New York City

We’ve compiled the best of the best in New York City - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. 9/11 Memorial

    Financial District

    Opened in 2011 to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the somber memorial occupies a large swath of the 16-acre World Trade Center complex, forming the Memorial Plaza (part of the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum). It comprises two recessed, 30-foot-tall waterfalls that occupy the giant, square footprints where the Twin Towers once stood. Edging the memorial pools are bronze panels inscribed with the names of the nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the 1993 and 2001 terrorist attacks. Across the plaza are benches, grassy strips, and more than 400 swamp white oak trees harvested from within a 500-mile radius of the site, as well as from Pennsylvania and near Washington, D.C. The 9/11 Memorial is an open-access, free public plaza. Along Liberty Street on the south side of the site is the elevated Liberty Park, home to Fritz Koenig's The Sphere, which for three decades stood on the plaza at the World Trade Center as a symbol of peace. Damaged in the 2001 attack, the sculpture was installed in the park in 2017. On the park's east end stands St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine (, erected to replace the church that was destroyed on 9/11. Unlike an average church, this house of worship cost $85 million, took 21 years to design and construct, and among its splendid features, was built with white marble sourced from the same Greek quarry as the Parthenon's stone. Visitors are welcome daily (except Tuesday), 10--3; and on Sunday 9--2.

    180 Greenwich St., New York, New York, 10007, USA
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  • 2. Afropunk Fest

    Fort Greene

    This annual multicultural fete brings artists like Macy Gray, D'Angelo, Big Freedia, and Chuck D to an urban park near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, at the far north end of Fort Greene. The fashion scene is as fabulous as the music. Local food trucks provide sustenance and a thrift market keep fans occupied between sets.

    Commodore Barry Park, Flushing Ave., Brooklyn, New York, 11201, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 2 days in Aug.
  • 3. American Museum of Natural History

    Upper West Side

    With more than 40 exhibition halls and 34 million artifacts and specimens, the world's largest and most important museum of natural history can easily keep you occupied for more than a day. The dioramas might seem a bit dated but are still fun; dinosaur fossils and exhibits, including a massive T. rex, are highlights for many people, especially kids. A 94-foot model of a blue whale, another museum icon, is suspended from the ceiling in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. Attached to the museum is the Rose Center for Earth and Space featuring various exhibits, the Hayden Planetarium, a giant-screen theater, and the Worlds Beyond Earth space show, which takes you on a cosmic journey to the inner reaches of our solar system. Do your bling thing at the dazzling Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals, displaying giant geodes, diamonds, and sapphires, and explore the revitalized Northwest Coast Hall, where you will find exhibits on the history and creativity of the cultures of the Pacific Northwest. The latest addition to this ever-changing museum is the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Innovation, and Education, which opened in mid-2023 adding an organic canyon-like atrium with large skylights to create a welcoming new space for discovery; new galleries dedicated to insects; a permanent butterfly vivarium; classrooms; a research library; and a state-of-the-art theater-in-the-round.  While admission is pay "as you wish" for locals; there are set admission prices for everyone else, and everyone pays extra for special exhibits and the Planetarium. Many family-friendly events, including storytelling and dance performances, are included with admission. Purchase timed entry tickets in advance, and check the website for special programs, including sleepovers for kids.

    200 Central Park W, New York, New York, 10024, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $28 includes admission to Rose Center for Earth and Space; $34 includes one special exhibition, giant-screen film, or space show
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  • 4. Arthur Avenue (Belmont)


    Manhattan's Little Italy is overrun with mediocre restaurants aimed at tourists, but Belmont (meaning "beautiful hill"), the Little Italy of the Bronx, is a real, thriving Italian American community. Unless you have family in the area, the main reason to come here is for the food: eating it, buying it, looking at it fondly through windows, and chatting with shopkeepers about it—perhaps getting recipe advice. Nearly a century after pushcarts on Arthur Avenue catered to Italian American workers constructing the zoo and botanical garden, the area teems with meat markets, bakeries, cheese makers, and shops selling kitchenware (espresso machines, pasta makers, etc.). There are debates about which store or restaurant is the "best," but thanks to generations of Italian grandmothers, most vendors here serve fresh, handmade foods. Although the area is no longer solely Italian—many Latinos and Albanians share this neighborhood now—Italians dominate the food scene. The covered Arthur Avenue Retail Market ( 2344 Arthur Ave.) is a terrific starting point. It houses some dozen vendors, including the Bronx Beer Hall. Regulars mostly shop on Saturday afternoon; many stores are shuttered on Sunday and after 5 pm.

