The Big Apple is the place where great artists have dreamed of success, where many European immigrants found a way to change their destiny and where every visitor has found a reason not to leave.
We are talking, of course, about New York: a city where it is practically impossible to close your eyes. There is so much to see and do that it's important to know what's worth seeing and what's not so you don't get overwhelmed. So here are the most amazing experiences for your trip to New York.
1. Fly over New York in a helicopter tour
Taking a helicopter tour of New York City will show you the city as few others see it. The bird's eye view will allow you to see New York as if you were holding it in the palm of your hand, and it's an experience you'll definitely want to talk about when you return from your trip.
The city's skyline is a spectacle in itself, even more so from a helicopter flight over New York. Most flights last around 15 minutes, making a journey in which the wonderful views come together with the adrenaline of flying over New York in a helicopter at more than 200 kilometers per hour.
2. The best basketball in the world live
Whether you're a basketball fan or not, going to an NBA game is something you won't be able to experience anywhere else. The iconic Madison Square Garden is the home of the New York Knicks, the local team, and it is in this stadium where you can watch the stars of the NBA play their hearts out on the court. Definitely an experience that will add a lot to your trip and a must if you are passionate about basketball. If you already know you are not going to miss it, buy your NBA tickets here.
If you want to read a little more about the experience, understand what you will find there or find out why it is one of the top experiences you can live in New York, let me convince you in my article on How to Buy Tickets for an NBA Game in New York.
Get to know the mythical Madison Square Garden
You may not be a fan of the NBA per se, but you're dying to discover this venue where so many artists and sports teams have made history. There are guided tours of the venue, you can attend concerts and you can, of course, watch the Knicks play at home. Here's how to buy tickets to Madison Square Garden.
Do not miss the Brooklyn Nets stadium
The Brooklyn Nets ' home arena may not be as well known as Madison Square Garden, but the Barclays Center is no less interesting. This venue hosts concerts and events in addition to NBA games and is worth a visit during your tour of Brooklyn. Here is everything you need to know about the Brooklyn Nets stadium.
3. Enjoy a Broadway show
New York is a city entirely dedicated to entertainment. It is no coincidence that Broadway musicals and theatrical performances are world famous and a lure for visitors, so if you want to enjoy a truly unique experience I recommend that you buy your tickets in advance and give a special touch to your visit to New York.
Both The Lion King and Aladdin are undoubtedly two of the most demanded musicals, so try to get your tickets as soon as possible to ensure the best seat at the best price. But if you still don't know which one you want to see, here is a list of what I think are the best Broadway musicals.
Other Broadway musicals
- The Cats Musical
- Moulin Rouge on Broadway
- The Musical of Wicked on Broadway
- Jersey Boys
- The Musical of King Kong
- Pretty Woman on Broadway
- Chicago, the Musical
- The Phantom of the Opera
- Radio Citytimas Spectacular
- Harry Potter
- The Book of Mormon
4. Explore New York's multiculturalism on popular guided tours
The tour of contrasts
New York is, without a doubt, a city where contrasts follow one another at such a speed that it is difficult to keep up with them. The Contrasts Tour takes you to four very different neighborhoods of the city: Queens, Harlem, Bronx and Brooklyn.
You will see the industrial part of the city, the Jewish quarter, the streets full of history of Harlem, iconic buildings of the city and in just one day you will have toured the city and you will have known it like a local.
The Upper and Lower Manhattan Tour
If the contrasts tour is a must to get to know the different areas of New York and understand much better how different cultures fit together, the Upper and Lower Manhattan tour will delve much deeper into those contrasts and corners of the island of Manhattan that you can not miss. Whether it's your first time in New York or you're already a regular in the city, the explanations of this expert guide will uncover many key places in the city that I bet you didn't know about.
If you want to be surprised by another of Lower Manhattan's neighborhoods, treat yourself to a visit to Greenwich Village. You will find the best tours to this fantastic neighborhood and you can breathe that bohemian air of the bourgeois houses of the twentieth century, all from the hand of the guides who will tell you the most interesting stories of the famous people who lived there.
For better or worse, New York is a tourist mecca for millions of travelers who make the pilgrimage to the city that never sleeps every year. As such, there are dozens of options for touring the city (on foot, by bus, more or less in depth, etc) and sometimes, choosing the one that best fits our travel itinerary can seem overwhelming. For this reason, I have made this selection of 13 best New York City Tours so you can choose the one you feel like.
