Tips And Tours: How To Make The Most Of Your Visit To New York
With so much to see and do in New York, purchasing a couple of tours can really help cover all the main attractions and make sightseeing easy and enjoyable. Walking everywhere can be tiring, and figuring out the subway isn’t for everyone. There are many tours to choose from, but the following offer a good mix of attractions and experiences, and they are all guaranteed lowest prices.
Explore the City:
- For getting your bearings, seeing the sights, and learning a little history, there is no beating the traditional open-top sightseeing bus. Take a Big Bus New York Hop-on Hop-off Tour to cover all the top sights and save yourself a whole lot of walking, so you will still have some energy to take in dinner or a show in the evening.
- If you are spending several days in the city and plan on sightseeing each day, you can save yourself money and hassle by picking up a New York CityPASS, which covers all the major attractions and will allow you to bypass the lines.
See the Sights from the Water:
- Indulge yourself with a Big Apple Helicopter Tour and fly over one of the most amazing cities in the world. These 15-minute flights take you past the landmark buildings in downtown, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. This tour will give you a whole new appreciation for the density of the buildings and the size of Central Park.
New York City Helicopter Tour
No matter how high the observation deck, you may come away feeling like theres a patch of Manhattan that you wanted to see from above but could not.
There might not be a cityscape more suited to a helicopter tour than New York, so its little wonder that theres an abundance of options with GetYourGuide.com.
To single out one, the New York City Deluxe Helicopter Tour affords the ultimate views of the Hudson River, the Chrysler Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island, The Statue of Liberty, the New York Harbour and USS Intrepid.
Taking off from the heliport at Pier 6, this flight lasts 15-30 minutes but will give you memories to last a lifetime.
Check Out A Speak Easy
Stay in NYC long enough and you may start to believe that prohibition is still alive and strong. Why? Because there are speakeasies all around the city which is part of the charm.
There is a myriad of different choices from La Esquina in Soho to Blind Barber in Alphabet City. Check out our list of this years top speak easies.
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Explore Grand Central Terminal
Aside from being a transit hub, Grand Central is also a landmark and an attraction unto itself. The main concourse is 88,000 square feet, which on sunny days is bathed in sunlight from its giant arching windows.
The terminals 12-story-high ceiling is painted with stars and gilded zodiac constellations. This station also has incredible food and drink options, including its famous oyster bar and The Campbell Bar .
Visit The Intrepid Sea Air And Space Museum
Have you ever been on a submarine? You can do just that at this museum, which proudly charts Americas military and maritime history from Word War II to the space race.
Explore the Space Shuttle Pavilion and be amazed at original artifacts from the Marine Corps and NASA. There is an aircraft carrier and a supersonic reconnaissance plane to check out too.
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Musical Tina Is Back On Broadway
The Broadway musical Tina honoring Tina Turner officially re-opens on October 8 and is available for booking beginning October 12. It showcases the life and musical journey taken by the rock n roll star the broadway show has received a whopping 12 Tony Award nominations. There is always at least one performance at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, located in the middle of the Theatre District , except on Mondays. Tickets are available here.
If you cant find any available tickets you could also check:
Here you can find the full list of current Broadway Shows.
Whitney Museum Of American Art
In 2014 the foremost museum for 20th-century and contemporary art in the United States relocated to a Renzo Piano-designed building in the West Village/Meat Packing District.
The Whitney Museum of American Arts collection runs to more than 20,000 works, by hundreds of renowned artists, among them Alexander Calder, Georgia OKeefe, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Edward Hopper and Helen Frankenthaler.
In 1932, the museums founder, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney launched the Whitney Biennial.
Almost 90 years later, this is still a landmark event in the United States cultural scene, introducing new talent and mapping the latest developments in American contemporary art.
On Fifth Avenue at the downtown end of Madison Square is one of those New York sights etched into the worlds consciousness.
This wedge-shaped Renaissance Revival skyscraper, named for its resemblance to a clothes iron, was one of the tallest buildings in the city when it was completed in 1902. The Flatiron Building stands just shy of 87 metres and sits neatly on a triangular block caused by Broadway.
As well as being a sight to kindle some Manhattan romance, the Flatiron Building has a small gallery, the Flatiron Prow Artspace.
This is run by the ground floor tenant, Sprint, and hosts exhibitions centred on sustainability and eco-friendly technology.
A few steps away is the capacious indoor market/dining destination, Eataly Flatiron, an ode to Italian cuisine
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Best New York City Hotel Rooftops
NYC Hotel Rooftops offer some of the best skyline views in the whole City, along with cocktails and food, views, pools, cabanas, sundecks and retractable roofs. Our top picks for the most surreal views and cocktails include:
- Ink48 Hotel – right next to the Intrepid Museum and my ALL time favorite rooftop!
/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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Stop Searching These Are The 50 Absolute Best Things To Do In New York
Weve chosen the 50 best spots, events and activities to showcase the full diversity of New York City. Even after more than 20 visits, the city never gets boring for us. And with our recommendations, youll have a really good time in New York, too, and youll have plenty left for your next visit. If youre not planning a trip yet, youre sure to get wanderlust after perusing this list! Also available here:
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!
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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.
Rent A Bicycle In Central Park For Free
Central Park is one of my favorite places in Manhattan and no visit to the city would be complete without at least stepping foot in it. Watch street performers at The Mall which is an elm tree-lined pedestrian path, see the Hans Christian Anderson and Alice In Wonderland statues, enjoy a coffee by the pond, and take a picture of the Bethesda Fountain.
