30 Best Things to do in New York: Top Places to visit

Looking for the top places to visit in New York? Check out the best things to do in New York. The detailed overview of what to see in New York also includes practical information – admission fees, prices, opening hours and an interactive map that you can download to your mobile phone.

You’ll never be bored in New York. It is a city that is ready for visitors 365 days a year. In the cold and gloomy winter and the humid and warm summer, there are so many activities to choose from that you won’t even need a few visits.

Today, we’re going to show you the best places to visit and the best things to do in New York City.

Best Things to do in New York

Visit some of the best museums in the world, explore Central Park, admire the majesty of the Statue of Liberty or take in breathtaking views of New York City.

There are so many great things to do in New York. Check out our list of the best things to see (sights, attractions, attractions) in New York City.

Using the list and map, you can easily create an itinerary of what to see in New York in one, two, three or more days.

1. Central Park

Central Park is an oasis of green in the middle of the concrete jungle of Manhattan. The park covers 40 blocks, is 800 metres wide and 4 kilometres long. Walking trails in the park reach 92.8 kilometres in length.

Central park

Central Park is the most visited city park in the United States and one of the best maintained parks in the world. People flee here from the hustle and bustle of the city.

There are so many activities that you can spend your entire holiday here and still have something to do. Just take a walk, have a picnic in the grass, take a rowboat ride on the lake, visit the local zoo, see the Belvedere Castle or the Alice in Wonderland statue and much more.

You can pick up a map of the park at the visitor centre and plan your route accordingly. Visitor centres are usually small kiosks or can be found in Belvedere Castle, for example.

Central Park / Sights New York

Central Park in numbers? 7 artificial lakes and ponds, 51 statues, 36 bridges and arches, 7 decorative fountains and 125 drinking fountains, more than 9,000 benches. More than 200 movies have been filmed here, making it the most filmed place in the world.

From late spring to early fall, join a free tour of Central Park every Saturday at 11am.

  • Admission: free
  • Opening hours: 6:00-01:00
  • Metro: lines 1, 2, 3, A, C, D

2. Metropolitan Museum of Art – The MET 

Remember the episode of Friends where Charlie, who’s dating Joey, wants to go to MET ? Joey enthusiastically agrees with her because he thinks she’s talking about the New York Mets baseball team :). But we are talking about this museum, which is one of the most important in the United States.

the MET / sights in New York / what to see in New York in 3 days

The MET is a premier art gallery where you’ll be treated to paintings by American artists, historical armor from around the world, Egyptian artifacts, Parisian rooms that were all relocated from France, and more. The permanent collection totals more than 2 million objects spanning 5,000 years and is so visual and expansive that you’ll be comfortable spending an entire day here.

the MET / sights in New York / what to see in New York in 3 days

The museum is located in 3 places. The main branch is located on the east side of Central Park on5th Avenue.

  • Admission: $30, $22 for seniors 65+, $17 for students and children 12 and under free; BUY TICKETS
  • Opening hours: Sunday-Thursday 10:00-17:00, Friday-Saturday 10:00-21:00, Wednesday closed
  • Subway: line 4, 5, 6, 86th Street station

3. 9/11 Memorial & Museum 

The two 110-storey towers of the World Trade Center (Twin Towers) once dominated the Manhattan skyline, but were destroyed by suicide planes on 9/11/2001. The attack took a huge toll of lives and made an indelible mark on the black history of New York.

You can commemorate the tragic event at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

9/11 memorial museum

In place of the two towers, there are now two mirror pools where the water flows down the sides. The pools are flanked by bronze panels with the names of nearly 3,000 victims of the 11th World War. and six victims from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Leafy trees around symbolize peace.

Between the pools lies a museum in a curved glass building where you can find out all the information related to 9/11. Underground you will see the remains of the foundations of the Twin Towers. The museum grounds are littered with sad reminders such as twisted steel columns, a broken fire truck and the Survivors’ Staircase, which miraculously survived the building’s collapse and was the only escape route.

  • Cost: $29, $17 for children 7-12, $23 for youth 13-17, students and seniors; the memorial is free
  • Tickets: Buy your ticket here.
  • Opening hours: museum Sunday-Thursday 9:00-20:00, Friday-Saturday 9:00-21:00 (winter Thursday-Monday 10:00-17:00); memorial 7:30-21:00 (winter 10:00-17:00)
  • Subway: line 1 – WTC Cortlandt station, lines N, R, W – WTC Cortlandt St station, line E – World Trade Center station

Museum 11. September is one of the most visited places in New York. The ticket lines are long – I recommend booking in advance .

