20 Things Everyone Should Do At Least Once In New York

There’s so much about the city that goes beyond conventional connotations. With its bright lights and big-time shows, New York is quite magical. The hustle and bustle of getting things done, it’s all part of New York’s allure. To live in New York or even to visit New York is to do as Michael Jackson said and “...if this town is just an apple, then let me take a bite.”

And there’s absolutely so much to take a bite of when it comes to New York. Indeed, there are many places to visit, things to see and experience, and people from all across the world do just that — they come to New York to take in all of its best features. Barring that in mind, let’s take a look at some of New York’s best things to do. 


Considered to be an urban park that is located in Manhattan and is the most visited urban park in the United States. The park was established in 1857 and made a national landmark in 1967. Ironically, Central Park is in the heart of New York City and throughout the year, it is home to many festivals and attractions. Its name is fitting as it captures what new York is also about. It's vibrant and full of energy, but it also offers a calm atmosphere for people to chill and catch up with friends, giving New Yorkers a sense of community. 


via North Country Public Radio

Broadway theatre is considered to represent the highest level of theatre in the English-speaking world. Broadway itself is a compilation or row of theatres that house stage performances and musicals. In this group, there are 41 professional theatres in the Theatre District along Broadway. As one of the most well-known attractions in New York, millions from across the world flock to see a Broadway show. Historian Martin Shefter has gone on record to say that Broadway musicals helped to make New York City the cultural capital of the nation.


This skyscraper was built and completed in 1931. The Empire State Building is 102 stories and is part of the popular Art Deco era of the 1920s and 30s. Designed by Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon, the Empire State Building, named after the nickname for New York, is an American cultural icon and has been featured in numerous films and shows. For a while, it was the tallest skyscraper in the world and was even named as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. 


via statuecruises.com

Probably one of the most popular and famous of attractions when you think of New York City, the Statue of Liberty is a beacon of what America is supposed to be about — liberty and freedom. But the Statue of Liberty is also a great representation of New York. The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture given to the United States from France of a woman robed and holding a torch. The woman is supposed to represent Libertas, a Roman liberty goddess. The Statue of Liberty is layered with metaphorical architecture and meaning. Located in the New York Harbor on Liberty Island, tourists are able to ferry out to the iconic emblem and even go inside.


via via Destination 360

Colloquially known as “the Met,” the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the United States. Tourists will have plenty to see as the Met presents over 5,000 years of art from around the world. The Met itself is three sites — The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Brauer, and The Met Cloisters. Founded in 1870, the Met is meant to be a bastion of cultural experience and exploration, and a way to connect all people through artistic representation from throughout the world.


via Time Out

A sight to see, especially if you’re looking for something that could be considered of modern antiquity. The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest roadway bridges in the United States. Constructed between 1870 and 1883, the bridge connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn spanning over the East River. It is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge that covers close 6,000 feet in length. A New York City icon, the Brooklyn Bridge was made a historic landmark in 1964.


via Wikimedia Commons

The Metropolitan Opera is the largest classical music organization in North America. Its season runs from September to May and houses 27 different operas each year. Tourists will find that the Metropolitan Opera House offers the widest breadth and range of works from 18th century Baroque, 19th century Bel-canto, and the Minimalism of the 20th century. A variety of experience and culture, the Metropolitan Opera House is (for a lack of a better word and no pun intended) classic.


via Time Out

To have a library on a list of tourist attractions initially would seem weird, maybe even outlandish to some. But the New York Public Library, a Manhattan staple, has been a central hub and provider of free books, information, and ideas for years and for hundreds of thousands of people. A historical landmark in downtown Manhattan, the New York Public Library opened in 1911 and has four stories that are open to the public.


via YouTube

Best known as Manhattan’s Town Square, the 9.6-acre public park is privately managed and is located in the borough of Manhattan in between Fifth and Sixth Avenue in Midtown. Bryant Park is a bustling hub of activities and things to do. There are always events planned that spread throughout the park. Additionally, there programs, movie nights, bingo events, dance parties, Broadway on the lawn, and a host of other things. Bryant Park is a delight for attractions and activity, all of which capture the essence of New York.


