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Things to do in New York City

Eat, shop, and fall in love with world-class museums, historical landmarks, and skyscrapers galore.

Our most recommended things to do in New York City

NYC: SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Experience Ticket

1. NYC: SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Experience Ticket

Visit SUMMIT, situated at the top of the iconic modern landmark One Vanderbilt. Discover a place which changes our relationship with cities, environment, and ourselves through immersive, multi-sensory experiences. Head off the main concourse of Grand Central Terminal, to learn the story behind its creation. Learn all about an attraction designed with the intention of transcending everyday existence, and engage with space in a fascinating new way. Begin with a sensory stimulating elevator ride to the 91st floor. Be transported into SUMMIT AIR, a new way to see and interact with space designed by Kenzo Digital. Layered with two floors of floor to ceiling mirrors, AIR offers a new perspective as the Manhattan skyline reflects all around you. Next, test your limits at SUMMIT LEVITATION and enjoy the rush of stepping out over the city on two glass ledges suspended 1,063 feet above Madison Avenue. Watch your image float in the clouds across a multi-media screen and get in touch with your playful side in the silver balloon AFFINITY room. Once you reach the 93rd floor, take in the sights and sounds of NYC from another vantage point on the outdoor observation deck. For a more intimate, adult-friendly evening experience, choose to visit SUMMIT during Air at Night. Guests can enjoy access to all areas of the attraction, an LED light show with accompanying vivacious music, and cocktails for purchase at the 93rd floor bar.

New York: CityPASS® to Save 40% at 5 Top Attractions

2. New York: CityPASS® to Save 40% at 5 Top Attractions

See world-class art, fascinating science, important history, and incredible views—from the sky AND the sea and save up to 40% with the New York CityPASS! New York CityPASS includes admission to: 1. The Empire State Building: With iconic views and a new museum, the Empire State Building provides breathtaking 360-degree, open-air views from the 86th-floor observatory. 2. American Museum of Natural History: Explore human cultures, the natural world, and the universe with a visit to one of the world’s most famous natural history museums. 3. Top of the Rock OR Guggenheim Museum Top of the Rock: Experience incredible 360-degree panoramic views of New York City and beyond from interior and exterior decks on the top three floors of this legendary art deco skyscraper, 30 Rock.   Guggenheim Museum: Frank Lloyd Wright’s mid-century masterpiece of modern architecture, located alongside scenic Central Park.  See collection highlights, including works by Manet, Picasso, Van Gogh and more. 5. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island OR Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island: Experience the beauty and history of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Immigration Museum with Statue Cruises.   Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises: Take in the world’s premier skyline with up-close and magnificent views of the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, One World Trade and 101 NYC sights.   6. 9/11 Memorial & Museum OR Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum 9/11 Memorial & Museum: Pay your respects to the victims of the 9/11 attacks at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.  Examine the history and impact of the events and learn the stories of loss and recovery within the Museum.   Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum: Get an up-close look at the space shuttle Enterprise and 28 aircraft, including the world’s fastest jet.

NYC: 9/11 Memorial & Museum Timed-Entry Ticket

3. NYC: 9/11 Memorial & Museum Timed-Entry Ticket

Benefit from contactless entry to the National September 11 Memorial Museum with your pre-purchased timed-entry ticket. Enjoy complimentary access to the 9/11 Memorial, the Survival Tree, and the Memorial Glades The 9/11 Museum The museum displays over 10,000 monumental artifacts linked to the events of 9/11 and is made up of three permanent exhibition sections: • The Historical Exhibition has three parts: the Day of 9/11, Before 9/11 and After 9/11. It tells the story of what happened on 9/11, including the events at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the story of Flight 93.  • The Memorial Exhibition "In Memoriam", commemorates the lives of those who perished on September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993 and provides visitors with the opportunity to learn about the men, women and children who died. • The Foundation Hall is a room of massive scale, which houses both the last column and the slurry wall.  The 9/11 Memorial (Free Entry) The “National September 11 Memorial” is a tribute of remembrance and honor to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center site, the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.  The memorial’s twin reflecting pools are each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest manmade waterfalls in North America. The pools sit within the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood. The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the memorial pools.

