There’s a reason why there are so many songs written about The City that Never Sleeps. New York is the concrete jungle where dreams are made of. New York, like any great love, keeps you guessing; like any real love it’s ever changing, like any true love it drives you crazy. See what I did there?
I fell in love with New York ever since I saw Breakfast at Tiffany’s. F•R•I•E•N•D•S, Gossip Girl, and Taylor Swift made me love the city even more. If you are planning to visit New York for a day, a weekend, or even a month, here are 15 amazing places to see on your trip:
1. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
This is the top of our list, because nothing symbolizes America more than the Statue of Liberty (also known as Liberty Enlightening the World). This neoclassical copper statue is towering proudly on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, New York City. Tourists flock into the island to catch a glimpse of this historical statue.
A four-hour guided tour to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island is the most popular activity here. If you’ve got all day, take the time to explore the Liberty Island grounds that offer the view of the New York City Harbor before heading up to the pedestal of the statue that leads to the museum and observation deck. The view would give you that postcard-perfect feel.
2. Empire State Building
Would you like to climb up the most photographed building in the world? If yes, you can do so on your visit to New York! The Empire State Building is not only historic, it is also a beautiful piece of architecture. A lot of cool things happened here. This has been featured in a lot of films, been a subject of famous hits, and has been photographed the most among all other famous buildings all over the world.
On a clear and bright day, you can see New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and most of New York from the building’s observatories. Isn’t that amazing? The Empire State Building is also home to huge brands such as LinkedIn and Shutterstock. Aside from being the most photographed building in the world, the Empire State Building is also considered one of the best places in New York City to take pictures in.
3. Central Park
It is not a surprise that Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States, with over 40 million visitors annually. It is also one of the most filmed locations in the world. With its 843 acres of land, Central Park is larger than Monaco and Venice. Imagine that? You can tour around the park on horse-drawn carriages.
Central Park has long been considered one of the most beautiful places in New York City, thus taking time to tour around it is a good idea. This is also a New Yorker’s favorite running/jogging spot. Kids would definitely enjoy the Central Park Carousel and Central Park Zoo. Of course, playgrounds and restaurants are scattered throughout the park.
4. Times Square
A friend from New York says New Yorkers only visit Times Square if it’s absolutely necessary. They avoid this area as much as possible because this is one of the most famous places in New York City from movies which mean that the place is bustling with tourists and movie fanatics on a daily basis.
With its neon lights and marquee displays, Times Square is exciting, fun, and colorful. This is definitely a must-see spot in the city, especially on New Year’s Eve when the annual ball drop is held at One Times Square Building.
5. New York Public Library
This place may be a little too familiar to you, since a lot of movies have been filmed in some parts of the New York Public Library, including Sex and the City: The Movie, Spider-Man 3, and The Day After Tomorrow. Naturally, the popularity of these filmshas drawn visitors to the library.
Of course, this does not diminish the fact that tons of the visitors are bookworms. The library carries a huge selection of literary novels, maps, essays, encyclopedias, and such. If you are in New York and want to swing by for a quiet read or to admire the architecture of the building, the library is open every day.
6. Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal (commonly referred to as Grand Central Station) is one of the most iconic places in New York City. Aside from being a place where you can get from one place to another, Grand Central Terminal also has an amazing neoclassical architecture that will leave you in full awe.
Some of its corners are also popular, and it has been featured in films such as Arthur and I Am Legend. It is also a place to shop, dine, and just hang out. Musical performances are often held in the terminal, especially around Christmas time.
7. Rockefeller Center
Kids and adults like this place because of the giant skating rink. The place becomes extremely popular around Christmas time, as the giant skating rink is turned into a winter wonderland. If you are not afraid of heights and loves scenic city views, proceed to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck to get the awesome view of Manhattan.
During your visit to the Rockefeller Center, other activities near the area that you might also want to check out includes the NBC Studio tour. If you’re in luck, you might catch a taping of Saturday Night Live (SNL) or The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
8. Metropolitan Museum of Art
Also known as “the Met,” this museum is the largest and most celebrated art museum in the U.S.A.- and for all good reasons. If you are an art lover, this should be part of your New York City tour itinerary. The Met is home to huge collections of Egyptian, Roman, and Greek art, to name a few.
Even if you come as early as opening time, which is at 10a.m., and stay until they close at 5:30 p.m., it is still impossible to see everything. The museum also holds special exhibits every now and then. Its website is updated so you can check out special events and offerings during your visit.
9. Bryant Park
You can easily access Bryant Park from the New York Public Library (technically, the library is within the park). The park is not only popular among tourists; locals come here to relax, eat lunch, or just enjoy being outdoors lazing on the large lawn.
Bryant Park also hosts events and performances sponsored by huge brands such as HBO, iHeartMedia, and the Bank of America. Children would love the park, especially during winter, when Bank of America Winter Village is held, the lawn is turned into an ice skating rink, and the huge Christmas tree is put up.
10. National 9/11 Memorial and Museum
It is not a secret to anyone what happened on 9/11.The National 9/11 Memorial and Museum was built to honor and remember the victims of the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. Unlike other touristy spots in New York where it’s almost funfair and enjoyment, it would be hard to tour around this place without a lump in your throat.
This is a place where people come to pay tribute to the victims, remember them, and teach kids about what happened to them. You can see the names of the victims inscribed on the 76 bronze plates around the memorial pools.
11. Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden, also known as MDS of “the Garden,” is one of the busiest sporting arenas in the world. It hosts about 320 events in a year. Aside from being the home of the New York Rangers, the New York Knicks, and the New York Liberty,
MDS has also hosted almost every successful artist in the country. Make sure to check out who’s playing in Madison Square Garden on your visit to NYC.
12. Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is perfect for your sunset stroll. This is also one of the best places that you can visit in New York for free. If you walk on the bridge from end to end, it would take you 30 minutes, so sunset is the best time to do so.
The bridge transforms into a romantic place as soon as the sun starts to set and the city lights start to come to life. The Brooklyn Bridge is also one of the best places in New York to propose. If you are travelling with your special someone and are planning to “put a ring on it,” the bridge is one of your best choices.
13. Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) houses important and celebrated collections of modern and contemporary art. Visitors come here to get a glimpse of famous paintings such as The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso, and Water Lilies by Claude Monet.
If you are an art lover, MoMA would be heaven for you. Aside from paintings, the museum also has vast collections of books, sculptures, photographs, and many more.
14. The High Line Park
This repurposed railway is now a park that stands 30 feet above street level. The locals dubbed High Line an urban oasis. This is where they come to escape the busy streets and fast-paced N.Y.C. life.
The park has benches where you can sit and take in the view of Manhattan’s cityscape and the Hudson River. You can come up here with your group of friends or families and enjoy a warm afternoon.
15. Brooklyn Botanic Garden
If you want to take a break from museums, Broadway shows, and busy streets, escape and relax in the presence of trees and flowers in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The garden is 52-acres huge and holds about 15 thousand types of plants. The garden also has specialty gardens. One of the most popular ones is the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden.
Here you can find Japanese koi fishes in the pond, a Shinto shrine, and a Japanese temple dedicated to the wolf spirits- all these would make you think you are in Japan instead of N.Y.C. The Cranford Rose Garden and the Shakespeare Garden are the other prized gardens within a garden in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The place is perfect for families who have kids who love to run around and explore nature.