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Things to do in New York City

Things to do in  New York City

Welcome to New York City

New York City is one of the most visited places in the world—and for good reason. The city’s diverse population makes it a cultural capital for art, music, food, and much, much more.

Top 15 attractions in New York City

Statue of Liberty

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Guarding the entrance to New York Harbor on Liberty Island, the 305-foot (93-meter) Statue of Liberty came to the United States as a gift from France to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence—Lady Liberty has been a symbol of democracy and hope for NYC and the US almost ever since.More

Empire State Building

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The world's tallest building from 1931 to 1977, the Empire State Building is topped with a stepped Art Deco pinnacle that's floodlit at night and boasts holiday and commemorative colors throughout the year. After admiring the mosaics in the Art Deco lobby, take an elevator ride to the 86th or 102nd floor and get ready to drink in astounding 360-degree views from this iconic skyscraper observatory.More

Ellis Island

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As the gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the United States, New York City’s Ellis Island was America’s busiest immigrant inspection station for more than 60 years. Today, the island’s restored main building houses the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, which honors the US’s immigrant heritage, chronicles the island’s role in immigration history, and gives voice to the immigrants themselves.More

National September 11 Memorial & Museum

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The National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City stands as a place of remembrance and a somber tribute to those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Reopened 10 years after the 2001 attacks, the eight-acre (3.2-hectare) plaza—built on the World Trade Center site—features two massive square reflecting pools whose waterfalls cascade down into the footprints of the former Twin Towers. The surrounding plaza is a peaceful and moving green space, while the museum, located beneath the plaza, lends a deeper understanding to the impact of that day. You’ll undoubtedly leave with a heavy heart.More

SoHo

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New York City’s hyperhip neighborhood of SoHo is renowned for its stylish shops, art galleries, and trendy restaurants. Though it’s more relaxed than bustling Times Square, SoHo can get mobbed with shoppers and tourists. Stroll down the cobblestone streets, browse stores—from big-name brands to posh boutiques—or peek inside its many galleries.More

Central Park

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The heart and soul of Manhattan, Central Park is 843 acres (341 hectares) of green space featuring running paths, a boating lake, ponds, a zoo, fountains, statues, gardens, and a skating rink. New Yorkers and visitors alike have gathered at this National Historic Landmark year-round since 1857 to enjoy a respite from Manhattan’s concrete jungle.More

Brooklyn Bridge

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Extending for 1.3 miles (2 kilometers) across New York City’s East River, this 19th-century bridge sees constant foot, bike, and car traffic thanks to commuters and sightseers alike. After a construction beset by tragedies—at least 20 people died during the building process—this steel-wire suspension bridge, then the world’s largest, finally opened to the public in 1883. Today crossing the Brooklyn Bridge is an essential New York experience. Visitors come in droves to admire the bridge’s dramatic neo-Gothic towers and the stellar views of Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn waterfront.More

Flatiron Building

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Both an architectural marvel and one of New York’s most recognizable landmarks, the Flatiron Building has been a city icon since its debut in 1902. Named for its uncommonly thin, triangular shape, the building was designed by architect Daniel Burnham and is a National Historic Landmark. It is not currently open to the public.More

One World Observatory

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Admire New York City from on high at the One World Observatory, the 100th-floor viewing deck which you’ll reach in just 47 seconds view high-speed elevator. On the ride up, impressive time-lapse technology showcases the city’s transformation from the 1500s to the present in immersive floor-to-ceiling screens. At the top, enjoy panoramic views of the city’s waterways, iconic skyline, and renowned landmarks.More

The Dakota Apartments

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One of Manhattan’s most storied—and macabre—buildings, the Dakota has pride of place on Central Park West. The architectural icon of the Upper West Side was a stand-in for the fictional Bramford in the horror film Rosemary’s Baby; it’s also where John Lennon was shot in 1980.More

Rockefeller Center

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Radiating art deco glory, Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan is where you'll find Radio City Music Hall, NBC Studios, the Top of the Rock observation deck, and in winter, New York City’s famous ice rink and Christmas tree. Opened by John D. Rockefeller in 1933, it’s a classic NYC stop for its history as a cultural center and architectural icon.More

