New York City is a hub of diverse and dynamic experiences that cater to every taste and interest. Whether you’re captivated by the city’s towering skyscrapers or its thriving arts, culinary, fashion, and nightlife scenes, you’ll find something to leave you awestruck. Start your day indulging in luxury shopping on Fifth Avenue, followed by breathtaking views of the city from the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, One World Observatory, or a helicopter ride. Art enthusiasts can marvel at the stunning collections at the Met, the Guggenheim, or the Frick Collection before relishing unique culinary delights in Chinatown or Little Italy. For an unforgettable evening, treat yourself to a Broadway show or explore the innovative offerings of off-Broadway theaters. Finally, unwind at one of the Meatpacking District’s rooftop bars or jazz clubs for a low-key yet vibrant nightlife experience. New York City is a destination that never fails to impress.
New York City is a metropolis bursting with a plethora of unforgettable experiences. A visit to the city would be incomplete without embarking on a ferry ride to visit national landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island. Alternatively, take advantage of the complimentary Staten Island Ferry to soak in the stunning views of the city skyline and harbor. Other must-see attractions include family-friendly ice skating at Rockefeller Center, tranquil strolls through Central Park, and elevated walks along the High Line for a unique above-street perspective of the city. Additionally, there are numerous scenic parks to escape the urban jungle, including The Battery located at the southernmost tip of Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge Park, situated at the base of the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.
Central Park is a multifaceted gem that engulfs central Manhattan, boasting an array of notable attractions within its limits, including the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History. However, it is not merely a transit point to other destinations, as travelers attest. This 843-acre green space is a beloved haven for both locals and tourists alike, offering a plethora of activities such as exercise, dining, and visiting the zoo. The park’s charm is undeniable, but each visitor’s experience is unique, with a vast array of hidden treasures to discover, including over 20 playgrounds, 48 fountains, monuments or sculptures, and 30 bridges. Here’s a shortlist:
Alice in Wonderland: Nestled amidst the Lower East Side park, atop a whimsical magic mushroom, stands an enchanting 11-foot statue. Adorned by the presence of the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, and a sea of captivated children, this masterpiece is a sight to behold.
Bethesda Fountain: The moniker of this enchanting fountain draws inspiration from the rejuvenating pool in Jerusalem. A must-see attraction in the heart of the park, the Angel of the Waters sculpture perched atop this fountain is a sight to behold and capture through your lens. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to capture the beauty of this iconic landmark.
Conservatory Garden: Nestled within Central Park lies the Conservatory Garden, the sole formal garden in the area. This serene oasis offers a tranquil respite to unwind and bask in the picturesque surroundings. Sprawled across six acres, the garden features an array of flora and seasonal greenery, meticulously arranged in three distinct styles: English, French, and Italian. The entrance to this enchanting garden can be found at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 105th Street.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir: The stunning 106-acre reservoir nestled in the heart of the park is a beloved destination for New York’s avid joggers. The picturesque landscape reaches new heights of beauty during the fall season, as the surrounding trees burst into a vibrant display of autumnal hues.
Loeb Boathouse: Experience the best of the warm weather months with our Victorian-style boathouse and restaurant, conveniently situated near the Bethesda Fountain along East Park Drive. Our top-notch rental services allow you to explore the beauty of the park on a boat, bike, or gondola. Come and indulge in the ultimate outdoor adventure with us.
Strawberry Fields: Located at the intersection of West Park Drive and West 72nd Street, this charming park pays homage to the late John Lennon through its name and proximity to the site of his tragic assassination in 1980. A popular destination for visitors, the park offers a serene atmosphere for enjoying a leisurely lunch, marveling at the meticulously crafted landscaping, and honoring the legacy of the beloved Beatle.
Wollman Rink: This Lower East Side gem has become a beloved destination for young families. During the colder months, it transforms into a picturesque ice-skating rink, while summer brings a diverse array of activities to its surface, from roller skating to arts and concerts, and even yoga. Don’t miss out on this versatile hotspot for year-round entertainment.
Central Park, nestled in the heart of Manhattan, beckons visitors with its sprawling expanse from 59th to 110th Street, bordered by Eighth and Fifth avenues. A true gem of the city, Central Park is open to visitors from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily, free of charge. We recommend visiting during the day or early evening to fully appreciate the park’s natural beauty. Restrooms are conveniently located on-site, and visitor centers offer a wealth of information. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore Central Park with some of the city’s top guided tours, including the best walking tours in NYC.
