Explore New York City

New York City for History Buffs

History is in this city’s DNA. How could it not be? In the late-18th century, New York was chosen as the first capital of the newly formed United States of America. And in the years that have followed, NYC has maintained its place as a major player in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the nation. Visit these sites and attractions, and you will not only witness the past but also experience how the past informs the present and points to the future. In New York, history is made very day.

Federal Hall National Monument

This landmark structure, a former customs house, is on the site of the nation’s first capitol, where the Bill of Rights was adopted and George Washington took his presidential oath in 1789. Today, it contains artifacts from Colonial and early Federal New York. Hours: M-F 9 am-5 pm Admission: Free

Fraunces Tavern Museum

Once the gathering place for 18th-century American revolutionary leaders and where Gen. George Washington bade farewell to his officers in 1783, the building now functions as a museum of Early American history and culture.

Washington Square Park

A marsh. A cemetery. A parade ground. A gathering spot for avant-garde artists. A battleground for chess enthusiasts. A playground for canines and children. Washington Square Park has served various roles for its community throughout the years, adapting to meet its needs.

General Grant National Memorial

The imposing, granite-and-marble neoclassical mausoleum in Riverside Park overlooking the Hudson River is the final resting place of Ulysses S. Grant, commander of the victorious Union army in the Civil War and 18th president of the United States. Grant, who is entombed beside his wife, Julia, is the only U.S.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park

The memorial to President Franklin D. Roosevelt on his namesake island in the East River was realized by architect Louis I. Kahn and inspired by Roosevelt’s famous 1941 “Four Freedoms” speech, which impacted the nation and continues to resonate. In that speech, FDR defined " four essential human freedoms.

Hamilton Grange National Memorial

The Federal-style home of Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804)—a Founding Father of the United States, first Secretary of the Treasury, founder of the New York Post newspaper (which still publishes a daily edition today) and organizer of The Bank of New York—is in Harlem’s Saint Nicholas Park.

Morris-Jumel Mansion

Built by British Col. Roger Morris in 1765, this Palladian-style house was used as Gen. George Washington’s headquarters for five weeks in 1776 during the American Revolution.

Green-Wood Cemetery

New York City’s most famous cemetery, located in Brooklyn, is the bucolic, final resting place of thousands of famous New Yorkers, including Leonard Bernstein, Horace Greeley, “Boss” Tweed and Louis Comfort Tiffany. Gates open daily at 8 am. Closing time varies by season. Free

Sardi's

In the heart of New York's Theater District, Sardi's has been the toast of Broadway for 90 years. It’s the perfect spot for a pre-or post-Broadway meal.

National September 11 Memorial Museum

Within the original footprints of the Twin Towers are two massive pools consisting of 30-foot cascading waterfalls and parapets, on which are inscribed the names of nearly 3,000 victims from the 9/11 attacks in New York, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, as well as the Feb. 26, 1993, World Trade Center bombing.

Delmonico's

Established in 1837, this Financial District steak house—the first restaurant to have a printed menu—serves old-world signature dishes, including boneless rib eye, Dover sole almondine and baked Alaska. L (M-F), D (M-Sa)

Tenement Museum

Turn-of-the-20th-century immigrant life on Manhattan's Lower East Side is illustrated through guided tours of authentically preserved tenement apartments. Hours: Daily 10 am-6 pm (last tour 5 pm) Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day

African Burial Ground National Monument

The national historic landmark in Lower Manhattan marks the site where enslaved and free Africans were buried during the 17th and 18th centuries. The grounds were rediscovered in 1991. Interactive Visitor Center: Tu-Sa 10 am-4 pm

Museum of American Finance

Permanent galleries and several special-focus temporary exhibitions in the former headquarters of the Bank of New York chronicle the creation of the nation’s financial structure and encourage visitors to learn more about their own financial lives. Hours: Tu-Sa 10 am-4 pm

New-York Historical Society Museum Library

This cultural institution features more than 60,000 objects and works of art focused on the history of New York.  Hours: Tu-Th, Sa 10 am-6 pm, F 10 am-8 pm, Su 11 am-5 pm Admission: $21 adults, $16 seniors and educators, $13 students, $6 children 5-13, age 4 and under free, pay what you wish F 6-8 pm

Museum of the City of New York

New York City’s past, present and future are illustrated through paintings, photographs, toys, theatrical costumes, manuscripts and more that reflect the city’s rich diversity. The collection contains approximately 750,000 items.