Are you planning a trip to NYC and wondering what the 10 best things to do in New York are? If you are a first time visitor to New York it’s definitely worth visiting some of the most popular New York tourist attractions. This will give you a real flavour of the city.
You can also spend some time exploring the free things to do in New York and unusual things to do in New York.
There is so much to see and do in this vibrant and urban city that it can be hard to narrow it down to a New York top ten.
10 best things to do in New York
Best New York neighbourhoods
New York has lots of cool things to do spread out over 5 boroughs. What truly makes this city so cool to visit is distinct boroughs including Manhattan, Brooklyn. Queens, Bronx and Staten Island.
Withing each borough is a series of cool neighbourhoods just waiting to be explored. You could spend all of your New York holiday sampling each of the neighbourhoods looking for the best things to do in New York.
You could look for cutting-edge cool shops, cafes and arty boozers in Brooklyn. Gritty hip-hop culture in the Bronx, and upmarket luxury and show-stopping music and theatre in Manhattan. Below is a list of some of the most popular things you can do in New York.
This iconic park is the green heart of New York. Spanning a huge 843 acres, Central Park is where Manhatten comes to exercise, relax, picnic and to soak up a little nature.
There are several attractions to visit in the park, including the Central Park Zoo, the Great Lawn and the Jackie Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. There is also canoe and bike hire in the beautiful urban oasis, perfect for the outdoor lovers!
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The gigantic Metropolitan Museum of Art [most commonly referred to as The Met], is the largest art museum in the United States. It’s a fantastic place for visitors to the city to absorb some incredible pieces of art.
No matter what your arty tastes are, there are many collections, spanning a variety of world cultures, artistic styles and historical timelines.
You could spend hours wandering the halls taking in all the Islamic, Greek, Egyptian, Indian and Byzantine artworks. General admission is $25 for adults, $12 for students, children under 12 go in for free.
The High Line
If you are looking for A quirky activity in New York City, then you might want to check out the High Line. This elevated and renovated trail is a 1.45-mile-long green space in NYC that was created on a former New York Central Railroad.
It is certainly one of the most unique parks in NYC, with wildflowers, art installations and the most Instagrammable views of New York skyline!
If you are wondering how to get to the High Line NYC? You can take the 1 or C train to 23rd Street and then take a stroll up to Tenth Avenue. It’s one of the best free things to do in New York.
Scott’s Pizza tours
You can’t possibly experience New York without having a slice or three of New York style Pizza! But where is the best place for Pizza in New York? Why not save yourself hours of research and be guided by the pizza experts?
Scott’s Pizza tour is a hugely popular pizza tour in NYC, learn more about New York’s pizza culture, history and obsession whilst experiencing NYC through the eyes of a pizza loving local.
The Original Crosstown Pizza Walk meets in Little Italy on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays. You’ll hit up 3 pizzerias as you wander around a range of downtown neighbourhoods!
Top of the Rock Observatory
For the most unforgettable views of the NYC Skyline, you need to head to the Top of the Rock Observatory in Rockefeller Plaza. The observation centre is located at the top of Rockefeller Center and offers Instagrammable, panoramic views of New York City.
From the observatory, you can see some of the most iconic NYC sights including Central Park, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the One World Trade Center.
If you purchase your Top of the Rock tickets online for the top of the rock, you will avoid waiting in long lines at the box office. Also with a flexible date ticket, you can plan your visit around the weather.
A visit to the iconic Times Square is an absolute must during a trip to New York, it’s a hub of Mahahatten activity at the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue.
Times Square is definitely an entertainment destination like no other in the world.
Prepare yourself for some sensory overload with bustling streets, flashing lights and honking cabs as you wander around one of the most famous places in the USA.
Spend some time taking some city snaps, shop at well-known stores such as NHL Store Hershey’s Store, and Forever 21, or grab a drink at a popular bar.
You can also purchase tickets to the hottest Broadway shows here, so get your glad rags on an get exploring this vibrant neighbourhood.
Brunch in Brooklyn
One simply must Brunch in New York’s most hip borough darlings. Weekends in Brooklyn are full of trendy New Yorkers seeking out the best Brooklyn brunching spots with the most instagrammable plates.
You might have to book ahead if you want a seat at a popular spot. Some of the best places for brunch in Brooklyn include Superfine, Bread and Spread and Buttermilk Channel.
You can take the subway to get to Brooklyn but I highly recommend walking across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan into Brooklyn for incredible views of the city.
Chelsea Market is a mix of shopping, office space, TV facility and fantastic food hall. Located in the uber-cool Meatpacking District at 75 Ninth Ave, it’s a great place to pick up trip souvenirs or grab some world-class street food.
Choose from a huge selection of food including bratwurst, tacos, seafood, gelato or perhaps peruse the wine shop if you fancy a cheeky imbibe.
Chelsea Market is open 7 am to 9 am Monday through Saturday and 8 am until 8 pm on Sunday.
There is also the opportunity to climb up to the High Line from the far end of the market, a nifty way of combining the two activities.
New York Comedy Club
New York City has many popular and traditional comedy clubs across the city. Some of the best comedy clubs in New York include the Comedy Cellar, Dangerfield’s and the Gotham Comedy Club, where you can watch some side spitting acts.
Catching a show at an improv comedy club, however, is a unique comedy experience in New York and is highly recommended.
Head to the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, for off the wall sketch shows, bizarre improv and solo shows every single night.
The club has also played host to several celebrities performing routines as well as being the launching pad for many ‘Saturday Night Live stars’.
NYC China Town
As well as being a major foodie destination in New York, Chinatown also has a range of shops and stalls selling all manner of Chinese goods including teas, souvenirs, eastern medicines, lanterns, fans and the occasional live eel.
Take your time exploring the neighbourhood to find some basement restaurants serving traditional dim sum, cheap massages, karaoke bars and quirky speakeasies.
My top tip is to hunt down restaurants that only have Chinese menus, these tend to be the most authentic and reasonably priced eateries in China town.
Top 10 New York
When planning your trip to NYC why not check out the top 10 things to do in New York on Trip Advisor? You can book the best New York activities and awesome New York hotels!
What do you think of this New York top ten list? Is there anything that you would visit? Let me know in the comments below!
Planning your trip to New York
Ready to book your trip to New York? Use these awesome travel resources to get you started:
- Search for the best flight deals with Skyscanner
- Search for the best hotel deals on HotelsCombined
- Get the best Hague travel tips with a travel guidebook
- Book an Airbnb and have £25 towards your first booking
- Get the best destination recommendations from TripAdvisor
Check out all the best travel resources on my bumper travel resources page!
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