1. Visit the Empire State Building
One of New York City’s most interesting buildings, the Empire State Building is an Art Deco icon. Soaring 1,250 feet above the city, a trip to the top is a must. Head to the observatory on the 86th floor and soak up the Big Apple from above. Before you leave, pause to take a picture in the Fifth Avenue lobby — it’s been featured in a handful of films and is a must for your Big Apple bucket list.
2. Fall in love with Lady Liberty
Visiting this symbol of freedom and hope is a must for history lovers. A gift from France in 1886, the copper statue turned its signature light green over time as the metal oxidized. To see the statue in all her glory, hop on a ferry and visit Lady Liberty with a priority ticket. This will give you pedestal access (the views!), entry to the Ellis Island National Immigration Museum, and an audio guide.
3. See the sights from the sky
The Manhattan skyline is one of the most recognizable cityscapes in the world. Take it in with one of the most fun things to do in New York City: a helicopter flight. Board a specialty chopper with floor-to-ceiling convex windows for maximum views (and pack your camera). Your pro pilot will take you past famous buildings and sights from a completely new perspective in this thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
4. Go green on two wheels
Central Park is…well…central to New York City. It’s the backdrop to countless books, tv shows, films, and everyday New York life. Head to the famous 840 acres (340 hectares) and experience the famed park for yourself by bike. Whether you want to take a quick ride or rent a bike for a whole day, you’ll be able to see the park’s many sights and even explore the rest of Manhattan. Cycle solo, with your travel buddy, or (if you’re traveling with kids) tire everyone out on a giant loop through the park. Afterward, grab a bite from a local vendor and relax as you watch the city go by.
5. Be humbled by heroes
One of the most tragic events in New York happened on September 11, 2001. Visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and pay your respects. The museum showcases films, a historical display, and an “In Memoriam” exhibition where you’ll learn about those who were lost. This is a sobering, yet essential sight on your list of places to visit in New York City.
6. Get clued up on community culture
Take a walking tour of some of New York’s most fascinating districts. First up, explore SoHo and its cool boutiques and impressive cast-iron buildings. Next up is Little Italy and Chinatown, home to immigrant communities and brimming with culture. Hear tales of history, gangsters, and the struggles people had to face. Best of all, you’ll get to sample delicious local foods along the way for a real taste of NYC.
7. Admire all the art
On top of the list of places art lovers have to visit is the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Not only is the art collection an inspiration, but the building itself is an architectural gem. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, it has a unique spiral form to showcase the artistic treasures inside. Visitors can see Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Early Modernist arts from greats such as Klee, Modigliani, Chagall, and Kandinsky.
8. Climb to the clouds
Get bragging rights to say you’ve been up the tallest building in the Western hemisphere with a trip up One World Observatory. At 1,776 feet, the One World Trade Center is an impressive landmark on the NYC skyline. What’s more — you’ll get to the top in a hurry. A trip to the 102nd floor takes only 47 seconds! Once at the top, there are interactive exhibitions, historical displays, and, of course, jaw-dropping views of the city.
9. Boast you’ve been to Broadway
Seeing a show on Broadway is the cherry on top of the New York cheesecake. With over 40 theatres on NYC’s longest street, you can pick and choose your entertainment, from award-winning plays to famous musicals. Classics like the Lion King are favorites with kids of all ages. If you’d rather brag about seeing Broadway’s longest-running musical, head to the Phantom of the Opera. It’s been playing since 1988!
10. Bite the Big Apple
Foodies know that Brooklyn is where it’s at for exciting eats and treats. Take a food tour of Williamsburg to discover why it’s such a hip spot for delicious food. You’ll taste and sip at various venues where you’ll meet producers and restaurateurs. Get local tips on the coolest hangout spots and enjoy the vibe of this lively, creative neighborhood.