The Best and Most Epic Things to do in NYC
New York City is undoubtedly a special place to visit any time you think of New York. After living in New York for over 12 years, going to College in Chelsea, NYC, and working in Mid-town, Soho, and the Upper East Side, I’d say NYC and I have had quite the friendship. In fact, since I love New York so much, I am covering the best things to do in NYC during just about any time of the year!
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
- The Best and Most Epic Things to do in NYC
- Walk The Highline
- Visit Chelsea Market
- Explore the Vessel
- Walk on The Edge
- Summit One Vanderbilt
- Helicopter Ride Over the City
- Experience Top of The Rock
- Walk Through Times Square
- Stroll Through Central Park
- Check Out A Comedy Club
- See A Broadway Show
- Go Museum Hopping
- Walk Around Grand Central Station
- Shop til You Drop in Soho
- Walk Down Madison and 5th Ave
- Visit The Brooklyn Botanical Garden
- See The Statue of Liberty
- Sunset Cruise Down the Hudson
- Visit the Oculus and 9/11 Memorial
- Cross the Brooklyn Bridge & Explore Dumbo
- Visit Smorgasburg in Williamsburg
- Visit Madison Square Garden
- Adventure Through Coney Island
- Dyker Heights During the Holidays
- Shop at Woodbury Commons
- Admire the Empire State Building
- Check Out NYC Pop-Up Exhibits and Art Installations
- Eat All The Best NYC Foods
- Getting Around NYC
- Best Things to Do in NYC Review
- Additional NYC Resources
Walk The Highline
Located in the neighborhood of Chelsea, the Highline was once an old lifted railroad, now turned into a green space! It’s one of my favorite things to do in NYC especially now that it’s connected to Hudson Yards (more about that later)! The Highline is 1.45 miles and gives a great perspective for you to look down to the street. Free to do in NYC!
Visit Chelsea Market
Since you are in Chelsea, don’t forget to check out the Chelsea Market! Located in the Meatpacking District, the Chelsea Market has become internationally renowned and is considered one of the best indoor marketplaces in the world! There are 20+ Chelsea food vendors to choose from so you will find something for everyone.
This cool urban space has diverse and fresh food and an overall cool vibe to even just walkthrough. Free to visit!
Address: 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
Explore the Vessel
The Vessel at Hudson Yards is one of the newest attractions in NYC and easily one of the best things to do! This funky yet cool honeycomb-shaped structure stands at 154 ft tall and has nice views of the Hudson River.
Update: Currently you can’t climb the Vessel, but it is still great to walk by it!
Address: The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001
Walk on The Edge
Also located in the new Hudson Yards complex stands NYC’s highest outdoor sky deck on the West Hemisphere!
Suspended 100 stories up in the air with a glass sky deck; this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for sure! The Edge is still on my bucket list since my ticket got canceled due to NYC shutting down this year.
Address: The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001 Enter at level 4
Photo by Fred Moon on Unsplash
Summit One Vanderbilt
If you are planning to visit NYC after October 20th, 2021, you can snag a ticket to NYC’s newest attraction Summit One Vanderbilt. This building is taking the NYC Skyline to a whole level! Experience mirror rooms glass windows that have you standing over the street, and more! There are even glass floor elevators that happen to be the largest in the world.
There are 3 different types of tickets to choose from. The Summit Experience $35 (day) $49 (night), The Summit Ascent $59 (day) $69 (night), and the Ultimate Summit $73 (day) $83 (night).
To get your tickets and learn more check out the Summit One Vanderbilt website!
Address: 45 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017 Entrance located on the Main Concourse of Grand Central Terminal
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Helicopter Ride Over the City
This one is for all my adrenaline junkies! Personally, I am scared of helicopters, but when I get over that fear, I’ve always wanted to take a helicopter ride over NYC.
Experience Top of The Rock
New York City is known for its incredible skyline and experiencing it from the Top of the Rock is no exception! Top of the Rock has 3 observation decks on the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors for panoramic views that include the Empire State Building!
You will want to get tickets in advance for this one since it goes by timeslots.
Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112
Walk Through Times Square
Every New Yorker will avoid Times Square at all costs, but if this is your first time in NYC, it’s one of the best things to experience!
Make sure to see Times Square during both the day and at night when the City is all lit up! I’ll never forget how mesmerized I was when I saw Times Square for the first time!
