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Top Things To Do In Manhattan

New York City’s most iconic borough has a big reputation. Though Queens is larger and Brooklyn is more densely populated, Manhattan serves as the geographical, commercial,  and cultural heart of New York City. There’s a lot of ground to cover — From the Statue of Liberty to the High Line, these are some of the best things to do in Manhattan.

Critics and locals agree that Manhattan never runs out of highly rated things to do. The best things to do in Manhattan include restaurants, bars, parks, and more.

The best things to do in Manhattan include:

  • Recline on the High Line’s wooden lounge chairs for a calming, litter-free experience
  • Watch a late-night movie at Nitehawk Cinema
  • The 102-story Empire State Building is the most iconic skyscraper in the New York skyline
  • Try and find a ticket to Madison Square Garden, an indoor arena that features hockey games and superstar concerts
  • Take a coffee break in Bryant Park

Standard New York City prices ensure that creating a budget before a trip to Manhattan is required. Prices can add up, even if you spend carefully — do your homework and find a few cheap or even free things to do in Manhattan.

Cheap or free things to do in Manhattan include:

  • Taste some authentic New York bagels on Ben’s Bagel Tours
  • Central Park is an urban park with its own ecosystem of events, activities, tours, and even concerts
  • The High Line features lounge areas, food stands, and lush greenery
  • Strawberry Fields, a quiet patch of Central Park
  • Times Square is updated with new billboards every day

The best Manhattan attractions are as iconic as they are beloved. No matter where you begin checking off the items of your New York City itinerary, these cultural landmarks serve as beacons for first-time visitors.

Popular attractions near Manhattan include:

  • Bethesda Terrace and Fountain overlooks Central Park, on the center terrace
  • Union Square is a must-see pedestrian plaza and park
  • The One World Observatory sits atop the One World Trade Center
  • Watch a game at Yankee Stadium
  • Bryant Park offers family-friendly movies in the park

There’s always something fun happening in Manhattan, ensuring there’s an abundance of things to do for city dwellers. New York City seems to have the monopoly on psychics, vintage comic book salesmen, and performance art at just about every corner, but its signature street fairs take the fun-finds to a whole new level.

Fun things to do in Manhattan today include:

  • Exploring the shops at Chelsea Market
  • Seeing the contemporary art at The Whitney Museum of American Art
  • Visiting Flatiron Building, a groundbreaking Manhattan skyscraper
  • Eating spicy pork meatballs at The Meatball Shop
  • Slurping trendy ramen creations at Momofuku Noodle Bar

Manhattan’s hustle and bustle continues even after the sun goes down. Try one of the best happy hours in New York City, or dance ’til your heart’s content at a club.  

Things to do in Manhattan at night include:

  • Start any night out with chandelier-lit shots at The Belfry
  • Buy a ticket to a concert at Webster Hall
  • Go on a New York at Night Bike Tour
  • Sing at Marie’s Crisis cafe, with show tunes and live piano accompaniment
  • Watch an opera at Lincoln Center to support phenomenal performances

Manhattan continues to move even as the typical work week ends. Make a reservation for happy hour, dinner, brunch, and more.

Things to do in Manhattan this weekend include:

  • Start Sunday off with a doughnut from Peter Pan Bakery
  • Go shopping at the Union Square farmers market
  • Have a champagne Sunday brunch at the Algonquin Hotel’s The Round Table room
  • Find a new dive bar in Meatpacking District
  • See the water alongside Financial District

Families making their first trip to Manhattan need to make a few stops to ensure the kids remember it forever. Coney Island is a must for children of all ages. At the end of the day there are plenty of things to do with kids in Manhattan, make it memorable.

Family-friendly things to do near Manhattan include:

  • Take the kids on a swim in the McCarren Park pool
  • Hit some baseballs at Chelsea Piers Batting Cage
  • Spread out and graze with your herd at Sheep Meadow
  • Teach the kids tennis at Riverside Park Clay Tennis Courts
  • Trek out to Coney Island for a ride on the Wonder Wheel

The city that never sleeps similarly never runs out of first date spots. Grab a quick drink or, if it’s going well, upgrade your love interest to a full-on dinner date.

More date night ideas near Manhattan include:

  • Go beyond Broadway and immerse yourself in the Theatre District
  • Snug Harbor Cultural Center
  • Lincoln Center of Performing Arts
  • Go on a guided tour together through The Tenement Museum
  • Listen to local music at Rockwood Music Hall

Making a happy hour reservation is essential to meeting up with friends after work. For larger groups, it pays to coordinate plans a couple days ahead of availability.

Things to do with your friends near Manhattan include:

  • The Standard Biergarten offers beer, pretzels, and ping-pong underneath the High Line
  • See improv comedy at Peoples Improv Theater, then share a drink with the comics at the bar
  • Split a pitcher at Rudy’s Bar & Grill
  • Sail by the Statue of Liberty on a summer Alphabet City Beer Co. booze cruise
  • Trek out to Coney Island to see a Cyclones game

With weather conditions that range from humid to frigid, Manhattan offers many ways to seek solace from weather conditions. Let loose and try one of these indoor activities in Manhattan.

Manhattan things to do indoors include:

  • For exercise, book a class at SoulCycle, Barry’s, or Rumble
  • Go to Porto Rico Importing Co. for fresh coffee and friendly staff
  • Sample the unique flavors of Big Gay Ice Cream
  • Play shuffleboard at the Royal Palms
  • Rejuvenate the mind at body at Aire Ancient Baths

Though there’s no shortage of city buildings in Manhattan, there are a few places to enjoy the grass. Do a little sightseeing as you make your way to a park, pool, or landmark before you take your respite.

Things to see in Manhattan include:

  • Go swimming in the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center
  • Relax in Mcgolrick Park, a small, quiet spot with white trees and Sunday farmers markets
  • Rent a stand-up paddleboard from Manhattan Kayak Company
  • Take a breather at FDR Four Freedoms Park
  • Kayak through the Hudson River