Things To Do In New York City
New York City - “The Big Apple” - is a centre for media, culture, food, fashion, art and finance. Its breathtaking skyline is instantly recognisable as some of the world's most famous buildings call this great concrete jungle home. Ascend the Empire State, see the Chrysler building and access the tallest structure in the Western hemisphere, One World Trade Centre.
When it comes to choosing things to do in New York City you will really will be spoiled for choice.
To make the most of your trip, consider giving the following activities a try:
American Museum of Natural History:
The American Museum of Natural History can be found at the west side of Central Park. This renowned institution is apty surrounded by lush arboreal vegetation; a nice continuation of the adjacent park. Within the complex itself you'll find over 32 million biological, geological and cultural artefacts, as well as amazing lifesize dioramas, objects from outer space and a planetarium.
Big Bus NYC:
From Harlem to Brooklyn, Central Park to the Chrysler Building, the Big Bus New York Tour is an ideal way to travel around all of the Big Apple's top landmarks. You can hop-on and off at stops across four routes, two of which offer a comprehensive overview of Manhattan, one that crosses East River into Brooklyn, and another that visits Harlem.
Big Bus also offer Statue Of Liberty & Ellis Island sightseeing cruises with their Deluxe tickets. Stop off at Pier 83 or South Street Seaport and board one of Statue Cruises' open-top boats.
Explore Famous Districts:
Hundreds of years worth immigrant integration have made New York City is a place of startling cultural diversity. To get a taste of where it all began for many of these 'huddled masses', spend a bit of time exploring the city's notable ethnic enclaves.
• Chinatown and Little Italy:
Chinatown and Little Italy in Manhattan are two of New York's biggest cultural centres. Chinatown is huge, bustling and eclectic, while Little Italy (mostly Mulberry Street) has a charming 'old school NY' feel with numerous quaint restaurants. Both neighbourhoods are close to the up-market shopping district of SoHo and are great for a sightseeing stroll.
In Upper Manhattan the large neighbourhood of Harlem has traditionally housed a large African American population. Despite a history of social problems modern Harlem has undergone significant changes which have contributed to rising gentrification.
Top attractions in the area include The Apollo Theatre, Mosque No. 7 (from which Malcolm X famously preached), and the Harlem Studio Museum, which showcases significant works by artists of African descent. When in Harlem be sure to also check out the Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market, a flea market filled with interesting African goods.
• So Many More:
The total number of districts in New York City is too large to list here, though other significant ones include Crown Heights, Brooklyn and Lower East Side, Manhattan, with their strong Jewish connections, and Koreatown in Midtown Manhattan. You'll find in various parts of the city that Irish culture has made a significant historical impact, and that's without including the annual St Partricks Day celebrations.
The Guggenheim Museum is another Fifth Avenue contemporary art gallery, this time with a special focus on impressionist and post-impressionist works. The building could easily be considered a work of art in its own right- a white washed modernist palace designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Metropolitan Museum of Art:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest and possibly the most diverse art museum in the United States. With 26,000 ancient Egyptian artefacts the Metropolitan houses the largest collection of Egyptian art outside of Cairo. Its 2,500 strong catalogue of European art includes works by Johannes Vermeer, Nicolas Poussin, Caravaggio and Rembrandt.
The main building is located on 5th Avenue, but its dedicated Medieval European art branch, 'The Cloisters' Museum, is situated in Upper Manhattan atop Fort Tryon Park's highest point.
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA):
MoMA’s renowned collection of modern and contemporary art includes Vincent van Gogh’s "The Starry Night" and Andy Warhol’s "Gold Marilyn Monroe", along with works by Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, and many other great artists of our time. The Museum’s collection also showcases photography, film, architecture, design, media, and performance art, and offers shopping and fine and casual dining options.
New York CityPASS:
New York's sights are one of its biggest assets, who could deny the centrality of the Statue of Liberty and the Chrysler Building, but it's also home to some of the world's most visited museums.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Guggenheim Museum are some of the most prestigious institutions in their respective fields, and you can access them cheaply with the New York CityPASS Card.
CityPASS holders are also allowed to board a ferry to Liberty and Ellis Islands, and have a choice of ascending either the Empire State Observatory or accessing the Guggenheim Museum. Thirdly, there's the option of either the 9/11 Memorial & Museum or Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
Not only will the New York CityPASS save you money on entry but most of the aforementioned attractions grant pass holders fast-track entry via special queues or dedicated access points. There's plenty of time to use your pass as well, given that they're valid for 9 days following first use.
NYC Eat And Play Card:
So far we've covered transport and attraction entries, but what about eating, shopping and culture? New York's a lovely place, in fact its iconic attractions are probably its biggest seller. But what short break would be complete without a gander around Macy's or a magical Broadway play? Thankfully that's where the Eat and Play Card comes in!
Book just one of these and you'll be able to save 10-50% off any given purchase for up to 4 people. Like CityPASS, book a voucher online and take the printed copy to a selection of New York City redemption points. Check here for the exact card pick-up locations.
In addition to a potential daily saving of $100+ the card has no time or minimum spend requirements, it's simply there when you need it. Reap the benefits a whole 30 days following first use.
On Location Tours:
New York is easily one of the most filmed cities in the western world; no surprise then, that some of the best activities centre around its endearing on-screen image. On Location Tours run guided excursions spanning a diverse range of genres across the mediums of film and television.
Their 'TV and Movie Sites' tour takes visitors on a coach trip (with walking portions) around prominent shooting locations from the big and small screens. Other tours hone in on a particular series, such as the Sopranos or Sex and the City, and some like the 'Central Park TV & Movie Sites' tour are conducted entirely on foot.
Go Beyond The Main Attractions:
The amount of things to see and do in New York City is virtually boundless, but beyond the main attractions a little inspiration still goes far. Find out how a seasoned Big Apple maven might spend their time in our Alternative NYC Blog.