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Top 10 Things to Do in New York City

Updated on May 21, 2009

New York City is an amazing city where there is always something going on. From sports to the arts to shopping and historical monuments, there is something for everyone in this city. There is so much to see and do that narrowing it down to a list of ten was very difficult. Of course, the number of things you get to will depend on how much time you have in the city. On the plus side, this is an exciting and lively city that is always changing, so it’s sure to please even if you visit again and again.

I love visiting New York; it’s one of my top cities for weekend breaks, so this list is purely based on my opinion and experiences. I do hope you will enjoy my choices as much as I do.

Empire State Building

On the corner of Fifth Avenue and West 34th Street, this Art Deco building stands at 102 stories. Construction was completed on this building in 1931! The views from the observation decks out over the city are breathtaking. There are two observation decks, on the 86th and 102nd floor, that can be visited. I went on a Saturday and the line was unreal. If you don’t want to wait for hours (I’m not exaggerating), you can pay an extra fee that puts you on the express track. I chose this route and was glad I did.

Central Park

You could easily spend all day in this beautiful park in New York. There are loads of walking trails around the lakes and ponds, plus the Central Park Zoo and the Central Park Conservatory Garden. In the winter, you can skate on two ice rinks and in the summer, you can catch Shakespeare in the Park at an outdoor theatre.

Statue of Liberty / Ellis Island

If you have time, it is definitely worth taking the ferry to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration Museum, both of which are free. On Ellis Island, you can also visit the Wall of Honor, which lists names of over 700,000 people who have immigrated to the US. You do need a pass to tour the Statue of Liberty, and there are only a limited amount provided each day. You will have to buy tickets for the ferry and there can be line of often at least an hour to get on the ferry.

Times Square & Broadway

At least one evening you should take a walk along Broadway and visit Times Square in all its neon glory. The hustle and bustle and all the lights are simply astounding. You should also take in at least one show. There are an unlimited number of choices, whether you are looking for a play or a musical, on or off Broadway.


Shopping in New York is simply amazing. All over the island, there are different areas to visit. From the designers and top end merchants on Fifth Avenue to the chic Soho, all shoppers will be in heaven. Also, many flagship and original stores are located in Manhattan. Who can pass up a visit to the original Tiffany’s?

Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met)

The Met is found on Museum Mile (Fifth Avenue between 82nd and 104th) is one of the largest art galleries in the world. It is home to more than 2 million pieces of art and is almost a quarter of a mile long! In its permanent collections, you can find artwork from all over the world dating as far back as Ancient Egypt. Needless to say, this gallery is huge! You will have to pay to get in, but there isn’t an extra charge for exhibitions. Also, the Met is closed on Mondays unless it’s a holiday. Don’t miss the store, whatever you do!

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

If you enjoy modern art, you won’t want to miss MoMA. It is considered by many to be one of the best collections of modern Western art in the world. There are six floors with everything from sculpture to drawing to painting and audio and video installments. Again, this is another place where it would be very easy to spend the better part of a day. It does cost $20 to get in, but on Fridays after 4:00, it’s free.

Yankees Stadium

If the Yankees are playing and you can get tickets, this is well worth doing. Even if you’re not a giant baseball fan, the atmosphere at a game superb. For the fans, you can take a behind the scenes tour of the stadium, which includes a visit to the dugouts.


Chinatown is full of shops, restaurants, grocery stores and fruit stands. You will find items here that you are unlikely to find anywhere else in the city, particularly food items. It is like stepping into another place and time with its ancient traditions. At Chinese New Year, there are massive celebrations culminating with the parade.

Rockefeller Center

The Rockefeller Center is made up of 19 buildings, including the Radio City Music Hall. Of course, the center is known for its Christmas tree and ice rink, but there are plenty of other things to do if you’re not in New York around Christmas. Not only can you go on a tour of the center itself, you can get backstage passes to NBC studios or catch a show or go backstage at the Radio City Music Hall. The gardens also offer a great place to take a break from the City.


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    • Misterlak profile image

      Misterlak 8 years ago

      I was in New Year last year and loved the shopping. Not so much the weather tho since it was snowing and freezing cold! Good hub tho x

    • blackbv profile image

      blackbv 8 years ago from Canada

      @DynamicS Have a super time. I stayed at the Westin Times Square last time I was there. Perfect location for getting to everything else!

    • blackbv profile image

      blackbv 8 years ago from Canada

      @Pierre Thanks, I took that photo from the top of the Empire State building. It was a sunny, clear day in early September. You could just see the Statue of Liberty in the distance.

    • DynamicS profile image

      Sandria Green-Stewart 8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Nice hub. My husband, son and I will be visiting New York next week. We'll be staying at the Paramount in Times Square. We are so looking forward to it. I'll be sure to check out some of the places that you mentioned.

    • seanraj profile image

      seanraj 8 years ago from United States of America

      Do not forget to visit Times Square.

    • profile image

      Pierre 8 years ago

      Thank you for an interesting Top 10 list and an informative Hub; its been a pleasure browsing and the pic at the top is awesome!

    • blackbv profile image

      blackbv 8 years ago from Canada

      The first time I went to New York was for a weekend by myself. I can completely understand how overwhelming it is. I hope you enjoy yourself, it's not that bad really.

    • Sam MacConnell profile image

      Sam MacConnell 8 years ago from Lancaster/San Luis Obispo

      Thank you for this hub!It's great. New York seems so big and I feel a bit overwhelmed, but you offered some good ideas. I actually am going to the Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty and taking a tour of NBC Studios, so that's three out of ten. I definitely will make a point to visit Central Park. It sounds amazing!