4. Oculus

Right across the street from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum is the Oculus Shopping Center. It was built here as part of the reclamation of the area after the terrorist attack as a powerful reminder of that day.

The building with white fins, which resembles a spaceship, impresses at first sight both from the outside and its magnificent interior.

5. One World Observatory

One World Observatory is another skyscraper and one of the most popular places in New York City to experience fantastic views of the city. The elevator will take you to 102 in 47 seconds. floors with a glass view and a bar.

View of One World Trade Center - the tallest building in the New York photo
View of One World Trade Center – the tallest building in the photo

The experience includes a section of the glass floor where you can actually see 100 floors down to the street or a multimedia grid with 145 screens projecting the best of New York.

View from One World Trade Center New York What to see
View from One World Trade Center

The skyscraper stands next to the former Twin Towers near the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

  • Admission: full over 13 $47.91, children 6-12 $41.37, seniors 65 and over $45.73
  • Tickets: Click here for tickets.
    Opening hours: 9:00-21:00
  • Subway: line 1 – WTC Cortlandt station, line 2 and 3 – Park Place station

TIP: One World Trade Center is one of the most popular attractions to visit in New York City. To skip the queue it is better to book ticket in advance.

6. Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty , the world’s most famous statue, dating from 1886, symbolises the independence of the United States under the American Declaration of Independence of 1776. The date of the declaration is engraved on a tablet which the statue holds in its left hand. The right hand towers overhead the flood that made Americans find the light and leave the dark days of slavery behind.

A broken chain lies beside the new statue in recognition of the abolition of slavery in the United States. The Statue of Liberty is strategically placed to welcome immigrants to the shores.

Statue of Liberty / Statue of Liberty / Ellis Island / sights new york

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French people to the people of the United States as a symbol of friendship. The statue was shipped in 350 pieces in 214 crates and took a total of 4 months to assemble. The right hand arrived first, which the Americans displayed in Philadelphia until the rest arrived.

The ferry will also take you to Ellis Island. The island, which is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. At the local Immigrant Museum, you’ll learn a lot of information, experiences and stories of people who went through the immigration process here on their way to the United States.

If you don’t need to see the statue up close, hop on the Staten Island Ferry (free), which passes by on its way to Staten Island. I recommend avoiding the afternoon rush hour to avoid waiting. Another way to see the statue in all its glory from afar is at the Battery Park overlook.

7. High Line

How to use the former elevated railway? How about creating a linear urban park called the High Line that runs through 8 blocks and is 2.33 km long?

One of New York City’s most popular city parks, it offers views of the city’s surroundings from 10 metres up, manicured gardens and plenty of greenery and refreshment stands. The park is accessible at several points by stairs or elevator.

New York City's High Line Park / What to see in New York City
  • Admission: free
  • Opening hours: 7:00-19:00 in winter, 7:00-22:00 in spring and autumn, 7:00-23:00 in summer

8. Chelsea Market

If you’re spending time on the High Line, you can’t miss the popular Chelsea Market in the Old Factory. A variety of shops and delicious food under one roof. And a lot of people too, but that counts everywhere in New York :).

Chelsea Market is open Monday to Saturday 7am-2pm and Sunday 8am-10pm.

Chelsea Market New York

9. Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is a 486.3 m long steel suspension bridge with Gothic arches, which was the first bridge of its kind in the world. It connects Manhattan and Brooklyn across the East River.

Brooklyn Bridge / Sights New York / Brooklyn Bridge

More than 120,000 vehicles and 3,100 cyclists and 4,000 pedestrians cross the bridge every day. If you want to take a photo without people, you have to come early in the morning.

Interestingly, the peregrine falcon regularly nests on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Want to experience that iconic view of the Brooklyn Bridge? Look for the Dumbo – Manhattan Bridge View on Washington Street.

Dumbo Lookout near the Brooklyn Bridge

On either side of the Brooklyn Bridge is a park with views of Manhattan across the street.

View of Manhattan from Brooklyn Park New York
View of Manhattan from Brooklyn Park

10. American Museum of Natural History

If you liked the Natural History Museum in London or Vienna, you’ll love the American Museum of Natural History.

American Museum of Natural History / Sights in New York

The huge museum, located near Central Park, features everything from the universe and dinosaurs to the evolution of mankind – information on the cultures of peoples in Asia, the Pacific and Africa, the life of American Indians, a collection of gems, ocean life and butterflies, a planetarium and nature films on a giant IMAX screen. This is complemented by ever-changing temporary exhibitions.

