20 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in New York City
| by Assia A. |
| Last Updated April 13, 2023 |
- This Destination Has a Free Tour offer
New York is a constant wonder to many around the world. It’s always bustling with activity – famous sites, the shopping and dining options are endless. Some people come here just to enjoy the shows on Broadway, while others flock constantly in search of something different each time they visit. Many people consider NYC one of the most amazing cities in the world, due to its countless highlights.
There are a lot of famous landmarks like The Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, and Central Park that are visible in almost every direction you look. Most of them are within walking distance of each other, or just an easy ride away, which makes the city a delight for sightseeing.
One World Observatory and the High Line are just two of many exciting new tourist attractions that provide an endless amount of opportunity to see new parts of the city.
New York City has a lot to offer, no matter what time of day or year it is. Whether you’re looking for an exciting adventure, a relaxing walk in the park, or a quiet night out with your partner, New York City has always been something for you.
Planning a trip to New York is tough, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of attractions and hundreds of menus at every restaurant. But, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with this guide to the best New York places to visit.
Statue of Liberty
As America’s most iconic landmark and a gift given to them by France, the Statue of Liberty is one of the top attractions in America. Spanning 306ft (93m) tall and in copper sheathed zinc, and weighing approximately 450,000 pounds. It was built in 1886 and remains a worldwide symbol of freedom.
You can see the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan. There are particularly good views from there. However, one of the best ways to see the Statue is by boat, you can take a trip to Liberty Island, which offers breathtaking views of this national monument. With advance reservations, you can go right up to the crown.
On your tour of the Statue of Liberty, you can stop at Ellis Island, which is a site that quite literally has history written all over it. The Immigration Museum is located in the historic immigration station complex, which was the point where immigrants were processed before entering America.
In these displays, you can learn more about the process, the experiences, and the history of immigrants to this area. You can also look up their records on the on-site computer database, and see where they came from.
Tickets to the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island guided tour sells out quickly in the high season. It’s best to purchase tickets ahead of time at any time of year.
Broadway and the Theater District
Broadway in Manhattan is famous widely as the heart of the American theater industry, and the popular area in NYC where all the theaters are located. Seeing the latest shows and long-running classics is a great way to spend time in New York City.
The famous Theater District is a hotspot on Broadway, Broadway is the longest street in NYC & makes up a large portion of the Theater District. Trying to get tickets for a Broadway show is notoriously hard, but it’s well worth the effort.
The Shubert Alley is a long pedestrian-only alley at the center of the Theater District, that runs between 8th Avenue and Broadway. It is home to the famous theaters “the Shubert on West 44th street” and “Booth on West 44th street”, which were designed by Henry Herts in the Italian Renaissance style.
A lot of theater acting enthusiasts spend their time in Shubert Alley just outside theaters looking for opportunities to perform in a play.
Rockefeller Center & Top of the Rock Observation Deck
The most popular attraction in New York and a must-see for all visitors is Rockefeller Center, it is the best shopping destination in Midtown Manhattan, and home to NBC-TV and other media. But the highlight here is this Art Deco skyscraper’70-story 30 Rockefeller Plaza that is full of incredible sights and discoveries from the iconic Top of the Rock Observation Deck.
Admiring the views from 70 floors above Rockefeller Center is one of the top things to do in New York City, by visiting the deck you can take in 360-degree views of New York, and enjoy the spectacular views from the indoor and outdoor viewing spaces. The Rock Observation Deck ticket is available in advance and can be purchased online. The tickets give you the flexibility to change the date if necessary, so you always have a backup plan.
Skating is a popular activity during wintertime in New York City, from October to April the outdoor skating rink is a fun destination for families and couples, and is open from October to April.
After the Thanksgiving celebration, a huge Christmas tree is erected in front of the skating rink, lighting the complex up for visitors to enjoy throughout the holidays. When you visit New York in December, feel free to take the time to check out this colorful attraction.
Another highlight in this area is the bronze sculpture Atlas that is been an iconic subject for both photographers and art students.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met or the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the world’s largest art museum, and one of the most visited museums in the United States. It’s been around since 1870 and houses a collection of over 2 million artworks over a period of 5,000 years.
The Met Fifth Avenue is the centerpiece of the three museums sites in New York City. The collections include American decorative arts, antique weapons and armor, sculptures, costumes, Ancient Egyptian art, musical instruments, paintings, and much more.
If you are looking to see the world’s most famous works before the crowds, consider a VIP tour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and see this incredible museum with just 25 people before it opens to the general public in the morning.
The Met Cloisters, located at Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, is another famous New York museum, specializing in medieval art and European architecture, especially the Romanesque and Gothic periods.
Central Park is a beautiful, wide-open space where you can enjoy nature in all of its glory. A walk through this greenery Park, a carriage ride along the crisscrossing paths and trails are perfect for feeling a bit more connected with nature, and a must-do for your New York City visit.
The immense Park is covering 843 acres (341 ha), making it one of the world’s largest urban parks and one of the most beautiful things about New York.
