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Things to do in

New York City

Eat, shop, and fall in love with world-class museums, historical landmarks, and skyscrapers galore.

Our most recommended things to do in New York City

NYC: SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Experience Ticket

1. NYC: SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Experience Ticket

Situated at the top of the iconic modern landmark One Vanderbilt, SUMMIT changes our relationship with cities, environment, and ourselves through immersive, multi-sensory experiences. Off the main concourse of Grand Central Terminal, learn the incredible story behind the creation of SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, and prepare yourself for a memorable experience. Designed with the intention of transcending everyday existence, SUMMIT offers an opportunity to engage with space in a fascinating new way. Your experience at SUMMIT begins with a sensory stimulating elevator ride to the 91st floor. From there, you are immediately transported into SUMMIT AIR, a new way to see and interact with space designed by Kenzo Digital. Layered with two floors of floor to ceiling mirrors, AIR offers a whole new perspective of the city as the Manhattan skyline reflects all around you. Next, test your limits at SUMMIT LEVITATION and enjoy the rush of stepping out over the city on two glass ledges suspended 1,063 feet above Madison Avenue. Continue through the different levels of SUMMIT and become part of the art. Watch your image float in the clouds across a multi-media screen and get in touch with your playful side in the silver balloon AFFINITY room. Once you reach the 93rd floor, take in the sights and sounds of NYC from another vantage point on the outdoor observation deck. For a more intimate, adult-friendly evening experience, choose to visit SUMMIT during Air at Night. Guests can enjoy access to all areas of the attraction, an LED light show with accompanying vivacious music, and cocktails for purchase at the 93rd floor bar.

NYC: 1-Hour Cruise Around Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

2. NYC: 1-Hour Cruise Around Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

Take a 60-minute boat ride to within 100 feet of the Statue of Liberty. Cruise right under the Brooklyn Bridge and see the most famous skyline in the world. Your live English guide will point out the sites as you journey along the river including the Empire State Building, the new Freedom Tower, the Manhattan Bridge, Governor's Island, and more. Make use of both the indoor and outdoor seating, along with large open windows for your viewing pleasure. Get within touching distance of "Lady Liberty" and then move on to Ellis Island to take photos of the famous entry point to New York City. Marvel at the skyline of Manhattan and its famous skyscrapers, including the new One World Trade Center. Glide down both the east and west sides of Lower Manhattan on this roundtrip cruise, and purchase drinks and food from the concession stand aboard the boat. 

