New York City – Top 20 Tourist Attractions

New York City is one of the most exciting cities in the world! No matter what time of year you visit, there’s always something fun to do and keep you entertained. We’re always getting asked for recommendations, so we put together a brief video giving an overview of our Top 20 Favorite Tourist Attractions and Fun Things To Do in NY.  We hope it gets you in the mood for your next trip – or brings back fond memories from your last visit.

 New York City Tourist Attractions – Top 20+ Fun Things To Do

If this is your first visit to New York, we always recommend that you take a “Hop-On Hop-Off “Double Decker Bus Tour – it’s a fun way to see the city’s top tourist attractions. Hop-on-and-off at your leisure throughout the day or stay on the bus for the whole ride – you can always go back to the places you want to spend more time visiting. Tour the Big Apple at night – when New York City really comes alive! Take a fun Grayline “Night on the Town” Tour.

Visit New York City’s most famous skyscraper – the top of the Empire State Building. Originally the tallest building in the world, the Observation Deck of this 102-story building offers breathtaking views of New York City. There’s another place we like even better – the “Top of the Rock” Observation Deck atop Rockefeller Center – 70 floors up! The views of the NYC skyline are absolutely breathtaking, especially at sunset and after dark. While you’re in the area, stop by St. Patrick’s Cathedral, located across from Rockefeller Center (at 5th Avenue, between 50th and 51st Streets). Popular with history and architecture buffs, the stunning Neo-Gothic-style Roman Catholic Cathedral is visited by over five million people every year.

This is also a great time of year to visit Central Park. Plan on spending at least one full day at the park if you can – there’s a lot to do and see. Visit Central Park Lake – explore the lake on foot or by bike, following the winding pathways along its shoreline. Rent a rowboat with your honey – it’s a lot of fun, especially if he does all the rowing!  During summer months, you can take a romantic Gondola Ride on the lake – OK, so it’s not Venice, but it is lovely – and a great place to propose. Speaking of which… Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides through the park are also very popular (and unlike gondolas, they operate year-round). Pack a picnic lunch and relax on the grass overlooking Belvedere Castle – yes, there’s a castle in the middle of the park!

New York is a great walking city. Some of our favorite places to explore include Greenwich Village and Chinatown. Both places are fun for foodies too! Why not combine your love of food with a little culture, history, walking and shopping. Take a fun Guided Food-Tasting & Cultural Walking Tour during your next visit. Foods of New York Tours offers five unique food-tasting and walking tours, including: Greenwich Village, Chinatown, Chelsea Market/Meatpacking District, Central Village/SoHo and Nolita/NoHo. We’ve taken several of their tours (and so have our friends) and they are fantastic! Read more about our adventures and see our pictures on the Greenwich Village Food & Culture Walking Tour and the Chinatown Food & Culture Walking Tour. Speaking of food, don’t miss a visit to one of NYC’s famous delis – Carnegie Deli, The Stage and Katz’s (NY’s oldest deli and the site of “When Harry Met Sally” movie).

If this is your first time to New York, be sure to visit The Statue of Liberty, located on Liberty Island, just off the southern tip of Manhattan Island. It’s one of New York City’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing up to 14,000 visitors daily. Don’t miss a visit to Ellis Island, one of the nation’s most popular historic sites. If you don’t have time to visit the Statue of Liberty or take a three-hour harbor cruise, take the Staten Island Ferry – the 5-mile, 25 minute ride is a fun way to see lower Manhattan’s harbor, bridges and skyline and get great views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island – all for free!

New York is also known for it’s wonderful museums, including the American Museum of Natural History, The Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art.

Day or night, you won’t want to miss walking through Times Square – it’s one of our favorite tourist attractions to visit whenever we go back to New York. During the day, we like to grab a cup of coffee and a table outside at the Pedestrian Plaza and watch the world go by. If you haven’t been to Times Square after dark, you gotta go – there’s nowhere else like it on the planet! Sensory overload is the best way we describe it to people who ask us what it’s like at night – and we mean that in a good way. And of course no visit to New York City would be complete without seeing at least one Broadway Show.

We hope these suggestions help narrow down what to see and do in New York City – there’s still a lot we haven’t mentioned, but this is a good start, especially if it’s your first visit. Whatever you do… have FUN!

Tell us about some of your favorite things to do and see in New York City?

Find Fun Things To Do in New York City

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2 thoughts on “New York City – Top 20 Tourist Attractions”

  1. One of the best ways to see the sights (especially for a first time visitor) is through a guided tour. My kids had a blast on a double decker bus tour that took us to a lot of the unique museums and major tourist sites in NYC.

    1. We agree — the double-decker bus tour is a must-do, especially if it’s your first time in NYC. Can’t wait to go back and take one again! Happy Holidays!

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