Like many cities, New York is home to a number of attractions, but what makes the city so great is the fact that there are so many.
With such a wide variety to choose from, we have created an easy-to-follow guide rounding up the best New York attractions to see during your trip to the Big Apple.
When you visit New York you have to go to the Rockefeller Center to get fantastic views of Manhattan, Central Park and unobstructed 360° views of the rest of New York City.
Tickets to the Top of the Rock observation deck are a must and once you see the magnificent views, which have previously been described as the best in the city, you will know why.
The Rockefeller Center offers much more than just great views. On a daily tour visitors can find out about the rich history behind one of the city’s most famous landmarks.
If that’s not enough, visitors can go ice skating, grab a bite to eat at the range of dining options at the center, or enjoy a cocktail whilst taking in the great views of the city at night to truly discover why New York is nicknamed the city that never sleeps.
Insider’s tip: try and schedule your viewing around dusk. That way you get to see New York in daylight, sunset and then at night – you will need a little patience but it will be worth it to see the city change right in front of your eyes.
Statue of Liberty
Arguably the most iconic landmark in New York is the Statue of Liberty. This colossal copper statue is visited by millions of people every year.
One of the best ways to see this jaw-dropping statue without the hustle and bustle of queuing is on a Big Apple helicopter tour as you can see just how big this incredible statue is.
If you want to see New York from the air, then Liberty Helicopters offer a range of tours, with tickets available from Attraction Tickets Direct.
As part of these tours you will be told about the history of the Statue of Liberty. It was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the United States and is now seen as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.
Insider’s tip: If you want to visit Liberty Island then we recommend you buy your ticket in advance and arrive early to avoid the long queues. At the weekend and over summer is when Liberty Island is visited the most, so try to visit the Statue of Liberty in the week.
Central Park is another must-visit attraction and the 843-acre park is now the most visited urban park in the United States.
The park is full of landmarks such as the Alice in Wonderland statue, the Central Park Zoo, the iconic Gapstow Bridge and more.
Whilst walking around seeing all of these iconic sites in a few hours is virtually impossible, there are ways to see some of the park’s most well-known attractions. One such way is via the Central Park horse and carriage tour, which is a really romantic and stress-free way of seeing the park’s landmarks.
Insider’s tip: Try to visit one of the nearby museums as well as touring Central Park. Some of the world’s most famous museums such as the American Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are just on the fringes of the park.
American Museum of Natural History
One of the best New York attractions that should be on your bucket list is the American Museum of Natural History.
Visitors can browse through fascinating displays on ornithischian dinosaurs, North American forests, ocean life, African mammals, birds of the world and primitive mammals to name a few. It is also worth keeping an eye out for the temporary exhibitions that will be on display during your visit to the museum.
The museum itself is located in a beautiful building and movie lovers will recognise parts of the museum that have featured in popular movies such as Night at the Museum and The Squid and the Whale.
Insider’s tip: Before visiting the museum you should plot the priority exhibits your family wants to visit and work from there. So, for example, if you really want to visit the ornithischian dinosaur’s exhibit (and who wouldn’t?) then it is best to visit that first. The museum is so big that you could spend hours and hours there, but by planning the displays you want to see you can see this marvellous museum in the timeframe that suits you.
Along with the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in New York City.
There are a number of ways to see this famous bridge and one of the most popular ways is to go on a New York landmarks cruise, which takes parties down the Hudson River and goes under the Brooklyn Bridge as well as the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges.
The Brooklyn Bridge first opened way back in 1883 to link Manhattan and Brooklyn and today it carries roughly 150,000 vehicles, New Yorkers and holidaymakers every day. Once you see the stunning granite towers and steel cables of the bridge it will be a sight that you will not forget in a hurry!
Insider’s tip: After going on the landmarks cruise you should head back to the Brooklyn Bridge and walk it at night. The bridge at night looks even more beautiful as its towers are lit up and the view you can see from the bridge at night is spectacular.
Appropriately named after an iconic part of Coney Island’s history, Luna Park is the biggest amusement park in the city and is steeped in history having been a popular theme park for over 130 years.
The park is full of thrill rides like the Thunderbolt Roller Coaster, Soarin’ Eagle and historic Cyclone Roller Coaster, but what makes this attraction special is its history and the fact that families have been coming here for years and years.
The boardwalk at the park and the fact that it is close to the beach just add to its lure.
