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40 Best things to see and do in New York

New York is one of the most fascinating cities in the world. You will never get bored and there are always new places to discover. From climbing up one of its viewpoints to see the city from above, walking through Central Park, discovering its museums, discovering charming neighbourhoods...

If you have never traveled to New York and you are thinking of organizing a trip, you should bear in mind that it is a very large city and that to visit the most essential places you will need a minimum of a week. And still, you will be left wanting more.

In this post I add the best 40 things to see and do in New York. And on the blog you will find a complete travel guide to New York so you can organize your trip, learn more about each district and neighborhood, tips for getting around the city, the best hamburgers, free things to do...


1. Start by booking a Free tour

New York is an expensive city and everything you do will add to your budget. The ideal way to save is to buy one of their tourist cards to be able to visit several places. Also a good option is to visit museums with free access and of course take advantage if you sometimes find the option of doing a free tour. Although the guided tour is free, don't forget to tip the guide, he sure deserves it.

This free tour is Spanish-speaking, so you do not have to worry if you do not know English or are not fluent.

2. Times Square

Times Square is really crazy, a tourist who has just arrived in New York will be looking forward to visiting this place. We have seen it so many times in the movies, television series and it is a mandatory stop if you are going to travel to the city. However, Times Square is much more than a set for numerous movies. In this place, so many people are concentrated, there are many shops, and so much chaos that makes this square a special place.

Apart from climbing the famous red stairs, shopping and enjoying this place, I recommend you do something else. Approach the center of the square, stand still and look around you. Get in the spirit of New York.

3. Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most famous monuments in the city and an essential thing to do in New York. This is located on Liberty Island, next to the mouth of the Hudson River. The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the United States on the centennial of the United States Declaration of Independence. To visit it, you have to take a ferry that leaves from Battery Park. You can take advantage of your visit to the Statue of Liberty to take a walk through this beautiful park. There are different types of tickets depending on what you want to visit:

I recommend you book the guided tour with a guide in Spanish, since it includes the ferry, access, as well as going hand in hand with a Spanish-speaking guide who tells you the details, the history, many legends and anecdotes that surround the statue of freedom.

4. Central Park

Central Park has become one of the most essential places to visit in New York... It is such a beautiful park in which getting lost in it is a real luxury. You can explore it on foot or by bicycle, or both ways if you feel like it.

Central Park is the lungs of New York and a huge park, measuring 341 hectares. If you have enough days in the city, getting lost for a little while a day on one of its trails makes you fully recharge your batteries. If, on the other hand, you have little time, I recommend visiting it by bicycle and a good and very fun option is to do it with a guided tour. We met amazing people and had a great time! You will also visit the most important places and the visit is with a guide in Spanish or English.

Some of the places you can't miss in Central Park are Sheep Meadow, Great Lawn, Strawberry Fields (Imagine's mosaic), The Mall and Literary Walk, Shakespeare Garden, The Lake, Bethesda Terrace, Belvedere Castle...

5. Empire State Building

The Empire State became the tallest skyscraper in New York twice: from its opening until the Twin Towers were built; and from the sad destruction of these until the construction of One World Trade Center. The views are incredible and you cannot leave New York without going up to this impressive building. The price is a bit high, although it is what you have to climb one of the most famous buildings in the world and it is still a similar amount of all the great skyscrapers in the world.

6. Grand Central Terminal

The Grand Central Terminal or, in other words, this beautiful station is the most famous in the world and cannot be missing from your list of essential places in New York. It was inaugurated in the year 1871.

It's a bit overwhelming and depending on what time it's crazy people everywhere, but it's worth getting to know it. It leaves no one indifferent.

7. 9/11 Memorial

I wish at this point I was recommending you to visit the Twin Towers and not this place as we know it today. This memorial formed by two inward waterfalls is full of memories and feelings that if we look back and remember that day it gives us goosebumps. Because when I was 10 years old that day I was aware of the injustices in this world, I spent the day with a heavy heart watching TV and imagining how bad they were going through. The 9/11 memorial is a beautiful place that they have made to remember the victims. You will be able to see that the names of all the people who died written on the edge of the waterfalls. If you see a rose in someone's name, it means that that day was their birthday.

