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Things to do in New York: Top must-see places

Take a look at our list of things to do in New York and discover the most iconic places to visit in the Big Apple this 2024

Carolina S.

January 1, 2024

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New York is undoubtedly one of the most popular destinations in the world, due not only to its museums, galleries, and Broadway shows, but also to its sporting events, shopping, and food areas. If you plan to visit this city, do you know what to do in New York?

If you still haven’t decided what to see in New York and you don’t have a clear idea of what to expect or how to set your itinerary, don’t worry because today we will tell you all about the must-see places to visit in the Big Apple.

Our main suggestion is that you plan your trip according to the number of days you’ll stay in New York. Based on this, you’ll know how to prioritize on visiting the most emblematic places in the city. And if this is your first time in this place, stay always connected with Holafly eSIM New York, which will allow you to check Google Maps and much more.

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15 best things to do in New York

As promised! We’ll tell you all about the top places to visit in New York this season, so get your notebook ready and start planning your travel itinerary.

But before we continue, we would like to comment on the tourist cards for New York, which we suggest you buy if you want to get discounts on attractions and transportation in the Big Apple. Many of these cards offer entry to the places that are on our recommendation list.

Statue of Liberty

This is one of the most iconic and symbolic monuments of New York City, which is located south of Manhattan, on Liberty Island.

To visit the Statue of Liberty, you must book your ticket or access pass, which includes a roundtrip ferry ride around the statue, so you can take great pictures of Lady Liberty.

Admission costs start at $31 USD per person, which depends on whether you want to access the pedestal, go to the crown of the statue, or take a full tour of Ellis Island. This is an experience you can’t overlook when visiting New York, but you have to book your tickets months in advance.

statue-of-liberty
Statue of Liberty. Source: Freepick.es

The Empire State Building

Surely, you have already heard about the Empire State Building, as it is one of the most popular buildings in the world, where you can enjoy the best views of the city.

Its 86th-floor observation deck has a glass pavilion and an outdoor walkway, from which you can see buildings such as Chrysler, the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, and even the Statue of Liberty.

Also, on the observation deck, you’ll find different attractions to enjoy, such as special tours to learn about the history of the building and much more.

Times Square

Times Square is situated at the intersection of Broadway and 7th Avenue in Manhattan and is another of the unmissable places in this great city.

In this place, you’ll encounter large screens and illuminated signs, the famous red stairs, prestigious stores such as the Disney Store, M&M’s World, Hershey’s World of Chocolate, and even the Madame Tussauds and Broadway museums.

To make the most out of your tour, it would be great if you could go to the Broadway musical theaters, although to see the shows, you’ll have to buy a ticket.

Central Park

Visiting Central Park is one of the few free things you can do in New York, and therefore, it’s one of the highly recommended activities in your tour around the city. Its appeal lies in the fact that it’s a park full of trees and small lakes in the middle of the big city, which can provide a getaway from the chaos for both citizens and visitors.

Central Park is perfect for jogging, walking, picnicking, and even relaxing. What to see in Central Park? We could narrow it down to Wollman Rink, The Mall, Bethesda Terrace, Bethesda Fountain, Conservatory Water Lake, the Alice in Wonderland statue, and the Bow Bridge.

But we also suggest exploring Belvedere Castle, Turtle Pond, and the Oak Bridge.

Central-Park
Central Park. Source: Feepick.es

The Met

This museum is one of the most visited worldwide and is located right in Manhattan. It has a superb art collection that includes works dating from antiquity to modern times since it has works by Picasso, Max Beckman, and even Paul Klee.

To enter, you need to buy a ticket, which starts at $30. If you want a guided tour, remember to ask for it when you enter the museum, since the schedules are limited.

Brooklyn Bridge

Another New York landmark is the famous Brooklyn Bridge, which offers stunning views of Manhattan, where you’ll also find a wide variety of restaurants and seasonal attractions.

If you are searching for a total New York experience, you must walk across the bridge, although we sincerely recommend you do it during sunrise or sunset, not only to capture the best images but also to avoid the crowds on the bridge.

Museum of Modern Art

If you’re an art lover like us, you might want to visit the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as you’ll find one of the most extensive collections of modern art in the world.

The museum has six floors, in which it houses art collections and exhibitions that comprise approximately 200,000 works of art. Its most outstanding paintings are definitely “Van Gogh’s Starry Night”, the paintings by Dali and even Picasso.

MoMa-NY
MoMA NY. Source: Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Broadway

If you are into musicals, you may want to dig a little deeper into Broadway. In this museum, you’ll enjoy interactive experiences to learn a little more about the history of musicals and the industry today.

