Thinking about What to see in New York on Your first trip? Looking at the map of the Big Apple, you will surely have a thousand questions: what is the essential? Where are the most typical places?
Don’t worry: we have lived here for years and, so that you can position yourself and enjoy your adventure from the first minute, we have created this list with the 20 best things to do in New York on a first visit.
Although, as you will see on the rest of the web … the list could be endless! Where will you start visiting the Big Apple?
Tourist cards to save in New York. Many of these activities are free. But, for paid ones, calculate if cards such ascompensate you the New York CityPASS, the New York Pass, the Go New York or the Sightseeing Pass.
PREPARE YOUR TRIP WITH OUR DETAILED GUIDES
Here are other very useful guides to prepare your adventure:
- 7-day itinerary through New York. Detailed route for each day and a lot of advice. If you only have 24 hours, here we tell you what to do in New York in one day.
- Preparations to travel to New York. Start organizing your trip with a step-by-step guide.
- Where to sleep in New York. Find recommended hotels in our guide or start checking prices and availability from here.
- What to do for free in New York. Take note of these ideas and tips for saving in New York.
- New York Calendar. Find out what celebrations there are each month and what the weather is in winter, spring, summer and fall.
Or, if you don’t have dates yet, choose the best time to travel to New York with the help of this guide.
- New York tourist card comparison. Which one compensates you more depending on the places you want to visit and the days of travel.
WHAT TO DO IN NEW YORK
Here is a list of things you can do in New York In 2021
1. WALK THROUGH CENTRAL PARK Hit
the trails on foot or by bike, lie on Sheep Meadow with a picnic, paddle on the lake, get excited at the Bethesda Fountain…
The possibilities are endless, but Something is clear: one of the things you have to do in New York is to lose yourself one or more times in Central Park, the park most loved by its inhabitants … And a spectacular oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle!
In the Central Park Guide we propose a walking route and we mark the most beautiful corners of the park on the map.
2. CLIMB TO THE TOP OF THE ROCK
Give your neck a break and instead of looking up at the skyscrapers, climb one of the observatories in New York and see them face to face. The panoramic view of the Big Apple from above is unforgettable!
Start at the wonderful Top of the Rock, in the mythical Rockefeller Center, and you will be right. Although the Empire State Building, Edge and One World will also blow your mind.
Top of the Rock, Empire State, One World or Edge? Discover the pros and cons of each observatory and choose the one that best suits your trip.
3. RIDE THE STATEN ISLAND FERRY
Do you want to see the face of the Statue of Liberty without paying a dollar? Hop on the free Staten Island Ferry.
As you move away from Manhattan, you have gorgeous views of Downtown, even more amazing at dusk or dusk when the skyscrapers light up.
And, although this ferry does not stop at Liberty Island, you will see the Statue of Liberty (and how well it is preserved for its age) closer than from other places in New York.
Getting on the Staten Island Ferry: Terminals, Times, and Route.
4. WALK THE HIGH LINE AND RIDE THE VESSEL
What in the past was an elevated train track over the streets of Manhattan is today the High Line, a several-kilometer garden where flowers grow between the rails.
Walk around it and enjoy nature among skyscrapers, art and the good atmosphere. The High Line will take you to the Hudson Yards neighborhood, where you can climb the futuristic Vessel sculpture (free) or the new Edge Observatory.
In the High Line Guide we explain what you will find in each section, and in the Hudson Yards Guide we tell you everything you can do in the neighborhood.
5. VISIT A MUSEUM (OR SEVERAL!)
The Met, the MoMa or the Museum of Natural History are real New York treasures: you could spend whole days exploring them and you still have nooks and crannies to discover.
But, if you have time, the city is full of incredible museums: the Whitney, the Guggenheim, the Cloisters, the Intrepid Air and Space Museum, the Morgan Library… to name just a few!
Join the free days at museums in New York and little known city museums areworth,The perfect excuse to visit several!
6. FEEL THE PULSE OF TIMES SQUARE
Nowhere in New York is the pace as hectic as it is in Times Square. The screens project luminous advertisements incessantly, the crowds of tourists occupy every inch, the vendors and street artists do not rest …
Passing through Times Square and feeling its pulse and its bustle, especially at night, is one of the things to do in Nueva York yes or yes. But whether to return or not … we leave it up to you!
Get ready to immerse yourself in this iconic place with the Times Square Guide.
7. LIVE A BROADWAY MUSICAL
In the theaters of Times Square and Broadway, night after night mythical musicals and plays are performed that thrill audiences.
For this reason, among the things to do in New York we recommend without hesitation going to a Broadway musical, an incredible experience.
Here you have a compilation with the most famous musicals. Our favorite work is The Lion King: surely you’ve never seen anything like it!
We have all the tricks to buy discounted Broadway tickets, take note!
8. GET EXCITED IN GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL
Entering Grand Central Terminal and getting excited by the grandeur of its lobby is one of the things you cannot miss in New York.
The movement of people to the platforms, the roof and its constellations, the food market, the vaulted galleries…Grand Central is wonderful!
And, very close, you also have the beautiful Chrysler Building, whose lobby can be visited.
in GuideGrand Central Terminal know the history and secrets of the season.
9. CROSS THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE AND WALK DUMBO
Crossing the most famous bridge in New York is essential, although it is better to do it early, because during the day it gets crowded.
Once you arrive in Brooklyn, you can wander the streets of the Dumbo neighborhood and enjoy fabulous views skyline of the Manhattan from the East River or from the Time Out Market.
If you prefer to cross from Manhattan to Brooklyn without the crowds, you will also have good views from the Manhattan and Bridgethe Williamsburg Bridge.
