In this guide we see what to do in New York and what are the truly unmissable attractions. It is not easy to choose what to see in New York because there are so many points of interest that deserve to be visited.
In this guide I wanted to share with you my personal list of 20 places to visit during a journey to discover the Big Apple.
We all know that New York is quite an expensive city and that a vacation of even a few days can cost a lot, especially in terms of accommodation, but the great thing is that most of the attractions I have described in this article are free. .
So let's see what to visit in New York following my itinerary from north to south of Manhattan!
The Must-See Attractions in New York
You can't go to New York without visiting Central Park, one of the most famous attractions in the city. An immense park, the largest green lung in the city, an oasis of relaxation where I recommend spending at least half a day.
Central Park, located in Uptown between the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side, is something unique, a park in the heart of the metropolis surrounded by the imposing skyscrapers that dominate Manhattan and full of many things not to be missed: ponds, statues , street performers and many squirrels.
You can visit it by bike or on foot, the important thing is to have a map of the park to discover the various things to see, such as the statue of Alice in Wonderland, the Scope Arch, the statue of Balto or the Strawberry memorial. Fields made for John Lennon.
Among the milestones during a trip to New York there are many museums. Among these is certainly the Guggenheim which is mainly surprising for the architecture of the building, unique in its kind, impressive both outside and inside, this alone is a valid reason to visit the museum. You will also find many works with permanent exhibitions by the most famous artists, such as Gauguin, Modigliani, Picasso, Chagall and Kandinsky, and temporary exhibitions.
Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET)
Speaking of museums, it is mandatory to mention the Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as MET. The splendid building is immediately striking, but what is truly impressive is the amount of works present, a whole day would not be enough to see them all. Precisely for this reason, I recommend that you study the different sections first so as to directly see those you are most interested in.
Another marvel not to be missed for all lovers of modern art is the famous MoMA with several works exhibited on several levels. Unfortunately when we went it was under renovation and we were unable to visit it, but now you will be lucky enough to see MoMA with a new look!
Fifth Avenue is the most famous street in New York, nestled between the skyscrapers and known by all as the luxury shopping avenue par excellence, with the shops of the most famous brands, one of which is Tiffany.
Surely you will happen to walk it more than once also because Fifth Avenue is full of attractions, such as the St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Public Library, Rockefeller Center or the unmistakable Trump Tower. It is also located a stone's throw from some important New York points of interest such as the aforementioned Central Park or the Empire State Building.
Top Of The Rock (Rockefeller Center)
If you want to admire the New York skyline from above and take great photos then don't miss one of the city's viewing platforms.
I have chosen to visit the Top of The Rock the observatory located on top of the Rockefeller Center and offering a unique view: on one side the immense Central Park and on the other the most iconic skyscrapers of Manhattan, including the Empire State Building.
There are multiple panoramic levels, one with glass and the higher one with unobstructed view without barriers, even better for taking pictures.
The best time to admire the Manhattan skyline is when the sun goes down but it is also the time with the greatest influx of tourists. Alternatively, early in the morning may be the right choice, you will find few people and you will be able to admire Central Park even better.
The Top Of The Rock admission ticket can be purchased online on the Get Your Guide website. Remember that it is a Voucher and you will have to exchange it for a ticket with a specific time and day. I recommend going a few days before and choosing the best time to visit the observatory without queuing up.
Everything has been said about Times Square: that it is too crowded and full of traffic, that it is touristy and commercial; but the sure thing is that it is a unique place, a symbol of the city and that you cannot miss. If you visit New York you absolutely must see Times Square, especially in the evening with all the lights, signs and advertising signs, you will be the judge of one of the most famous squares in the world.
Attending a Broadway show is an incredible experience that you will hardly forget. We have chosen the Phantom of the Opera, it was wonderful, very good actors and special effects that I didn't think I could see in a theater.
Calculate that Broadway is quite expensive, but it's worth it. Your best bet is to buy tickets directly at the TKTS kiosk in Times Square, where they generally offer 30% discounts. Obviously you have to budget for any queues and the risk of not finding the ticket for your favorite show, especially in high season. Alternatively, tickets can be purchased online to avoid the risk of being sold out.
Grand Central Station
It is the largest station in the world, where many films have been shot and where thousands of people pass by every day. It is not a simple station, but a true attraction and icon of the city. Both the exterior and the interior are very beautiful, with the famous clock above the information desk and the ceiling of the atrium that reproduces a constellation in reverse.
In addition there are shops, restaurants and the Grand Central Market, a real market that offers all kinds of food.