NYC: Edge Observation Deck Admission Ticket

4. NYC: Edge Observation Deck Admission Ticket

Get entry tickets to Edge, a marvel of architecture, engineering, and technology, suspended in mid-air over 1100 feet above the ground. Get the feeling of floating in the sky and take in the entire Manhattan skyline from Edge's unique vantage point on the western side of Midtown Manhattan. Begin your journey on Level 4 of The Shops at Hudson Yards, where you will enter into an immersive multimedia experience explaining the design, construction, and sustainability of Hudson Yards. Then, head up over 1100 feet to the Observation Deck, and then 80 feet out into the air on the Outdoor Sky Deck. Here, frameless glass panel walls are boldly angled outwards to allow you to feel the thrill of leaning out over the edge with the busy city below. Next, stand on the glass floor and look over 100 stories straight down to the city streets below your feet. At Edge's furthest point, The Eastern Point, there's space for one person to stand alone, surrounded by glass, air, and sky—you will never have had a picture quite like it. The upper level also features the Skyline Steps, where you can look out over the top of the glass panels and past the edge of the deck. Have a seat and hang out in the sky with your friends and family, or head indoors and sip champagne or a signature cocktail at the Champagne Bar. When you leave be sure to visit Hudson Yards' centerpiece, Vessel, or enjoy a bite to eat or a shopping experience at The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards.

NYC: Empire State Building Tickets & Skip-the-Line

5. NYC: Empire State Building Tickets & Skip-the-Line

Choose between a General Admission ticket to the 86th floor outdoor observation deck or a Combination Ticket with access to the newly renovated 102nd floor, showcasing floor to ceiling windows. You can also upgrade your experience with an Express Ticket. The New Empire State Building Experience not only gives you access to the legendary New York City landmark, allowing you to soar 1,054 foot (320 meters) high and enjoy magnificent 360-degree open-air views of New York City and beyond. You'll also see Grand Staircase with a two-story architectural model of the building and newly renovated interactive galleries that take you on an incredible journey from the building’s construction to its current place in pop culture. Explore the site in the 1920s, Construction, Opening Day, Modern Marvel, Otis Elevators, World’s Most Famous Building, King Kong, and Celebrity exhibits. The 80th Floor also features a range of exciting art exhibits. Be sure to see the building's iconic Art Deco Fifth Avenue lobby. The Empire State Building's 86th Floor Observation Deck is the highest 360-degree open-air observatory in New York, outfitted with heaters to keep the cold at bay. The Empire State Building is more than a spectacular view - it is the most Instagrammed landmark in the USA. Your entrance also includes a downloadable multimedia experience, available in 9 languages. This app also includes videos, image galleries, quizzes, and maps showing nearby points of interest. Be sure to see the building's iconic Art Deco Fifth Avenue lobby as you exit this remarkable building.

NYC: Museum of Ice Cream Entry Ticket

6. NYC: Museum of Ice Cream Entry Ticket

Walk through the pink doors of the Museum of Ice Cream and enter a world of pure imagination. Satisfy your inner child and your actual kids with exhibitions featuring various installations designed to engage and delight children of all ages. Time your visit the museum on a weekday for a more peaceful experience. Once inside, explore imaginative, multi-sensory exhibitions that bring to life your most delightful dreams. Savor the sweetest treats on a magical floating table, slide down an epic three-story slide, take a celestial ride on a pink Museum of Ice Cream subway, and follow the buzzing sound to a giant "Queen Bee" hive. Taste the museum's signature flavors and ice cream treats along the way, before taking a dive into the world's largest sprinkle pool. Take all the Instagram-worthy pictures that your heart desires. When you finish your experience, be sure to explore the museum's whimsical shop. The Museum of Ice Cream is not a traditional museum — every installation is interactive, meaning touching isn't only allowed, it's encouraged. Alternatively, grab your partner, friend, or family member for an exclusive Night at the Museum experience at The Museum of Ice Cream. Start off the night with a signature cocktail and ignite your senses through a theatrical experience. After hours, enjoy a full tour of the museum's 13 magical installations, along with special activities and treats designed to celebrate love in all its forms. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a pink super-cone.

NYC: 1-Hour Cruise Around Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

7. NYC: 1-Hour Cruise Around Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

Take a 60-minute boat ride to within 100 feet of the Statue of Liberty. Cruise right under the Brooklyn Bridge and see the most famous skyline in the world. Your live English guide will point out the sites as you journey along the river including the Empire State Building, the new Freedom Tower, the Manhattan Bridge, Governor's Island, and more. Make use of both the indoor and outdoor seating, along with large open windows for your viewing pleasure. Get within touching distance of "Lady Liberty" and then move on to Ellis Island to take photos of the famous entry point to New York City. Marvel at the skyline of Manhattan and its famous skyscrapers, including the new One World Trade Center. Glide down both the east and west sides of Lower Manhattan on this roundtrip cruise, and purchase drinks and food from the concession stand aboard the boat. 

