With famous New York landmarks like the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center or the Brooklyn Bridge around every corner, it can be hard picking the attractions that you want to see on your trip to NYC.
Below you will find a list of our favorite attractions that we think you have to see in New York City. In addition to that, I’ve included really beautiful and unique places that you should definitely visit! Further down, you will find the 👉 best New York attractions on a map.
TOP Attractions in New York
New York has so much to offer! If you don’t have much time, you should visit these eight TOP attractions in New York:
- Summit One Vanderbilt
- Edge Hudson Yards
- Central Park
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Times Square
- Statue of Liberty
- The 9/11 Memorial
- High Line Park
You can easily do these in two days. My list of the best sights in New York below in the article is ideal for a visit of 5 days to a week.
Buy New York sightseeing tickets online
New York City is just as busy as it was before the pandemic – in fact, it feels a little busier now that many are taking their postponed New York trips. Many of New York’s attractions require you to book time slots in order to visit them. Therefore, you should buy your ticket online in advance! These are the most visited attractions in NYC:
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island
Empire State Building & Skip-the-Line
One World Observatory & Skip-the-Line
9/11 Memorial & Museum
SUMMIT One Vanderbilt
Edge Observation Deck
Top of the Rock
Metropolitan Museum of Art
My budget tip: many attractions are included in the New York sightseeing passes – so you can save a lot of money on tickets. Which New York Pass is the best for you, I show you in my New York Pass comparison.
New York Attractions Map
Our tips for visiting the top New York attractions on a budget!
If you are on a family holiday, or visiting the city with a group of friends and need to book 4 tickets for each attraction, or are alone but just have a tight budget set for your trip, we have something really special for you. NYC sells discount attraction passes which allow you to visit all of the must-see NYC attractions for less while giving you the flexibility of deciding what you want to see once you get there!
Offering discounts of up to 70% on many sights, tours, and attractions New York City sightseeing passes are the ultimate way to save money. Find out which one will save you the most based on the attractions you want to see here:
These are my favorite NYC attractions
While the mention of NYC undoubtedly brings to mind many of its famous buildings and attractions, it can be very difficult picking which ones you want to visit during your trip. Our list below of the best attractions in New York is in no particular order and is based on our experiences with each attraction as well as what we think makes for a good trip to the Big Apple!
The Edge Observation DeckBuilding in Hudson YardsOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
The Hudson Yards observation deck called Edge is New York’s newest and highest open observation deck. It opened in March 2020 and we were there – the view from up here is just sensational, and through the glass floor you can see over 100 floors straight down!
Are you looking for the ultimate thrill? Then check out the Edge City Climb!
Empire State BuildingBuilding in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
The first of our must-see New York attractions is the world-renowned Empire State Building. The view from the observation platform of the Empire State Building will take your breath away and is a sight that you won’t soon forget. An absolute must-see during a visit to New York! We have compiled everything you need to know about the Empire State Building, including our tips & tricks, important info regarding ticket options, and whether going to the 102nd floor is really worth it.
OUR TIP: EITHER GO REALLY EARLY OR VERY LATE AT NIGHT!
That’s when queues are not as long. Even better – Tickets with Fast Lane access are available here – or get one of the New York discounts passes that includes tickets to the Empire State Building!
Brooklyn BridgeBuilding in DumboOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
An official city landmark and the second of our must-see New York attractions: the Brooklyn Bridge. Be sure to walk across the bridge to enjoy the fabulous views onto the city skyline, especially in the early evening hours! The view from Brooklyn across the East River is also spectacular and is definitely a must-see. New tours are available that take you across the bridge into Brooklyn and these are quite popular. You can find the most popular tours on this page.
Our tip: Make a day out of it! We recommend you check out the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge Park and spend the afternoon walking around DUMBO if you time it right you can head back across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset when the views are especially beautiful. If you get hungry, don’t pass on pizza at Juliana’s, the line may be long but this is definitely some of the best pizza you can get in NYC!
