If you ever find yourself wondering, “What on Earth can I possibly do in this vast, chaotic, and occasionally pigeon-dominated city today?” – well, you’re in for a treat. NYC isn’t just a place where a hotdog costs $6 and people have passionate debates over subway lines; it’s also teeming with activities every single day. Dive into my cheeky, no-nonsense guide to “Things to do in NYC today.”
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Whether you’re looking for something eyebrow-raising, heartwarming, or just plain bizarre, the city that never sleeps is ready to surprise you.
My tip: Think your plans are set? Think again. Unearth the best things to do in NYC this week and, oh boy, the unmissable things to do in NYC this weekend. Click if you dare to upgrade your city game!
Best Events in NYC today
Wondering what events are happening in NYC today? These are the most unique, fun, free and best events taking place right now in New York.
Things to do in NYC today
And here comes a whole lot of inspiration on what you can do in NYC today:
01 Bryant Park Winter Village
Starting in October (and running through March), it is time once again for the best winter market in New York City to open its doors. The Winter Village in Bryant Park is not only the largest Christmas market in the city but also by far the nicest on account of its adjacent ice rink and places to shop and eat. This along with its amazing location among all the skyscrapers makes for an amazing Christmas experience.
02 Visit a Broadway Show
The Broadway musical Hamilton tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, the “10 dollar founding father without a father”, who came to the United States as an orphan after a hurricane had destroyed the small Caribbean island he called his home. In the time span of almost 30 years (1773-1804) he moved to the United States, overcame poverty, fought in the American War of Independence, and played a major role in the United States’ first government while facing struggles and rivalry. That, however, is only one side of the story. In the musical, you will also learn about his personal life, including friendships, love, family, and the country’s first affair. Even after Hamilton “throws away his shot” in the duel of 1804, his legacy lives on.
Hamilton is only one of many great Broadway shows. These are the best Broadway shows in NYC right now.
03 Explore the city from above on a helicopter flight
The Manhattan Sky Tour is the perfect helicopter ride for first-time visitors to NYC! Seeing the skyscrapers and streets of Manhattan from above is an experience that you will definitely not forget any time soon. Seeing NYC’s main attractions from the sky gives you a completely different perspective and provides you with the chance to take some amazing and unique photos of the concrete jungle below you.
My tip: these are our favorite helicopter flights in NYC.
04 Enjoy a delicious Brunch in NYC
When it comes to the best brunch in NYC, Bubby’s is a Tribeca neighborhood diner that offers a unique experience. From 8 am to 4 pm daily, indulge in their mouthwatering, cooked-from-scratch dishes. Don’t miss their must-try Crab Cake Benedict: perfectly cooked crab cakes topped with rich béarnaise sauce, served with sautéed spinach and your choice of home fries or salad.
Feeling adventurous? Though it’s not one of your run-of-the-mill breakfast sandwiches, try the Crab Cake Sandwich for a delightful twist on brunch. Bubby’s restaurant has been delighting locals for over 30 years with their exceptional food. So, make sure to visit Bubby’s in Tribeca and experience their delicious brunch for yourself!
Looking for more brunch spots in NYC? Check out our article with the best brunch spots in NYC!
05 Visit Governors Island
When the weather is beautiful in New York City and you want to escape for a moment from the noise, the hustle and bustle, then a trip to Governors Island is something to consider. The Governors Island Ferry will take you across the East River for $4.
Since 2021 Governors Island is open all year round!
06 Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge & discover DUMBO
The Brooklyn Bridge is used by over 120,000 vehicles across its 6 lanes, 4000 pedestrians, and 3000 bikes, per day. The views of NYC from the Brooklyn Bridge are spectacular and it is an absolute necessity that you walk across the bridge during your trip to NYC. Especially at sunrise and sunset, this is one of NYC’s most photogenic spots. Just be prepared to be surrounded by a bunch of people.
Start in Manhattan and walk towards Brooklyn. Don’t forget to take some nice pictures of the skyline. Once you arrive in Brooklyn, walk to the left and discover the famous DUMBO area. The best thing about this activity? You can do it all year round and it’s completely FREE.
07 Dive into NYC's Art Scene and visit a gallery
Visiting an art gallery in NYC today is one of the best experiences not only for art lovers because it offers a captivating journey through diverse forms of artistic expression, providing a glimpse into the rich cultural tapestry of the city. It allows individuals to immerse themselves in thought-provoking and inspiring works of art, fostering creativity, introspection, and a deeper appreciation for human expression.
These are the best art galleries in NYC right now.
