A relentless metropolitan beat, towering skyscrapers, and well-known monuments may come to mind when you think of New York City. Yes! The Big Apple really is all that and much more. Dreams are pursued there, diversity flourishes, and culture grows. In this guide, we encourage you to go with us as we uncover the city’s hidden gems, famous must-sees, and neighborhood favorites. New York City has an adventure designed just for you, whether you’re a first-time tourist, an experienced traveler, a family with children, or a couple looking for love. So buckle up as we set out on an exciting journey to reveal all of the various “Things to do in New York.”
Free And Nearly Free Ways To Explore The Best Of NYC
When planning a trip to New York City, you might assume that your wallet will take a substantial hit. While NYC can be pricey, it’s also a city brimming with opportunities to experience its magic without breaking the bank. Whether you’re a budget-conscious traveler or simply looking to make the most of your resources, this guide will unveil a host of affordable, free, and nearly free activities to help you explore the Big Apple.
Bundle Sightseeing With A Discount Pass
If you’re eager to take in the city’s iconic attractions without burning a hole in your pocket, consider investing in a New York City Pass. This pass offers savings of up to 40% on entry to top-notch attractions such as the Empire State Building, the American Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim Museum, and more. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also skip the lines at many of these popular spots.
Explore NYC’s Urban Oases
New York City isn’t just about towering skyscrapers; it’s also home to a remarkable array of parks and green spaces that won’t cost you a dime. Want to explore more? Central Park activities are waiting for you. This beautiful spot, with its picturesque landscapes and iconic landmarks, beckons both locals and visitors alike. Beyond this iconic place, you can discover Riverside Park’s serenity, the vibrant atmosphere of Washington Square Park, the unique perspectives at Little Island Park, and the panoramic views from Brooklyn Bridge Park. Exploring these green havens allows you to experience different facets of the city’s charm.
Pedal Through The City
For a more active exploration of the city, consider renting a bike. Central Park offers a beautiful backdrop for a leisurely ride, and the Hudson River Greenway‘s 11-mile path will take you on a scenic journey along the Manhattan waterfront, passing by notable landmarks like Chelsea Piers and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.
Experience The Glitz Of Times Square
Times Square is a quintessential New York City experience, and it’s absolutely free to stroll through this dazzling nexus of lights and entertainment. Don’t forget to climb the iconic red stairs for a unique vantage point, especially just before midnight when the digital screens come alive with rotating art displays.
Catch A Broadway Show On A Budget
Broadway shows are a must-see in NYC, and you can score discounted tickets at the TKTS booth in Times Square. Arrive 30 minutes before showtime for the best deals, and you’ll be enjoying world-class theater without a hefty price tag. It’s a fantastic way to immerse yourself in NYC’s vibrant performing arts scene. Before reaching you can book advance Broadway Tickets, NYC to get rid of the hassle and ensure you have the best seats for the shows you want to see.
Pay Tribute At The 9/11 Memorial
Visiting the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site is a profoundly moving experience. The memorial’s two reflecting pools occupy the exact footprints of the Twin Towers, providing a poignant tribute to the victims of September 11, 2001. Admission is free, and if you wish to explore the 9/11 Museum, consider visiting during late Monday afternoons when entry is complimentary.
Walk The Brooklyn Bridge
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is both a historic and scenic adventure. You’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the East River, lower Manhattan, and Brooklyn—all for free. Once in Brooklyn, consider renting a bike or exploring the vibrant neighborhoods that await your discovery.
Wander The High Line
The High Line is an urban park built on revitalized rail tracks, offering a unique perspective of the city. As you stroll along this elevated path, you’ll encounter native plants, art installations, and scenic spots to relax and admire Manhattan’s skyline. Make sure to explore nearby attractions like Chelsea Market and the Meatpacking District for a well-rounded experience.
Discover NYC’s Colonial History
Federal Hall, located near the New York Stock Exchange, commemorates the site where George Washington took his oath of office as the first President of the United States. This historic spot also hosted the first congress and significant colonial gatherings. Explore its colonial exhibitions and historical artifacts, all for free.
Visit Trinity Churchyard
Trinity Churchyard, in downtown Manhattan, serves as the resting place for many colonial figures, including Alexander Hamilton and notable delegates of the Continental Congress. As you wander through this historic cemetery, you’ll encounter fascinating pieces of American history, and the visit won’t cost you a cent.