The entire memorial is surrounded by trees. All but one of them replanted after the tragedy. There was a tree that survived and there it is still. It is full of colored bows and surrounded by flowers. If you visit the memorial, feel free to look for the tree. It is a sign of strength and hope. For this reason, visiting the memorial is something to do in New York.

If you want and have time you can visit the museum.

8. Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET)

This museum is the second most visited in the world, making it a must if you are traveling to New York. It is located in Central Park, next to Fifth Avenue, so you can take advantage of your walk through the park to go to the Met.

The recommended price to pay for an adult is 25 dollars. However, if you buy the ticket at the museum itself, you pay what you want. They ask to be as generous as possible. There are many things to see. For this reason, I recommend you take the map and go to what most attracts your attention, otherwise you can spend hours and hours and still have things to see.

If you want to enjoy good views, I highly recommend going up to the roof of the museum. It's free.

9. Top of the Rock

It is another skyscraper that I recommend you climb. The best thing about going up to this building is that you can see the Empire State and that you have beautiful views of Central Park.

10. Bryant Park

Bryant Park is located just behind the New York Public Library, this park is ideal to give your feet a rest and enjoy a very New York atmosphere, have a picnic and even take a nap on the grass. The large central garden surrounded by skyscrapers transmits a lot of tranquility.

11. MoMA

If you are an art lover, you will love this museum. In my opinion it is one of the best museums in New York. Some Van Gogh's Starry Night and Campbell's Soup Cans. If there are so many important works to see!

Like all places in New York, the entrance is not cheap, so keep reading that at the end of the post I advise you several things to save money in New York City.

12. 5th avenue

Perhaps going shopping on 5th Avenue is one of the dreams of all compulsive shoppers. It is something to do in New York even if it is only to walk down the avenue and see its windows. Many of its stores are amazing, yes, if you want to go shopping you must prepare the visa, because you can end up spending a fortune without almost realizing it.

The apple store is something worth seeing, with a glass box you access the store that is underground.

13. One World Observatory

At 541.3 meters tall, One World Trade Center is the sixth tallest building in the world and the tallest in the Western Hemisphere. The elevator that takes you to the top takes less than 60 seconds! To avoid queues you can buy the ticket in advance.

14. New York Public Library

It is a place that fascinated me especially. The New York Public Library is one of the largest libraries in the world and with the most content in America. It is one of the largest public libraries in the United States with one of the most extensive information search systems.

Its study room, huge and full of tables, makes one want to start studying. It is a spectacular place!

The entrance to the library has a staircase, I recommend you sit down to eat a hot dog on it and observe what surrounds you.

15. Wall Street (Manhattan)

This street is the heart of the financial district of New York. You will be able to find the building of the New York Stock Exchange.

A few minutes away, you will also see the famous Wall Street Bull where hundreds of people take a selfie with it every day. Take advantage of!!.

Since you are in this area, I recommend you visit the Iglesia de la Trinidad, a beautiful church that was built in 1846 in a neo-classical style. St. Paul's Chapel, linked to this church, is the oldest building in New York that has been in continuous use. You can read my post about Wall Street and Lower Manhattan:

16. Broadway Musicals

Going to see a musical on Broadway is a spectacular experience that you cannot miss. I went to see The Lion King and I was excited during the entire play. It was spectacular!!

If you are clear about the work you want to see, I recommend that you buy the tickets online as far in advance as possible, since they usually sell out quickly. If you don't care much about what show to see, but want to catch a Broadway show, head straight to the TKTS box office (under the red stairs in Times Square). Here they sell tickets for shows that have not been filled with very good discounts, to finish filling the seats.

17. Go to see the Bronx

On many occasions I find that they tell me that they have traveled to New York and that they have not made any escape to the outskirts of Manhattan. If you are going to visit the city you cannot miss its neighbourhoods, dedicate at least one day to each of them. The Bronx has beautiful places to visit and in my opinion, it is an essential stop on your travel route to New York.