Top of the RockBuilding in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
The next activity on our list of must-see New York attractions is the observation platform on the top of the Rockefeller Center. The Top of the Rock observation deck will give you fantastic outdoor views of New York and is one of our favorite places to view the city from above.
The best thing about this observation deck is that you have a great view of downtown Manhattan, the Empire State Building as well as Central Park in the other direction. This attraction ranks high among our top 10 things to do as this is where most iconic pictures of the Empire State Building are shot from. If you’re in town during the holiday, make sure to check out Rockefeller Plaza and the famous Christmas tree in NYC.
OUR TIP: GO IN THE LATE AFTERNOON!
The Top of the Rock observation platform is also less crowded than the Empire State Building making the view much more enjoyable. Tickets for the observation platform are available here – or get one of the New York discount passes that include a ticket to the Top of the Rock!
9/11 Memorial and MuseumMuseum in Financial DistrictOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
The 9/11 Memorial Museum is located at the 9/11 National Memorial and is probably one of the most emotional museums in New York. It is mostly located underground and displays debris from the former Twin Towers in addition to many of the personal belongings of those buried. Among them are fire trucks deformed by heat, a part of the antenna of the North Tower, a scorched elevator motor, the saving stone staircase (Survivor’s Staircase) as well as remains of sidewalks, street signs, bicycles and baby carriages that were in front of the World Trade Center.
One World ObservatoryBuilding in Financial DistrictOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
One of the newest activities in this list of top 10 New York attractions is the observation platform on top of the One World Trade Center. The OWTC is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and is close to where the Twin Towers once stood.
OUR TIP: GO FIRST THING IN THE MORNING OR IN THE EVENING!
With a height of 1,776 feet (541 meters), the One World Observatory gives you amazing views of Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is also one of the best New York attractions that we highly recommend visiting. You can order tickets online here!
High LinePark in Meatpacking DistrictOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
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 off 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.
Times SquareOther Attraction in Theatre DistrictOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
There is no doubt that you cannot miss this must-see New York attraction. Times Square always has something going on and is packed with people at all times of the day. Being in the middle of the buzz and watch the thousands of people and cars go by is definitely an experience.
The best of Times Square has to offer, however, is at night. That’s when the LED screens light up the whole square as if it were broad daylight! There is also a pedestrian zone where you can sit down and relax or several rooftop bars right around the corner that offer sensational views!
Staten Island FerryCruise in Staten IslandAdd to myNY added
Manhattan’s Wall Street is home to the New York Stock Exchange and the headquarters of numerous banks. It is definitely one of the most popular 10 things to fo in NYC on this list, as it has been featured in countless movies and tv shows. One icon of Wall Street is the Charging Bull statue, which is located near the Stock Exchange.
Central ParkPark in Midtown ManhattanOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
Central Park spans from Midtown Manhattan all the way up to Harlem. There are about 340 hectares of land and is a popular meeting place for New Yorkers. With about 35 million visitors per year, the man-made park is an attraction not only for tourists. New Yorkers love Central Park and its tranquility. Many events are held here such as the NYC Marathon. There are also tons of green spaces, walking lanes, and bike lanes. Central Park is home to Sheep’s Meadow, Bow Bridge, Bethesda Terrace, Central Park Zoo, and many other things as well.
Bryant ParkPark in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
Bryant Park is located right in central Manhattan and is a quiet oasis between 40th and 42nd Street. Bryant Park is right in the cetner of Midtown Manhattan between 40th and 42nd Street, yet it still lends you the peace and quiet you need to get away for a few moments from the bustling city. Withg many small cafés dotted throughout the park this is the perfect place to unwind or relax when the weather is nice.
Brooklyn Bridge ParkPark in DumboAdd to myNY added
You will find the beginning of Brooklyn Bridge Park just below Brooklyn Bridge. With amazing views of the skyline across the water and some great places to sit and enjoy the view, this park is a must-visit! For those of you who like running, this is an amazing place to do so, especially with the amazing Manhattan skyline view. There are also tons of green spaces, basketball, volleyball courts, and soccer fields.