One of the tours that may interest you a lot to know firsthand the nooks and crannies of the financial world, are the best tours of Wall Street. Specialized guides will tell you the most succulent stories of the latest financial crises.
And if mystery is your thing, I recommend that you find out how to visit the catacombs of New York.
Discover the secrets of the city
If you are not a big fan of guided tours and prefer to explore the city at your own pace and without explanations from a guide, I recommend that you make your own itinerary to make sure you don't miss anything. If it's not your first time in the city and you feel like discovering alternative or hidden places that are less visited by tourists, don't miss my guide about secret places in the city.
5. Tour Harlem and attend a Gospel Mass
Exploring Harlem with a guide is one of the best experiences you can have in New York, as you will find everything that many tourists miss by only seeing Manhattan during their trip. In addition, you will be able to attend an authentic Gospel Mass and feel the enormous spirituality that is lived in the churches of the neighborhood, with services so intense that they are a spectacle.
If you want to tour this neighborhood on your own, I recommend that you take note of the essential things to see and do in Harlem to make sure you don't miss anything, and also take advantage of this list with the best places to eat in Harlem and this one with the best places to listen to music in Harlem.
6. Take a trip to Niagara Falls
While not something to do in New York, it's a great way to take advantage of your trip to the East Coast of the United States to cross off the list of one of the world's most impressive natural wonders.
Niagara Falls tours are a great option to complete your trip to the Big Apple with a great dose of nature in its purest form. Accompanied by an expert guide and with transportation included from and to Manhattan, they are the best option to visit one of the most spectacular National Parks in the United States.
But is this visit worth it? If you travel two days to New York or if your trip to New York is three days, it is best to spend them in the Big Apple and not leave it, but if you make a 10-day trip to New York or you will be 15 days or more in New York, it is an option that you should consider.
7. Take a stroll through Central Park
Surely you count visiting Central Park among your plans in New York, but do you know what not to miss once you get there? Stroll through the Conservatory Gardens, a European-style garden with beautiful fountains and statues, Belvedere Castle, a small castle located at the highest point of the park with beautiful views, and Bethesda Terrace and its fountain, a marvel of architecture where you can take some spectacular photos.
Its extension is enormous, so to help you orient yourself in the best possible way, I have prepared this guide about the park. 15 things to do in Central Park. You have many options to tour this wonderful park, but a very special one is, for example, a carriage ride through Central Park.
In general, I recommend you to rent a bike (snow permitting) and spend a few hours getting lost in the lungs of Manhattan. Let's roll!
But if you are traveling with children, you can't miss the Central Park Zoo, a place where you can meet the most exotic species, both animal and wild. With your tickets for the Central Park Zoo you will be able to access the main zoo, another one specially designed for children and also the 4-D theater.
8. SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Observatory Opens: Midtown's Newest Observatory
Yes, you read that right. A few months after New York inaugurated the glassed-in observation deck the Edge, we are once again faced with an opening that has left everyone open-mouthed: SUMMIT is a spectacular observation deck that you can't miss, both for the views it offers of Manhattan and for the incredible architecture of the building itself.
Here everything is designed for the visitor's enjoyment: perspectives with mirrors and glass for you to take the best photos, glassed-in viewpoints for you to feel the vertigo in first person, ultramodern elevators for you to feel the adrenaline in your body? I won't tell you more. If you want to organize your visit, check out this article on how to go up to the new SUMMIT One Vanderbilt observation deck.
9. Have a picnic at another of Mahattan's parks: Bryant Park
If you thought that in New York there were no green areas beyond Central Park, you were wrong. Along its long streets and avenues you will find small squares and parks where you will see a large crowd of New Yorkers strolling, playing sports or having a picnic on a break from work. If I have to choose my favorite among the best parks in New York (after, of course, the obligatory visit to Central Park) is Bryant Park.
I recommend you to get one of their little tables (they bring them out when the weather is nice) for a picnic with a view, but I'll tell you more details in my article on 10 things to do in Bryant Park NYC.
10. Tour the High Line floating park
This linear park, built on old railroad tracks, crosses the Chelsea neighborhood with a walkway flanked by floral arrangements and views of the surrounding buildings and the Hudson River to the south. Touring it is a different way to walk around New York and I recommend you include it in a walk around Chelsea.
In this article about Guide to the High Line in New York City I tell you some tips to walk it, where to stop to eat or to contemplate the best views and I give you a proposed itinerary so you don't miss the most important things.