Empire State Building
As a quintessential stop on any New York City itinerary, the Empire State Building commands attention with its iconic art deco architecture and breathtaking views. While admission fees and crowds may deter some, recent visitors attest to the experience being well worth it. A visit to the top of the Empire State Building offers a stunning perspective of the city’s major highlights, with a bird’s-eye view from 1,250 feet above. Even from the ground, the building’s tower lights add to the spectacle, changing colors to recognize various occasions and organizations throughout the year. Since 2012, the Empire State Building’s dynamic lighting system has expanded to include over 16 million colors, allowing for limitless combinations and effects. Whether you begin or end your Big Apple excursion at this landmark, the Empire State Building promises to be a highlight of your trip.
For those seeking a breathtaking view from above, the Empire State Building offers two observatories to choose from: the 86th floor or the 102nd floor. Both observatories provide access to various exhibits located on the second and 80th floors, which showcase the building’s rich history from its construction in the 1930s to its current role in pop culture. To avoid crowds, it is recommended to visit in the morning or after 10 p.m. at night. If you happen to miss the iconic landmark, simply look towards midtown Manhattan at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street, accessible by taking the B, D, F, M, N, Q, or R train to 34th Street. Alternatively, a helicopter tour of New York City offers a unique and unforgettable experience. The 86th and 102nd-floor observatories are open daily from 10 a.m. until midnight, but hours may vary depending on the day and month. Restroom facilities are not available on the 102nd floor. Admission to the 86th floor costs $44 for adults, $42 for seniors, and $38 for children ages 6 to 12, while children 5 and under visit for free. For those seeking to skip the lines, Express Pass tickets start at $80 per person.
Statue of Liberty
How to Get to the Statue of Liberty
The resplendent lighthouse that illuminates the New York skyline beckons visitors from far and wide, all year round. If you’re planning a visit, allow us to guide you through your options. The most sought-after approach entails embarking on a ferry ride from Battery Park, located in lower Manhattan, to the iconic Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island. The journey also includes a stopover at Ellis Island before returning to the mainland. The first ferry departs at 9 a.m., with the final voyage departing Liberty Island at approximately 4:30 p.m. Let us help make your visit to this national treasure a memorable one.
Maximizing your day at the Statue of Liberty requires some strategic planning, according to seasoned travelers. Firstly, arrive at the attraction early to secure a spot on one of the first boats. Alternatively, opt for Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey, where you can enjoy the same tour with shorter lines. Another wise move is to purchase a ticket to the pedestal in advance, as availability is limited. From this vantage point, you can take in breathtaking views of New Jersey, New York City, the New York Harbor, and Ellis Island. For a more elevated experience, visitors can climb the 162 stairs to the crown, which provides sweeping panoramic views of the city. However, it’s essential to note that there is no elevator to the crown, and certain medical conditions and physical limitations may prevent some from making the ascent. Moreover, visitors must be at least 4 feet tall to climb. To secure tickets, book online via the Statue City Cruises’ website, the official tour operator for the Statue of Liberty. Be sure to reserve your tickets several months in advance, as they sell out quickly.
If time is of the essence, fret not – you can still bask in the glory of the monument from Battery Park or the High Line. Opting for a guided tour is a hassle-free way to catch a glimpse of the iconic landmark, and for a little extra, you can enjoy skip-the-line access. A number of the city’s top boat tours offer stunning views of the Statue of Liberty, and the free Staten Island Ferry is also a great option for capturing some truly spectacular photos. For a bird’s-eye view, consider one of the best New York City helicopter tours. The ferry departing from Battery Park can be accessed via the Bowling Green subway stop; simply hop on the 4 or 5 train and visit any day except for Dec. 25.
Statue of Liberty Tickets
Experience the full wonder of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island with our ferry tickets, granting you access to both the Statue of Liberty Museum and the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. Pricing is $24.50 per adult and $12 per child aged 4 to 12. To make the most of your visit, we recommend arriving on one of our morning boats and dedicating the entire day to exploring these iconic landmarks.
The Brooklyn Bridge, a quintessential icon of New York City, stands as a testament to the country’s engineering prowess as one of the oldest suspension bridges in the nation and a National Historic Landmark. Its six lanes, accompanied by a pedestrian and bicycle walkway, stretch across the East River, linking Manhattan to Brooklyn. While some tourists may opt to forego the bridge for other attractions, traversing its length remains a popular pastime. For budget-conscious travelers, this is an excellent way to experience the city and gain a unique perspective of either borough without incurring any costs. However, several reviewers caution that the bridge offers no shade, leaving visitors exposed to the summer heat, though vendors sell refreshing bottles of water. Additionally, the bridge can become quite congested, prompting early morning visits before 9 a.m. to avoid the crowds.
