to discover opportunities for exploring nature in New York City
  • Ways to get off-the-beaten-track to discover a side of the city many tourists miss

Note: If you’re thinking “I just want a local to plan my trip to NYC ” Jessie also offers custom travel planning services. Keep in mind, she is a New Yorker as well as a licensed sightseeing guide, so she can speak to both tourist attractions and lesser-known experiences.

On that note, keep reading to dive into some cool things to do in NYC beyond the typical tourist attractions.

Fun Non-Touristy Things To Do In NYC (Citywide)

While there are plenty of specific non-touristy places in New York City, certain experiences can be enjoyed across the boroughs, like:

1. Strike a pose on an NYC photo tour

Shameless plug: Jessie’s company, NYC Photo Journeys, offers private NYC photo tours that allow you to visit scenic spots with a local guide and photographer. Not only do you get a tour, but you’ll leave with stunning photos of your group to keep. It’s a great way to create — and preserve — memories from your trip to New York .

non-touristy things to do in NYC photo tour

2. Upgrade your Instagram feed on an NYC Influencer Shoot

If you’re an influencer, blogger, or solopreneur looking to get gorgeous imagery for your social media accounts and website, a private NYC Influencer Shoot is a must. These are led by Jessie, and include a pre-shoot call to go over your shoot goals so that you end up with exactly what you want. You can choose between a budget-friendly unedited shoot, or opt to have Jessie edit the photos for you!

3. Preserve cherished memories on a Custom NYC Photoshoot

Not an influencer, but want a custom photoshoot in New York City? Jessie also offers professional NYC photoshoots . These come with more photos than the photo tours, as well as everything mentioned above with the influencer shoots, but are geared toward those wanting to preserve memories or celebrate a milestone (vs uplevel with social feeds).

a private photoshoot is one of the top non-touristy things to do in NYC

4. Enjoy free entertainment in NYC parks

Ever wondered “What do locals do in NYC?” Are you looking to explore New York on a budget ?

Here’s a hack: check the park calendars around NYC, as they often showcase free movies, tours, concerts, comedy shows, and more.

This is especially true during the warmer months, when you’ll find programs like Summerstage, Free Summer Movies, Free Summer Concerts, and BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn!

Overall, visiting the parks is one of the underrated things to do in NYC.

5. Take a local class

One of the best ways to enjoy non-touristy NYC while exploring your own creativity is through one of the countless local classes. What is really special about doing a class in New York is that the options are limitless, with plenty of opportunities to try things you couldn’t easily do elsewhere.

A few schools with interesting classes to check out include Trapeze School New York (aerial arts), 92Y (everything), Brooklyn Brainery (everything), SassClass (dance), CocuSocial (cooking), The PIT (improv), and East Village Hats (hatwork).

These are also great options if you’re visiting NYC alone , as classes can make it easier to meet other people.

Keep in mind, if you’re looking for the best NYC souvenirs , taking a class where you physically make something allows you to preserve a fun trip memory in a personal way!

Taking a local class is definitely one of the fun non touristy things to do in NYC!

6. Explore the city by bike

One of the best non-tourist things to do in NYC is explore the city by bike. You can rent and drop off Citi Bikes from hundreds of locations. A few scenic New York City bike trails include the:

  • Bronx Greenway, connecting the largest parks in The Bronx
  • Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, offering beautiful skyline views
  • Hudson River Greenway, stretching from Battery Park to Fort Tryon Park in Manhattan
  • Eastern Queens Greenway, showcasing golf courses, lakes, and parks
  • LaTourette Park, a lovely 2-mile ride in Staten Island

7. Enjoy (boozy) brunch in NYC

Why is New York so popular? The delicious restaurants certainly help!

Now, while many tourists focus on food, one aspect of local dining many miss is brunch — particularly boozy brunch in NYC . For a set price, you can savor a delicious meal with unlimited drinks, and sometimes even unlimited food if you’re at a place like Maya in the Upper East Side (which also happens to be one of the most Instagrammable restaurants in NYC !).

Even if you’re not a big drinker, brunch is a staple in NYC and it’s a great experience to enjoy the atmosphere during a tasty morning meal.

It’s one of the local things to do in NYC.

Want beautiful photos taken of you in scenic New York spots? Book a Private Photo Journey , a walking tour that includes photos of your group to keep. Or get a styled, custom shoot that tells your unique story through an NYC Influencer Shoot or Professional New York City Shoot . Email [email protected] with inquiries.

Non-Touristy Things to Do In Manhattan

Manhattan is the most popular of New York’s five boroughs. Most tourists stay in Manhattan, and most of New York’s tourist activities are located here; however, it’s still possible to discover hidden gems, like:

8. Ride the Roosevelt Island Tram

One of the best non touristy things to do in NYC is to ride the Roosevelt Island Tram.

This bright red tram connects Manhattan with Roosevelt Island, a small sliver of land in the middle of the East River between Manhattan and Queens. The tram offers spectacular city views as it glides high above the water parallel to the Queensboro Bridge.

The cost? A single swipe of your MetroCard ($2.75) each way.

9. Explore Roosevelt Island

If you’re going to take the Roosevelt Island Tram, you might as well spend some time exploring Roosevelt Island before you head back to Manhattan proper. Hop onto the free Red Bus that makes a loop around the NY island , or relax in the sun at one of the island’s tranquil parks.

10. Visit the Met Cloisters

The Metropolitan Museum of Art on the Upper East Side of Manhattan is one of the most popular museums in the city, and on any given day, you’ll find it packed with crowds, even on rainy days in NYC .

But a few miles to the north, the Met Cloisters offers a calming oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the city. In fact, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported out of NYC entirely as you explore this NYC off the beaten path spot with a focus on medieval art and architecture.

Exploring the Met Cloisters is among the best non touristy things to do in New York.

visiting the Met Cloisters is one of the top non-touristy things to do in NYC

11. Check out the Morgan Library and Museum

New York’s most famous library is the New York Public Library, but just a few blocks away, you can find the breathtaking Morgan Library and Museum. This beautiful library is a must-visit for book lovers, especially as it features some of the world’s rarest books and manuscripts.

12. Get drinks at a hidden speakeasy

There is no shortage of great speakeasies in New York City — you just have to know where to look! Some of the best speakeasies to grab a drink in Manhattan specifically include:

  • Employees Only: Hidden behind a psychic and tarot reader in Greenwich Village
  • UES: Tucked away behind an ice cream shop on the Upper East Side
  • Please Don’t Tell: Accessible through a phone booth at the back of a hot dog joint in the East Village

This is one of the best not so touristy things to do in NYC.

13. Take an architecture cruise

While Circle Line sightseeing cruises are popular with tourists wanting a Manhattan skyline tour , taking a cruise with AIANY (the American Society of Architects, New York) is a great way to get a deeper understanding of New York’s history and architecture. Plus, they offer some of the top architectural tours in NYC !

Another option is booking a Manhattan Architecture Yacht Cruise , which includes a welcome drink, gorgeous views, and narration provided by AIANY.

Click here for a full list of cruise and sailing excursions .

14. Visit the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum

One of the most unique and non touristy things to do in Manhattan is to visit the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum.

It’s hard to imagine New York City’s rural past, but that’s exactly what you can do at the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum. Dating back to 1785, this museum is housed in the last farmhouse in Manhattan.

15. Visit the American Folk Art Museum

Most tourists visiting the Lincoln Center area are there to catch a ballet or orchestra performance and have no idea about the American Folk Art Museum — which is free to visit and boasts one of the most impressive collections of folk art in the United States. It’s one of the top things to do on the Upper West Side !

The American Folk Art Museum, one of the most non touristy places in New York

16. Eat pizza inside a church in Times Square

Times Square , a staple of any Manhattan tourism guide , might be the last place you imagine when you think “best non-touristy things to do in New York City” — and you would not be wrong; but beyond the flashing billboards and sea of selfie sticks, there are a few hidden gems to be discovered in Times Square.

One of those is John’s Pizza , a restaurant housed in a former church where you can feast on pizza underneath a soaring stained glass ceiling.

17. Watch a free comedy improv show

The Peoples Improv Theater is a comedy theater and training center that hosts performances every night. You can grab a drink from the bar before heading downstairs to catch the show. Best of all, tickets are free.

It’s one of the best things to do in NYC as a local!

18. Eat in a local home

While it’s not always easy to meet locals while traveling , in New York City you can actually book a cooking class or at-home dinner through EatWith .

The platform features loads of experiences to choose from, so whether you want to take a homemade pasta-making class in a New Yorker’s kitchen or sit down at their apartment table for a seasonal Japanese-inspired seafood-tasting menu, you can.

Another option is League of Kitchens , which allows you to cook in the homes of immigrant women from around the world. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in a different culture without leaving New York.

cooking in a local home when it rains in NYC with League Of Kitchens

19. Find an oasis in Midtown

Midtown Manhattan is known for its constant crowds, but savvy locals know that there’s a hidden oasis right in the heart of some of the city’s busiest blocks. Greenacre Park is a small park with a 25-foot waterfall tucked away in the midst of Midtown.

20. See where NYC’s mayor lives

Gracie Mansion, tucked away in Carl Schurz Park on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, has historically been the residence of New York City’s mayor. You can book a tour of this elegant and historic home, which dates back to 1799.

21. Enjoy a scenic NYC picnic

Curious about the things locals do in NYC? We’ll let you in on a secret: when the weather is nice, what locals do in NYC is head to the park.

Of course there is Central Park, but if you want to get away from the crowds, try Fort Tryon Park in northern Manhattan. Here you can enjoy seasonal gardens, scenic paths, and beautiful views over the Hudson River out toward the George Washington Bridge .

22. Go for an urban hike

Going for a hike is one of the things to do in NYC that aren’t touristy. In fact, many travelers miss out on discovering these gorgeous trails.

You may be surprised to learn that there is some really great hiking in Manhattan . One of the most rugged trails is the moderate-hard 1.3-mile Orange Trail in Inwood Hill Park, where you’ll find historic sites, scenic overlooks, and the largest remaining natural forest and last remaining salt marsh in Manhattan. Check it out here:

23. Go gallery hopping

New York is full of art galleries, so gallery hopping is one of the fun things to do in NYC for locals. Some of the best neighborhoods in Manhattan for gallery hopping are Chelsea, the Upper East Side, and the Lower East Side.

For a unique guided tour, you can book a contemporary art tour of Chelsea or a contemporary art tour of the Lower East Side — both of which are led by a professional art critic!

24. Browse for books at Albertine

Located a couple blocks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and directly across from Central Park, most tourists walk right past Albertine without even knowing it exists.

But if you step into this bookstore that shares a building with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, you will discover a collection of French and English books in an enchanting space.

25. Watch an off-Broadway show

Broadway shows are a popular tourist activity in New York, but tickets can be expensive and hard to get.

Off-Broadway shows (and Off-Off-Broadway shows), on the other hand, are often more affordable and still very entertaining.

One top-rated recommendation is Titanique the Musical , which features Céline Dion taking over a Titanic Museum tour for a creative retelling of the iconic film.

You can also check out the current lineup at theaters like the Lucille Lortel Theatre, Linda Gross Theater, and Cherry Lane Theater, to name a few.

26. Go glamping on Governors Island

Governors Island is a 172-acre car-free island accessible via a short ferry ride from Lower Manhattan. While it has a rich military history, today it is known for its incredible views, outdoor recreation, public art, and many annual events like the Jazz Age Lawn Party, a celebration of all things 1920s, and Pinknic, a music festival with lots of rose wine.

If you’re looking for one of the most quirky things to do in New York, you can even stay overnight on Governors Island in a luxury camping retreat!

Bonus: thanks to the views, Governors Island is also one of the most Instagrammable places in NYC .

By the way, if you’re looking for fun things to do for your birthday in NYC , consider renting a grill for the day at Picnic Point — which offers epic views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline!

Manhattan skyline view from Governors Island

27. Check out the 191st Street tunnel

The subway station at 191st Street in Manhattan is the deepest in the city, at 18 stories underground. This subway station is also home to the colorful “Tunnel Street” which is New York’s only underground street, making it one of the most unusual places in NYC.

Although it’s off the beaten path for most tourists, the 191st Street tunnel is worth a visit due to the colorful graffiti murals lining the underground street.

And while lesser known, it’s one of the best places to take photos in New York City !

28. Eat your way through Harlem

Because of its location further uptown, Harlem is a Manhattan neighborhood that often gets overlooked by tourists; however, this culturally rich neighborhood has tons to offer, including some of the best soul and comfort food restaurants such as:

  • Sylvia’s
  • Red Rooster
  • Melba’s

You can also click here to book a fun local tour of Harlem!

29. Shop a sample sale

New York is known for its great shopping, but skip the expensive designer stores of Fifth Avenue and hit a sample sale instead. Sample sales are a great way to score designer clothing at a steep discount. Here is a calendar to help you find a few you’re interested in.

30. Visit El Museo del Barrio

El Museo del Barrio is a museum of Latin American and Caribbean art. It’s part of Upper East Side’s “Museum Mile”, making it easy to visit other nearby cultural institutions, too.

31. Eat your way around Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market is a large indoor food hall in the Meatpacking District. While tourists certainly visit, it’s a local favorite as well, thanks to the dozens of food vendors to choose from.

Oh, and there is a rich history to explore here, too. In fact, this used to be the Nabisco Factory and was the birthplace of the Oreo Cookie!

Along with food, you can shop local makers at Artists & Fleas, immerse yourself in a moving art installation at Artechouse, see a show at Chelsea Music Hall, and more.

32. Walk the Manhattan Bridge

While the Brooklyn Bridge is undeniably gorgeous and a uniquely New York attraction , it’s also incredibly touristy, thanks to the fact that it’s famous and is also one of the best places to take pictures in NYC .

Luckily, if you’re looking to explore non-touristy NYC, there are alternative options — like the Manhattan Bridge, which offers a view of the Brooklyn Bridge, or the more industrial-looking Williamsburg Bridge .

Here is a short video sharing what walking across the Manhattan Bridge is like:

33. Bike the George Washington Bridge

Prefer to cycle? Biking the George Washington Bridge is a fun and scenic experience that takes you from Manhattan to New Jersey’s Palisades Interstate Park. The Palisades connects smaller parks, one of which is the beautiful 33-acre clifftop Fort Lee Historic Park.

Non-Touristy Things To Do In Brooklyn

Brooklyn is another popular borough in New York . Here are some of the best NYC non-tourist attractions that can be found in Brooklyn:

34. See (& paint) street art in Bushwick

Bushwick is one of Brooklyn’s best neighborhoods for art, especially public street art and graffiti. You can easily spend a couple hours on foot exploring this artistic neighborhood.

Feeling inspired? You can take a graffiti lesson to create your own street art. It’s one of the most fun things to do in Bushwick !

35. Eat at DeKalb Market Hall

DeKalb Market Hall is an indoor food hall located in Downtown Brooklyn . With over 40 food vendors, you won’t go hungry here.

36. Stroll the Brooklyn Heights Promenade

Strolling the Brooklyn Heights Promenade is one of the best non touristy things to do in NYC.

Brooklyn Heights is a charming residential neighborhood filled with brownstones and leafy green trees.

The Brooklyn Heights Promenade runs along the waterfront and offers some of the best views in NYC , particularly of the Manhattan skyline. It’s the perfect place to go for a walk on a nice day, especially since it also connects to Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO for even more incredible views.

walking the Brooklyn Heights Promenade is one of the best non-touristy things to do in NYC

37. Relax in Prospect Park

Manhattan might have Central Park, but Brooklyn has Prospect Park. Hanging out in this sprawling oasis is one of the best things to do in NYC that are not for tourists. You’ll find tons of locals hanging out with friends and enjoying a picnic on sunny days.

Bonus: as with Central Park — which has the same designer and architect — you’ll also find loads of attractions within the park.

38. Hunt for treasures at Brooklyn Flea

Love vintage shopping? Head to Brooklyn Flea , a large weekend flea market in DUMBO where you can browse vintage clothing, furniture, art, and antiques. Note that this market also has a location in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.

39. Check out Green-Wood Cemetery

One of the more unusual things to do in New York City is visiting Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. This historic cemetery is the final resting place of many famous New Yorkers like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Leonard Bernstein, and is surprisingly beautiful. Explore their self-guided resources and group tours here .

40. Explore the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

One of the most tranquil places in New York is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden , which is open year-round. It is among one of the underrated things to do in New York.

You can catch spring blooms, fall foliage, and a special winter lights display.

Love hot food? Their annual Chile Pepper Festival is a must, with live music, spicy samples, and a spicy chocolate village.