The Vessel Hudson YardsBuilding in Hudson YardsAdd to myNY added
The Vessel is an attraction in the Hudson Yards – and it’s free! Designed by British Thomas Heatherwick (designer of the “Rolling Bridge and UK Pavilion at Expo 2010), “The Vessel” offers around 2,500 steps to climb up and down. The symmetrical steel structure, connected by 154 interwoven stair segments, attracts tourists from all over the world to climb the vertical distance of about one mile!
Note: The Vessel is unfortunately still closed at the moment. You can only enter at the bottom, the stairs are still closed and it is not known if and when they will be open to the public again.
One Vanderbilt The SummitBuilding in Midtown ManhattanOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
The New York City skyline is one of the most famous and recognizable skylines in the world. It’s a city filled with skyscrapers and tall buildings. In most recent years, it has been expanding which made way for new observation decks. The newest observation deck is located at the top of the One Vanderbilt Building and is called The Summit. This deck is the second-highest outdoor deck in NYC which follows the Edge and has been open since October 2021.
Flatiron BuildingBuilding in Flatiron District
New York Public LibraryBuilding in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
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 Sates. The New York Public Library is not only a place for students, professors, and bookworms but also a must visit for toruists of the Big Apple.
Grand Central TerminalOther Attraction in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
You can’t visit New York City and not have a peek of the stunning Grand Central Station. The Grand Central Station is the largest train station in the world and is the busiest building in New York City in terms of visitors.
Did you know: the painting on the ceiling (image of the sky) was painted in its mirror image. The painter accidentally held the image upside down! The official reason, of course, is that this effect was by design. The painter claimed that the image reflects God’s view of the sky from the celestial sphere, i.e., from above, and not from below. It’s a must-see and absolutely worth going.
Roosevelt Island TramwayOther Tours in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
This is one of my favorite things to do in New York City and should be on your list if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a few hours. Most NYC visitors don’t know that we actually have a tramway leaving from Manhattan, the Roosevelt Island Tramway. The final destination is Roosevelt Island, which is a small island between Manhattan and Queens. While riding the tramway is already an attraction on its own, Roosevelt Island is worth exploring as well.
American Museum of Natural HistoryMuseum in Upper West SideAdd to myNY added
The American Museum of Natural History is one of the more popular museums in NYC. If the name sounds recognizable it’s because the museum was the center of attention in the movie, Night at the Museum featuring Ben Stiller. Regardless of it’s Hollywood fame, the Natural History Museum is a huge institution that features numerous exhibits. This is a great place for families with kids so they can learn about the world’s geography, plants, different animal species and many other things.
The American Museum of Natural History is located in the Upper West Side in Manhattan and is the largest natural history museum in the world.
Domino ParkPark in WilliamsburgAdd to myNY added
This beautiful park opened up in Williamsburg in 2018. It’s called Domino park because the former Domino Sugar factory was located at that very spot. Now, it’s filled with greenery, food vendors and a playground for kids. It is located directly on the East River and you have a great view of the city from here. The park invites you to play volleyball or have a picnic.
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)Museum in Midtown ManhattanOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
The Museum of Modern Art houses a variety of contemporary artworks ranging from architecture and design to photography, paintings, and sculptures. Designed by Yoshio Taniguchi, the Museum of Modern Art reopened after renovations. Coinciding with MoMA’s seventy-fifth anniversary, the museum opened its redesigned space for exhibitions, education, and scholarly research. It is a must-do if you’re into art. Especially after their reopening, it is really worth it going.
MoMA has a reputation for displaying the world’s finest collection of modern and contemporary art. The MoMA reopening will bring new galleries and spaces for performances and events to the visitors. Visitors can expect a bigger, more diverse MoMA after the reopening. Masterpieces have been cleaned and touched up; galleries are completely reorganized. Read more about what has changed at the MoMA in New York City here.