  • Price: $28, children 3-12 years $16, students and seniors $22
  • Tickets: reservation required – Book your tickets here.
  • Opening hours: 10:00-17:30
  • Subway: lines A, B, C – 81 Street Station – Museum of Natural History

11. The MoMA = the Museum of Modern Art

Do you enjoy modern and contemporary art? V MoMA you’ll find something for yourself. Here you can enjoy works by Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock or Starry Night by Van Gogh, among others.

  • Admission: $25, children under 16 free, seniors and students $18; cheaper tickets with advance reservations; Buy tickets here (skip the line)
  • Opening hours: Sunday-Friday 10:30-17:30, Saturday 10:30-19:00
  • Metro: lines E, M – station 5 Avenue-53 St Station

12. Guggenheim Museum – Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim Museum is one of the most famous modern art galleries, where you can enjoy works by Kandinsky, Miró, Chagall, but also paintings by Picasso, Cezanne, Manet, Degas and others.

solomon &guggenheim museum / New York landmarks

The museum is located on the east side of Central Park, a short walk from the MET. From the outside, the museum’s building impresses with its shape, which resembles a snail’s shell or a giant corkscrew.

  • Admission: $25, children under 12 free, seniors and students $18; Click here for tickets
  • Opening hours: Thursday-Monday 11:00-18:00
  • Subway: lines 4, 5, 6, Q – 86th Street station

13. Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Music Hall is a well-known arts venue in New York City and home to the famous Radio City Rockettes. It’s part of the Rockefeller Center building complex, but hosts separate tours. It is worth seeing especially in the evening, when the building is beautifully illuminated.

Radio City Hall New York
  • Admission: $31 (tours currently closed)
  • Opening hours: 9:30-17:00
  • Metro: lines B, D, F, M – station 47-50 Sts-Rockefeller Ctr

14. Broadway

Broadway is a network of 41 theatres that crisscrosses Times Square. The most famous, longest-running and highest-grossing play on Broadway is The Phantom of the Opera. Broadway is 33 miles long, and 15 of those miles are in New York City. It is the longest street in the city.

what to see in New York

Admission to the show: tickets for the show are normally around $120-160. You can get them for half price at TKTS stands.

Book a ticket for The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King or Harry Potter.

15. Times Square

A visit to New York would not be complete without a visit to Times Square. The most famous traffic junction in the world, where 400,000 pedestrians pass through every day.

The square is so illuminated that even astronauts can see it from space and can pinpoint its exact location. That’s why it’s called the Centre of the Universe.

Times Square / what to see in New York

The square is named after the New York Times, which moved here in 1904.

Times Square is shaped like two triangles, with Broadway running through the grid. It used to be one of the most dangerous areas – prostitution, drugs, etc.

There is a strict no-smoking policy. You can be fined up to $50 in the event of a violation.

16. Cathedral of St. St. Patrick’s Cathedral

New Gothic St. Patrick it’s right on 5th Avenue and it’s a bit of a fist in the eye. It is the most impressive religious building in New York City, which is even more striking on a busy and modern avenue among skyscrapers.

The cathedral is regularly restored. The most recent $200 million renovation took place in 2016.

St. Patrick's Cathedral New York
St. Patrick's Cathedral New York
  • Admission: free
  • Opening hours: 6:30-20:45
  • Metro: line E, M – station 5 Avenue-53 St Station

17. Battery Park 

Battery Park is a waterfront park near Wall Street or the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

You can just sit in the grass and watch the birds and street performers, or listen to the sound of the water or musical performances. The park offers a great view of the Statue of Liberty and other parts of New York City.

18. Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock

Rockefeller Center is the largest complex of private Art Deco buildings built in the modern era. The entertainment and shopping centre consists of more than 100 shops, restaurants and cafes.

The complex also includes NBC Television and Radio City Music Hall. From mid-October to mid-March there is a famous skating rink with a giant Christmas tree by the Prometheus statue.

Z Top of the Rock observation deck which is located at 67, 69. and 70th floor, you’ll enjoy great views of the Empire State Building and all of New York City.

Top of the Rock New York
View from Top of the Rock
  • Admission to Top of the Rock: ages 13+ $43.55, children 6-12 $37.02, seniors 62+ $41.37
  • Tickets: Buy your ticket here.
  • Opening hours: 8:00 – 00:00, winter 11:00-19:00 and weekend 10:00-22:00
  • Metro: lines B, D, F, M – station 47-50 Sts-Rockefeller Ctr

19th 5th Avenue

5th Avenue is a prime shopping area where many top designers have stores – Cartier, Bergdorf-Goodman, Apple Store, Saks and Tiffany & Co. If you’re wondering where to go shopping in New York City, 5th Avenue is the place to be.

