5 Best New York City Attractions

NYC is the greatest city of them all. Make sure you don't miss out on the best New York City attractions on your next trip to Manhattan.

New York City is a dream destination for many people. The charm of the skyscraper-packed metropolis, with more than eight million inhabitants, is incomparable to any other destination. It’s a little surprising that approximately 60 million tourists make their dream come true every year and experience life in the city of cities, even just for a few days of wandering around the best New York City attractions.

Manhattan is a veritable mecca of sights, sounds, and experiences, both in the traditional sense and the one you’d associate with the Hunger Games. The best New York City attractions are iconic, and should you hit the Big Apple soon, make sure not to miss out!

5. Circle Line

NYC's best tourist attractions

The famous Circle Line cruises give you a chance to—can you guess?—circle the island of Manhattan. You’ll pass under famous bridges and ones you don’t know about, see neighborhoods you never thought of visiting, and truly get to see Manhattan from new angles. This is a great way to experience the best New York City attractions from the comfort of a boat. Now and then, believe it or not, some of those New Yorkers on the shore might wave to you, too.

Operating hours: Daily from 9:00 am – 7:00 pm

Fee: $29 for 1.5 hrs.


  • Midtown West, Pier 83, and West 42nd Street
  • Downtown East, Pier 16, South Street Seaport

4. Attend a New York City Sporting Event

New York City is home to some of the best sports franchises in the world. And the fans are some of the most loyal. There are also multiple teams for almost every major sport. Regardless of the time of year you visit, attending a sporting event should be easy and at the top of your list.

StubHub is a great ticket source for early-ticket purchases.

Gametime is our favorite ticket source on short notice.

3. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

you can't visit NYC without seeing the Statue of Liberty

You’ve probably seen about a dozen films where an immigrant family stands eagerly on the deck of a ship as it cruises through New York Harbor and stares out at the Statue of Liberty. This is truly one of the best New York City attractions. The iconic symbol of New York—she’s on the state quarter—is worth seeing. You may or may not want to climb to the crown—it’s a long, hot, and somewhat vertigo-inducing journey up a spiral staircase, and at the end, you’re greeted with small, scratched windows—but the view from the pedestal is fantabulous.

The Liberty Island ferry also stops at Ellis Island, and it’s possible to do both monuments in one day. As you undoubtedly know from history class, Ellis Island was one of the leading immigrant processing centers. For many people, the American dream began here. There are changing exhibits in the main building and a genealogy database where you can search for your relatives on the old ships’ manifests.

Liberty Island and Ellis Island are part of the National Park Service and are therefore free to enter, but you still need to get there by ferry, which is basically what the ticket price covers.

See Statue of Liberty Tour options

Operating hours: Daily, 9:30 a.m.–5:30 a.m.

Fees:  From $25


  • Departure from New Jersey, Liberty State Park, 200 Morris Pesin Dr, Jersey City
  • Departure from New York, Battery Park, between State St and Whitehall St

2. Central Park

Central Park is one of the best New York City Attractions

Anyone who claims that New York is nothing more than a concrete jungle needs to hop on the subway and go to Central Park. The People’s Park is our oasis of green, lush lawns, winding paths, and hidden streams. You will find both the rich and the poor side by side, enjoying nature. Both winter and summer sporting opportunities abound. There are numerous open fields, innovative playgrounds, and ice skating rinks.

In the summer, there are concerts, films, a small amusement park, and free Broadway-caliber shows at Shakespeare in the Park. You can row a boat, ride a vintage carousel, or even see an old dairy barn. Or, you can relax on the grass at Sheep Meadow. The lake south of the ramp is used for ice skating during the year’s colder months. Like so many other beautiful corners of the park, this lake has been in many Hollywood movie productions, such as the final scenes of “Serendipity” with Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack. This truly makes Central Park one of the best New York City attractions.

Fun fact: Central Park was opened in 1873 after 16 years of construction. The American Civil War of 1861–1865 delayed the grand opening.

Opening hours: Daily, 6:00 a.m.–1:00 a.m.

Fee: Free entrance

Location: Central Park stretches from 59th Street to 110th Street, between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West

When traveling, you have just as much chance of chipping a tooth or breaking a toe in a nasty fall as you do at home. You can imagine how this could easily ruin the trip of a lifetime and force you to return home early. Please don’t take risks; check our reviews for the best travel insurance options.

1. Times Square

The best New York City Attractions

Times Square embodies every New York stereotype: bold, fast-paced, and overwhelming. You’ll be assaulted with neon lights and loud noises from every angle, turning in circles and never knowing which way is up. It might be chaotic, but you’ll still have fun.

You can do just about anything in the Times Square area: see a Broadway show, ride a Ferris Wheel, see television shows being filmed, participate in special events such as New Year’s Eve or Broadway on Broadway, visit unique swanky bathrooms (no joke) or stake out a seat somewhere and watch people as they go by. Many tourists make the mistake of never venturing out of the Times Square area. You don’t want to do that, nor do you want to miss this New York experience.

Opening hours: Accessible 24/7

Fees: Free Access

Location: Midtown Manhattan, New York City, between Seventh Avenue, 42nd Street, and Broadway

Honorable Mention:  Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met, one of the most-do attractions in NYC

Also, amongst the best New York City attractions, the Met is arguably the best museum in America. This museum can stand with the European superstars. It has one of the most comprehensive ancient Egyptian collections outside of Egypt, excellent holdings in ancient Greek, Roman, American, and Mesopotamian art, and a formidable lineup of European and American paintings. There are unique—and often free—art programs for children and teenagers, as well as free docent-led tours of the galleries in several different languages. Even if you’re not an art fan, the Met will likely win you.

Are you interested in history and culture? Whether it’s a period in New York City’s historical past or something more quirky you’d like to know more about, the list of museums in town worth visiting is lengthy. We’ve compiled a list of unconventional New York museums to help new visitors and locals look at the city differently.

Operating hours:

  • Sunday–Thursday, 10:00 a.m.–5.30 p.m.
  • Friday–Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.

Fee: $28

Location: 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10028

Visiting the best New York City attractions can be fun, but it can also be stressful, overwhelming, and full of selfie-taking tourists. So please be sure to prepare well, book tickets in advance, and skip the lines. There’s a lot to do and see in New York. Get to it, and have a blast!