If you want to know this part of the city, you cannot miss the post of:

18. Go to Yankee Stadium to watch a baseball game

Visiting Yankee Stadium during a season game was one of the best experiences in New York.

In the post of 10 great plans to get to know the Bronx, I am including this experience because it is so worth it. The atmosphere and the good vibes that people experience during the game make you have a great time, even if they don't have a clue about baseball. By the way, add a hot dog and you have the perfect afternoon.

19. St. Patrick's Cathedral

You will find this neo-Gothic style cathedral located on 5th avenue. It was built between 1858 and 1865. And it is dedicated to the Patron Saint of Ireland. It is beautiful to see this cathedral contrasting with the skyscrapers that surround it.

20. Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. It was built between 1870 and 1883 and, at the time of its inauguration, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world.

It is a mandatory stop if you are traveling to New York City. I advise you not only to go up close to see it or photograph it from a distance, but also to walk across the entire bridge. From here the views are spectacular.

21 and 22. Brooklyn neighborhood and visit DUMBO

In Brooklyn there is so much to visit that it can take days. But without a doubt it is essential to pay a visit and spend time in this neighborhood so full of contrasts. You can see everything that can be seen and done in El Barrio de Brooklyn in the post:

23. Lose yourself in SoHo

SoHo is one of the most fashionable neighborhoods today, a shopping paradise and the most artistic neighborhood in all of New York City.

Even if you don't want to go shopping, SoHo is beautiful and it's worth spending a few hours walking through its streets and appreciating its magnificent buildings. Also, if you want to stay in Manhattan, Soho is an excellent option.

I talk to you in detail about the history of SoHo, what to see and do in this neighborhood, where to sleep, among other tips, in the post:

24. The Vessel

The Vessel is a very peculiar new monument-lookout that you cannot miss if you are traveling to New York and you will find it in the Hudson Yards neighborhood.

If you are interested in visiting this curious monument, full of stairs and looking like a spaceship, you should know that right now (at the time that I have visited it and I am writing the post) it is FREE. Honestly, I don't think it will last long, but for now to get free entry you must follow a form on their website.

I will tell you how to manage the ticket request and what you will see in the post:

25. Manhattan Chinatown

Impossible to leave China Town off the list of essential places to visit in New York. It is one of the most picturesque and distinct areas in New York. The ideal is to walk aimlessly, wander the streets a bit, immerse yourself in this Asian atmosphere, eat at one of its stalls or shop at one of its stores. Although in China Town there are some interesting places to visit and I will tell you about them all in the post:

26. Spend a morning at the beach

If you are going to travel in the hot season, you can spend a day enjoying one of the New York beaches. Although New York is not a destination where we imagine beaches, it has many options and some of them are ideal for spending the day with the family or enjoying surfing.

I talk about it in the post:

27. Spend a day in Staten Island

Generally, the first time we travel to New York, either due to lack of time or because there is so much to see in Manhattan, Staten Island is left out.

There are several interesting things to visit on the island, apart from the fact that you can see a calm and restful experience, after spending a few days in the big apple.

I tell you everything you can see and do in Staten Island, how to go for free and a few more things in the post:

28. Photograph the Unisphere

Unishere is a metallic structure that represents the planet Earth. It is located in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens. Come meet her and by the way enjoy a walk in the park.

29. Stroll through Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

It is the second largest public park in New York City, it was created to house the 1939/1940 New York World's Fair and the 1964 New York World's Fair took place there. It is a good option if you need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city , have a picnic or take a walk either walking or cycling.

30. Don't miss the Queens Botanical Garden

One of the places I liked the most in Queens is its botanical garden. With 39 acres, this garden has an infinity of varieties of both plants, shrubs and trees, among its gardens it has some dedicated exclusively to the native plants of New York City that are maintained thanks to the parks and botanical gardens

31. Hunter's Point South Park: An essential stop in Queens

This park has a spectacular viewpoint of Manhattan. It is a great place not only to come for a walk and spend a quiet morning or afternoon, but from here you can take spectacular pictures.

