NEW YORK. It’s one of the best cities on the globe and just about the most popular destinations in america. Sprawling, busy, exciting – there’s grounds people call it the town that never sleeps!
It has something for everybody – including plenty of budget-friendly activities for travelers seeking to stretch their pocketbook. I lived in the town for years but still return often. Whether you’re looking for history, nightlife, food, or art, this city won’t disappoint.
That will help you plan your trip, listed below are the best what to see and do in NYC – regardless of your budget!
1. Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island
At 151 feet tall, the Statue of Liberty is spectacular to see close up. However the real highlight of the duo is Ellis Island. Here you’ll find out about the immigrant experience and get yourself a sense of the individuals who helped build the town. There’s such an excellent sense of history there that you can’t help but be impressed.
2. Central Park
An ideal way to relax in the town and leave the crowds behind is to invest your day in Central Park. It’s free, there are plenty of paths to walk (or run), bike lanes, lakes to row in, and a zoo. The park spans over 150 square blocks (840 acres) it’s easy to invest hours wandering around. Through the summer months, there tend to be free concerts and theater productions (fall into line early for tickets to Shakespeare in the Park).
From the late spring to the first fall, there are free guided walks run by the parks service on Saturdays at 11am. I’m a big fan of installation of in Sheep’s Meadow on a hot, sunshiney day with a book, some food, and a wine.
3. World Trade Center & 9/11 Memorial and Museum
Wander the somber memorial and ingest the view from the brand new “Freedom Tower.” On the elevator up, you can view pictures of the historical development of the town and how it’s changed through the years. To have a deeper knowledge of 9/11 and the events that unfolded, go to the museum. It’s home for some moving exhibits that illuminate the importance of the tragedy and its own impact.
180 Greenwich Street, Financial District, Lower Manhattan, +1 212 266 5211, 911memorial.org. Daily memorial hours are from 7:30am-9pm. Daily museum hours are from 9am-8pm (closes 1 hour down the road Fri-Sat). The memorial is absolve to visit and entry to the museum is $24. Free admission on Tuesdays after 5pm (on a first-come, first-served basis).
4. Wall Street
Have a photo with the famous Charging Bull statue (that was commissioned in 1989 and is constructed of bronze) and walk to Wall Street and see where those bankers destroyed the economy. While there isn’t much to see here (the Museum of American Finance is temporarily closed) it’s still an iconic area of the city and worth seeing with your personal eyes, only if briefly.
5. Battery Park
Named Battery Park for the old batteries (cannons) that defended the town, you can stop here for music and street performers in the summertime, people-watching, relaxing, plus some lounging in sunlight with an excellent book. Also you can explore the ruins of the old fort that kept watch over NEW YORK. The Park is large and will get yourself a little hectic but there are a few tremendous views of the harbor which make it worthwhile.
6. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge provides an easy 25-minute head into Brooklyn and the waterfront park on the far side of the bridge. Stopping to take photos and meandering on the way can make the walk about 40 minutes – which is certainly worth it! You get yourself a large amount of wonderful views of Manhattan as you make the right path across. I love doing this walk during the night when downtown is all lit up (and there are fewer crowds).
7. Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal may be the city’s historic place. It was likely to be torn down in 1975 but was saved by Jacqueline Kennedy, who raised money because of its preservation. There are free historical tours on Wednesdays. I really like coming to the primary concourse and finding out about at the “stars” in the ceiling and people-watching as everyone races back and forth.
Also, there’s an incredible eatery in the basement called the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant. And for fancy (and expensive) cocktails, go to the Campbell Apartments and step back to the 1920s (dress code enforced). The area was after the office of John W. Campbell, an associate of the brand new York Central Railroad’s board of directors and finance tycoon from the 1920s.
89 E. 42nd Street, Midtown, grandcentralterminal.com. Opening daily from 5:30am-2am. Tours are held daily at 12:30pm for $30 per person with discounts available. Purchase at mas.org/tours or at the ticket windows.
8. Trinity Church
Trinity Church is probably the oldest churches in the us. The initial building burned down in 1776, however the current church continues to be beautiful and the most iconic sights in the town. It comes with an ornate Gothic-style structure and is well-known for its colonial graveyard, where you’ll find many famous Americans (including Alexander Hamilton, among America’s founding fathers).
74 Trinity Place, Financial District, Lower Manhattan, +1 212 602 0800, trinitywallstreet.org. Opening daily from 7am-6pm.