Remember, Central Park is huge, so a great way to get around if you have limited time is to rent a bicycle. There are so many things to see that youll want wheels to do it right. If you have some more time, we have found one of the best ways to discover Central Park is to just wander around and get lost. You will always end up at a major street and it is a great way to escape the business of the Manhattan streets for a few hours.
- Other ways to see Central Park Horse and Carriage, Pedicabs, walking, Central Park Tours.
- Google maps: Central Park Bike Rentals
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The Annual Pumpkin Flotilla
The highlight of the Halloween celebration, however, is the Pumpkin Flotilla. As is gets dark around 6:30 pm, priorly carved pumpkins are released into the Harlem Meer and will be float around for 30 minutes.
The spectacle draws hundreds of visitors to the northeast corner of Central Park.
Here you find more information about The Annual Pumpkin Flotilla.
Attend A Broadway Show For Cheap
You cant go to Manhattan and not see a Broadway show, of which there is a wide variety, from modern musicals to Shakespeare to quirky, offbeat plays. Theres nothing better than live theater, as its such an integral part of life in New York.
If youre on a budget, dont settle for full-priced tickets. Instead, visit the TKTS booth in Times Square to get half-price tickets. Youll need to wait in line, but youll save a ton!
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Admire The Spectacular View On Manhattan Over The Hudson
The observation deck of the One World Observatory offers dramatic city views that turn magical at sundown. The visit to this observation deck offers a unique 360-degree view of the city. One World Observatory is also the tallest of the three most famous observation decks, which includes the Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building.
If you plan to visit multiple attractions in the city, compare New York City passes to find the most convenient solution.
The One World Observatory offers the most impressive technological features for its visitors, with a mix of virtual reality, video guides, and theater shows. Thanks to its location in Lower Manhattan near the 9/11 Memorial, the One World Observatory also offers fantastic views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the harbor.
Because the One World Observatory is the newest, crowds can get a bit larger at this location, but the timed tickets ensure that you will probably never experience an unreasonable crowd size
Pay Respects At Ground Zero 9/11 Memorial
Two reflecting ponds now live where each building once stood to commemorate the victims and heros of that day. Instead of using the property to rebuild new tours, the city of New York created a mammoth memorial.
The memorial is free to visit since it is an outdoor memorial open 24/7. That said, there is a museum and souvenir stand which generate revenue to support the memorial.
While you are there, definitely walk through the Oculus at the World Trade Center PATH station which connects 12 subway lines and is honestly one of the most beautiful subway stations on Earth. The station, according to NY Port Authority, serves over a million people every week.
The station even has its own specially built crane named Big Red to reach the taller points of the atrium when construction, or light bulb replacing, needs call for its help!
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Best Things To Do In Manhattan New York
New York is one incredible place to visit, especially with all the cool areas of the city to explore. This is no truer than with Manhattan, one of the five boroughs that make up the big apple.
With some of the best things to do in New York, Manhattan has a shed load of things to explore. Now, if its your first time to the city, youll likely be rushed off your feet when going around exploring all the different areas and sites that are dotted all across the neighbourhoods.
That being said, youll probably spend a lot of time in Manhattan, too. After all, its where all the big-hitting and globally famous spots like the Top Of The Rock, Time Square, Central Park and lots of museums are located. Now, one thing to remember, although Manhattan is only one of the five boroughs, it will still take you months to see it all.
This is exactly why I wanted to share some of the best things to do in Manhattan on your next trip to the big smoke. After all, youll want to make the most of your time in New York City and have the best time.
With that in mind, take a look at some of the best things to do in Manhattan on your next trip to New York. Have fun in the Big Apple!
Attend A Sporting Event
NYC is home to multiple major sports teams. In fact, the Big Apple is home to 2 teams for each sport.
From April till October, you can enjoy the Yankees and the Mets .
From August through December , the New York Giants and the Jets play just across the Hudson River in New Jersey.
The Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks lace up their shoes from October through April .
NYC has 3 area hockey teams, the Rangers, the Devils, and the Islanders take the ice during the same time as the basketball teams.
NYC is also home to the NYC Marathon, the U.S. Open Tennis Championship and many other smaller events.
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Meet A Tyrannosaurus Rex At The Museum Of Natural History
Come face to face with dinosaurs at the American Natural History Museum one of the most fun things to do in NYC. See real Night at the Museum exhibits and size up to an enormous blue whale.
It is not often you can travel to the depths of the Pacific Ocean and visit far-off galaxies all in the same building!
Where To Stay In New York City
If you made it this far and youre still with us we hope you arent feeling too overwhelmed!
We wont get into hotels in a big way here because this things to do in New York City guide is already a monster.
Instead we will list only the top rated budget, mid range and luxury hotels in 3 of the most popular centrally located areas for first time visitors.
- Read: Where to Stay in NYC Our comprehensive guide to find the perfect hotel for your travel style and preferences. It is a very detailed roundup of the top rated hotels in each of the 6 most popular NYC areas.
We hope this list of the best things to do in New York City helps you plan your visit to one of the greatest cities in the world!
Have you been to NYC? What do you think are the most unmissable things to do for a first time visit?
Please let us know if you have any questions or need any help planning your trip.
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