11. Get your jaw dropped at Times Square
Times Square needs no introduction: neon lights, giant screens and lots of people. It can be overwhelming and wonderful in equal parts, but it sure doesn't leave you indifferent. It's definitely a place to get lost in during your visit to New York, and even more so at night, when the buildings shine brightly and the magic of New York begins to shine through.
What else to see and do in Manhattan
Although it may seem that I am pulling cliché, Times Square is undoubtedly an emblematic place of the city. But fortunately, Manhattan holds many other corners (some surprising, others we have seen thousands of times in the movies) that will leave us amazed. If you do not know where to start, I leave you a practical guide on the top things to do and see in Manhattan so you can organize your visit.
12. Go shopping
SoHo ("South of Houston Street") used to be an industrial area full of factories, and long before the concept of gentrification existed, the neighborhood's charm attracted the great riches that turned its buildings and streets into the birthplace of "industrial chic". Today, it is an area full of bars, restaurants and stores on the site of former factories: visit if you love exposed brick walls, exposed pipes and iron architecture.
I recommend you check out the best Soho tours to get a first-hand glimpse of the glamour of this unique neighborhood.
Along Fifth Avenue
Fifth Avenue is the street of luxury in New York, where you will see the most opulent residential buildings in the city, the headquarters of some of the most prestigious jewelry and fashion brands in the world, and a battery of museums including the Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Visit the best Outlet in New York
If you love shopping but you are looking for the best deals, in New York you are in luck, because you can visit the Premium Outlets, where you will find dozens of luxury brand stores at deeply discounted prices. Being a bit far from Manhattan, there are organized tours so you can go shopping without having to worry about the logistics of how to get there. I'll tell you how I did it and give you some tips on how to organize your shopping day here: Premium Outlet Day Trips from New York.
What to buy
You will probably go to New York with some "bargain" in mind that you want to get. And you're not wrong: American brands (both clothing and electronics) are undoubtedly the ones that pay off the most. In New York you will be able to find certain products at very good prices, but you will have to know how to look for them. That's why I've written a practical guide to help you find your way around when shopping: 10 things to buy in New York Remember to leave enough room in your suitcase!
13. Discover the great New York attractions that go unnoticed by many tourists
The New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden is an exuberant park of 100 hectares in which more than a million species are grown in 50 different spaces and environments. One of its main attractions is that it has part of the old forest that covered New York before it was colonized in the seventeenth century, where you can find beautiful specimens of white ash, birch, tulips, cherry and beech trees. I recommend you to visit it, especially if you travel to New York in spring.
The New York Aquarium
It is one of the most enjoyable experiences if you visit New York with your family. Located on the Coney Island boardwalk, in the New York agreement you will find more than 500 marine species. The visit is organized in an entertaining way through exhibitions and games focused on children learning values related to nature. In this guide of the New York Aquarium I give you all the information.
The Bronx Zoo
One of the great attractions of New York and that unfortunately (or fortunately for you) goes unnoticed among the millions of tourists who visit the city, is the Bronx Zoo. Hundreds of species live in this gigantic zoo in semi-freedom, which makes it a perfect place to visit. Especially if you are traveling with children, a visit to the animals at the Bronx Zoo will be well worth it. I leave you here several articles with everything you need to know about how to get tickets to the Bronx Zoo, zoo hours and Bronx Zoo prices.
14. Tour Chinatown
Manhattan's Chinatown, surrounded by TriBeCa, the old Little Italy, and the Lower East Side, is a place where you could easily imagine yourself in the Asian continent, for the coming and going of phrases and signs in Cantonese, and the constant market atmosphere, with fishmongers, butchers and greengrocers in constant activity. Chinatown is not the most beautiful neighborhood in the whole country, but it is certainly one of the most authentic and worth a visit if you happen to be nearby.
So that you don't just get lost among its streets (although wandering around is always highly recommended), I leave you a practical guide to Chinatown with tips and a list of things to do and see. 10 things to do in Chinatown NYC with tips and a list of things you can not miss to see and do there. Do not miss the opportunity to taste the most authentic Chinese food in the city: here you have a guide with the best places to eat in Chinatown.
15. Stroll Hudson Yards
It is the new trendy neighborhood in New York. In just a few years it has gone from being a totally abandoned area to the new golden mile for luxury residences, ultra-modern Manhattan skyscrapers and trendy restaurants and stores. In addition to housing The Vessel and The Edge (I'll tell you more about them later, but you can't miss them), it has the famous High Line, the new city park that I've already told you about.
