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The Boroughs of New York City: If you have time to tour areas outside of Manhattan, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you find. Take a trip on the Staten Island Ferry and discover the sights of Staten Island. Hop on the subway and explore the attractions of Queens. Walk or bike over the Brooklyn Bridge and enjoy the numerous attractions in Brooklyn. Lastly, home to the Yankee Stadium and the largest zoo in the United States, it’s worth taking some time to visit the Bronx
Where to Go near New York City: If you want a quick break from New York, have a look at our top day trips from New York City or our best weekend getaways. In summer, you might even want to consider heading out to explore the best beaches on Long Island.
Central Park Bike Rentals
Past visitors to New York City typically lament that they could have spent several days enjoying Central Park. However, you can get too many of the park’s top locations during a full-day bike rental, and you’ll get some great exercise at the same time. Some of the things you’ll definitely want to do during your day at the park include a visit to the Central Park Zoo, a paddleboat ride on the Lake, a relaxing nap at Sheep Meadow, and a tour of the Central Park Mall with its stately Elm trees.
If you have time, enjoy the view of the Great Lawn from the Belvedere Castle and stroll through the Literary Walk to see statues of some of the most widely renowned writers in the English language, including Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and Fitz-Greene Halleck.
Go Underground At Howe Caverns
Kim Knox Beckius
New York’s second-most-famous natural attraction was discovered in 1842 byâ¦ cows. Today, touring Howe Caverns in Howes Cave, New York, is still one of the state’s coolest things to do. An elevator descends 16 stories to this underground world of fantastical limestone formations. You’ll cruise an underground lake, wriggle through the Winding Way and maybe even bring yourself romantic good fortune.
Special outings like lantern tours and family flashlight tours and additional on-site attractions like a ropes course, rock wall, zip line and OGO balls, make Howe Caverns a place families return to again and again.
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Go Chasing Waterfalls In Downtown Ithaca
Voted one of the prettiest towns in the US, Ithaca is well worth a spot on your New York bucket list. Not only is the quaint town picture-perfect but youll find a whopping 150 beautiful waterfalls in just 10 miles! If thats not enough, Ithaca is also home to Cornell University, which means the town has a buzzing and youthful atmosphere.
If you dont want to go far to view some of Ithacas prettiest waterfalls, you can follow the Cascadilla Gorge Trail. The trail takes you through the Cornell University campus and downtown Ithaca.
Along the way, youll come across picture-perfect stone-clad bridges and eight cascading waterfalls. Photographers will definitely want to bring their gear because it doesnt get much prettier than this!
Since youre already downtown, you can explore all of the boutique shops, restaurants, and colorful murals on Main Street. If you have a little extra time to tack on the most spectacular waterfalls in Ithaca, its well worth making the 15-minute drive to Taughannock Falls State Park.
Taughannock Falls winds its way through a 400-foot gorge and plunges 215 feet into the picturesque pool below. While its not possible to swim in the gorge, you can take a dip and go boating in the nearby Cayuga Lake.
Areas & Neighborhoods In New York
The neighborhoods in New York are difficult if not impossible to encapsulate in just a few sentences. Indeed, the vibrant, diverse areas of NYC could fill a book. And things to do in New York span across all of these neighborhoods. Whether you are interested in the arts, want to party the night away, or feel like strolling the streets aimlessly, New York City makes an excellent destination.
Midtown Midtown hosts the Empire State Building and Koreatown. Of course, the area is also spilling over with professionals who have somewhere to be, so prepare to elbow your way down the sidewalk as you navigate the neighborhood.
Chinatown Make your way to Chinatown for authentic dim sum and cultural flare. This part of NYC is also a magnet for adventurous foodies, and you will find vendors selling things like live eels and pork buns to the public. Dont let the name of the neighborhood deceive you: Chinatown also has Vietnamese food and more.
SoHo Take the fast track to SoHo for boutiques and other retailers in spades. Once youve spent your fair share on your credit card, make your way to some of the chic art galleries, if only for a window shop.
West Village West Village has trendy nightlife and serves as a good place for celebrity watching. Despite its high profile, the area manages to maintain a bit of a comfortable charm. This attitude is reflected in local brunch spots and beyond.
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Encounter Residents Of The Marine Kingdom
For one of the most fun things to do in NYC, head to the famous New York Aquarium on Coney Island and come face to face with sea lions, sharks, and even a giant octopus.