Unique And Fun Activities In NYC For Adults
New York City, often synonymous with iconic landmarks and bustling crowds, hides a treasure trove of unusual and unique experiences for those willing to explore beyond the usual tourist spots. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned New York aficionado, here’s a curated list of offbeat activities and hidden gems in the Big Apple.
Governors Island, located just a short ferry ride from Manhattan, provides a serene and refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Despite being technically part of Manhattan, the island offers an entirely different ambiance. Visitors can explore this car-free haven by taking leisurely strolls or renting bikes to traverse tree-lined paths while soaking in breathtaking skyline views. Picnic Point is a popular spot where you can rent a grill and enjoy a relaxed outdoor barbecue with friends and family. Seafood enthusiasts won’t want to miss Island Oyster, where you can indulge in a delightful seafood feast, featuring fresh oysters, lobster rolls, and a selection of craft cocktails. Additionally, for those looking for a more indulgent experience, QC NY Spa offers a range of rejuvenating treatments in a serene setting
NYC Helicopter Tour
For the ultimate adrenaline rush and a completely different perspective of NYC, consider taking an open-door helicopter ride. This thrilling adventure allows you to marvel at the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and the majestic Brooklyn Bridge as you soar through the skies. Safety is a top priority, as providers like FlyNYON offer thorough safety briefings and harnesses to ensure that you can enjoy unobstructed, panoramic views of the city. In just about 20 unforgettable minutes, you’ll have the opportunity to take in the Hudson River, East River, and a multitude of other famous sights, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Coney Island Sideshows
Coney Island, known for its vibrant and eccentric atmosphere, is the perfect destination for those seeking quirky and offbeat entertainment. Head to Sideshows by the Seashore, where you can witness a variety of eccentric performances that harken back to classic circus entertainment. Fire breathers and acrobats dazzle audiences near the famous Coney Island Beach and Deno’s Wonder Wheel. It’s a captivating throwback to a bygone era of entertainment and provides a uniquely New York experience that you won’t find anywhere else. So, prepare to be amazed by the daring acts and captivating performances that have made Coney Island a legendary destination for unconventional entertainment.
Queens County Farm
Discover a hidden piece of New York City’s agricultural history at the Queens County Farm Museum, a remarkable urban oasis and one of the last working farms within the city limits. The farm provides a glimpse into NYC’s farming heritage and offers a peaceful escape from the urban hustle and bustle. Visitors can explore the historic farmhouse, wander through lush fields of fresh produce, and even get up close and personal with the farm’s friendly livestock, including goats and sheep. The Queens County Farm is a serene spot where you can take a step back in time and connect with nature, all while staying within the city’s borders.
Company XIV Burlesque Show
Step into a world of glamour, sensuality, and captivating entertainment at Company XIV’s burlesque show in Brooklyn. This avant-garde troupe seamlessly combines elements of burlesque, cabaret, and ballet to create a night of glittering, debaucherous fun. As you sip champagne in the VIP couch area, you’ll be treated to a mesmerizing spectacle that includes aerialists, masked performers, and playful acts. The immersive experience and opulent setting provide an unforgettable evening of entertainment. Company XIV’s burlesque show is a unique and daring addition to New York City’s nightlife scene, offering a thrilling escape into a world of extravagance and sensuality.
Family-Friendly Things To Do In New York
New York City offers an abundance of family-friendly attractions that will captivate visitors of all ages. From world-class museums to iconic landmarks, here are the top family-friendly destinations to explore with your crew:
American Museum Of Natural History
The American Museum of Natural History is a captivating journey through time and the natural world. It boasts the world’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils, making it a must-visit for both kids and adults. The fourth-floor dinosaur halls are particularly mesmerizing, with lifelike exhibits that transport visitors back to prehistoric eras. In addition to the dinosaurs, explore other fascinating exhibits like The Hall of Human Origins, which delves into the history of our species, and the Hall of Ocean Life, where you can marvel at life-sized models of marine creatures.
The Metropolitan Museum Of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, known as The Met, is a treasure trove of art and history that offers an enriching experience for families. Spend an entire day wandering through its vast galleries, each showcasing a different facet of human creativity and history. Kids will be awestruck by the Egyptian mummies, medieval knights, and Maya gold treasures on display. Engage in kid-friendly workshops and join family days for hands-on art activities, making the museum an educational and entertaining destination for all ages.
Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal is not just a transportation hub; it’s a hidden playground waiting to be discovered. Beyond its iconic status as a transportation hub, Grand Central offers numerous dining options, from casual eateries to upscale restaurants. Explore its secrets, such as the Whispering Gallery, where sound mysteriously travels across the arches. You can even find hidden tennis courts atop the terminal for a truly unique experience. It’s a fusion of history and entertainment that will intrigue and delight the whole family.
The Statue Of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty, a symbol of American freedom and democracy, now offers an immersive experience for visitors. Begin your journey through time in the Immersive Theater, where you’ll learn about the statue’s history and significance. Explore the Engagement Gallery, featuring interactive exhibits that delve into the statue’s construction. Don’t forget to strike a pose at the Becoming Liberty Station, where you can wear a replica of Lady Liberty’s crown. Cap off your visit with stunning views of the city from the green rooftop, providing a unique perspective on New York Harbor.
New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
The New York Public Library‘s century-old main branch is a cultural gem in the heart of Manhattan. Start your visit with a family photo alongside the legendary lion statues that guard the library’s entrance. Inside, you can wander through the vast and awe-inspiring Rose Reading Room, a wood-paneled sanctuary for book lovers. Discover a piece of literary history with Christopher Robin Milne’s original vintage stuffed animals, which inspired the beloved character Winnie the Pooh. The library offers a serene and intellectual escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
Bronx Zoo Wildlife Conservation Society
The Bronx Zoo is a fantastic inner-city zoo that provides an exciting opportunity to connect with wildlife from around the world. With over 4,000 animals representing various species, the zoo offers a range of themed areas to explore, including Tiger Mountain, World of Birds, and Madagascar. You can enjoy unique experiences like the Wild Asia Monorail, getting up close during penguin and sea lion feedings, and embarking on Wild Encounters, where you can interact with animals and learn about conservation efforts.
Empire State Building
Take your family to new heights at the Empire State Building, one of New York City’s most iconic skyscrapers. Ascend to the 86th floor for breathtaking views of the city’s skyline and landmarks. The observation deck offers incredible photo opportunities, especially during sunset and at night when the city lights up. Learn about the building’s Art Deco history and recent renovations as you explore the newly upgraded Observatory. It’s a memorable experience that provides a unique perspective on the city.
Museum Of Modern Art (MoMA)
The Museum of Modern Art, often referred to as MoMA, is a hub of contemporary and modern art. Following an extensive refurbishment, MoMA now offers an even more enriching experience. Explore expanded galleries filled with iconic works of art, from Picasso to Warhol. Families can participate in art-making studios, encouraging creativity and engagement with the art on display. Family programming, including kid-friendly tours and events, ensures that art is accessible and enjoyable for visitors of all ages.
Activities To Enjoy In New York This Weekend
Looking for the best ways to make the most of your weekend in the city that never sleeps? New York City is buzzing with excitement, and there’s something for everyone to enjoy this weekend. Whether you’re into cultural festivals, wellness events, or outdoor adventures, we’ve got your weekend plans covered:
NYC Labor Day Parade
Kick off your weekend by joining the NYC Labor Day Parade on Saturday, September 9th, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It’s a joyous celebration of workers, unity, and pride. Join the march or show your support as tens of thousands come together to honor the spirit of labor activism.
Gay Ass Wellness Festival
Head over to Bushwick on Sunday, September 10th, for the unique Gay Ass Wellness Festival. This event is all about movement, wellness, and community. Enjoy pilates, boxing, and dance fitness classes, all set to the beats of a live DJ. It’s an opportunity to nourish your mind, body, and soul.
Indulge in the tastes of Italy at the annual Ferragosto Festival in The Bronx, happening only on Sunday, September 10th. Sample delicious Italian cuisine from local small businesses, including pastries, coffee, and gourmet delights. It’s a food lover’s paradise on Arthur Avenue.
Curtain Up Festival
If you’re a theater enthusiast, don’t miss the Curtain Up Festival from Friday, September 8th, to Sunday, September 10th. Broadway’s top talent takes center stage in Times Square, offering free outdoor concerts and showcasing the best of New York’s theater scene.
Vintage Train Parade
Experience a blast from the past on Saturday, September 9th, and Sunday, September 10th, with the Vintage Train Parade. Step aboard historic subway trains and take a ride between Kings Highway and Brighton Beach. It’s a unique journey through New York’s transit history.
