Things to do in
New York City

Eat, shop, and fall in love with world-class museums, historical landmarks, and skyscrapers galore.

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Our most recommended things to do in New York City

NYC: SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Experience Ticket

1. NYC: SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Experience Ticket

Situated at the top of the iconic modern landmark One Vanderbilt, SUMMIT changes our relationship with cities, environment, and ourselves through immersive, multi-sensory experiences. Off the main concourse of Grand Central Terminal, learn the incredible story behind the creation of SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, and prepare yourself for a memorable experience. Designed with the intention of transcending everyday existence, SUMMIT offers an opportunity to engage with space in a fascinating new way. Your experience at SUMMIT begins with a sensory stimulating elevator ride to the 91st floor. From there, you are immediately transported into SUMMIT AIR, a new way to see and interact with space designed by Kenzo Digital. Layered with two floors of floor to ceiling mirrors, AIR offers a whole new perspective of the city as the Manhattan skyline reflects all around you. Next, test your limits at SUMMIT LEVITATION and enjoy the rush of stepping out over the city on two glass ledges suspended 1,063 feet above Madison Avenue. Continue through the different levels of SUMMIT and become part of the art. Watch your image float in the clouds across a multi-media screen and get in touch with your playful side in the silver balloon AFFINITY room. Once you reach the 93rd floor, take in the sights and sounds of NYC from another vantage point on the outdoor observation deck. For a more intimate, adult-friendly evening experience, choose to visit SUMMIT during Air at Night. Guests can enjoy access to all areas of the attraction, an LED light show with accompanying vivacious music, and cocktails for purchase at the 93rd floor bar.

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island: Ticket Options with Ferry

2. Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island: Ticket Options with Ferry

Hop on board the ferry and enjoy a self-guided tour of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Visit Liberty Island, explore the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, and learn fascinating facts as you go. Begin your experience by departing from Liberty State Park, located in Jersey City, NJ, easily accessible by car. Once you arrive at the meeting point, bypass the ticket line with your pre-purchased ticket. Board the ferry and see the impressive views of Lady Liberty and the NYC skyline. Take note of the ferry's return times to plan your day. Your ticket gives you access to explore two attractions: Ellis Island and Liberty Island (with the Statue of Liberty). On arrival to Ellis Island, pick up your multilingual audio guide at the Immigration Museum. Then, explore what was America’s busiest immigration station for over 62 years. Walk in the footsteps of millions of people from all around the globe who passed through here looking for a new beginning and a new life for their families in America. With access to the American Family Immigration History Center's records, you can search all ship manifests that came through Ellis Island. Use this unique experience to research your family history. Once you're ready to discover Liberty Island, drop off your audio guide and return to the ferry. Upon arrival on Liberty Island, pick up your multilingual audio guide to start exploring the history of the Statue of Liberty. Children also have the opportunity to enjoy a special narration of this self-guided tour. When you are finished, return to the ferry and make your way back to your original departure point.

NYC: Museum of Ice Cream Entry Ticket

3. NYC: Museum of Ice Cream Entry Ticket

Walk through the pink doors of the Museum of Ice Cream and enter a world of pure imagination. Satisfy your inner child and your actual kids with exhibitions featuring various installations designed to engage and delight children of all ages. Time your visit the museum on a weekday for a more peaceful experience. Once inside, explore imaginative, multi-sensory exhibitions that bring to life your most delightful dreams. Savor the sweetest treats on a magical floating table, slide down an epic three-story slide, take a celestial ride on a pink Museum of Ice Cream subway, and follow the buzzing sound to a giant "Queen Bee" hive. Taste the museum's signature flavors and ice cream treats along the way, before taking a dive into the world's largest sprinkle pool. Take all the Instagram-worthy pictures that your heart desires. When you finish your experience, be sure to explore the museum's whimsical shop. The Museum of Ice Cream is not a traditional museum — every installation is interactive, meaning touching isn't only allowed, it's encouraged. Alternatively, grab your partner, friend, or family member for an exclusive Night at the Museum experience at The Museum of Ice Cream. Start off the night with a signature cocktail and ignite your senses through a theatrical experience. After hours, enjoy a full tour of the museum's 13 magical installations, along with special activities and treats designed to celebrate love in all its forms. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a pink super-cone.