9. The Guggenheim Museum
This museum houses a renowned assortment of impressionist, post-impressionist, early modern, and contemporary art. The cylindrical museum (created by Frank Lloyd Wright) is known as among the 20th century’s most significant architectural designs. It’s among the best buildings (and museums) in the town.
1071 5th Avenue, Upper East Side, +1 212 423 3500, guggenheim.org/new-york. Opening Sunday-Wednesday and Fridays from 10am-5:45pm, Saturdays from 10am-7:45 (closed Thursdays). Admission is $25 with discounts for students and seniors. On Saturday nights from 5:45-7:45pm, admission is by donation.
10. City Hall
New York’s City Hall is an excellent little bit of historic architecture. In addition, it includes a beautiful little park nearby that’s filled up with workers in offices during lunch (in the summertime anyway). To understand about the building’s history, art, and architecture, take among the guided tours. On a tour, you’ll manage to see the rotunda, the town council chamber, Governor’s Room, and the town Hall Portrait Collection. It’s an excellent spot to learn about the town and how it works.
City Hall Park. Pre-reserved tours are usually offered for groups (10-20 people) on Mondays and Tuesdays at 10:30am and for folks on Thursdays at 10am. Additionally, there are first-come, first-served tours on Wednesdays at 12pm.
11. Rockefeller Center
Wander around Rockefeller Center to see where they film The Today Show, shop, snack, and take the elevator to the “The surface of the Rock” for another bird’s-eye view of the town (that i personally think it much better than the Empire State Building, since this view includes the Empire State Building in the picture). It’ll be busy at sunset and on the weekends, so come through the week to beat the crowds.
30 Rockefeller Plaza, +1 212 698 2000, topoftherocknyc.com. Open daily from 8am-12am (last elevator up at 11pm). Admission is $36 to go to the observation deck once, $50 to mix that with a tour of Rockefeller Center, and $54 to go to the observation deck twice in a day.
12. Times Square
Regardless of when you attend Times Square, it’ll be filled with people (usually other tourists). There are some pedestrian areas where you are able to sit and ingest the town but in the event that you aren’t shopping or eating or likely to visit a show then there isn’t much to accomplish in the region.
While no New Yorkers go out here, it’s still the perfect spot to people-watch for a couple minutes from the very best of the red steps of the TKTS kiosk. You really can get yourself a feel for how busy the town is from here.
13. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met is probably the biggest museums on the globe, and in the event that you only see one museum in NY, this can be a one I would suggest. It includes a huge assortment of art, historical artifacts, photographs, and other exhibits. There’s a good real Egyptian tomb in here! Personally, I love its expansive impressionist and Greek exhibits. The museum will get just a little chaotic and usually filled up with people (especially on weekends) but because it is indeed big you could find some quiet spots from the crowds. It is simple to spend hours here so budget considerable time if you’re a brief history buff like me!
1000 5th Avenue, Central Park, Upper East Side, +1 212 535 7710, metmuseum.org. Opening Sunday-Thursday from 10am-5:30pm, Friday-Saturday from10am-9pm. Admission is $25 (includes entrance to the Cloisters and Met Breuer for three consecutive days). Free for kids 12 and under.
14. American Museum of Natural History
Made a lot more famous by the night time at the Museum movies, that is another museum that will require lots of time. The exhibits on nature, history, and marine life are comprehensive and educational therefore i wouldn’t make an effort to rush your visit. Also, don’t miss the section on space at the Hayden Planetarium, which is run by science guru Neil Degrasse Tyson. They have really detailed exhibitions on the foundation of the universe!
Central Park W. at 79th Street, Upper West Side, +1 212 769 5100, amnh.org. Opening daily from 10am-5:45pm. Suggested donation of $23 ($13 for children ages 2-12). Note: Despite the fact that this museum only technically requests a suggested donation, anticipate to pay to get into any special exhibitions and/or movies.
15. The Frick Collection
This collection features paintings by famous European artists and also 18th-century French furniture and intricate rugs from Asia. In all honesty, you have to really like Dutch artists to want to invest time here (that i do). Fortunately, in addition they host a whole lot of wonderful temporary exhibits so there is usually a large amount of other art to see furthermore with their main collection.
1 East 70th Street, +1 212-288-0700, frick.org. Opening from Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-6pm and Sundays from 11am-5pm (closed on Mondays). Admission is $22 USD, with discounts open to students and seniors. Visit Wednesdays between 2pm-6pm and the entrance fee is “pay everything you wish.”
