Explore New York City

Top Things to Do in New York City

New York City is home to a few of the most famous attractions in the world, iconic, historic and even new—such as the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.  Here are what we consider to be the very top of the heap, your absolute must-sees before leaving town.

The Top Spots

If you're looking for a quick way to score tickets to NYC's top destinations, CityPASS offers admission to the most popular attractions at a reduced rate, rolled into one ticket. Some of these places—such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island—require advance planning, since a ferry trip to the venue is involved. Others get sold out quickly—the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum—so buying tickets ahead of time is a must. Then there are others, like the Met, the American Museum of Natural History and Central Park, that you can take in on the spur of the moment, though be forewarned: These are the top sights to see in the Big Apple, so you should pretty much expect crowds everywhere you go.

But trust, us, it will be worth the long lines and the crowds. This is, after all, our city at its very best.

Empire State Building Experience

Magnificent 360-degree views of New York from the 86th- and 102nd-floor observatories. At night, the building’s top-tier LED lights commemorate holidays and noteworthy events. An interactive, multimedia sustainability exhibit on the second floor describes the building’s energy retrofit program.

Statue of Liberty

She is an icon, a national treasure, and one of the most recognizable figures in the world. Each year millions who cherish her ideals make the journey to experience her history and grandeur in person. She is the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom, inspiration, and hope.

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.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents over 5,000 years of art from around the world for everyone to experience and enjoy. Since it was founded in 1870, The Met has always aspired to be more than a treasury of rare and beautiful objects.

American Museum of Natural History

Guests explore halls filled with full-scale dinosaur skeletons, fossils, dioramas, artifacts, gems and minerals (including a rare 2-foot-long jade slab), meteorites and more. The Hayden Planetarium, with its immersive space show, is located in the museum’s Rose Center for Earth and Space.

The High Line

The 1.45-mile-long elevated park and public promenade offers a spectacular view of the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline, fixed and movable seating and perennial-filled gardens designed by Piet Oudolf. Section 2, btw W. 20th & W.

Central Park

Central Park remains one of the city's most vital and active landscapes, while still conveying the nineteenth-century transcendentalist ideals of its visionary creators, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.

Times Square

With its heart at the intersection of Seventh Ave., Broadway and W. 42nd St., this section of Manhattan is known for its bright lights and historic theaters.

Lincoln Center

The New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera all make their home at this grand cultural complex, where you can hear some of the greatest opera singers, see world-class theater, and become enthralled by some of the finest ballet dancers in the word. 

Grand Central Terminal

Trains run on the Metro-North railroad line to and from this majestic landmark, which celebrated its centennial in 2013. For schedules and prices, visit the MTA.  Terminal open daily 5:30 am-2 am. Stores: M-F 8 am-8 pm, Sa 10 am-8 pm, Su 11 am-6 pm.

Brooklyn Bridge

A hybrid cable-stayed suspension bridge and one of the oldest of its kind, the Brooklyn Bridge, which connects Manhattan and Brooklyn over the East River and at night is enhanced with the twinkling lights from the New York skyline, has a romance to it that New Yorkers and visitors alike enjoy.