Embark on an unforgettable journey by taking the A or C train to the High Street stop in Brooklyn and indulge in a leisurely stroll across the iconic bridge back to Manhattan. With a walking time of approximately 30 minutes (or an hour, if you’re captivated by the picturesque views), this experience comes at no cost. Many of the top-rated walking tours in NYC incorporate the Brooklyn Bridge into their itinerary. For a distinctive vantage point, we recommend opting for a boat or helicopter tour, both of which offer an unparalleled perspective of this architectural masterpiece.
American Museum of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History, located off Central Park West, is a beloved destination for visitors. Reviews consistently praise the interactive exhibits on land, sea, and outer space, with many describing the museum as nothing short of incredible. Even the cafeteria and gift shop receive high marks. With over 34 million artifacts spread across four city blocks, 26 buildings, and 45 exhibition halls, it’s impossible to see everything in one day. Among the must-see attractions are the Rose Center for Earth and Space, the dinosaurs, the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Hall of the Universe, and the Butterfly Conservatory, which is open from November through May and boasts nearly 500 butterflies. Experts recommend this institution as a can’t-miss museum, especially for families.
To avoid the hustle and bustle of the crowds, we recommend visiting during the late winter or spring on a weekday. Our doors are open daily from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m, but timed entry requires online reservations. Adult tickets are priced at $28, while seniors and students with an ID can enjoy discounted tickets at $22. Children ages 3 to 12 can enter for just $16.
If you’re a resident of New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut, we offer “pay what you wish” admission. In addition to our world-class exhibits, we also house a food court and gift shops for your convenience. To reach us, simply take the B or C train to 81st Street or the 1 to 79th Street. We look forward to welcoming you to the American Museum of Natural History.
Embark on an unforgettable New York City experience by starting your day at either the TKTS booth in Times Square or the Lincoln Center location. Here, you can score same-day tickets to a plethora of Broadway and off-Broadway shows at discounted prices. As Associate Editor Catriona Kendall suggests, immersing yourself in the world-renowned theatrical scene is a must-do for any lover of plays and musicals. The Great White Way is the epitome of American theater, and a trip to the Big Apple wouldn’t be complete without catching a show. While Times Square may be overwhelming, some visitors advise that you can get a full taste of the neighborhood simply by hopping from one show to the next. So, don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to witness the heart and soul of American theater.
Broadway performances are an essential part of any trip to New York City, according to seasoned travelers. Visitors are often impressed by the stunning marquees, intimate theaters, and exceptional talent on stage. With the exception of the Lincoln Center Theater, which is located on the Upper West Side and accessible via the 1 train to 66th Street, all Broadway theaters are situated in a western pocket of midtown Manhattan, near the nonstop neon of Times Square. Fortunately, numerous subway lines, including the A, C, E, B, D, F, M, N, Q, R, S, and 7 trains, make it easy to get to the heart of the action at 42nd Street. Most shows adhere to a similar schedule, with evening performances Tuesday through Saturday and afternoon matinees on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. Broadway.com offers a comprehensive list of show schedules, ticket prices, and additional information. For those seeking a more budget-friendly option, off-Broadway productions are an excellent alternative. These theaters are located throughout the city and offer performances at a fraction of the cost of Broadway shows.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Nestled amidst the vibrant and secular hubbub of Rockefeller Center, stands a magnificent cathedral that exudes an otherworldly aura. St. Patrick’s Cathedral, whether viewed as a religious sanctuary or an architectural marvel, leaves an indelible impression on all who visit. This neo-Gothic masterpiece, erected in 1879, spans an entire city block and boasts 330-foot spires that reach towards the heavens. The interior is equally awe-inspiring, adorned with numerous altars, stained-glass windows, organs, and imposing 9,000-pound bronze doors. With over 5 million visitors annually, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a testament to the enduring power of faith and the artistry of human hands.
Travelers are enamored with the exquisite beauty of St. Patrick’s historical church, with its magnificent stained-glass windows. However, carving out a significant amount of time to visit this iconic landmark is not necessary. Previous visitors recommend visiting during the festive season of Christmas to truly appreciate the church’s grandeur.
