New York is one of the most iconic and exciting cities in the world, with endless possibilities for travelers of all kinds. Whether you are looking for culture, history, entertainment, nature, or adventure, you will find it in the Big Apple.
But with so much to see and do, how do you plan your perfect trip to New York? In this post, we will help you discover the best places to visit, things to do, and top attractions in New York, based on our own experience and research. We will also give you some tips and tricks to make the most of your time and money in this amazing city. Let’s get started!
Best Places to Visit in New York
New York is a huge and diverse city, with five boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island) and hundreds of neighborhoods, each with its own character and charm. Depending on your interests and preferences, you might want to explore different areas of the city and see what they have to offer. Here are some of the best places to visit in New York, according to us:
Manhattan is the heart and soul of New York, where you will find most of the famous landmarks, skyscrapers, museums, parks, and attractions. Manhattan is divided into several districts, such as Midtown, Downtown, Uptown, Harlem, and more.
Some of the highlights include Times Square, Central Park, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Broadway, Fifth Avenue, Grand Central Terminal, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), The National September 11 Memorial & Museum (9/11 Memorial), The Statue of Liberty (on Liberty Island), and many more. You can easily spend several days exploring Manhattan and still not see everything.
Brooklyn is the most populous and hippest borough of New York, where you will find a mix of cultures, cuisines, arts, and lifestyles. Brooklyn is known for its creative and entrepreneurial spirit, as well as its historic and scenic attractions.
Some of the highlights include Brooklyn Bridge (one of the oldest and most beautiful bridges in the world), Brooklyn Bridge Park (a waterfront park with stunning views of Manhattan), DUMBO (a trendy neighborhood with art galleries, cafes, and shops), Williamsburg (a vibrant area with nightlife, street art, and markets), Coney Island (a famous amusement park with rides and games), Prospect Park (a large and green park with a zoo and a botanical garden), Brooklyn Museum (the second-largest art museum in New York), Brooklyn Botanic Garden (a lush and colorful garden with various plants and flowers), and many more. You can easily spend a day or two exploring Brooklyn and enjoying its diversity and charm.
Queens is the largest and most ethnically diverse borough of New York, where you will find a variety of cultures, cuisines, languages, and attractions. Queens is known for its international flair, as well as its sports and entertainment venues.
Some of the highlights include Flushing Meadows Corona Park (the largest park in New York with a lake, a zoo, a museum, and a stadium), Citi Field (the home of the New York Mets baseball team), USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (the venue of the US Open tennis tournament), Queens Museum (a museum with a scale model of New York City), MoMA PS1 (a contemporary art museum housed in a former school), Astoria (a lively neighborhood with Greek restaurants and cafes), Long Island City (a waterfront area with skyscrapers and parks), Rockaway Beach (the largest urban beach in America), Forest Hills Stadium (a historic concert venue), and many more. You can easily spend a day or two exploring Queens and experiencing its multicultural vibe.
This is the northernmost and greenest borough of New York, where you will find a rich history, culture, and nature. The Bronx is known for its music, art, and sports scenes, as well as its wildlife and gardens.
Some of the highlights include Yankee Stadium (the home of the New York Yankees baseball team), Bronx Zoo (the largest urban zoo in the world), New York Botanical Garden (a beautiful and educational garden with various plants and flowers), The Bronx Museum of the Arts (a museum dedicated to contemporary art). Wave Hill (a public garden and cultural center with stunning views of the Hudson River), City Island (a small island with a fishing village atmosphere), Arthur Avenue (a street with authentic Italian restaurants and shops), and many more. You can easily spend a day or two exploring The Bronx and discovering its hidden gems.
Staten Island is the southernmost and least populated borough of New York, where you will find a relaxed and suburban feel, as well as some historic and natural attractions. Staten Island is known for its ferry ride, which offers a free and scenic way to see the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline.
Some of the highlights include Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden (a former sailors’ home turned into a cultural and educational complex), Staten Island Museum (a museum with exhibits on art, history, and science), Historic Richmond Town (a living history museum that recreates a 19th-century village), Fort Wadsworth (a former military fort with panoramic views of the harbor), Staten Island Zoo (a small but diverse zoo with various animals), South Beach (a beach with a boardwalk and a fishing pier), and many more. You can easily spend a day or two exploring Staten Island and enjoying its tranquility and charm.
Things to Do in New York
New York is a city that never sleeps, with endless activities and experiences for travelers of all kinds. Whether you are looking for culture, history, entertainment, nature, or adventure, you will find it in the Big Apple. But with so much to see and do, how do you choose the best things to do in New York? In this section, we will help you find the best things to do in New York, based on our own experience and research. We will also give you some tips and tricks to make the most of your time and money in this amazing city.
