New York sightseeing: top 22 most visited attractions

By Alina GoncharovaJun 20, 2023 08:25 AMNew York
New York sightseeing: top 22 most visited attractions
A shopping district in the western part of the city. Source: Image Tanja Schwarz/Pixabay

The city that never sleeps, New York City, is one of the most popular and famous travel destinations in the world, full of culture, art, gourmet restaurants, and skyscrapers with brightly colored advertisements. Impatient and boisterous, unique and creative – every year a large number of tourists visit the Big Apple in search of adventure, inspiration and new discoveries.

The following list of tourist attractions in NY will help you plan your itinerary, especially if you are visiting this incredible city for the first time. At any time of the year, day or night, there is sure to be a large number of interesting attractions and events that will satisfy even the most demanding travelers.

1. Statue of Liberty

The world symbol of freedom in Manhattan. Source: Image Daria/Pixabay

The most popular tourist attraction in New York City is, of course, the well-known Statue of Liberty. Built back in 1886, it still remains an eloquent symbol and the main pearl of the whole of America.

One of the largest statues in the world, it is approximately 150 feet high from the base to the torch and weighs 450 thousand pounds. This gift from France to America can be seen from the land. The views are especially beautiful from Battery Park, located in the south of Manhattan.

To appreciate the full scale and uniqueness of this New York sightseeing, we recommend taking a boat trip to Liberty Island to see the statue up close. You can even climb the pedestal or visit the crown, but it is better to book in advance.

If you have enough time, it is worth visiting the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, which illustrates the experiences and hardships of people traveling to the United States.

2. Central Park

Walking, cycling, or even taking a carriage ride along the many trails of Central Park is a must for every traveler who wants to get to know the top 22 tourist attractions in New York. In winter, you can even skate at the famous Wollman Ice Rink, and then warm up with hot chocolate or aromatic coffee.

The park is located in the heart of the city, stretching for 2.5 miles. Here you can have a great picnic, weather permitting, or visit various NYC sightseeing attractions within the park, most of which are free. We recommend visiting Belvedere Castle, the zoo, the Strawberry Fields, and spending time by the picturesque lake.

3. Metropolitan Museum of Art

One of the most famous museums in the United States and a main attraction in New York is the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which was founded in 1870. Its permanent collection includes more than two million works of culture and art.

The Met includes three different branches. Thus, The Met Fifth Avenue exhibits examples of American decorative and Egyptian art, weapons, armor, photographs, etc. Another branch, the Met Cloisters, focuses on European architecture and medieval art. This museum, which is also a popular tourist attraction in New York, is located in the north of Manhattan in Fort Tryon Park.

4. Top of the Rock observation deck and Rockefeller Center

Almost all tourist routes include this famous place to visit in New York in their list. This huge shopping and entertainment complex is located in the heart of Manhattan. Its centerpiece is the incredible 70-story Art Deco skyscraper 30 Rockefeller Plaza. From the very top you can enjoy a fantastic view of the city.

The Top of the Rock observation deck is one of the most visited places in New York, located on the top three floors of the skyscraper. Magnificent panoramic views can be enjoyed both day and night. The main thing is to book tickets in advance.

In October, an open-air skating rink is opened in front of Rockefeller Center, and after Thanksgiving, a Christmas tree is set up. Some tourists come to the Big Apple specifically to see the New Year's decorations.

5. Theater District and Broadway

The city that never sleeps is no less famous for its various entertainment events. If you are looking for tourist things to do in New York, head to Broadway and the Theater District, where something incredibly interesting and exciting happens every day.

From classic plays to the latest original productions, visit the famous theaters, but make sure to book your ticket in advance, as they sell out like hotcakes.

In addition to the performances, we recommend taking a walk along Schubert Walkway, where the world-famous musicals Oklahoma (1941) and The Music Box Revue (1921) debuted at the St. James Playhouse in the Music Box Theater.

6. American Museum of Natural History

The top 22 tourist attractions in New York City certainly include this location, which will be interesting for both children and adults.

The American Museum of Natural History offers a lot of interesting entertainment and a huge collection that demonstrates the natural environment of the entire Earth - from fossils to scientific discoveries. It often hosts exclusive thematic exhibitions. For example, at certain times you can see a rare 22-carat diamond or touch realistic models of amazing sharks.

Sightseeing around New York also includes the unusual Butterfly Greenhouse, where you can see more than 500 different species in a separate climate-controlled building. An incredible sight that you should not miss!