Colorful plants at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, a top attraction in New York City

41. Visit a rooftop farm

Looking for more NYC off-the-beaten-path spots?

You wouldn’t expect to find a working farm in New York City, but that’s exactly what Brooklyn Grange is! This urban rooftop farm offers yoga, events, and tours that shed light on their operations and sustainability efforts.

42. Check out the Brooklyn Museum

While Manhattan is better known for having great museums, Brooklyn has its fair share too. The Brooklyn Museum is an incredible art museum that is the third-largest in New York City. Dating back to the 1820s, their permanent collection includes Arts of Africa, Arts of the Islamic World, Decorative Arts, Contemporary Art, and American Art.

43. Feast at Smorgasburg

Smorgasburg is an outdoor food market that happens in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, as well as several other locations. The market features creative and inventive food from all around the city in one place.

Williamsburg also hosts some of the best Brooklyn walking food tours if you’d like to continue eating!

44. Sip wine at Rooftop Reds

Rooftop Reds is the world’s first rooftop vineyard — and it’s located right in the Brooklyn Navy Yard! Sip a glass or opt for a flight while taking in epic skyline views.

45. Visit the City Reliquary

One of the more unusual things to do in NYC is visiting the City Reliquary, one of the most fun things to do in Williamsburg, Brooklyn . Along with putting on rotating exhibitions that promote local stories and makers, this offbeat museum displays quirky NYC artifacts like L-train paint fragments, a decaying birthday cake, vintage signs, and more. This is certainly one of the more weird NYC attractions — in a good way!

46. Get some sun at Coney Island

Coney Island is a waterfront neighborhood in Brooklyn that is home to a popular beach and amusement park. This has long been a popular weekend getaway for New Yorkers during the summer.

Pro tip: if you can time your visit to align with the annual Mermaid Parade, you won’t regret it, as it’s the largest art parade in the United States .

Non-Touristy Things To Do In Queens

Queens is the most diverse borough in NYC and is home to many offbeat New York City attractions. Here are some of the best things to do in Queens .

47. Surf at Rockaway Beach

Did you know it’s possible to go surfing in New York City? It’s true! One of the most offbeat things to do in NYC is go surfing at Rockaway Beach in Queens, the city’s only legal surfing beach.

Can’t surf? Don’t worry, there are also stretches of beach with gentler waves along the Rockaway Peninsula. One pick is Jacob Riis Park, a gay and topless beach with soft sand and a party atmosphere.

Rockaway Beach is one of the best non-touristy places in NYC

48. Check out Socrates Sculpture Park

Located in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens , Socrates Sculpture Park is an awesome free attraction. It’s a beautiful park featuring large-scale sculpture and multimedia installations.

49. Explore the Flushing Chinatown

The Chinatown neighborhood of Manhattan is very popular, but it is often overrun with tourists; however, Queens is home to another even large Chinatown in Flushing. This authentic and diverse neighborhood is home to tons of great food, shopping, and the popular Queens Night Market.

You can also book a food tour of Flushing to have a local show you the best spots to eat while sharing the fascinating history of the area.

50. Visit the Queens Museum

The Queens Museum is a hidden gem when it comes to New York City cultural institutions. This visual arts museum houses an impressive collection, and is completely free to visit.

51. Visit the Noguchi Museum

Another excellent museum that’s part of the vibrant arts scene in Queens is the Noguchi Museum , which is dedicated to the works of Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi.

52. Relax at Gantry Plaza State Park

Gantry Plaza State Park is a waterfront park that offers ample space and stunning views of the Manhattan skyline from Queens . It’s a great spot to sit and relax on a nice day, or even enjoy some great NYC views at night when the skyline is lit up.

views of the Manhattan skyline from Gantry Plaza State Park in Queens

53. Visit the MoMA PS1

The Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan is one of New York’s most popular museums for tourists to visit; but MoMA PS1 — the museum’s branch in Queens that is housed in a former public school — is one of the most underrated places in NYC for contemporary works. Additionally, if visiting in the summer don’t miss their “Warm Up” series for live outdoor music.

Non-Touristy Things To Do In The Bronx

The Bronx is another one of New York City’s boroughs that is often skipped by tourists — unless they are going to a Yankees game; however, this borough has more to offer than just baseball. Here are some unusual places to visit in New York City that can be found in The Bronx:

54. Check out the Bronx’s Little Italy

While Little Italy in Manhattan used to be a real Italian neighborhood, it’s now more known for overpriced tourist traps than authentic Italian food.

Luckily, Arthur Avenue in The Bronx fills the gap by showcasing what Little Italy in Manhattan used to be. This Italian-American neighborhood is still very authentic and home to many delicious Italian restaurants.

Pro tip: don’t miss the fresh mozzarella at Joe’s Italian Deli. Delicious!

55. Eat your way through the Bronx Night Market

Another activity foodies will love is visiting the Bronx Night Market , an outdoor food market that also showcases live music, arts and crafts vendors, art installations, and family fun.

56. Relax at Wave Hill

Wave Hill is one of the most peaceful and beautiful places in The Bronx. These beautiful public gardens along the Hudson River in the Riverdale neighborhood will make you feel like you’ve been transported out of the city entirely.

57. Visit NYC’s largest park at Pelham Bay Park

If you thought Central Park in Manhattan’s Upper East Side was NYC’s largest public park, think again. Actually, at 843 acres, Central Park clocks in at number five in terms of size.

The largest public park is actually Pelham Bay Park in The Bronx at 2,772 acres. Here you can hike the local trails (keep your eyes out for deer!), explore the historic Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, play a round at the Pelham Bay & Split Rock Golf Courses, sunbathe at Orchard Beach, and more.

This New York City off the beaten path location won’t disappoint you!

fields at the lesser-known NYC Pelham Bay Park

58. Explore City Island

On a small island next to The Bronx, you’ll find City Island — a neighborhood that feels a world apart from the rest of NYC. With its quaint cottages, lighthouses, seafood restaurants, and marinas, the vibe is more that of a coastal New England town than typical New York City.

59. Check out the Bronx Museum

The Bronx is home to several world-class museums, including the Bronx Museum of the Arts , which is home to various contemporary art exhibitions and over 2,000 works.

60. Visit the New York Botanical Garden

For more tranquil gardens, you can’t miss the New York Botanical Garden in The Bronx. This sprawling garden — which is also home to waterfalls — is the perfect place to spend a sunny weekend day.

Non-Touristy Things To Do On Staten Island

Almost everything you do on Staten Island can be considered non-touristy, because this is New York City’s least-visited borough. Here are some offbeat things to do on Staten Island :

61. Enjoy the cooking of global grandmas

Looking for the best non-touristy places to eat in NYC? At Enoteca Maria , one of the more unique restaurants in New York , nonnas (grandmothers) take center stage.

Nobody cooks better than grandma, and here you can savor organic meals cooked by grandmothers from around the world — from Italy to Japan and beyond.

62. Visit the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

A highlight of Staten Island is the beautiful and tranquil Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden . With seasonal gardens, a heritage farm, and visual and performing arts programming, you can easily spend hours exploring.

63. Go back in time in Historic Richmond Town

One of the most offbeat things to do in New York City is visiting Historic Richmond Town , a living-history village and museum complex that features restored buildings dating back to the late 1600s and actors helping to bring history to life.

64. Ride the Staten Island Ferry

If you’re wondering what to do in NYC that is also free, the Staten Island ferry connects Manhattan to Staten Island and offers great views of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Best of all, it’s completely free to ride, and you can take beer on board for a DIY cruise or romantic NYC experience .

Riding the Staten Island Ferry to explore non-touristy NYC

Tips For Finding The Best Non-Touristy Things To Do In NYC

While this list provides a great starting point for going beyond your guidebook and exploring New York like a local, here is some additional advice for finding the top not-touristy things to do in NYC:

Subscribe to New York City newsletters. These are typically written by locals and share cool non-touristy things to do in NYC from events to pop-ups and beyond. A few to check out include The Skint , Secret NYC , Bucketlisters NYC , and Nonsense NYC , all of which share things to do in NYC for locals.

Research your interests. No matter what niche interest you may have, you’ll likely be able to explore it in NYC through museums, classes, and experiences. This is also true if you’re looking for New York’s more unusual places, as there are plenty!

Look for alternative things to do in NYC. If everyone is walking the Brooklyn Bridge, try walking the Manhattan Bridge or the Williamsburg Bridge instead. Or if you hear the Top of the Rock offers a great view, opt for something more secret — like the rooftop at the Kimberly Hotel, which is also perfect for those looking to explore New York after midnight . Actively seeking out alternatives to popular options can help you have a unique NYC experience.

Wander without a plan. You can walk for hours in New York City without getting bored, as there is something to see on every corner. If you really want to explore NYC like a local, pick an interesting neighborhood to wander like SoHo or Long Island City and see what you discover.

Unique Tours In NYC

Looking for unique things to do in New York City? The following tours can help take you beyond the guidebook:

  • Private NYC Photo Tours & Custom Shoots (Jessie’s company!)
  • Second-Hand & Vintage Shopping Tours in NYC
  • Secrets of Central Park
  • NYC Salsa & Latin Dancing Experience
  • Cupcake Walking Tour in NYC
  • NYC Lower East Side Culture & Food Tastings Tour
  • High Line Park & Greenwich Village Food Tour

➡️ Click here for a full list of NYC tours!

Best Hotels In NYC

Looking to stay overnight in NYC? There are so many incredible hotels, like NoMo SoHo , the  Arlo Williamsburg , and The Ludlow .

➡️ Click here for a full list of New York City hotels!

Prefer self-contained stays? 

➡️ Click here to check out unique local rentals!

You can also use this map to search for local stays. It is set to SoHo, but you can easily change it to your specific NYC neighborhood.

And if you’re interested in  living in a hotel in NYC , there are numerous extended stay hotel options too!

Travel Insurance For NYC

When visiting New York City—or anywhere else in the world—it’s wise to get travel insurance.

For this, I have two recommendations:

SafetyWing . If you’re looking for something straightforward and budget-friendly, you can’t beat SafetyWing. They offer one global policy that you can cancel at any time or continue paying for long-term coverage (making it the perfect option for digital nomads!).

Their plan includes medical coverage, trip interruptions, personal liability, unplanned overnight stays, lost luggage, and more.

World Nomads . For something more comprehensive, World Nomads is a great option. While you’ll pay a bit more, you’ll typically get higher coverage maximums as well as additional inclusions—like trip cancellation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Non-Touristy Things To Do In NYC

Q) what part of manhattan is the least visited by tourists.

Roosevelt Island is one of the least visited parts of Manhattan by tourists.

Q) What do locals do in NYC?

Locals usually visit the parks, brunch with friends, explore lesser-known museums, go for urban hikes, or watch off-Broadway shows.

What non-touristy things to do in NYC would you add to this list?

Enjoyed this guide to off the beaten path things to do in NYC ? Pin these New York alternative things to do for later!

Related posts:

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Locals Recommend: 9 Things to Do in NYC

local places to visit in nyc

What should you do in NYC? We asked some New Yorkers. They gave us their best tips on how to explore the Big Apple, from hopping on the subway to finding the city's best bagels to definitely (definitely) getting out of Manhattan. 

For personalized advice on things to do in NYC have a local plan your trip. They'll help you see a side of their hometown that most tourists miss. Learn more . 

#1: Get out of Manhattan

Brooklyn Bridge Things to Do in NYC

Manhattan is wonderful. But locals note that it's only 1/5 of NYC—you'll find many of New York's coolest places to visit in the  other  four boroughs. 

Aside from Manhattan, where should you go? Locals say it depends on your travel style . Our trip planners say that Brooklyn is a great place to enjoy local breweries, that you'll find fantastic Asian cuisine in Queens (dim sum!!), and that the Bronx Botanical Garden is really fantastic. 

Plus, you can easily hop on a train to an entirely different universe— upstate New York ! Not far from the city, you'll find fantastic nature, hiking trails, small towns, and places to camp. We have local trip planners in the Hudson Valley and the Catskills .

If you're planning a large-group trip upstate, we recommend skipping the rental car and using instead. They pair travelers with vetted bus companies across North America—and can even help you find a van. It's a great option for event organizers or independent tour groups, especially in the current climate! 

Local tip :  Staten Island gets a bad rap, but taking the ferry there is free—and the island offers some cool hikes. 

#2: Wander  through  Times Square...

Locals tell us they get it. If it's your first time in NYC, you're going to want to go to Times Square. (They note, however, that you won't see any local New Yorkers there.) 

Wander through, look at the lights, and snap a selfie. But then walk a few blocks. There's a ton of cool stuff nearby. 

If you walk about fifteen minutes  south , locals say you'll get to Koreatown—and delicious Korean food. Walk a few blocks to the  west , you'll hit the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood—and more fantastic restaurants. Our trip planners say you'll also find some great museums within walking distance, including some hidden gems—like the beautiful Morgan Library . 

#3: Have a hot dog (or some halal food)

Food Carts Things to Do in NYC

Sure, you'll find plenty of incredible restaurants in New York. But there's something special about NYC street food. Maybe it's because everyone in New York has  somewhere  to be, which makes these grab-and-go meals an important part of city life.

Locals can provide you some direction when it comes to their favorite street food snacks. Hot dogs, obviously, are iconic. (Especially NYC's so-called " dirty water dogs ”.) Or, visit a halal cart to grab a delicious meal of chicken or lamb over rice. (Our trip planners in New York recommend getting white sauce  and  hot sauce). 

As for the most important meal of the day? Locals assure us you'll find fantastic breakfast carts on almost every corner. Go ahead and grab a bagel, muffin, or donut before power walking your way through the city streets. 

Local tip:  Definitely check out  New York City farmers' markets . And in the summer, go to Williamsburg to eat lunch at Smorgasburg . They have dozens of vendors all with different kinds of food.

#4: Catch a live show

Broadway is cool and you should go. But locals tell us that you'll find live shows throughout NYC. Everything from underground (and free) comedy clubs to Shakespeare in the Park to immersive theater experiences . NYC draws creatives. And the result is that you'll find shows all over the city, every night of the week. 

If you love music, see what a like-minded local says about their favorite venues. Our trip planners tell us that the historic  Blue Note is great for jazz. If you love indie-rock, go see a show at  Baby’s All Right . More into traditional music? Visit the  NY Philharmonic  or the  Metropolitan Opera . 

Local   tip :  If your New York City budget is not Broadway sized but you want to see a show, try to get discounted tickets at TKTS .

#4: Eat as much iconic NYC food as you can

Yup, another  must-do  in New York City has to do with eating. There are just so many incredible eats here.

The two big ones? Bagels and pizza. 

You'll have  so many  choices for these in New York, so get some local advice . Our trip planners tell us that 2 Bros Pizza , Joe’s , and  DiFara’s are all great. And those $1 slices always do the trick. 

For bagels, they tell us it really depends.  Some people prefer the smaller, chewy style of Bagel Bob’s . Some prefer the fluffier fare at Leo’s . But all can agree on the NYC magic of a fresh-baked everything bagel with generous globs of cream cheese.

Local tip : T here are up to 800 languages spoken within the 5 boroughs   which means you can likely find whatever kind of cuisine you want. You'll find  Ukraine food in Brighton Beach; Shanghai snacks in Flushing; and Polish dumplings in Greenpoint.

#5: Bask in Central Park...

Central Park Things to Do in NYC

We're all about getting off the beaten path, but the well-known and well-loved Central Park is absolutely worth a visit. Plus, this park is full of so many twisting trails that it  is  possible to wander from the main drag.

Locals suggest wandering the thirty-six miles of the Ramble , sunbathing in Sheep Meadow, or simply wandering around. You're bound to discover some treasures. 

#6: ...but make sure to explore Prospect Park too

Is Central Park incredible? Yes. Is Prospect Park in Brooklyn  more incredible? Possibly—even Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed both parks, saw Prospect Park as his "masterpiece ."

And locals  love  Prospect Park. They tell us that it's quieter than Central Park, and feels more like a hidden gem than its well-traveled Manhattan sibling. 

What to do here? Our trip planners suggest wandering the trails, watching the dogs splash around Dog Beach, seeing a show at the bandshell, or visiting the beautiful   Brooklyn Botanical Gardens .

#7: Hop on the subway

Subway Things to do in NYC

The subway may  seem  intimidating. But locals tell us that New York's prime form of transportation is safe, easy to use, and extensive. It's a  must  if you want to explore every corner of the city. 