via Time Out

It’s an elevated linear park, greenway, and rail trail that’s 1.45 miles long. An abandoned spur redesigned as a living system, the High Line has become an icon of contemporary landscaping. The High Line was originally inspired by the Promenade Plantee in Paris that was completed in 1993. The High Line is a different kind of attraction, more contemporary, and an example of how reusability and repurposing can galvanize.


via GetYourGuide

Ellis Island was the gateway for over 12 million immigrants between 1892 and 1954. A small island off of the New York Harbor, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island is now a main attraction for tourists as it was made part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965. Ellis Island is also the host of a museum of immigration since 1990.


via YouTube

There probably isn’t a busier, more illustrious thoroughfare known in the world than Fifth Avenue. Located in the borough of Manhattan in New York, it stretches a great length and is considered to be one of the most expensive and elegant streets. The high status of Fifth Avenue dates back to the late 1800s and its customary for tourists to delight in luxury in regards to shopping, eating, and sightseeing. The Waldolf-Astoria Hotel is an example of its elegance.


via A As Architecture

Known as a place that fuels creativity and ignites minds, the Museum of Modern Art is all about inspiring what’s to come next. Contemporary pieces and attractions highlight the museum and has an extensive range of art, which includes books and varied creative endeavors. Located in midtown Manhattan, the MoMA is a wealth of culture worthy to be experienced.


via Obscura Digital

Initially, it may seem strange that a commuter station is one of the landmarks or stops for tourists, but Grand Central Station has very distinctive architecture and interior designed, all of which has helped it to earn its place as a landmark. With almost 22 million visitors in 2013, the commuter station is one of the most visited of tourist attractions because of its uniqueness and vastness, also design.


via citibikenyc.com

Located in Upper Manhattan, the American Museum of Natural History is one of the largest museums in the world, making it an obvious tourist attraction. The AMNH, as it is called, contains over 33 million specimens that include plants, animals, insects, fossils, rocks, meteorites, human remains, and artifacts. One of the most interesting aspects of the AMNH is its mission, which involves the research, discovery, and dissemination about human culture.


via tripadvisor

In the borough of Brooklyn, the Botanical Garden is a 52-acre garden in the heart of Brooklyn. Considered to have gardens within gardens and boasting of numerous specialties, the garden is a marvel of plant life. The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens holds over 14,000 thousand plants and it usually garners close to a million visitors each year. Boasting with some of the greatest and most natural beauty in the United States and the world, this is truly a site to behold, a place to visit to witness nature's wondrous work captured in one place. 


via The World News Media

Another Art-Deco skyscraper, the Chrysler Building is located on the East Side of Midtown in Manhattan and used to be the home of the Chrysler Corporation. Originally designed to serve as the headquarters for the Chrysler corporation, the building itself was paid for by Walter Chrysler so that his children could own it. The building is one of the tallest in the world and a marvel of design and architecture. Heralded as such — the building has become much more than its original design and purpose, a cultural spot of sophistication and a staple of what it is to be made in America. 


via NYCgo.com

The Harlem-based theater has been the home and springboard for numerous African-American performers and talent. This notable vestige of culture opened in 1914 but didn’t begin to entertain black patrons until 1934. It was then named the Apollo and was an active housing for the arts and very much a staging ground, eventually gaining its own televised variety show. The Apollo Theater gets over 1.3 million people visiting each year.

2 9/11 memorial And Museum 

via Ground Zero

A memorial and museum dedicated to the travesty of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the memorial is located exactly on the World Trade Center site. The memorial is operated by a non-profit that raises funds for its operation. Tourists flock to this site to witness and memorialize the tragic event. The site was opened a decade after the attacks. In the wake of its erection, this spot has become something centered in the culture of America, a poignant reminder of what once was and what can be again; the necessary vigilance to overcome and to move forward while remembering the past.


via via Destination 360

Countless people around the United States and around the world flock to Time Square at least once a year for the famous New Year's Eve celebration. It is the hub for the incumbent celebration and serves as the major commercial intersection and entertainment center in New York. Considered to be the center of New York, Times Square is one of the most-visited tourist attractions when it comes to New York and the United States.

References: tripadvisor.com, frommers.com

More in Destinations