7. Empire State Building

Among the main tourist attractions in New York City, it is impossible not to mention The Empire State Building. The 102-storey building stands 381 meters high and is crowned with a mooring mast for airships. The Empire State Building was opened in 1931, immediately gaining popularity among New Yorkers and travelers, becoming a symbol of the city.

If you climb to the top, you can see a breathtaking view; on clear days, you can even see neighboring states. On the 86th floor, at an altitude of more than a thousand feet, there is an open-air observatory, which is the highest observation deck and one of the most visited NYC tourist spots. It can be reached by high-speed elevators.

It is worth considering that there is almost always a very long queue to the observation decks, which moves slowly. If you do not want to spend too much time, you can buy a ticket that allows you to get to the Empire State Building without waiting.

8. High Line

This unique park, located on the West Side of Manhattan, stretches along Tenth Avenue and is considered a New York highlights for tourists, as well as a real oasis in the middle of the bustling city. The former railway line has been transformed into a large recreational area that includes several streets at once.

In the High Line Park you can find a large number of different trees and plants, including representatives of the local flora. So, especially in spring, visitors will find a great backdrop for photos.

On weekends, this famous place in New York City can be a bit busy, but you can still find a quiet spot to relax.

The park is located on several levels, which can be reached by stairs or elevator at different points. In addition, the High Line offers magnificent views of the city from a completely new perspective. Along the way, visitors will be accompanied by interesting installations and recreation areas, including grandstand-style seating and a glass wall.

Other top tourist attractions in NYC near the High Line

If you're strolling through the park, you should check out the other interesting locations located nearby, including:

  • "The Vessel" is a multi-level observation deck in Hudson Yards near 34th Street;
  • Whitney Museum of American Art;
  • Chelsea Local Market, which is located in a former factory building.

In addition, the southern part of the route passes through the popular Mitpeking district, where a large number of trendy restaurants and other original establishments are concentrated.

9. Fifth Avenue

The main shopping district of New York, where a large number of the most famous shops and boutiques are concentrated, is Fifth Avenue. It is the "Mecca" of all shopping enthusiasts, where the flagships line up and open their doors - from Cartier to Tiffany. In addition to shops, there are about ten museums in the area, which are included in the list of the best attractions in New York city for tourists, and the famous New York Public Library is located at the southern end of Fifth Avenue.

10. Times Square

Bright advertising signs in Times Square. Source: Image Andreas H./Pixabay

It is one of the most recognizable squares in the world, with its towering skyscrapers and brightly colored billboards and huge flashing screens. Times Square, the most famous places in New York, is beautiful at any time. Of course, the square attracts the most tourists and locals on New Year's Eve, filling up to the brim.

Times Square is crowded even at night, but that's what makes it so attractive. The former Longacre Square was renamed in honor of the New York Times Tower in 1904. Next to it is the famous Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, where eerily realistic figures of celebrities are exhibited. The glass dome of the building, which rises above Times Square, offers magnificent views.

11. Brooklyn Bridge

The Gothic arches and suspension cables of the Brooklyn Bridge have made it one of the most recognizable sightseeing places in New York. No wonder it appears in movies and inspires artists, songwriters and poets of many generations.

The historic bridge, which was completed in 1883, stretches from Manhattan to Brooklyn across the East River. It can be seen from many points in the city, but the best way to get to know it is to take an hour-long walk. There is a trail open to cyclists and pedestrians above the car lanes, and there is a great observation deck near the first arch with views of Manhattan and the East River.

12. Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal is one of the best sightseeing attractions in NYC. The incredible Beaux Arts building was first opened as a terminal for railroad and subway stations in 1913. Be sure to look up to see the restored ceiling showing a map of the celestial sky, and walk up the grand staircase and explore the entire building.

Another iconic symbol of Grand Central Terminal is the four-sided clock, which is repeatedly shown in various movies as a meeting place, especially when it comes to romantic dates. In addition, there are a large number of restaurants and shops inside the building.

13. Lincoln Center

If you are a fan of ballet or opera, Lincoln Center is probably the perfect choice. The famous New York sight boasts 30 outdoor and indoor stages where performers, actors and dancers from all over the world dream of performing at least once.

Lincoln Center is the heart of the New York City Ballet, Philharmonic, Juilliard School of Music, jazz orchestra, and theater, so interesting and diverse events take place here almost every day. In addition to live performances, Film at Lincoln Center offers innovative films for every taste.

