The Best Things To Do In New York
Monday November 8 2021, 06:02am
Lets face facts: you could call New York home for decades and not experience everything it has to offer, because the city that never sleeps is constantly moving. Whether youre a local looking to explore a different neighbourhood or a first-time visitor, making sense of the endless choice among its soaring skyscrapers and honking yellow cabs can feel like an impossible task. One things for sure, though: no matter who you are, the sight of Manhattans soaring skyline is enough to make your pulse race. So weve rounded up some of the citys classic stops to give you the best possible bite out of the Big Apple from museum sleepovers in Midtown to craft breweries in Brooklyn, weve got you covered.
Main photo: Eating pizza in New York City
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The Staten Island ferry sails by the Statue of Liberty
How Much Money Does The Citypass Save You
The total cost to enter all of these attraction separately would cost $215.45, but the New York CityPASS is just $132. Thats a 41% savings!
Thinking you only want to go to a few of these sites? There is a New York C3 PASS that allows you to choose 3 of these attractions for $83 a 25% savings!
The other perk of the CityPASS is you wont have to wait in the ticket line at most of the attractions. We got to skip the ticketing line at most places which was pretty convenient.
Book your New York CityPASS and get ready to see some of NYCs top sights!
*Weve denoted some of the attractions that are part of the CityPASS with an asterisk so you can see if it makes sense for you to purchase the pass. Prices are from March 2019.
Coney Island: New York Aquarium Luna Park & The Cyclone
Jutting like a Brooklyn thumb out into New York Harbor’s Lower Bay, Coney Island boasts a wide beach, seaside boardwalk and lively amusement park, all easily reachable by subway about an hour from Midtown Manhattan. Popular attractions include the family-friendly New York Aquarium, Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, Denos Wonder Wheel and thrill-filled Luna Park, featuring the wooden Cyclone rollercoaster, a city and national historic landmark. Walk to nearby Brighton Beach for classic Russian/Ukrainian eats.
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Eat Some Comfort Food
New Yorkers are evangelical about food especially good pizza, burgers and steak. Everybody thinks they know the best spots, but there are places whose culinary pedigree is universally agreed upon. For pizza, its a quick slice at Joes or pies at either Brooklyns Paulie Gees or Lucali . Juicy burgers are to be had at either Minetta Tavern or JG Melon , while the steak at Peter Luger still ticks all the boxes. A decent food tour will take in some of these big hitters and more and leave you sated for a week.
New York Botanical Garden
Get A Tourist Discount Pass
A tourist discount pass affords you discounted entry into most of NYC’s most popular attractions.
While the passes themselves certainly aren’t free, if you plan your itineraries well, you will end up getting one or two attractions for free each day.
There are several different types of passes, so be sure to read our comparison post to learn about how you can save the most money on your trip.
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New York City Gift Ideas
There are so many fantastic New York City Gift Ideas that will bring a smile to anyone who lives here, is moving to NYC or is just visiting for a few days. You can treat your loved ones of any age to almost anything in NYC, like foodie gift cards, Broadway gift cards, or a special experience as a gift for someone visiting New York.
- Ticketmaster Gift Card – There is probably no more versatile gift in NYC than a Ticketmaster Gift Card. Broadway, Sports, Concerts and so much more.
- Classic Harbor Cruise – NYC Boat Cruises are one of my favorite things to do in NYC, with both my lifelong NYC friends and when visitors come to town
- NYC Foodie and Restaurant Gifts – choose from dozens of food tours, restaurant gift cards, classes.
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Go Bar Hopping In Williamsburg
Over the last five years, Williamsburg has become a hot spot for cool bars, restaurants and live music spots thats well worth exploring on a night out.
Some firm favourite to visit are the Fresh Kills Bar with in-house mixologists, Donna for some tasty experimental cocktails and live DJs and Westlight for some rooftop views.
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Hunt Ghosts At The Ghostbusters Firehouse
Are you a fan of the mythic Ghostbusters saga? You may want to check out the Ghostbusters HQ then. Hook and Ladder 8, the building used for the exterior shots, is a working firehouse that has been around for more than a century. The firehouse is located at 14 North Moore Street at its intersection with Varick Street in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan.