Times Square

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The neon lights and video billboards of Times Square are one of New York City’s most well-known landmarks. This triangular intersection between Broadway, 42nd Street, and Seventh Avenue is home to the Big Apple’s famous theaters and the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop—an essential Manhattan experience.More

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

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The World War II-eraUSS Intrepid aircraft carrier retired to Manhattan’s West Side, where it was transformed into a museum. The complex hosts noteworthy craft, including NASA’sEnterprise space shuttle, theUSS Growler missile submarine, and a Concorde jet. While there, check out original artifacts, film, and photographs, plus simulators that recreate the flying experience.More

New York City St. Patrick's Cathedral

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The largest neo-Gothic, Roman Catholic cathedral in the United States, New York City's St. Patrick’s Cathedral occupies an entire city block, and welcomes millions of visitors annually. First built in 1879, the Manhattan landmark is renowned for its soaring spires, colossal organ, and exemplary rose window, and is the seat of the Archbishop of New York.More

New York Harbor

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One of the largest natural harbors in the world, New York Harbor is the gateway to Manhattan. It’s also a scenic spot to explore and a must for first-time visitors to New York City, with photo ops aplenty along its walking trails, bridges, and piers.More

Trip ideas

Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in New York City

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The best dinner experience!
John_E, Jan 2023
New York Dinner Cruise
If you decide to go during winter months, bring a jacket.
star-5
Wonderful
Mario_T, Jan 2023
New York City Statue of Liberty Super Express Cruise
It was a dream to see Statue of Liberty for all my family because is unique and is the beautiful thing in New York City I love it
star-5
Happy 25th wedding anniversary!!
Shane_R, Dec 2022
Standard Central Park Horse Carriage Ride (Long Loop - 45 Minutes)
The trip was a surprise for my wife to see the New York City’s Rockefeller Center all decorated for Christmas (visit was on her bucket list).
star-5
Exhilarating
Amanda_S, Nov 2022
Edge Observation Deck Admission Ticket Optional Upgrade to City Climb
Getting to see the end of the sunset with all the city lights lit in the New York City night sky was phenomenal!
star-5
Great tour Very informative!
William_S, Nov 2022
New York in One Day Guided Sightseeing Tour
Great way to see New York City.
star-5
Great way to see the New...
David_H, Nov 2022
CARRIAGE RIDE OFFICIAL (VIP PRIVATE) in CENTRAL PARK since 1971™
Great way to see the New York City night life and Central Park.
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City tour
Carrie_M, Nov 2022
New York in One Day Guided Sightseeing Tour
Truly the best way to see New York City!
star-5
Phenomenal
Stephen_T, Oct 2022
New York City Cocoa and Carols Holiday Cruise
This was a phenomenal opportunity to see New York City with a different lens.
We perform checks on reviews

All about New York City

When to visit

New York City is one of those rare cities where every season has unique attractions:

Summer weather means the perfect time to walk the Brooklyn Bridge, or even take a visit to the iconic Coney Island.

Chilly fall temps bring the changing foliage; renting a car for “leaf peeping” upstate is a great way to experience the Hudson Valley.

Winter activities center around the holiday season, with the legendary Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and skating rink topping travelers’ lists.

Spring thaw is an ideal time to experience the blooming trees of Central Park or even the Highline, if you can catch a break between rain showers.

Getting around

Walking: New York is a great walking city and relatively straightforward, given each borough’s numbered streets and grid layouts. Exploring by foot is ideal in the bustling neighborhoods with great shops, restaurants, and cafes tucked away in the city’s many corners.

Subway: New York is big, which means walking to and from destinations may not always be feasible. That’s where the city’s subway comes in. Single-fare tickets on the many different subway lines can bring you to virtually any part or borough and runs around the clock.

Taxi: New York is known for its famous yellow taxis. They are easy to flag down by waving your hand (look for taxis with the roof light on for vacancy). Uber and Lyft have large networks in New York, so if you are looking for a guaranteed ride, then apps are a safe bet.

