What to do in New York? The guide so you don't miss a thing

Who I am
Elia Tabuenca García
@eliatabuencagarcia
Author and references

What to do in New York: the must-see places

Times Square: the cliché not to miss

Being the most visited place in New York and one of the most famous in the world, this intersection offers many giant screens showing commercial films in particular. You will find a multitude of stores of all kinds and large commercial signs.

Don't miss the M & M's store, where you will find them available in countless flavors. But no need to remind you, all your friends have certainly already ordered from you!



Finally, Times Square isn't just for shopaholics. Indeed, it takes place from time to time free yoga outside. This is particularly the case during the summer solstice (June 21). Thousands of yogis then find themselves in a good mood, in the heart of the Big Apple.

If you like lively neighborhoods, Times Square might be an option for you. Being very central, it will allow you to move more quickly to the four corners of the city. However, book your hotel in advance, it is a popular place for tourists!

Wall Street: the financial district

Having inspired the movie The Wolf of Wall Street, this district is the financial heart of the city and does not present many tourist attractions.

However, go there to admire the New York Stock Exchange building or the Federal Bank building.

Then don't miss the wall street bull, bronze statue called the Charging Bull. Legend has it that touching his nose (or testicles) would bring good luck and fortune!


Explore Chinatown and Little Italy for a change of scenery

As mentioned in my article detailing the different districts of New York, Chinatown and Little Italy will offer you a moment of escape in Asia and the Mediterranean.


In Chinatown, take the opportunity to enter a multitude of stores and make discoveries! Go through Canal Street and leave with your pockets full of fun gifts and gadgets.

Also treat yourself to a free outdoor Tai Chi session in Colombus Park.

Then head to Little Italy, especially for a culinary stop. You will indeed find a large concentration of pizzeria, fresh pasta, real espresso and Italian ice cream.

Cross the Brooklyn Bridge

You may wonder what to do in New York, you certainly already have the famous Brooklyn Bridge in mind. With its 44 meters high, it offers a breathtaking view of the skyline.

Also, cross its 1825 meters on foot (about 30min) to reach Brooklyn and stroll on its famous promenade of Brooklyn Heights. Then take the opportunity to stroll around the neighborhood and discover many “hipster” places, especially in Williamsburg.

Finally, get on Line F to get to Coney Island, located south of the neighborhood.

Have fun at Luna Park on Coney Island

Known as being festive and recreational, Coney Island is particularly famous for its amusement park, Luna Park. The latter, whose doors opened in 1903, was destroyed three times by fires and closed in the 40s.

It reopened in 2010 and you can now go there every day from June to August as well as on weekends from March to May and September to October. It is also one of the must-see activities in New York!



Don't miss the famous hot dogs of at Nathan's, and push the vice until you observe a hot dog contest! A 100% American experience.

Finally, relax and go for a stroll on its 6 km of beach after a fun-filled getaway.

Head to Harlem to listen to gospel music

Cradle of African-American culture since the beginning of the 20th century, Harlem has long been described as a ghetto.

Today the area has become much more attractive. Located north of Manhattan, Harlem notably offers its famous Jazz club the Apollo Theater, dating from 1914. It notably hosted Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye and the Jackson Five.

However, if you do go, be sure to attend a gospel mass, whether or not you attend church normally. The best known is the Abyssinian Baptist Church, where you might endure a walkabout packed with tourists. The same goes for the First Corinthian Baptist Church, whose decor is worth a visit, however.

So prefer lesser-known structures, which will offer you a more authentic experience. So, go for example to the Metropolitan Community United Methodist Church.

A word of advice though: go early in the morning to make sure you get a seat. And then, no need to go through an organized tour… blend in with the crowd for a real experience made in Harlem!

Visit historic Ellis Island

Once the arrival point for immigrants, Ellis Island is rich in history.


Also, meet at the famous Ellis Island Immigration Museum in order to retrace the historical journey of millions of people who came to live the American dream.

In addition, located about 1,5 km from Liberty Island, the island will allow you to admire the Statue of Liberty up close. 


Parks and green spaces

Take a nature break in Central Park

A real breath of fresh air in the heart of the city, Central Park has 341 hectares of greenery and tranquility.

You can cross it by bike or on foot, and even go ice skating there in winter. Wollman Rink ice rink, between October and April.

Prepare your camera, you will certainly meet many squirrels there!

Battery Park, to observe the Statue of Liberty

The starting point for Liberty Island, Battery Park has 10 hectares and a promenade along the Hudson River.

You can see the Statue of Liberty or participate in the Swedish Mid-summer Festival held there every year in June, since 1996.