In this neighborhood you will be able to eat luxury, you will be able to admire the new wonders of New York architecture and you will be able to go shopping at its new luxury mall. I leave you a practical guide to get to know the neighborhood here: Things to do at Hudson Yards in NYC.
16. Say hello to the Statue of Liberty
If you had to choose just one icon to represent the City That Never Sleeps, it would be the Statue of Liberty. The famous 'Lady Liberty' is located on Liberty Island, a ferry ride away from the piers south of Manhattan, and visiting her is one of the must-do activities on a trip to New York.
Once you arrive at the Statue of Liberty, you have the option to go inside and visit the Statue's pedestal or even climb the Crown. In addition, you can tour the museum and enjoy the view from the Statue of Liberty's observation deck with beautiful panoramic views of Manhattan. If you also choose a guided tour, you should know that there are some that complete the experience with a visit to Ellis Island and the Immigration Museum.
17. Go in search of movie sets
It is clear that the city hides in its streets and squares thousands of scenes from mythical movies and series. If you want to know exactly where is the apartment where Monica and Rachel had Chandler and Joey as neighbors in Friends or want to discover the mythical fire station of the Ghostbusters, this article on 10 TV & movie locations in New York City will help you. Whether you join one of the guided tours or go to the locations on your own, be sure to look them up!
16. Visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum
The Memorial and Museum dedicated to the September 11 terrorist attacks is located on the site where the Twin Towers would be today, also known as Ground Zero. In their place, you will find fountains engraved with the names of the victims and a memorial museum telling the story of the attacks and how New York slowly rebuilt itself in the days that followed.
Although visiting the 9/11 Museum exhibit is an emotionally overwhelming experience, I recommend it as it will give you an alternative context to your trip and you will see New York through different eyes after the visit.
If you want to evaluate the different options to know what happened on 9/11, I leave you this post with the different options to know what happened on 9/11. Best 9/11 Tours in New York.
18. The One World Observatory: a tribute to the future
If you're in the area and you've made your way to the 9/11 Memorial or the 9/11 Museum, you might want to go up to One World Observatory to admire New York from above. At the top of the One World Trade Center, the skyscraper that was built at Ground Zero devastated by the 9/11 attacks, you will find a glass observation deck that will allow you to see southern Manhattan, the Hudson and Brooklyn with total clarity.
If you have some vertigo, you will not need to miss the views from the One World Observatory as this is the best viewpoint in the city, since being glazed, it conveys a sense of protection that other open observatories do not have. You can read all the details here: NYC One World Observatory Tickets: how to buy, prices and discounts and take note of how to get to One World Observatory in this other article.
19. Discover all Rockefeller Center has to offer
Climb the Top of the Rock
And while you're there, how can you not go up to one of the most popular observatories in the city? Don't miss the New York skyline and the views from the Top of the Rock, at the top of Rockefeller Center including night views.... I leave here the details for you to organize your climb: NYC Top of the Rock Tickets and for you to decide if you want to climb the Top of the Rock or the Empire State Building. Of course, keep in mind that at Rockefeller Center you will find plenty of places to eat, so it can be a recommended visit even if you do not climb to the viewpoint.
Also, if you visit the city at Christmas time, the Rockefeller Center at Christmas will be a must, both for its famous tree (one of the best Christmas trees in New York ) and its skating rink. The city would not be the same at Christmas without this little corner, where you can take the typical photo and even put on your skates and jump on the rink. In general, I will not deny that Christmas in New York deserves a point and apart.
That's why I've put together this guide on 15 Christmas things to do in New York City And if you're lucky enough to visit New York at Christmas, don't miss out on the spectacular decorations that Brooklyn locals put up every year in their Dyker Heights homes. Also, if lighting is your thing, don't miss the opportunity to see the Christmas lights at the Bronx Zoo. Christmas lovers, this will be your paradise!
Another option is to take one of the guided tours to discover the lights of the city, you will find it an incredible experience to discover the Big Apple decked out for the holidays!
20. Get cultured in New York's best museums
Whether you want to devour all the museums on offer in the city or you prefer to select one or two museums to visit during your trip, I've prepared this list of 12 best museums in New York City. Here you can read the most important of each of them so you can see all the options that exist, what you will see in each one or how to get the tickets at the best price.
Impossible not to mention, among the must-sees of New York, the MoMa or Museum of Modern Art in the city. Among the best works of MoMa are 'The Starry Night' by Van Gogh, 'The Persistence of Memory' by Dali, 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon' by Picasso, 'Cambell Soup Cans' by Andy Warhol and many other works of modern art that are worth seeing live at least once in a lifetime.