    Arthur Ave. between Crescent Ave./184th St. and 188th St., and 187th St. between Lorillard Pl. and Cambreleng Ave., Bronx, New York, 10458, USA
  • 5. Bronx Zoo


    With 265 acres and more than 17,000 animals representing 700-plus species, this is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States, opened in 1899. See exotic creatures in natural settings that re-create native habitats; you're often separated from the animals by no more than a moat or wall of glass. Don't miss the Congo Gorilla Forest, a 6½-acre re-creation of a lush African rain forest with western lowland gorillas, as well as mandrills, okapis, and red river hogs. At Tiger Mountain an open viewing shelter lets you get incredibly close to Siberian tigers. As the big cats nap at midday, visit in the morning or afternoon. Madagascar! is a verdant re-creation of one of the world's most threatened natural habitats, with six species of lemurs and more. Go on a mini-safari via the Wild Asia Monorail, May through October, weather permitting. Here you can view Asian elephants, Indo-Chinese tigers, Indian rhinoceroses, and other species. Try to visit popular exhibits, such as Congo Gorilla Forest, early to avoid lines later in the day. In winter, some outdoor exhibitions have fewer animals on view, but there's plenty to savor indoors. Some exhibits have an extra charge; to see everything, consider purchasing the Total Experience ticket.

    2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx, New York, 10460, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $34, Last entry to exhibits is 30 minutes before closing; check website for seasonal discounts available when purchasing tickets online; parking $20
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  • 6. Brooklyn Botanic Garden

    Prospect Heights

    A verdant, 52-acre oasis, the BBG charms with its array of “gardens within the garden,” including idyllic Japanese hill-and-pond, rose, and Shakespeare gardens. The Japanese cherry arbor turns into a breathtaking cloud of pink every spring. There are multiple entrances, and a variety of free garden tours are available with admission; check the website for seasonal details and information on the many festivals held throughout the year, including the iconic Sakura Matsuri celebration during cherry blossom season.

    990 Washington Ave., Brooklyn, New York, 11225, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $18, Closed Mon.
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  • 7. Brooklyn Bridge (Entrance)

    Brooklyn Heights

    Most visitors cross the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan, but you'll get better views traversing the span from the Brooklyn side. It's a surprisingly long walk (more than a mile) that normally takes about 40 minutes, but the exhilarating views are good payment for your exercise. Many office workers commute this way, and a welcome recent addition is a separate bike lane carved out from a lane of traffic, making the walkway much less crowded during rush hour (7 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 6 pm). It's most magical and quietest in the early morning, but if you don't mind the crowds, it's worth making the trip at sunset in summer, when the lights of Manhattan come to life. There are two pedestrian access points for the bridge on the Brooklyn side. One is at the intersection of Tillary Street and Boerum Place, where it eventually splits to lead left for those on foot, right for those on two wheels; the second is the Washington Street underpass, which leads to a staircase up to the walkway.

    Brooklyn, New York, 11201, USA
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  • 8. Brooklyn Bridge (Entrance)

    Financial District

    “A drive-through cathedral" is how the journalist James Wolcott once described the Brooklyn Bridge—one of New York's noblest and most recognizable landmarks—perhaps rivaling Walt Whitman's comment that it was "the best, most effective medicine my soul has yet partaken." The bridge stretches over the East River, connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn. A walk across its promenade—a boardwalk elevated above the roadway, shared by pedestrians and (sometimes aggressive) cyclists—is a quintessential New York experience, and the roughly 40-minute stroll delivers exhilarating views. If you start from Lower Manhattan (enter from the east side of City Hall), you'll end up in the heart of Brooklyn Heights, but you can also take the subway to the Brooklyn side and walk back to Manhattan. From late morning through early evening, the narrow path gets very congested, especially when the weather is nice. Head here early in the morning to find the magical quiet hours.

    East River Dr., New York, New York, 10038, USA
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  • 9. Brooklyn Bridge Park

    Brooklyn Heights

    This sweeping feat of green urban renewal stretches from the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO to the Brooklyn Bridge and south all the way to Pier 6, carpeting old industrial sites along the waterfront with scenic esplanades and lush meadows. The park has playgrounds, sports fields, food concessions, the wonderfully restored Jane's Carousel, and lots of grass for lounging. In the summer, there are outdoor movies on the Harbor View Lawn. There are pickleball courts on Pier 2. You can access the park at various points; just head down the hill toward the East River and you can't miss it.