New York: Go City Explorer Pass with 95+ Tours & Attractions

3. New York: Go City Explorer Pass with 95+ Tours & Attractions

Go City offers you a selection of over 95 must-see NYC attractions, museums, and tours for one low pre-paid price. Save up to 40% compared to buying separate attraction tickets, and see New York's most popular attractions with one easy-to-use digital pass. Options include the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry, 9/11 Museum and Memorial, Empire State Building, Edge, MoMA, American Museum of Natural History, and many more. Pick between a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10-choice pass, browse the included digital guide to check entry requirements for each attraction, and plan your itinerary. Scanning your pass at the gate or ticket office of an attraction (or tour) for the first time will activate it. You can then take up to 60 days to use the remaining number of choices purchased. Your Explorer Pass also features special perks including gift shop discounts or a free audio guide at selected attractions, helping you make the most of your New York trip and save even more along the way. The New York attractions you can choose include:  Museums and Galleries• American Museum of Natural History • The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) • 9/11 Memorial and Museum• Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and Space Shuttle• Guggenheim Museum • Museum of Sex • New York Historical Society Museum • The Whitney Museum of American Art• Brooklyn Museum and Botanic Garden Combo• Museum of the City of New York• Museum of Jewish Heritage• Fotografiska New York Experiences• Top of the Rock Observatory• Empire State Building• One World Observatory• Edge• Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus New York• Statue of Liberty Ferry and Ellis Island Immigration Museum• Central Park Bike Rental• The Downtown Experience by The RIDE• Ground Zero Museum Workshop: Hands-On 9/11 Tour• Brooklyn Bridge Full-Day Bike Rental• Hudson River Full-Day Bike Rental• New York Botanical Garden• Madame Tussauds Times Square New York• Spyscape• LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester• LEGOLAND Discovery Center at American Dream• Welcome to Harlem: Harlem Jazz Series• RiseNY• Surrey Bike Rental on Governors Island (2 hours)• SEA LIFE at American Dream• Escape Virtuality Tours• 9/11 Tribute Center and Walking Tour• Central Park Walking Tour• Yankee Stadium Tour• The TOUR• Woodbury Common Bus Tour (Round Trip + VIP Coupon Booklet)• Rockefeller Center Tour• Central Park Bike Tour• Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour• Central Park TV and Movie Sites Walking Tour• When Harry Met Seinfeld Bus Tour • NYC TV and Movie Bus Tour • Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO Walking Tour• Hamilton Happy Hour Tour• Catacombs by Candlelight Tour• Harlem Gospel Tour (Sunday Service)• High Line, Chelsea, Meatpacking District Neighborhood Walking Tour• Top Dog Tours NYC Marvel & DC Superheroes• Holiday Market & Christmas Lights Walking Tour (seasonal)• Ghosts of Greenwich Village Tour • New York City Sketching Art Tour• Top of the Highline and Vessel Tour• Fashion Windows Walking Tour• Pride Walking Tour• NYC Slavery & Underground Railroad Walking Tour• St. Patrick's Cathedral Tour with Express Entry• Best of Brooklyn Walking Tour in Williamsburg• Greenwich Village Walking Tour• Broadway & Times Square Walking Tour• Graffiti & Street Art Walking Tour in Brooklyn• Secrets of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island - Walking Tour• SoHo – Little Italy – Chinatown Neighborhood Walking Tour Food and Drinks• Spirits On Foot: Beer, Spirits and Wine Crawls• Food On Foot Tours• Queens-Flushing Meadows International Food Excursion Cruises• Lady Liberty Cruise: Circle Line Sightseeing• Harbor Lights Cruise: Circle Line Sightseeing (Upgrade fee applies)• Best of NYC Cruise: Circle Line Sightseeing (Upgrade fee applies)• Landmarks Cruise: Circle Line Sightseeing• Clipper City Tall Ship Sail - Daytime Statue or Harbor Lights (Seasonal) Customers save an average of 40% when buying the New York Explorer Pass versus buying tickets at the gate. Savings percentage based on most popular customer itineraries. Attractions and tours are subject to change. Please check the included guide for an up-to-date list of included experiences. Certain attractions or tours require advanced reservations. Make sure to follow the instructions included on the digital guide and place reservations well in advance where needed, as well as follow the top tips to ensure the best sightseeing experience with your Explorer Pass.

New York CityPASS®: Save 40% at 5 Top Attractions

4. New York CityPASS®: Save 40% at 5 Top Attractions

See world-class art, fascinating science, important history, and incredible views—from the sky AND the sea and save up to 40% with the New York CityPASS! New York CityPASS includes admission to: 1. The Empire State Building: With iconic views and a new museum, the Empire State Building provides breathtaking 360-degree, open-air views from the 86th-floor observatory. 2. American Museum of Natural History: Explore human cultures, the natural world, and the universe with a visit to one of the world’s most famous natural history museums. 3. Top of the Rock OR Guggenheim Museum Top of the Rock: Experience incredible 360-degree panoramic views of New York City and beyond from interior and exterior decks on the top three floors of this legendary art deco skyscraper, 30 Rock.   Guggenheim Museum: Frank Lloyd Wright’s mid-century masterpiece of modern architecture, located alongside scenic Central Park.  See collection highlights, including works by Manet, Picasso, Van Gogh and more. 5. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island OR Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island: Experience the beauty and history of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Immigration Museum with Statue Cruises.   Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises: Take in the world’s premier skyline with up-close and magnificent views of the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, One World Trade and 101 NYC sights.   6. 9/11 Memorial & Museum OR Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum 9/11 Memorial & Museum: Pay your respects to the victims of the 9/11 attacks at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.  Examine the history and impact of the events and learn the stories of loss and recovery within the Museum.   Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum: Get an up-close look at the space shuttle Enterprise and 28 aircraft, including the world’s fastest jet.

