New York is filled with attractions at every corner of the city. It's almost impossible to wind down the list to just a few places to visit, but here's a plan to get you started. Don't be afraid to get lost in the Big Apple and make sure you take advantage of the top places provided to you below and guide you on your next visit.
1-Take a stroll through Central Park
From jogging to renting a bike, looking at sculptures, adopting a bench, watching a concert or even visiting a zoo, you can virtually find anything at Central Park. The largest and most natural location in New York City spanning over 800 acres (3 kms), this famous urban park is a splendid area of recreation. What was once a place notorious for crime and considered dangerous at night, has now become a checkpoint for any tourist or New Yorker. Enjoy a picnic or cover any of the 6 mile (10 km) jogging or biking paths.
2-Travel through history at the Metropolitan museum
Located adjacent to Central Park, you can find the largest museum in North America and one of the most visited art museums in the world. There are five large floors of displayed exhibits ranging from ancient Egyptian artifacts like the towering Temple of Dendur to a large collection of European sculptures and paintings from popular artists like Van Gogh and Rembrandt. The Met Museum offers a lot for any art enthusiast and would require many weeks to explore. There is a cool collection of medieval arms and armor as well as splendid rooms of the American Wing and Greco-Roman Antiquity. The large rooms are designed to give you a real feel of history and showcase the vast collection for your viewing pleasure.
3-Whisper sweet words or obscenities to each other at Grand Central Station
Officially called Grand Central Terminal, this is a major transit hub for all commuters allowing you to access the train station and subway. Nothing can define the hustle and bustle of the city the way this station can. If you happen to visit, don't rush too fast and miss out on the fantastic architecture and beautiful decor. Stand with someone on opposite ends of the archway, face the wall and whisper to hear one another.
4-Reach for the sky at the Empire State Building
This skyscraper stood as the tallest building in the world for 40 years and has been named as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Take the elevator and shoot up to the 86th or the 102nd floor's observation deck to get a beautiful view of New York City. Start off your tour at this iconic building.
5-Visit the Rockefeller Center
The famous complex has it all, from restaurants and cafes to TV studios, art and much more. Visit the plaza that features a large gold leaf statue of the Greek hero Prometheus. In the winter, don't forget to see its world famous giant Christmas tree and ice skating rink. Head to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck for some stunning views of the city. Many tours are offered and avoid peak hours or else beware the large crowds.
6-Commemorate 9/11 at the September 11 Memorial & Museum
Experience this beautifully designed memorial honouring the thousands who perished in the 9/11 attacks. The two thirty-foot waterfalls are carefully placed over the original towers and surrounded by wonderful oak trees. They are full of meaning and emotion with the names of the victims inscribed on bronze parapets. Don't miss the 9/11 Memorial Museum that explores the tragic events with images and timelines.
7-Watch a Broadway show
New York is known for its plays and musicals with high-profile celebrities. Located in the Theater District, Broadway shows like the Lion King or Phantom of the Opera draw large crowds every year. There are tickets for Broadway shows nearly every day, but normally you need to book weeks in advance. You can dress casual and if you're lucky, ask for an autograph after the show.
8-Join the action in Times Square
Lights. People. Action. There's no place that represents "the city that never sleeps" better than Times Square. Whether you choose to stop and stare at the massive billboards, go shopping, or watch the ball drop on New Year's Eve, come to the middle of Manhattan and join the hundreds of thousands of tourists daily to the heart of the world.
Surrounded by many chess shops and New York University, this pleasant park located in Greenwich Village is considered a city landmark. You will find the towering 77-foot high Washington Square Arch, dedicated to the first president of the United States, modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. There's a beautiful large fountain that you can sit around to relax while others dip their feet inside in the summer, especially kids who may run around. If relaxing is not your thing, then you can always play chess on the built-in tables on the southwest corner of the park. Beware the chess hustlers!
10-Indulge in Italian food at the Eataly Market
Dine in or take out by browsing through the many sections available with a large variety of fresh foods. Find virtually any Italian foods you crave from the large selection of pizza, fresh pasta, wine, cheese, gelato and many more.
11-Enjoy the view from Battery Park
Enjoy the beautiful view of the Statue of Liberty and the New York Harbor from this historical landmark. It once stood as a fort where artillery batteries were held to protect the settlement in the 1800s. Located beside the South Ferry terminal, it has now become a splendid green park with memorials, statues and monuments dedicated to World War II, the September 11 attacks (The Sphere and eternal flame) and even Aids victims. Discover the 200 year old stone wall at the South Ferry Subway Station.
