“I want to wake up in a city that never sleeps,” Frank Sinatra once sang. And we’d have to agree, you’ll definitely want to stay awake while New York City, if you want to cover a lot of ground. With hundreds of attractions to choose from, here are the top attractions that you absolutely must visit.
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building, opened in 1931, is one of the world’s tallest structures, instantly recognizable by its spire.
The observatories at the 86th and 102nd floors can be reached by high speed elevators from the ground level. The upper observatory allows an 80-mile view in any direction. Visitors can see the neighboring states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut on a clear day.
The skyscraper is well known among film enthusiasts as the structure climbed by the titular character in the 1933 film King Kong.
The Empire State Building is located at 350 5th Avenue between 33rd and 34th Streets.
The Statue of Liberty
If there is one landmark that represents the City of New York, it’s the Statue of Liberty. Designed and built as a gift by the people of France to the United States and dedicated in 1886, the monument remains a symbol of freedom recognized worldwide. Visitors can enjoy a breathtaking view of New York Harbor and Lower Manhattan from Liberty Island.
Round trip fare plus admission to the island is available from the Battery Park ferry for $12 per adult, available 7 days a week from 9:30am to 5:00pm. Ellis and Liberty Islands are open to the public, however access to the interior of the Statue is restricted as a security measure.
Times Square and Broadway
Known for its mammoth billboards, Times Square is bustling with activity day and night, perfect for those late night jaunts. And if you happen to be spending New Year’s Eve here, you absolutely must attend the famous Times Square Ball, attended by almost a million spectators annually.
Theater enthusiasts will be glad to know that Theater District–AKA Broadway–is just a few minutes’ walk away. If you plan to watch a show, be sure to book your tickets well in advance.
843 acres is certainly a lot of ground to cover, but this means that there is enough room for everyone wanting a little break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Attractions within Central Park include the Central Park Zoo and Strawberry Fields, a two and a half acre memorial dedicated to former Beatle John Lennon.
Visiting couples should not miss taking the horse-and-carriage ride. The romantic 45-minute ride starts at $155. There are other guided tour packages available on the Central Park website, if you’re looking for something different.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Located on the eastern edge of Central Park, the Met is the largest art museum in the United States and is the fourth most visited art museum in the world. It is home to a vast collection of Asian, European and Egyptian pieces, most notable of which is the massive Temple of Dendur installation.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is open 7 days a week from 10:00am to 5:30pm. Admission costs $25 per adult, but if you plan on being a frequent visitor, we recommend getting a membership for as low as $80 annually, which allows free unlimited admission among other benefits.
Right outside the Met is New York’s premier shopping area, Fifth Avenue. The mile between 39th and 60th Streets is lined with prestigious shops and flagship stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue and the Apple store with its impressive all-glass exterior.
We recommend going to 5th Avenue by bus or subway: parking is hard to find and expensive.
Rockefeller Center is a vast entertainment and shopping complex located between 48th and 51st streets in Midtown Manhattan. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987, Rockefeller Center was opened to the public in 1939. It was named after its founder John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
The centerpiece of the complex is the 70-floor NBC Building, also known as 30 Rock. The skyscraper is best known for being the home of NBC’s shows including The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live (David Letterman and Conan O’Brien’s Late Night shows were also broadcast from here).
A recommended tourist stop is the Top of the Rock, an observation deck located at the top level of the NBC building. Adult tickets start at $32 and can be purchased online.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The Guggenheim, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1943, is a work of art in itself. Located at the corner of 5th Avenue and East 89th Street, the cylindrical structure is hard to miss. Visitors enter from the top through an elevator, then walk down a single spiral ramp that circles the entire building – one continuous floor spread over several levels. Over time, the museum had displayed works by Picasso, Chagall and Manet, among others others.
The museum is open every day except Thursdays. Adult admission starts at $25. Similar to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim is offering annual membership starting at $75, which includes unlimited admission.
There are hundreds of other stops to choose from, and these are merely the proverbial icing on the cake. There are also guided bus and cruise tours available. For a more somber tone, go to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. We recommend planning your route ahead of time to maximize coverage, especially during holidays. A New York Pass allows entry to over 80 attractions and can save up to 70% on gate prices alone.