Madison Square Park: Taste One of New York's Best Burgers

Located on 5th Avenue, near the Flatiron Building (mentioned below), Madison Square Park is very nice and well maintained. Occasionally hosting artistic exhibitions, it also offers activities for children in the summer.

The good plan: stop there for a few moments to rest while enjoying the connection Free WiFi that is available there.

You can also go to the Shake Shack restaurant there. Be prepared: their burgers are wreaking havoc, and some of my friends have become addicted!

Prospect Park, for a family outing

Located in the heart of the Brooklyn neighborhood, Prospect Park is one of the biggest in the Big Apple. Very green and wooded, it is very pleasant to go there for a quiet moment.

Composed of a huge 35 hectare meadow, a large lake and a zoo, it is perfect for family walks. Several activities are also offered there, such as horse riding and pedal boat tours.

Note that many other parks are worth visiting, such as Bryant Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden or Washington Square Park. However, the ones mentioned in this article are my preference.

What to do in New York: Monuments and buildings

Admire the Statue of Liberty

Liberty Enlightening the World, or Statue of Liberty, this great lady is talked about a lot.

Made by the sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, this copper statue was offered to the United States by France, in 1886, as a symbol of friendship between the two countries.

Over 91 meters high and located on Liberty Island, it is one of the most famous and visited monuments in the world. It has also been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, access to the statue was closed and then reopened but limited, since 2009.

You can get to Liberty Island by ferry, and enjoy a free tour to learn more about this iconic landmark. Count around $ 17 for the trip, and don't forget to book in advance if you want to get to the top of the statue!

The Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center: Treat yourself to a panoramic view

What to visit in New York, the Empire State Building or Rockefeller Center?

These two buildings will offer you a breathtaking view of the Big Apple. Also, and if you have the time, I advise you to visit both. However, if you are limited on time, take your pick.

The Empire State Building is very iconic in New York City. Just over 443 meters high, it offers a breathtaking and unforgettable view from its observatories located between the 86th and 102nd floors. Indeed, between September 11, 2001 and the opening of One World Trade Center, it had become the tallest building in the city! I advise you to buy your ticket directly online to save time.

Nevertheless, my preference is certainly for the Top of The Rock. Why ? Quite simply because the Empire State Building is a magnificent building in art deco style that it is very pleasant to observe from so high. However, if you are precisely inside, you will not be able to take advantage of it… That said, everyone has their own preference!

Located on the 70th floor of Rockefeller Center, the Top of the Rock offers a 360 ° view of the city. You can buy your access ticket directly on site for around $ 30.

In addition, going to Rockefeller Center will allow you to visit the Radio City Music Hall at the same time. The city's renowned performance venue, it hosts the MTV Video Music Awards and Grammy Awards. Find out about the possible shows taking place during your stay!

Also, if you're going to New York in the winter, don't miss the ice rink at the base of Rockefeller Center.

My little advice : get there at the end of the day, when the sun goes down and divine colors will appear in the sky and reflect on the buildings.

Also, don't forget to choose a City Pass, in order to save money. Access to these two buildings is in fact included in the purchase of a pass. A paragraph is devoted to them at the end of this article.

Don't miss the atypical Flatiron building

Dating back to 1902 and located near Madison Square Park, the Flatiron takes the shape of an iron (hence its name).

Formerly called the Fuller Building, it rises to 87 meters and will impress you with its atypical shape and superb Beaux-Arts style.

The September 11 Memorial and One World Trade Center

Where the famous Twin Towers once stood now stands the 11/9 Memorial. Open to the public on September 11, 11, it is made up of two water basins with the names of the victims engraved on it.

Also visit the underground museum dedicated to the memory of September 11, which admission is free on Tuesdays from 17 p.m. to 20 p.m. Note that the latter is also included in the City Pass.

The Freedom Tower, or One World Trade Center, has 104 floors and was built in place of the Twin Towers, destroyed in the September 11 attacks.

Completed in 2012 and symbolizing the strength of the country to recover, it is worth a detour.

Grand Central Terminal, the historic train station

Widely represented in many films and series such as Death by Hunting, Madagscar or Gossip Girl, Grand Central station has become a true symbol of the city.

Composed of 7 floors and 3 hectares, it has 67 routes and 750.000 visitors every day. The main attraction however remains its main hall, all in marble clad, where you can admire its four sided clock and find an information office there.

You can also eat and have fun here, as it has a total of 35 restaurants (Dining Concourse), numerous shops and even tennis courts!

The main museums

The MoMa, a meeting place for modern art

Undoubtedly the most popular museum in the city, the MoMa has been open since 1929 and is dedicated to modern art. You will be able to admire, among other things, superb paintings by Matisse, Picasso, Lichtenstein or Andy Warhol. Not to be missed !

Le rate to access the museum is $ 25. However, be aware that entry is free for children up to 16 years old, and for everyone on Fridays from 16 p.m.

The unmissable Metropolitan Museum of Art

Nicknamed the Met, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has a large collection of various works (over two million). These come from all over the world and bring together more than 5000 years of history.

Being the second museum on most visited in the world, it is quite possible that you will not be alone during your visit. So find out in advance if you want to see a particular collection.

Also, the MET being located near Central Park, this will allow you to walk around it when leaving.

Note: entry to the MET is via donation. So although the museum displays prices ($ 25 for adults and $ 12 for students), so these are suggestions and depend on your will.

The Guggenheim Museum, an architectural work

A masterpiece by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright dating back to the 20th century, the Guggenheim Museum building is a work of art in itself and worth a visit.

Indeed, the latter takes the form of a propeller and offers a spiral staircase, giving a very modern appearance, worth many photos. Besides, you have certainly seen it in the movie Men in Black!

Once you have admired it from the outside, do not hesitate to enter it to discover Pollock, Kandinsky, Chagall, Modigliani and many others.

Entrance to the museum is free for children up to 12 years old and for everyone on Saturdays from 18 p.m. Otherwise the rate will be $ 22 for adults and $ 18 for students.

The American Museum of Natural History

What to do in New York when you are passionate about history and archeology? Don't think any longer, head to the American Museum of Natural History.

You will discover a blue whale more than 28 meters long, fossils, a Tyrannosaurus Rex (well, its skeleton), and many other surprises that will take you back in time.

Finally, there are a multitude of other museums that might interest you. Madame Tussaud's museum or the Museum of the Moving Image are two examples. That said, if your time is limited, prefer the museums mentioned above, more impressive for my taste.

5th Avenue, West Village, Soho or Greenwich Village, a shopper's paradise

You've definitely planned on shopping in New York City, and you're right. Also, here are the main places to find happiness.

Known and recognized around the world, the Cinquième Avenue brings together all the major luxury brands. Louis Vuitton, Tiffany's, Cartier or even Fendi, you will be spoiled for choice. You will also find the famous glass cube from Apple Store there.

Conversely, the districts of Soho, West Village and Greenwich bring together atypical boutiques and avant-garde designers.

If you prefer new discoveries and good surprises, then prefer these districts. Plus, it will ensure you have a quieter ride than 5th Avenue!

What to do in New York? A helicopter ride, of course!

Finally, for a unforgettable experience, I strongly advise you to take a helicopter tour. The latter will allow you to admire the city from the height. In addition, your pilot will provide you with many anecdotes throughout the flight via your headphones.

I had the chance to do one last October, and was not disappointed! Granted, it might not be the best idea if you have vertigo, but the views are breathtaking.

You can choose the duration of your flight (between 12 and 25 minutes) depending on your budget and the route you want to take. I had then made a 15-minute lap, which had completely satisfied me. However, 25 minutes will obviously allow you to see more, and in particular the Statue of Liberty.

My advice: schedule your tour for the end of the day, in order to admire the setting sun and the superb pink contrasts. Also, I strongly advise you to book your flight in advance on the internet, on specialized sites like Musement which offers the best prices.

Finally, prefer a good camera to your mobile. As you can imagine, the helicopter will move a little; your photos may suffer if you don't have the right equipment.

Good to know: count around 170 €, depending on the tour you choose.

The good plan: buy a pass

Now you know what to do in New York! Don't forget your camera to capture your fondest memories, and get the New York Pass or New York CityPASS.

These will allow you to save money if you plan to visit several tourist attractions.

The New York CityPASS is a ticket book that will give you access to 6 attractions, including the Empire State Building, the MET and the Guggenheim Museum. It will be valid for 9 days and will cost you 103 € (or 80 € for young people). You can book it in advance on the internet by clicking here and benefit from a 40% reduction.

Conversely, the New York Pass is a smart card offering 80 tourist attractions. You can choose a period of validity (between 1 and 10 days), at different prices (between 98 and 360 €). Again, book it in advance on the internet, on the official New York Pass website, by clicking here.

Also, if you plan to take your time and stroll between different attractions, I recommend the New York CityPASS. The latter will be sufficient, as it brings together the main sites, and more economical.

Finally, many other New York places are worth a visit. Staten Island, the Chelsea Highline and the Flushing Meadows Park will surely enchant you. Also, find more details on these in the article dedicated to New York neighborhoods.

Now you will know what to do in New York; I therefore wish you a good visit and a good pair of shoes!

  • add a comment of What to do in New York? The guide so you don't miss a thing
    Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.