The majestic Fifth Avenue museum, the MET (whose stairs you'll instantly recognize if you've seen Gossip Girl) houses works of art and artifacts such as Chinese calligraphy books, cuneiform writing tablets, Egyptian mummies, armor of European kings, musical instruments and a jaw-dropping collection of paintings, with works by Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Raphael among its highlights.
If you are curious to visit the wax museum to see up close what your idols or the most popular characters are like today and historically, Madame Tussauds and its wax figures are a great option. Besides being a fun visit, it will leave you with countless photos and anecdotes that are worth it. If you go to New York with children or friends, it is a great option. Here you have all the information about Madame Tussauds New York Tickets: how to buy and what to see.
A day at the museum of "A Night at the Museum"
Although it was the movie "A Night at the Museum" that launched it to fame, near Central Park is located for decades one of the museums that most impresses its visitors by the large number of curiosities and objects that can be seen (and learn) inside: the Museum of Natural History.
Today it is still one of the most important scientific and research centers in the city and its collection houses thousands of fossils, meteorites and minerals that you will not be able to see anywhere else. If you are also visiting New York with children, do not hesitate to make this visit that will leave them speechless.
The Guggenheim in New York
This incredible museum will steal your heart, not only for the incredible works it houses, but also for its design and structure, unique in the world. Enter its majestic staircase and feel how you lose track of time in the heart of Manhattan inside the Guggenheim New York, you won't regret it!
Other interesting museums in the city
As with practically everything in New York, this city has a cultural offer that surpasses that of any city in the world. It is difficult to calculate how much time we would need to visit all its incredible museums, but if you have time or you are passionate about art and culture, take a look at these other museums that will not leave you indifferent:
Read more about the Fotografiska New York, dare to visit the Brooklyn Museum, discover the history of the city at the Museum of the City of New York, delve into the Whitney Museum of American Art, explore the Intrepid aircraft carrier with your visit to the Sea, Air and Space Museum or feel like another spy at the KGB Spy Museum.
21. Defy vertigo from the top of the Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is the most iconic building in New York, and from its observation deck you can enjoy wonderful views of the Big Apple. You can go up at sunrise, just before sunset, or even at night: whatever you choose, it's an experience you're sure to look back on with nostalgia for years to come.
For this, I definitely recommend you to buy your Empire State tickets online in advance to avoid the queue at the ticket office, to be able to choose the best time to climb the Empire State and avoid the large crowds of tourists who, of course, have this visit among their priorities when visiting New York.
22. For the bravest, The Edge
One of the most amazing observation decks in the world has recently opened its doors in New York: The Edge. With its glass floor (yes, yes, you read that right) you can fly over the New York skyline with your own feet. The structure of the building (it's literally an "edge", as its name suggests) is designed to make you feel the wind (and vertigo) on your skin when you lean out from the top. Ready to test your adrenaline with the views from The Edge?
23. Visit Harvard University, Boston, from New York City
As you read it: visiting Harvard is possible and you don't have to be an enlightened person (or an alumnus) to do so. One of the most famous universities in the world opens its doors for travelers to visit on a guided tour. By taking a trip to Boston from New York, you can also explore the historic center of the city of Boston, where one of the most important episodes of American history was forged: the American War of Independence.
On this tour you will also see MIT and learn everything you need to know about the city and its customs, which contrast with the hustle and bustle of New York. The best part? In the evening you'll be back at your hotel in the Big Apple ready to continue your trip.
24. The lights of the city, best seen from the tour bus
Whether you're visiting New York in winter, when the cold weather will be raging, or you're on short notice, the sightseeing bus will ease the cold temperatures and allow you to tour the city in the easiest way possible. While it may seem like an inauthentic experience at first glance, the truth is that New York' s tour bus routes are designed to get you from one attraction to another as quickly as possible (and without fighting with the subway map!).
What I like most about this experience is that you can do it both during the day and take the New York night tour bus, when you have already finished your marathon day of sightseeing and you just want to rest while you continue enjoying the panoramic views.
25. What about Nuevo, New York: The Vessel
Even if it's not your first time in the city, this area is going to be a complete stranger to you: after being a semi-abandoned area of industrial use for decades, Hudson Yards has emerged in Midtown Manhattan over the past few years (and is still under construction) to accommodate shopping centers and luxury housing. And much of the limelight in this futuristic new area of Manhattan goes to The Vessel (or the Hive, as many call it).