So get that Metrocard ! If you're going to be using the subway often, our trip planners suggest getting a 1-week unlimited pass. They also note that, at many stations in Manhattan, you don't need a Metrocard at all. You can tap your credit card or your smartphone to enter the turnstile. 

#8: Wander through as many museums as possible

Museums play a huge role in New York’s status as a hub of art and history. Locals love them just as much as tourists. They suggest visiting the Met and the MoMA of course, but also highly recommend branching out and visiting some of the less-touristy spots—like the Guggenheim , the New Museum , the Museum of Sex.

#9: Discover the hidden gems—see NYC like the locals do

Hidden Gems Things to Do in NYC

New York City is huge. Huge, and constantly changing. That means that new places are popping up all the time. Guidebooks and Internet lists simply can't keep pace with everything going on in this dynamic city. When you work with a local to plan your trip, they'll let you know about the activities they adore. Maybe it'll be the Greenmarket at Grand Army Plaza. Or maybe catching a show at Rough Trade in Williamsburg...or maybe....

Basically, there's a New York City that the tourists see...and an entirely different city that the locals love. Why see New York City like a tourist when you could see it like a local? 

Ready to get started? Work with a local to build your trip . And for more on NYC travel, check out: 

  • Is New York City Safe (2024 Update)
  • New York City Travel FAQ
  • Where To Stay in New York: Neighborhood Guide
  • New York Transportation Guide
  • NYC Travel Prices


Looking for more info?

Chasing Foxes

Chasing Foxes

Local's Guide to New York: 15 Places You (Should) Be Seeing

Posted: April 11, 2024 | Last updated: April 11, 2024

<p>New York City is packed with must-see spots, but so many recommendations seem to come from travel bloggers who’ve only been there for 3 days max.</p> <p>And normal suggestions might include hitting up Times Square, catching a Broadway show, or taking a ferry ride.</p> <p>But I think you and I know that it’s the locals who <em>really</em> know the best spots to explore in New York city.</p> <p>So with that said, I’ve gathered tips from these seasoned New Yorkers, and every single one has made it onto my personal “Things to Do in New York” bucket list.</p>

New York City is packed with must-see spots, but so many recommendations seem to come from travel bloggers who’ve only been there for 3 days max.

And normal suggestions might include hitting up Times Square, catching a Broadway show, or taking a ferry ride.

But I think you and I know that it’s the locals who really know the best spots to explore in New York city.

So with that said, I’ve gathered tips from these seasoned New Yorkers, and every single one has made it onto my personal “Things to Do in New York” bucket list.

<p>According to Adrienne Jordan, this super cute and chic cafe is a great place to grab breakfast! </p><p>Maybe a good place to eat for your first morning in NYC?</p><p class="has-medium-font-size"><strong>Here are her tips:</strong></p><blockquote class="wp-block-quote"> <p>“The venue serves favorites including avocado toast, a pulled pork Benedict, chili scrambled eggs and whipped waffles with salted caramel.</p> <p>If you go for breakfast on the weekends, try to arrive before 9:30 a.m., as the neighborhood starts to wake up around then and tables can book up fast.”</p> </blockquote>

1. Hole in the Wall Cafe

According to Adrienne Jordan, this super cute and chic cafe is a great place to grab breakfast!

Maybe a good place to eat for your first morning in NYC?

Here are her tips:

“The venue serves favorites including avocado toast, a pulled pork Benedict, chili scrambled eggs and whipped waffles with salted caramel. If you go for breakfast on the weekends, try to arrive before 9:30 a.m., as the neighborhood starts to wake up around then and tables can book up fast.”

<p>Former home of the magnate Henry Clay Frick, you’re going to be able to spend an amazing morning and/or afternoon looking at the beautiful collection of statues and paintings.</p><p>I’d say enjoy a good cup of coffee beforehand, put some relaxing music on, and enjoy the art.</p>

2. Frick Collection

Former home of the magnate Henry Clay Frick, you’re going to be able to spend an amazing morning and/or afternoon looking at the beautiful collection of statues and paintings.

I’d say enjoy a good cup of coffee beforehand, put some relaxing music on, and enjoy the art.

<p>Find a quiet morning to go and relax on this elevated park. It honestly looks like such a great place to hang out, enjoy a pastry and a hot drink, and talk with a friend.</p><p>Or just listen to the sounds of the city and take photos. </p>

3. High Line Park

Find a quiet morning to go and relax on this elevated park. It honestly looks like such a great place to hang out, enjoy a pastry and a hot drink, and talk with a friend.

Or just listen to the sounds of the city and take photos.

<p class="has-medium-font-size"><strong><a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Monica Francis</a> says…</strong></p><p>“Not many people make it up to Central Park’s <strong><a href="">Conservatory Garden</a> </strong>(Upper East Side), so it’s rarely busy. </p><p><strong>There are three beautiful formal gardens here:</strong> French, Italian, and English. </p><p>Wander through and choose your favorite, or just choose your favorite bench and settle in.”</p>

4. Three Recommendations for the Conservatory Garden

Monica Francis says…

“Not many people make it up to Central Park’s Conservatory Garden (Upper East Side), so it’s rarely busy.

There are three beautiful formal gardens here: French, Italian, and English.

Wander through and choose your favorite, or just choose your favorite bench and settle in.”

<p>New York is apparently filled with jazz bars!</p><p class="has-medium-font-size"><strong>Here’s what a few locals are saying…</strong></p><p>“-I’ve been to <strong><a href="" rel="noopener">Antique Garage</a></strong> in Soho that had live jazz and had a blast. The interior was so neat and since it was summer, the windows were open and you felt transformed into another place.”</p><p><strong>Another local named John adds,</strong> “For the Jazz soaking, I would also recommend <strong><a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Small’s in West Village</a></strong>.”</p><p><strong>And lastly, Molly says, </strong>“<strong><a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">The Blue Note</a></strong> is a famous spot and has wonderful shows (drinks too). Also, mentioned in the guide is <strong><a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Bemelman’s Bar</a></strong>, which features live jazz along with famous (excellent) cocktails on the Upper East Side.”</p>

5. The Jazz Bars

New York is apparently filled with jazz bars!

Here’s what a few locals are saying…

“-I’ve been to  Antique Garage in Soho that had live jazz and had a blast. The interior was so neat and since it was summer, the windows were open and you felt transformed into another place.”

Another local named John adds, “For the Jazz soaking, I would also recommend Small’s in West Village .”

And lastly, Molly says, “ The Blue Note is a famous spot and has wonderful shows (drinks too). Also, mentioned in the guide is Bemelman’s Bar , which features live jazz along with famous (excellent) cocktails on the Upper East Side.”

<p class="has-medium-font-size"><strong>Monica also adds this New York tip:</strong></p><p>“The jumbled streets of the West Village are perfect for getting lost on purpose and stumbling upon plenty of classic New York vignettes. If you don’t bring a camera here, you’ll regret it.”</p>

6. Explore the West Village

Monica also adds this New York tip:

“The jumbled streets of the West Village are perfect for getting lost on purpose and stumbling upon plenty of classic New York vignettes. If you don’t bring a camera here, you’ll regret it.”

<p>“Every morning, dozens of shops in the <strong><a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">flower district</a></strong> fill the sidewalks of 28th Street with fresh blooms and branches. Pick up a bouquet for your hotel room, buy armfuls of florals for a party, or just admire the scene.” – <strong>Monica</strong></p>

7. The Flower District

“Every morning, dozens of shops in the flower district fill the sidewalks of 28th Street with fresh blooms and branches. Pick up a bouquet for your hotel room, buy armfuls of florals for a party, or just admire the scene.” – Monica

<p><strong><a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Cup of Jo</a>, </strong>a blog run by Joanna Godard, is one of my favorite places to relax and read. And because she’s a blogger who hails from New York + always has great tips, <strong>I trust her advice here…</strong> </p><p><strong>She says this about Balthazar</strong>, “Soho’s famous, bustling, never-gets-old French brasserie, anytime of day or night.”</p>

8. Balthazar

Cup of Jo , a blog run by Joanna Godard, is one of my favorite places to relax and read. And because she’s a blogger who hails from New York + always has great tips, I trust her advice here…

She says this about Balthazar , “Soho’s famous, bustling, never-gets-old French brasserie, anytime of day or night.”

<p class="has-medium-font-size"><strong>So where is this Greek tavern? A local New Yorker answered:</strong></p><p>“… in Chinatown, where incredible food is served in an old paper shop that feels like a secret haunt.”</p><p>A Greek tavern in Chinatown with some <em>incredible </em>reviews, and a cool location. </p><p>It’s now on my New York to-do list.</p>

9. Kiki’s Greek Tavern

So where is this Greek tavern? A local New Yorker answered:

“… in Chinatown, where incredible food is served in an old paper shop that feels like a secret haunt.”

A Greek tavern in Chinatown with some incredible reviews, and a cool location.

It’s now on my New York to-do list.

<p class="has-medium-font-size"><strong>Insider Tip from Briar:</strong></p><p>“One of the best things we did was book a pay-what-you-like food walking tour around Lower East Side (where we were staying). </p><p>It sounded ridiculous at the time, but we basically ran from a delicious steaming food stop to delicious steaming food stop. </p><p>It helped us find the closest and tastiest food near us, which was an excellent motivator to leave our cozy beds, and gave us somewhere reliable to eat on our way home late, with cold feet and grumbling tummies!”</p><p><strong><a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Here’s a link to the tour.</a></strong></p>

10. Lower East Side Pay-What-You-Like Walking Food Tour

Insider Tip from Briar:

“One of the best things we did was book a pay-what-you-like food walking tour around Lower East Side (where we were staying).

It sounded ridiculous at the time, but we basically ran from a delicious steaming food stop to delicious steaming food stop.

It helped us find the closest and tastiest food near us, which was an excellent motivator to leave our cozy beds, and gave us somewhere reliable to eat on our way home late, with cold feet and grumbling tummies!”

Here’s a link to the tour.

<p class="has-medium-font-size"><strong>I had no idea that the Loeb Boathouse existed but it needs to be done. Thank you <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Wit & Whimsey</a> for this idea!</strong></p><p>“There’s something so magical about some of the first Central Park days of the season. You still need a light jacket but the temperatures are perfect for long (she’s writign this in spring), carefree strolls and The Boathouse is the ideal landing spot when you want to rest your feet and have a cocktail on their terrace overlooking the boat pond. Some of my favorite afternoons have been spent doing just that with nowhere to go afterward. It’s pure bliss. (Highly recommend going to Sprinkles Ice Cream afterward for a spring treat. I just went and am mildly obsessed.)”</p>

11. The Loeb Boathouse

I had no idea that the Loeb Boathouse existed but it needs to be done. Thank you Wit & Whimsey for this idea!

“There’s something so magical about some of the first Central Park days of the season. You still need a light jacket but the temperatures are perfect for long (she’s writign this in spring), carefree strolls and The Boathouse is the ideal landing spot when you want to rest your feet and have a cocktail on their terrace overlooking the boat pond. Some of my favorite afternoons have been spent doing just that with nowhere to go afterward. It’s pure bliss. (Highly recommend going to Sprinkles Ice Cream afterward for a spring treat. I just went and am mildly obsessed.)”

<p class="has-medium-font-size"><strong>Sam from <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Find Love and Travel </a>says…</strong></p><p>“The Edge, known as one of the best Sky Decks in NYC! It just opened in 2020 and is known as the highest outdoor sky deck in the West Hemisphere!</p><p>Make your way to the 100th story where you will enjoy unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline along with a partial glass bottom deck.”</p>

12. The Edge

Sam from Find Love and Travel says…

“The Edge, known as one of the best Sky Decks in NYC! It just opened in 2020 and is known as the highest outdoor sky deck in the West Hemisphere!

Make your way to the 100th story where you will enjoy unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline along with a partial glass bottom deck.”

<p class="has-medium-font-size"><strong>Another New York Insider Tip from Sam:</strong> </p><p>“If you happen to be visiting New York around the holidays, the Hudson Yards does a great light display you won’t want to miss.”</p>

13. The Hudson Yards

Another New York Insider Tip from Sam:

“If you happen to be visiting New York around the holidays, the Hudson Yards does a great light display you won’t want to miss.”

<p class="has-medium-font-size"><strong><a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">To Be Bright </a>gave a great recommendation for a farmer’s market and since I love going to them, I thought I’d pass it your way:</strong></p><p>“Dubbed “Bay Ridge’s Town Hall,” long-time residents and families who are <span>new</span> to the neighborhood meet to shop, share recipes and catch up with their neighbors at this Greenmarket that provides a gathering space for the tight-knit Bay Ridge community. A great selection of producers providing everything from fresh caught fish, baked goods, and a bounty of seasonal fruit, vegetables, and flowers draw shoppers week after week, all season long.”</p>

14. Bay Ridge Greenmarket

To Be Bright gave a great recommendation for a farmer’s market and since I love going to them, I thought I’d pass it your way:

“Dubbed “Bay Ridge’s Town Hall,” long-time residents and families who are  new to the neighborhood meet to shop, share recipes and catch up with their neighbors at this Greenmarket that provides a gathering space for the tight-knit Bay Ridge community. A great selection of producers providing everything from fresh caught fish, baked goods, and a bounty of seasonal fruit, vegetables, and flowers draw shoppers week after week, all season long.”

<p class="has-medium-font-size"><strong>I love bicycling and especially when I don’t have to deal with traffic, so I really appreciate this tip from <a href="" rel="noopener"><span><strong> <a href="">Dana Berez</a></strong></span></a>: </strong></p><p>“One of my favorite things to do is bike along the West Side Highway. This path spans from downtown Manhattan all the way to the Upper West Side.</p><p><strong>The best part? </strong>There is no car traffic on this path so it’s perfect for getting used to biking in NYC.”</p>

15. Bike Along the West Side Highway

I love bicycling and especially when I don’t have to deal with traffic, so I really appreciate this tip from   Dana Berez : 

“One of my favorite things to do is bike along the West Side Highway. This path spans from downtown Manhattan all the way to the Upper West Side.

The best part? There is no car traffic on this path so it’s perfect for getting used to biking in NYC.”

<p>This one is my personal recommendation. I know I’m not a local, but I had to share at least one recommendation. :)</p><p>Celebrity chef Dominique Ansel is famous for perfecting the “cronut,” a mix between a croissant and a doughnut.</p><p>We had heard about its incredibly flaky layers and perfect flavors so we decided to give it a try. I was actually concerned that it wasn’t going to be that great, but it <em><strong>actually</strong></em> lived up to the hype.</p><p>The flavors change every so often and if I remember correctly (this was back in December of 2019), we had a cream cheese chocolate cronut.</p><p>And if that’s not something you really want, then I definitely recommend going anyway. They have a <strong>huge</strong> assortment of different pastries and goodies curated by an expert French pastry chef. 👌</p><p>Post Originally Published on Chasing Foxes.</p>

Bonus: Dominique Ansel Bakery

This one is my personal recommendation. I know I’m not a local, but I had to share at least one recommendation. :)

Celebrity chef Dominique Ansel is famous for perfecting the “cronut,” a mix between a croissant and a doughnut.

We had heard about its incredibly flaky layers and perfect flavors so we decided to give it a try. I was actually concerned that it wasn’t going to be that great, but it actually lived up to the hype.

The flavors change every so often and if I remember correctly (this was back in December of 2019), we had a cream cheese chocolate cronut.

And if that’s not something you really want, then I definitely recommend going anyway. They have a huge assortment of different pastries and goodies curated by an expert French pastry chef. 👌

Post Originally Published on Chasing Foxes.

<p>If you’re looking for some incredible travel locations, or want to be inspired, then these 3 places are going to give you some serious wanderlust!</p><p><strong>Read Here: </strong><a href=""><strong>3 Places That Will Make You Go, “I Need to Book Tickets Right Now.”</strong></a></p>

3 Destinations You’ve Never Thought About But Will Make You Think, “I Need to Book Tickets Right Now.”

If you’re looking for some incredible travel locations, or want to be inspired, then these 3 places are going to give you some serious wanderlust!

Read Here: 3 Places That Will Make You Go, “I Need to Book Tickets Right Now.”

<p>If you love beautiful desserts and a fun location, then this cafe needs to be on your list!</p><p>The food was great, the drinks were delicious, and I would probably make a pilgrimage to this cafe once a year if I could!</p><p><strong>Read Here: <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">This Cafe Gave Me My Yearly Dose of Estrogen (And I’m Not Complaining)</a></strong></p>

This Cafe Gave Me My Yearly Dose of Estrogen (And I’m Not Complaining)

If you love beautiful desserts and a fun location, then this cafe needs to be on your list!

