Whether you are new to New York City, have been here before, or live here, there’s always more to see in the Big Apple. With each of these destinations you will find that there is more than what meets the eye, literally. So here are nine great places to go sightseeing in New York City.
1. Statue of Liberty
One of the most iconic sites in America is the Statue of Liberty. Standing at 305 feet tall, the Statue of Liberty is more than just a remarkable sight; it is a universal symbol of freedom. If you are in New York City for the first time, you need to check out the Statue of Liberty. The best way to experience the monument is to take a ferry there from Battery Park. Although it is possible to see the statue from Battery Park, you will not be able to see Lady Liberty’s face. She faces the other direction because her past duty was to welcome immigrants coming ashore to Ellis Island after crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
Location: Although tickets are not needed to step onto Liberty Island, they are required for ferry travel to and from the island. The only ferry authorized to travel to and from Liberty Island is operated by Statue Cruises. Here are some suggestions for where to get on the ferry based on your location:
- Statue Cruises Liberty State Park, NJ – 200 Morris Pesin Drive, Jersey City, NJ 07305
- Statue Cruises Battery Park, NY – Castle Clinton National Monument, Battery Park, New York, NY 10004
NOTE: For a completely free glance at the Statue of Liberty, hop on the free Staten Island Ferry from Battery Park to see Lady Liberty off the side of the boat on your trip to and from Staten Island. Ferries usually run every 15-30 minutes, and you can reboard as soon as you get off at Staten Island.
2. Central Park
This half-mile wide and 2.5 miles long park, found between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West from 59th Street to 110th Street in New York City, has so much to offer and explore that you cannot finish seeing or doing it all in just one day. Here are just some of the things that you can do in Central Park:
- Tour and Bike Rentals
- Yoga and Fitness classes
- Horse and Carriage tours
- Visiting the Central Park Zoo
- Visiting Belvedere Castle
- Picnicking on the grass
- Crossing the Gapstow Bridge
- Taking a ride on the iconic Carousel
- Photos in front of the Bethesda Fountain
- Boat rides on the lake
If you’re not feeling up to participate in any of these activities, then just start strolling down a path and enjoy the beautiful scenery around you. You’re bound to get lost so make sure to have a map!
Location: The park stretches from 59th street to 110th Street, so there are many different locations from where you can enter. However, if you’re a noob to Central Park then we recommend taking the subway (1, A, C, B, D) to The Shops at Columbus Circle. After you get out of the station, make your way to the mall and you will see a huge entrance to Central Park right across the street. Enter from this side and you can rent a bike to ride around on, hire a carriage to give you a tour of the park, or take a walk down the many winding paths.
3. 9/11 Memorial and Museum
The free 9/11 Memorial is one of the prettiest sites that New York City has to offer. Located in downtown Manhattan near Wall Street, the memorial is a tribute to the 2,977 victims who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing on February 26, 1993. The memorial has all the names of those who fell victim to the attacks inscribed into its bronze parapets. Reading these names, standing over the edge, and watching as the water flows into the well at the center can leave you in awe. Admission to the 9/11 Museum at the site is $26 and allows entry to all available exhibitions. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum is something every person who visits New York should experience to honor the memories of the many people who have lost their lives.
Location: 180 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007
4. The High Line
The High Line is a former elevated rail line that was transformed into a walking trail above the city streets. As you walk along the 1.5-mile trail you will experience the sight of New York City’s incredible West side high-rise buildings and beautifully landscaped paths. The park runs from Gansevoort Street on the south end to West 34th Street on the north end. The Gansevoort Street entrance in the Meatpacking District is only a five-minute walk to Chelsea Market. The High Line also runs directly beneath the famous SoHo House and often features performances and festivals. Near the north end of The High Line, you will find the newly opened Hudson Yards complex, which houses The Vessel, a multi-level art installation with outstanding architecture. Although the Vessel is temporarily closed, it is still an iconic New York image worth taking a selfie in front of.