In this lovely place, you can take in some fresh air and catch up with nature without spending too much money, since most attractions that are found within its borders are free. It’s also inexpensive, which makes it an affordable choice for tourists, making it easy to visit numerous times throughout the year! The Belvedere Castle, the Strawberry Fields, the Lake, and the Central Park Zoo, are some of the most popular places to visit in the park. If you are trying to tour the park by yourself, we recommend you to pick up a map at one of the visitor centers.
9/11 Memorial and Museum
The World Trade Center twin was once the tallest building on the Manhattan skyline and a proud symbol of New York City. It was destroyed in September 2001 attacks, by suicide-piloted jetliners, resulting in more than 2,977 deaths. The former location of the Twin Towers is now home to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.
The memorial is created as a moving tribute to those who were killed in the attacks on September 11, 2001, and also to those who were killed in the earlier bombing at the World Trade Center in February 1993. The names of the victims are inscribed around the memorial pools in 152 bronze parapets.
The Memorial Museum is located in a stunning curved glass building between two square reflecting pools. The primary mission of the museum is to present the story of the 9/11 tragedy, through videos, artifacts, and photos, to preserve the memory of the victims.
On the other side of Greenwich Street, there is another site that you don’t want to miss, which is the eye-catching Westfield World Trade Center, and its impressive architecture with a spaceship-like appearance. It is the largest shopping complex in Manhattan with many shops and a number of high-end stores.
Tickets to the 9/11 Museum can be purchased online if you want to avoid any long lines. If you’re traveling as a family be sure to get the family offer discount. On Mondays, museum entry is free from 3:30 to 5 pm.
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is one of the most iconic landmarks in New York City is often called the “Empire State”. The architectural style of the building is Art Deco and was designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon. It stood as the tallest building in the world until the construction of One World Trade Center, 41 years later. When the Empire State Building opened in 1931, it instantly became a landmark and a symbol of New York City.
Atop the Empire State Building, there are two observatories, and both offer visitors spectacular views. You can see far across the city and beyond, on clear days you can even look into the neighboring states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.
Elevators get you quickly to the Decks and have a glass-enclosed area heated in winter and cooled in summer.
One ticket allows visitors to go up to the 86th floor, and there is an additional charge for visitors looking to visit the 102nd floor. There are other ticket options for visitors including a premium guided tour with VIP access, the “AM/PM” ticket which allows for two visits on the same day, and the skip-the-line ticket that lets you bypass the lines, and gives you a year validity so if the weather is bad you can use it later.
Be patient if you’re trying to go up the Empire State Building on a tour since the line is always long, especially during peak times.
The High Line is an elevated linear park in the city that was originally a rail line but has now been transformed into an urban walking trail by planting interesting plants and trees, many of these flowers come into bloom in the spring. This attraction has been expanding since its original opening and allows visitors to experience NYC’s beautiful views, and has become an icon of American contemporary landscape architecture.
This is an outstanding oasis located on Manhattan’s West Side, that runs from Gansevoort Street at the south end all the way to 34th Street at the north end. The access to the park is either through stairs or elevators that are found at various points along the route.
The High Line is only two to three stories above street level, it provides a whole new perspective on the city’s architecture and offers points of interest for visitors to enjoy the amazing contemporary landscape. With benches and art installations along the route, bleacher-style seating, and a glass wall looking out onto the beautiful city.
Fifth Avenue also known as “Millionaire’s Row”, is the most expensive and famous shopping street in New York, where high-end stores and luxury brand designers have their stores. Cartier, Gucci, Tiffany, Bergdorf-Goodman, Louis Vuitton, and many others are on Fifth Avenue.
Enjoying New York City’s Fifth Avenue is not just restricted to shoppers. The area is bustling with a variety of places to explore, restaurants, cafes, museums, lots of entertaining places to visit, and much more!
Times Square, the most iconic place in New York City, and one of the world’s busiest pedestrian areas is a major center of the world’s entertainment industry. It has dozens of dazzling bright LED billboards and screens. It is the place in the city where more selfies are taken and a must-see for tourists.
The Square has an immense, busy, and crowded atmosphere that many people find intriguing. This is the site of the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop, more than any other celebration in the world, about one million revelers come out to Times Square to celebrate.
The area was formally named Longacre Square, but in 1904 the square was renamed “Times Square” after the famous newspaper the New York Times. At that time, the first electrified advertisement appeared and was the first of its kind in the world.
Brooklyn Bridge is one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks and has inspired generations of poets, songwriters, and painters. Its Gothic-shaped arches and suspension cables create a sense of physical presence that enhances the art it inspires. It spans the East River from Manhattan to Brooklyn. It’s been around for over 100 years, making it an iconic and historic site.
You can see it from many different points in the city, but the fantastic way to admire this iconic bridge is to take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge itself and enjoy the views of Manhattan, the East River, and beyond to the Statue of Liberty.