The food was great, the drinks were delicious, and I would probably make a pilgrimage to this cafe once a year if I could!

Read Here: This Cafe Gave Me My Yearly Dose of Estrogen (And I’m Not Complaining)

<p>San Miguel de Allende is an absolute <em>gem</em> in central Mexico. </p><p>Safe, incredibly beautiful, kind people, and such good food; <strong>it’s no wonder so many retirees have moved here!</strong></p><p><strong>Read Here:<a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener"> My Trip to San Miguel de Allende & Personal Tips When Visiting</a></strong></p>

One of the Most Underrated Destinations in Mexico (& a Retiree’s Paradise)

San Miguel de Allende is an absolute gem in central Mexico.

Safe, incredibly beautiful, kind people, and such good food; it’s no wonder so many retirees have moved here!

Read Here: My Trip to San Miguel de Allende & Personal Tips When Visiting

<p>Riads are traditional Moroccan inns, and if you’d like to relax in the calm courtyard of a beautiful space, and enjoy incredible food and amazing service, then this is the place to go!</p><p><strong>Read Here:</strong> <strong><a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Le Riad Yasmine: A Dreamy Travel Location in Morocco</a></strong></p>

Le Riad Yasmine: A Dreamy Travel Location in Morocco

Riads are traditional Moroccan inns, and if you’d like to relax in the calm courtyard of a beautiful space, and enjoy incredible food and amazing service, then this is the place to go!

Read Here: Le Riad Yasmine: A Dreamy Travel Location in Morocco

<p>If you love Mexican food and you want to know the <strong>best</strong> locations to get incredible dishes in Mexico, then I’ve got you covered!</p><p><strong>Read Here: <a href="" rel="noreferrer noopener">Your Foodie Mexico Guide: 17 Places for the Best Food</a></strong></p>

Your Foodie Mexico Guide: 17 Places for The Best Food

If you love Mexican food and you want to know the best locations to get incredible dishes in Mexico, then I’ve got you covered!

Read Here: Your Foodie Mexico Guide: 17 Places for the Best Food

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37 Places You Must Eat in NYC with Mouth Wateringly Delicious Food!

By: Author Girl with the Passport

Posted on Last updated: February 9, 2024

Categories New York City

Honestly, I don’t know why I haven’t created this post on all of the places you must eat in NYC sooner!

After all, I am a 30+ year local who knows exactly where to go to save some cold, hard cash and eat like a real New Yorker.

In truth though, the delay is probably due to the fact that New York City is basically like the unofficial foodie capital of the world.

As a result, there are just so many beyond amazing places to eat in NYC that it can difficult to narrow the list down to something manageable and that you might actually want to read.

Thankfully though, you have a super handy, incredibly knowledgeable local like me to help you figure out exactly what the best food in New York is; foods that you absolutely need to eat during your 4 days in NYC .

This way, you can quickly and easily get your foodie to swerve on as you eat ALL the feels up in NYC. Yessiree, no lame food chain restaurants for you my friend!

Because on this list, you’ll find nothing but the best places to eat in NYC. That’s why, in this post, I’ll answer all of your most pressing questions about:

  • Where you must eat in NYC
  • What is the most famous food in New York?
  • What food should I try in New York?
  • Where do local New Yorkers eat?

And so much more! So, buckle up my foodie-minded friend because we’re about to swan dive right into this post about all of the places you must eat in NYC!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

⏰Looking for an amazing place to stay while in NYC but haven’t had the time to book your accommodation yet? Try Pod 39 . It is budget friendly and pretty luxurious for the price! ⏰

Where You Must Eat in NYC

An aerial view of a table lots of different meals including waffles, quinoa salad, eggs coffee and more at one of the best places to eat in NYC

Here is a shortlist of all the amazing places you must eat in NYC. These are total foodie meccas that you absolutely must stop by while you’re experiencing the eternal glory that is New York City.

  • Katz Delicatesse n – Order a pastrami sandwich that lives up to ALL the hype
  • Gray Papaya – You can’t leave without trying one of our signature dirty water dogs…I mean hot dogs.
  • The Halal Guys – Cheap and delicious street food. I’d opt for the gyro or falafel myself.
  • J.G, Melon – Get the cheeseburger. It will, no joke, change your life.
  • Los Tacos No. 1 – Order an Al Pastor taco for me. It’s cheap and delish.
  • Nom Wah Tea Parlor – Best dim sum in the city and you can find them in Chinatown.
  • White Bear – This place is in Flushing, Queens (since all the best Chinese food is) and you 100% should get the Chinese-style dumplings.
  • Sunny and Annie Deli – You can’t leave the city without ordering an iconic bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich.
  • Veselka – Get the pierogies but pretty much everything is good.
  • LeVain Bakery – Get the chocolate chip cookies and thank me later.
  • Magnolia Bakery – Get the Banana Bread Pudding for the win.
  • Supermoon Bakery – Order a cruffin (a croissant muffin) so that you can die and go to foodie heaven.
  • Milk Bar – Get the Crack Pie. It’s seriously good. Seriously. A lot of people also love the cereal and milk soft serve but I wasn’t a fan.
  • Dough – Get the dulce de leche doughnut.
  • Artichoke Basille’s Pizza – Their spinach artichoke pizza is basically like spinach artichoke dip on a slice of pizza. So absurdly good.
  • Joe’s Pizza – THE place to go for an iconic slice of NYC-style pizza. They’re also huge and just $4 each.
  • Lucali’s – If you feel like making the trek to Brooklyn then this is THE place to go for pizza. Just get a regular pie.
  • Jongro BBQ – Classic Korean-style barbeque in Koreatown.
  • Emilio’s Ballato – This is the place to go for next level delicious Italian food. Order classics like lasagna, baked clams, chicken Parm, baked ziti, and meatballs
  • Clinton Street Baking Company – Get the blueberry pancakes. So damn good.
  • Russ and Daughters – There’s really no place better for an iconic NY bagel with lox and cream cheese.
  • Jacob’s Pickle’s – Go here for decadent Southern comfort food that is unlike any other. The chocolate chip pancakes are also epic with a capital “e”.
  • The Smith – Stop by for brunch or get the mac and cheese and you will not regret it.
  • Sunday in Brooklyn – One of my all time fave brunch spots in NYC. Head to Williamsburg and get a stack of pancakes with hazelnut butter. So flippin’ good.
  • Little Collins – One of my favie fave Aussie-inspired coffee shops where you can get buttered banana bread or avo toast.

What is the Most Famous Food in New York?

Gosh, there are so many famous foods in New York that it’s hard to pick just one. However, I think some of the city’s most famous foods include pizza (go to Joe’s Pizza or Lucali’s (worth the trip to Brooklyn), bagels with lox and cream cheese (Russ and Daughters has epic bagels, as does Absolute Bagels), bacon egg and cheese (here we pronounce it as one word and you can get one at  Sunny and Annie Deli), hot dogs (Gray’s Papaya is the best), and cheesecake (Junior’s serves up a classic NY-style slice).

What Food Should I try in New York?

Umm…basically everything on this list of places you must eat in NYC. LOL. But in all seriousness, here are some of the best food in New York that you should 110% eat.

  • Pastrami sandwich from Katz Deli
  • Bagel with lox and cream cheese from Russ and Daughters
  • Bacon egg and cheese from Sunny and Annie Deli
  • Slice (of pizza) from Joe’s Pizza (you can also grab a $1 slice from just about anywhere in the city)
  • Coffee from Little Collins or Abraço in the East Village
  • Gray’s Papaya hot dog
  • Falafel from Mamoun’s
  • Entire pizza from Lucali’s
  • Cheeseburger from J.G. Melon
  • Junior’s cheesecake
  • Black and white cookie from Zabar’s

Where do Local New Yorkers Eat?

An aerial view of avocado toast, coffee and a yoghurt bowl on a table from Citizens of Chelsea which is a great place to eat in NYC

Pretty much anywhere that isn’t Manhattan since it’s super touristy and the prices are insanely expensive even for NYC . Yeah, we pay enough for rent and are basically looking for good, cheap eats when we dine out in the city.

But, if you’re looking for some of the places you must eat in NYC where all the locals go, then check out any of the following:

  • Joseph Leonard – Great West Village Cafe where you can stop by for brunch and get the fried chicken sandwich with fried country bacon and an order of Brussel Sprouts with siracha.
  • Joe’s Pizza – Quick and easy place to grab a slice in NYC.
  • Smorgasburg – A great place to go on the weekends to try a bunch of unique and super delish foods in NYC.
  • Katz Deli – The pastrami sandwich is where it’s at.
  • The Dead Rabbit – Great local watering hole where you can go for zucchini fritters, Bernicia Boy (aka an Irish Coffee), Byrrh Wine Daisy, and The Fugitive. Stop by on Sunday to hear live, traditional Irish music.
  • Totto Ramen – Get the torched uni over rice as an appetizer and any of their ramens, although I LOVE the vegiie ramen.
  • Wafles and Dinges – Get the “Wake Up Grumpy” which is a waffle with bacon, egg, and cheese.
  • McSorley’s Old Ale House – Traditional Irish pub (the oldest in the city) that serves light and dark beer in small mugs.
  • St. Anselm – A steakhouse that is way cheaper than Peter Luger’s. Get the butcher steak or the bourbon brined pork chops with a side of creamed spinach and truffle potatoes.
  • Big Gay Ice Cream Shop – Go here for fun and quirky soft serve flavors like The Salty Pimp and American Globs.
  • Cafe Mogador – Great Moroccan food in the East Village where you can go for an affordable brunch.
  • Roberta’s – An awesome place in Bushwick for brick oven pizza. Ask for the “bee-sting” (think sweet and spicy) which is usually not actually on the menu.
  • The Grey Dog – The vibe here is very homey and they also serve some delicious coffee. They also do a great brunch although the pork belly taco, four-cheese mac and cheese, and Baja fish tacos are all really top-notch.

37 Places You Must Eat in NYC

And now – insert drumroll here please – it’s time for my top picks for thirty-five places you must eat in NYC.

No really, trust me on this people. Eat at any one of these fun places to eat in NYC and you will not regret it.

I mean, not only is the food beyond delicious, but many of these places are super affordable too since we locals pay a lot of money in rent and don’t really have a ton of extra cash to spend $50+ per person for a single meal.

So, this list is mostly damn good, NYC  cheap eats that you’ll find scattered all across the city that never sleeps.

1. Katz Delicatessan

The exterior of Katz's deli on the Lower East Side of NYC with people walking out front. This is another great place to eat in NYC

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, then you know all about Katz Delicatessan. It’s basically an insanely famous Jewish deli on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that serves up some of the best – and biggest – pastrami sandwiches in the world.

Yes, I dare you to disagree with me on this one because their sammies are the stuff that foodie dreams are made of. I mean, after all, this place is the oldest Jewish deli in NYC for a reason (FYI, it was first established in 1888).

Therefore, this is easily one of the places you MUST eat in NYC, particularly because this place really does live up to the hype.

Also, expect a line out the door (especially on the weekends) since this place serves up some of the best food in New York and the insanely long lines are indicative of that.

And just in case it wasn’t already obvious, you should be ordering their pastrami sandwich on rye.

Pro Tip: To order here you’ll first need to get a small ticket at the front door upon arrival and then the staff will guide you through the ordering process. And if you lose your ticket? Well, you’ll get a “fine” on your bill at the end of your order. So yeah, don’t do that.

Address: 205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 10:45 pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm.m

Price: $25.95 for this iconic sandwich.

How to Get There: Take the F train to 2nd Avenue station and walk to the deli from there.

2. Gray’s Papaya

Two hot dogs with mustard and ketchup from Gray's Papaya, a fun place to eat in NYC.

Locally known as a dirty water dog, no trip to NYC would be complete with ordering a classic, New York hot dog.

And while you can get them from just about any vendor from around the city, there really is nothing quite like a hot dog from Gray’s Papaya.

Yup, this place is without a doubt one of the many places you must eat in NYC. I mean, it’s an epic, family-owned business that has been around since ye olde 1974.

This place is also so good that they now have two locations in Manhattan where you can get the Recession Special. It’s a whopping, thirty-five-year-old deal that includes two hot dogs and a medium tropical flavored drink (think papaya, coconut, pina colada, and banana) for just $6.45.

Yup, that’s a deal you really can’t beat. And for the ultimate NYC foodie experience, pair them with sauerkraut, mustard, and stewed onions.

Address: 2090 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

Hours: Open Sunday through Wednesday from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm and Thursday through Saturday from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm.

Price: $6.45 for two hot dogs and a medium drink.

How to Get There: Take the 1/2/3 train to 72nd Street station and walk to Gray’s Papaya from there.

3. The Halal Guys

The Halal Guys, a street vendor is seen selling Halal food in Manhattan as a woman walk by talking on her cell phone. This joint is one of the best places to eat street food in NYC.

Another iconic NYC food vendor, The Halal Guys have become an integral part of the street food scene in mid-town Manhattan.

Yup, you’ll find exhausted, more-than-a-little impatient office workers popping down here during their lunch hour for some delicious chicken, gyros, and always delicious falafel platters.

And while they did have humble beginnings (they started 30+ years ago) as a little old food cart that sat at the corner of 53rd street and 6th avenue, this franchise has long since become a worldwide brand that now has locations in over one hundred different places across the globe.

Therefore, this really is one of those places you must eat in NYC. Just do yourself a solid and get their combo platter with some of their delicious white sauce that they are known for.

FYI, a combo platter here is super delish and comes with your choice of beef, chicken, or falafel gyros with rice, lettuce, and tomatoes – with your choice of toppings and white/hot sauce.

Address: 720 Amsterdam Ave,  New York, NY 1 0 0 2 5 10025

Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 1:30 am.

Price : A combo platter will cost you $10.39.

How to Get There: Take the 1/2/3 train to 96th street station and walk to The Halal Guys from there.

4. J.G. Melon

A cheeseburger on a green and white table cloth with a beer and fries at J.G. Melon's one of the places you must eat in NYC.

This iconic eatery on the Upper East Side has been around since 1972 and is known for its beyond juicy hamburgers (seriously though, they’re some of the best in the city), its delicious bloody marys, and their epic cottage fries.

So, this is a not-so-small hint that THIS is exactly what you should order here…verbatim.

Because real talk? The burgers here are basically a thin slice of perfection since they’re crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and served with pickles, red onions, and an assortment of sauces on the side.

There’s also an incredibly lovely, old-world charm to this place that is best-embodied through their enchanting., green and white table cloths, old-school jukebox, and refreshing outdoor cafe – making this one of the slightly fancier establishments on this list of the places you must eat in NYC.

Pro Tip: The decor isn’t the only thing old-world about this place. No really, just take a gander at their cash register. But seriously though, they are cash only so deffo come prepared with some dollar bills. They also do NOT accept reservations and have a “preppy” dress code.

Address: 1291 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10021

Hours: Open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 am to 3:00 am and on Sundays from 11:30 am to 1:00 am.

Price: A cheeseburger here is a reasonable $13.00.

How to Get There: Take the Q train to 72nd Street station or the 6 train to 77th Street station and walk to the. restaurant from there.

5. Los Tacos No. 1

Looking for a halfway decent taco in the veritable abyss that is the Mexican food scene in NYC? If so then mosey on over to Los Tacos No. 1.

Okay, truth be told the tacos at this place are way more than decent. They’re downright delicious, making this one of the VERY few places in the city where you can go for some really good Mexican cuisine.

Yeah, NYC is known for a lot of stuff but the Mexican food here is sorely lacking. Thankfully though, that is not the case at this hole-in-the-wall eatery with locations in Chelsea Market, Grand Central, Times Square, and Tribeca.

So, regardless of where you are in the city, you can still hit up this fast, super casual place and grab some of their made-to-order tacos.

And trust me, this place is legit since it was started by three friends who spent four months in Tijuana doing, “research” before they even opened this restaurant.

Also, expect a line out the proverbial door since their delicious, housemade tortillas are overflowing with carne asada (grilled steak), pollo asado (grilled chicken), adobado (marinated pork), and nopal (cactus).

There are also no chairs for sit-down dining, so grab your tacos to-go for a picnic in the park.

Address: 229 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

Hours: Open Monday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm and on Sunday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Price: Tacos start at $4.25 each (FYI the steak and pork tacos are epic).

How to Get There: You can easily walk here from Times Square.

6. Nom Wah Tea Parlor

A view of a table stacked with different kinds of dumplings, dipping sauce and chopsticks at Nom Wah tea parlor, a cool place to eat in NYC.