81st Street Studio At The Met
Get hands-on at The Met’s new 81st Street Studio, opening on September 9th. Designed for kids aged 3-11 and their families, this interactive art and science space allows exploration through all the senses. It’s a free, fun-filled way to introduce kids to the world of art.
Special Things To Do In New York For Couples
New York City is not just a destination for sightseeing; it’s also a city where romance thrives in unexpected places. Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary, planning a memorable proposal, or simply want to enjoy a special day with your partner, there are plenty of unique and romantic experiences waiting for you in the Big Apple.
Private NYC Photo Tour and Photoshoot: On a private NYC Photo Journey, a licensed tour guide and a professional photographer will lead you to fascinating spots while taking stunning photos of you and your partner. These memories will last a lifetime.
BYOB Paint Night: Hosted by venues like The Painting Lounge, BYOB Paint Nights offers a chance to share a bottle of wine while creating your own masterpiece under the guidance of an instructor. It’s a fun and creative way to bond.
Daybreaker Early Morning Dance Party: For the early birds or adventurous souls, kick-start your day with a dance at the Daybreaker morning party. Held at various locations throughout the city, it’s a unique way to enjoy music, dance, and each other’s company.
Cuba Restaurant and Rum Bar in Greenwich Village: Transport yourselves to Havana in the heart of Greenwich Village. Enjoy Cuban, Latin, and Spanish cuisine along with live music and hand-rolled cigars for a romantic and flavorful evening.
Color Factory: Let your inner child run wild at the Color Factory. Explore colorful rooms and installations together, snapping Instagram-worthy photos as you go. It’s a playful and artistic experience perfect for couples.
Kayaking in Lower Manhattan: Experience the city from a different perspective by kayaking together along the Hudson River from Pier 26. Not only will you enjoy quality time on the water, but you’ll also have the opportunity to admire some of NYC’s best views.
Milk Bar Baking Class: Join a Milk Bar baking class and learn to create delicious treats like their famous Crack Cookies. Bond over a shared love of sweets and leave with a unique culinary creation.
Metrograph Movie Date: Enjoy a classic movie night with a twist at the Metrograph. This chic cinema in the Lower East Side screens a wide array of films, complemented by a stylish restaurant and bar inspired by Hollywood’s Golden Age.
AcroYoga Class at Om Factory: Elevate your connection with a partner in an AcroYoga class at Om Factory. This blend of acrobatics and yoga poses encourages trust, balance, and playfulness, making it an ideal activity for active couples.
Summit One Vanderbilt: For breathtaking views of the city along with interactive art experiences, head to Summit One Vanderbilt. Enjoy a romantic café and bar at the top while taking in the NYC skyline, making it a memorable date spot.
New York, New Home- Finding Your Perfect Extended Stay In NYC
New York City isn’t just for tourists on whirlwind visits; it’s also a city where people come to live, work, and experience the unique energy of the Big Apple. If you’re planning an extended stay in NYC, whether for work or leisure, it’s essential to find accommodations that make you feel at home. Here are some options to consider:
Furnished apartments are a popular choice for extended stays in NYC. These apartments come equipped with all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay, including a fully stocked kitchen, a living area, and a separate bedroom. You’ll have the freedom to cook your meals, do laundry, and relax as if you were in your own home.
Extended Stay Hotels
Many hotels in NYC cater to extended-stay guests by offering apartment-style suites. These suites typically include a kitchenette, a dining area, and a spacious living space. Staying in an extended-stay hotel provides the convenience of daily housekeeping services and access to on-site amenities like fitness centers and business centers.
Corporate housing is an excellent option for professionals on extended business trips. These accommodations are designed to provide a productive and comfortable environment, often located near major business districts. They come with flexible lease terms and essential business amenities like high-speed internet and workspaces.
If you want to immerse yourself in the local culture, consider booking a vacation rental. You can find cozy apartments or charming townhouses in various neighborhoods across the city. Vacation rentals offer a unique opportunity to live like a New Yorker, exploring local cafes, markets, and parks.
Homestays And Airbnb
For a more personalized experience, you can opt for homestays or Airbnb in NYC for rentals. Staying with a local host can provide valuable insights into the city’s hidden gems. Whether you’re looking for a spare room or an entire apartment, these options offer a more intimate and authentic NYC experience.
Accommodation Options In New York-The Best Hotels
New York City, the city that never sleeps, offers a diverse array of accommodations, from iconic historic landmarks to chic boutique hideaways. In 2023, the city’s hotel scene continues to evolve, with new addresses making their mark and old favorites receiving refreshing updates. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, these hotels provide a glimpse into the heart and soul of the Big Apple.
