Consider this your New York City bucket list.
In NYC, there are fun things to do around every corner—from the must-see tourist attractions to the off-the-beaten-path local gems. Consider these the best in New York City.
For some, New York City is the center of the universe. It’s home to some of the world’s best restaurants, hotels, museums, boutiques, and bars. Constantly evolving, New York is a different city every time you visit. Yesterday’s hot spot is today’s eye roll, so everyone who wants to know where to go and what to see needs an expert guide. Pick any of these must-see sights, and let the sleepless city do the rest. From seeing world-famous art at The Met to people watching in Central Park to eating pizza in Brooklyn, this list of the best things to do will have you falling in love with New York.
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See Some of the World’s Most Important Art at the Met Museum
New York City is home to some of the finest art museums in the world. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you could spend a week browsing 5,000 years of human creativity—from the ancient Egyptian Temple of Dendur to Warhol’s Mao—and still not see everything. (Related: 15 Unexpected Things in New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art) The museum is New York’s version of the Louvre, where you’ll see Renaissance masterpieces alongside pre-Columbian artifacts. With a constantly evolving collection and special exhibits, there’s no “been there, done that” when you’re talking about the Met. It’s worth a visit on every trip to New York, whether it’s your first trip or your fiftieth.
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Be Dazzled by Billboards in Times Square
Hands down, Times Square is the most frenetic part of New York City, a cacophony of flashing lights and shoulder-to-shoulder crowds that many New Yorkers studiously avoid. If you like sensory overload, the chaotic mix of huge underwear billboards, flashing digital displays, on-location television broadcasts, naked cowboys, and Elmo clones will give you your fix.
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Take in Views of the Skyline From the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center
There’s no better way to understand the scope of New York City than by a visit to the top of one of the skyscrapers that make up the iconic skyline. At Top of the Rock on the 70th floor of Rockefeller Center, you’ll have gorgeous views of midtown as well as the pièce de résistance of New York’s art deco skyscrapers: The Empire State Building. The views of the city from the 86th-floor deck are spectacular, but the views from 16 stories up on the 102nd-floor observatory are even more so—and yet, fewer visitors make it this far. Downtown, One World Observatory offers panoramic views and dining options on the 101st floor of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
INSIDER TIP: New Yorkers are fond of a rooftop bar, and there are plenty scattered throughout the city that offer panoramic views alongside cocktails.
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See Some of the World’s Most Incredible Modern Art at MoMA
New York’s MoMA is home to some of the world’s most recognizable modern masterpieces from artist like Warhol, Calder, Picasso, and Van Gogh (The Starry Night is here). Dedicated to art, sculpture, and photography, the museum is a must-visit. In Queens, MoMA PS1 showcases avant-garde contemporary art in a converted schoolhouse. It’s a love it or hate it kind of place, where art is provocative, confusing, shocking, and everything else art should be.
Walk to Brooklyn via the Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is the prettiest bridge in New York and one of the city’s most iconic structures. Walking across the East River atop the wooden-planked structure takes about 40 minutes and delivers some of the best views of Lower Manhattan. If the bridge is too crowded for you or if it’s in an inconvenient part of town, take a walk across the Williamsburg Bridge instead. Connecting two of New York’s hippest neighborhoods (the Lower East Side and Williamsburg), this bridge isn’t as iconic as the Brooklyn Bridge, but it’s less crowded, with great views of the skyline (through a Pepto Bismol-pink chain-link fence).