Stroll Through Central Park
You can’t visit NYC without heading to Central Park! Central Park is amazing during all seasons so you’re in luck. With over 800 acres, you can get lost making your way through the park!
Some of the top sites to see in the park include Bow Bridge, Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, The Mall, Strawberry Fields, and Belvedere Castle to name a few!
There are tons of great parks to visit in NYC including Washington Square Park and Byant Park during the holidays.
You may also be interested in the Ultimate 4 Days in New York Itinerary
Check Out A Comedy Club
While walking down the city streets, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone told you about seeing a comedy show. NYC has a great comedy scene and if you are into less touristy things to do, this is one of them!
See A Broadway Show
Have you visited NYC without seeing a Broadway Play? It is easily one of the best things to do anytime you’re in NYC! I can personally vouch for Wicked, The Book of Mormon, and Hamilton. It’s been said that the best way to get cheaper tickets is to go right to the box office or visiting a TDF location.
Go Museum Hopping
NYC has some of the best Museums in the world making it a no-brainer to check at least one of them out!
Some of the best museums to visit in NYC include:
- The MoMA
- American Museum of Natural History
- The Met
- 9/11 Museum
- The Morgan Library Museum (NYC hidden gem)
- Guggenheim Museum
Find out how to see some of these NYC museums for free here!
Walk Around Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station is probably the coolest metro station in NYC! It’s a great place to people watch and enjoy the magnificent ceiling art! Besides transportation, you can find tons of dining options in Grand Central including Magnolia Bakery.
Grand Central Terminal sees around 750,000 visitors a day making it the second most visited place in NYC with Times Square being the first.
Shop til You Drop in Soho
Soho is one of my favorite neighborhoods in NYC! Not only is the shopping amazing with top designer stores, but Soho also has some of the most charming cobblestone streets! You can also find really nice murals in Soho and the surrounding areas on Nolita and Little Italy.
Did you know Soho stands for South of Houston Street?
Walk Down Madison and 5th Ave
Since we are talking about shopping, I can’t leave out Madison and 5th Ave. If you are looking for a luxurious shopping experience, this is it!
Madison & 5th Ave are known for some of the most expensive shopping in the world! Here you will find every top designer you could ever ask for!
Visit The Brooklyn Botanical Garden
If you are visiting NYC during the Spring or Summer, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden is easily one of the best things to see! I should add that the Garden is open all year round, but these are my favorite times!
Located in Prospect Park, the garden has 52 acres and 12,000 different plants!
If you are in NYC around March/April, check to see the Cherry Blossoms!
Address: 990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225
See The Statue of Liberty
Lady Liberty is one of the icons of NYC! There are several places you can get a glimpse of her, including taking a trip to Liberty and Ellis Island to see her up close and personal, or even climbing up to the top of her crown!
If I am being honest, the closest I’ve gotten to her is from my free ride back and forth on the Staten Island ferry, but it’s on my list to see her in person!
Sunset Cruise Down the Hudson
If you are looking for something a little more romantic to do during your time in NYC, think about taking a sunset cruise down the Hudson. I’ve seen sunsets in a lot of different places and NYC is one of my favorite places to see the sun go down. You can check out sunset tours here!
Visit the Oculus and 9/11 Memorial
In 2011 NYC was forever changed. Since the construction of the 9/11 Memorial and Oculus, the area has become very popular to visit among locals and tourists alike. The 9/11 museum and memorial remember those lost in the falling of the Twin Towers.
The Oculus is was the World Trade Center train station that has now been turned into a piece of art! Inside it’s not just a subway station, but a shopping mall too!
Address: 180 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007
Cross the Brooklyn Bridge & Explore Dumbo
You can’t visit NYC without making your way to the Brooklyn Bridge and exploring Brooklyn Bridge Park in Dumbo, Brooklyn! Crossing the bridge is totally bucket list-worthy IMO and once you make it to the Brooklyn side, you will be treated with such a cute area of Brooklyn!
Next, head to one of the most instagrammable places in Brooklyn and all of NYC with the Manhattan Bridge peeking through the buildings! You can learn more about finding the best NYC Instagram spots, including the Manhattan bridge shot in my NYC Instagram Guide!
Visit Smorgasburg in Williamsburg
Smorgasburg is one of my favorite NYC things to do in the eating category. So if you are a foodie, this is for you! This outside market has dozens of food vendors with cuisines from around the globe.
On top of that, the view of the city from the Williamsburg location is priceless!
