When it comes to western art, entertainment, food trends, fashion trends, and finance, nothing beats the city of New York.
Now, you could get cute. You could also feel overwhelmed thinking about where to go and what to do when visiting.
You can be both.
And so, I am helping you out.
New York is indeed overwhelming if you do not know where to go. The city packs shamelessly big hitters.
There is the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, and Ellis Island. There is also the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Broadway.
Who could ever forget about the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge?
These tourist attractions are always non-negotiable when you are in New York. And even if these places are that crowded, nothing beats seeing these sites with your own eyes.
But aside from these sites, where else should you go?
Here are twelve of my favorite spots in New York City, including the famous sites mentioned above.
List of Contents
1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
First off on our list is The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Backing into Central on Fifth avenue, this massive art museum boasts 5,000 years of fine arts. And these exhibits are from all corners of the globe.
This museum has the most extensive gallery in the country. Here, you can chase your sense of curiosity. You can marvel at Sumerian cuneiform tablets, study Chinese calligraphy, and bask in Classical sculptures.
There are Egyptian mummies, Moorish textiles, armors the European monarchs wore during their time, Old Masters, Rococo fashion, and several other musical instruments you no longer see these days.
And this is just the start.
A day at the museum is not enough. When you leave in the early evening, you can be sure that you have not yet seen everything there is to see.
I know you will feel overwhelmed.
When you are in the museum, make sure to swing by the transposed Egyptian Temple of Dendur. Its exhibits date back to as far as 15BC.
You should also see Raphael’s altar painting of Madonna and Child. Rembrandt’s Aristotle with a Bust of Homer is also here.
The other notable displays are Washington Crossing Delaware by Emanuel Leutze and the Self Portrait with Straw Hat done by van Gogh.
2. Washington Square Park
When people mention New York City, what always comes to mind are the usual tourist attractions. The most common of these are the Empire State or Central Park.
But aside from these, there is another park you should know about.
Meet Washington Square Park.
Washington Square Park is a part of NYC and the other famous landmarks.
The park is the landmark square of Greenwich Village.
At the center of the park for all to see is a large fountain. Framed by a triumphant arch, the rush is a great place to take photos regardless of angle.
The park comes alive during the summer months with musicians busking in the square. The performances are one of a kind.
When I visited, I watched a young musician play a mini-grand piano. For some reason, I cannot forget the thought of that musician.
3. Bryant Park
With an area spanning 9.6 acres, Bryant Park is another must-see attraction in New York City.
This public park in Midtown Manhattan sits between the 5th and 6th Avenues and the 40th to 42nd Streets.
Established in 1686, the park used to be wilderness. New York’s colonial governor Thomas Dongan made things possible for Bryant Park.
To the locals, the park is famous as Manhattan’s Town Square. It is also popular for its colorful seasonal gardens.
There are tons of free activities you can do while at the park. The restrooms are excellent. And there is also a French-style merry-go-round within the vicinity.
You can skate for free during winter at the park’s skating rink. A beautifully green lawn equipped with tables and chairs is also available for your picnic needs.
And finally, there is a Reading Room here. The Reading Room has tons of picture books and storytimes in the summer.
When you go hungry, al fresco dining keeps you full.
And before heading home, you can drop by the New York Public Library for another visit.
4. National 9/11 Memorial and Museum
Your visit here should be sad. But I assure you that dropping by would be necessary.
The National 9/11 Memorial and Museum sits on the site of the World Trade Center.
The memorial and museum pay tribute to the 2,977 people who passed away due to the September 11, 2001 attacks.
It also remembers the six people who died in a 1993 bombing incident.
Within the vicinity are twin reflecting pools occupying about an acre of space. The pools also mark out the exact footprints of the Twin Towers.
A wall of artificial waterfalls, the largest in America, completes the look of the memorial.
There are bronze panels on parapets that surround the pools. Inscribed in these parapets are the names of the almost 3,000 people killed during the attacks.
The memorial and museum pay homage to the lives lost during the attacks. It also shows the events leading to the attacks.
Among the displays are the monumental Last Column, some fragments of the aircraft, and a damaged fire truck that responded to the calls at the time.
5. Chelsea Market
As the name itself implies, the Chelsea Market is a market in the district of Chelsea in New York City.
Here, you will find excellent restaurants, shops, and various places where you can spend your money.
It is an attractive place. But if you think of the cash you will be shelling out, the area can also be scary.
When you are in the area, be sure to dine at Los Tacos #1. You can also check out Los Mariscos for Tacos. Anyway, both options are nice.
If you are not into Mexican food, go for Lobster Place.
It is precisely the haven for lobster lovers.