14. Carnegie Hall

Opened to the public in 1891, Carnegie Hall was the first major concert hall in the city. The world's greatest musicians have performed here, from Tchaikovsky to The Beatles. Many people believe that this most famous place in New York boasts one of the best acoustic systems.

You have the opportunity not only to attend a performance at Carnegie Hall, but also to buy a ticket for a guided tour, which includes a full overview of the hall, a discussion of the structure itself, and stories about the artists who once performed on this stage. The route ends with the extraordinarily beautiful Rose Museum.

15. One World Observatory

One of the new tourist attractions in NYC is the One World Observatory, which is located at the top of the One World Trade Center. The observation deck at an altitude of over 1770 feet offers fantastic views. Part of the attraction is an elevator with panels inside that show the transformation of the city over the years.

The glass building stands on the Manhattan skyline and impresses with its grandeur. If you want to get here without spending a lot of time, we recommend buying a ticket that allows you to get to the elevator without queuing.

16. The Frick Collection (Frick Madison)

One of the best tourist attractions in New York is at the top of the list of the most popular museums. The Frick Collection is located in a building dating back to the 1900s. The mansion was founded by Henry Clay Frick to house and display his own collection of artworks.

The original building is temporarily undergoing a large-scale reconstruction, but you can see masterpieces from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century at 945 Madison Avenue. The Zee Frick Collection includes the most prominent works of art, including works by Rembrandt, Monet, El Greco and other famous artists.

17. The New York Public Library

The main branch of The New York Public Library is a famous sight in New York. The Beaux Arts style building was designed by the prominent Beaux Arts architects Carrier and Hastings and has been featured in many TV shows and movies.

The Stephen A. Schwartzman House, as the main branch is named, was opened in 1911 and immediately gained recognition. The Main Reading Room alone stretches over two city blocks, and the Periodicals Room has a capacity of 10,000 current magazines.

18. Wall Street

The world-famous famous places to see in New York stretches for eight blocks from Broadway to South Street. Wall Street is home to the world's most important stock exchanges and has been the subject of many movies, including one starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

The Trinity Church and Federal Hall are also located near the financial district and are worthy of special attention. In Bowling Green on Broadway, there is a bronze statue of the Charging Bull, which is a popular location for travelers.

19. Radio City Music Hall

The famous entertainment venue and popular tourist site in NYC is located next to Rockefeller Center. Radio City Music Hall was built in the 1930s, taking the podium as the largest indoor theater in the world at the time. Today, it often hosts important events such as the Tony and Grammy Awards.

The Art Deco building can be seen from afar, attracting attention with its huge flowing letters on the facade.

20. September 11 Memorial and Museum

Until 2011, the twin 110-story towers of the World Trade Center towered over Manhattan. However, as a result of a terrorist attack, the buildings were destroyed, killing nearly three thousand people.

Now the site of the twin towers is the National September 11 Memorial, which is a tribute to the tragic events. It is a tourist attraction in New York City that is worth a visit for anyone who wants to honor the victims.

The two one-acre plunge pools are surrounded by grass and trees, and the water on the sides seems to flow into a bottomless square. Bronze panels with the names of all the victims of the attacks are installed around the pool.

The museum itself is located in a glass building between two pools. Here you can see artifacts, videos, and photographs that depict the events of September 2011 and their aftermath.

The museum building is integrated into the remains of the World Trade Center and is located on Greenwich Street, the south side of One World Trade Center.

21. St. Patrick's Cathedral

Massive bronze doors, white marble facade, spires over 300 feet high, the Great Organ and many other important details. We are talking about St. Patrick's Cathedral, one of the best sightseeing in New York and a striking example of Neo-Gothic art. Every year, the religious building welcomes millions of believers and tourists who want to get to know this architectural gem.

St. Patrick's Cathedral was built in 1879. The last reconstruction was completed in 2016, and the cost of it was more than two hundred million dollars.

22. Bryant Park

When asked "things to visit in NYC in the summer?", Bryant Park is a great answer. However, it is beautiful here at any time of the year. The location provides a lot of entertainment and amenities, so you can spend a leisurely day full of adventures and activities in Bryant Park. Among the most popular:

  • a game area with chess, checkers and backgammon;
  • Le Carrousel;
  • an outdoor seasonal ice rink with free admission (skates can be rented on site);
  • picnic areas are equipped.

There are also shady gardens and monuments on the territory that are interesting to explore. It is worth noting that until 1989 this place was abandoned and even dangerous, as thieves often dwelled here. But then the city regained its power and turned Bryant Park into a wonderful recreational area, a real oasis in the middle of the metropolis.

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