Halfway between architectural jewel and tourist attraction or viewpoint, this building stands out for its external appearance but also for the optical games and the views it offers to those who visit it. I encourage you to enter, climb its four flights of stairs and draw your own conclusions.
26. Have a cocktail at the best rooftops in the city
If the views from one of the observatories of the city have not been enough for you, you can continue contemplating them from one of the wonderful rooftops or terraces that Manhattan has to offer. Although the views will not be as impressive (almost none of them offer 360 views of the city, because other skyscrapers in front can block the views), they usually have live music and a very New York atmosphere that I always find a great plan to close a busy day of sightseeing in the city.
Sometimes, finding these little bars or rooftops can seem complicated, so I have compiled a list of what, for me, are the best rooftops in New York.
27. Get out of Manhattan and explore the rest of the boroughs of New York City.
I'm sorry but... New York is so much more than Manhattan, and while it's tempting to just explore the island's most iconic landmarks, there's so much more to New York than that. In fact, the city is made up of five boroughs (or "Boroughs") where New Yorkers live, dine out, shop, dance.... Don't let yourself be overcome by laziness and explore what Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island have to offer in addition to Manhattan. I'll tell you here what you can't miss on your visit to the city: Best New York City Neighborhoods.
What to do and see in Brooklyn
I will neither hide nor deny that Brooklyn is one of my favorite areas of the city, so I encourage you (because I can't force you) to go to its streets to leave no corner uncombed in this area. You will love its cafes, vintage markets, alternative stores and gastronomic markets. Also, take note of the best places to eat in Brooklyn as you can try very authentic dishes and at a lower price than in Manhattan. Here are my recommendations: Things to Do in Brooklyn NYC.
Also, in Brooklyn, you can visit Williamsburg and the Jewish Quarter of New York, a real world apart that blew my mind the first time I visited it. I give you some tips on how to organize your visit in this practical guide on Things to Do in Williamsburg.
28. Americanize at a Football or Baseball game
If there is something that will make you feel really in the heart of the United States, it is to enjoy its most popular sports. Being in New York you will have the chance to see the mythical New York Yankees in a baseball game, which for me was a real experience (I didn't even know the rules of the game, but the experience surrounding these events was spectacular).
If you are not traveling to New York during the MLB season, you can always take a tour of the stadium or visit the surrounding area. After all, it is a mythical place that marks the cultural, sports and leisure agenda of New Yorkers. Here is an article for you to discover how to visit Yankee Stadium.
If, on the other hand, you prefer to watch an NFL (National Football League) game, the New York Giants play at MetLife Stadium and watching them live is a spectacle.
29. Disconnect from the tourist life on a cruise on the Hudson River
Sailing the waters of the Hudson will allow you to take a break from long walks while taking in the views of the Manhattan Skyline, crossing the Brooklyn Bridge below and getting up close to the Statue of Liberty for a closer look.
Best of all, there are tours and itineraries for all budgets (from a short one-hour tour to a luxury cruise with dinner and live music) and even cruises on the Hudson to do with children. Dare to try it and even if it's cold, wrap up warm and go out on deck to take the best pictures. Here is an article I wrote about Best Manhattan Cruises with my favorite options, but I'll tell you right now, taking a dinner cruise on the Hudson could be the most amazing experience of your trip.
If you want more details you have an article about the best time to take a cruise on the Hudson, another one about how much do Hudson cruises cost and this last one about tips to enjoy a cruise in Manhattan.
Get around using the ferry
The Hudson is one of the great protagonists of the city and if you want to get out of Manhattan, you will have to cross it by subway, train or ferry. I find the ferry a great way to move around the city while enjoying the views of the Skyline, so even if the boat is not as comfortable as the cruise ships, do not hesitate to use the ferry during your trip. I leave you here all the information you need about the New York ferry.
30. Enjoy the best international cuisine
Yes, I know, burgers are not exactly what you have in mind when you think of "haute cuisine", but the great thing about New York is that you can literally eat everything. From the cheapest fast street food to the best pasta, fish, sushi or pizzas you can imagine.
Of course, on your trip you can not miss the hot dogs, the legendary hamburgers and cheesecakes. You can have a picnic in one of its parks, save money in its fast food chains and sit down for dinner at one of its cozy candlelit restaurants in the West Village or SoHo. I'll tell you all about it here: 10 places to eat in New York City.
Visit the Chelsea Market
If you plan to walk along the High Line, eating at the Chelsea Market before or after your route is a great option. In this gastronomic market you will find stores where you can buy good quality food, but also several stalls where you can stop for lunch. If you are looking for desserts, breakfasts or snacks, you are also in luck: there are bakeries, cupcake stores, pastry shops...