Insider’s tip: You need to prepare for the elements as the sun can be strong in Coney Island - it is important to bring plenty of sun cream with you. It is also worth bringing a light rain jacket and a jumper because Coney Island can get very chilly in the evenings.
Empire State Building
Those lucky enough to have an Empire State Building ticket will not be disappointed as the views from the 86th and 102nd floor observatories are staggering.
Visitors will be able to see 360° panoramic views of Manhattan and beyond, whilst visitors ascending to the observatory floor at night will be able to see all the bright lights of this incredible city.
The Empire State Building is open from 8am-2am and other attractions are nearby, meaning that you could visit the Empire State Building in the morning and still get to see Madison Square Garden or Times Square before lunch, which are both just under a 15-minute walk away.
Insider’s tip: Buy your Empire State Building tickets with Attraction Tickets Direct before your visit to avoid queuing at the ticket lines.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art & the Cloisters
Jessica Tiare Bowen, founder of UsedYorkCity.com, suggests getting more bang for your buck when it comes to museums.
She said, “Tourists are often well aware of the famous Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), located on Manhattan's Upper East Side, with a suggested donation of $25. However, less people are keen on the MET's sister museum, The Cloisters, located at the tippy top of the island of Manhattan in the neighbourhood of Inwood.
“The Cloisters also has a suggested ticket price of $25, but if you hit up both museums in one day, you get two for the price of one with the receipt from your first stop! We suggest visiting the MET in the morning, and then taking the subway uptown to The Cloisters, which is located in the beautiful Ft. Tryon Park, surrounded by blooms and trees and walking paths galore.
Insider’s tip:Before taking in more art, stop at the nearby New Leaf Cafe for lunch or a coffee. Your day of majestic museums will also lend itself to plenty of fun photo ops!
Visiting the 9/11 Memorial is an emotional and spine-tingling experience. More than an attraction, this landmark is dedicated to the loved ones of those who were killed in the 2001 and 1993 attacks.
The memorial was created to honour the people killed in the terror attacks of September 11th 2001 and the bombing in 1993 at the World Trade Center, which totalled nearly 3,000. The twin reflecting pools are an acre in size, meaning they are the largest manmade waterfalls in North America.
The 9/11 museum explores the implications of the terror attacks in depth and documents the impact of the 9/11 attacks. Displays also showcase artefacts recovered from the rubble after the terrorist attacks.
Insider’s tip: Visiting the 9/11 museum takes on average two hours, so don’t decide to visit the museum on a day where you have loads of other activities planned, otherwise you will not get to see and experience all of the displays and exhibits here.
This guide to sightseeing in New York just would not be complete without featuring the eye-catching Times Square.
Visitors from all over the world get drawn into the bright lights that cover Times Square’s skyscrapers, but it also attracts shoppers with the likes of the Disney store and Hershey’s store popular picks.
MTV and Good Morning America also call Times Square home, so don’t be surprised to see the odd celebrity, but something that you certainly won’t miss that is unique are the costumed characters and Naked Cowboy!
Insider’s tip: Check to see if there are any events taking place in Times Square as there are some spectacular events to check out throughout the year. That way, you can choose to combine them as part of your visit, or avoid them if you want to.
The most eye-catching of all New York’s museums is the Guggenheim and this internationally renowned museum offers visitors special exhibitions of contemporary and modern art.
It isn’t just the art from the 20th century and beyond that attracts people from across the globe, but the building’s architecture also wows people, especially the Frank Lloyd Wright building.
There are a number of fascinating exhibitions on show such as the Thannhauser collection, the Kandinsky Gallery and more.
Insider’s tip: To avoid the crowds it is best to avoid visiting the Guggenheim on Mondays as most other New York City museums are closed and therefore the museum gets extremely busy then. The museum also gets busy on Saturday evenings when it is Pay What You Wish.
At the Brooklyn Museum visitors can see collections of African art, contemporary art, European paintings and around 4,000 ancient Egyptian pieces of work.
The museum was founded way back in 1823 and the city’s second largest museum has since attracted millions of people from across the globe.
Being based in Brooklyn, which is renowned for being one of the world’s most creative and cultural areas, means that after visiting the museum people can explore this unique neighbourhood.
Insider’s tip: Being New York’s second largest museum means that there is so much to see, but a must-see collection is the Egyptian art display. It is one of the most impressive collections of Egyptian artefacts anywhere in the world.
Image Credits: Bart Barlow, AMNH/R. Mickens, Luna Park, Guggenheim Musuem, Brooklyn Museum.