    Brooklyn, New York, 11201, USA
  • 10. Brooklyn Heights Promenade

    Brooklyn Heights

    Strolling this mile-long path famous for its magnificent Manhattan views, you might find it surprising to learn that its origins were purely functional: the promenade was built as a sound barrier to protect nearby brownstones from highway noise. Find a bench, and take in the skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge; in the evening, the lights of Manhattan sparkle across the East River. Below are the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway (BQE) and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

    Between Remsen and Cranberry Sts., Brooklyn, New York, USA
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  • 11. Brooklyn Museum

    Prospect Heights

    New York’s second-largest museum (after Manhattan’s Metropolitan Museum of Art) is also one of the largest in America, with 560,000 square feet of exhibition space. The colossal Beaux-Arts structure houses one of the best collections of Egyptian art in the world, as well as impressive collections of African, pre-Columbian, Native American, and feminist art. In addition, you'll find works by Georgia O'Keeffe, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, George Bellows, Thomas Eakins, and Milton Avery. The museum is also well known for its contemporary, cutting-edge special exhibits. The monthly (except for September) First Saturday free-entry night is a neighborhood party of art, music, and dancing, with food vendors and several cash bars.

    200 Eastern Pkwy., Brooklyn, New York, 11238, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $16 suggested donation, $25 combo ticket with Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Closed Mon. and Tues.
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  • 12. Bryant Park

    Midtown West

    This lovely green space spread out among landmarks and skyscrapers is one of Manhattan's most popular parks. Tall London plane trees line the perimeter of the sunny central lawn, overlooking stone terraces, flower beds, and snack kiosks. The garden tables scattered about fill with lunching office workers and folks enjoying the park's free Wi-Fi. In summer, there are free readings, live jazz, and "Broadway in Bryant Park" musical theater performances. Most popular of all is the summer film festival: locals leave work early to snag a spot on the lawn for the outdoor screenings each Monday at dusk. At the east side of the park, near a bronze cast of Gertrude Stein, is the stylish Bryant Park Grill, which has a rooftop garden, and the adjacent open-air Bryant Park Café, open seasonally. On the south side of the park is an old-fashioned carousel ($4) where kids can also attend storytellings and magic shows. Come late October, the park rolls out the artificial frozen "pond" (October–March, daily 8 am–10 pm; skate rental starts at $18) for free ice-skating (bring your own padlock for the lockers). Surrounding the ice rink are the Christmas-market stalls of the holiday shops, selling handcrafted goods and local foods.

    6th Ave., New York, New York, 10018, USA
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  • 13. Celebrate Brooklyn!

    Prospect Park

    New York City’s longest-running summer outdoor performance festival began in 1979 and remains a top-notch crowd-pleaser with its diverse roster of mostly free (and some benefit) star acts. There's ample band shell seating, but locals tend to favor arriving early with a blanket to get a good seat on the grassy slope. Acts range from artists such as Janelle Monáe, the National, Neutral Milk Hotel, and St. Vincent to the Shen Wei Dance Arts company and Dance Theatre of Harlem. Look for silent film nights accompanied by innovative live music as well as spoken word performances. Pack a picnic or buy food from local, on-site vendors.

    Entrance on Prospect Park W, Brooklyn, New York, 11217, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: June--Aug.
  • 14. Chelsea Market


    This former Nabisco plant—where the first Oreos were baked in 1912—now houses more than 50 shops, food vendors, and sit-down restaurants. Probably the biggest draw are the food kiosks (some with counter seating), including favorite taco spot Los Tacos No. 1, Israeli-based sandwich spot Miznon, Amy's Bread, Berlin Currywurst, Ninth Street Espresso, and so much more. Also look for an Anthropologie store, an outpost of Pearl River Mart, a wine bar, upscale groceries, teas, spices, gift baskets, kitchen supplies, and one of New York City's last independent bookstores (Posman Books). The market's funky industrial design—a tangle of glass and metal for an awning, a factory pipe converted into an indoor waterfall—complements the eclectic assortment of shops, but the narrow space can get very crowded. A downstairs level has a few additional food stands as well as bathrooms. There is some seating inside and outside along West 15th Street, but if the weather's nice, take your goodies to the High Line.

    75 9th Ave., New York, New York, 10011, USA
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  • 15. Citi Field


    Opened in 2009, the Mets' stadium was designed to hark back to Brooklyn's Ebbets Field (where the Dodgers played until 1957), with a brick exterior and lots of fun features for fans of all ages, from a batting cage and Wiffle-ball field to the original giant apple taken from the team's old residence, Shea Stadium. Even those who aren't Mets fans but simply love baseball should come to see the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, a soaring multistory entrance and history exhibit dedicated to the Dodgers player who shattered baseball's color barrier. While here, don't miss the chance to taste your way through the fabulous food court, set behind center field (on the Field Level), where you'll find Shake Shack burgers and Pig Beach BBQ. Still feeling nostalgic for the old Shea? Stop by the Mets Hall of Fame & Museum.  Behind the scenes ballpark tours ($40) are available year-round; see for schedule and ticketing info. 