See the city from above
One of the best things to do in New York is to see the city from a different perspective, namely from above. New York has some of the most impressive skyscrapers and observation decks in the world, offering stunning views of the skyline, the harbor, the bridges, and the landmarks. Some of the best places to see the city from above are:
Empire State Building: This is one of the most iconic and famous buildings in New York, standing at 1,454 feet tall. It has two observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors, offering 360-degree views of the city. You can also enjoy an interactive exhibit on the 80th floor, as well as a virtual reality experience on the 2nd floor.
Top of the Rock: This is another popular observation deck in New York, located at the top of Rockefeller Center. It has three levels on the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors, offering unobstructed views of Central Park, the Empire State Building, and other landmarks. You can also enjoy an interactive exhibit on the mezzanine level.
One World Observatory: This is the newest and tallest observation deck in New York, located at the top of One World Trade Center. It has three levels on the 100th, 101st, and 102nd floors offering panoramic views of the city, the harbor, and beyond. You can also enjoy an immersive multimedia presentation on the way up and down.
Edge: This is the highest outdoor observation deck in New York, located at Hudson Yards. It has a glass floor, walls, and ceiling, offering thrilling views of the city, the river, and beyond. You can also enjoy a champagne bar, a restaurant, and a gift shop.
Summit One Vanderbilt: This is the newest and most innovative observation deck in New York, located at One Vanderbilt. It has four levels on the 91st, 93rd, 94th, and 100th floors, offering immersive views of the city, Grand Central Terminal, and beyond.
What is the best time to visit New York?
The best time to visit New York depends on your preferences and goals, but generally speaking, the fall months (late September to early November) are considered the most ideal. During this time, the weather is pleasant and comfortable, the crowds are fewer than usual, and the city is full of colors and events. You can enjoy sightseeing, walking tours, Broadway shows, festivals, and more without having to deal with extreme temperatures, long queues, or high prices.
Are there any hidden gems in New York that are not well-known?
Yes, there are many hidden gems in New York that are not well-known to most tourists or even locals. Some of them are:
Fort Tryon Park: This is a 67-acre park in Upper Manhattan that offers stunning views of the Hudson River, the Palisades, and the George Washington Bridge. The park also features the Cloisters, a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that houses medieval art and architecture.
Whispering Gallery in Grand Central Station: This is a hidden acoustic phenomenon in the lower level of Grand Central Station, near the Oyster Bar. If you stand in one corner of the arched walkway and whisper, your voice will travel along the curved ceiling and be heard by someone standing in the opposite corner.
Secret Garden of Rockefeller Center: This is a rooftop garden on the 7th floor of Rockefeller Center, above the famous ice skating rink. The garden is open to the public from May to September and features seasonal flowers, fountains, and sculptures.
Villa Charlotte Bronte: This is a charming apartment building in the West Village that resembles a fairy-tale castle. The building was built in 1926 and named after the author of Jane Eyre. It has a Gothic-style facade, a turret, and a courtyard with a fountain.
Little Red Lighthouse: This is a historic lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge in Fort Washington Park. The lighthouse was built in 1880 and became famous after being featured in a children’s book called The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge. The lighthouse is open for tours on select days.
How to save money on New York trip?
There are many ways to save money on your trip to New York, depending on your preferences and goals. Here are some general tips that can help you reduce your expenses and enjoy the city on a budget:
- Plan your trip ahead of time and book your flight and hotel in advance. You can find cheaper rates and more availability if you search for deals online. You can use our hotel search engine to find the best offers with significant discounts.
- Use public transportation instead of taxis or Uber. New York has an extensive and efficient subway, bus, ferry, and gondola system that can take you anywhere in the city for a low cost. You can buy a MetroCard and use it unlimited times for a week or a month. You can also take the free Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline.
- Visit free or low-cost attractions and events in New York. There are many famous sights that are absolutely free of charge, such as Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, Grand Central Terminal, and more. You can also find free or discounted admission to museums, galleries, and shows on certain days or hours. You can also sign up to be an audience member at a live TV show or watch a street performance.
- Eat on a budget in New York. There are many options for cheap and delicious food in New York, such as pizza, bagels, hot dogs, falafel, dumplings, and more. You can find them at street carts, delis, bakeries, markets, and ethnic neighborhoods. You can also cook your own meals if you stay at a hostel or an Airbnb with a kitchen.
- Shop smartly in New York. There are many places where you can find bargains and discounts in New York, such as thrift stores, flea markets, outlet malls, and online coupons. You can also avoid buying souvenirs at touristy places and look for unique and local items instead.
These are some of the ways you can save money on your trip to New York. Of course, there are many more tips and tricks that you can learn from other travelers and locals. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the city without breaking the bank.