New York City: Manhattan Island Helicopter Tour

8. New York City: Manhattan Island Helicopter Tour

Experience the best views in New York City from inside a helicopter, complete with large floor-to-ceiling convex windows for your viewing pleasure. On your flight you will see the beautiful Central Park, Hudson River, and New York Harbor, including the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum. Cruise past the Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building, the World Financial Center, and the Chrysler Building from up high, as well as the iconic Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Greenwich Village, South Street Seaport, and the Brooklyn Bridge, which dates all the way back to 1883. With tour narration and all heliport fees included, there is no better way to enjoy the dramatic and ever-evolving New York City skyline.

NYC: Top of the Rock Observation Deck Ticket

9. NYC: Top of the Rock Observation Deck Ticket

Take in a 360-degree panorama of New York from 850 feet (260 m) in the air at the Top of the Rock. Explore 9,500 square feet of unobstructed outdoor viewing space, the most of any New York observatory. Take in the daytime scenery, see the sunset, or admire the city sparkle by night from new heights.  Upon arriving at 30 Rockefeller Center, take time to admire the stunning, shimmering Swarovski chandelier on your way to the mezzanine level. Here is an exhibit where you can see historic artifacts and a short film about Rockefeller Center’s construction during the Great Depression. Head up to the Top in less than 1 minute with a ride up 850 feet (260 m) on the Sky Shuttle. Explore 2 floors with expansive indoor and outdoor viewing areas. Finally top off your visit with breathtaking views of Central Park, Empire State Building, downtown Manhattan, One World Trade Center, and multiple bridges from the completely open-air deck on the 70th-floor.

New York: Go City Explorer Pass with 95+ Tours & Attractions

10. New York: Go City Explorer Pass with 95+ Tours & Attractions

Go City offers a selection of over 90 must-see NYC attractions, museums, and tours for one low pre-paid price. Get great savings compared to buying separate attraction tickets, and see New York's most popular attractions with one easy-to-use digital pass. Options include the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry, 9/11 Museum and Memorial, Empire State Building, Edge, MoMA, American Museum of Natural History, and many more. Pick between a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10-choice pass, browse the included digital guide to check entry requirements for each attraction, and plan your itinerary. Scanning your pass at the gate or ticket office of an attraction (or tour) for the first time will activate it. You can then take up to 60 days to use the remaining number of choices purchased. Your Explorer Pass also features special perks including gift shop discounts or a free audio guide at selected attractions, helping you make the most of your New York trip and save even more along the way. The New York attractions you can choose include:  Museums and Galleries • American Museum of Natural History • 9/11 Memorial and Museum • Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) • Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum and Space Shuttle • Guggenheim Museum • The Whitney Museum of American Art • Fotografiska New York • Museum of Sex • Museum of the City of New York • New York Botanical Garden • Brooklyn Museum and Botanical Garden Combo Experiences • Empire State Building • Top of the Rock • One World Observatory • Edge • Central Park Bike Rental • Rise NY • 9/11 Museum Workshop: Hands-on 9/11 Tour • SPYSCAPE • Escape Virtuality • Luna Park at Coney Island • Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience • Madame Tussauds + Marvel Universe 4D • Harlem Jazz Series • Harlem Bike Rental • The Beast Speedboat Ride (seasonal) • Clipper City Tall Ship: Daytime or Sunset Statue Sail (seasonal) • Surrey Bike Rental Governors Island • SEA Life Aquarium New Jersey • LEGOLAND Discovery Center New Jersey Tours & Cruises • Rockefeller Center Tour • Big Bus New York Hop-on Hop-off: 1-Day Classic Tour • Best of NYC Cruise: Circle Line Sightseeing • Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Ferry • Harbor Lights Cruise: Circle Line Sightseeing • NYC Landmarks Cruise: Circle Line Sightseeing • Liberty Cruise: Circle Line Sightseeing • Central Park Bike Tour • Madison Square Garden All Access Tour • Radio City Stage Door Tour • Greenwhich Village at Night Walking Tour • NYC Slavery & Underground Railroad Walking Tour • Hamilton Tour • St Patrick's Cathedral Tour with Express Entry • Graffiti and Street Art Tour Walking Tour of Brooklyn • Secrets of the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Walking Tour • NYC Bus Tour of Bronx, Brooklyn & Queens • Holiday Markets & Christmas Lights Walking Tour (seasonal) • Soho - Little Italy - Chinatown Walking Tour • Broadway & Times Square Walking Tour • Central Park TV & Movies Walking Tour • Yankee Stadium Tour • How Money was Made - Wall Street Walking Tour • Catacombs by Candlelight • Pride Walking Tour • NYC TV & Movie Bus Tour • Top of the Highline and Hudson Yards Tour Food and Drinks • Food on Foot Tours • Perfect Picnic • Tastes of the Lower East Side Walking Tour • Spirits on Foot - Beer, Spirits & Wine Crawl Attractions and tours are subject to change and some may require advanced reservations. Please check the included digital guide for an up-to-date list of included experiences, and follow the instructions to place reservations well in advance where needed, as well as follow top tips to ensure the best sightseeing experience with your Explorer Pass.