08 Visit the Top of the Rock for incredible views of the city and Central Park
The observation deck on top of the Rockefeller Center (Top of the Rock) is one of the most popular attractions in NYC. With amazing views of Manhattan in both directions, it is one of the most iconic spots to take pictures of NYC from. This is the perfect place in NYC to watch a sunset! With amazing views of both the Empire State Building standing tall among Midtown Manhattan and Central Park in the other direction, this is our favorite observation deck and view in NYC!
09 Experience the wonder of the NYPL's impressive array of unique collection
The New York Public Library is one of the most famous buildings in NYC. Having featured in countless films and photographs, this is one of the best public libraries in the United States. The New York Public Library is not only a place for students, professors, and bookworms but also a must-visit for tourists of the Big Apple.
The main building is located in Bryant Park, but in total, the NYPL has 92 locations throughout the city. This library is the second largest in the US and houses around 53 million items.
10 Have a drink in a rooftop bar
Visiting a rooftop bar in NYC is one of the best things to do today as it offers a unique vantage point to soak in the city’s breathtaking skyline while enjoying drinks and socializing in a trendy, open-air atmosphere. It combines the thrill of a great view with the vibrant nightlife, creating a memorable experience that captures the essence of the city’s energy. These are the best rooftop bars in NYC right now.
The bar Dear Irving on Hudson is a real insider tip. Located very close to Times Square, you can look down on Manhattan’s “urban canyons” from here and be relatively undisturbed. The bar is small and cozy and not yet as crowded as many others in the neighborhood. The cocktail menu is not that big, but the cocktails are really good.
11 Visit the 9/11 Memorial
Ground Zero has now become a place for quiet reflection. With two huge pools to commemorate the lives lost during 9/11, the beautiful memorial attracts people from far and wide. NYC will never forget 9/11 and the memorial is the perfect embodiment of this spirit.
12 Immerse yourself into the world of Friends
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the show Friends, and if you’re a fan like me, then this Friends experience is most likely for you.
After a Friends pop-up store successfully ran in Soho in 2019 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the series, they decided to make it permanent. Now you can find “The FRIENDS™ Experience New York” in the Flatiron District.
On two floors you can take your picture in front of the famous Central Perk café or the orange couch, see many original props worth seeing and store to your heart’s content in the FRIENDS store. It’s a great place to bring your family, kids and/or friends!
13 Stroll down the beautiful High Line
There are few parks as unique as the High Line. The elevated freight rail line was repurposed as a public green space that opened in 2009 and now offers amazing views of the city, as well as a place to relax and unwind. Its plant life is based directly on what was growing there while it was abandoned, giving this park a unique and interesting atmosphere! The High Line stretches from The Meatpacking District all the way to Hudson Yards-34th Street.
Strolling down the High Line is one of the best things to do today in NYC because it offers a tranquil escape from the city’s hustle and bustle, allowing you to meander through beautifully landscaped gardens, and art installations, and enjoy elevated views of the urban landscape. It’s a serene and scenic way to immerse yourself in nature and modern architecture right in the heart of Manhattan.
14 Discover your inner secret agent at Spyscape
For a few years now, the SPYSCAPE Spy Museum has been one of the most popular attractions in Midtown Manhattan. It is the first interactive spy museum in the Big Apple. Get ready for some 5,600 square meters of pure excitement, all designed by the former director of training for the British Secret Service.
15 Attend one of the big sports events in New York
Attending a sports event in NYC is one of the best things to do today because the city offers a dynamic range of sporting experiences, from football and baseball to basketball and ice hockey. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just looking to enjoy the electric atmosphere, cheering for your favorite team alongside passionate New Yorkers creates unforgettable moments of camaraderie and excitement.
16 Indulge your appetite at Chelsea Market
The first address for the gourmets among you is the Chelsea Market. The building was once a biscuit factory and the place where the famous Oreo biscuits were invented. Today you will find bakeries, wine merchants, greengrocers, a fish shop, sushi bars, a butcher’s shop with a steak restaurant, and much more. My tip: Try one of the absolutely delicious tacos at Los Tacos No. 1! Want to find more good food markets? Check out my article about the best food markets in NYC.
17 Get a tattoo!
Getting a tattoo in NYC is one of the coolest things to do today because it allows you to take home a deeply personal and unique souvenir of your time in the city, permanently capturing your memories and experiences in an art form that reflects your individuality. With a wealth of talented tattoo artists and diverse styles to choose from, NYC offers the perfect canvas for creating lasting, meaningful body art.