For those traveling by subway, the Rockefeller Center stop on the B, D, F, or M train is the most convenient. The church is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. and admission is free, though a suggested donation of $5 is encouraged. For a more in-depth exploration, the church’s self-guided audio tour is available every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at an approximate cost of $20 per person.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Take a stroll down Washington Avenue in Brooklyn and you’ll discover a lush 52-acre park that is impossible to miss. The Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden is a standout feature, adorned with Japanese maples and wooden bridges. During the end of April, visitors are treated to the Sakura Matsuri, a spectacular display of cherry blossoms on the Cherry Esplanade. The Shakespeare Garden is another highlight, boasting over 80 plants mentioned in the famous playwright’s works. With 13 gardens and five conservatories, this garden is a feast for the eyes. Year-round exhibits and events, such as children’s gardening workshops and the enchanting Lightscape winter display, provide endless entertainment. After a rejuvenating visit to this treasured green space, visitors recommend exploring two nearby staples: Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Museum. A combo admission to both the garden and museum can be purchased for $28 per adult.
The garden’s visiting hours may vary depending on the season, but typically it is accessible from Tuesday to Sunday, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. If you are traveling from Manhattan, the most convenient way to reach the garden is by taking the 2 or 3 train to the Eastern Parkway-Brooklyn Museum stop, or the 4 or 5 train to Franklin Avenue. Alternatively, you may opt to take the B, Q, or S train to the Prospect Park station, but please note that the B train does not operate on weekends. Admission to the garden is priced at $18 for adults, $12 for students and seniors aged 65 or older, and children under the age of 12 may enter for free.
Times Square, the five-block stretch from West 42nd to West 47th streets, is a vibrant hub of activity in midtown Manhattan. While some view it as a metaphor for the city itself, filled with excitement and color, others criticize it as congested and overpriced. Despite the mixed reviews, it’s worth catching a glimpse of the area’s iconic neon lights. Most travelers recommend visiting after dark to see the marquee displays, and timing it before or after a Broadway show can be a convenient addition to your itinerary. However, if you prefer to avoid crowds, it may be best to steer clear of this bustling commercial district.
One of the most highly anticipated events in Times Square is undoubtedly the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop. Excitement builds as crowds gather to witness the iconic Waterford crystal ball gracefully descend 77 feet from its perch atop the One Times Square building. For those daring enough to brave the crowds, a trip to New York during this time promises a front-row seat to the festivities, completely free of charge. However, be advised that arriving early and staying put throughout the day is essential, as the area is notoriously packed, even by the standards of bustling New York City.
The perpetual buzz of Times Square renders it effortlessly accessible (simply hop on any train that halts at 42nd Street and Times Square or Port Authority). Numerous preeminent bus and walking tours of the city feature stops at this bustling locale, whilst some of the most exceptional helicopter tours of New York City soar over the iconic five-block expanse.
Renowned as “the People’s Playground,” this iconic amusement area in Brooklyn boasts a rich and storied history. In the early 1900s, Coney Island beckoned New Yorkers with its bathing pavilions, coastal resorts, and thrilling amusement park. Despite the Great Depression’s devastating impact on the area, Coney Island has since regained its footing on the Brooklyn scene, offering an array of new dining options and entertainment, including the famous July Fourth hot dog-eating contest and annual Mermaid Parade along the boardwalk. Today, Coney Island boasts several distinct amusement parks and a museum that showcases a diverse range of exhibits and shows.
Based on feedback from recent visitors, Coney Island is a highly recommended summer destination, especially for families with young children who are seeking a fun-filled adventure. The amusement park offers an array of thrilling rides that are sure to excite any thrill-seeker. However, if you prefer a more relaxed experience, you can take a leisurely stroll along the beach that stretches almost three miles and boasts numerous sports courts and playgrounds. Another must-see attraction is the iconic Riegelmann Boardwalk, which promises to leave a lasting impression on all who visit.
Coney Island welcomes visitors year-round, but for the ultimate amusement park experience, spring and summer are the prime seasons. From noon until late evening, weekdays and weekends alike, the park’s rides and attractions are in full swing, with select offerings featuring unique operating hours. Day passes grant unlimited access to the amusement area, while individual ride tickets are also available, with prices varying by day and height. Come enjoy the thrill of Coney Island’s attractions, and make memories that will last a lifetime.The most efficient mode of transportation to access the iconic Coney Island from Manhattan is by utilizing the D, Q, N, or F subway lines, which will conveniently drop you off at Stillwell Avenue. Alternatively, you may opt for the B36, B64, B68, B74, or B82 buses from Manhattan.