Cosmopolitan, perpetually evolving and trendy, New York is a dynamic and energetic metropolis with endless possibilities. With so many fascinating places to visit in New York, you’ll surely experience a smashing vacation full of unforgettable moments. As a matter of fact, you may have a couple of sleepless nights, hitting the enthralling New York attractions, in the city that never sleeps. Home to some of the world’s most iconic landmarks, the Big Apple is a whirlwind of activities and experiences, with renowned sights at every turn.
Headed to the Big Apple, but don’t have a clue of where to go in New York? Need some help creating the perfect New York travel itinerary? Guess what? From world-famous landmarks to hidden gems, we’ve rounded up some of the best places to visit in New York!
1. Central Park
Planning on doing some sightseeing in New York, USA? A great way to kick-start a trip to New York is to explore the sprawling and verdant Central Park. A wondrous 38-acre wilderness in an urban jungle, Central Park offers tons of fun things to do in New York for locals and travelers. With its streams, rocks and winding trails, it’s, hands down, one of the best places to visit in New York for those who need a little nature break.
What’s more, it boasts a plethora of awesome sights and hidden treasures, including 36 bridges, 48 fountains, 20 playgrounds, sculptures and monuments. On top of it all, it’s situated near the top attractions and places to visit in New York, like the Museum of Natural History and Guggenheim.
2. Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Big Apple is home to some of the world’s finest art museums. And, there’s no art museum in New York quite like the Metropolitan Museum of Art. At this museum, you may spend the whole day browsing thousands of years of human creativity, from the famed Mao by Warhol to Dendur’s ancient Egyptian Temple. The truth is, you can spend the entire week in this museum, and still not see every majestic masterpiece.
As you explore the museum, you’ll see pre-Columbian artifacts alongside classic Renaissance art works. And, with its continuously evolving special exhibits and collection, it’s truly one of the must-see places to visit in New York, USA.
3. Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is by far the city’s prettiest bridge, and one of the signature places to visit in New York. More than just a suspension bride, this six-lane span is such an elegant reminder of the history of New York’s architectural innovation. Connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan, the bridge also offers some of the best vistas of Lower Manhattan.
4. The High Line
Walking the High Line is a can’t-miss experience, especially when the weather is fairly pleasant. As far as I’m concerned, this elevated park is one of the top places to visit in New York that you should check off your to-do list. Not only does it offer a killer view of the city’s skyline, but it also features outdoor art installations, greenery and wildflowers.
5. Rockefeller Center
Want to see a handful of places to visit in New York in one spot? Discover a mishmash of fabulous attractions in New York in this multi-block and distinctive complex. As a matter of fact, the Rockefeller Center’s ground level on its own has a bunch of cool sites, like the “Today Show” plaza, the bronze Atlas statue and ice-skating rink. To make your visit even more interesting, make your way up to the Top of the Rock and savor city panoramas that rival the ones from the Empire State Building.
6. Grand Central Terminal
For more than a century, this transit hub in NYC has funneled thousands of commuters every day through its expansive concourses and halls. Technically, it’s a passageway for people looking to go somewhere. But, it’s absolutely an attraction and destination on its own, making it one of the best places to visit in New York. With its elaborate Beaux Arts framework, the Grand Central Terminal is spectacular in both function and form.
Inside, you’ll find a ton of beautiful sights, such as its intricate Tiffany-glass, 4-faced opal clock, nickel-plated chandeliers and constellation-embellished ceiling. Furthermore, it offers plenty of food options, ranging from upscale restaurants to fast-food chains.
7. The Empire State Building
No list of the best places to visit in New York is complete without the inclusion of the famed Empire State Building. Sure, the place is a bit touristy with long lines and hefty admission fees. But, you won’t regret putting it on your travel itinerary and list of places to visit in New York. For some, taking a trip to the summit of the Empire State Building is the best way to end or start a Big Apple adventure.
On a clear day, visitors get to see the major highlights, attractions and places to visit in New York from over a thousand feet above the ground. For a memorable visit, take the multimedia tour, which guides you through the exhibits and views with additional information on the history of the buildings.
8. Museum of Modern Art
Even if you’re not a bona fide art lover, you’ll love every minute of your visit to the Museum of Modern Art. After all, it’s a wondrous midtown gallery that also serves as a shrine of 20th century history and pop culture. Inside, you’ll find countless of contemporary pieces of art hanging on its walls, such as the “Water Lilies” of Monet, “The Persistence of Memory” by Dali, “Starry Night” by Van Gogh, and “Campbell’s Soup Cans” by Warhol. And, did we mention that it is home to “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” from Picasso?
9. Times Square
Times Square is, hands down, a beautiful metaphor for the Big Apple. Not only is it colorful and exciting, but this five-block square is always jumping as well. Even with its frenzied crowds, it’s still a great place to do some sightseeing in New York, thanks to its neon lights and quirky locals wearing superhero costumes. And, it’s one of the best places to visit in New York, for those who are looking to snap a bunch of Instagram-worthy shots.
10. Fifth Avenue
Are you a shopaholic who’s looking for cool and trendy places to visit in New York, USA? Then, make sure to include Fifth Avenue to your bucket list of places to visit in New York! Billed as one of America’s popular shopping streets, it is home to the flagship stores of many premier designers. Saks Fifth Avenue, Apple Store Avenue, Bergdorf-Goodman, Tiffany, Cartier and other designer stores line this chic and posh avenue in NYC. Even those who aren’t into shopping can enjoy a leisurely stroll along New York’s Fifth Avenue. The best spot for shopping runs from the New York Public Library to Central Park.
