Top 10 Experiences You Must-Do in New York City
If you’re planning a trip to New York City, there are countless attractions to explore. From iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building to cultural institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Broadway theaters, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss the opportunity to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and explore the trendy DUMBO neighborhood, or take in breathtaking views of the city from the top of the One World Trade Center. For a unique perspective on the city, consider a Manhattan helicopter tour or a New York dinner cruise. No matter what you choose, be sure to plan and book tickets in advance to make the most of your visit.
10. Brooklyn Bridge & DUMBO – Walk across the historic Brooklyn Bridge for unforgettable skyline views, and then explore the trendy DUMBO neighborhood with its vibrant art scene, eateries, and parks.
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of New York City’s most iconic landmarks, connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn over the East River. This historic bridge, completed in 1883, offers pedestrians and cyclists the opportunity to enjoy spectacular skyline views while traversing its 1.3-mile length. It’s an absolute must for any NYC bucket list!
Once you’ve crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, continue your adventure by exploring the trendy DUMBO neighborhood (an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). This former industrial area has transformed into a vibrant hub of art, culture, and entertainment, boasting stunning waterfront parks, such as Brooklyn Bridge Park and Main Street Park, with remarkable views of Manhattan.
One World Observatory, located atop the One World Trade Center, is a must-visit destination for anyone coming to New York City. As the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, it offers truly breathtaking panoramic views of the city’s skyline and beyond. The Observatory occupies floors 100-102, with the main viewing deck situated on the 100th floor, soaring 1,776 feet above the bustling streets of Manhattan.
To make the most of your visit, book your tickets online in advance to avoid long lines and secure your preferred time slot. Arrive early to explore the interactive exhibits and learn about the history of the World Trade Center site and the construction of this remarkable building.
8. 9/11 Memorial & Museum – Pay your respects at the poignant 9/11 Memorial and delve into the history of this tragic event at the accompanying museum. Plan your visit during quieter hours for a more reflective experience.
The 9/11 Memorial & Museum is a moving and powerful tribute to the victims of the September 11th attacks. The Memorial consists of two enormous reflecting pools, each featuring a waterfall, where the Twin Towers once stood. The names of the nearly 3,000 victims are inscribed in bronze around the edges of the pools.
The accompanying museum offers a comprehensive and emotional exploration of the events leading up to 9/11, the attacks themselves, and their aftermath. Exhibits include artifacts, photographs, and multimedia presentations that help visitors understand the scale and impact of the tragedy.
7. A New York Dinner Cruise is an unforgettable way to experience the city’s iconic skyline while enjoying a delicious meal and top-notch entertainment. These cruises typically depart from Manhattan or Brooklyn piers and sail around the New York Harbor, offering stunning views of famous landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Most dinner cruises offer a multi-course dining experience, complete with a choice of appetizers, entrees, and desserts, catering to various tastes and dietary preferences. Along with exquisite dining, these cruises often feature live music or DJ entertainment, creating an enjoyable atmosphere for guests.
6. The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Discover a treasure trove of art from around the world at the iconic Met. Allocate ample time to explore the vast collection, and don’t forget to check out the rooftop garden for stunning city views.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, commonly known as the Met, is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious art museums. Located on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, the museum’s vast collection spans over 5,000 years of art history from across the globe, encompassing a diverse array of artistic styles, periods, and cultures.
When visiting the Met, allocate ample time to explore its extensive collection, which includes masterpieces by renowned artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Monet. The museum’s galleries showcase everything from ancient Egyptian artifacts and European paintings to Asian art and contemporary installations. Additionally, the Met is home to the Costume Institute, which hosts the annual Met Gala and features exhibits on fashion history.
5. The Manhattan Helicopter Tour is an exhilarating way to experience New York City from a unique perspective. These aerial tours provide breathtaking views of Manhattan’s iconic skyline, famous landmarks, and surrounding boroughs. Soaring high above the city, you’ll gain a whole new appreciation for the Big Apple’s architectural marvels and urban layout.
Various companies offer helicopter tours, with different tour durations and routes to cater to your preferences and budget. Some popular sights you can expect to see during a Manhattan helicopter tour include:
- Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
- One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial
- Empire State Building
- Central Park
- Rockefeller Center
- The Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges
- The Chrysler Building
- Hudson Yards and The Vessel
- The High Line
- Times Square
Helicopter tours usually depart from heliports located in Lower Manhattan or near the Hudson River. Be sure to book your tour in advance, as slots can fill up quickly, especially during peak tourist seasons. Prices vary depending on the tour operator, duration, and route.
Times Square is a bustling commercial and entertainment hub located at the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. It is known for its vibrant atmosphere, bright billboards, and non-stop energy.
Visitors to Times Square can take in the sights and sounds of the area, which is home to many shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The area is especially lively at night when the neon lights and digital billboards illuminate the streets, making it a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike.
3. Broadway Show – Experience the magic of Broadway with a dazzling theater performance. Secure your tickets in advance for popular shows, or try your luck at the TKTS booth for discounted same-day tickets.
Attending a Broadway show is an unforgettable experience that combines stunning performances with elaborate sets, costumes, and lighting. Whether you are a theater aficionado or a first-time visitor, there are many ways to enjoy Broadway shows.
One option is to secure your tickets in advance through various ticket vendors, including the official Broadway website, Ticketmaster, or the theater box office. This is the best option for popular shows that sell out quickly, as it guarantees you a seat and allows you to choose your preferred date and time.
2. Empire State Building – Soar above the city skyline at the world-famous Empire State Building. Visit during off-peak hours to beat the crowds and enjoy stunning 360-degree views.
The Empire State Building is a world-famous landmark located in Midtown Manhattan in New York City. It stands at 1,454 feet (443.2 meters) tall and offers visitors breathtaking 360-degree views of the city skyline. The building has 102 floors and was completed in 1931.
To visit the Empire State Building and enjoy its stunning views, it is recommended to go during off-peak hours to avoid long lines and crowds. The peak hours are generally from late morning to early afternoon, so consider visiting early in the morning or in the evening to beat the crowds.
Once you arrive at the Empire State Building, you can take an elevator to the observation deck on the 86th floor or to the Top Deck on the 102nd floor. Both decks offer stunning views of the city, but the Top Deck provides a higher vantage point and a more exclusive experience.
1. Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island – Set sail to Lady Liberty, an iconic symbol of freedom, and explore the historic Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Book your tickets online to avoid long lines!
The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are two of the most iconic landmarks in the United States, and they attract millions of visitors each year. The Statue of Liberty was gifted to the United States by France in 1886, and it has since become a symbol of freedom and democracy. Ellis Island, located just a short ferry ride away, was the gateway to the United States for millions of immigrants from around the world.
Visitors to the Statue of Liberty can take a ferry to Liberty Island, where they can explore the statue’s pedestal and museum. For those who want to climb to the top of the statue, there is a staircase inside the pedestal that leads to the crown. However, tickets for the crown must be purchased well in advance, and visitors should be prepared for a strenuous climb.
By ticking off these top 10 must-do experiences in New York City, you’ll make unforgettable memories in the Big Apple. Be sure to share your adventures on social media and tag #NYCBucketList to inspire others to embark on their own NYC journey!