12-Listen to classical music at Carnegie Hall
For all music lovers, this is one stop to make. Listen to a concert with some of the most popular musical performers in the world from different genres. This venue has 3 auditoriums and it is truly renown for its live classical symphony orchestra and choir. If you can't afford the admission, there is always a guided tour at a small fee you can take to learn more on the legacy of this famous concert hall.
13-Reach new heights on the Roosevelt Island Tramway
The tram offers a short 10 minute ride from Roosevelt Island to Manhattan with fantastic aerial views over Queensboro Bridge and the East River. It's the cheapest way to discover NYC from up in the air (free with Metro Card). Take the tram at night and see the light of Manhattan.
14-Take a walk on the High Line
Take a stroll on this spectacular elevated park and find some of the most stunning views of the city. What was once a railroad is now a large walkway decorated by lots of greenery and beautiful architecture. Sit and relax on one of the many trendy benches.
15-Relax at Bryant Park
Come visit this beautiful park filled with tall trees and loaded with beautiful little shops and restaurants. Enjoy the green space in the summer by walking through the park or bring a blanket and lie on the lawn. In the winter, the area transforms into an outstanding Christmas village which includes an ice skating rink with free admission (with skate rental available). The trees are decorated with lights and there are plenty of artsy booths to browse around and food stands to enjoy and keep you warm.
16-Shop along 5th Avenue and max out those credit cards!
Considered one of the most famous streets for shoppers worldwide (yes, talking to you ladies) with many upscale designer shops and some of the most popular stores like Saks and the Apple store are a must see. Spend hours spending your hard earned money at the many boutiques or window shop when your wallet has run out. Any retailer is considered a major success once landing a spot in this part of town so why not take a glance at the newest fashions and jewels.
17-Tour Chelsea Market in the Meatpacking District
Make sure to cross into the must see Meatpacking District as this trendy up-and-coming area offers plenty of shops, restaurants and galleries. Don't forget to browse around the Chelsea Market by walking down the alleys of this wonderful mall filled with small artisan shops and restaurants. You will find anything you need from the many vintage stores, a bookstore and food shops. It is a unique experience with many quality items to choose from.
18-Sit by the fountain at the Lincoln Center
Find the Revson Fountain at the center of Lincoln Square. Relax and take a stroll around the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts which hosts the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Ballet. The multi-venue complex has a very modern and clean look with some beautiful sculptures encompassing the entire area to admire. Enjoy the sounds of the fountain during the day or the blend of water and lights at night.
19-Join the traffic at Columbus Circle
Known as the center of New York City, Columbus Circle is located next to several iconic buildings. This heavily trafficked roundabout includes a large statue of Christopher Columbus erected on a long column in the middle of the circle. Visit the Time Warner Center which offers one of the largest retail shopping malls. Don't forget to stop by Bouchon Bakery for their pastries inside the mall, known for their popular TKO cookies.
20-Experience luxury at the Plaza Hotel
Discover the Plaza's best kept secret - The Plaza Food Hall
Nothing says luxury like this grandiose 20-story hotel. This historic NYC establishment is a must see for any visitor. If you cannot afford a luxurious stay, take a tour to view the spaces or make a reservation at the Palm court for afternoon tea. Walk down to the basement of the hotel at the Plaza Food Hall and enjoy a delicious meal at a reasonable price. The food court offers several food types and different areas with tables or stools to eat your food.
21-Eat street food
There's nothing like roaming the NYC streets and stopping by the street vendors or food trucks to munch on some grub. It's cheap, it's fast and soooo delicious. You can find any type of food on the go like hot dogs, chicken, pretzels, gyro or falafel on almost any sidewalk. It can definitely satisfy any appetite.
22-Read at the New York Public Library
Go visit one of the largest libraries in the world and get inspired by this beautiful decorated building with its vast collection of books. Explore the hallways, the different levels and study rooms where many qualified writers, researchers and academics spend most of their time. Free tours and audio guides are offered and there are always different featured exhibits. Please note that the beautiful Rose Main Reading Room is closed for restoration of its high ceiling until 2017.
23-Visit the American Museum of Natural History
Plan a day out to this immense museum displaying a vast selection of exhibits with animals, humans, meteorites and historical artifacts. Located across the street from Central Park, it also includes a planetarium, library and the kid favorite dinosaur exhibits featuring the fossil of the T-Rex from the Night at the Museum movie.