NYC: Empire State Building General & Skip-the-Line Tickets

4. NYC: Empire State Building General & Skip-the-Line Tickets

Choose between a General Admission ticket and the Express Ticket option. General Admission allows you to skip the ticket purchase line, whilst the Express Ticket option gives you an upgraded VIP experience. With an Express Ticket you'll be able to skip all lines, including the ticket purchase line, security line and the elevator lines that take you up and down. The New Empire State Building Experience not only gives you access to the legendary New York City landmark, allowing you to soar 1,054 foot (320 meters) high and enjoy magnificent 360-degree open-air views of New York City and beyond. You'll also see Grand Staircase with a two-story architectural model of the building and newly renovated interactive galleries that take you on an incredible journey from the building’s construction to its current place in pop culture. Explore the site in the 1920s, Construction, Opening Day, Modern Marvel, Otis Elevators, World’s Most Famous Building, King Kong, and Celebrity exhibits. The 80th Floor also features a range of exciting art exhibits. Be sure to see the building's iconic Art Deco Fifth Avenue lobby. The Empire State Building's 86th Floor Observation Deck is the highest 360-degree open-air observatory in New York, outfitted with heaters to keep the cold at bay. The Empire State Building is more than a spectacular view - it is the most Instagrammed landmark in the USA. Your entrance also includes a downloadable multimedia experience, available in 9 languages. This app also includes videos, image galleries, quizzes, and maps showing nearby points of interest. Be sure to see the building's iconic Art Deco Fifth Avenue lobby as you exit this remarkable building

New York City: Manhattan Island Helicopter Tour

5. New York City: Manhattan Island Helicopter Tour

Experience the best views in New York City from inside a helicopter, complete with large floor-to-ceiling convex windows for your viewing pleasure. On your flight you will see the beautiful Central Park, Hudson River, and New York Harbor, including the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum. Cruise past the Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building, the World Financial Center, and the Chrysler Building from up high, as well as the iconic Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Greenwich Village, South Street Seaport, and the Brooklyn Bridge, which dates all the way back to 1883. With tour narration and all heliport fees included, there is no better way to enjoy the dramatic and ever-evolving New York City skyline.

NYC: 1-Hour Cruise Around Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

6. NYC: 1-Hour Cruise Around Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

Take a 60-minute boat ride to within 100 feet of the Statue of Liberty. Cruise right under the Brooklyn Bridge and see the most famous skyline in the world. Your live English guide will point out the sites as you journey along the river including the Empire State Building, the new Freedom Tower, the Manhattan Bridge, Governor's Island, and more. Make use of both the indoor and outdoor seating, along with large open windows for your viewing pleasure. Get within touching distance of "Lady Liberty" and then move on to Ellis Island to take photos of the famous entry point to New York City. Marvel at the skyline of Manhattan and its famous skyscrapers, including the new One World Trade Center. Glide down both the east and west sides of Lower Manhattan on this roundtrip cruise, and purchase drinks and food from the concession stand aboard the boat. 

NYC: 9/11 Memorial & Museum Timed-Entry Ticket

7. NYC: 9/11 Memorial & Museum Timed-Entry Ticket

Benefit from contactless entry to the National September 11 Memorial Museum with your pre-purchased timed-entry ticket. Enjoy complimentary access to the 9/11 Memorial, the Survival Tree, and the Memorial Glades The 9/11 Museum The museum displays over 10,000 monumental artifacts linked to the events of 9/11 and is made up of three permanent exhibition sections: • The Historical Exhibition has three parts: the Day of 9/11, Before 9/11 and After 9/11. It tells the story of what happened on 9/11, including the events at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the story of Flight 93.  • The Memorial Exhibition "In Memoriam", commemorates the lives of those who perished on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 and provides visitors with the opportunity to learn about the men, women and children who died. • The Foundation Hall is a room of massive scale, which houses both the last column and the slurry wall.  The 9/11 Memorial (Free Entry) The “National September 11 Memorial” is a tribute of remembrance and honor to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center site, the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.  The memorial’s twin reflecting pools are each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest manmade waterfalls in North America. The pools sit within the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood. The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the memorial pools.