As well as luxury brands, you’ll also find more affordable brands such as H&M. 5th Avenue is also home to the famous triangular Flatiron skyscraper.

20. Empire State Building

Empire State Building is the iconic building in New York City that dominates most photographs. This Art Deco skyscraper is 381 m tall (443 m with an antenna) and was the first building to have more than 100 floors (102 in total).

It is 2. the tallest building in New York after One World Trade Center, 5. the highest in America and 30. in the world. Empire State Buiding is struck by lightning an average of 25 times a year. In one storm it was 8 times in 24 minutes.

Empire state building New York landmarks

More than 4 million visitors a year come here to enjoy the view. There are 2 camps: one says the view of New York from the Empire State Buiding is breathtaking, the other leans towards the view from Top of the Rock.

Empire state building New York landmarks
View from the Empire State Building

The Empire State Building has two observation decks:

  • prospect in 86. floor, which is the highest open-air observation deck in New York City, and it’s exactly the kind of observation deck you know from most movies;
  • prospect in 102. floor, which is enclosed and from where, under favorable conditions, you can see as far as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
  • Admission to the Empire State Building: full over 13 $47.91, children $41.37, seniors over 62 $45.73
  • Tickets: reservation required – Click here Click here for tickets.
  • Opening hours: 8:00 – 2:00
  • Subway: lines B, D, F, M, N, Q, R, W – 34 St – Herald Sq Subway Station

TIP: The Empire State Building is one of the most popular attractions to visit in New York. To skip the queue it is better to book ticket in advance.

21. Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo is simply an experience. One of the oldest and largest zoos in the United States, it’s a must if you’re coming to New York with kids. On 265 acres you will see more than 8,000 animals.

Bronx Zoo
  • Admission: $33.95, children ages 3-12 $23.95, seniors $28.95; Reservations advance reservations required; Wednesday admission is free, but you must still reserve online
  • Opening hours: November-March 10:00-16:30, April-October weekdays 10:00-17:00 and weekends and holidays 10:00-17:30

22. Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden is a multi-functional, large-capacity venue that hosts more than 300 events a year. It is also home to 3 professional sports clubs (e.g. New York Knicks, New York Rangers, St. John’s Red Storm men’s basketball), so many memorable games have been played here during its existence.

23. Hudson Yards

Do you enjoy interesting architecture? Check out The Shed and The Vessel at Hudson Yards at the north end of the High Line. The Shed is a relatively new art centre with a movable roof that is worth seeing at least from the outside. Admission inside is $10.

The Vessel is a spiral staircase in the shape of a honeycomb, which you can use to climb up to the 16th floor. You can’t get inside at the moment due to the current situation, but it’s worth seeing from the outside.

And the third tip is the Edge observation deck with a partially transparent floor at 30 Hudson Yards. Nothing for the faint of heart, but it’s a unique experience with great views.

View from the partially glazed observation deck of The Edge
  • Price: full admission to The Edge over 12 $47.91; children 6-11 $42.56; seniors 65+ $45.73
  • Tickets: Click here to purchase tickets for The Edge observation deck.
  • Opening hours: 10:00-22:00
  • Subway: line 7 – 34 Street-Hudson Yards station

24. Wax Museum – Madame Tussauds Museum

Madame Tussauds Museum can also be found in other cities such as Barcelona , Berlin or London . The New York Wax Museum is spread over 5 floors near Times Square, and in addition to famous celebrities, you’ll also see a Broadway set.

  • Admission: $47.89 for ages 3 and up; Click here for tickets
  • Opening hours: Sunday-Thursday 9:00-22:00, Friday-Saturday 9:00-00:00

25. Coney Island 

Coney Island is a famous fun-filled peninsula with beaches on the Atlantic Ocean. The Luna Park amusement park or Deno’s Wonder Wheel is a favourite, and you’ll have NY in the palm of your hand. The attractions are closed in winter.

26. SUMMIT One Vanderbilt

You get one of the best views of New York City from 93. floors of the One Vanderbilt skyscraper – from the outdoor terrace or the indoor lounge. All this is complemented by multisensory effects – two floors of floor-to-ceiling mirrors, glass ledges high above Madison Avenue, multimedia screens and more.

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt – view at night
  • Price: $49.01; children 6-12 years $42.47
  • Tickets: due to the long queues advance reservations are essential. .
  • Opening hours: 9:00-22:30, closed Tuesdays
  • Subway: line 7 – 5th Avenue station

27. Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station has been featured in a number of films and TV shows. The spectacular Beaux Arts interior with turquoise ceiling is worth seeing for yourself. The best view is from the grand staircase.

