Friends often ask us what they should do while visiting NYC. There are tons of “things to do in NYC” lists, so this list is for those that constantly ask for our opinion. The truth is, there are an unlimited number of things you can do in the greatest city in the world. Much depends on your time, budget and travel preferences. Start searching for flights to New York, because we have provided you with a huge checklist of things to do!
Be a Tourist in NYC
Our list is for the NYC tourist. It’s for those that don’t have much time, but want to see some of the greatest attractions or iconic travel photos.
NYC is best explored by walking around the different neighborhoods, but beware, it’s very cold in winter. Be sure to ride the subway and hail a cab ride. Purchase a metro card in the subway, which can be used both on the bus and in the subway.
List of Best Things To Do in NYC
- Top of the Empire State Building
- Top of the Rock Observation Deck at the Rockefeller Center – less crowded, great views of Central Park
- Rockefeller Center
- Brooklyn Bridge – walk it!
- Times Square – best at night and now even better with pedestrian only streets
- Little Italy – enjoy strolling through the neighborhood and grab a pastry, but don’t eat the overpriced touristy food
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral
- Grand Central Terminal
- West Village – walk this classic NYC neighborhood with old brownstones
- Ground Zero
- Stroll Soho – grab a seat at an outdoor cafe
Eating in NYC
With restaurants, bars and clubs changing so rapidly in NYC, we avoided adding much to this section.
- Brunch at The Boat House in Central Park – best in summer/spring
- Pizza, almost anywhere minus Sbarro’s
- Grimaldi’s Pizza in Brooklyn
- Becco NYC – My favorite Italian restaurant
- Street Food – falafel, hot dog, roasted nuts, kabobs, pretzels, dumplings, the list is endless
- Meat Packing District – fine dinning and posh night clubs
- Time Warner Center – for fine dinning and cocktails
We are obviously big fans of hanging out in parks.
- Central Park – always entertainment going on, best in spring / summer
- Horse and Buggy Ride in Central Park – overpriced, but still popular ($50)
- Battery Park – excellent views of Financial District skyscrapers, Statue of Liberty and East Side bridges
- Pier A in Hoboken – Not technically in Manhattan, but incredible views of the Hudson River and NYC
- Bryant Park – catch a movie under the stars during the summer or grab some lunch
- Washington Square – near NYU campus & boutique shops & restuarants
- Union Square – people watching & sometimes street entertainment
- High Line Park – NYC’s best creative park
- Watch a Broadway Show – seek TKTS discount booths
- Ride a bike on the West Side – bike path for scenic views and excellent parks near Battery Park
- Rent a bike in Central Park
- Visit a Bar in Hoboken – home of Frank Sinatra, baseball, and tons of bars with best views of NYC, take a ferry or subway
- South Street Seaport – street entertainment, shopping, bars and great views
- Williamsburg Brooklyn (Bedford Ave) – art, food and bars, a young artistic vibe
- Get tickets to a Late Night Talk Show – sometimes difficult to get
- Madison Square Garden – get tickets for a sporting event
- Comedy Club – possibly bump into your favorite comedian
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
- American Museum of Natural History
- Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
- Gray Line Bus tours – they may be cheesy, but many are informative and will take you all the way up to Harlem
- Statue Cruises to Statue of Liberty – An all day affair to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
- Circle Line Cruises – offering various cruises around Manhattan
- NYC Pizza Tour
- NYC Street Food Tour
- Staten Island Ferry – and it’s free! Not technically a tour, but you can make it one.
- Canal Street – flea market type shopping and black market brands
- Madison Avenue
- Fifth Avenue
- Times Square
- FAO Schwarz
- Time Warner Center
If you have more to add to our list geared towards the NYC tourist, please leave your suggestions in the comments below.