31. Take the opportunity to visit other cities such as Washington or Philadelphia
New York itself is a world apart, but the United States has so much to see that it would be a shame to forget to take a trip to other nearby cities like Washington or Philadelphia from New York. If you take a guided tour to the cradle of this country's history, you can learn much more about its culture and idiosyncrasies. Especially Washington seemed to me an incredible place, very monumental and with many corners, monuments and landmarks to discover.
In addition, its order, cleanliness and majesty, contrasts with the chaos of the Big Apple, so you will complete your trip by adding this counterpoint that will not leave you indifferent. The best of all is that there are several options to, in addition to visiting Washington, discover its surroundings, especially if you make a two-day trip to Washington, so I have compiled the most interesting ones here: Washington Day Trips from New York.
If you feel like exploring the surroundings of New York but you are still not sure which is your preferred destination, I have written a guide about 5 Day Trips from New York where I've compiled the best places to discover and how to join a guided tour so you don't have to worry about the logistics of getting there by public transportation or renting a car. Let's travel!
32. Enjoy the view from the Roosevelt Island Cable Car
You may not even have heard of this little island east of Manhattan, but the truth is that if you have time and feel like discovering something different, it is a great option to spend an afternoon. To get there, it's best to take the cable car (it leaves from Second Avenue and 60th) and enjoy the views along the way.
You'll see some of Manhattan's most iconic buildings and land on the other side, already on Roosevelt Island, to enjoy a stroll along its pier. If you are thinking of crossing the river aboard this cable car, you can read more about the experience in my article on Roosevelt Island Tramway NYC.
Other unique experiences in New York
If in addition to the cable car you want to know other unique activities to do in the city, I have prepared a list of the best experiences to live in New York so that your trip is not like everyone else's. I recommend it especially if it is not your first time in the city or if you want to get out of the typical tour to take a ride. I recommend it especially if it is not your first time in the city or if you want to get out of the typical tour to take a unique souvenir of your stay in New York.
33. Make the most of summer in the Big Apple
If there is one time of the year when you can enjoy more daylight hours to explore the city outdoors, it is to visit New York in summer. It's true that temperatures are very high (sometimes too high) and you'll appreciate the air conditioning in stores and buildings, but the cool evenings on the terraces and endless walks through Manhattan, the banks of the Hudson and bike tours in Central Park make up for it all.
I recommend you to check for this summer season which are the best bike tours in New York and discover the city in a healthier and more sustainable way.
Starting with the 4th of July fireworks and taking into account that the baseball league takes place in summer, I propose a host of activities that will make you not want to leave the city despite the heat: what to do and what to see in summer in New York.
34. And face the cold in winter
If on the other hand you decide to visit the city in winter, besides the great attraction that is Christmas, I assure you that the cold will not prevent you from enjoying the city, as it is more than prepared for low temperatures. If you're lucky, it may even snow and you'll be left with some postcard Christmas photos.
Besides being able to enjoy the NBA games, you will appreciate having a warm drink in the coziest cafes in the city. My advice is to combine indoor activities in the afternoons (such as visiting lookouts or observatories, attending a Broadway musical or shopping) with outdoor activities (walking around the city, taking a cruise on the Hudson or crossing Central Park) in the middle hours of the day when the sun tempers the temperatures a bit.
If you are cold, do not worry because I have prepared a guide with everything you can see and do in New York in winter and what to bring, what to wear, etc. to make your stay there more than pleasant: what to do and what to see in winter in New York.
Anyway, when you travel to New York you will find a thousand things to do. However, if you have not yet booked your tickets, you can take a look at this article with all the information about the best time to travel to New York.
Tips for organizing your trip to New York
Perhaps less romantic but just as practical as any other advice I can give you about your trip to New York, I'm going to give you some tips so that you don't destroy your travel budget as soon as you arrive (if you're traveling on an unlimited budget this part might interest you a little less, but allow me to address the rest of us mortals).
Get a sightseeing card
If you are planning to visit several attractions or take a tour (viewpoints, museums, sightseeing bus tours, cruises, etc), it is possible that the amount you will spend on entrance fees will be more than relevant. For this, there are tourist cards of the city, which will allow you to access the most emblematic points for a fixed, reduced price.
There are four main options: New York Pass, New York CityPASS, New York Explorer Pass y New York Sightseeing Pass. I know: choosing one among these four may seem like mission impossible, so in addition to the detailed explanation of each of them, I recommend that you read this comparison of New York tourist passes so you can be sure which one to choose before making the investment.