28. Wall Street

Wall Street, the home of the stock market and the financial world in New York. Actually, there’s not that much to see here. Here it’s more about the atmosphere. While you’re here, visit the three-ton Charging Bull statue that stands nearby on Broadway. The sculpture symbolizes the courage and fortitude of New Yorkers and the defense against greed and excesses in the wake of the 1987 Wall Street crash.

29. Greenwich Village and Washington Square Park

Greenwich Village is a popular neighbourhood full of restaurants, bars, jazz clubs and stand-up comedy shows. Its centerpiece is Washington Square Park with its large arch.

If you weave your way through the surrounding streets, you might find the Friends house or Carrie’s house from Sex and the City.

Washington Square Park New York / what to see in New York
Washington Square Park
what to see in New York

Top Places and Sights to Visit in New York – Map

HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Above you’ll find a detailed map of New York City with tips on sights to visit. Click at the top left of the map to see separate layers with highlighted locations. You can hide and show the different layers or click on the icons on the map to see the names of the places I mention in the New York guide. If you want to save the map, star it. For a larger version, click on the icon in the upper right corner.

Where to stay in New York

Rooms are generally small in New York. I recommend looking ahead, as the best accommodation is broken down months in advance. Most hotels also offer free cancellation with a few clicks.

HIGHER CLASS: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel A popular hotel chain with modern and clean rooms. The hotel is a short walk from Times Square and the Empire State Building. Some rooms on the upper floors offer great views of the river and Manhattan. Port Authority Bus Station is just a few minutes away.

UPPER CLASS: Holiday Inn: The Holiday Inn is located on the south side of Manhattan a short walk from Wall Street, the World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. Rooms are simple and modern with comfortable beds. The view of New York City and the Hudson River is also a plus.

Holiday Inn Hotel

HIGHER CLASS: Hotel Pod Times Square A: As the name suggests, Hotel Pod Times Square is just 600 metres from Times Square. It has a good central location, so many places are within walking distance. The hotel is modern and design and is just a short walk from Port Authority Bus Station.

MIDDLE CLASS: Leo House: a great value hotel in Chelsea, Manhattan. Many places are accessible on foot or just a few metro stops away. The rooms are clean with private or shared bathrooms. Rich breakfast.

MIDDLE CLASS: LIC Hotel: a very convenient hotel on Long Island, with easy access to downtown and the airport by subway. Rooms are equipped with a TV, fridge and private bathroom. The best part is the view from the terrace with the bar.

View from the LIC hotel on New York

CENTRAL/LEFT: West Side YMCA: Located on the Upper East Side, this accommodation is within walking distance of Central Park and other attractions. It offers accommodation in private or shared rooms. Reception 24/7, swimming pool, sauna, fitness.

CHEAP: Deluxe Inn & Suites – Long Island City NYC: Newly renovated Long Island hotel with great access to downtown and the airport. Comfortable rooms with a fridge, TV and private bathroom.

How to save money in New York on sights and attractions

Looking at the entrance fees to the various sights probably made your pupils spin. Fortunately, there are a few tricks to save in New York, and now we’ll introduce them.

New York Pass is a tourist card that gives you free admission to over 100 sites in New York City – the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, the Edge, the Memorial and the 11th Street Museum. September, One World Observatory, Statue of Liberty, MET, MoMA, Guggenheim Museum and more.

You can purchase a New York Pass for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 days (valid for calendar days). The price is then based on this.

New York Explorer Pass is a tourist pass that buys you a number of attractions, not a number of days. You can choose between 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 places to go in New York (you have 60 days from activation).

If you choose the most expensive seats (Empire State Building or Top of the Rock), you can save significantly with the New York Eplorer Pass.

If you have a question about tips on what to visit in New York, ask in the comments below. Have a safe journey!

Learn more about New York

NEW YORK: We’ve also created a detailed guide to visiting New York with more helpful tips.

LONDON: London is the European equivalent of New York. Check out the best places to visit in London or get inspired by our itinerary for visiting London in 3 days.

Summary: Best Things to do in New York City

What are the top places to visit in New York?

New York is famous for its architecture and interesting places. Iconic places in New York include the Empire State Building, Central Park, Rockefeller Center and the Statue of Liberty. See the article for more tips, including admission, opening times and photos.

What to see in New York for free?

Travelling on a budget? New York has lots of beautiful places that you can visit completely free of charge. For example, Central Park, Times Square, Grand Central Station or the New York Times building.

How much to prepare for admission to the sights in New York?

For each venue in the article, you’ll find detailed information on admission fees, opening times, where to buy tickets and how to get there.

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