16. The Museum of the town of NY
This museum will let you know everything you ever wished to know about NEW YORK. Architecture, parks, streets, culture, famous sights – you name it! There are multiple rooms that illuminate the town through the entire ages via interviews, maps, interactive exhibits, profiles of historical figures, and different artifacts. It’s the very best history museum in the town. Also, there’s a great exhibit here where one can create the near future NYC (a la Sim City style). It’s ideal for kids!
1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd St., +1 212-534-1672, mcny.org. Opening daily from 10am-6pm. Admission is $18, with discounted rates for students and seniors.
17. Empire State Building
That is probably the most historic landmarks in every of NEW YORK. Built-in 1931, the art deco interior is beautiful and the view from the most notable is breathtaking. You may get a genuine feel for how densely populated NY is really as you stare out at the town. Arrive here early or during lunchtime in order to avoid the lines and tour groups. And don’t forget to bring your camera!
350 5th Avenue, Midtown, +1 212 736 3100, esbnyc.com. Price: $36 to go to the observation deck once, $50 to mix that with a tour of Rockefeller Center, $54 to go to the observation deck twice in a day. Discounts designed for children and seniors.
18. Broadway Show
You can’t head to NEW YORK, the theater capital of the world, without seeing a show. Current highlights and my favorites include:
- The Lion King
- The Phantom of the Opera
- Dear Evan Hansen
- School of Rock
- RESULT FROM Away
- The Book of Mormon
You can get discounted theater tickets at the TKTS offices around the town (Times Square, South Street Seaport, and downtown Brooklyn) for implies that day. There is also an app where you could see what they provide too! Be prepared to spend at least $100.
19. The Cloisters
Few people make it up to the Cloisters (it’s completely up near 204th Street), that is a branch of the Met specialized in medieval Europe. Even though I lived here, it took me years to finally view it – and I kicked myself for waiting such a long time! Constructed with Rockefeller money, the Cloisters was created from elements of five European abbeys between 1934-1939. The building and its own stunning cloistered garden are serene and beautiful and a good break for the busyness of the town. There are free tours every day that explain the annals of the museum and the paintings and exhibits.
99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park, +1 212 923 3700, metmuseum.org/visit/visit-the-cloisters. Opening daily from 10am-5:15pm (closes early in the wintertime). Admission is $25 (includes entrance to the Met and Met Breuer for three consecutive days) and free for kids 12 and under.
20. The High Line & Whitney Museum
The High Line is a former train track that is changed into an urban walking park. It stretches almost 1.5 miles from 34th Street to the Meatpacking District. Lined with overlooks, gardens, public art, food stalls, and greenery, this walk is among the best things you can do in the town – especially on a good summer day. Get a walk, sit with a book, people-watch – the High Line is a must-see and a genuine favorite among locals.
21. Lower East Side Tenement Museum
That is a fascinating museum that provides visitors an opportunity to visit former tenement apartments on the low East Side. You’ll understand how immigrants from all over the world lived through the late 1800s and early 1900s because they tried to create it in the us. It’s an insightful museum and an excellent follow-up from what you see on Ellis Island. You can only just visit this museum via guided tours plus they should be booked beforehand. Personally, I love the “Meet up with the Residents” tour, where live actors portray and share the story of newly arrived immigrants.
103 Orchard Street, Lower East Side, +1 877 975 3786, tenement.org. Open from Friday-Wednesday from 10am-6:30pm and Thursdays from 10am-8:30pm. Admission is $25 with discounts for students and seniors.
22. Have a walking tour
NYC houses a large number of walking tour companies – and several of these are free! Make sure to take among the many, many walking tours the town has to offer to acquire a unique and cultural consider the city that never sleeps from an area guide. There are a variety of focused tours on street art, history, food, plus much more! I usually take my friends on at least one if they visit. A few walking tour companies worth looking into are:
- Take Walks
- Free Tours on foot
- Bowery Boys Walks
For more suggestions, have a look at the best NYC walking tours.
23. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Want to see plenty of beautiful (and weird) modern art? You’ve come to the proper place! Personally, I hate modern art. I simply don’t “get” it. But, while I dislike modern art, the MoMA has Van Gogh’s Starry Night along with other post-impressionist art that makes it worth visiting. If you value modern and contemporary art, this (I’m told) is among the best in the world.