Traveler tips

New York City is known for its wealth of fun dive bars and legendary pizza slice shops. No matter which attraction or neighborhood you end up visiting, there’s a good chance you are within walking distance to a notorious NYC establishment. If you’re walking the Williamsburg Bridge, or exploring Chinatown, you can’t miss 169 Bar—a local favorite adorned with leopard prints, color lights, palm trees, and a hits-only jukebox.

A trip to Times Square isn’t complete without stopping by Joe’s Pizza on Broadway. Originally a Greenwich Village shop, Joe’s went on to expand to multiple locations throughout the city—and for good reason. The owner has been at it since 1975, slowly perfecting the art of the slice, landing Joe’s on numerous Top 10 lists in a competitive pizza city.

Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
EST (UTC -5)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
English

A local’s pocket guide to New York City

Alex Maddalena

Alex is a writer with deep family roots in NYC. Having grown up just outside the city, he became familiar with all of the food and culture the city has to offer, including the outer boroughs. His favorite pizza slice is the square from L&B Spumoni Gardens.

The first thing you should do in New York City is...

get oriented. There are a lot of visible landmarks in New York that will help you explore by foot without a map.

A perfect Saturday in New York City...

begins with brunch followed by a trip to one of New York’s amazing museums. Saturday nights in New York are more bustling than usual, so make sure you’re rested before heading out for evening festivities.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

Central Park truly is a thing of beauty. Walk around in the middle, and you’d be stunned to find out you’re still in one of the busiest cities in the world.

To discover the "real" New York City...

get lost. Start walking. No map. Let all the things in between shine through. You’ll find your way back when you’re ready.

For the best view of the city...

you can’t beat the view from the top of the Empire State Building, but the Manhattan Bridge offers a pretty spectacular view from the other side.

One thing people get wrong...

New York City is much more than Manhattan and Williamsburg. Head north to discover the Bronx, or even east into Queens, which is one of the most diverse areas in the world.

People Also Ask

What should I do on my first trip to New York?

During a first-time trip, explore New York on foot. The best way to see the city is to walk, to slow down and explore street by street. Travel between destinations by subway and then explore neighborhoods on foot. Additionally, don’t miss the chance to see the skyline from above at landmarks like the Empire State Building or One World Observatory.

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What is the most visited place in New York?

Times Square is the most visited place in New York City. This Midtown landmark is where annual New Year’s Eve celebrations are held and where the city’s most impressive billboards can be found. This area is also home to many Broadway theaters, hotels, restaurants, and bars.

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What should you not miss in New York?

Don’t miss exploring New York beyond the sights. Yes, go to the top of the Empire State Building and visit the Statue of Liberty, but also get lost in the winding streets of the West Village, linger over Greek food in Astoria, discover the city’s many green spaces, and engage with New Yorkers at restaurants, bars, galleries, and shops.

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What type of activities can you do in New York?

The list of activities in New York is practically endless. Rent bikes in Central Park, sip cocktails at a rooftop bar, see dinosaur bones at the Museum of Natural History, go sailing on the Hudson River, visit the Union Square Farmer’s Market, catch a Broadway play, people watch on the subway, try a variety of restaurants, and much more.

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Is it safe in New York?

Yes, it is safe in New York City. Visit New York and you will find streets that are well lit and locals who are willing to help with directions. As in any city, use common sense when it comes to keeping cash and wallets zipped away. At almost any time of day, New York offers safety in numbers on the subway and in the city streets.

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Is New York City the same as Manhattan?

Yes and no. The island of Manhattan is one of five boroughs that make up New York City, along with Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx. But you are correct to say that you are in New York City when you are in Manhattan, and these terms are often used interchangeably.

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What do locals do for fun in NYC?

Locals are spoiled for choice when it comes to fun in NYC. New Yorkers love to eat and drink, and there is always a new and exciting restaurant or bar opening somewhere. Locals spend time in green spaces like Central Park, visit galleries and museums, shop at the farmers market, ride their bikes, and generally bring a sense of exploration to their ever-changing city.

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What is the prettiest place in New York?

Each New Yorker may have a different answer. But some of the prettiest places in New York City include Central Park, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, the charming streets of the West Village, the piers and paths of Riverside Park, and the New York Botanical Garden.

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New York City information

Number of Attractions

202

Number of Tours

1,499

Number of Reviews

128,142

Currency

USD
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