Originally opened as a tea parlor/bakery in 1920 that was known for its mooncakes, Nom Wah Tea Parlor has slowly evolved into an immortal, Chinatown eatery in NYC where you can get a decadently delicious dim sum of every variety.

So, do as the locals do and mosey on over during a Sunday afternoon so that you can enjoy a delicious brunch filled with dim sum, dims sum, and, oh yeah, more dim sum.

Just don’t expect to have the place all to yourself since locals know that is this one of the many places you must eat in NYC.

And while you’re here, try a variety of different small plates filled with Cantonese-style delicacies like dumplings, rice noodle rolls, pork buns, turnip cakes, and egg rolls with actual egg inside, just to name a few.

Yup, just a great place to come with your friends and sample a plethora of different dishes. They also, shockingly, accept reservations for parties of three or more on RESY.

So yeah, deffo book in advance if you can and order their shrimp and snow-pea-leaf dumplings, shrimp and pork shiu mai, egg rolls, and roast pork buns.

Also, as you probably already guessed, this is a super chill, incredibly informal place that is known for its food, not its service.

Address: 13 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

Hours: Open daily from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Price: Dim Sum starts at $5.25 per order.

How to Get There: Take the N/R/W/6 train to Canal Street station or the B/D train to Grand Street station and walk from there.

7. White Bear

An order of spicy dumplings in a styrofoam container from White Baar in Flushing, Queens. Another place in NYC that serves delicious food.

Are you ready for some of the best Chinese food of your life? If so then run, don’t walk, to one of the many places you must eat in NYC.

It’s located in the Chinatown of Queens, aka Flushing, and is known as White Bear – a place that is known all across New York City for their next-level delicious dumplings.

You know, those glorious nuggets of dough that are filled with meat and veggies and then either fried or steamed to pure, foodie perfection.

And the Chinese-style dumplings here? Well, they are pretty rad since they are affordable, make great grab-and-go food, and are just super yummy to the extreme.

If you can, order a number 6, which is basically twelve pork/veggie wontons that are topped with chili oil. A very no-frills kind of dining experience that you won’t regret.

Address: 135-02 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11354

Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Price: A number 6 will cost you $7.40.

How to Get There: Take the 7 train to the final stop (Main Street station) and walk to the restaurant from here.

8. Sunny and Annie’s Deli

A cut in half side view of an everything bagel with bacon eggs and cheese on a white plate with a white background at Sunny and Annie's Deli which is an epic place to eat in NYC.

Tucked away in Alphabet City, this low-key convenience store/deli is known for creating an epic version of one of NYC’s most immortal breakfast sandwiches…the bacon-egg-and-cheese (BEC for short).

And yes, we really do pronounce this all as one word. And, again, yes, you really are forbidden from leaving the tri-state area without ordering at least one of these amazing sammies.

Luckily for you though, you now know that Sunny and Annie’s Deli is one of the places you must eat in NYC for a classic, bacon egg and cheese.

Also, if you want to be like a REAL New Yorker, you should get it on a roll, not on a bagel like pictured above. #justsayin’

Pro Tip: There are no seats here so feel free to picnic it up in nearby Tompkins Square Park. They also serve a delicious BLT wrap which is a classic BLT that comes with avocado, cheddar, sprouts, and Russian dressing.

Address: 94 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Price: $2.50 for a bacon egg and cheese on a roll.

How to Get There: Take the F train to Second Avenue station or the 6 train to Astor Place station and walk to the deli from there.

9. Kingston Tropical Bakery

The beauty about New York city is that you can find almost any cuisine that your heart desires. I’m serious! It is literally heaven for foodies. Kingston Tropical Brewery brings the Caribbean right to your city. In fact, it is the best place in the city for baked Caribbean goodies!

Once you walk to the street, the smell of the baked Jamaican goodies will just lead you the rest of the way. I’m serious! The store is 47+ years old and its popularity seems to have just increased with time. In fact, two more similar stores opened relatively close to it and yet it has not had any impact on the footfall. That tells you just how amazing the food is here!

Pro tip: This bakery makes insanely good patties. The crescent shaped goodies draw crowds from all over the city so definitely try to snag some yourself.

Address: 400 White Plains Rd, Bronx, NY 10466

Hours: Mon-Fri: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm, Sat: 9:30-7pm and Sun: 10am-4pm

Price: A beef patty is $2.25 and $23 for a dozen

How to get there: The 219 St subway station is the closest to Kingston Tropical Bakery. You can get off there and walk. 

10. Veselka

A plate of fried pierogi from Veselka in NYC. One of the top choices to eat in NYC

Thing #3,765 you didn’t know about Girl with the Passport? Yeah, she is hardcore obsessed with pierogis and eats them every chance she gets.

Yup, I would be a carb-o-holic, party of one up in here.

So, if you love pierogies ALMOST as much as I do, then say hello to your new bestie, Veselka. It’s seriously one of the places you must eat in NYC since they have been around forever (or since 1954) and make some hella awesome food that will cure just about any hangover.

Yeah, Veselka is now basically a Ukrainian institution here in NYC since this diner is known for serving delicious borscht, kielbasa, pierogi. blintzes, rugelach, poppy-seed bread, and wheatberry pudding.

And, added bonus? All of their baked goods are made fresh daily, in-house, and are totally out of this world. Therefore, come to this informal place with friends and order everything mentioned above for the ultimate NYC foodie experience.

Address: 144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

Hours: Open daily from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm (Under normal, non-pandemic circumstances they are open twenty-four hours a day).

Price: A plate of four pierogi starts at $8.00 and it’s $15.00 for eight.

How to Get There: Take the 4/5/6 train to Union Square or the R/W train to 8th Street station and walk to the restaurant from there.

11. LeVain Bakery

A woman holding a chocolate chip walnut cookie with wax paper around it from LeVain Bakery. You cannot miss this place to eat in NYC if you have a sweet tooth.

Honestly, LeVain Bakery probably makes one of the best cookies that I’ve ever had in my life. And that’s high praise coming from someone who is as obsessed with dessert as I am.

But, their chocolate chip walnut cookies are something extra special since they come out crunchy on the outside and all warm and gooey on the inside – making for the most ultimate of all cookie experiences.

These cookies are also hella big (6 ounces), so be sure to share one with a few of your closest friends. There also WILL be a line. But, it generally moves pretty quickly since staff is mad efficient.

FYI, the cookies here are also totally worth the wait. And while they do make dark chocolate chocolate chip, dark chocolate peanut butter chip, and oatmeal raisin flavors, the chocolate chip walnut cookies are the best IMHO.

You’ll also need to grab your cookie to go since there are no seats inside.

Pro Tip: Come later in the day when the line has died down since they bake cookies throughout the day and literally never run out.

Address: 1484 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10028 (although they have locations all across the city)

Hours: Open daily from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Price:  $4.00 per cookie (so worth it)

How to Get There : Take the 4/5/6 to 86th Street station and walk to the bakery from there.

12. Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery's famous Banana Pudding. You seriously can't miss this spot to eat in NYC if you love all things sweet.

Most notably of Sex and the City fame, people mistakenly assume that you come to Magnolia Bakery from the cupcakes. And while they do make pretty dang good cupcakes, you’re really here for the banana pudding.

Made with decadent layers of vanilla wafers, fresh bananas, and creamy vanilla pudding, this is one of those desserts that will perpetually leave you wanting more.

And if you’re a total chocoholic, they also have a chocolate version made with Oreo wafers, chocolate pudding, and served with chocolate shavings on top.

So, stop by their original West Village location and try this epic dessert today!

Actually, come to think of it, visit one of their other locations instead since their flagship store is usually packed and routinely has lines that wrap around the block.

Pro Tip: Stop by at the right top of the year and you can enjoy seasonal varieties of your fave banana pudding.

Address: West 11th Street, 401 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

Hours: Open Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm.

Price: $4.50 for a small portion.

How to Get There: Take the 1/2/3 train to 14th street station or the A/C/E train to 8th Avenue station or the B/F/M train to Washington Square station and walk to the bakery from there.

13.  Supermoon Bakehouse

The inside of a black sesame miso croissant from Supermoon Bakehouse, another great place to eat in NYC

If you ever find yourself wishing that the confections featured in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory were real, then this is one of the places you must eat in NYC.

Because Supermoon Bakehouse is a world of pure imagination! Get it? Because that’s one of the songs from the movie?

Okay, lame jokes aside, Supermoon Bakehouse really is more than a little amazing since they bake a divine assortment of croissants, donuts, and cruffins (a croissant/muffin hybrid) that come in wild flavors like banana split and peanut butter jelly.

Plus, they have the added distinction of being voted the BEST bakery in all of NYC. So yeah, you know these guys (and girls) are the real deal.

Their baked goods are also highly stylized (read super photogenic) so this place always makes for a stellar stop if you constantly find yourself doing it, “all for the gram”.

And while everything here is delicious, I personally love their sourdough bread and the kouign brûlée.croissant which is buttery and soft, with a crispy outside and a rich, cinnamon flavor (be forewarned that their menu changes weekly so this might not be available when you visit).

It also doesn’t hurt that their store features super sleek, chic AF decor that includes snazzy things like neon-pink lights.

Pro Tip: Arrive early since they routinely run out of everything, especially on the weekends since this place is uber-popular and they regularly have a line out the door.

Address: 120 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

Hours: Open Friday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Price: Most items are around $5.00 each.

How to Get There: Take the F or M train to Delancey Street/Essex Street station and walk to the bakery from there.

14. Milk Bar

Started by Christina Tosi of downtown NYC pastry fame, this now iconic uptown bakery is one of those places you must eat in NYC if you love dessert .

And you know your girl over here definitely does. This location on the upper west side also has the added benefit of having enough seats for up twenty people while sitting right next door to the legendary, Stumptown Coffee (it’s seriously one of the best coffee shops in NYC).

And while many people opt for their compost cookies (really good) and their cereal milk soft serve (I thought it was gross), I’m a huge fan of their crack pie since, hello, it really is the most delicious food crack ever.

Personally, though, I’d stop by with a few friends and get their greatest hits package, which consists of a compost cookie, a slice of Crack Pie, B’day Truffles (also good), and a Cereal Milk soft-serve ice cream with Cornflake Crunch on top.

Yup, just an all-around fun and funky, super sweet, uber-colorful place to grab dessert in NYC.

Address: 561 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10024

Hours: Open 10:00 am to 10:00 pm daily except on Friday and Saturday when they are open until 11:00 pm.

Price: $20 for all of their greatest desserts.

How to Get There: Take the 1/B?C train to 86th street station and walk from there.

Cheesecake and grahm cracker doughnut from dough in New York. A pretty amazing place to eat in NYC if you love doughnuts

Who rocks the house? Umm, dough doughnuts rock the house, that’s who.

Because this Flatiron area bakery is packed to the gills with innovative and downright delicious versions of your favorite breakfast treat. Confectionary delights that will leave you perpetually drooling for more.

However, believe it or not, this epic bakery first started out in 2010 in the Bed-Stuy area of Brooklyn. It was founded by none other than Fany Gerson, who created delicious, handmade, 4″ donuts that were total crowd-pleasers.

And while their classic plain glazed donut is always a winner, you can opt to walk a bit on the wild side with flavors like cinnamon sugar, Nutella, toasted coconut, hibiscus, dulce de leche, pecan pie, and pumpkin with salted pumpkin seeds.

Full disclosure? The last two are only available seasonally which means that you obviously need to stop by this fall in NYC .

Pro Tip: Try and get here early in the day – especially on the weekends – since this bakery routinely sells out of everything.

Address: 14 West 19th Street at, 5th Ave, New York, 10011

Hours: Open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm and on Sundays from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Price: $4.50 each.

How to Get There: Take the R/W/F/M train to 23rd Street station or the 1 train to 18th street station and walk to the bakery from there.

16. Artichoke Basille’s Pizza

Two slices of artichoke spinach pizza in a pizza box from Artichoke Basille pizza. This is one of the best places to eat in NYC if you love pizza.

Not your average slice of New York style pizza, Artichoke Basille is known for its artichoke pizza. And yes, these slices really are as decadent and rich as they sound since they are made fresh daily with artichoke hearts, spinach, cream sauce, mozzarella, and pecorino romano cheese.

So, order a slice, bring a friend to share it with, and prepare for one of New York’s most iconic foodie experiences. Because this bad boy of the pizza world tastes like the best spinach and artichoke dip that you’ve ever had.

Only, it comes to you as a fresh and delicious piece of pizza. That’s why, even though you can order classic slices of Margherita and Sicilian pizza (both are good) the real star of the show here is the artichoke pizza, which is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted before.

They also have simple, unassuming stool seating and routinely stay open until 4:00 am, making this the perfect place to go after a show at the Comedy Cellar or after a night of hardcore debauchery.

FYI, Mamoun’s Falafel is also right down the street so be sure to hit up both places while you’re here.

Address: 111 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

Hours: Open daily from 11:00 am to 4:00 am.

Price: $4.50 for a slice.

How to Get There: Take the B/F/M/A/C/E train to Washington Square station and walk from there.

17. Africa Kine

All the way from Africa comes traditional dishes that you just can’t ignore. The restaurant takes its name from one of the founders. Kine and Samba Niang opened up Africa Kine way back in the 1996. They opened numerous outlets as the popularity of the food skyrocketed. They are currently based out of 7th Avenue.

The good thing about the new location is that they have expanded upon their menu. In fact, they have a special lunch menu for every day of the week. This means that as a regular, you are never going to get bored!

The restaurant in NYC concentrates on Sengalese cuisine. A popular favorite here is the Jolof rice and the Souloukhou (an interesting take on marinated fish). 

Pro tip: One of the things that really got me hooked onto this place is the fact that they offered home delivery. Sometimes I just don’t want to head out but I still want to dig into their specialty food.You can also order take out online and just head over and collect it.

Address: 2267, 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10030

Hours : Open every day of the week from 1pm to 1am

Price: The prices start at $17 per item

How to get there: The closest metro is at 135 St. It is just a short walk from there.

18. Joe’s Pizza

A classic slice of New York Pizza on a paper plate with a green table in the background. Joe's pizza is another great spot for pizza in NYC.

If you’re looking for places you must eat in NYC, then there really is no place better than Joe’s Pizza. I mean, not only do they serve a delicious version of the classic New York slice, but it’s a great place to go to get an authentic, NYC pizza experience (it’s also in Manhattan so you won’t have to haul ass to Brooklyn).

Therefore, the crust will be thin and crispy, the cheese will be equal parts stretchy, drippy, and gooey, and the sauce will be ever-so-slightly sweet.

Also, expect a super informal dining experience that will involve you standing at a table while you eat your pizza – at least if you’re lucky enough to snag a table since seating is limited.

FYI, the pizza served here will be “burn the rough of your mouth and tongue” hot. So yeah, consider yourself warned.

Also, you are forbidden from using a fork and knife to cut your pizza and MUST, instead, fold your slice down the middle and eat your way from the bottom to the crust.

You’ll know it’s a REAL New York slice when you see a river of grease drip out from the crust at the bottom.

Address: 7 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014-44

Hours: Open Sunday through Wednesday from 10:00 am to 4:00 am and Thursday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 am.

Price: $3.00 per slice and you should get a regular slice.

How to Get There: Take the B/D/F/M/A/C/E train to Washington Square station or the 1 train to Christopher’s Street station and walk to the pizzeria from there.

A Margarita pizza with fresh basil on top in a box from Lucali in Brooklyn. Pizza in NYC can't get better than this!

If you’re feeling extra ambitious and want to check out one of the places you must eat in NYC, then head on over to this pizzeria in Caroll Gardens (a neighborhood in Brooklyn).

Because Lucali easily makes THE best pizza in all of NYC and has been an iconic foodie hot spot ever since it was first opened by Mark Iacono in 2006.

And that makes sense since the pizza here is made the traditional way, with dough that has been left to proof for twenty-four hours, with house marinated tomatoes that are crushed into sauce, and pies that are made to order as they are cooked in a hot, wood oven.

The result? Fresh and delicious pizza that is totally worth waiting in line for. I also like to keep it simple and order a regular pie with basil and garlic. But, other toppings offered include pepperoni, shallots, onions, mushrooms, hot peppers, and sweet peppers.

Just be sure to bring plenty of cash and to arrive BEFORE 5:00 pm for seating since there will always be a line. Basically, you’ll just put your name on the list once you get here and can then go have a drink since they’ll call you when your table is ready.

Address: 575 Henry Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Hours: Open Wednesday through Monday from 5:45 pm to 11:00 pm.