Guggenheim MuseumMuseum in Upper East SideOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
First off, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is an architectural masterpiece. Second, but most importantly, it is the permanent home of a large collection of art named after its founder. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright the bizarrely shaped building is one of the most famous in NYC. Not only is the outside spectacular, but it is constantly expanding its permanent collection. Also, many special exhibitions are showcased here throughout the years. It is definitely worth a visit!
Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island (Ferry & Stop)Cruise in The BatteryOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
The fact that the Statue of Liberty is missing from the top 10 list is not an accident. It is always too busy and crowded and you can take much better pictures of the Statue from further away. Instead, we recommend you take a boat tour around Manhattan that makes a brief loop around the Statue of Liberty giving you a good photo opportunity, or take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry!
Just recently, there is a new museum, the Statue of Liberty Museum, that opened on Liberty Island. It tells you everything about the history of the Statue of Liberty. First-timers often visit the Statue of Liberty. Be aware though that it will take away at least 4-6 hours of your day if you want to see everything from the Statue of Liberty to the Immigration Museum.
A beautiful places to visit in NYC: Grand BanksSea Food Restaurant in TribecaOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
Water, a great view of Manhattan and a great atmosphere – the location is simply the best. You are sitting on a historic ship called F/V Sherman Zwicker on the Hudson River and can enjoy New York from the water when the weather is fine. The place also serves great drinks and seafood.
Governors IslandOther Attraction in Outside of New York CityAdd to myNY added
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!
Jane's CarouselOther Attraction in DumboAdd to myNY added
In the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge Park there is a beautiful carousel for young and old all year round. From there you can also enjoy the great view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge.
Pier 54 - Little IslandOther Attraction in Meatpacking District
So beautiful: Gallow Green RooftopRooftop Bar in ChelseaAdd to myNY added
Gallow Green is a unique rooftop bar located above McKittrick Hotel. What makes it so special is its quaint and green atmosphere. The whole bar is overgrown with foliage and certainly does its name justice: It looks like a garden! Not to be forgotten are the delicious drinks that are served there. It’s even listed in our Rooftop Bar Guide as one of the 43 Best Rooftop Bars in New York.
Roosevelt Island TramwayOther Tours in Midtown Manhattan
One of the most instagrammed places in NYC: DUMBOOther Attraction in DumboAdd to myNY added
Don’t forget to capture the most famous photo on Washington Street in Dumbo: With the Manhattan Bridge and the tiny Empire State Building in the background, the street is popular with all tourists to take the perfect photo. Manhattan Bridge is the second famous bridge in Dumbo. If you like, you can also cross it on foot and enjoy the great view of the skyline as well as the Brooklyn Bridge from there.
Wall StreetOther Attraction in Financial DistrictAdd to myNY added
Manhattan’s Wall Street is home to the New York Stock Exchange and the headquarters of numerous banks. It is definitely one of the most popular things to do in NYC on this list, as it has been featured in countless movies and tv shows. One icon of Wall Street is the Charging Bull statue, which is located near the Stock Exchange.
Washington Square ParkPark in Greenwich VillageAdd to myNY added
Washington Square Park, centrally located in the Village, extends over almost 4 hectares. Close to New York University with its distinctive Washington Square Arch, a triumphal arch inaugurated in 1895, the park is a popular place to be when the weather is fine. Through the Arch you have a wonderful view along 5th Avenue to the top of the Empire State Building.
If you are lucky, you can even enjoy a free jazz concert from the many jazz artists of the Village. Here, friends and family meet to relax, play chess, or just in general have a good time.