Aman New York, Midtown
Address: The Crown Building, 730 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019, United States
The Aman New York is the city’s newest luxury gem and the first urban outpost for the renowned Aman brand in the United States. Nestled in Midtown Manhattan’s heart, this hotel combines understated luxury with an abundance of space. With only 83 suites, each generously sized by New York standards, this hotel offers an intimate experience. Guests can indulge in the three-floor spa and wellness center with a 65-foot pool and two distinct spa houses, one inspired by Eastern European traditions and the other by Moroccan hammams. The Garden Terrace Bar and Arva, Aman’s signature Italian restaurant, provide delightful outdoor spaces within this iconic Crown Building.
The Ned NoMad
Address: The Ned NoMad, 1170 Broadway, New York, NY 10001, United States
Five years after its successful launch in London, The Ned has found a new home in NoMad, offering a glamorous take on Art Deco. This hotel features rich upholstery, marble floors, and warm wood, creating a stylish atmosphere. Guests can dine at Little Ned, the bar and restaurant with 1920s-style booth seating, or relax in rooms with exposed concrete and warehouse windows. The rooftop restaurant and bar, currently for Ned’s Club members, provide stunning views of the city. The Ned is set to open another location in the Financial District in 2024.
Address: The Hotel Chelsea, 222 West Twenty-Third Street, New York, N. Y. 10011
Looking for budget hotels in NYC? Steeped in rock ‘n’ roll history, Hotel Chelsea reopens its doors with a refreshed look while preserving its iconic spirit. This legendary hotel, once frequented by Andy Warhol, Dylan Thomas, and Sid Vicious, now offers 155 bright and airy guest rooms and suites. Each room features original fireplaces, stained-glass windows, and wrought-iron balconies. The El Quijote restaurant is buzzing once again, offering Galician and Basque cuisine. The Lobby Bar, with its grand piano and chandeliers, adds to the hotel’s decadent charm.
The Ritz-Carlton New York, NoMad
Address: The Ritz-Carlton, 25 W 28th St, New York, NY 10001, United States
The Ritz-Carlton’s NoMad location brings a touch of traditional luxury to this energetic neighborhood. This hotel stands out with a José Andrés restaurant serving delectable dishes, a lobby adorned with hand-blown Randy Zieber light fixtures, and lush potted plants throughout. Guests can enjoy expansive city views from their rooms, which feature cloud-like beds and wide windows. The subterranean spa, known for its facials, seamlessly blends classic Ritz-Carlton indulgence with NoMad’s vibrant energy.
Nine Orchard, Downtown
Address: Nine Orchard, 9 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002, United States
In the heart of the Lower East Side, Nine Orchard offers a touch of sophistication to this vibrant neighborhood. Housed in a historic bank building, the hotel features an airy lobby bar beneath grand vaulted ceilings, creating an atmosphere of timeless elegance. The property boasts 116 guest rooms with minimalist design elements and custom radio stations curated by DJ Stretch Armstrong. The Corner Bar, led by one of the city’s hottest chefs, Ignacio Mattos, serves exceptional dishes, making this hotel a unique blend of history and modernity.
Insider Tips And Recommendations When Visit New York
Visiting New York City is an exhilarating experience, and to make the most of your trip, it’s essential to have some insider tips and recommendations up your sleeve. Here are some valuable insights and guidance to enhance your exploration of the countless things to do in New York:
Flexible Scheduling: While planning your itinerary, be sure to include a mix of indoor and outdoor activities.
Transportation: NYC’s subway system is an efficient way to get around. Buy a MetroCard for easy access to subways and buses.
Safety First: New York City is generally safe, but it’s wise to stay aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye on your belongings
Advance Tickets: Save time and skip the queues by purchasing tickets online in advance.
Local Eateries: While iconic eateries are a must, don’t miss out on the local gems.
So, Ready To Explore The NYC?
In the heart of New York City, the possibilities for adventure are as boundless as the skyline. We’ve taken you on a whirlwind tour of things to do in New York, from iconic attractions to hidden gems, all waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re here for a weekend getaway, an extended stay, or even lucky enough to call this city home, the allure of New York is undeniable. It’s a place where the cityscape tells stories, and each corner turned reveals new experiences. So, as you prepare to leave, remember that the charm of New York City stays with you, no matter where life’s journey takes you next.