A New Immersive Art Experience
Head to the historic boiler room of Chelsea Market to experience the immersive art space ARTECHOUSE. Right now you can catch a reprise of the space’s first installation, Machine Hallucination by Refik Anadol. Anadol is a Turkish artist with a keen interest in using machines for innovative data sculptures and installations. Anadol has created Machine Hallucination with New York architecture in mind. The waves of imagery that envelop visitors are a machine-generated assemblage of 3 million different images of local architecture. The array of images is determined by artificial intelligence and meant to mimic the boundless, multidimensional world of machines. Together, as they roll across the space, these images create an entirely new architectural environment and not a little wonder. Youve never seen art like this before, as room-sized digital projections merge with sound design to create an almost cinematic experience. ARTECHOUSE is located in the 6,000-square-foot boiler room beneath Chelsea Market and is the first tenant in this unique space. The exposed brick walls and terracotta ceilings have been preserved to recall the 100-year-old history of the place while it houses this forward-thinking concept.
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Best Things To Do In New York City
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New York is so big and so diverse a place that you could live here four lifetimes and not experience all the amazing things the city has to offer. Even figuring out where to start your NYC trip is a daunting task. But we want to help you cut down the impossibly long list of ways to spend your day. Whether you’re a local realizing you’ve yet to fully explore the city’s parks and history, or an out-of-towner who doesn’t know the Met from the MoMA, these quintessential stops will help you catch a glimpse of the city’s beating heart.
The Radio City Stage Door Tour
Radio City Music Hall is a great place to go to enjoy performances of the iconic Rockettes. On the Radio City Stage Door Tour®, you will have the opportunity to meet and have your photo taken with a world-famous Rockette.
During the tour you will also get to view the auditorium, the celebrity guestbook, and discover the secrets and history of the Great Stage, where some the biggest and best names in entertainment have performed.
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Stay At A Swanky Hotel
New York City is one of the worlds epicenters for creativity, food, culture, and money which is why you should consider spending your evenings at a cool swanky hotel. The city has so many cool hotels like the Standard on the High Line or the Trump International Central Park.
Check out our guide for Where to Stay in NYC to get suggestions at every budget!
Visit Adirondack Experience The Museum On Blue Mountain Lake
Kim Knox Beckius
The 6 million-acre Adirondack Park is the largest protected area in the United States. Historic and wildly scenic, this one-of-a-kind land of high peaks and dense forests has infinite stories, and there’s no better place to become acquainted with them than Adirondack Experience, the Museum on Blue Mountain Lake . This 121-acre complex has 23 buildings, and you can spend an entire day discovering what makes this New York region remarkable.
The museum’s focus is on the people whose lives have been entwined with this vast wilderness. Learn about logging and furniture making, watch artisans at work, see the raincoat Teddy Roosevelt wore the night he rode through the Adirondack darkness to become president of the United States and wander among beautifully crafted boats: The museum has the nation’s largest inland collection of watercraft. In 2017, in celebration of its 60th anniversary, the museum debuted the immersive, 19,000-square-foot Life in the Adirondacks exhibition.
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Classic Things To Do In New York City
Take in the views from the Empire State Building
Theres nothing like enjoying great panoramic views of New York City and the Empire State Building is perfect for that. Completed in 1931, this was the tallest building in the world at the time it was built.
Go right before the sun sets, for an even better experience, but beware there may be lines for the tickets, as well as for the elevator to the observatory.
Visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
Albeit located in New Jersey state, the Statue of Liberty a UNESCO World Heritage Site is the symbol of the city. The typical starting point to visit it is Battery Park, from where ferries leaves. As the ferry gets closer, the views of the Statue and of Manhattan are impressive.
Once there, you can get to the Pedestal to visit the museum and learn about the its history. Tours usually continue to Ellis Island before heading back to Manhattan.
Tours of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island last around 4 hours. They must be booked in advance. You can consider this Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island early access tour or this private tour. The first ferry departs at 8:30 am.
For the best tours of the Statue of Liberty, click here.
Take the Staten Island ferry
Wander around the Meatpacking District
Walk the High Line
Visit the Vessel
Cycle Over Brooklyn Bridge
Pedal across New Yorks most famous bridge and take in views of skyscrapers across the East River on a fun bike tour. Connecting the vibrant borough of Brooklyn with Manhattan Island, the bridge offers an epic way to see the sights.
See if you can spot movie filming locations in Brooklyn Bridge Park and marvel at the engineering of the worlds first steel-wire suspension bridge.
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Getting Around New York City
The best way to get around New York is by using the Subway.
The New York Pass includes the Hop on Hop off Bus, but we find this a waste of time.
Getting on the subway is fast and efficient and its very reasonable. Just get yourself a metro pass card at the machines and fill it up with some cash. Its easy to refill, so you can start out with the $9 that comes preloaded. And then you are free to go around for $2.50 per ride.