A park with a waterfall at Rockefeller Center: The Paley ParkPark in Midtown ManhattanOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
The entrance to the park, which is only 390 square metres in size, is at 53rd Street – and what immediately catches the eye: the 6-metre high waterfall. During the day in summer the waterfall’s spray mist is wonderfully cooling. And: it “swallows” all surrounding sounds and the park is such a spot with a really fascinating atmosphere! Midtown’s Paley Park is one of those secret places in New York that almost nobody knows about. A normal tourist doesn’t even consider the existence of such a park, but a New Yorker doesn’t either. The fact is that it is an oasis that radiates an aura of peace in the middle of the New York hustle and bustle.
Enjoy the sunset at Brooklyn Crab (Redhook)Sea Food Restaurant in Red HookOur Highlight
Radio City Music Hall: So beautiful a night!Other Art & Culture in Midtown ManhattanAdd to myNY added
The Radio City Music Hall is a very famous theater building in the middle of New York. It is part of the Rockefeller Center and is located in close proximity to the Top of The Rock and the Museum of Modern Art. When you see the Radio City Music Hall from the outside, it will seem like a journey 80 years into the past. In many movies you can see the old neon sign and therefore it is really famous.
Don't miss the Honorable William Wall on your next New York visitCruise in Lower ManhattanOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
The Honorable William Wall, affectionately called “Willy Wall”, is the floating clubhouse of the Manhattan Yacht Club. The clubhouse is anchored in New York Harbor north of Ellis Island from May to October. What is so special about it? It’s definitely an insider’s spot, which not only gives you a great view of Ellis Island and of course the Statue of Liberty – you can also enjoy the sunset from here.
Soho New YorkOther Shopping in SoHo
DUMBO & Brooklyn HeightsDistricts in DumboAdd to myNY added
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.
East VillageDistricts in East VillageAdd to myNY added
Originally a part of the Lower East Side, the East Village in New York developed in the 1960s into an exciting identity of its own due to its multicultural influences and thus became its own quarter in the so-called “Village” of New York City.
Meatpacking DistrictWalking Tour in ChelseaOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
Go on a fun adventure in New York’s only park above street level- the Highline. Experience the Chelsea neighborhood from a whole new vantage point and find out more about the history of the famous Meatpacking District including how it developed into one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the world.
EatalyOther Restaurants in Financial DistrictOur HighlightAdd to myNY added
In 2010, Eataly was opened in New York by master chef Mario Batali. The pizza is very remeniscent of pizza and the wine selection is huge. You will also find a large selection of ecellent pasta, salads, and sandwiches. In terms of price, it has to be said in advance that a pizza starts at $15 and can cost $25. Nevertheless, this Italian food market is for me one of the most beautiful and best in the city!
Astoria ParkPark in AstoriaAdd to myNY added
One of the most beautiful spots in Astoria, Queens is Astoria Park. This popular park on the East River is a popular retreat for New Yorkers, especially in the summer. On hot summer days, they jump into New York’s oldest public pool to cool off. This is a rare sight, by the way, because you hardly find any outdoor pools in New York. Astoria Park just recently went under renovation as well and has revamped its track and field.
Not only do you have a beautiful view of Manhattan, but you’re also right under the RFK Bridge and have a direct view of Hells Gate Bridge.
WilliamsburgWalking Tour in BushwickAdd to myNY added
Brooklyn is famous for its bold and bright street art, but it’s not easy to know where to find these creative works. With this walking tour of the Bushwick neighborhood, take in the diversity and culture of the neighborhood’s urban street artists. Check out massive murals and intricate designs as you take to the streets to learn how Brooklyn’s best can turn anything with a surface into a stunning work of public art.
Get personal tips & tricks, specifically tailored to your trip!
We will provide you with individual tips & tricks as you prepare for your trip. How to plan, save money and make sure you experience the most of NYC are only some of the topics covered!
My favorite New York neighborhoods
Each neighborhood of New York has its own unique character and is worth exploring. However, if I had to limit myself to the most important neighborhoods that best showcase the city’s diversity, it’s these:
The best attractions of New York on a map
A map with all attractions of New York City with a View can be found here – just click on “FULL MAP” if you want to see more. You can click on each attraction on the map to find out everything you need to know!
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!