The Chrysler Building along with the Empire State Building is regarded as one of the most iconic buildings in New York and is definitely worth a visit just to take some photos. It is a unique structure of its kind with a very particular shape, impressive but elegant at the same time. It is possible to enter the building for free and only visit the Hall.
Bryant Park is a small park surrounded by skyscrapers and located in the heart of Manhattan. It is a quiet place to take a break from the hectic pace of the city and maybe have a snack by buying something good at Whole Foods Market located right in front of the park.
Madison Square Garden
If you are a sports fan, it is unthinkable not to go to Madison Square Garden, considered the temple of basketball, hockey and boxing.
Also famous for concerts and other events, it is possible to join organized tours, with the guide generally in English or Spanish, to discover the history of Madison Square Garden and the events that took place here.
Another characteristic building in New York is the unmistakable Fatiron Building, so named because of its flat iron shape. It is located in the area between Fifth Avenue, Broadway and 22nd Street and is worth a stop, you can't go home without a photo of it!
Where once the elevated train passed, now there is a park with a beautiful walk, a truly incredible eco-sustainable redevelopment work. The route is about 2 km long and it is very pleasant to walk away from the chaos and traffic. Make it to the end, where you will discover the The Vessel, another incredible and recently built work. You can go up for free by booking tickets online within 15 days before the date of the visit.
In addition to being one of the things to see in New York, Chelsea Market is the perfect place to take a break after a stroll on the High Line. It is basically an old biscuit factory now redeveloped and transformed into a food market where you can buy products or eat something.
Greenwich Village is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Manhattan, where you can finally admire the classic American brick houses with the typical stairs that you have seen in the many films and television series. Speaking of TV series, on Perry Street is Carrie's house from Sex and the City.
Together with the nearby neighborhoods of SoHo and Tribeca it is one of my favorite areas, for a moment you will forget the skyscrapers and the financial district.
Right in Greenwich Village there is one of the most famous squares in New York: Washington Square, here you will find talented street performers, a statue dedicated to Garibaldi, the fountain in the center of the square and the large 23 meter high arch that represents the entrance. for anyone arriving from Fifth Avenue.
Staten Island Ferry: Statue of Liberty
The free ferry from Battery Park to the Staten Island district allows you to see the skyline of the skyscrapers of Manhattan and of course the Statue of Liberty.
I recommend to go inside, go up and go immediately to the right to see the statue of liberty and the skyline.
Once you arrive in Staten Island take the ferry back to Manhattan, in that case go in and go left if you want to always see the statue of liberty, otherwise on the right you can admire the Brooklyn Bridge.
The great thing is that everything is completely free and you will save money compared to sightseeing cruises.
Council: if you are staying in the Midtown area I recommend taking the subway to Battery Park early in the morning and then walking around the downtown area.
Financial District: Wall Street and the 9/11 Memorial
The Financial District of New York is located in the far south of Manhattan near Battery Park and is a must see, as is Wall Street, with the imperious colonnade of the Stock Exchange building and the statue of the bull, the Charging Bull, Wall Street symbol.
A few steps from Wall Strett is the 9/11 Memorial which occupies part of the former World Trade Center. The central point of the memorial are the two large pools, the Reflecting Pools, which took the place of the twin towers destroyed in the attacks of 11 September 2001. The names of the people who died during the attacks are inscribed on the edges of the pools. It is a touching visit and there are no words to describe it.
Continuing the path in Lower Manhattan you arrive at the Brooklyn Bridge, it is certainly a tourist attraction but you cannot miss the most famous bridge in the world.
It is possible to cross the bridge on foot or by bicycle on the special wooden walkway located above the lane reserved for cars. A good idea is to arrive in Brooklyn on the subway in the afternoon and walk back to Manhattan at sunset, admiring the spectacular skyline that lights up as the sun goes down.
Important: when you cross the bridge on foot, be very careful not to cross the cycle path, cyclists run and don't stop!
We saw 20 must-see attractions on a NYC vacation.
In summary, we can divide the various points of interest into the 3 main areas:
- Central Park
- The Guggenheim Museum
- Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET)
- MoMA museum
- Fifth Avenue
- Top Of The Rock
- Times Square
- Grand Central Station
- Chrysler Building
- Bryant Park
- Madison Square Garden
- Flatiron Building
- Chelsea Market
- Greenwich Village
- Washington Square
- Brooklyn Bridge
- 9/11 Memorial
- Wall Street
- Staten island ferry
Obviously these are just some of the wonders that this incredible metropolis offers. You just have to discover them with your own eyes!
Start with the Best Guide to Visit New York
Tips, information, suggested itineraries and maps to visit the city of New York
Don't leave without Lonely Planet!
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