NYC: Edge Observation Deck Admission Ticket

8. NYC: Edge Observation Deck Admission Ticket

Edge is a marvel of architecture, engineering, and technology, suspended in mid-air over 1100 feet above the ground, giving you the feeling of floating in the sky. With Edge's unique vantage point on the western side of Midtown Manhattan, take in the entire Manhattan skyline from 1 place—from the tip of Central Park down to the Statue of Liberty and beyond. Begin your journey on Level 4 of The Shops at Hudson Yards, where you will enter into an immersive multimedia experience explaining the design, construction, and sustainability of Hudson Yards. Then, head up over 1100 feet to the Observation Deck, and then 80 feet out into the air on the Outdoor Sky Deck. Here, frameless glass panels walls are boldly angled outwards to allow you to feel the thrill of leaning out over the edge with the busy city below. Next, stand on the glass floor and look over 100 stories straight down to the city streets below your feet. At Edge's furthest point, The Eastern Point, there's space for one person to stand alone, surrounded by glass, air, and sky—you will never have had a picture quite like it. The upper level also features the Skyline Steps, where you can look out over the top of the glass panels and past the edge of the deck. Have a seat and hang out in the sky with your friends and family, or head indoors and sip champagne or a signature cocktail at the Champagne Bar. When you leave be sure to visit Hudson Yards centerpiece, Vessel, or enjoy a bite to eat or shopping experience at The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards.

New York One World Observatory: Skip-the-Line Ticket Options

9. New York One World Observatory: Skip-the-Line Ticket Options

Ascend via SkyPod to the top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere in less than 47 seconds at 28 mph. SkyPod provides a virtual time-lapse visual experience showing how New York City has changed from the 1500s. Skip the ticket line and even opt to also skip the elevator line. At the observatory, elevate your senses as you take in the iconic sights, surrounding waters, and panoramas of the Manhattan skyline and beyond. Then look toward the horizon and feel the city’s invincible spirit while taking in the stunning views.  Engage with City Pulse and One World Observatory's global ambassadors as they share stories of this amazing city. Step onto the expansive Sky Portal and take a walk high above the streets of New York. Dine or drink at the café, bar, or restaurant. Upgrade to Combination or All-Inclusive Tickets and enjoy skip-the-line access to the elevators. Access expedited security via the priority security line. The Digital Skyline Guide, an interactive, virtual reality iPad guide to New York City, is also included. 

NYC: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Timed-Entry Ticket

10. NYC: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Timed-Entry Ticket

Pre-book your timed admission and skip the ticket lines to New York City's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), one of the world's most celebrated art museums. The Museum of Modern Art is a place that fuels creativity, challenges minds, and inspires. With extraordinary exhibitions and the world's finest collection of modern and contemporary art, MoMA is dedicated to the conversation between the past and the present, the established and the experimental. MoMA offers a panoramic overview of modern and contemporary art, from the innovative European painting and sculpture of the 1880s to today's film, design, and performance art. Six floors of art galleries in midtown Manhattan include highlights such as Monet's Water Lilies, Van Gogh's The Starry Night, Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, Matisse's Dance (I), and Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans, as well as contemporary work by Elizabeth Murray, Cindy Sherman, Ai Weiwei, and many others. Enjoy exploring the traveling exhibits. From February 20 to July 2, visit the Project of Independence. This exhibition explores the ways modern architecture in the region gave shape and expression to idealist societal visions and emancipatory politics of the post-independence period. From March 13 to August 13, enjoy the Frédéric Bruly Bouabré exhibit, the first in-depth study in the US of this Ivorian artist who used drawing as a critical tool to invent a writing system. Henri Matisse: The Red Studio is available from May 1 to September 10 and focuses on the genesis and history of Matisse. From July 16 to January 2, 2023, visit Barara Kruger: Thing of You. I mean Me. I Mean You, a large-scale site-specific commission that will envelop the Donald and Catherine Marron Family Atrium. From October 30 to March 4, 2023, enjoy the Meret Oppenheim: My Exhibition, the first transatlantic exhibition to survey this visionary Swiss artist's career. To help you enjoy the collection better, use the free MoMA app or mobile site to listen to free audio guides available for download to your mobile device. Free WiFi is available throughout the museum. The MoMA Stores offer a wide selection of books, design objects, jewelry, furniture, clothing, and more.

Frequently asked questions about New York City

What top attractions are a must-see in New York City?

The must-see attractions in New York City are:

Insider tips: Planning a trip to New York City

Looking to take a bite out of the Big Apple? We've enlisted the help of New York City expert, Steffen, from Loving New York to help you make the most of your next trip. Read our tips below for your next visit to New York City.

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

If it's your first time in New York, you should definitely visit one of the big observation platforms! You have several to choose from, but I recommend the Edge observation deck at the Hudson Yards and the One World Observatory. Also, take a boat tour to see New York from the water.

What are some hidden gems to see in New York City?

