travel travel guide

28 of The Best Things to Do in New York

nyc travel guide

28 of The Best Things to Do in New York City

New York, New York! A city so nice they named it twice.

NYC boasts a certain hustle and bustle energy. Some people love it, some people don’t – but everyone can agree on the fact that there is no place quite like New York.

In this article, I share “The 28 Best Things to Do in New York City”. Some things are touristy, others not so much but I will tell you that if you check these places off of your list when you’re in town, you won’t be disappointed!

Best Time to Visit New York

Whether you’re looking for autumn vibes, a winter wonderland, or summer in the city – New York offers it all! Depending on what type of experience you want that will determine the month you should visit New York. In my opinion, I would choose May/June or September October November for the most temperant weather and beautiful fall foliage at the end of October.

Best Things to Do in New York by neighborhood

Uptown

Visit “The Met” The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art aka “The Met” (as us New Yorkers call it) has a little something for everyone. It is one of the most extensive art collections in the world with art from the ancient Egypt to modern-day contemporary art. Make sure to visit the Jackson Pollock piece “Autumn Rhythm: Number 30” and my favorite part of the museum, the entire glass wall that looks onto Central Park (pictured above).

You can check out the hours of operation and purchase tickets here. TIP: If you’re a New York resident, it’s free to enter!

Have Lunch or Drinks at The Plaza Hotel

The Plaza is New York’s most iconic luxury hotel. It was built in the 19th century and it borders Central Park. The Champagne Bar inside the hotel is super fancy and it’s always fun to dress up for a night and grab one drink here before dinner (because let’s be real, that’s all we can afford).

Finally, most people don’t know that there is a Food Hall located in the concourse with a variety of dining options. It’s a great place to have lunch if you’re uptown and the prices are much more reasonable in the Food Hall at The Plaza versus the Champagne Bar!

check out this page for a list of dining options in the food hall

Visit the Met Cloisters

This is a separate part of the city than the actual Met Museum. The Cloisters are set in a park that overlooks the Hudson River. Visiting this place will make you feel as though you’ve been transported to Spain during the Middle Ages. It’s a hidden New York City gem!

See a Ballet or Concert at Lincoln Center

Lincoln Center has housed many performances throughout the years. They perform all kinds of shows from opera to orchestra. Most notably, The New York City Ballet performs here year-round and during Christmas is one of the best times to visit for a performance.

For tickets and showtimes check out this page.

Catch a Yankee Game

Technically, Yankee Stadium is not uptown – it’s The Bronx – hence the name, The Bronx Bombers. The Yankees are baseball icons. And yes, I may be biased because they are my home team but visiting the stadium is a great way to experience New York culture. Fun fact: The Yankees are considered the most successful baseball team in the league. Mainly because they have 27 World Series titles under their belt!

Downtown

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

Built-in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of New York’s most famous landmarks. It connects Brooklyn and Manhattan and offers beautiful views of both skylines. It’s fairly easy to access the bridge and it takes roughly 30 minutes to walk the length of the bridge.

Tip: For the best lighting remember that the sun rises behind Manhattan and the sun sets behind Brooklyn.

Visit The Highline

The Highline is a park that is built on top of an old railway. It sits 30 feet above the street and has unique views of the city and river. It’s the perfect place to bring a picnic and people watch. Also, you can visit Chelsea Market which has multiple dining options to conjure up food for your picnic!

Head to Chinatown for Dumplings

Chinatown is a popular spot that attracts foodies and tourists alike. It’s known for its soup dumplings, pork buns, boba tea shops, and some not so authentic designer goods (if you know, you know).

Also, it’s important to mention that Chinese Food in New York City is without a doubt, the best in the United States. I can say that because I’m a New Yorker and have never found comparable Chinese food outside of the state of New York. Really. I swear!

Visit Little Italy for the San Gennaro Festival

One week a year in September, Little Italy in New York goes all out for the San Gennaro festival. It’s one of my favorite times of the year! The streets are closed to cars, the shop owners line the street with food carts, and there is plenty of entertainment all around with musical acts, rides, etc. It’s reminiscent of a street fair and is the best time to really experience Little Italy.

