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Last updated: May 27, 2022 • Traveling Around the World

10 Must-See Tourist Attractions in the Big Apple

New York. The Big Apple. The City where Dreams Come True. Of all the cities in the world, few are as widely known and heavily idealized as this one. Its presence has left an indelible mark on pop culture, and its notoriety stretches to the furthest corners of the globe. Unsurprisingly, this has led to its becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, visited by millions each year. 

It isn’t as if the name is the only thing drawing people to this place. There are thousands (if not tens of thousands) of unique and fascinating tourist attractions in New York City, each with its own charming individual identity. With a population that surpasses 22 million that places it among the most populous cities in the US, there are bound to be tourist attractions in NYC to suit the tastes of even the most discerning tourist. 

Nevertheless, if you’re planning to visit the tourist attractions in NYC, you’re likely looking for a more exact guide to the city. You want to know what you simply need to see and what you can save for your second go-around. You want to know about the attractions themselves, and why they hold significance for the people of New York.

If you’ve arrived here asking these questions, we’ve got some great news for you: this article is intended to answer those very questions, and a few more for good measure! We’ll be sharing all the best tourist attractions in NYC, how you can visit them and when. What’s more, we’ll also be updating you on the status of closures and restrictions on attractions due to Covid 19. With all this being said, let’s get into it!

Article Summary:

The crown jewels of the Empire State

view of the empire state building

With its location in one of the most expansive and majestic states in the country, New York has a lot going for it before you even take into account all of the incredible things there are to see and do here. Those who visit the city as part of a state tour will no doubt be left with plenty to do in the broader context of New York state as a whole, considering its many attractions. 

Now, let’s take a look at some of those tourist attractions in NYC that we referred to earlier. To the uninitiated, it may seem that there’s no end to all of the incredible tourist attractions NYC has to offer, but this is actually not the case. If you want to get the most out of your trip to the Big Apple, you should take a look at these recommendations!   

The Statue of Liberty

view of statue of liberty

Come on, you knew this one was going to show up on our list. It’s simply too good to leave out! This towering neoclassical sculpture meant to represent America’s ideals of freedom and liberty was given to the United States by the French government during the 19th century, and has stood in New York’s harbor ever since. As one of the most distinctive monuments in the country, it’s definitely one of the must-see tourist attractions in NYC! 


For immigrants traveling to the U.S. for the first time by sea, this statue was a beacon of hope. A poem inscribed on its base beautifully sums up the meaning of the statue: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” These words, written by famed poet Emma Lazarus, are a perfect summation of what the statue was meant to represent. 

Today, the statue can be visited via a special ferry meant to transport visitors to and from Ellis Island, the place where the Statue of Liberty has stood for over 150 years. Although the monument was closed for a period of time during the pandemic, it has now undergone a limited reopening and can be visited by scheduling in advance. Don’t forget this if you want to put a visit to the Statue of Liberty on your itinerary! 

When visiting the Statue of Liberty, you’ll benefit greatly by reading up on the history of this notable monument. From its construction to its transport to the United States and significant meaning in the eyes of Americans everywhere, it’s more than just one of the best tourist attractions in NYC: it’s a piece of history. 

The Empire State Building 

new york city skyline

Towering above the early 20th century New York Skyline, the Empire State Building has now stood for nearly a century. While it isn’t the tallest building in New York anymore, no one will ever forget how important it was in forming the image of this city as a world wonder rather than just another population center. 

Named after the Empire State in which it is located, the Empire State Building was designed by famed architectural firm Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, after which it was constructed over the course of two years. Once it was completed, it would be the tallest building in the entire world, putting other skyscrapers of the time to shame. 

Its construction is primarily of steel, sandstone and concrete, with central pillars providing crucial structural support to the building. At the time, no skyscraper had been constructed to specifications so exacting or ambitious, and the results are still a phenomenal sight to behold. We wouldn’t hesitate to say it’s one of the best tourist attractions in NYC! 

While today this building is dwarfed by structures such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and Shanghai Tower in China, these structures would have never been possible without the Empire State Building. If you’d like to visit this renowned tourist attraction in NYC, we’ve got some great news for you: the observation deck has been reopened and you can visit it for a nominal fee. Be sure to call in advance in order to make a reservation! 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

metropolitan musem art new york

Although you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise, New York City has a lot more to offer than its beautiful architecture and monolithic structures. This city is the birthplace of entire subcultures, after all! With nearly four centuries of history on the books, the city of New York has witnessed the creation of innumerable breathtaking works of art. 

Those that want to experience this art will find few better places to do so than the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, NY. This world-class art museum features pieces from around the world, containing over two million pieces of art from throughout history. To call this collection magnificent is a criminal understatement! 

The collection at the met goes far beyond mere painted art. With a number of sculptures, historical weaponry, pottery and even performance art pieces on display, the museum is one of the most diverse and thrilling experiences you can have in the city. What’s more, pricing and admission are both quite reasonable, so you won’t have to break the bank to culture yourself! 

