If there is one city in the U.S that has consistently wowed visitors, it has to be New York. The numbers clearly show it with the New York Times saying over 61.8 million tourists came to the city in 2017 alone. The number of visitors keeps rising and for many good reasons. You see, New York has everything for everyone and this makes it a traveler’s dream. Whether you are after cultural attractions, nightlife, amazing views, history, art, music or anything else, you will find it in the Big Apple. New York City bursts at the seams with irrepressible energy and it has an irresistible pull that keeps visitors streaming.
If you have plans to visit the city, get ready to be dazzled. In fact, anyone who has been here will tell you the experience can be overwhelming. To make things easier for you, this article highlights some of the top attractions and must-do things for a first time visitor. It will help you plan an exhaustive itinerary and do justice to the city. Keep reading.
Top Places to Visit and Things to Do
There is so much to see and do in this big city but the following are some of the must-see places and must-do things:
- Times Square: Of course this has to top the list because most visitors associate the city with this area anyway. It is where the action happens with the frenetic crowds and a cacophony of flashing lights making the Square irresistible to visit. The Times Square always has something going on and is a microcosm of the city itself.
- Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge: The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in New York and you can enjoy the sense of freedom that one feels when walking across it. Stretching over East River, the amazing bridge connects Manhattan and Brooklyn and the 40 minutes’ walk will give you an exhilarating view of the city’s skyline. It is a breathtaking experience and once you shouldn’t miss.
- Visit the Museum of Modern Art: Everyone who visits the Museum of Modern Art is awestruck by the masterpieces they find here. It is one of the most popular museums in the world and you will enjoy the view of the building itself. Inside you will come across some of the greatest work of arts including Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. There is a maze of glass walkways which allows visitors to enjoy different views of the artworks on display.
- Visit the National September 11 Memorial & Museum: This museum has now emerged as another top spot for visitors who want to understand the history of the city. It not only serves to pay tribute to more than 3,000 people who died in the 2001 terrorist attack. The beautiful Memorial’s twin reflecting pools and manmade waterfalls stand on the same spot where the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. You will get to understand more about the attacks through real-time recordings, displays, authentic artifacts.
- Central Park: The best way to describe Central Park is as an urbanized Eden. It is a perfect place to unwind and relax in between your busy tour of the city. It is a cool place that contrasts sharply with all the surrounding noise and bustle of the big city. You will enjoy the wide open spaces, shady trees, ponds and lakes with equally beautiful buildings to match. Central Park has ranked top among the top tourists’ attractions in New York and due to its location and close proximity to other attractions. The 843-acre green space has multiple attractions including the Conservatory Garden, Bethesda Fountain, Alice in Wonderlandstatue,Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, Strawberry Fields and Wollman Memorial Rink among others.
- Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island: If there is one landmark that defines New York City, it has to be Statue of Liberty and you have to make a point of seeing it in all its glory. Approaching the Statue of Liberty from every angle gives a sense of wonder and you can opt for a cruise or use the Staten Island ferry for the most magnificent views.
There are of course many other amazing attractions and things to do in NYC including catching a show at the Broadway circuit, visiting Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History off Central Park West, visit Empire State Building in midtown Manhattan, stroll by or watch a performance at the Metropolitan Opera House, visit the beautiful Grand Central Terminal, Bryant Park in Manhattan, check out the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, visit the ever popular Radio City Music Hall, walk along the High Line, Whitney Museum of American Art and many more attractions.
Essential Things to Remember When Visiting NYC
Now every city has its unique characteristics and for New York, there is a handful of these. Take a look:
- If you want to explore the city comprehensively, then try walking instead of the expensive and slow yellow cabs. As such bring a good pair of walking shoes.
- Public transport and the subway will get you where you want much faster. Get a 7-day metro card. At $30
- Avoid bringing your car to New York
- Make an Itinerary of all places you would like to visit
- Get the New York Pass or City Pass if you want to visit many attractions
- Avoid Times Square during rush hour
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to and from the airport
- Dine at restaurants A rating from the NYC Health Department
- Don’t try to cram an NYC tour in a day. 3 days minimum will work better.
- New York is expensive during the holiday season but also magical
- You can tour New York on the cheap if you research well
- Enjoy one thing at a time and don’t try to visit all landmarks in a single visit
- Beware of unsafe neighborhoods and do your research beforehand.
- Avoid tourist traps or you will fall for a scam
- Go to attractions early in the morning or late at night.
Well, New York has so much to offer every visitor and it is virtually impossible to visit all the top attraction in a single visit. You have to keep coming back for more. You can start with these top attractions and use the tips to get the most out of your trip.