Red Baron Ink West is located in the beautiful West Village, right on the border to Chelsea. From our own experience, we can say that every wish is taken care of and the artists are always striving to make their customers happy. With an hourly rate of $250, this studio isn’t inexpensive, but it’s all about tattoos that will be a lifetime decoration for your skin. You feel like you’re in good hands here & you’ll want to come back. This studio is an absolute recommendation!
If you want to get a tattoo in NYC, check out my article on the best tattoo studios in NYC.
18 Go shopping in one of my favorite neighborhoods in NYC: SoHo
Shopping in SoHo is one of the best things to do today in NYC because it offers a unique blend of high-end boutiques, trendy shops, and artistic flair in a charming neighborhood setting. Explore fashion-forward stores, discover emerging designers, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere while indulging in retail therapy amidst historic cobblestone streets. We love SoHo because this neighborhood has so much to offer. Wondering what else you can do in SoHo? Check out my article about the best things to do in SoHo!
19 Go to Roosevelt Island to see the Smallpox Memorial Hospital
The Smallpox Hospital Roosevelt Island, also commonly referred to as the Renwick Ruin, is a striking Gothic Revival landmark located on the southern end of Roosevelt Island, NYC. Constructed in the mid-19th century, it was once a hospital for smallpox patients and is now an abandoned structure that remains a popular destination for history enthusiasts and photographers.
For the best view of the Smallpox Hospital Roosevelt Island, we suggest taking the Roosevelt Island Tramway. Not only does the tramway pass right by the hospital, but it also offers stunning views of the NYC skyline and East River. Although the ruin is currently closed to the public, visitors can take a short walk from the tramway station to explore the surrounding park, which offers a peaceful escape from the city.
20 Discover the marvelous Art Déco architecture in NYC
The Empire State Building is the most famous attraction in New York City and only one out of many Art Déco buildings in the Big Apple. When most people think of NYC, this landmark is usually the first thing that pops into their heads. It’s an iconic skyscraper and has been arguably the face of the city. It should definitely be a part of every trip to the city since it features two observation decks! Here’s a fun fact: The Empire State Building even has its own zip code! (NY 10118)
Tip: These are the most beautiful Art Déco buildings in New York City.
21 Visit Central Park Zoo
A zoo in the middle of Manhattan! The visit is particularly suitable if you are traveling with children. In Central Park Zoo you can admire animals from all over the world.
- November 5, 2023 – March 28, 2024: daily 10:00 AM – 4:30 PM
- March 29, 2024 – November 2, 2024: Mon – Fri 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM | Weekends & Holidays 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
22 Buy a magic wand in the Harry Potter Store
Harry Potter fans listen up! The opening of the Harry Potter store in New York’s Flatiron District was celebrated with a huge media hype. Taste the famous butter beer, fly through London with Hagrid, or solve the mystery of how to reach Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after all (these are virtual reality tours).
The Harry Potter Store has been designed with a lot of attention to detail and should therefore definitely be on your itinerary if you are as fascinated by the stories of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley as I am!
23 Discover your inner secret agent at the Spyscape Museum
For a few years now, the SPYSCAPE Spy Museum has been one of the most popular attractions in Midtown Manhattan. Not for nothing is it the first interactive spy museum in the Big Apple. Get ready for some 5,600 square meters of pure excitement, all designed by the former director of training for the British Secret Service.
24 Spend some money at The Shops at Hudson Yards
The Shops at Hudson Yards is the newest shopping experience in NYC. Here you’ll find luxury designer stores and fine dining restaurants.
25 Take a stroll through Chinatown
When walking around Chinatown there is never a dull moment. There are always things to do in Chinatown NYC. It can get confusing when getting around. The streets are not numbered like the rest of Manhattan and there are some roads that aren’t in a grid. Also, always be aware of your surroundings as Chinatown can get really busy and really crowded fast. When you walk around, make sure to check out the different restaurants and markets. The food here is absolutely amazing.
26 Get to know the neighborhood around DUMBO
Home to many wealthy families and business people is the beautiful area in Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo. In this neighborhood you’ll find tree-lined streets, historic brownstone houses, breathtaking views of Lower Manhattan and super stylish lofts in abandoned industrial areas at the foot of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. This mixture gives this area of Brooklyn its special charm.
27 Eat one of the best Tacos in NYC!
Los Tacos No. 1 in Times Square is rightly very popular: in the „standing snack bar“, everything revolves around tacos & quesadillas. Wonderfully traditional, cheap, and really delicious. What’s special about it? The handmade tacos taste like in Mexico, because instead of wheat flour (as it is unfortunately often done for cost reasons) real corn flour is used for production. My tip: Take the tacos with grilled cactus!
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I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide. Also check out my hotel finder for New York!