Visit the World Trade Center + One World Observatory

Visiting the World Trade Center is not for everyone. Due to the tragedy that occurred here on September 11th, 2001 it can be very emotional for some people so know your boundaries before visiting.

If you want to pay your respects, it can be a humbling experience to visit the remembrance pools and the 9/11 museum. We will never forget!

Along with that, you can also visit One World Observatory that has 360-degree views of the entire city.

Locals tip: The Oculus located adjacent to the WTC is a new architectural structure built a couple of years ago that houses multiple subway lines. It’s prime for photo opportunities!

Midtown

Go to the Top Of The Rock + Rockefeller Center

The most famous place to visit (aside from Times Square) in Midtown Manhattan is Rockefeller Center. During Christmas, it houses “The Tree” and is most well known for its ice skating rink but you can enjoy Rockefeller Center year-round! It has plenty of dining options in the concourse.

The Top of The Rock is an observatory on top of Rockefeller Center that boasts the prettiest views of the city. Make a reservation for sunset to get the best lighting possible!

Ticket info for Top of the Rock here.

Climb The Vessel

A new architectural structure that is reminiscent of a beehive. It’s located in the new development called Hudson Yards which houses many shopping and dining options. The best part about The Vessel is it’s free, but you NEED to make reservations at least a couple of days prior. The reservation time is for one hour so make sure you get there in time to enjoy every inch of this special place.

Make your reservations for The Vessel here!

Visit The Edge

The newest kid on the block, The Edge is the highest viewing tower in the western hemisphere. It’s unique since it’s suspended in mid-air giving you the notion of floating. They even have a portion of the floor that is glass so you can look 100 stories down.

Check out tickets here!

Walk Around Times Square

I mean, Times Square is an incredibly touristy part of the city but if you’ve never been to New York before, you HAVE to at least walk through it for the experience. It’s a must!

Catch a Broadway Show

(Broadway will not be back until May 2021)

There is nothing quite like seeing a Broadway show on Broadway. It’s such an important part of New York culture and supporting the arts is always a good idea! Broadway Shows come in all shapes and sizes and they have a show for everyone.

Check out broadway.com for showing times.

Visit Bryant Park

Bryant Park is a locals park located in Midtown, Manhattan that is great for people watching. It has beautiful seasonal gardens and fresco dining. During Christmas, they set up the winter village which houses specialty small business shops, an ice skating rink, and even to-go cocktails!

Visit The New York Public Library

Who wants to go to a library on vacation? Well when it looks like Hogwart’s and it’s featured in movies like Ghostbusters, you go to the library on vacation. The New York Public Library is the 3rd largest library in the entire world and has the most stunning interior!

Check out hours of operation here!

Walk Through Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station is pretty iconic in New York. It a huge hub for many different forms of transportation (Subway, Metro-North, Buses). The Main Concourse ceiling features a zodiac ceiling that is made up of 12 constellations painted in gold leaf. It’s a great sight to see!

West Village

Visit Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park is a popular park located in Greenwich Village that is most known for its stately arch presented to New York for the centennial year of George Washington’s inauguration as president (hence the name). It’s a great place to post up and you can always catch some live jazz performances. It’s a prime spot for people watching!

Check out a Show at the Comedy Cellar

The Comedy Cellar is widely known as the best Comedy Club in the states that has “kept comedy alive”. Every big-time comedian/comedienne has performed here at one point in his/her career. They are known for having frequent surprise guests so you might be lucky to be surprised by a big-time celebrity when you catch a show here!

For showtimes head here.

Visit The Friends Building

The exterior of The Friends Building is not the actual filming place of Friend’s. It was however used as the footage to any opening scene that “The Friends” were in the apartment. Also, it’s located in a beautiful part of Manhattan. The West Village is such a charming neighborhood and should be experienced by all!

Address: 90 Bedford Street, New York, NY

Check out Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment

In Sex and The City, Carrie lives on the Upper East Side in the 70’s streets. While it may seem like her life is very UES, the exterior of her apartment is located in the West Village. Many people come here to visit Carrie’s Apartment so be respectful when you visit and don’t go on the stairs!

Address: Perry Street, New York, NY, 10014

Visit Grove Court

Right down the way from The Friends Building, (you can easily check both of these off the list at the same time) is a small court that houses the most charming townhomes and during October they have the best pumpkin displays (above photo taken in 2020 and everyone was on a budget)!

