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New York City: Must See Places

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New York City is truly one of the greatest cities in the US. If you’re getting ready to explore the Big Apple, here’s what we think is simply unmissable. Hopefully, this will help you better organize your visit to sprawling Gotham!

Brooklyn Bridge. Photo by Peter Laster from Unsplash.

1. Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY 10038, USA

One of the best ways to see the Manhattan skyline is to cross over the Brooklyn Bridge on foot. Just over one mile long (about 2 km), set aside an hour or so of time to leisurely stroll across, take pictures, and enjoy the view. For the best lighting, plan your visit during sunset. If you’re crossing from Manhattan over to Brooklyn, make sure to stop into Grimaldi's Pizzeria in Dumbo after your stroll. If you’re crossing from Brooklyn over to Manhattan, check out the South Street Seaport , including Pier 17, when you arrive; here you’ll find tons of cute shops and restaurants.

Central Park. Photo by Valentinw from Unsplash.

2. Central Park

New York, NY, USA

The green lung of New York City, Central Park is quite special. Head here to check out the Imagine Mosaic (near the W 72nd St entrance) honoring John Lennon who used to live across the street in the Dakota Apartments, see a concert during the summer at SummerStage, see a performance of Shakespeare in the Park, sunbathe on the Great Lawn, take a run around the Reservoir (Pro tip: make sure to go counterclockwise), or go ice skating during the winter at Wollman Rink. Afterward, head to Alice's Tea Cup on 73rd and Columbus for amazing scones, clotted cream, jam, and a massive tea selection. You can also head to the original Levain Bakery - 74th Street for a delicious chocolate chip walnut cookie (Pro tip: if the line is long, pop around the corner to their outpost on 76th St & Amsterdam Ave).

Museum of Modern Art. Photo by eschipul licensed under CC BY 2.0.

3. The Museum of Modern Art

11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

There are so many wonderful museums in NYC, but the The Museum of Modern Art is truly a must see. Head here to view almost 200,000 pieces of modern and contemporary art from around the world, including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and sculptures. Highlights include Monet’s Water Lilies triptych, Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night, René Magritte’s The Lovers, and Salvador Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory. Afterward, head to Argosy Book Store , one of, if not the last of the original Manhattan bookstores that’s been selling antiquarian and out-of-print volumes since 1925. If you’re ready for a glass of wine and small plates, head to Vanguard Wine Bar (Midtown West) . Other can’t-miss museums in the city include the The Metropolitan Museum of Art , the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum , and the American Museum of Natural History .

Statue of Liberty. Photo by pho_2_graph from Unsplash.

4. Ellis Island


If you want to get a healthy dose of history during your visit, take an Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty tour (Statue Cruises is the only authorized vendor associated with the National Park Service). At Ellis Island, you’ll learn what it was like for immigrants coming into the US, the inspections they went through, the options they had, and how they started new lives for their families for generations to come. At the Statue of Liberty National Monument on Liberty Island, you’ll learn about the statue’s construction, history, and more. (Please note, due to COVID restrictions, there is currently no access to the pedestal or crown.) As an added plus, the boat rides to, from, and between the islands (included in the ticket price) provide stunning views of the Manhattan skyline.

Top of the Rock. Photo by project2204 from Unsplash.

5. Top of the Rock

30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112

You’ll want to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city at some point during your stay. For some of the best views of Manhattan, head to the Top of the Rock , the observation deck on top of Rockefeller Center. You’ll overlook Midtown Manhattan and Central Park from indoor and outdoor viewing decks 70 floors high. For a complete experience, purchase the Rock Pass, which offers a tour of Rockefeller Center in addition to admission to the observation deck. Afterward, head down to Rockefeller Plaza to enjoy the skating rink, stores, restaurants, sculptures, a fishbowl view of NBC Studios, and even to watch a taping of the “Today” show in the morning. If you’re there during the holidays, the Rockettes perform right across the street at Radio City Music Hall . Ready for some shopping? Head to Saks Fifth Avenue . Their shoe section is so big it was granted its own zip code: 10022-SHOE.

High Line. Photo by Dansnguyen licensed under CC BY 1.0.

6. The High Line

New York, NY 10011, USA

Ready for an evening stroll? Head to The High Line , a raised, 1.45-mile (2.33 km) long-abandoned train track on Manhattan’s West End that was transformed into a mixed-use public park in 2009. Sitting 30 feet above 11th Avenue, the High Line features an amphitheater, walkways, benches, and chaise lounges still on the old tracks alongside bushes, trees, grass, and perennials. Check the High Line’s website before you visit to learn about upcoming events like tours, community forums, concerts, and more. Afterward, pop in to Chelsea Market to check out an array of shops, eateries, and grocers hawking fish, produce, and more (Pro tip: Try Los Mariscos or Lobster Place if you’re hungry for seafood, and Amy's Bread for any of their breads but especially their Cinnamon Challah Knots).

There really is so much to do in NYC that it can be extremely difficult to decide where to go during your visit—talk about option paralysis! Hopefully, these 6 must-sees will help you narrow down how to spend your time while visiting the Big Apple.