New York City is one of the biggest and oldest cities in the country, and it attracts millions of visitors every year (on top of the millions who live there year-round). It’s filled with skyscrapers, attractions, museums, parks and so much more. Because of its size and the sheer number of interesting attractions, it can be hard to fit it all into one trip. Check out these top 15 places to visit in New York City before starting your adventure.
Top 15 attractions of New York City
- Statue of Liberty
Perhaps one of the most iconic symbols of the United States of America is the Statue of Liberty. The statue itself is visible from Battery Park or the southern part of Manhattan, but to get the full experience, take the ferry ride out to Liberty Island. Scale the statue to see the amazing views of the city from the top. Before heading back to your vacation home rental, make a stop at Ellis Island and tour the National Museum of Immigration.
- Rockefeller Center
You’ll probably recognize many of the sites outside of the Rockefeller Center. It’s been the set for many movies and TV shows over the years. Explore the plaza outside where the bronze Atlas sculpture sits, go for a spin in the ice skating rink or tour the inside of the building and soak in the beautiful views of Manhattan.
- Guggenheim Museum
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum — designed by Frank Lloyd Wright — is as much of a work of art as the paintings inside. The spiral design allows you to appreciate the art in an uninterrupted stream from the ground floor all the way to the top. It’s home to famous paintings by Picasso, Rockwell and Mapplethorpe among others.
- Empire State Building
The Empire State Building opened its doors in 1931 and has been one of the top places to visit in New York City ever since. No trip is complete without stopping in Manhattan to see the landmark building. After paying admission, you embark on a multimedia tour to learn more about the building, its history and the views. The open-air deck on the 86th floor is unparalleled, and it’s the scene for many films.
What’s a trip to New York City without taking in a Broadway show? Several plays, musicals and other shows take place every night all through the Theatre District. It’s a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, so be sure to purchase your tickets in advance. If you’re visiting New York City on a budget and tickets are a bit out of your price range, don’t worry. Strolling down Broadway at night to see all of the lights and marquees is an experience all its own.
- The 9/11 Memorial and Museum
Nearly two decades ago, the Twin Towers were a major part of the NYC skyline. After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the towers were completely destroyed. It’s now a memorial with beautiful recessed pools and the largest manmade waterfalls in North America. It’s one of the top places to visit in New York City for people who want to pay their respects to the lives lost during the attacks and for people who love United States history.
- Central Park
If you’re visiting New York City on a budget, attractions and sights that don’t have an admission fee are a plus. Central Park fits the bill. The park is a giant Eden right in the middle of the city. There are several paths to go for a stroll and large green open spaces to throw a blanket down for a picnic or just to soak up the sun away from the busy city streets.
- Times Square
The bright billboards, screens and lights in Times Square make it a sight to behold. While many locals choose to avoid the congestion and chaos of Times Square, it’s still popular with people visiting from out of town. If you’re visiting at New Year’s you can watch the famous ball drop.
- Wall Street
Wall Street is the heart and soul of the business world. It’s home to several exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange. While visiting the business district might not seem like a lot of fun, there are a few nearby sites to check out, including the bronze Charging Bull.
- Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is another one of New York City’s most recognizable landmarks. It has Gothic architecture and a lot of history. When it was first constructed in 1883 to connect Brooklyn to Manhattan, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world. Today, it attracts millions of visitors who visit and take in the views. At a mile long, it’s good for a bit of exercise also.
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the top places to visit in New York City for people who love art or want to see exhibits from famous painters. It’s one of the most famous art museums in the entire country. It has visiting and rotating exhibits throughout the year, and its permanent collection has over two million pieces.
- The High Line
The High Line, which made its debut in 2009, is an elevated park and green space constructed over an old rail track. It’s a great place to walk, enjoy the greenery and take in views of the city.
- Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo in the country at over 265 acres with more than 5,000 animals residing there. It’s one of the top New York City places to visit for animal lovers and families. It’s also a quieter place to tour if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a few hours. The zoo hosts different activities each day, including animal feedings.
- Coney Island
Don’t visit New York City without stopping by Coney Island for a Nathan’s Famous hot dog and a beer. The seaside resort still offers rides on the Cyclone — a rollercoaster that was constructed in 1927.
- Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station used to be THE major hub for travel. It’s been restored to its former beauty and is home to several shops and restaurants. It’s a nice attraction for admiring the city’s history and snapping beautiful photos.