6. Madame Tussauds New York
Situated at the heart of Times Square is another attraction in New York City you should visit.
Madame Tussauds started operations in 2000. It is hard to get up close and personal with your favorite actors and celebrities.
But in Madame Tussauds, it is as easy as ABC.
Here, you can get up close and personal with your favorite celebrities. Or, let us say, you can get up close and personal to their wax figures.
While inside, you can pose for photos with famous musicians, sports legends, and movie stars.
You can even rub elbows with world leaders and other prominent personalities.
Madame Tussauds New York occupies five stories and about 85,000 square feet. There are interactive exhibits, including the Ghostbusters and your favorite Marvel Superheroes.
The original Madame Tussauds is in London.
As of this time, there are several Madame Tussauds Museums worldwide, scattered in more than 20 countries.
7. Statue of Liberty
If you traveled to New York by boat in the 19th century, you would have seen the Statue of Liberty as you entered the coasts of New York.
The statue is a symbol of freedom, designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. The metal framework was by Gustave Eiffel.
The statue stands 93 meters tall. It depicts the Roman goddess Libertas.
The statue shows the goddess striding free of the shackles you can find at her feet. In her hand are a torch and a tablet on her left hand.
The tablet bears the date of the Independence date declaration, July 4, 1776.
Going to Liberty Island, you have to depart from Battery Park.
The queue for the ferry can be slow. It is also a long line.
But if you have less time on your hands, you can “skip the line” with certain types of tickets.
If you want to take a trip to the crown, you also have to book your tickets.
8. The American Museum of Natural History
Are you in New York City with your kids?
If yes, and if you have enough time to burn, head over to The American Museum of Natural History.
The museum is one of the premier destinations for your kids.
Please take note; the museum has dinosaur bones, which, for me, is quite interesting.
The museum was the first-ever museum to go after dinosaur remains in the country.
And the museum has more than just dinosaurs. It has almost everything else you could ever want to see in a museum.
Whether you have kids with you or not, the museum will always be worth your while when you visit.
9. One Times Square
Located in one of the most expensive pieces of land globally, One Times Square is another destination you should not miss in New York City.
At 25 stories high, this 363-foot skyscraper is famous for being the setting of the annual New Year’s Eve ball ceremony.
The original purpose of the building was to be the headquarters of The New York Times.
Cyrus L.W. Eidlitz initially designed the building.
In 1905, The New York Times moved into the tower.
It remained partly empty for many years. However, the building’s large number of significant and traditional electronic boards gather guests from all parts of the globe.
10. The Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art holds some of the modern day’s most celebrated art pieces. It is one of the largest and most important museums for contemporary art.
The museum houses more than 150,000 pieces of art, most of them celebrated masterpieces.
The most notable of these masterpieces include van Gogh’s The Starry Night, Dali’s The Persistence of Memory, and Francis Bacon’s Painting 1946.
Monet’s Water Lilies series is also in this museum.
There are also other high-profile temporary exhibitions here, such as the works of Degas, Picasso, and Jackson Pollock.
Miró also had his solo show in this museum a few years back. There are many more enlightening shows and installations that you can find all year round.
11. Wall Street
You may hold apprehensions about banks and finance organizations. Regardless of your feeling, Wall Street is an iconic part of New York City.
Aside from that, Wall Street is a historic part of the city and the world. You have to drop by when you are in town.
Wall Street is home to the New York Stock Exchange. It runs through the financial district of the city.
The New York Stock Exchange is an iconic building. You, however, cannot go inside or even get too close. But from afar, the view and experience are worth it.
A few minutes away from the New York Stock Exchange is the Federal Reserve Bank. The bank holds some of the world’s most fabulous gold reserves.
If you pass by the New York Stock Exchange, you are near Ground Zero and the One World Trade Center.
12. Rockefeller Center
The vertical complex in Midtown, New York, is simply unique.
Its proportions can never leave you without feeling awed and amazed. What makes the Rockefeller Center amazing is that its construction happened during the Great Depression.
There are 19 buildings in total, broken by a central plaza.
The Rockefeller family, who made big money from oil, commissioned these buildings.
Rockefeller Center is famous for its observatory. However, even if you do not go up to the observatory, there are still sites at the street level that you can enjoy.
New York City is more than just the Empire State Building and Central Park.
The city has a more diverse set of cultures, history, and attractions.
You can go to museums, dine in exceptional restaurants, or climb the Statue of Liberty.
Whatever your goal is, New York will never disappoint.
There will always be something for you, no matter your age, gender, or preferences.
Have you been to the Big Apple?
Let me know if you want a tourist attraction added to this list.
We can discuss that.