Although the US may have a much shorter history than long-standing European empires, the artistic culture present in the country is no less rich and varied for that reason. With its collection, the Met also strives to showcase the brilliant and innovative works of some of the foremost artists in the domestic art world, both classic and contemporary. This is one of the tourist attractions in NYC that you don’t want to miss! 

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Free attractions in NYC

If you’re anything like us, there’s a good chance your first thought when visiting a new city is whether or not there are any inexpensive and/or free attractions. So, what is the answer to the question “are there any free attractions in NYC?” is a resounding yes! There is so much to see and do here that you’re liable to forget that these are the free attractions in NYC!

Central Park 

aerial view of central park

Known by many as the park where Kevin McAllister meets the pigeon lady in the classic 1992 film Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Central Park is a beautiful, lush paradise of greenery in the middle of a concrete jungle. Residents of the city often go for pleasant walks along the many paths that cross its 843 acre expanse, taking the chance to relax after enduring the exhausting hustle and bustle that New York is known for. 

For out of towners, there’s still a number of excellent tourist attractions in NYC, with Central Park in particular being a staple location. Statues and memorials stand along the margins and at the intersections of the footpaths, commemorating legendary figures from throughout history. Overhead, a verdant canopy of oak and birch shades the soft grass of the park floor, creating a delightful place to sit, study or even sleep. 

In the winter, Central Park looks a lot different, but no less beautiful. With its wide open spaces and pleasantly winding pathways, this is the perfect place for a winter outing with the family. From snowball fights to sledding and more, you can enjoy central park just as much during the colder months. We’d say that 

Central Park also serves a vital practical purpose: keeping New York’s air clean! With tens of millions of residents and almost as many cars, this city has worrying levels of carbon emissions. The trees, grass and foliage of Central Park do a great deal to counteract this! If you’d like to visit this beautiful place of respite, you’ll be happy to hear that it won’t cost you a dime! 

Times Square

If you’ve ever paged through a tourist brochure advertising the sights in New York City, there’s no chance you haven’t seen this one: that’s right, we’re talking about Times Square! With towering electronic billboards, dozens of premium shops and a plethora of excellent restaurants and bars, there’s no place quite so densely packed with luxury and opulence as this. 

Do you like shopping? This is the perfect place for you! With luxury brands and artisan shops lining every street and street corner in the district, the only difficulty you’re likely to encounter when shopping here is choosing which store to go to. There’s a reason why this is one of the most popular tourist attractions in NYC! 

Of course, shopping is hard work; by the time you’re through, you’re liable to have worked up an appetite. If that’s the case, you’re in luck! Times Square is not just a great place to shop. It’s also a great place to satisfy a ravenous appetite! With some of the most well regarded and high-class restaurants in the world all grouped together in one place, you’ll have no trouble finding a place to eat! 

But what about bars? Is there a good place or two where you can wet your beak with a refreshing beverage of the alcoholic variety? Of course there is! Not just one or two, mind you, but dozens! Whether you’re in the mood for a dry martini or a Long Island Iced Tea, there’s sure to be something here to your liking. If you’re in town, you can’t miss it! 

Grand Central Station 

Although it’s been quite some time since the U.S. relied on rail-based infrastructure for long-distance transportation, there are still a few places where you can immerse yourself in and appreciate railway history. Few places in the country are better suited to this goal than the unique and wondrous Grand Central Station! 

With its soaring arches and regal design, Grand Central Station is a place that makes you feel small and insignificant in the most enjoyable way possible. The vast, cavernous nature of the structure is difficult to convey in words or pictures, but let us say this: once you visit, you’ll see exactly what we’re referring to. 

While it is home to a number of historical and cultural centrepieces that lend it immense informational value, Grand Central Station is first and foremost a functional piece of urban architecture. Every day, thousands of commuters and travelers arrive and depart from the station, providing observers with a visual representation of the extent to which this site connects New York to the rest of the Northeastern US and beyond. 

If you’re looking for a change of pace from the breakneck speeds of passenger airlines, why not take a brief jaunt out of the city on a local or regional train journey? Although it can’t compete with the speed and efficiency of air travel, rail travel is still the most comfortable and relaxing way to travel to this very day. No turbulence, no cramped seats, no labyrinthian system of gates and terminals; just you, a comfortable seat and the endless possibilities of the open rail. 

Fun activities in NYC for adults

Now, these family friendly attractions are great and all, but some of you might want something a bit more adult. Where are the fun attractions in NYC for adults, you ask? To answer that question, there are plenty of fun attractions in NYC, and we’re going to share some of them in the following section. 

Broadway

image of broadway street new york

You’ve no doubt heard of this one: it’s bold, beautiful Broadway. This New York City district is home to some of the most preeminent stage plays, musicals and other productions that have ever graced the art of theatre, drawing visitors from all over the world. If you’re in New York, you can’t pass up the opportunity to see it! 

There’s a certain magic to this place, with its long history of showmanship and pageantry. In this historic place, dozens upon dozens of iconic plays have debuted to thunderous applause, marking the pages of theatre history for posterity. As you stand in the midst of it, you’re liable to be left in awe of the incredible wonder of it all. 

