With so many things to do in NYC, how do you zero in on those that are the most essential? How do you balance the classic, must-see destinations with those fun, unusual and unexpected glimpses of the city typically saved for true New Yorkers? Well, in this guide, we try to strike that balance between the classic and the cool, and we even included some links to our favorite deals to to save you some time and money on your next visit to New York.
If a bus tour makes the city go by too fast for you, and a walking tour too slow, how about the goldilocks of the tour game: a bike tour? For a complete New York experience on two wheels, check out the Complete Manhattan and Central Park Bike Tour. This 5-hour, 3-mile loop tour includes the bike, a helmet, and a tour guide, who leads up to 10 cyclists through Central Park, Midtown, Times Square, Little Italy, Chinatown, and more neighborhoods.
In the ever escalating arms race of tall building observatories, One World Observatory has really upped the ante with its Sky Portal. Hanging 100 stories above the city streets, the 14-foot wide disc beckons the bravest of thrill seekers. The observatory also has an onsite restaurant and bar, so it’s easy to turn the visit into a special outing.
Even in the age of Netflix, there’s still nothing quite like a live show. And for live shows, there’s nothing quite like the scene in New York City. No matter the kind of entertainment you’re craving—theater, musicals, magic, comedy, two mice wrestling on a subway platform—you’re bound to find it at one of the countless, incredible theaters on and off Broadway.
Learn more about the tragedy and sacrifice surrounding the events of September 11, 2011. At the 9/11 Tribute Museum, see videos, artifacts, pictures and interviews that create a moving portrait of that horrific day in American history. There are also various tours available that shed light onto some of the rebuilding efforts and artwork, such as Michael Arad’s memorial pools “Reflecting Absence.”
One of New York’s newer attractions, the High Line remains extremely popular to locals and tourists alike. This long, skinny park that was transformed from a railroad track into an elevated trail slices through the Lower West Side. It give park-goers a unique view of the city that should not be missed.
Like the High Line, the park at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge is another relatively new (and free) outdoor thing to do in NYC and its most populous borough. The park boasts plenty of sport courts—like bocce ball, volleyball, basketball—as well as featuring a restored, wooden carousel from the 1920s.
As a first-time visitor, it’s basically impossible to see the city and not check out the Statue of Liberty. For an incredible view of Lady Liberty, it’s hard to beat Majestic Harbor Cruises. Their sporty yachts cruises by this and other landmarks in a breezy 60-minute tour.
Laying claim to the status as NYC’s first museum, the New York Historical Society boasts four centuries of history and art. With both a permanent collection and seasonal exhibitions, there’s always something supremely New-York to see, like artifacts from George Washington’s inauguration at Federal Hall, to Betsy,” one of the last of the city’s fleet of checkered cabs.
The art-deco architectural jewel remains an icon for a reason. So no trip to New York City remains complete without admission to the Empire State Building to take in the 360-degree city views from its 86th floor.