I'll tell you two of my favorite spots in New York: the Grand Banks at Pier 25 on the Hudson River and Domino Park in Williamsburg. Both places grant you sensational views of the city.

How much time should I spend in New York City?

To explore New York – and not feel stressed out – you want to stay at least 5 to 7 days. That way, you can visit the most important spots and still have time to let the city work its magic on you – but without the time pressure

What food is New York City known for?

I'm a total foodie – so New York is obviously paradise to me! Start with the typical Cream Cheese Bagels (for example at Russ & Daughters in the Lower East Side), try the Pastrami Sandwiches (at Katz' Delicatessen or the Pastrami Queen), and eat a typical New York Pizza Slice. And if you have a sweet tooth: Juniors has the best cheesecake in the city, hands down!

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit New York City?

First-time visitors should always book their hotel in Manhattan – this way the distances are short and you can easily reach all the sights on foot. I like Soho, Tribeca, Lower Manhattan, and Murray Hill in particular.

What is the best way to get around New York City?

In New York, the best way to get around is on foot – or you can jump on a 'Citi Bike', which is super cheap to rent. We also like to use the NYC Ferries, which can shuttle you between Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens on the East River for the price of a one-way subway ride.

What are the best months to visit New York City?

It's worth visiting New York at any time of the year. But if I had to settle on individual months, I recommend May/June and September/October.

What are the best neighborhoods for food?

There are so many different gastro spots in Williamsburg, the East Village, and West Village.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

New York and shopping simply go hand in hand, Great areas are SoHo, 5th Avenue, and the lower part of Broadway. Be sure to avoid the Times Square area for shopping at all costs – most stores are overpriced and true tourist traps!

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in New York City?

Exploring New York with the family is huge fun - I myself have been to our favorite city with my kids numerous times. Among my personal highlights is a trip to the Statue of Liberty, the visit to the One World Observatory, and Central Park with its lakes and playgrounds. Also really exciting is the Museum of Natural History, which will be familiar to many from the movie "Night at the Museum".

What is the best thing to do in New York City for solo travelers?

Make sure to take a sailing tour on the Hudson River. Many tours, one with on-board wine tasting, for example, start at Pier 62. This is a really relaxed way to travel and a fun way to meet new people.

What is the best thing to do in New York City for couples?

New York can also be quite romantic. A visit to the Empire State Building in the evening from 10 pm (from Thursday to Saturday) is a real highlight, not just for couples. During this time, a saxophonist plays on the observation deck. Also very enjoyable are the dinner cruises and a flight in a helicopter over New York.

What are the best annual events in New York City?

Among the most important events in New York are St. Patrick's Day in March, Gay Pride in June, of course, the 4th of July, and also the Macy's Parade – which is an absolute must-see.

Other Sightseeing Options in New York City

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What people are saying about New York City

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 63,064 reviews

We loved our visit to Empire State Building. The films and information were so very interesting, all about how it was built and this was fascinating in itself. Brilliant film/animations. The building is beautiful. We booked tickets for 10.00am and there were absolutely no queues at all. We were not sure if this was to do with COVID restrictions, so there were fewer people, or the time of day, or what. But zero queues and zero waiting. The observation storey at the 86th floor was great. I’m not sure what extra would be gained by being higher. Views from all four sides of the building. Free telescopes to look at the view. A great view and very enjoyable. We only did a very few “big ticket” tourist attractions in New York and this was one; we don’t regret it.

Loved the tribute to fallen hero’s and victims of 911. Tower One memorial museum respects and features the individuals and humanizes them with loved ones describing them. Tower Two memorial focus on the gruesome tragedy of the day. Our 10-year old granddaughter was disturbed seeing bloody faces. I personally would have spent more time in the Tower Two museum. We had allocated three hours and that wasn’t enough time to absorb the thoughtful exhibits. Kudos to all the people who made the memorials sacred and meaningful.

The experience was great. it would be nice if somewhere you can tall people they can buy tickets even there. If you go alone you will find other -single- people and just ask them to take a picture of you and viceversa. You will take hundred of pictures and please try all the possible positions . Just watch the others and have fun and fun and fun.

An amazing NYC Experience. Beautiful, awesome views and Jean Michel made it extra special by generously taking the time to answer all of our questions, pointing out important landmarks and generously imparting his local knowledge in a fun and educational way.!

We liked everything, very knowledgeable guiders, it was beyond what we expected . I recommend this walking tour to every first time NY travelers.