Price: $24 for a large pie

How to Get There: Take the F or G train to Carroll Street station and walk from there.

20. Jongro BBQ

Authentic Korean bbq with pork and various side dishes around an in-table grill. This is at one of the best places to eat in NYC if you love Korean food.

Looking to experience all the awesomeness of authentic Korean culture right here in NYC? Then beeline it on over to Koreatown.

It’s a vibrant neighborhood on 32nd Street (right near the Empire State Building) that is overflowing with Korean spas, Korean karaoke places, and, you guessed it, authentic Korean BBQ restaurants.

And one of the best of them all is Jongro BBQ since, well, it’s one of the places you must eat in NYC – at least if you like Korean BBQ.

So, order up generous helpings of fresh pork and beef that you then cook for yourself, right there at the grill on your table. Also, be sure to leave room for some of the restaurant’s amazing sides, like traditional Kimchi (you get a BUNCH so if kimchi isn’t your thing, don’t worry).

Finally, order a bit of soju (a traditional Korean liquor/alcohol) to compliment your meal before enjoying the old-world, wooden decor that will seamlessly transport you back to the Korea of old.

Address: 22 W 32nd St 2nd floor, New York, NY 10001

Hours: Open Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 am to 12:00 am and Friday/Saturday from 11:30 am to 1:00 am.

Price: Prices vary by dish but platters of meat (get the Bulgogi) start at around $33.00 each and you’ll then cook it yourself.

How to Get There: Take the N/R/W/B/D/F/M train to Herald Square or the 1/2/3 train to Penn Station and walk from there.

21. Emilio’s Ballato

Eggplant Parm on a white plate from Emilio's Ballato. Another cool place to eat in NYC

Want to try some truly authentic Italian food while you’re in NYC? Then go just outside of Little Italy, to Nolita, where you can experience all of the deliciousness that Emilio’s Ballato has to offer!

It’s definitely one of the places you must eat in NYC since they are known for serving up amazing, Italian-American dishes like meatballs, baked clams, parm of every variety (veal, eggplant, chicken, meatball, etc.) baked ziti, and lasagna.

And along with the delicious cuisine, you’ll also enjoy an atmosphere of old-world Italian charm that includes giant menus, waiters in tuxedos, red-checked, and table-clothes that would make no less than the Godfather himself proud.

Because this place has been in business since 1956, has served a variety of celebrities, and continues to pay homage to the Little Italy of old that we all kind of miss.

Not surprisingly, they DEFFO do NOT take reservations, so be prepared for a bit of a wait.

Pro Tip: Portions are huge, service is great, and your meal comes with fresh, warm bread. Highlights include the tagliatelle with bolognese, the cannolis, and the tiramisu.

Address: 55 E Houston St, New York, NY 10012

Hours: Open Sunday through Thursday from 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm and Friday/Saturday from 12:00 pm to 12:00 am.

Price: Entrees start at around $31 each but are huge.

How to Get There: Take the R/W train to Prince Street station or the B/D/F/M train to Broadway-Lafayette Station and walk to the restaurant from there.

22. Clinton Street Baking Company

Pancakes topped with blueberries from Clinton Street Baking Co. Definitely one of the best places to eat in NYC if you are looking for brunch.

Home to one of the best brunches in NYC, Clinton Street Baking Company is one of those places you must eat in NYC since it’s all about the pancakes up in here.

That’s why, if you love pancakes almost as much as I do, then this is easily one of the best restaurants in New York for you!

Because at its core, Clinton Street Baking Company is this amazing, low-key, family-owned restaurant where you can go for some uber-delicious, blueberry pancakes.

An iconic brunch staple that is the perfect cure for any residual hangovers that you might have.

Now, is this place fancy? Hell to the no. But, that doesn’t really matter since the pancakes topped with stewed Maine blueberries are the stuff that all my foodie dreams are made of.

However, if you’d rather try something savory then go for the biscuit sandwich with scrambled eggs, melted cheddar cheese, homemade tomato jam, and hash browns. Add on a side of sugar-cured bacon and you have one of the best meals in the city.

Pro Tip: Waits for weekend brunch can regularly exceed two hours. Therefore, avoid the queues and stop by in the evening or during the week since they serve breakfast all day long.

Address: 4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

Hours: Open Monday through Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Price: Entrees start at $12.00 and go up to $19.00 (I’d get the pancakes though for $16.00)

How to Get There: Take the F/M train to Delancey Street/Essex Street station and walk to the restaurant from there.

23. Russ and Daughters

The exterior of Russ and Daughters with its green and red sign. It is another cool place to eat in NYC.

Bagels and New York kind of go together like PB and J. So yeah, a total match made in heaven for anyone who’s not a fan of this classic, American sammie.

That’s also why I cannot in good conscience let you leave the city without eating an amazing, New York bagel. And one of the places you must eat in NYC for a delicious bagel is none other than Russ and Daughters .

And if you’re partial to salmon, then definitely get a classic New York bagel with cream cheese and lox since it’s the stuff that all the kids with refined tastes crave.

Especially since these culinary giants have been mastering the art of smoking fish since 1914 and now have deli-like counters all across the city where you can go and grab your bagel to-go.

However, for a more formal sit-down experience, head to either the Russ & Daughter’s Café on the Lower East Side or the one inside the Jewish Museum on the Upper East Side.

Both offer guests all the classics of the deli counter but with a variety of egg dishes and Jewish deli staples available too, including matzo ball soup and potato latkes.

Plus, the café even has a bar where you can enjoy a variety of brunch-erific drinks like champagne, wine, beer, and several unique, flavor-infused Bloody Marys.

Address: 127 Orchard Street, New York, New York 10002

Hours: Open Thursday through Monday from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm.

Price: A classic bagel and lox will cost you $14.00 (If you’re feeling fancy get the nova smoked salmon with chive cream cheese on an everything bagel with tomato, onion, and capers).

How to Get There: Take the F/M train to Delancey Street/Essex Street station or the B/D train to Grand Street station and walk from there.

24. Jacob’s Pickle’s

Bloody Mary from Jacob's Pickles which is beyond doubt one of the  best places to eat in NYC

Quietly sitting on NYC’s Upper West Side is this brunch spot  that is absolutely one of the places you must eat in NYC.

And, of course, I’m talking about Jacob’s Pickle’s, which is known for its decadent, Southern comfort food and its amazing variety of 20+ in-house craft beers.

So, sit down inside this well-designed, rustic meets city chic, barn-inspired eatery and savor fan faves like the buttermilk fried chicken and homemade biscuits.

Also, as the name so accurately suggests, you obviously have to sample their homemade pickles. which are made in small batches and will forever change the way you feel about pickles.

Plus. added bonus? The vast majority of menu items here cost less than $20, like their decadent mac and cheese.

Therefore, you won’t actually have to go broke while enjoying some of the top restaurants in NYC.

Now, time for the not-so-good news. Jacob’s Pickles only accepts reservations for parties of 6 or more. Therefore, waits are exceptionally long on the weekends and service is kind of MEH as a result.

Yup, you’ve been officially warned.

Address: 509 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

Hours: Open Monday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 2:00 am, Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 am, Saturday from 9:00 am to 4:00 am, and Sunday from 9:00 am to 2:00 am.

Price: Most entrees here are around $14.00 each.

How to Get There: Take the 1 train to 86th Street station and walk to the restaurant from there.

25. The Smith

local places to visit in nyc

Not gonna lie, The Smith has easily been one of my favie fave brunch spots for YEARS now. That’s why I obviously needed to add it to this list of places you must eat in NYC.

Plus, they have multiple locations across the city – with outposts in NoMad, the East Village, Midtown, and Lincoln Square – making it, now, easier than ever to get your brunch fix and enjoy some of the best places to eat in New York, regardless of where you are in the city.

And when you dine here, expert to enjoy classic, American fare that ranges from healthy to next level indulgent.

Personally, though, I’d opt for the mac and cheese (they say it’s a starter but it’s easily a big enough portion for a main), the Ranchero Scramble for brunch (perfectly scrambled eggs, black beans, cheddar, avocado, and chipotle salsa on fresh corn tortillas), and some freshly baked cookies to-go.

They also DO accept reservations for brunch so be sure to make some before you dine here on the weekend.

Pro Tip: Visit the East Village location since it’s light and bright and just really well-designed, making it the perfect place for dining out with friends.

Address: 55 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10003

Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 11:30 am to 11:00 pm, on Saturday from 9:30 am to 11:00 pm, and on Sunday from 9:30 am to 10:00 pm.

Price: Entrees range in price from $16.00 to $23.00 each.

How to Get There: Take the R/W train to 8th Street station or the 5/6 train to Astor Place station and walk from there.

26. Sunday in Brooklyn

Avocado toast from Sunday in Brooklyn with whipped ricotta, sprouts, toasted seeds, and a six-minute egg on top. Another really fun place to eat in NYC for brunch.

Honestly, I usually hate schlepping out of Manhattan and ALL THE WAY (lol) into Brooklyn. Yup, I am indeed lazy.

But, the one (actually there are several on this list) exception to that rule is Sunday in Brooklyn. Because as you probably already guessed, I’m more than a little obsessed with brunch.

Yeah, it’s kind of my favorite meal of the week, and the fact that Sunday in Brooklyn serves up insanely awesome pancakes – with hazelnut maple praline and brown butter no less –  has me wanting to stop by every single weekend.

Thankfully though, my eternal desire to actually be able to fit into my clothes is what prevents me from doing that eating brunch here in Williamsburg every single weekend.

I also love that uber-fab American restaurant has its very own marketplace, barroom, and a light and airy upstairs dining room with a garden. Yup, feel free to be duly impressed.

So, the moral of the story? Do yourself a favor and visit one of the many places you must eat in NYC now, before the HANGRY beast within totally takes over.

Address: 348 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Hours: Open daily from 10:30 am to 3:300 pm and again from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

Price: Most entrees start at around $15 but I’d go with the pancakes. the egg and cheese sammie is also really good, as are the wood-roasted mushrooms.

How to Get There : Take the M train to Marcy Avenue station or the L train to Bedford Avenue station and walk to the restaurant from there.

27. Sylvia’s Restaurant

A plate of Southern fried chicken with collard greens on a wooden table at one of the best places to eat in NYC

I know eating super amazing soul food probably isn’t the first thing that you think of when dining in NYC. But honestly? It really should be.

Especially since Harlem is practically overflowing with epic, soul-food-centric places that should definitely be at the very top of your list of places you must eat in NYC.

And Sylvia’s Restaurant is 110% one of those places. After all, this eatery has been serving customers since 1962 when Sylvia Woods, a North Carolina native, started her restaurant and quickly became the unofficial queen of soul food.

Since then, this place – and its ever-lit marquee out front with Sylvia’s emblazoned on it – has become a foodie landmark where you can order classics like fried chicken, cornbread, BBQ ribs, mac and cheese, and chicken and waffles.

So, come hungry, enjoy the down-home cooking, appreciate the warm and friendly atmosphere, and quickly become part of the Sylvia’s Restaurant extended family.

Pro Tip: Stop by the legendary Apollo Theater either before or after since you are literally right down the street.

Address: 328 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10027

Hours: Open Monday through Wednesday from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm and Thursday through Sunday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm.

Price: Most entrees start at around $15 each.

How to Get There: Take the 2/3/B/D/A/C train to 125th Street station and walk to the restaurant from there.

28. Murray’s Bagels

Bagels and cream cheese cut and wrapped in a brown paper at one of the best places to eat in NYC

If you’re in Greenwich Village and looking for one of the places you must eat in NYC, then check out Murray’s Bagels and them that Kelly sent you.

Just kidding. They have no idea who I am so don’t say that. Instead, walk up to the counter and order an everything bagel with cream cheese. And yes, you are forbidden from getting your bagel toasted since these carb bombs are totally delicious without any toasting.

You’ll also love that the bagels here are made fresh here daily, that the staff is friendly but efficient, and that the decor inside is pretty nice, at least as far as bagel places go.

And while there isn’t a ton of indoor seating, they’ve set up some nice white tables outside where you can sit and people-watch while hoovering your bagel of awesome.

Address: 500 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Hours: Open daily from 6:00 am to 4:00 pm, except on the weekends when they open at 7:00 am.

Price: Around $5 for a bagel with cream cheese.

How to Get There: Take the 1/2/3?F/M train to 14th street station and walk from there.

29. Pommes Frittes

Fries stacked in a paper cone and dipping sauces in small plastic bowls at the side at one of the best places to eat in NYC if you love your potato fried.

Looking for some of the best french fries in New York City? Then hit up Pommes Frittes on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village.

Because this is without a doubt, one of the places you must eat in NYC, at least if you like thick-cut, double-fried fries of the non-French variety.

So, step inside this old-world, basement-level fry shop, and uncover sturdy wood tables with pre-cut holes where you can readily place your divine, paper cone full of hot and delicious, fried potatoes.

And while you may be tempted to get a large, stick with a regular order of fries since there will be more than enough greasy goodness to go around, especially since you have a whopping, twenty-five different specialty sauces to choose from.

Now, I’m sure that all the sauces here are good, but my personal faves are the sweet mango chutney, the spicy mayo, and the Thai Chili ketchup. So, go forth, order lots of fries, and be the happy human that I know you are.

Pro Tip : If you want a slightly more substantial meal, get their poutine and thank me later.

Address: 128 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

Hours: Open Sunday through Wednesday from 11:00 am to 12:00 am, Thursday from 11:00 am to 1:00 am, and Friday and  Saturday from 11:00 am to 3:00 am.

Price: $6.50 for a small cone of fries and sauces are extra.

How to Get There: Take the D/F/M/A/C/E to Washington Square and 4th Street station and walk to the restaurant from there.

30. Buvette

A latte and steamed eggs with goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes from Buvette which is beyond doubt one of the best places to eat in NYC

If you love France almost as much as you love New York City, then this is one of the places you must eat in NYC since Buvette is basically like a dream come true for Francophiles.

I mean, not only does the entire restaurant look like the sleekest French bistro that you ever did see, but they have tons of outdoor seating that is perfect for relaxing with a latte and watching the people mosey on by.

The being said, because of the current state of the world, you will NOT be given an actual menu. Instead, you’ll have to use your phone to scan the QR Code on the wall and then order from there.

However, once you master the fine art of QR scanning, you can order delicious things like a buttermilk waffle sandwich with bacon, a sunny side up egg, and gruyere (I’ve heard it’s good).

Although, I personally ordered their chevre and absolutely loved it. It’s basically this decadent, small plate of steamed eggs, goat cheese, and sundried cherry tomatoes.

Just try to eat it semi-quickly because if you wait too long, the oil will separate out from the eggs and that’s kind of gross. it’s also served with this toasted, fresh, crusty bread that is super delicious and that provides a great textural contrast to the cloud-like eggs.

Pro Tip: Get here EARLY, like right when they open. Yeah, this place is super popular and they don’t accept reservations so it’s imperative that you go at an off time since this place is literally always crowded.

Address: 42 Grove St, New York, NY 10014

Hours : Open Sunday through Thursday from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm and Friday/Saturday from 8:00 am to 12:00 am.

Price: Entrees start at around $15 each.

How to Get There: Take the 1 train to Christopher Street station or the A/C/E train to 4th Street and Washington Square and walk from there.

31. Fairfax

A small omelette with a kale salad and bread and a latte in a yellow mug from Fairfax, another fun place to eat in NYC

Easily one of those places you must eat in NYC for breakfast, Fairfax is this super cool, Greenwich village eatery where the only thing better than the decor is the food.

Because this restaurant basically looks like a beyond quirky version of your best friend’s living room – at least if your bestie had mismatched sofas, vintage posters, vibrant bookshelves, and animal heads on the walls.

However, if eclectic to the extreme decor ain’t your thing, then dine outside and order a petit omelet. And while my eggs were more like scrambled eggs than an omelet, they were super tasty since the chives added a nice touch of flavor. I also loved the light kale salad on the side that helped me feel mildly healthy.

And FYI, you SHOULD get some toast with your omelet since the bread here is fresh and delish and next-level awesome. You are also forbidden from leaving without ordering a coffee of some sort since this eatery carries Stumptown brand coffee.

But, just in case you’re quite in the know, Stumptown Coffee is straight-up nectar of Gods and basically some of the finest coffee in the city. So, be sure to caffeinate to the extreme with a giant mug of their coffee and thank me later.

Address: 234 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10014

Hours : Open Monday and Tuesday from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm, Wednesday through Friday from 9:00 am to 11:30 pm, Saturday from 10:00 am to 11:30 pm, and Sunday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm.