    41 Seaver Way, Queens, New York, 11368, USA
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  • 16. City College of New York


    Built in 1847 as the founding college of what is now the largest public urban university system in America, City College was originally called Free Academy of the City of New York. Affectionately dubbed the "Harvard of the Proletariat," or "the poor man's Harvard," the idyllic Neo-Gothic campus was designed by George Brown Post (the architect behind the Stock Exchange) and has since expanded to 36 acres. At a time when private universities were predominantly restricted to Protestant students, City College became a beacon for religious tolerance, and over the years, 10 City College graduates went on to win Nobel Prizes, among a long list of notable alumni. It’s also the site where Albert Einstein first presented his theory of general relativity in America. Stroll between Convent Avenue and St. Nicholas Terrace to admire five landmark structures with white terra-cotta trim, four great arches, green spaces, and more than 600 Gothic gargoyles and grotesques, originally designed to symbolize the academic purpose of each building.

    160 Convent Ave., New York, New York, 10031, USA
  • 17. Clinton Hill Architecture Walk

    Part of the National Register of Historic Places, the buildings along Clinton and Washington avenues were originally lavish summer homes for turn-of-the-20th-century industrialists like Charles Pratt. Federal, French Second Empire, Romanesque Revival, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, and neo-Grec mansions line the streets, serving as university buildings, community centers, and private residences. There are also quintessentially Brooklyn brownstones and Italianate row houses, with mansard roofs as far as the eye can see.

    Clinton and Washington Aves., Brooklyn, New York, 11205, USA
  • 18. Coney Island Museum

    Coney Island

    Founded as a labor of love by Coney Island impresario Dick Zigun, this quirky museum recounts the tumultuous history of the neighborhood and explores the counterculture that still thrives here. Check out the memorabilia from Coney Island's heyday in the early 1900s, as well as video installations, temporary exhibits, and the fabulous collection of funhouse mirrors.

    1208 Surf Ave., Brooklyn, New York, 11224, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $5, Labor Day–mid-June closed weekdays; mid-June–Labor Day closed Mon. and Tues.
  • 19. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

    Upper East Side

    The Cooper Hewitt has taken an ornate, century-old mansion—once the residence of industrialist Andrew Carnegie—and outfitted it with the latest technologies and amenities to create a slick, highly interactive, 21st-century experience, so you don’t just look at design; you engage with it. Download the free app to guide you through some of the wide-ranging collection's more than 200,000 objects, including antique cutlery, vintage wallpaper, art and design books, Japanese sword fittings, and examples of robotics and animation. Rotating exhibits may focus on a particular designer or design era. The focus on design and discovery extends to the SHOP, where limited-edition objects are for sale. There is a café, and an outdoor garden is free and open to the public. The museum offers guided tours aligned to exhibition topics at 1:30. Purchase timed tickets online.

    2 E. 91st St., New York, New York, 10128, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $18; pay-what-you-wish 5–6 pm
  • 20. Ellis Island

    Financial District

    Between 1892 and 1924, millions of people first entered the United States at the Ellis Island federal immigration facility. When the complex closed in 1954, it had processed ancestors of more than 40% of Americans living today. The island's main building, now a national monument, is known as the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, and it tells the story not just of Ellis Island but of immigration from the Colonial era to the present day, through numerous galleries containing artifacts, photographs, and taped oral histories. The museum's centerpiece is the cavernous, white-tile Registry Room (also known as the Great Hall). There's much to take in, so make use of the museum's interpretive tools. Check at the visitor desk for free film tickets, a good audio tour, ranger-led tour times, and special programs. There is no admission fee for the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island, but an adult ferry ride (from Battery Park to Liberty Island to Ellis Island) costs $24.50 round-trip. Ferries leave from Battery Park (and from Liberty State Park in New Jersey) every 25–30 minutes depending on the time of year (buy your tickets online at There are often long security lines, so arrive early, especially if you have a timed-entry ticket. There is an indoor-outdoor café on Ellis Island.

    New York, New York, 10004-3507, USA
    212-561–4588-Ellis Island

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free; ferry $25 round-trip (includes Liberty Island)
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