New York City is full of culture, food, entertainment, beauty and diversity. Spend time roaming through museums or enjoying Broadway shows. Explore central park or walk along the waterfront. Indulge in food, shopping, nightlife and excellent entertainment. There is something for everyone and endless things to do in New York City.
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Visit Times Square
As I`m sure you know; Times Square is at the top of the list for things to do in New York City! The hustle and bustle, the lights and the shops are all quite the experience. Prepare for it to be VERY crowded and keep in mind that the prices here are among the highest in the city. If you`re anything like me; after about half an hour in the crowd you`ll be happy you saw it but ready to move on!
Walk or Bike Through Central Park
Taking up three square kilometers in the middle of Manhattan; Central Park is an escape from city life right in the city! There are literally hundreds of things to see and do including a zoo, museums, rowboats, horse and carriage rides, and so much more. If you choose to walk around central park, I would recommend planning a full day to do it. If you would prefer to see the park by bike plan 1/2 a day to 1 full day.
BIKE TIP: Don’t rent the bikes at the edge of the park! They are $40 USD per day and can get really busy. Instead; stop at a Citi bike station on your there and rent a bike for $12 USD per day.
Go To The Top Of The Rock
If you are trying to decided between Rockefeller Center and The Empire State Building.. choose Rockefeller Center all the way! You have a 360 degree view of NYC, a great view of the Empire State Building and an unobstructed view of Central Park. Entrance is $36 USD and make sure to go on a clear day!
TIP: There are multiple decks once you get to the viewing area at the top. Make sure to find the stairs up from the first deck for the best views of the city without the glass!
Visit the New York Public Library
The Schwarzman Building is the main branch of the New York Public Library. It is an impressive historic building with free walking tours Monday-Saturday at 11 AM and 2 PM. The park beside the library offers a peaceful place to walk around or stop for lunch. For more information on tours click HERE.
Spend a Day in Brooklyn
Heading over to Brooklyn is one of my favorite things to do in New York City. You can walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, check out DUMBO, visit the Brooklyn Public Library, The Botanical Gardens, and find some awesome places to eat! For more information check out our post on A Perfect Day in Brooklyn.
Walk Through Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal is a world-famous landmark and transportation hub in Midtown Manhattan. With over 750,000 visitors per day; you have to stop and marvel at this historic building.
Laugh Your A** Off at a Comedy Show
A comedy show in New York City is something you have to experience. Grab your friends and head out for a night of laughs and drinks. There are always vendors selling last minute tickets in Times Square for $20-25 USD per person. If you`re in the market for some great comedy; head to Caroline’s on Broadway or the Comedy Cellar. The prices are a bit higher but they have top acts every night of the week.
TIP: Be aware that most comedy clubs in NYC have a 2 drink minimum policy. At $10-$15 USD per drink this will increase your bill substantially.
Eat Lunch at Chelsea Market
Chelsea Market is a MUST visit stop on any trip to New York City. There are multiple food shops, clothing shops, fresh produce stores, and a flea market with all sorts of vendors. If you want to beat the lunch rush go around 11 am because it is packed shortly after every day of the week! For more places to eat in New York check out our post The 11 Best Restaurants in NYC.
Walk The High Line
The High Line is 1.44 miles (2.33 kilometers) of old railway track above the city that has been converted into a walking path and a garden. The greenery is beautiful and the views of the city are excellent! There are multiple entrance and exit points allowing you to hop on for a more enjoyable walk.
It almost seems odd to categorize the 9-11 Memorial as a highlight of NYC; but it would be my top recommendation of this entire trip. Everything from the fountains to the museum and the stories of that day blew me away. It was heavy and heartbreaking but extremely well done. The museum is built on the foundation of the old World Trade Centers and they offer so much information on the events of 9-11. Make sure to plan at least 3-4 hours to fully experience it and don`t worry.. they have unlimited tissues.
TIP: The general admission fee is $25 USD but its free on Tuesdays from 5-7 pm.
Have a Beer at Yankee Stadium
A baseball game is an obvious choice when looking for fun things to do in New York City. Cheap tickets start around $14 USD and the atmosphere at Yankee Stadium is pretty surreal. Located in the Bronx; the subway will take you directly there from most places in Manhattan. Have a beer and a pretzel and enjoy the game!
TIP: No go pros or selfie sticks are allowed in the building. They will make you toss them or rent a locker for $20 USD so leave `em at home!
Watch a Show on Broadway
Any day you get to see a show on Broadway its a good day in my books. There are always several shows playing each night. It use to be very popular to book your shows once you arrived in NYC and even the day of for a discount. If you aren`t picky about which show you want to see you can still do this. However; if there is a popular show that you have your heart set on seeing.. book it in advance! Because everything is so easily booked online now we noticed that the good shows were basically sold out for the entire week we were there.
Check Out The Museum of Modern Art
The MoMA was originally created as a place for Modern art to come and go. Because the ideas of modernism are constantly changing; they will always have new exhibits and artwork on display. Since 1952 it has been home to some of the greatest avant-garde paintings, sculptures, films and multi-media art in the world. The Entrance is $25 USD and it is a fabulous place to spend a few hours.
TIP: Admission to The Museum of Modern Art is free for all visitors every Friday evening from 4:00–8:00 PM.
Eat at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park
Madison Square Park is home to the original Shake Shack. Have a burger and a milkshake while you admire the beautiful park from their outdoor sitting area. Plan extra time and expect it to be really busy; especially on a nice day. Don`t forget to walk across the street and check out The Flatiron building which you`ll recognize from movies like Spiderman and Godzilla.
Go Shopping at Century 21
If the high end shops in SoHo were a little out of your price range Century 21 might be right up your alley! This 6 story mall is an outlet shoppers dream. They have everything from high end designers to very affordable brands and the savings are 30-70%! I would recommend going early on a weekday to beat the crowds.