Location: You can enter through:
- Gansevoort Street (Meatpacking District)
- 23rd Street
- 30th Street
- 34th Street (Hudson Yards)
More information can be found on The High Line website: https://www.thehighline.org/visit/
5. Times Square
Anyone who has ever visited New York City has been to Times Square or has at least heard of it. With thousands of people walking through the streets and hundreds of neon lights and billboards covering every building, this popular area is well known for its liveliness and energy. It is also the location of New York City’s Ball Drop countdown where thousands of people from around the world come to celebrate New Year’s Eve; the New York way! The best time to visit Times Square is during the evening when the streets are lit up by massive digital billboards. However, it can be exciting to walk through Times Square at any time of day. Times Square is also surrounded by the iconic New York City Broadway scene, so it’s the best spot to go if you want to find tickets for a show. Visit tdf.org (Theatre Development Fund) to learn how you can purchase same-day tickets at the TKTS booth on the north side of Father Duffy Square. Be aware of scammers dressed in character costumes – as soon as you take a photo, they will harass you for a ‘tip’. There is almost nothing free in Times Square.
Location: New York, NY 10018
Although there are many ways to get to Times Square, the most popular way to reach the area is to take the subway to Times Square 42nd Street/Port Authority Bus Terminal. This station is the most accessible as it offers many options for which train to take, including:
- 1, 2, 3, 7, A, E, N, Q trains at all times
- W train during weekdays
- C, R, and 42nd Street (S) at all times except late nights
- <7> (7 express train) during rush hours in the peak direction
6. Brooklyn Bridge
Completed in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was the world’s first steel suspension bridge. It was also the longest suspension bridge when it was first opened. The bridge spans the East River, connecting the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan. Like the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge has become an iconic landmark of New York City and a huge attraction. Though you have the option to bike across the bridge, to get the full experience we recommend walking and getting beautiful views of the East River and Manhattan.
Location: If you are entering from the Manhattan side then you should take the 4, 5, or 6 trains to Brooklyn Bridge City Hall or the J/Z trains to Chambers Street.
If you are entering from the Brooklyn side take the following:
- A, C, or F to Jay Street/MetroTech Station
- N or R to Court Street Station
- 2/3 or 4/5 to Borough Hall Station
7. New York Public Library
The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, commonly known as the Main Branch of the New York Public Library, is in Midtown Manhattan right next to Bryant Park (42nd Street and 6th Avenue). The massive building has beautiful architecture and four floors open to the public. In the Rose Main Reading Room, the ceiling is over fifty feet high, and spans two city blocks just on its own. Surrounding the room are thousands of books and the ceiling is adorned with chandeliers and murals. It is also an actual library and there are many seats available so you can go there to work or study. If you visit the library during the winter months, you can step into Bryant Park next door and take advantage of the outdoor ice skating rink.
Location: 476 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018
8. World Trade Center Oculus
The World Trade Center Oculus is the world’s most expensive train station. Construction of the Oculus began only a year after the attacks on the World Trade Centers in 2001 and was completed fourteen years later in March 2016. Amongst the tall rectangular buildings that tower over the majority of Lower Manhattan, the Oculus stands out because of its unique design. From the outside it looks like a dove spreading its wings. In addition to being a major transit hub, the Oculus boasts 225,000 square feet of commercial and retail shopping and sees roughly 300,000 travelers each day. The interior is just as beautiful as the exterior and is worth checking out!
Location: New York, NY 10007
9. Top of the Rock
Two of New York City’s most iconic skyscrapers are the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings. But a visit to the Empire State Building’s observation deck doesn’t give decent views of the iconic building itself. Top of the Rock, the observation deck of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, provides beautiful 360-degree unobstructed views of New York City across three different levels. The 800-foot-high experience costs $40 for adults, but offers the best view of the city’s landscape and iconic buildings.
Location: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112