NYC: Museum of Ice Cream Entry Ticket

5. NYC: Museum of Ice Cream Entry Ticket

Walk through the pink doors of the Museum of Ice Cream and enter a world of pure imagination. Satisfy your inner child and your actual kids with exhibitions featuring various installations designed to engage and delight children of all ages. Time your visit the museum on a weekday for a more peaceful experience. Once inside, explore imaginative, multi-sensory exhibitions that bring to life your most delightful dreams. Savor the sweetest treats on a magical floating table, slide down an epic three-story slide, take a celestial ride on a pink Museum of Ice Cream subway, and follow the buzzing sound to a giant "Queen Bee" hive. Taste the museum's signature flavors and ice cream treats along the way, before taking a dive into the world's largest sprinkle pool. Take all the Instagram-worthy pictures that your heart desires. When you finish your experience, be sure to explore the museum's whimsical shop. The Museum of Ice Cream is not a traditional museum — every installation is interactive, meaning touching isn't only allowed, it's encouraged. Alternatively, grab your partner, friend, or family member for an exclusive Night at the Museum experience at The Museum of Ice Cream. Start off the night with a signature cocktail and ignite your senses through a theatrical experience. After hours, enjoy a full tour of the museum's 13 magical installations, along with special activities and treats designed to celebrate love in all its forms. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a pink super-cone.

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island: Ticket Options with Ferry

6. Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island: Ticket Options with Ferry

Hop on board the ferry and enjoy a self-guided tour of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Visit Liberty Island, explore the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, and learn fascinating facts as you go. Begin your experience by departing from Liberty State Park, located in Jersey City, NJ, easily accessible by car. Once you arrive at the meeting point, bypass the ticket line with your pre-purchased ticket. Board the ferry and see the impressive views of Lady Liberty and the NYC skyline. Take note of the ferry's return times to plan your day. Your ticket gives you access to explore two attractions: Ellis Island and Liberty Island (with the Statue of Liberty). On arrival to Ellis Island, pick up your multilingual audio guide at the Immigration Museum. Then, explore what was America’s busiest immigration station for over 62 years. Walk in the footsteps of millions of people from all around the globe who passed through here looking for a new beginning and a new life for their families in America. With access to the American Family Immigration History Center's records, you can search all ship manifests that came through Ellis Island. Use this unique experience to research your family history. Once you're ready to discover Liberty Island, drop off your audio guide and return to the ferry. Upon arrival on Liberty Island, pick up your multilingual audio guide to start exploring the history of the Statue of Liberty. Children also have the opportunity to enjoy a special narration of this self-guided tour. When you are finished, return to the ferry and make your way back to your original departure point.

New York City: Manhattan Island Helicopter Tour

7. New York City: Manhattan Island Helicopter Tour

Experience the best views in New York City from inside a helicopter, complete with large floor-to-ceiling convex windows for your viewing pleasure. On your flight you will see the beautiful Central Park, Hudson River, and New York Harbor, including the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum. Cruise past the Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building, the World Financial Center, and the Chrysler Building from up high, as well as the iconic Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Greenwich Village, South Street Seaport, and the Brooklyn Bridge, which dates all the way back to 1883. With tour narration and all heliport fees included, there is no better way to enjoy the dramatic and ever-evolving New York City skyline.