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Frequently asked questions about New York City

What top attractions are a must-see in New York City?

What are the best day trips and excursions from New York City?

The best day trips and excursions from New York City are:

Washington, DC

Insider tips: Planning a trip to New York City

Looking to take a bite out of the Big Apple? We've enlisted the help of New York City expert, Steffen, from Loving New York to help you make the most of your next trip. Read our tips below for your next visit to New York City.

What should I do on my first trip to New York City?

If it's your first time in New York, you should definitely visit one of the big observation platforms! You have several to choose from, but I recommend the Edge observation deck at the Hudson Yards and the One World Observatory. Also, take a boat tour to see New York from the water.

What are some hidden gems to see in New York City?

I'll tell you two of my favorite spots in New York: the Grand Banks at Pier 25 on the Hudson River and Domino Park in Williamsburg. Both places grant you sensational views of the city.

How much time should I spend in New York City?

To explore New York – and not feel stressed out – you want to stay at least 5 to 7 days. That way, you can visit the most important spots and still have time to let the city work its magic on you – but without the time pressure

What food is New York City known for?

I'm a total foodie – so New York is obviously paradise to me! Start with the typical Cream Cheese Bagels (for example at Russ & Daughters in the Lower East Side), try the Pastrami Sandwiches (at Katz' Delicatessen or the Pastrami Queen), and eat a typical New York Pizza Slice. And if you have a sweet tooth: Juniors has the best cheesecake in the city, hands down!

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit New York City?

First-time visitors should always book their hotel in Manhattan – this way the distances are short and you can easily reach all the sights on foot. I like Soho, Tribeca, Lower Manhattan, and Murray Hill in particular.

What is the best way to get around New York City?

In New York, the best way to get around is on foot – or you can jump on a 'Citi Bike', which is super cheap to rent. We also like to use the NYC Ferries, which can shuttle you between Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens on the East River for the price of a one-way subway ride.

What are the best months to visit New York City?

It's worth visiting New York at any time of the year. But if I had to settle on individual months, I recommend May/June and September/October.

What are the best neighborhoods for food?

There are so many different gastro spots in Williamsburg, the East Village, and West Village.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

New York and shopping simply go hand in hand, Great areas are SoHo, 5th Avenue, and the lower part of Broadway. Be sure to avoid the Times Square area for shopping at all costs – most stores are overpriced and true tourist traps!

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in New York City?

Exploring New York with the family is huge fun - I myself have been to our favorite city with my kids numerous times. Among my personal highlights is a trip to the Statue of Liberty, the visit to the One World Observatory, and Central Park with its lakes and playgrounds. Also really exciting is the Museum of Natural History, which will be familiar to many from the movie "Night at the Museum".

What is the best thing to do in New York City for solo travelers?

Make sure to take a sailing tour on the Hudson River. Many tours, one with on-board wine tasting, for example, start at Pier 62. This is a really relaxed way to travel and a fun way to meet new people.

What is the best thing to do in New York City for couples?

New York can also be quite romantic. A visit to the Empire State Building in the evening from 10 pm (from Thursday to Saturday) is a real highlight, not just for couples. During this time, a saxophonist plays on the observation deck. Also very enjoyable are the dinner cruises and a flight in a helicopter over New York.

What are the best annual events in New York City?

Among the most important events in New York are St. Patrick's Day in March, Gay Pride in June, of course, the 4th of July, and also the Macy's Parade – which is an absolute must-see.

Other Sightseeing Options in New York City

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What people are saying about New York City

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 89,539 reviews

Thanks to the gospel tour we had the possibility to dive into Harlem community and spent time with local people. We participated to a true religious function and appreciated its vigorous charm. After the function Keith guided us in Harlem and, thanks to his passion and knowledge, we learned the history of the district, from the beginning up to the more recent days, and we understood a lot about the evolution of the district (on the social and economical side). If you really want to live and learn about Harlem, this tour is a must!

i did this in 2019 so i wanted too do it again and it did not disappoint! super easy too find and the staff are very helpful. the museums were so cool too! food on the island is a little expensive but you get quite a lot for what you pay! definitely recommend

Interesting tour of the different boroughs that I’d normally not make the time to visit. I enjoyed the quick stop in Harlem before crossing over into the Bronx.

10/10. this was my favourite excursion, the views are incredible and you can stay for as long as you like! staff are so kind and helpful, definitely a must!

Our tour guide, Jenna, was amazing and we loved all the sights she brought us to and all the history she taught us! Would recommend this tour to anyone!!