Price: Most entrees are $13 and up.

How to Get There: Take the 1 train th Christopher Street station and walk from there.

32. Loring Place

Cauliflower Blossom Pizza from Loring Place in Greenwich Village. This is a great place to eat in NYC if you love pizza

Real talk? Run, don’t walk to this Greenwich Village, date night hot spot. Because, not gonna lie, this swank AF, super chic place served me some of the BEST food I’ve had in a very long time.

No really, I recently dined at Loring Place and loved it so much that I just had to add them to this list of places you must eat in NYC. That being said, this restaurant is kind of expensive, so be sure to stop by for a special occasion or when you have some extra disposable income available to you.

You also should NOT roll up in a ratty pair of PJs because this place is nice. And while the staff are awesome and probably wouldn’t say anything, I think you’d feel a little uncomfortable being so underdressed.

Anyway, back to the food, which is modern, totally reimagined American fare that is brought to you by the culinary genius that is Chef Dan Kluger of ABC Kitchen notoriety.

If you have the stomach for it, order their whole wheat, squash blossom pizza. It’s this slightly weird but totally delicious combination of ricotta, honey, and chiles.

Yeah, I tried really hard not to eat the whole thing – since I wasn’t super hungry – and failed miserably.

Pro Tip: This is another one of those places you must eat in NYC that is popular. So, do not attempt to dine here on the weekend without a reservation.

Address: 21 W 8th St, New York, NY 10011

Hours: Open daily from 5:00 pm to 9:15 pm, except on Sundays when they close at 8:45 pm.

Price : $24 for a personal pizza so, yeah, not cheap.

How to Get There:  Take the B/D/F/M train to West 4th Street and Washington Square and walk from there.

33. Mamoun’s Falafel

Exterior of Mamoun's Falafel on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village. This is a well loved place to eat in NYC.

In Greenwich Village, students from nearby NYU like to party hard until the sun comes up. So, they need a place where they can go to get some deep-fried, Middle Eastern deliciousness.

And Mamoun’s Falafel is THAT place since this hole-in-the-wall falafel shop has been around since ye olde 1971. I also appreciate that their hot sauce is actually spicy and not lame AF. But I digress.

Anyway, a lot of people seem to enjoy their tabouli sandwiches. However, I personally find them to be a bit dry and recommend that you order their falafel instead.

I would also live a little and get falafel with pita, tomato, lettuce, and tahini. If you can, add a little baba ganoush or hummus on top since yes, their falafel too can feel a bit dry in your mouth.

And, per usual, this place becomes totally inundated with drunk college late into the night. So, arrive early or prepare to stand while you devour your falafel.

Pro Tip: The Comedy Cellar is basically right next door and you should absolutely see a show here. Not only are the tickets cheap, but a lot of famous comedians like Adam Sandler, Dave Chapelle, and Amy Schumer randomly stop by.

So yeah, you could definitely spot a celebrity before eating at one of the places you must eat in NYC.

Address: 19 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

Hours: Open Sunday from 11:00 am to 1:00 am, Monday through Wednesday from 11:00 am to 2:00 am, Thursday from 11:00 am to 3:00 am, and Friday and Saturday from 11:00 am to 4:00 am.

Price: Around $2.00 for falafel and pita.

How to Get There; Take the B/D/F/M train to West 4th Street and Washington Square and walk from there.

Kochi is one of the best places to eat in NYC if you have a hankering for Korean food. Full disclosure… This is one of the Michelin star restaurants so it is pricey but boy oh boy, is the food worth the money.

Kochi in Korean means skewer. That seems to be the theme of the restaurant because one of the top attractions is the grilled bites which are obviously skewered.

Unlike most of the Michelin star restaurants in the city, this one is loud and boisterous. It has a fun vibe going on and in true Korean style, the idea is to have a meal where everyone talks and picks off a large spread.

Wondering how much this would cost you? Well at bare minimum it would set you back by $75 for a meal which would include delicacies like blow fish and rice cakes.

Address: 652 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036, United States

Hours: Sun – Thur: 5 – 9:30pm, Fri and Sat: 5 – 10 pm

Price: Starts at $75 per meal

How To Get There: Take the bus to 10 Av/W 45 St

35. Dhamaka

Love Indian food? Then you are extremely lucky to be in NYC because Dhamaka will knock your socks off. The restaurant markets its food as the forgotten side of India and the concept has really taken off.

Some of the delicacies that you really should try are the Methi na Gota aka a fried chickpea flour ball with methi which comes from Gujarat and  the Chapli Kebab which is a kind of short rib just Indian style. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, try the Gurda Kapoora. This is goat kidney and testicles made with a tomato base and served with an Indian bread. 

Intrigued yet? I would hope so. Oh and the prices here are pretty decent. So don’t hesitate to walk in. It is without one of the best places to eat in NYC if you love Indian food!

Pro Tip: The food is HOT! So if you aren’t used to spicy food, ask for a milder version when you order. The staff are super helpful and will accommodate your request.

Address: 119 Delancey St, New York, NY 10002, United States

Hours: Mon closed. Tue – Fri: 5 – 10pm, Sat -Sun: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5-10pm

Price: Items on the menu start at around $20

How To Get There: Take the F, J, M train to Delancey St · Essex St

36. Petite Boucherie

Can’t get enough French food but don’t have the time to go to France? Oh! The horrors! Just kidding. Luckily for us New Yorkers there is always a good place to catch some good French cuisine and the Petite Boucherie hits all the right notes. Plus unlike many of the extremely good restaurants, it isn’t very expensive. A bonus if you ask me!

Petite Boucherie has a motto aka ‘Joie de Vivre’. For those that don’t know the translation, it means the joy of living or the potential to find pleasure in everyday things. Here it is quite literally translated in the food that is served, the ambiance that is created and just all round good vibes.

If you want to try something different try the snails as a starter. They were surprisingly good. The seafood pasta, salade verte and filet mignon were delicious. Susanna was so kind as she helped us make our selection. If you have any dietary restrictions or are curious about the menu itself, just ask her. She will definitely help you out!

Just note that the place isn’t very large and that it fills up really quickly. So make a reservation in advance.

Address: First Floor, 14 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014, United States

Hours: Mon-Fri: 11am – 12am, Sat-Sun: 10am – 12am

Price: Most entrees start at $18

How To Get There: Take the red line to Christopher St-Sheridan Sq and walk from there.

37. Cowgirl

If you are searching for one of the best places to eat in NYC that serves up delicious southwestern cuisine then Cowgirl is where you want to be. While it may be located in the West Village, you will find that it is filled with the famed Texan hospitality. They have somehow managed to combine the fiery NYC spirit in so you will definitely feel right at home.

The decor is also uber cozy. Think old school diner with wooden chairs and paneling. Let’s not forget the red and white checked tablecloth on every table which really seals the deal. 

Cowgirl is known for its juicy burgers. I had my medium rare burger and I’m picky mind you but I had nothing to complain about here. I just wish I had more space to eat more than one burger. Sigh. Another great thing to order is the ribs. The portions are HUGE! I mean Flintstone sized portions so be well aware of what you are ordering.

The kids’ meals are also well loved. Chopped brisket, beans and fritos… What’s not to love? I mean, I wanted my own platter even though I’m not a kid!

Oh and let’s not forget the array of drinks for the adults in the room. If you come in early you can catch the $10 margaritas which are to die for. I also loved having a chat with Michele who is the owner of the restaurant. The whole place has such a homey feeling that you definitely would come back more than once.

Address: 519 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014, United States

Hours: Mon-Fri: 11:30 am -11 pm, Sat: 10:30am – 12 am Sun: 10:3 am – 10:30 pm

Price: Burgers start at $18

How To Get There: Take the orange or blue line to Christopher St.

Places To Eat In NYC FAQ

What part of nyc has the best food.

You really can’t break up NYC into parts and say one place has the best food. Each area has their own specialities and it is rather like comparing apples and oranges. The best places to catch a bite to eat in NYC in my humble opinion are Chinatown, East Village, Harlem, West Village and Korea town.

What Sandwich is NYC Famous For?

You haven’t lived until you have taken a bite of the famed New York Signature sandwich. Making this dish requires slices of thinly sliced pastrami which are layered between rye bread. Mustard is one of the toppings that you will find frequently used. Some restaurants even add in cornbeef. 

How Much Does A Meal Cost In NYC?

The cost of a meal in NYC fluctuates depending on the restaurant and the area that you are eating in. On an average expect to pay about $20-25 per meal. 

Why Is NYC Food So Good?

People will give you a number of different reasons for why the food in NYC is so good. Honestly, I think it boils down to diversity and authenticity. The people living in NYC are so diverse. They bring along with them their own food cultures and culinary palate.

When they set up restaurants in the city, you will find that they cook up an authentic meal based on what they grew up with. This is what makes the food scene in NYC so good.


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Map of Places You Must Eat in NYC

Map of the best places to eat in NYC

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There you have it NYC travel fans! Because that just about wraps up this epic guide to 31 places you must eat in NYC. 

Tell me, did all of your picks for the top restaurants in nyc make the cut if not then let me know in the comments below so that i can check them out. , and if you found this post helpful, be sure to join our email list and then pin this post now so that you can read it again later.

local places to visit in nyc

Susan Baraz

Sunday 18th of July 2021

Your list is very cool except for the horror committed by showing the ultimate Gray’s Papaya hot dog WITH KETCHUP!!! No NY’r would ever do that. Mustard and sauerkraut-Done! I know you said it in text, but showing a hot dog dripping in ketchup is a definite no, no. Also, one of my very favorite spots, a fixture on W. 70th, is Cafe Luxembourg-always packed, now since Covid-huge enclosed area on the street-even more seating. Moules-Steak frite, Luxemburger and in Winter their Onion Soup. Yum.


Monday 19th of July 2021

Oh wow. How have I not heard of Cafe Luxembourg? Sounds amazing. I'll have to check it out asap. And yeah, you are not wrong about the pic. LOL. It's very anti-NY. I'll need to retake it at some point. I will say - in my defense - that it was a friend's hot dog and not mine. LOL.

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Redfin | Real Estate Tips for Home Buying, Selling & More

10 Unique Things to Do in NYC: Tips and Ideas From Locals

Reading Time: 7 minutes

New York City , the city that never sleeps, is an iconic metropolis that needs no introduction. Whether you’re living in NY ,  or a wide-eyed visitor exploring the vast opportunities the city has to offer, NYC is a pulsating hub of energy, culture, and diversity. With its towering skyscrapers, world-renowned landmarks, and a rhythm that courses through its streets, this urban playground is a constant source of excitement and inspiration. In this Redfin article, we’ll navigate the bustling neighborhoods and uncover hidden gems, providing you with an insider’s perspective on the best experiences the city has to offer. Get ready to dive into the vibrant tapestry of New York City.

Coney Island

1. Explore NYC like a photographer

Explore the city like a local photographer and uncover the most picturesque spots hidden from the typical tourist eye. These are the places where seasoned photographers go to capture the true essence and beauty of the urban landscape. 

“Two of my favorite outdoor photography spots in New York City are Fort Tryon Park and Central Park ,” suggests FJA Photography .

“Fort Tryon Park, perched at the highest natural point in Manhattan, offers a breathtaking canvas for photography enthusiasts, especially during the soft morning hours. The warm morning light along the Hudson River creates a magical ambiance, making it an ideal location for various photo sessions, including maternity shoots, weddings, and milestone celebrations like Sweet 16s and Quinceaneras. From lush greenery to river views, every corner of Fort Tryon Park provides a picturesque backdrop for capturing life’s precious moments.

Central Park, boasting numerous beautiful locations, stands out for me, with Bethesda Terrace and the Bow Bridge being particularly ideal for engagement sessions and weddings. In my exploration of Manhattan’s gems, I’ve had the privilege of capturing the diverse beauty of both Fort Tryon Park and Central Park.”

FJA Photography

Courtesy of FJA Photography

Your future home is just a tap away

Emmanuel Lavoie from a local short-term rental platform in NYC, Jetstream Hospitality Solutions , recommends to visitors and taco lovers that his “favorite discovery in New York City was Los Tacos No. 1 which now has multiple locations across the City. I’ve traveled the world looking for the best tacos, and I never would have thought I would find the best and most authentic tacos in NYC. It’s super casual, stand-up counter only, and incredibly affordable. On a 4-day visit to the Big Apple, we went three times.”

3. Visit these NYC parks 

Erin Fortin Photography   shares, “As a NYC family photographer, one of my favorite Manhattan locations is Battery Park , near Tom Otterness Real World Sculptures. With refreshing open space, stunning views of the Statue of Liberty and lower and upper Manhattan, this gem is the perfect place to bring young kids, a good book, or a picnic between sightseeing activities. 

 Erin Fortin Photography

Courtesy of Erin Fortin Photography  

Another Manhattan hidden gem, perfect for NYC family photos and IG-worthy backdrop is Pier 35 . Be sure to arrive just before sunset and find yourself a spot on one of the larger-than-life swings. Your whole family will be able to fit!

Erin Fortin Photography

4. Chelsea Flea Market

“While I realize flea markets are often discussed, I don’t think people have an appreciation for the history behind some of the items you find,” says Joe Jenkins Photography . “I once met a woman who purchased a box of photos from a vendor at the Chelsea flea market. In that box was an image of a man at a parade. About six months after her purchase, she saw that very same man at a record store in the East Village, walked up to him, and said, ‘I have a photo of you at a parade at so and so.’ Six years later, they were married. So, with this being said, I always have an appreciation for the Chelsea flea .

Joe Jenkins Photography

Courtesy of Joe Jenkins Photography

Lastly, there’s a grey, seamless stucco wall at West Fourth Street and 6th Avenue that I’ve seen used in more headshots, advertisements, and portraits than I can count. It marks the boundary of a fish market but has been used not only by myself but also by every other burgeoning photographer in NYC more times than is recordable. It gets painted over once a year, and so there’s a wax and wane to how it performs as a backdrop, but every time I see it in a photographer’s portfolio, I smile a little.”

Joe Jenkins Photography

5. Tribeca in the rain

“If you find yourself in NYC during a rainy day, take the opportunity to look up, not down,” recommends Joe Jenkins. “The building tops in NYC take on an ethereal, befogged quality that likely represents a sizable percentage of the fine art photography world and provides a mass of photo ops. Tribeca is the best place for this, as the buildings are varied and singular enough that you won’t end up taking the same building top repeatedly, and the architecture is insanely interesting.

Additionally, it’s home to the famous skybridge, which, while not off the beaten path, has produced some of the most iconic fashion photos ever created. Moreover, while Bow Bridge in Central Park is literally packed with people from sunup to sundown and impossible to photograph by itself, the Tribeca skybridge is always open, deserted, and waiting for image creators.

Furthermore, there are more rooftop gardens in Tribeca than in any other area of the city that I’ve seen. They’re fun to photograph and make you wonder what they look like and who inhabits them.”

Joe Jenkins Photography

6. NYer’s favorite Central Park locations to check out

Loren Matthew, an Event Photographer in NYC shares, “While my work often captures the city’s dynamic events and personalities, I’ve also discovered that NYC offers photogenic locales perfect for both photography enthusiasts and sightseers. Here are three Central Park recommendations from my portfolio”:

Exploring the Architectural Marvels at Gapstow Bridge

“Begin your photographic journey at Gapstow Bridge , an idyllic spot offering vintage charm against the modern city skyline. It frames the park’s changing seasons, providing a haven for photographers seeking that quintessential NYC shot. Whether draped in autumnal gold or the fresh green of spring, Gapstow is perfect for a leisurely stroll, photography workshops, or simply observing the harmonious blend of city life and nature.”

Capturing Serenity at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir:

“ For a serene escape, visit the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir . The calm waters reflecting the sky and surrounding architecture provide a moment of peace in the city that never sleeps. It’s a fantastic location for landscape and wildlife photography, as well as for practicing reflections and sunrise or sunset shots. Joggers, bird watchers, and photographers share this space, creating a community appreciating the quieter side of city life.”

The Colorful Display at the Conservatory Garden

Lastly, the Conservatory Garden is an enchanting oasis within Central Park. As a photographer, I’m drawn to the kaleidoscope of colors in meticulously maintained flower beds, especially during the tulip season in spring. It’s ideal for macro photography, portraits, and even event photography, providing a romantic backdrop for weddings and celebrations. Photography classes often meet here, making it a great place to learn new techniques and meet like-minded individuals.