NYC: Empire State Building Tickets & Skip-the-Line

8. NYC: Empire State Building Tickets & Skip-the-Line

Choose between a General Admission ticket to the 86th floor outdoor observation deck or a Combination Ticket with access to the newly renovated 102nd floor, showcasing floor to ceiling windows. You can also upgrade your experience with an Express Ticket. General Admission allows you to skip the ticket purchase line, whilst the Express Ticket option gives you an upgraded VIP experience. With an Express Ticket you'll be able to skip all lines, including the ticket purchase line, security line and the elevator lines that take you up and down. The New Empire State Building Experience not only gives you access to the legendary New York City landmark, allowing you to soar 1,054 foot (320 meters) high and enjoy magnificent 360-degree open-air views of New York City and beyond. You'll also see Grand Staircase with a two-story architectural model of the building and newly renovated interactive galleries that take you on an incredible journey from the building’s construction to its current place in pop culture. Explore the site in the 1920s, Construction, Opening Day, Modern Marvel, Otis Elevators, World’s Most Famous Building, King Kong, and Celebrity exhibits. The 80th Floor also features a range of exciting art exhibits. Be sure to see the building's iconic Art Deco Fifth Avenue lobby. The Empire State Building's 86th Floor Observation Deck is the highest 360-degree open-air observatory in New York, outfitted with heaters to keep the cold at bay. The Empire State Building is more than a spectacular view - it is the most Instagrammed landmark in the USA. Your entrance also includes a downloadable multimedia experience, available in 9 languages. This app also includes videos, image galleries, quizzes, and maps showing nearby points of interest. Be sure to see the building's iconic Art Deco Fifth Avenue lobby as you exit this remarkable building

New York One World Observatory: Skip-the-Line Ticket Options

9. New York One World Observatory: Skip-the-Line Ticket Options

Ascend via SkyPod to the top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere in less than 47 seconds at 28 mph. SkyPod provides a virtual time-lapse visual experience showing how New York City has changed from the 1500s. Skip the ticket line and even opt to also skip the elevator line. At the observatory, elevate your senses as you take in the iconic sights, surrounding waters, and panoramas of the Manhattan skyline and beyond. Then look toward the horizon and feel the city’s invincible spirit while taking in the stunning views.  Engage with City Pulse and One World Observatory's global ambassadors as they share stories of this amazing city. Step onto the expansive Sky Portal and take a walk high above the streets of New York. Dine or drink at the café, bar, or restaurant. Upgrade to Combination or All-Inclusive Tickets and enjoy skip-the-line access to the elevators. Access expedited security via the priority security line. The Digital Skyline Guide, an interactive, virtual reality iPad guide to New York City, is also included. 

NYC: Edge Observation Deck Admission Ticket

10. NYC: Edge Observation Deck Admission Ticket

Edge is a marvel of architecture, engineering, and technology, suspended in mid-air over 1100 feet above the ground, giving you the feeling of floating in the sky. With Edge's unique vantage point on the western side of Midtown Manhattan, take in the entire Manhattan skyline from 1 place—from the tip of Central Park down to the Statue of Liberty and beyond. Begin your journey on Level 4 of The Shops at Hudson Yards, where you will enter into an immersive multimedia experience explaining the design, construction, and sustainability of Hudson Yards. Then, head up over 1100 feet to the Observation Deck, and then 80 feet out into the air on the Outdoor Sky Deck. Here, frameless glass panels walls are boldly angled outwards to allow you to feel the thrill of leaning out over the edge with the busy city below. Next, stand on the glass floor and look over 100 stories straight down to the city streets below your feet. At Edge's furthest point, The Eastern Point, there's space for one person to stand alone, surrounded by glass, air, and sky—you will never have had a picture quite like it. The upper level also features the Skyline Steps, where you can look out over the top of the glass panels and past the edge of the deck. Have a seat and hang out in the sky with your friends and family, or head indoors and sip champagne or a signature cocktail at the Champagne Bar. When you leave be sure to visit Hudson Yards centerpiece, Vessel, or enjoy a bite to eat or shopping experience at The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards.