The walkway is completely safe because it is elevated on wood planks and has lighting along the entire path. It runs above the traffic lanes, making it open only to pedestrians and cyclists. At the first pillar, you can get a great view of one of the granite towers up close.
Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal is another outstanding attraction located in midtown Manhattan. It’s one of the few preserved Beaux Arts buildings in New York City and features a long history. Although it’s not a destination in itself, Grand Central Terminal is still worth visiting.
When it first opened in 1913, it was a terminal for the subway and train stations, and a hub for passenger traffic, but that soon changed as commercial businesses moved inside the station itself. Grand Central Terminal contains an extensive selection of stores and food vendors, including a grocery marketplace, restaurants, and bars.
The highlight here is the exterior of the building which is a piece of art, a big clock surrounded by magnificent statuary by the great French sculptor Jules Coutan, representing Minerva, Hercules, and Mercury. Inside, you can’t miss the Grand Staircase and the beautiful ceiling in the main hall that is filled with wonderful light. Be sure to also look out for the amazing main concourse.
One World Observatory
The One World Observatory offers the highest open-air viewing deck in New York City. Visitors are able to enjoy breathtaking views of the city from three different observation platforms that are located on the 100, 101, and 102 floors. With a panoramic 360-degree view of the city, visitors can see as far as 90 miles away on a clear day.
The glass building with its unique angles that can be seen from far, is a unique structure of the city’s skyline. Standing near the base and looking up, the tower appears pyramidal.
If you want to go up and see the view, combined with NYC One World Observatory Skip-the-Line Ticket, it will save you time in the long run. Be aware that as soon as you approach security, it might take some extra time.
New York Public Library
The New York Public Library was designed by the architects Carrere & Hastings in the Beaux Art style. Its impressive rooms provide a beautiful space for reading and are featured in many movies and tv shows.
The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, commonly known as “Main Branch”, is the 2nd largest public library in the United States, and the 4th largest in the world, it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965. Its majestic Main Reading Room stretches about two city blocks, with 52-foot-tall ceilings featuring murals of vibrant skies and billowing clouds.
The Frick Collection
When it comes to New York museums, the Frick Collection is the best place you want to go for ambiance, with its scenic setting and original art collection. Located in an early 1900s mansion, the building and the museum collection were donated by Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919), who built the mansion to showcase his art collection.
Its amazing collection features “Old Master” paintings and a mix of European fine, and decorative arts, On display are works by Bellini, Fragonard, El Greco, Rembrandt, Turner, and many other famous artists.
The pieces in this gallery are not organized according to their country or period. They’re arranged randomly for a more interesting experience. Surrounding the gallery is a beautiful covered garden complete with tropical plants and a central pond.
Wall Street is a historic landmark in the city of New York. This street has been the headquarters of some of the largest investment banks, and exchanges in the world, including the New York Stock exchange, NASDAQ, and other financial establishments.
Nearby are the impressive Trinity Church and Federal Hall, there is also The outstanding bronze Charging Bull statue which is a popular destination for visitors at Bowling Green that offer great photo opportunities.
Carnegie Hall is one of the most revered concert halls in the world, with a rich history and countless famous musicians who have graced its stage, from Tchaikovsky, who conducted on opening night, to the Beatles. It has some of the best acoustics in the world, which makes it a perfect place to escape reality and listen to some great music.
Attending a performance at the concert hall is one of the best ways to enjoy it. However, there is also a guided tour in case you’re interested in learning more about its construction and the artists gracing it with their presence. It also discusses some of the great moments in history and how they marked our lives today.
Radio City Music Hall
A celebrated entertainment venue and a designated city landmark, Radio City Music Hall is the ultimate destination for musical extravaganzas and films, and it houses the famous dance company, The Rockettes, an American classic that has been entertaining people for generations with its high-energy performances.
It was built by the Rockefellers in the 1930s and was one of the largest indoor theaters in the world at that time. The theater is known for hosting major events like the Grammy Awards and Tony Awards. Its marquee stretches down the block, creating a visual that’s hard to miss given its prominence.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one of New York’s outstanding examples of Gothic Revival architecture. It has a slim but attractive design, with its massive bronze doors, white marble facade, 330-foot spires, and rose window in the altar at the center of the church. With millions of visitors coming to the Cathedral every year, it’s a great destination for believers and tourists alike.
This building dates back to 1879 and has been restored and maintained since then. In 2016, a $ 200 million renovation was completed on the building.
Bryant Park is one of the most popular parks in New York City, located in the middle of Manhattan. This park has been around since 1842 and was called Reservoir Square, now it features monuments & gardens, shaded walkways, and a custom carousel. There is also a games area where you can play chess, checkers, and backgammon for a measly fee.
Bryant Park was known as a dangerous area and had a seedy reputation for crime. In 1989, the city took it over and transformed it into a beautiful park. locals have embraced this landscape over the years, and today, it is a pleasure to walk through. If you aren’t interested in playing any games, you can still enjoy watching others play. The park is close to the New York Public Library.
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