Here’s how to cross the Brooklyn Bridge on foot and here’s our guide to visiting Dumbo.
10. TAKE A TOUR THROUGH THE CITY
Choose from the many excursions that you have at your disposal and enjoy discovering New York with the help of an expert: you can opt for walking tours through different neighborhoods, for the tour of contrasts, for a free tour, for the tours of movie sets…
And how about flying over the Big Apple like a bird? The helicopter ride over New York is one of the most amazing experiences you can have!
Here are the 10 most famous excursions in New York. If you prefer, you can book your tours in Spanish from here.
11. RELAX IN BRYANT PARK
Bryant Park is a must on your list of things to do in New York: amid the bustle of Manhattan, it is a green oasis where New Yorkers flock to eat, relax and enjoy.
In summer you can see a movie between skyscrapers in thecycle open-air cinema, and, in winter, stroll through the beautiful Christmas market, see theChristmas tree lit and ice skating.
In addition, right next to it you have the headquarters of the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue, another of the essential places in the city.
Find out all about the park in our Bryant Park Guide.
12. REDISCOVER THE WORLD TRADE CENTER
The World Trade Center is one of the areas of New York that has changed the most in recent years, and it will surely surprise and move you.
On the one hand, the monuments and museums remember those who disappeared in the tragic 9/11.
But, on the other hand, the area continues to advance, with skyscrapers such as the One World Observatory or the futuristic Oculus station and shopping center.
In the World Trade Center Guide we tell you everything you can visit there.
13. ENTER THE CHELSEA MARKET
To escape from a rainy day in New York, to eat a good lobster, to discover where Oreo cookies were invented, to lose yourself among dozens of original stores …
Any excuse is good to visit the market of Chelsea! And it is not the only market in Manhattan to eat: at the neighboring Gansevoort Market, at the Gotham West Market or at Canal St Market, to name just a few, you can also choose from some great food stalls.
Take a virtual walk through the market in the Chelsea Market Guide.
14. GO TO AN NBA GAME (OR OTHER SPORTS)
Watching an NBA, baseball, ice hockey or football game in New York is a typical experience that you will enjoy to the fullest even if you are not passionate about sports .
From the moment the anthem is played until the fans go home, the stadium is a lively, 100% American experience!
Here are the dates and how to buy tickets for the NBA, for baseball, for American football or for ice hockey. You can also go through the sports guide in New York.
15. RISE TO THE STATUE OF LIBERTY
One of the most typical things to do in New York is to visit the Statue of Liberty. When you get off the ferry at Liberty Island, not only will you have her face to face, but you can even climb the pedestal or crown and take in the views of Manhattan.
And then the same ferry will bring you closer to Ellis Island, where you can enjoy the moving Museum of Immigration.
Even so, we recommend it only if you have more than a week in the city, since it is a very crowded place and it takes several hours to visit both islands.
Take note of how to visit the Statue of Liberty and climb to the crown.
16. WALK THE 5TH AVENUE TO THE ROCKEFELLER CENTER
The most emblematic avenue in New York is so extensive that it has sections of all kinds: residential, quiet, commercial …
Even so, the mythical section is the one that goes from Central Park to Rockefeller Center, where the Plaza hotel meet, shops as select as Tiffany’s (thestore breakfast with diamonds) or Saks 5th Ave.
There you will also find amazing places, such as Apple or Abercrombie, and the majestic St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
17. GO CRAZY SHOPPING OR IN THE OUTLETS
The stores in the city are so tempting that you will surely fall into their networks at some point: electronics, fashion, stationery, sweets … Follow the link and get to know the best stores in New York!
Also, if you fancy an intensive day looking for bargains on clothes, a good option is to visit one of the outlets New York, such as Woodbury Common, Jersey Gardens or Empire Outlets, in Staten Island.
Crazy about clothes? These are the best stores to buy clothes in New York.
18. EXPERIENCE THE VILLAGE AND WASHINGTON SQUARE ATMOSPHERE
Strolling through Greenwich Village, with its thousand and one restaurants, pubs, shops and music clubs, you will soak up a lively and authentic side of New York.
There you will find one of the most charismatic squares in the city, Washington Square. You will not only see the famous arch, but you will also enjoy the street performers, musicians and the good atmosphere that always floods the square. A cool place for a break!
Also discover the neighboring neighborhood, the West Village, full of beautiful little houses and settings such as Friends’ apartment or Carrie’s house in Sex and the City.
19. SAVE A GOOD BURGER OR TYPICAL DISH
Something you have to do yes or yes in New York is to sink your teeth into their typical dishes: a good hamburger, a pizza slice, a bagel with cream cheese…
If you have an incurable sweet tooth, you also have to try the best donuts or the best cupcakes. And, to end the day on the right foot, how about a cocktail on a rooftop with incredible views?
Here are 19 typical New York foods and where to try them. Also, in Where to eat in New York we recommend cheap restaurants, places for brunch, patisseries …
20. SAVE TIME FOR BROOKLYN AND THE OTHER DISTRICTS
Although on a first trip you will have a lot to do in Manhattan and its neighborhoods, the island is only one of the 5 boroughs of the city (Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx and Manhattan).
As we tell you about the mistakes we make when traveling to New York, beyond the Big Apple you will find an authentic city that has little to do with skyscrapers.
We recommend starting with Brooklyn, a district with neighborhoods as modern as Williamsburg or Dumbo, and others with as much charm as Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Greenpoint … Another option for a first approach is the New York Contrasts Tour (or the VIP Contrast Tour).
Discover what they are like and what to see in the 5 boroughs of New York.
So far the Top 20 of the best things to do in New York!