Book a transfer between the airport and your hotel in Manhattan
If you are looking for a comfortable way to get to your hotel from the airport where you land without leaving a large sum in the attempt, I recommend that you hire a transfer (which you can use exclusively or share with other travelers) to the door of your accommodation. I tell you how to do it in this article about New York Airport Transfers and I also leave you this other one about how to get from JFK airport to Manhattan where you have more options.
Use public transportation
Besides the fact that the New York subway is an attraction in itself (if you like taking pictures, there are some iconic stations where you will enjoy going underground), it is the fastest way to move from one point to another in the city. Don't be paralyzed by the large number of lines and stops that you will see on the maps: jump on the subway and move like a New Yorker. Here is a practical guide to get around in the New York subway.
Follow these basic tips
If this is your first time in New York, don't worry. There are hundreds of doubts that assail you now just as they assailed all of us travelers when we were there for the first time. In the same way, we have all fallen into the tourist traps that the city has prepared for its visitors. That is why I have decided to compile the best ones 10 travel tips for New York in this article. I'm sure they will come in handy to start organizing your trip.
Plan your itinerary
To avoid wasting a lot of time (and money) on unnecessary tours, I recommend that you organize - roughly speaking - an itinerary that goes by days or by things you want to see. I leave you here these practical guides that I think will help you organize your time in the most efficient way possible: Things to do in New York City in the Fall y 7-day New York Itinerary.
Take out travel insurance
Although a priori it may seem like an extra expense, I assure you that having travel insurance is essential when you travel to New York (or anywhere in the United States). The medical costs there are very high and it never hurts to take a good insurance that covers any unforeseen event. If you don't know which one to take, what you need to cover and how to do it, I leave you here an article with all the details on Health insurance to travel to New York.
Remember to bring your visa with you
Most likely, to enter New York as a tourist you will need to take the ESTA visa. You can fill it out online and pay the fee also online, which makes the process much easier. If you have doubts about how to do it because you have never done it before, you can check my article on how to get the ESTA visa to travel to New York.
Follow these guides to make sure you don't miss out on the big dates, whenever you go
- New York in January: don't let the cold weather stop you. The year has just started and it is a great time to finish enjoying the Christmas lights.
- New York in February: take advantage of the great prices that the off-season has to offer: the best hotels are much cheaper! Besides, celebrating Valentine's Day in the Big Apple is an American experience not to be missed.
- New York in March: welcome spring when the days begin to lengthen, the temperatures become milder and it is a pleasure to walk along the endless avenues of Manhattan.
- New York in April: Easter or Easter vacations are likely to kick off New York's peak season with thousands of tourists. Book your tickets and activities in advance to ensure a place in the most popular ones.
- New York in May: the city's parks are now in all their splendor: explore them all on foot or by bike and don't leave a green space untouched. How does a picnic in Bryant Park or a sunny morning on the lake in Central Park sound?
- New York in June: the heat is starting to get hot, but the days are long and you'll have time for everything. It is probably the best time of the year to enjoy the views of Manhattan from the top of one of its skyscrapers.
- New York in July: this is an important month for Americans. If you are there for the 4th of July Independence Day celebrations, don't miss the fireworks display.
- New York in August: the heat lurks but it is a great opportunity to discover the city at night, when the sun gives a break and the parks of Manhattan set up incredible summer outdoor cinemas. Take the opportunity to visit the beaches of Brooklyn or Coney Island and even Luna Park, where you will enjoy yourself like a child.
- New York in September: Back to school is a very special time in New York. The offices are full of life again, New Yorkers return to the city eager to enjoy its restaurants, rooftops and theaters, and take the opportunity to enjoy the city's nightlife like a local!
- New York in October: in October, New York turns pumpkin orange. The Halloween decorations on houses, storefronts and streets are incredible (probably some of the best in the world) so don't miss this time of the year in the city.
- New York in November: Thanksgiving, Black Friday and the Macy's parade. Who gives more? If you visit the city in the last quarter of the year you'll find all the Christmas preparations in full swing.
- New York in December: You'll feel like you're in the famous Home Alone movie: skating rinks all over the city, shop windows decked out with Christmas lights and giant Christmas trees decorating the city. Don't miss the Manhattan lights lighting ceremony or the amazing Dyker Heights neighborhood with dozens of houses showing off their decorations and lights. Oh, and Happy New Year!