32. Enjoy one of the best Burgers in New York

Coming to New York and not eating a Burger should be a crime. Throughout the city you have a large number of places where they offer hamburgers. From fast food chains to Michelin star restaurants, but... Do you know where to eat the best hamburgers in New York? I'll tell you here!:

33. Climb Summit One Vanderbilt

The SUMMIT is the new observatory in New York and it is one of the most incredible observatories. The viewpoint is located in the One Vanderbilt skyscraper between 42nd and 43rd streets. It was inaugurated in 2020 and has a total of 73 floors (93 if we count the observatory), and thanks to the spire that crowns the building, it measures a total of 471 meters high, being one of the tallest buildings in New York.

34 Fall in love with Harlem

This neighborhood in northern Manhattan is one of the essential places to add to your route through New York. It is a key piece to understand the history of the city and learn about a great diversity of traditions.

The neighborhood was established in the year 1660 as Nieuw Haarlem, after the Dutch city of Haarlem.

It was a rural area, of plains and farms, until the middle of the 19th century. At the time, many New Yorkers viewed Harlem as a retreat to escape from the city.

At the end of the 19th century, in an already urbanized neighborhood with large Jewish and Italian populations, many of the little houses that we will show you later on the route through Harlem were built. Later, at the beginning of the 20th century, the majority of the black population of the United States lived in the southern states, but fleeing from segregation, the scourge of racism and the lack of opportunities, between 1916 and 1970 a good part of the African Americans migrated to the northern cities, in what is known as the Great Black Migration. This is how the African American population settled in Harlem. And, leaving behind the oppression of the South (although, in New York, racism was still very present) the newcomers began to express their creativity through poetry, music, novels, theater... This cultural movement is known as the Harlem Renaissance .

To get to know Harlem, I advise you to spend a morning walking. Go to the Apollo Theater, enter some of its shopping centers, visit the Studio Museum of Harlem, do not miss the streets of Brownstones (with beautiful paired houses in earth tones), visit and buy something at the Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market and return strolling through Central Park (enter north).

If you have extra time you can attend a Gospel mass or take a Gospel tour such as the Contrastes tour + Gospel Mass.

35. Climb The Edge

Another of the incredible viewpoints in New York is The Edge observatory, 345 meters high. It has a glass platform from where you can see the city below.

The observatory is located in the heart of the Hudson Yards neighborhood. And from here you can see Central Park, Manhattan in full and even see the Statue of Liberty in the distance.

36. Keep exploring the neighborhoods of Manhattan

Manhattan is a huge district with many neighborhoods and each one has something special to see. It is impossible to get to know them all in a week, therefore, in this list, in the previous points I have added the most essential places. If you have time or it is not your first time in New York, you can start visiting and getting to know Manhattan more in depth.

If you want to know what to see in each of the neighborhoods of Manhattan, do not miss the post: The neighborhoods of Manhattan; what to see, where to stay and maps.

37. Helicopter ride over New York

Although a helicopter ride is one of the most expensive things to do in New York, it is also one of the most incredible. If you are not afraid of flying or heights, this is a great opportunity to see the city that never sleeps from the sky. I recommend you do the night walk, although you have the option of doing the daytime.

38. Take a cruise in New York

You have many options for sailing in New York. There are ferries and various cruise options. It is a good opportunity to see the city from another point of view, visit the Statue of Liberty, go to Staten Island...

39. Eat the best Donuts in New York

You probably have already realized that I love sweets. Anything that's baked, sugary, and full of delicious flavors, and I'm basically at a loss. I devour everything! I would love to say that I only try the sweets of each place I visit because I want to “taste the world” but basically it is because I lose my sweets.

In New York you have an infinite number of places to eat donuts, but... Do you know which are the best?

40. Complete your trip to New York with an excursion

If you have time you can add an excursion from New York to your trip. My favorite is Boston, but you have the option of visiting Philadelphia, Washington D.C, The Hamptons, Niagara Falls... Or you also have the option of adding free tours, guided tours of the city... to complete your trip.



I hope you enjoy your trip to New York a lot and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.

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A hug and see you soon!


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