One of the greatest cities in the world, New York is always a whirlwind of activity, with famous sites at every turn and never enough time to see them all. Some people come here to enjoy the Broadway shows; others come specifically to shop and dine; and many come simply to see the sites: the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, historic neighborhoods, and numerous world famous museums.
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. However, 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. You can walk around the base, enter the pedestal, or, with advance reservations, go right up to the crown.
A walk, peddle, 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 routing.
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 the collection include American decorative arts, arms and armor, costumes, Egyptian art, musical instruments, photographs, and much more.
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. 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.
The Empire State Building is one of New York's most famous landmark buildings and key tourist attractions. The 381-meter-tall, 102-storey 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, but both offer 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.
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
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.
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.
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. 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.
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. You'll also find an extensive selection of retail shops and restaurants inside.