With this long and spectacular history behind it, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of exceptional venues to choose from on Broadway. Perhaps most well known is the Shubert, an iconic theatre on Shubert Alley that has hosted plays and musicals for over one hundred years. The building has been restored, but it’s still got an incredible history behind it! 

Whether you visit the Shubert, the Booth or one of the other incredible theatres on Broadway, one thing is for sure: you won’t leave the place disappointed! Hosting some of the most illustrious talens in this domain in the entire world, there’s no doubt in our minds that Broadway is one of the best tourist attractions in NYC! 

Family pizzerias

This one is less a specific tourist attraction in NYC and more a general suggestion. When it comes to the subject of pizza in the city of New York, every resident has their own idea as to what’s best and where you can get it. For this reason, here’s what we’d suggest: ask a passerby or two where you can get a slice! They’ll more than likely be glad to offer you a suggestion, and you can’t go wrong with advice from a local! 

Once you arrive at the pizza place, you’re going to want to scope it out a bit. If it looks refined, sleek and modern, you might want to keep looking. Sure, the pizza there might be ok, but it’s not going to provide you with the real New York Pizza experience. If you want that, you’re going to have to keep on looking. 

The pizza parlor you want to eat at is the one that’s a little bit out of the way, off the beaten path. It won’t be fancy or particularly polished, but don’t worry; when you’re chowing down on the best slice you’ve ever had in your life, you won’t be thinking about the decor! These eateries dot the landscape of New York City, offering a cheap and absolutely delicious way to satisfy your ravenous appetite. 

After you’ve eaten your fill, you’ll quickly realize that these pizza parlors are a great way to glean  information about the area you’re in. Many proprietors of restaurants of this type have lived in their boroughs and neighborhoods for years, and they’re a wellspring of local wisdom because of it. Who knows? If you’re friendly, you might just make a new friend too! 

Bamonte’s 

There are many restaurants in New York city that have garnered a great deal of fame and notoriety over the years, but none have accrued quite so much as Bamonte’s Italian restaurant. This charming yet effortlessly atmospheric eatery is a must-see for anyone who’s passionate about food and American-Italian food culture. 

If you want to eat at Bamonte’s, you’re going to have to make a reservation (obviously). There’s a long waiting list for hopeful guests, and you may need to book your table weeks or months in advance. If you didn’t think this far ahead and are already in NY, you can always phone the restaurant and see if anyone cancelled their reservation. Who knows? You might get lucky! 

Those fortunate enough to secure a table for themselves will be treated to quite a magnificent sight when stepping through the unassuming doors of this renowned eatery. Atmospheric as any place you’ll ever see again, this restaurant looks like something from a 1930s gangster flick, complete with elegantly dressed waiters and antique wood paneling. 

Of course, no discussion of Bamonte’s would be complete without some mention of the delicious food served onsite; it’s some of the best in the city! With a rich culinary heritage stemming from generations of Italian-American expertise, you’d be hard pressed to find better pasta plates anywhere else in the world, let alone the city of New York! 

The Blue Note Jazz Club

image of blue note jazz new york

Last but certainly not least, we’ve got the Blue Note Jazz Club, a veritable landmark in the New York jazz and RnB scenes. Considering the influence that New York musicians have had on the landscape of modern music, it would be a criminal offence to make a list of the best tourist attractions in NYC without mentioning the Blue Note. 

In music, a blue note is a note that is technically out of tune, but makes the piece… sweeter, somehow. It’s hard to describe, but you can hear blue notes everywhere in jazz, blues and their subgenres. From the soft, melancholic licks of B.B. King to the exhilarating lines of Joe Pass, blue notes are littered across the records of jazz and blues royalty. 

Given The Blue Note Jazz Club’s history as a meeting place for these all-time greats, we think that its name is quite fitting. This is a jazz club that presents itself as nothing more and nothing less than what it is: a relaxed but simultaneously energizing place where you can sip a Long Island Iced Tea while you listen to the best live jazz you’ve heard in your life. Could anyone ask for more? 

While jazz clubs tend to be viewed as something of an “adults only” type venue, this isn’t the case with the Blue Note; people of all ages, young and old, are all invited to share the experience of a delightful jazz experience. The Blue Note also serves simple but hearty all-American comfort food, so you can enjoy the music with a full stomach! 

Moving to New York City

Once you’ve been to this beautiful city, odds are you won’t want to leave! If this turns out to be true in your case, don’t worry: there’s plenty of real estate available in New York City, and now is a great time to buy! With appreciation rates rising every day, you never know when home will get more expensive. If you buy now you’ll secure an appreciating asset. If you don’t you’ll likely wish that you had! 

In order to get the best deal on a home in this historical metropolis, you’ll need to get in touch with one of the many excellent real estate agents in New York City NY. These skilled, experienced real estate professionals are your best option when it comes to finding real estate in the city of dreams. Before you know it, you’ll be living in the home of your dreams! 

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