Grab a slice from Joe’s

Another locals spot that is most popular for grabbing “a slice” on the go. Jerry Seinfeld himself endorses this spot as the best pizza in New York City. Make sure to try the Sicilian slice, you’ll thank me later!

Address: 7 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014

Central Park

I could write an entire blog post about Central Park (one day I just might!) but for now, these are the top sights to see in The Park…

Walk The Bow Bridge

You’ve probably seen this bridge everywhere and for good reason, it’s so dang beautiful! On the bridge, you’ll have cityscape views coupled with lake views (you may even catch a couple of row boaters).

Visit Bethesda Terrace

Bethesda Terrace is the heart of Central Park. You can always find live music, a beautiful large fountain, and lake views. It’s the perfect spot to post up and people watch!

Loeb Boat House

Adjacent to Bethesda Fountain is the Loeb Boat House. You can have lunch here if you want to get fancy but most people come to rent rowboats that you can take out on the lake. I’ve always wanted to rent a rowboat but haven’t had the chance. So go do it for me will ya?

Check out information on renting boats here.

Check out Belvedere Castle

A castle in Central Park? Sign me up! This beauty was built in 1869 and sits on the highest point in the park, Vista Rock. It’s a smaller castle but the views are incredible from this part of Central Park.

Thanks for reading my “28 Best Things to Do in New York”! If you’re headed here soon please make sure you take all the necessary precautions and safely travel to the city.

Is there anything I missed that you love to do in New York? Please comment below!

For more of my travel guides head here!

Disclaimer: Please note that due to Covid-19 some of these activities are suspended until further notice. I’ve included most of the up to date websites for you to check out on your own to see if the places are open for business. Thank you!

PIN THIS POST FOR LATER

Previous Post Next Post

You may also like

14 Comments

  • Reply Andra lynn

    Thanks for all the great tips, especially the sunset and sunrise tips. I still haven’t made it to NY yet. Maybe next year!

    November 10, 2020 at 9:57 am
    • Reply Courtney Delfino

      Thank you! That can be a tricky one so I’m glad you appreciated it!

      November 10, 2020 at 11:27 am
  • Reply Abigail Reagan

    I’m going to NYC this weekend to visit my boyfriend’s little sister at NYU!! PERFECT timing with this article, thank you!!

    November 10, 2020 at 10:10 am
    • Reply Courtney Delfino

      You’re so welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it

      November 10, 2020 at 11:26 am
  • Reply Francesca

    I love New York so much! I visit every single year at least once. There are still a few things on the list that I haven’t done. I am so excited about The Edge. It was not open yet last time I went.

    November 10, 2020 at 12:45 pm
    • Reply Courtney Delfino

      Have the best time! I haven’t been able to check it off my list yet!

      November 10, 2020 at 1:12 pm
  • Reply Maria

    I’ve never been to NY but I’d love to go! These things all sound amazing, I’d definitely visit the Edge!

    November 11, 2020 at 10:51 am
  • Reply Angelica

    Born and raised New yorker you tend to take all these for granted. Such a great guide!

    XX Angelica
    https://eraenvogue.com

    November 12, 2020 at 9:17 am
    • Reply Courtney Delfino

      Thank you angelica! I totally agree, we forget how amazing our own backyard is!

      November 12, 2020 at 5:11 pm
  • Reply Will Drigo

    What an amazing tips! Thank you love, I cannot wait to really see NY for all her beauty one of these days.

    November 12, 2020 at 10:28 am
    • Reply Courtney Delfino

      We need a trip together to experience the city as a boujee team! XOXO

      November 12, 2020 at 5:10 pm
  • Reply Taylor

    This is an amazing guide Courtney! I also love NYC during San Gennaro. I really hope they have it next year since it was canceled this year. I also need to get to the Edge now. 🙂

    November 13, 2020 at 1:14 pm
    • Reply Courtney Delfino

      It’s one of my favorite times in the city! Thanks for reaching Taylor! I still need to get to the edge too lol I hope you get to go soon!

      November 13, 2020 at 3:41 pm

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    %d bloggers like this: