The city that never sleeps has plenty to do for anyone interested. Want to watch a specific sports team? There’s a bar for that. Delicious, hot, dripping, melt-in-your-mouth pizza at 2 am? Always available. Street food that deserves a Michelin star? New York City has it.
If you have or haven’t been, these are the best things to do in New York City that simply can’t be missed.
1. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
Walk the bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and be sure to turn around and take pictures of the Manhattan skyline! Once you hit the end of the bridge walkway, take a U-turn and look for Grimaldi’s Pizza.
2. Try Authentic New York Style Pizza
Speaking of Grimaldi’s, it is one of the original brick oven pizza spots in New York City. At last check, they only accepted cash, so bring some, or keep your ATM card handy. Then get ready for deliciousness.
3. Walk the High Line
New York City is a walking city. Flex those walking muscles by heading up to the high line. This old abandoned railway track and platform has been transformed into the city’s premier elevated park and walkway. There are gardens and areas to sit, and people watch, eat lunch, kiss a loved one, or take a nap.
You can enter the high light from the west side around 34th street and it’ll take you all the way down to Gansevoort, or vice versa!
4. See a Broadway Musical
One of the best things to do in New York City is to absorb the talent it offers. NYC’s performing arts scene is one of the best in the world. Broadway gives Hollywood and the entire music industry a run for its money. There’s no autotune or multiple takes here. No, just raw talent, superior imagination, and excellent storytelling.
5. Visit a Rooftop
One thing a city with amazing architecture has to offer is its views. New York City has no shortage of rooftop bars, restaurants, hideouts, and hangouts. You can find the city’s best view at the Ink48 hotel (no sandals or slippers allowed). Wander over, head up, and get ready for some picture-taking and a romantic getaway.
6. Shopping in Soho
Fashion is ubiquitous in New York City. Soho is about as fashion-forward and trendy as it gets. All of your favorite stores can be found here, along with some unique boutique options you’ve never heard of, with styles you won’t find anywhere else.
7. One World Trade Center
The city isn’t just great for fashion and Instagram. Some of the most significant events in our history have occurred there. The One World Trade Center September 11th Memorial and museum is a must-see on your trip.
The original building spots have been preserved and turned into waterfalls, with the names of those killed etched around each waterfall. There’s also the new One World Tower. When you head up the elevator, you’ll be shown the imagery of the different New York City views over the years, including pre and post-9/11. It’s quite a video experience. Then at the top in the One World Observatory, enjoy food, drinks, and, again, incredible views.
While you’re there, head into the Oculus. This picture-worthy subway station is flat-out amazing and has a mall inside. Be prepared to spend a few hours.
8. Hit Up a Speakeasy
In addition to amazing talent, there’s amazing food and cocktails that must be experienced. A speakeasy in New York City is guaranteed to be unlike any other.
There’s the one where you walk into a phone booth, call in a number for the day, and then the back wall opens to let you in. There’s another with a liquor store as a front and an entire gin bar behind a hidden wall. Yet another, with an art gallery in front and a secret door that takes you to the bar behind.
Those are just the tip of the iceberg.
Brunch is available any day of the week in New York City, and there’s no competition to any other city.
Some options to consider: Friend of a Farmer, Good Enough to Eat, Isola Trattoria
10. Try the Street Food
Some of the best meals in the city are found through street vendors. If you like to eat, this is the best thing to do in New York City.
A few famous spots deserve special mention: Halal Guys, Waffles and Dinges.
No matter how old you are, if you’re above 21, take a night out on the town. Nightlife in New York City is something different. Depending on the neighborhood you choose to peruse, the dress code may require fancier duds; however, as a general rule of thumb, dress to impress.
Everyone dresses up, and the odds of getting in anywhere quicker increase if you’re a bit done up.
12. Mckittrick Hotel
If you like theater, this is an entirely new experience you won’t find anywhere else. Sleep No More is an immersive experience. Guests to the show wear masks and follow characters throughout the play at their own pace. In other words, move through the hotel set as you wish. Watch different scenes unfold and see the story from different points of view.
At the end of it all, head to the gorgeous rooftop garden bar, Gallow Green, to reconvene with your friends and talk about what you witnessed!
13. Stone Street
Near Wall Street, Stone street is in the heart of the financial district (also known as FiDi). It was named stone street as it was the first stone-paved street in the then-Dutch colony of New Amsterdam. In other words, it’s one of the old streets in the city.
A two-block portion is pedestrian only and becomes a beautiful outdoor seating zone for surrounding bars and restaurants. If the weather is nice, you can bet you’ll find all the financial nerds there for happy hour, dinner, or fun on the weekends!
14. Climb Up The Statue of Liberty
You can see the statue from the tip of Manhattan in Battery Park, or you can take a ferry around Manhattan to catch a closer glimpse. You can also visit the Statue of Liberty and climb up to the base of her feet, or if you’re super brave, stand in line and climb up to the crown.
From the crown, you can get full-on views of the city, the surrounding water, and all of the rest of the glory of New York City.
15. Visit a Museum
Not the most glamorous thing to do in New York City; however, you’d be missing out if you didn’t.
New York City hosts some of the most famous museums in the world. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) on the upper east side hosts the world-renowned Met Gala each year. The Guggenheim, where on Fridays in the summertime they host “art after dark,” where admission is super cheap, and you can drink wine and peruse the masterpieces.
The History Museum is another excellent way to spend an afternoon and won’t disappoint. Finally, you have MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, another great choice to see what artists of today are putting out into the world.
16. Biking in Central Park
A visit to and into Central Park is a must. This iconic park is home to multiple biking paths, walking trails, the zoo, the boathouse, and secured areas to enjoy nature and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
17. Catch a Game At Madison Square Garden
Alternatively, see if any concerts or shows are playing! There is always something going on at MSG. Afterward, hop over to Times Square or Herald Square (where the huge Macy’s is located) and grab a drink!
18. Stop By Korea Town For Karaoke
New Yorkers do karaoke like nowhere else. Korea town has some of the best options. You can rent a room for yourself and your friends, and, on the screen, choose your music and sing out the lyrics as loudly as you want without judgment from strangers!
These private booths are soundproof, and yes, you can order food and drinks and focus on embarrassing yourself just in front of the people you know.
19. The New York Public Library
If you’re a Sex and the City fan, check out where Carrie tried to get married. If you’re a book nerd, wander in awe amongst thousands of volumes of literature. If you love architecture, the building does not disappoint.
The library is located right on 5th avenue, so you can grab a coffee, ogle the library and then wander your way up to all the shops and have fun!
20. Rockefeller Center
If it’s wintertime, try to go ice skating under the hugely lit Christmas tree. In the summer, grab banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery and enjoy the people-watching.
If you have the time, look into the Rockefeller Center tour. You’ll learn the family’s history and visit the top of the Rock!
21. Catch a Comedy Show
Some of the most famous comedians of our time got their start in New York. Any comedy show in New York will entertain you fully. Sometimes, these now-famous entertainers will come back for a surprise appearance!
The actual to-do list when visiting New York City is much more extensive. The city has so much to offer and is vibrant at all hours of the day. This list will hopefully provide a uniquely “New York” experience and help you come away with some amazing memories!