18 W. 54th Street, Midtown, +1 212 708 9400, moma.org. Open Saturday-Thursday from 10:30am-5:30pm and Fridays from 10:30am-8pm. The MoMA’s Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden is cost-free to the general public daily (9:30am-10:15am). On Fridays after 4pm, the museum is free
24. Prospect Park
Spend time beyond Manhattan and go explore Brooklyn’s version of Central Park (the Brooklyn Museum is right next down and it’s worth a visit too). Opened in 1867, the park covers over 500 acres and is a superb spot to have a picnic, read a book, people watch, or lounge in sunlight.
25. Bronx Zoo
Head north for a glance at among the oldest and biggest zoos in the usa. Opened in 1899, the zoo spans almost 300 acres and sees over 2 million visitors each year. Home to over 650 different species, it’s an excellent spot to visit with kids. Gorillas, birds of prey, bison – you will find a huge range of animals here and you’ll definitely learn a whole lot throughout your visit!
2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, +1 718 220 5100, bronxzoo.com. Open Monday-Friday from 10am-5pm and Saturday-Sunday from 10am-5:30pm (limited hours from November-April). Tickets are $22.95, nonetheless it is pay-what-you-want on Wednesdays.
26. Visit a Yankees/Mets/Rangers/Knicks Game
Like sports? You then probably know that NYC has some world-class sports teams. I’m very little of a sports fan but games are fun once you have friends to share the knowledge with. For those who have a chance and the desire, grab some tickets to a casino game!
27. Visit a TELEVISION SHOW!
Television shows like Saturday Night Live, The View, NIGHT TIME with Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show, THE OTHER DAY Tonight, and NIGHT TIME with Jimmy Fallon offer free tickets with their tapings (although they need to be reserved well beforehand). It might be very hard to get tickets so make an effort to get tickets for multiple shows to improve your odds. For additional information, see the website of every show for details also to make reservations.
Walk through the narrow aisle of the Je Bon Sushi restaurant in the East Village, and head down the tiny stairway to find this hidden dinner theater. This four-person improv comedy competition occurs within the structure of a high-energy Japanese game show, with slapstick theatrical performances. Go with friends to take pleasure from some sushi, sake shots, and a nights ridiculous fun.
15 St. Mark’s Place, East Village, +1 347 985 0368, batsulive.com/new-york. Tickets from $30.50.
29. Ellen’s Stardust Diner
Since 1987, this diner houses an unbelievable waitstaff of singers and dancers. Between tours and musical performances, actors and actresses wait tables at Ellen’s, where they belt out songs because they last slightly pricey, very American diner food (think shakes, burgers, and lasagna) in uniforms from the 1950s. It’s incredibly cheesy but good fun – particularly if you’re a theatre fan!
1650 Broadway, Times Square, +1 212 956 5151. There’s usually a line so make sure to plan ahead!
Regardless of how long you’re here for – no matter what you’re thinking about – NEW YORK will have something for you personally. While it’s not the most budget-friendly city in the united states, there are several free activities and a lot of cheap what to see and do to keep you busy and entertained.
And if you need to splurge? Well, you’ve come to the proper place!
With so a lot of things to see and do it’s no real surprise that tourists want to re-visit this diverse, lovely, and eclectic city. But don’t take my word for this – put this list to the ensure that you let me know very well what you imagine!
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Book Your Visit to NEW YORK: Logistical Guidelines
Get Your Guide Have a look at my detailed guide to planning for a visit to NYC with suggested itineraries, places to remain, things to do, where you can eat, and ways to get around. Simply click here to find the guide and continue planning today!
Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite se’s because they search websites and airlines around the world and that means you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you would like to remain elsewhere, use Booking.com because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. A few of my favorite places in which to stay NEW YORK are:
- HI NYC Hostel
- Jazz on Columbus Circle
- Pod Times Square
If you’re looking for more places to remain, here’s my complete set of my favorite hostels the town. Additionally, if you’re wondering what part of town in which to stay, here’s my neighborhood guide to NYC!
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Need helpful information? NY has some really interesting tours. The best company is Take Walks. They have expert guides and may get you behind the scenes at the city’s best attractions. They’re my go-to walking tour company!
Looking to find out more on Visiting NYC? Have a look at my in-depth destination guide to NYC with tips about what things to see and do, costs, methods to save, and much, a lot more!