24-Witness the beautiful architecture at the Flatiron building
This pie-shaped skyscraper is considered one of the most iconic landmarks in the world. Its intriguing infrastructure had caused controversy among architects and many critics during construction, but the public liked it. Over a century later, people still adore the triangular building in this picturesque corner.
25-Visit Wall Street and head to Trinity Church
Walk through the financial sector of New York City commonly referred as the financial capital of the world with popular buildings like the New York Stock Exchange. Go see the famous Charging Bull Statue nearby and good luck taking a picture alone as people continuously pose and climb on the bull. You can visit the Federal Reserve Building and Gold Vault on nearby Liberty St.
Take a break from the busy financial district and admire this illustrious church. This historic building resides beside the burial grounds of famous people at the Churchyard and the bronze sculpture Trinity Root built as a 9/11 memorial for the Sycamore tree that shielded St. Paul's Chapel.
26-Visit St. Patrick's Cathedral
Located across the Rockefeller Center, this beautiful Roman Catholic church built over 120 years ago has gone through major restoration recently. A towering structure with impressive Gothic-style architecture, people come from all over the world to attend mass, sit and pray or tour this marvelous building.
27-Take a walk in Little Italy and shop in Nolita
Tour this old traditional neighbourhood which includes many Italian restaurants popular with tourists for pizza and pasta. But gone are the days of its Italian character as this community has kept diminishing over the years. In recent years, it has become more of a tourist trap but now, Nolita has built a hip and trendy reputation with many fashionable stores, restaurants and bars.
Koreatown is a small neighbourhood spanning only one block and it's growing upwards with businesses stacked on top of each other. This is a great spot for eating, drinking, spas or if you care for a karaoke experience. Known for their BBQ, side dishes and green tea, K-town offers many delicious options for any food lover.
29-Be artsy in Soho
The SoHo district also known as South of Houston street has evolved from a popular location for contemporary artists to the a hot spot for shopping and dining. Explore the beautiful cobblestone streets and observe the cast-iron fire escapes above throughout this enchanting neighbourhood. There are many museums, art galleries and some of the biggest retailers have all gathered into this trendy district. This area has truly taken the rags to riches route.
30-Take a picture of the Chrysler Building
This building stood as the tallest building in the world for a brief eleven month span, but it still remains today as one of the most beautiful skyscrapers with its Art Deco styled spire looming overhead. Unlike the Empire State Building, there's no observation deck atop this building. You can visit the decorative lobby and its ceiling murals during the weekdays only as it still remains an office building. Fun fact: The Chrysler family sold the building in 1953 yet the building held the name since.
31-Watch an event at Madison Square Garden
MSG is a legendary arena to watch teams like the Knicks or Rangers, or enjoy a show such as a live concert or comedy act. Prepare to pay top dollar for tickets, food and drinks. Look hard for good seats since they're not easy to find.
32-Join the action at Union Square
A great public space and a traditional gathering site that captures New York's diversity with musicians, protesters, students, workers on their lunch break as well as visitors. Union Square includes a beautiful park with monuments like the bronze statue of George Washington and various art found all over. Go to Greenmarket which offers an abundance of fresh foods from farmers with locally grown products.
33-Cross the Brooklyn Bridge and visit Dumbo area
This is one of the most magnificent and picturesque bridges and it is an engineering marvel. Built over 100 years ago, this precisely crafted suspension bridge spans almost an entire mile (1.8 km) linking Manhattan to the Brooklyn borough. The bridge features towers with large Gothic arches that hold the cables together and a wide pedestrian walkway available to walking pedestrians and cyclists. More than 120,000 vehicles, 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 bicyclists cross the Brooklyn Bridge every day.
34-Take the Staten Island Ferry and view the Statue of Liberty
This 24-hour passenger ferry is a free ride to cross the New York Harbor into Staten Island. Enjoy the least expensive way to get a close view of the Statue of Liberty and a beautiful snapshot of the Lower Manhattan skyline. The service is available every 30 minutes and every 15 minutes on peak hours.
35- Take the subway or a taxi
Last but not least, you can't forget that public transportation is a way of life for anyone in Manhattan as the congestion of vehicles and people make it difficult to get around the city quickly. Parking can be rather scarce on streets or the expensive daily rate in garages (50$ and more) do not make driving in the city worthwhile. Take advantage of the low fares of the bright yellow taxis flooding the city. There's always the 400-plus subway stations that can get you to your destination rapidly as well and are very accessible.