Insider tips: Planning a trip to New York City

Looking to take a bite out of the Big Apple? We've enlisted the help of New York City expert, Steffen, from Loving New York to help you make the most of your next trip. Read our tips below for your next visit to New York City.

What should I do on my first trip to New York City?

If it's your first time in New York, you should definitely visit one of the big observation platforms! You have several to choose from, but I recommend the Edge observation deck at the Hudson Yards and the One World Observatory. Also, take a boat tour to see New York from the water.

What are some hidden gems to see in New York City?

I'll tell you two of my favorite spots in New York: the Grand Banks at Pier 25 on the Hudson River and Domino Park in Williamsburg. Both places grant you sensational views of the city.

How much time should I spend in New York City?

To explore New York – and not feel stressed out – you want to stay at least 5 to 7 days. That way, you can visit the most important spots and still have time to let the city work its magic on you – but without the time pressure

What food is New York City known for?

I'm a total foodie – so New York is obviously paradise to me! Start with the typical Cream Cheese Bagels (for example at Russ & Daughters in the Lower East Side), try the Pastrami Sandwiches (at Katz' Delicatessen or the Pastrami Queen), and eat a typical New York Pizza Slice. And if you have a sweet tooth: Juniors has the best cheesecake in the city, hands down!

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit New York City?

First-time visitors should always book their hotel in Manhattan – this way the distances are short and you can easily reach all the sights on foot. I like Soho, Tribeca, Lower Manhattan, and Murray Hill in particular.

What is the best way to get around New York City?

In New York, the best way to get around is on foot – or you can jump on a 'Citi Bike', which is super cheap to rent. We also like to use the NYC Ferries, which can shuttle you between Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens on the East River for the price of a one-way subway ride.

What are the best months to visit New York City?

It's worth visiting New York at any time of the year. But if I had to settle on individual months, I recommend May/June and September/October.

What are the best neighborhoods for food?

There are so many different gastro spots in Williamsburg, the East Village, and West Village.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

New York and shopping simply go hand in hand, Great areas are SoHo, 5th Avenue, and the lower part of Broadway. Be sure to avoid the Times Square area for shopping at all costs – most stores are overpriced and true tourist traps!

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in New York City?

Exploring New York with the family is huge fun - I myself have been to our favorite city with my kids numerous times. Among my personal highlights is a trip to the Statue of Liberty, the visit to the One World Observatory, and Central Park with its lakes and playgrounds. Also really exciting is the Museum of Natural History, which will be familiar to many from the movie "Night at the Museum".

What is the best thing to do in New York City for solo travelers?

Make sure to take a sailing tour on the Hudson River. Many tours, one with on-board wine tasting, for example, start at Pier 62. This is a really relaxed way to travel and a fun way to meet new people.

What is the best thing to do in New York City for couples?

New York can also be quite romantic. A visit to the Empire State Building in the evening from 10 pm (from Thursday to Saturday) is a real highlight, not just for couples. During this time, a saxophonist plays on the observation deck. Also very enjoyable are the dinner cruises and a flight in a helicopter over New York.

What are the best annual events in New York City?

Among the most important events in New York are St. Patrick's Day in March, Gay Pride in June, of course, the 4th of July, and also the Macy's Parade – which is an absolute must-see.

Other Sightseeing Options in New York City

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What people are saying about New York City

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 81,990 reviews

The 6 in our party ended up with a private tour for just us. David was outstanding. He had lots of interesting facts and stories to share with us. The food was delicious, and plenty of it! Not just samples.

If you want a 1 hour our round Liberty Statue, Brooklyn Bridge taking in the sites enroute...then this is fantastic. The Tour guide had lots of local knowledge & NY flavour which made it a great trip

It was the most amazing way to see and get a perspective of NYC and the bonus of having a knowledgeable pilot who pointed things out.

friendly guide lady. you can visit a lot in one day, I recommend it !!

Andy is the best guide!! Great tour and view! And live guide!