The 5 Best Things To Do In New York City

New York City is neither the capital of America nor the capital of New York State, yet for many, it is the true heart of the United States. The Big Apple has played a key role in US history that is reflected in its many famous buildings and monuments.

These are my 5 favorite things to do in NYC:

View the City from the Sky

NYC’s skyline is famous throughout the world, and the best way to view it is by helicopter. There are many NYC helicopter tours that you can take to view the key landmarks of the city from the air. This is the only way you can see the Manhattan skyscrapers up close from above, including the Woolworth, Chrysler, and Empire State buildings.

A helicopter tour is also a great way to see the sights along the river and out in the bay, such as the famous bridges along the East River and both Liberty and Ellis islands. You’ll also get to see the emotive National September 11 Memorial & Museum from the only angle that takes in the true scope of this terrible act of terror at the World Trade Center site. A helicopter tour is a great way to see all the iconic landmarks of this great city within a short timeframe.   

Climb the Empire State Building

Though it is no longer the tallest building in the world, or even in NYC, the Empire State Building holds a special place in the heart of all Americans. This iconic Art Deco structure was completed in 1931, and its open-air observation deck soon made it the most popular attraction in the city. Around 4 million visitors floor here every year to admire NYC’s skyscape from the 86th– floor or 102nd-floor observatories.

The building stands in the heart of downtown Manhattan close to other iconic structures, such as the Chrysler Building. Its unique architecture and position have earned it a place in countless Hollywood movies, from King Kong to Sleepless in Seattle. However, unlike in the latter film, don’t expect a swift ride to the top or an empty observation deck. Everyone has to queue for the elevators.

Take a Ferry to Liberty Island

Liberty Island and Ellis Island in Upper New York Bay are arguably the two most important places to visit in NYC. I shouldn’t need to tell you that Liberty Island is where you can take a tour of the iconic Statue of Liberty for a unique view from inside the world’s 3rd largest and most famous statue. This renowned neoclassical sculpture took years to construct and move to its current site and was finally dedicated on 28th October 1886.

Perhaps the most memorable part of the sculpture to many is the dedication on its pedestal: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” For that reason, you might want to cross over to neighboring Ellis Island and visit the museum dedicated to the United State’s busiest immigration inspection station. Between 1892 and 1954, Ellis Island welcomed 12 million people into the US. And, of course, the first thing these immigrants saw when entering New York Bay was Lady Liberty welcoming them to their new home.

Walk Through Central Park and Visit the Zoo and Museum

Many visitors are amazed to find this 843-acre patch of green right at the heart of this busy, global city. Central Park was founded over 160 years ago and contains 192 species of birds, 50 fountains or monuments, and 36 bridges and arches. 

An important part of this park is the Central Park Zoo. The zoo is visited by more than a million people every year. It provides visitors with access to 163 species of animals on its 6.5-acre site accessed from the park or 5th Avenue.

The stretch of 5th Avenue that overlooks Central Park became known as Millionaire’s Row because of the many mansions owned by captains of American industry, such as William A. Clark House and Mrs. William B. Astor House. These mansions have long since been demolished to be replaced by grand apartment houses. However, you have to be a billionaire to keep an apartment on this exclusive stretch.

Between 82nd and 105th Streets, 5th Avenue is known as Museum Mile. Nine museums are found along this stretch of road, including the iconic Metropolitan Museum of Art, which backs onto Central Park and is the 3rd most popular art museum on Earth.  

Cruise Along the Rivers

One of the best ways to see NYC’s iconic skyline is from the water. Many visitors to this great city take an NYC dinner cruise to enjoy its many attractions while enjoying a gourmet meal and listening to fine music. You can admire the East River’s famous Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg bridges from the water and see the Statue of Liberty from the same perspective enjoyed by the many immigrants who arrived on these shores a century ago.

Richard Moore

Richard is a co-founder and contributor to World Travel Guides. He has trekking and survival experience throughout Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Richard contributes his extensive travel and outdoor experience to the editorial topics and content on World Travel Guides.
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