Celebrate America’s Game At The Baseball Hall Of Fame
It doesn’t matter what team you root for while munching on Cracker Jack. There’s one state where every baseball fan feels at home: New York State. That’s because Cooperstown, New York, is home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Even non-fans will appreciate a visit to the Baseball Hall, which not only celebrates the game’s great players, it examines baseball’s place in American culture and history.
Even if Abner Doubleday didn’t really invent baseball while he was a student in Cooperstown in 1839, this bucolic upstate town is baseball’s true home. And the Hall preserves the largest collection of baseball artifacts in the world. The best time to be in Cooperstown is during Hall of Fame Weekend each July, when the public is invited to see new Hall of Famers inducted and to cheer for returning stars during the Parade of Legends.
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Learn About Albanys Storied History
You might not know it, but Albany is one of the oldest cities in America. Founded in 1614, the English took over the city in 1664 and named it after the Duke of Albany. With so much history, its no surprise that New Yorks capital city is brimming with cool historical attractions.
History buffs will want to pay a visit to the New York State Capitol. Built in 1899, this grandiose building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is home to the New York State Legislature. On certain days, you can make reservations for a free guided tour. After that, learn all about the citys history at the Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center, the Albany Institute of History & Art, and the New York State Museum.
Built between 1761 and 1765 for the Revolutionary War general and US Senator Philip Schuyler, the historic Schuyler Mansion is well worth a visit. The mansion is not only listed on the US National Register of Historic Places, but it is home to a fascinating collection of 18th-century artifacts. You can sign up for a guided tour at the Visitors Center for the full experience.
Grab A Slice Of Pizza
Visiting New York City and not having a slice of pizza is like going to the beach but refusing to touch the sand its a must-do.
With over 1,000 pizza joints in NYC alone, you will probably have an option for a slice on almost every corner. With everything from $1 slices to gourmet pies, your options are almost unlimited, and a good portion of those are pretty darn tasty.
And if there is 1 thing that almost all kids love, its pizza!
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New York Public Library
The New York Public Library’s main branch was designed by architects, Carrere & Hastings, in the Beaux Arts style. The library, with its impressive rooms, is a prominent city attraction that has been featured in many movies and TV shows over the years.
Although colloquially known as the main branch, the proper name is actually the Stephen A. Schwarzman building. It opened in 1911 to immediate acclaim. An enormous library, the Main Reading Room alone stretches two city blocks, and the Periodicals Room holds 10,000 current magazines. The collection at this location is vast, to say the least.
Location: Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York, New York
Stretching for eight city blocks from Broadway to South Street is the world famous Wall Street. This street and the surrounding area are home to some of the most important exchanges in the world, including the New York Stock Exchange, the NASDAQ, and the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Also located nearby are the impressive Trinity Church and Federal Hall. Look for the bronze statue of Charging Bull at Bowling Green, on Broadway. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Financial District and a popular photo opportunity for visitors.
/11 Memorial And Museum*
Visiting Ground Zero is, in our opinions, a must when you visit New York City. The museum is incredibly well-done and very powerful. It gets busy, so wed recommend going as early as possible to avoid the rush.
Oh, and on your way there, be sure to stop inside the Oculus, the train station adjacent to Ground Zero is meant to look like a dove taking flight.
At the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, you can rent audio guides for $7, but if youre on a budget , heres a tip download the 9/11 Museum Audio Guide app . This is actually the exact same as the audio guide, and was recommended to us by staff since all the audio guides were already rented when we visited.
Robert De Niro is the narrator and does a very good job. We got a lot more out of this experience than we would have had we forgone the audio guide.
Tip: Be sure to bring headphones!
Cost: $24 for adults or FREE with NYC CityPASS.
Are you already feeling overwhelmed with planning a trip to New York? Check out ViaHeroa trip planning platform that will connect you with a local in New York to recommend museums, restaurants, and more based on your unique travel style.
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Slow Down With An Nyc Spa Day Visit
This concrete jungle is about as fast-paced as any place on the planet, so its important to take an opportunity to catch your breath once in a while.
Whether youre traveling solo or as part of a couple, a number of massage options await, with the option to add steam rooms, reflexology, or even chocolate facial treatments!
Ellis Island National Museum Of Immigration
The point of arrival for 12 million immigrants to the United States between 1892 and 1954, Ellis Island is a short boat trip via Statue Cruises at Battery Park.
To give you an idea of the importance of this site, the descendants of these immigrants account for nearly half of the entire population of the United States.
Dating to 1900, the main building of the immigration station complex houses the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration.
Just outside, the Wall of Honour lists some of the people to have been processed here.