They are a little pricy, but the food is soooo yummy! They usually have 3 locations, the Oculus Center, Prospect Park, and Williamsburg.
Smorgasburg is generally open starting in the Spring throughout the Fall. For more about visiting them, stay up to date with the Smorgasburg website!
Visit Madison Square Garden
I’ve walked by Madison Square garden every day to and from school or just anytime I am going to NYC since it’s located at Penn Station (Pennsylvania Station). Consider catching a basketball game, Hockey game, concert, or a tour through one of the most famous arenas in the world!
Address: 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY 10001
Adventure Through Coney Island
Coney Island is one of the quirkiest/interesting places to visit. If you are strapped on time or not visiting during the summer, I would probably skip visiting, however.
If it is Summertime, make your way over and take a ride on the famous Wooden Rollercoaster, the Cyclone, head to Nathans Famous hotdogs, lay on the beach, or walk down the boardwalk.
Next, get Pistachio Icecream and candy galore at Williams Candy Shop!
Insider tip: If you have a car and looking for a local spot for food, check out Rolling Roasters for Roast Beef Sandwiches with cheese everything! It’s fast food, but it’s so good!
OR, if it’s the weekend, try the famous Totonno’s Pizza serving Coney Island since 1924. Don’t be surprised if the wait is really long!
Dyker Heights During the Holidays
If you are visiting New York City during the Holidays, you have to check out the Christmas lights at Dyker Heights! Find rows and rows of extremely extravagant Christmas lights where neighbors compete to outdo each other!
You can learn more about visiting the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights here!
Shop at Woodbury Commons
If you are looking to shop at some premium outlet stores, Woodbury Commons will be right up your alley. They are located in Central Valley, NY just about an hour away from Midtown, NYC.
I personally have never been to the Woodbury Commons, however, it’s one of the most popular things to do amongst tourists who visit our City and I’ve never heard a bad review about it.
Admire the Empire State Building
While I would recommend paying for The Edge or Top of the Rock over going to the top of the Empire State Building, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t walk past it!
If you happen to have the City Pass or the City Sightseeing Pass, a view at the top might already be included! If you want to see a lot of NYC attractions, I always recommend getting a pass since it will help you a ton save money instead of paying for each attraction individually. I think the Sight Seeing Pass is the better deal since it offers more top attractions.
Check Out NYC Pop-Up Exhibits and Art Installations
- ARTECHOUSE NYC: The nation’s first innovative art destination dedicated to the intersection of art, science and technology. Located in Chelsea, NYC, it is one of NYC’s newest hot spots! Get tickets and more information here!
- The Friends Experience: Huge fan of the hit series Friends? Well, now you can get the full Friends experience with newly added original props! Located on 130 East 23rd St (Corner of East 23rd St & Lexington Ave). Find Friends info and tickets here!
- The Color Factory: Make a splash at the Color Factory in Soho, NYC. They opened in 2018 and bring together artists and creatives to work in color. Make sure to get your ticket ahead of time! They do not offer walk-in tickets.
- The Museum of Ice Cream: If ice cream is your jam and you love instagrammable places, then you will want to check out this place out! Experience multi-sensory installations with trained guides that bring to life your most delightful dreams. Get tickets here.
- The Floral Escape: New York’s newest popup screaming I am insta-worthy. If you love floral decorations and taking photos, consider checking them out at Queens Country Farm Museum. Find Floral Escape tickets here.
Eat All The Best NYC Foods
Another one of the best things to do in NYC is to eat like a New Yorker! New York has some of the top restaurants and food, many of which are a must-eat in New York. Some of the best foods to try include pizza, bagels, egg sandwiches, diner food, and Italian!
Getting Around NYC
Now that you know some of the best things to do in NYC, you will need to be able to get around. If you are staying in the City (Manhattan), the best way to get around is walking, using the Subway, Uber/Lyft, or renting a Citibike.
Most of the time using the Subway will be your best bet since traffic in NYC is crazy! The subway is totally safe and you can use this guide to navigate the NYC Subway!
Best Things to Do in NYC Review
Now you are officially ready to see some of the best things NYC has to offer! Don’t forget to also check out Things to Know Before Traveling to NYC, Things New Yorkers Say and What They Mean, and more on my New York Travel page!
This New York Itinerary is jam-packed which can be used as an outline.
Additional NYC Resources
NYC Tours with Get Your Guide (Has become very popular)
NYC Sightseeing Flex Pass (Offers more attractions)