The tour is full of colorful and accessible works for everyone, which have a unique feature, they are a lot of fun! So, you’ll even get unrepeatable and unforgettable pictures.

Top of the Rock Observation Deck

Looking for the most beautiful views of the city? Well, you can find them at the Top of The Rock. This observation deck is located in the Rockefeller Center, and due to its height, you will find terraces with a 360° view of New York City.

This attraction is one of the most visited, so our recommendation is to get a tourist card to access with more peace of mind, or to book your ticket months in advance of your visit.

Rockefeller Center

Earlier, we elaborated on the Top of The Rock observation deck, but this is not the only thing you’ll find in Rockefeller Center. Here you will find the NBC studios, where you can attend the Jimmy Fallon Show, book guided tours, or watch the taping of the famous morning show “Today”.

You can also visit the stores in the central square, and you will have the chance to visit the ice skating rink if you travel between the months of October and April. At Christmastime, they usually put up the iconic Christmas tree that we all know from TV references.

But if that’s not reason enough, here you’ll enjoy the Channel Gardens, outdoor bars, LEGO and Nintendo stores, the famed Concourse (tunnels with popular cafés and restaurants), the statue of Atlas, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Bryant Park.

rockefeller-center
Rockefeller Center. Source: Pixabay

9/11 Memorial & Museum

This museum is suitable for those who want to know a little more about the 9/11 attacks. Its location is the same as that of where the old twin towers once stood, that is, the World Trade Center.

Inside its facilities, you’ll see the retaining wall that isolated the twin towers from the Hudson River, the last column removed from ground zero, the first fire truck that arrived at the tragedy, beams, messages from relatives of the people who died in the attack and a chronology of events.

If you want to enter for free, you should plan to visit on Mondays after 3:30 pm.

American Museum of Natural History

Another famous site to visit is the Museum of Natural History. Why? Because it’s not only located in front of Central Park but is made up of 27 buildings with 46 permanent exhibition halls, and also has laboratories, research studios, and a large library.

The museum exhibits a collection of more than 34 million specimens, but we recommend that you pay close attention to rooms like the Gilder Center, and displays like the Titanosaurus, the blue whale, and the Tyrannosaurus Rex since they are the favorites for the little ones in the family.

The Roosevelt Island Tramway

Get to know more about New York with the city’s cable car, which is very entertaining and innovative, since you’ll feel as if you were flying over the buildings as if you were a TV superhero.

As for its views, the most memorable are those of Manhattan and Queens, although our recommended activity is to visit the Four Freedoms Park at the other end of the island because it’s one of the most modern in the city.

roosevelt-island-tram
Roosevelt Island Tramway. Source: Pixabay

Hudson Yards

Want to see the most important new developments in the city? Visit Hudson Yards, where you will discover some of the most beautiful skyscrapers in the city, and even the famous observatory The Vessel, whose structure has a labyrinth of stairs that allow you to explore the building from different angles.

While strolling around Hudson Yards, take the opportunity to sample the local cuisine and explore Mercado Little Spain, although our top recommendation is to enjoy a show at The Shed.

Summit One Vanderbilt

We will wrap up our list with one of the newest viewpoints in the city, which offers a novel and very modern experience because to go up, you will have to go inside a glass elevator, which we warn you is not suitable for everyone.

In these facilities, you will get highly professional panoramic photographs, and you will have the opportunity to engage in immersive experiences such as the one installed on the 91st floor.

If you’re one of those adventure-seekers and daredevils who are not afraid of heights, why not go to the “Levitation“? It consists of two cubes that protrude from the building so that you can walk through a glass that will allow you to see the vastness at only 324 meters high.

summit-NY
Summit One Vanderbilt Source: Molaviajar

Tips for visiting New York

Now that we have completed our list of things to do in New York, we want to give you some extra tips that could make your trip much more pleasant.

  • Before traveling, check if you need a visa to go to the U.S.
  • Get travel insurance.
  • Get a New York eSIM before you travel. We assure you that you’ll need to use Google Maps to find your way around; otherwise, you’ll risk getting lost in the city. In case you cannot use them, you can also count on SIM cards New York, or if you plan to visit other cities, the United States eSIM is a good option, too.
  • To get a better price, travel in the off-season.
  • Buy tourist cards. These will help you get better discounts on Big Apple attractions.
  • Check the city’s transportation routes, so you can decide where to stay without losing access to the main attractions.
  • Download the best apps for traveling around the world. Many of them will provide guidance on where to eat and how to get cheap flights or accommodations.
  • Prepare your luggage in advance, so you know which suitcase or backpack to choose and what to take.