7. Walk down Freeman Alley

“I love visiting and photographing in Freeman Alley, in the Bowery,” suggests Ed Lefkowicz Photography . “It’s one of the few spots in the city where graffiti is not just allowed but encouraged—spray paint, wheatpaste posters, tags, all there, all ever-changing. You never know what will cover existing art, as anyone can contribute, from local street artists to those internationally known.

Ed Lefkowicz Photography

Courtesy of Ed Lefkowicz Photography

8. Watch (or play) Pétanque in Bryant Park

Ed Lefkowics also recommends, “New York is a sports town, with the Yankees, Mets, Rangers, Nets, Knicks, Giants, and Jets coming to mind. However, some of the most interesting sports are found in the least likely places. Pétanque, for example, a game from the south of France related to bocce, can be watched in Bryant Park .The local club is La Boule New Yorkaise, but anyone can play for free. It’s slow-paced, making it easy to watch and understand the action..”

Ed Lefkowicz Photography

9. Stroll through one of many NYC parks

“Some of my favorite places in New York are in Brooklyn ,” says NYC wedding photographer, Erica Camille . “Greenwood Cemetery is great for strolling around if you want somewhere a bit quieter than Prospect Park. Coney Island, specifically for the annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade, is always a fantastic spectacle.”

Thinking about moving to the area?

10. have a night out in town .

Erica Camille gives a few recommendations on how to spend a night in NY, recommending “For those that love an underground speakeasy, Shanghai Mermaid is a long-running party held every few months. There’s also the famous House of Yes in the artist neighborhood of Bushwick. Finally, for the holiday season there’s no better place to roam around than the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights display.”

Holly is part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about home improvement and lifestyle. Her dream home would incorporate both an industrial and biophilic design.

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What's your chance of seeing the northern lights tonight? A look at Saturday's forecast

Illuminating the night sky with pink, green and gray colors, the northern lights made its appearance in the United Kingdom and the northern half of the United States on Friday. The magical phenomena could happen again tonight.

The show fascinated many onlookers as they took out their phones to capture the beauty of the night sky. On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued extreme (G5) conditions across the United States. A storm of this intensity has not been seen since October 2003. The storm gained the name "Halloween Storm" and caused many power outages in Sweden and damaged transformers in South Africa, according to .

Meteorologists have predicted that the northern lights can be visible on Saturday as well as Sunday. If you are going outside to see the northern lights, forecasters want to remind the public that their solar eclipse glasses can be used for viewing the phenomenon.

Here's what you need to know to prepare for the next viewing of the northern lights.

The northern lights: Danced across the US last night. It could happen again Saturday.

What is the cloud forecast Saturday night? Will clouds block the northern lights?

If you missed the aurora borealis Friday night, you might still catch a glimpse on Saturday or Sunday, depending on where you live. But not if clouds get in the way.

The cloud forecast for Saturday night is generally good for most of America, but some of the people who missed their chance last night due to clouds may have a similar problem Saturday, said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Tom Kines. Areas that are likely to be cloudy include New England and Mid-Atlantic regions, as well as parts of the Southern Plains, including Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado.

“Even just a few breaks in the clouds will allow the aurora to be visible,” Kines said. “There’s always hope.”

Peak visibility time Saturday night will be between 9 p.m. and midnight, with some chance until 2 a.m., Kines said. The best views will be in dark areas away from the light pollution of cities, he said, though some reported seeing the auroras Friday night from metro areas like Milwaukee and Detroit.

Sunday night, if there is any aurora to see, those in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic can rejoice, because Kines said the skies should be clearer.

Where can you see the northern lights tonight?

The Space and Weather Prediction Center  offers an experimental forecast map  that shows the aurora may be visible in a wide swath of the U.S. including Oregon, Nebraska, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Other states like California, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida could also see the sky light up again for an encore performance. But visibility will depend on shifting factors that include weather, pollution and cloud cover.

Below are forecast predictions for seeing the northern lights in New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana on Saturday.

Rain and clouds are expected to damper expectations to see the aurora borealis around the Rochester, N.Y. area . Elsewhere in NY, the  Lower Hudson Valley could see the lights again, if weather permits. 

NWS maps predicting the intensity and location of the northern lights Saturday and Sunday show the aurora will be visible in mid to northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

Saturday and Sunday are predicted to be mostly cloudy with some rain showers and isolated thunderstorms. The NWS predicted 48% to 58% sky cover in metro Detroit from 8 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday. The western portion of both peninsulas are expected to have a lower cloud cover.

In the Milwaukee area , the evening is expected to bring mostly clear skies and overnight will have scattered clouds, said Tim Halbach, local meteorologist with the National Weather Service. 

Those living around the Cincinnati region could be treated to the northern lights Saturday night with the NWS' Wilmington, Ohio , office forecasting dry, partly cloudy conditions. Clouds shouldn't be an issue as many Ohioans reported seeing the lights Friday despite some cloud cover.

 In a telephone interview, Mike Bettwy, operations chief of the NOAA's  Space Weather Prediction Center  in Boulder, Co, said Indianapolis and surrounding areas might have a better chance of seeing the aurora today and Sunday.

They can expect clear skies tonight, Bettwy said.

"The aurora itself might be actually a little bit less active than it was last night," he told IndyStar. "I think the ability for you to see it will be better because the skies will be clearing out — at least in the Indianapolis area and that immediate vicinity."

Northern lights forecast path

If you want to get a better idea of if you will be able to see the northern lights from your state, check NOAA's aurora forecast tool , which has a 30-minute forecast window. 

The auroras are a natural light display in Earth's sky that are famously best seen in high-latitude regions.

Scientist left amazed by the aurora

The aurora seen on May 10 amazed Antonella Fruscione, an astrophysicist at Harvard University. She sent photos of the lights and the April eclipse to her friends in Italy. The northern lights weren't as prominent in Italy as it was in other places.

"And I sent them the picture that I took at the solar eclipse and I said, 'Can you imagine how fortunate I was this year, one month apart, I see these two incredible spectacles of the universe,'" she recalled telling them.

The phenomena seen Friday and possibly Saturday night isn't usual, she said.

"It's a very rare occurrence, especially because last night it was really visible," Fruscione said.

That's because the Earth's magnetic activity was at a nine, the highest the index goes, coupled with the Sun being at an active peak, causing eruptions. She added the colors cannot be predicted either as it depends on how the solar energetic particles interact with oxygen and nitrogen atoms. Oxygen appears green, while nitrogen appears purple, blue or pink, she said.

"It just depends on which atoms in the atmosphere this particle interact with," Fruscione said.

She declined to predict how strong Saturday's aurora could be as it's not in her expertise, but said people make predictions all the time about space weather not just for the northern lights, but to ensure communications, space stations, astronauts and other matter in space doesn't get majorly disrupted.

Down on Earth, however, the activity is harmless to humans.

"It's completely harmless because the particles do not don't do not reach us," Fruscione said. "The reason why we see the colors is that the particle interacts with the atoms and they make these beautiful colors and that's it."

For Saturday, and any other day where chatter about the aurora borealis is high, Fruscione encouraged people to download an aurora forecasting app to their phones so they can see the colorful skies.

What are the northern lights?

The northern lights materialize when energized particles from the sun reach Earth's upper atmosphere at speeds of up to 45 million mph,  according to . Earth's magnetic field redirects the particles toward the poles through a process that produces a stunning display of rays, spirals and flickers that has fascinated humans for millennia.

Contributing: Eric Lagatta and Dinah Voyles Pulver , USA TODAY ; Tanya Wildt, Detroit Free Press ; Alex Groth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ; Contributing: Bebe Hodges, Cincinnati Enquirer ; Contributing: Steve Howe, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle; Rockland/Westchester Journal News ; Alexandria Burris, Indianapolis Star

Ahjané Forbes is a reporter on the National Trending Team at USA TODAY. Ahjané covers breaking news, car recalls, crime, health, lottery and public policy stories. Email her at  [email protected] . Follow her on  Instagram ,  Threads  and  X (Twitter)

Watch CBS News

Maps of northern lights forecast show where millions in U.S. could see aurora borealis this weekend

By Alex Sundby

Updated on: May 11, 2024 / 8:54 PM EDT / CBS News

Americans as far south as Alabama and Northern California were being treated to a show of the northern lights this weekend from a powerful geomagnetic storm which reached Earth, officials said. If the weather conditions are right, people in wider areas on the map could look up and see the aurora borealis .

The storm prompted government forecasters to warn of potential disruptions to communications systems, the power grid and satellite operations, but it also put on a fantastic light display in the night sky Friday. 

"The aurora is when we get energized particles that have left the sun in more quantities than usual, and they interact with Earth's magnetic barrier," Shawn Dahl, senior space weather forecaster for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, explained to CBS News.

The geomagnetic storm reached Earth Friday evening as an "extreme" G5 , according to the NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center. Geomagnetic storms are ranked from G1 to G5.

"This one is pretty large, It think it's pretty extreme, we got to the G5, which is the highest in terms of strength," said Dr. Nour Rawafi, an astrophysicist with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.

It marks the first G5 geomagnetic storm to reach Earth since October 2003. A G5 is so large it can disrupt satellites we rely on for communications and GPS. Elon Musk's Starlink satellites were reporting "degraded service."

Dahl explains a G5 storm can potentially disrupt the GPS we use on our phones.

"It could, because most of our phones are single-frequency GPS systems," Dahl said. 

Experts say the aurora borealis will likely be viewable again Saturday night, with the best chance to see the northern lights between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Sunday. 

The Aurora Borealis, Or Northern Lights, Visible From Large Swath Of North America

"If you happen to be in an area where it's dark and cloud free and relatively unpolluted by light, you may get to see a fairly impressive aurora display, and that's really the gift from space weather, is the aurora," Rob Steenburgh, a space scientist with the NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center, told reporters Friday morning.

Northern lights map for Friday night

A map from the center showed the aurora would be visible for much of the northern half of the U.S. Friday night. A red line on the map shows how far south the aurora forecast went.

A map from the Space Weather Prediction Center shows the aurora forecast for the U.S. on May 10, 2024.

The National Weather Service's St. Louis office said people in the area should leave the city for the best possible chance to view the northern lights.

"Get away from city lights into a dark, rural surrounding and look north," the office said on social media . "Aside from some clouds associated with a passing front, much of the time looks mostly clear."

The prediction center notes on its website that people don't need to be directly underneath the aurora to see it. Instead, it can be observed from as much as 620 miles away.


The weather service's office for the San Francisco Bay Area had been less optimistic when asked if there was a chance for a nighttime show there. 

"Probably not, but I'll still look up while walking my dog," the office said . But the weather service turned out to be wrong, the northern lights were visible from the Bay Area. 

Northern lights in California

Northern lights map for Saturday night

Friday night wasn't the only opportunity for a northern lights show. The storm was expected to last through the weekend, and the prediction center released a forecast map for Saturday night.

A map from the Space Weather Prediction Center shows the aurora forecast for the U.S. on May 11, 2024.

Officials said people in the southern U.S. who can't see the aurora with their naked eyes could still take some dazzling pictures with their phones.

"Cellphones are much better than our eyes at capturing light," the Space Weather Prediction Center's Brent Gordon told reporters Friday. "Just go out your back door and take a picture with a newer cellphone, and you'd be amazed at what you see in that picture versus what you see with your eyes."

Stunning photos showed the vivid display of the northern lights over Europe and the U.K. after nightfall there on Friday.

Northern lights shine in the night sky

— Michael George contributed to this report. 

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • National Weather Service
  • Aurora Borealis
  • Northern Lights

Alex Sundby is a senior editor at In addition to editing content, Alex also covers breaking news, writing about crime and severe weather as well as everything from multistate lottery jackpots to the July Fourth hot dog eating contest.

More from CBS News

Northern lights set the sky aglow amid powerful geomagnetic storm

Spectacular photos show the northern lights around the world

More geomagnetic storms likely to continue today

Flash floods in northern Afghanistan killed more than 300 people, U.N. says

Stop at The Blue Pig for an ice cream cone then check out the rest of Croton-on-Hudson

local places to visit in nyc

We are rivers, woods, mountains. Skyscrapers, sidewalks. Traffic. Solitude. A vibe. Cities, towns, villages, hamlets. Here, our photographers train their craft on what makes this place  our place .

Check every Friday to see where our photographer went for our newest lohud on location feature.

Walkers pass a mural April 24 by artist Dillon O'Keefe at Senasqua Park in Croton-on-Hudson. O'Keefe, who grew up in Croton, has a few murals around the village.

The traffic light known as the "dummy light" at the intersection of Old Post Road South and Grand Street in Croton-on-Hudson was installed about 1926.

Instructor Lori Barr, second left, leads a low-impact exercise class for seniors recently offered through the village recreation department at the municipal building in Croton-on-Hudson. The village offers seniors a variety of exercise and continued learning classes as well as opportunities for social gatherings and trips.

A Girl Scout troop prepares their plot April 30 in the Croton Community Organic Garden on Brook Street in Croton-on-Hudson. The scouts donate the harvest to the Croton-Cortlandt Food Pantry .

The New Croton Dam in Croton-on-Hudson.

Volunteer firefighter Senator Bjorge, engineer of Rescue 18, conducts the weekly rig check April 29 at Harmon Firehouse in Croton-on-Hudson. The fire department, founded in 1892, has five fire companies and is 100 percent volunteer.

Park-goers have a barbecue April 24 at Croton Point Park . In addition to open space, the Westchester County park offers facilities for camping, hiking and swimming.

Ice cream maker and manager Nicole Blan holds a mint chip sugar cone April 26 at The Blue Pig in Croton-on-Hudson. The shop sells homemade and locally sourced ice cream, sorbet and baked goods.

A man fishes April 24 along the Hudson River during sunset at Croton Landing Park.

Croton-on-Hudson resident Jared Harél signs a copy of his book of poems called "Let Our Bodies Change the Subject" during a Celebration of Local Authors event April 28 at the Croton Free Library . The library offers events and programs for children, teens and adults.

About Tania Savayan:  Tania has worked as a visual journalist for The Journal News/ since 2007. When not working, Tania enjoys knitting cozy blankets and cooking new recipes for her family and friends to enjoy. Instagram:  @taniasavayan

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Where the Richest of the Rich Live: The 10 Most Expensive ZIP Codes for Homebuyers (and the Top Listing in Each)

(; Getty Images (3) )

Where the Richest of the Rich Live: The 10 Most Expensive ZIP Codes for Homebuyers (and the Top Listing in Each)

If you want to house hunt like the ultrawealthy, we have the places to start your search.

Using® listing data, we’ve compiled the 10 most expensive ZIP codes in the country for homebuyers, along with the single priciest listing in each.

The results lack geographic diversity, to put it mildly. All 10 locations are in either California or the Hamptons on New York’s Long Island.

Still, the battle for listing price supremacy between Northern and Southern California presents some drama. In NorCal’s Silicon Valley, the ZIP code for Atherton has regularly topped lists of the most expensive—but it achieved only second place in our rankings.

Instead, a ZIP code in Newport Coast, CA , was rated as the most expensive, with a median list price of $11,678,350. A wealthy enclave within Orange County’s Newport Beach, the area is home to celebrities, including Vanessa Bryant , widow of NBA legend Kobe Bryant .

Other notables in Newport Coast include Chicago Bulls All-Star Zach LaVine  and Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon .

To determine our list, we averaged the median monthly asking prices in every U.S. ZIP code in 2023. To eliminate outliers, we’ve included only ZIP codes with an average active listing count of 25 or more.

local places to visit in nyc

Here are the 10 priciest ZIP codes for homebuyers:

1. Newport Coast, CA: 92657

local places to visit in nyc


Median list price: $11,678,350

2. Atherton, CA: 94027

local places to visit in nyc


Median list price: $10,288,188

3. Beverly Hills, CA: 90210

local places to visit in nyc

Median list price: $9,503,004

4. Sagaponack, NY: 11962

local places to visit in nyc

Median list price: $9,443,646

5. Los Angeles, CA: 90077

local places to visit in nyc

Median list price: $8,851,000

6. Water Mill, NY: 11976

local places to visit in nyc

Median list price: $7,462,188

7. Malibu, CA: 90265

local places to visit in nyc

Median list price: $6,803,021

8. Santa Barbara, CA: 93110

local places to visit in nyc

Median list price: $6,731,146

9. Bridgehampton, NY: 11932

local places to visit in nyc

Median list price: $6,709,792

10. Montecito, CA: 93108

local places to visit in nyc

Median list price: $6,633,604

Keith Griffith is a journalist at He covers the housing market and real estate trends.

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