One of our favorite things to do in New York is to jump on the subway and get off at a stop we have never been to. Metro rides allow one free transfer within a 2 hour period, so you can pop into Grand Central on your way to anywhere and get back on without wasting a ride!
Other Great Ice Cream Shops In Nyc:
Tipsy Scoop: Boozy ice cream? Yes, please! Tipsy Scoops claims to be the perfect blend of artisanal ice cream and a hand-crafted cocktail. Choose from classic flavors like Chocolate Stout & Pretzel and Strawberry White Sangria Sorbet.
OddFellows: Come here for super unique ice cream sandwiches and really good coffee. Their flavors rotate often, but youll find options like Caramel Cashew, Buttermilk Honey Blueberry and Ricotta Plum & Thyme.
Morgensterns Finest Ice Cream: Known for its unlikely flavor combinations like salt & pepper pine nut and cardamom lemon jam. They were best known for their coconut ash, which featured activated charcoal. This black ice cream was all over Instagram until the Department of Health recently banned all foods with activated charcoal in the city. But even though the days of this ultra-popular ice cream is gone, there are plenty of other unique flavors to choose from.
Mikey Likes It: Small shop with creative flavors named after references to pop culture, like Ice Ice Baby and Pink Floyd .
Soft Swerve: Calling all soft serve lovers! This small shop serves colorful ice cream and has fun topping choices like toasted coconut, sprinkles or Fruity Pebbles. These cones are an Instagram favorite!
Still not satisfied? Check out this huge list of ice cream shops in NYC.
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Visit The Empire State Building
Probably one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world, seeing the Empire State Building is pretty hard to miss.
You see, the Empire State Building actually dominates Midtown and is easy to visit.
If you fancy, head to the top of the Empire State Building which has some great views across the city. Just like the Top of the Rock, its a perfect place to see the city from above.
Have A Tipple In Williamsburg
Its hipster heaven over in Brooklyns busy Williamsburg district, just ten minutes from Midtown Manhattan via subway. Theres everything from stylish rooftop bars we love the one at the Hoxton hotel for its views of the Manhattan skyline to vintage fashion boutiques, craft breweries and vegan restaurants. Dont miss New Yorks oldest operating whisky distillery, though Kings County does tours and tastings of bourbon and rye from their site in East Williamsburgs Brooklyn Navy Yard, as well as some excellent cocktails.
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Tour The Hudson Valley Mansions
Move over, Newport, Rhode Island. New York’s Hudson Valley has more than 25 historic estates to visit including palatial riverside residences and a president’s home. Which Hudson Valley mansions are must-sees?
- Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate in Sleepy Hollow, New York, for its art collection and gardens
- The Hyde Park, New York, trio of Vanderbilt Mansion, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Home and Library and Eleanor Roosevelt’s Val-Kill, which are operated together as the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites
- Staatsburgh State Historic Site, in Staatsburg, New York, for its spectacular Hudson River views and
- Olana, the picturesque home of artist Frederic Church in Hudson, New York.
And don’t miss the chance to see these magnificent homes .
Get Frisky At The Museum Of Sex
Dont be surprised at the existence of such a museum. In such an open-minded culture, anything is possible.
At the Museum of Sex, the citys friskiest collection of exhibits, you can check out erotic galleries, pick up gears that you would only find at a sex shop, and even put on the VR goggles and walk in a strip club.
Some of the highlights here include the Boob themed bounce room, RuPaul palm reading station, the 4D video experience, a uniquely-shaped slide, and a colorful kaleidoscope-like tunnel, which is perfect for Instagram worthy pictures.
The goal of the museum isnt only to provide visitors a stimulating experience, but also to preserve and present the history, evolution, and cultural significance of human sexuality.
Interesting exhibits at Museum of Sex in NYC.
A few other cool and unusual museums that also deserve a stop, such as Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Ice Cream, Museum Of Food and Drink , Morbid Anatomy Museum, Museum Of The American Gangster, and more.
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The Intrepid Sea Air And Space Museum
Those interested in maritime history should head to the banks of Hudson around Midtown to visit the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum – which features an aircraft carrier turned museum.
The Intrepid was established as a museum in 1982, but previously the structure served as an aircraft carrier both in the Pacific Theater of World War II and in the Vietnam War. Exhibits at the museum explore the vessel’s service history as well as general exhibits on naval history of the 20th century.