11. New York Public Library
You don’t have to be a bookworm to appreciate the beauty of New York Public Library. Designed by Carrere and Hastings, the library wows its visitors with its Beaux Arts architectural style. And, with its gorgeous rooms, this well-known New York attraction has been featured in countless of TV shows and movies, over the years.
12. American Museum of Natural History
Traveling with the kids, and on the lookout for family-friendly places to visit in New York, USA? Founded in 1869, this extraordinary treasure trove boasts a collection of over 32 million cultural artifacts and specimens. Explore the 570,000-squre-foot area of the museum, and see 45 permanent exhibit halls, like striking dioramas and dinosaur fossils. And, don’t forget to check out the 21,000-pound and 94-foot-long blue whale suspended beautifully from the ceiling in the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life.
13. Madame Tussauds New York
Speaking of museums and intriguing places to visit in New York, you also might want to check out this fascinating wax museum. Located in Times Square, the five-story New York edition of Madame Tussauds is a favorite among culture-obsessed and young visitors as well as tourists. Here, you’ll get to see round 200 awesome life-size wax figures, including singers and beloved movie stars.
14. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is truly a fine and majestic example of Gothic Revival architecture in New York. For years, this New York landmark has been luring travelers with its bronze baldachin, rose window, the Great Organ, 300-foot spires, white façade and massive bronze doors. With its jaw-dropping beauty and modernistic background, the cathedral should be on your New York travel itinerary.
15. One World Trade Center Observatory
Enjoy some of the world’s best sights by visiting this wondrous 3-story observatory perched on the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. On a clear and beautiful day, you’ll see up 50 miles of land from the summit of this 1,776-foot-tall magnificent skyscraper.
16. The Statue of Liberty
They don’t call the Statue of Liberty as one of the most iconic sights and places to visit in New York for nothing. With an impressive height of 305 feet, it is indeed quite a sight to behold on your New York vacation. Plus, it’s a magnificent universal symbol of freedom, welcoming more than 10 million immigrants that sail pas to Ellis Island during the 20th century.
By the way, if you want to access the statue’s crown and see NYC’s skyline, be sure to reserve in advance (at least three weeks before your trip). Also, go early in the day, if you’re planning on dropping by the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.
17. Chrysler Building
Chrysler Building, with its glimmering Art Deco architecture, is arguably the most eye-popping and dazzling skyscraper in New York. And, it’s even more photogenic at night, when its triangle-shaped and fabulous windows are lined and embellished with lights. Inside the building, you’ll find a sleek lobby with intricately-painted ceilings and fancy elevators with ornate woodwork.
Love musicals and plays? Trust me, you won’t regret watching a show on the celebrated Broadway circuit. With its exceptional stage talent, cushy theaters and striking marquees, Broadway is surely a part of New York’s fabric. And, guess what? There’s something for everyone here, making it one of the best places to visit in New York, USA.
19. 9/11 Memorial and Museum
The National September 11 Memorial is a moving and heart-warming tribute to the 3,000 people who died as a result of the infamous September 11, 2001 attacks. In addition, it pays homage to the 6 people who were killed during the 1993 bombing of World Trade Center.
Surrounded by grass and trees, the memorial has recessed pools, with waters that cascade over the sides and flow into a square that seem bottomless. To make things even more interesting, these cascades are North America’s largest man-made waterfalls. Around the pools of the memorial are bronze plates with the names of everyone who died in the brutal attacks.
20. Bryant Park
Need to escape the restless energy of the city that never sleeps? Looking for tranquil places to visit in New York City? Why not include Bryant Park to your list of attractions and places to visit in New York? Here, you can spend hours or even a day admiring the scenery or using its free Wi-Fi. Not to mention, it hosts a variety of local activities, such as literary events, chess tournaments, knitting circles, tai chi classes and even yoga. To top it all off, the park has a handful of eateries to appease your palate, like Bryant Park Café and Bryant Park Grill.
21. New York Botanical Garden
A pit-stop to New York Botanical Garden offers a unique brand of lush escapism. As you visit this botanical garden, you get to explore a 50-ish-acre forest that features some of the city’s oldest trees. Furthermore, it offers a rotating lineup of shows and events that nod to the most beloved green spaces on earth, like the Alhambra palace in Spain and Monet’s alfresco haven at Giverny.
22. Chinatown New York
Moving from one neighborhood in New York to another often feels like visiting a new country. And, entering the vibrant and colorful Chinatown is a perfect example of that. Offering a sweet taste of the Orient, Chinatown New York has a smorgasbord of delectable cheap eats and dim sum goodies. Not to mention, it has tons of shopping stalls selling a wide array of bargained items.
23. Metropolitan Opera House
Strolling through Metropolitan Opera House’s courtyard is definitely one of the best things to do in New York, even if you’re not an opera connoisseur. From its limestone architecture to the concert hall’s acoustics and lobby’s gleaming chandelier, each element of this stately building is simply gorgeous.
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips & Tricks
Shop for Travel Essentials
Book your flight
Find cheap flights using SkyScanner. This search engine is are our favorite, making sure you get the best deal for tickets all over the world. They are great at aggregating flights from multiple providers.
Book your accommodations
If you're looking for a hostel, you should book it with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere else, book with Booking.com. Their hotel system usually offers the best rates out of any provider worldwide.
Don't forget travel insurance
Protects yourself against illness, injury, theft, and even cancellations with travel insurance. You're buying comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. We never recommend traveling without it. We’ve been using World Nomads, a great company, with great service and highly recommend them.
- World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
- Travelx Insurance (for those over 70)
Disclosure: Some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. We only recommend products and companies we use and the income keeps the community supported.