Within the Renaissance Revival building theres a wealth of information panels, artefacts, photographs, videos, oral histories and interactive stations.
The audio tour has more than 120 hours worth of content, going into detail on what it was like to pass through Ellis Island, how America was populated in the 19th and 20th centuries, and immigration in the present day.
Just like Broadway is synonymous with musical theatre, Fifth Avenue means luxury and prestige.
New Yorks most refined artery is the eastern boundary to Central Park and cuts past a staggering amount of things on this list, be it the Empire State Building or the Frick Collection.
There are specific stretches that demand a visit, like the park-side blocks between 59th and 96th Street.
From 82nd to 105th Streets is Museum Mile, loaded with nine prestigious museums almost side by side, including The Met and the Guggenheim.
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Visit Lady Liberty And Ellis Island
For some, this is a must-do for visitors to NYC. You will need to plan to spend 4-5 hours to see both islands, but it really is worth it.
The views on the boat cruise out to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are wonderful.
We offer tips for planning your visit to both attractions and include our own self-guided tours of both islands.
Alternatively, you can also get tickets for pedestal access with some Statue of Liberty tours.
Take A Sightseeing Tour
Many people visiting NYC will look into taking a bus tour, particularly a hop-on-hop-off tour but there are many different options.
Check out our comparison guide on NYC bus tours to see which, if any, may be right for you.
We offer approximately 40 different tours, including free, self-guided, guided, and GPS-enabled audio tours of every neighborhood that you will likely visit as a tourist in NYC.
We also compare several “See NYC in a Day” tours.
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The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon
We REALLY wanted to see Jimmy, but it is a bit tricky.
If youre planning your visit to NYC well in advance, set an alarm for first day of the month youll be visiting. This is when they open up tickets, and they go fast.
If you, like us, miss out on the tickets, dont worry: you still have a chance to see Americas favorite host. But youll need patience and time.
Heres how to get standby tickets to the Tonight Show:
Got to the south side of Rockefeller on West 49th Street and get in line. We saw people lined up as early as 6:30 a.m., but when we got in line around 8:45 a.m. we still got standby tickets. We were instructed to return at 3:15 p.m. to find out if they would have room for us. Then, the recording would start at 5:00 p.m.
All said and done, getting standby tickets requires a big chunk of your day, and we just didnt have the patience to stick in that area for the chance to maybe be able to get in. But it could work well for some peoples schedules.
Enjoy A New York Meal
There are plenty of great places to eat in New York City and you don’t have to spend a lot of money on some of the world’s tastiest foods.
Below are our suggestions of where to find the best versions of iconic New York foods, as well as restaurants that will suit your mood, budget, and location.
You might also consider taking one of our food tours of NYC. They are pay-what-you-like.
New York Bagel
You haven’t really had a bagel until you have had a New York bagel. Some say it’s the NYC water that makes them so good.
With hundreds of bagel stores, how to narrow down the choices? With our list of 15 Best Bagels in New York City,
New York Pizza
Here are the best pizza places in New York City. They are organized by neighborhood so no matter where you are, you can find a great food stop.
A few are family-style where the pizza is served in big pies and the family shares. This is a really fun way to enjoy a great meal.
For an authentic New York dining experience, eat a meal al fresco on Mulberry Street at the best Little Italy Restaurants.
New York Delicatessen
There are very few real delicatessens left in NYC, the kind where you can get a great pastrami sandwich 6 inches tall.
Fortunately, we still have Katzs .
For inexpensive, delicious food in one of NYC’s most exotic neighborhoods, try these restaurants in Chinatown.
Other great eats
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Hit The Slopes At Whiteface Mountain
Located just a stones throw from Lake Placid, Whiteface Mountain Ski Resort is a top New York attraction no matter what time of year youre visiting.
Its no surprise that skiers and snowboarders flock here to glide down the powder fresh slopes in the winter months. If skiing isnt your thing, Whiteface Mountain and Lake Placid have all sorts of cool winter activities. You can tour the Olympic Jumping Complex, go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing around Lake Placid, or try your hand at ice fishing at nearby Connery Pond.
If youre planning an epic summer vacation, youll be spoiled for choice when it comes to things to do on Whiteface Mountain. Be sure to take a ride on the resorts Cloudsplitter Gondola. Youll have beautiful views of Lake Placid and the surrounding mountains from the top. If you feel like hiking or mountain biking, there are a handful of trails for you to choose from.
After an action-packed day, head down to Main Streets Top of the Park restaurant. Its the perfect après-ski spot where you can enjoy small plates, signature cocktails, and views of Lake Placid.