The epicenter of the arts. Dining and shopping capital. Trendsetter. New York City wears many crowns and spreads an irresistible feast for all. One of the greatest cities in the world, New York is always a whirlwind of activity, with famous sites at every turn and never enough time to see them all. The vacation possibilities in this city are endless.
Some people come here to enjoy the Broadway Shows, others come specifically to shop, and many come simply to see the sights; the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, the historic neighborhoods, and the multiple world-famous museums. Any time of year and any time of day there is an endless array of things to see and do in New York.
There’s never been a better time to dine in New York. The city has become a hotbed of seasonal and locally sourced cuisine – with restaurants growing vegetables on roof gardens or their own upstate farms, sourcing meats and seafood from sustainable outfits nearby, and embracing artisanal everything – from coffee roasting and whiskey distilling to chocolate- and cheese-making. Bars have also taken creativity to new heights, with pre-Prohibition-era cocktails served alongside delectable small plates – indeed gastropubs are some of the most creative places to get a meal these days. Of course, you can also hit the gourmet food-truck scene or dine more traditionally at one of NYC’s 20,000-plus sit-down restaurants.
Top-Rated Tourist Attractions
Empire State Building
Along with the Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building in New York’s most famous landmark. The 381 m tall, 102-story building was the tallest in the world until the 1 World Trade Center tower rose higher 41 years later. Topped with a mooring mast for airships, the Empire State Building immediately became a landmark and a symbol for NYC when it opened in 1931. There are actually two observatories atop the Empire State Building. The 86th Floor Observatory (1,050 feet) is reached by high speed, automatic elevators, and has both a glass-enclosed area, which is heated in winter and cooled in summer and spacious outdoor promenades on all four sides of the Building. The 102nd Floor Observatory stands 1,250 feet above the bustling streets below. On clear days visitors can see for distances up to 80 miles, looking into the neighboring states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, as well as New York.
The line to go up the Empire State Building is almost always long, and during peak times, it can be ridiculous, making the whole experience more frustrating than it needs to be. It’s well worth buying the Empire State Building Ticket – Observatory and Optional Skip the Line Ticket that lets you bypass the lines. This is a flexible ticket, good for up to a year, so if the weather is bad, you can save the ticket and use it another day.
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Statue of Liberty and Battery Park
The Statue of Liberty was France’s gift to America. It was built in 1886 and remains a famous world symbol of freedom and one of the greatest American icons. It is the world’s largest statue and stands just less than 152 feet tall from the base to the torch, and weighs approximately 450,000 pounds. The statue offers a fine view of the New York Harbor and lower Manhattan. It is located on Liberty Island and a short boat ride is required to get to the statue. To see the statue from shore, Battery Park sits on the southern tip of Manhattan and affords great views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. From here visitors can catch the ferry to the statue and Ellis Island.
Pre-purchasing tickets is a must during the high season and a good idea at any time of year. Tickets to go inside the statue sell out. Also, trying to buy tickets at the ferry can be fine if you know what you’re doing but tricky if you don’t, with hawkers claiming to be “official representatives” trying to sell you more expensive tickets before you can find the ticket booth. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Guided Tour can be purchased in advance. This is a three-hour trip that takes you to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Central Park is the playground of New Yorkers. This huge park in the city center is one of the things that makes New York such a beautiful city and not simply a concrete jungle. The park has many attractions within its borders and has been featured in countless TV shows and movies. Some of the places of note within this green space that visitors will probably be familiar with are Strawberry Fields, the Central Park Zoo, and the Lake, which is used for skating in winter, and paddling in summer.
While going for a walk in the park is always lovely, renting a bike makes the whole experience a lot less tiring and gets you to the sites quicker. It’s also very reasonably priced. If you are going to be in New York outside of the winter season and looking for a leisurely outing, book an NYC Central Park Bike Rental.
Broadway and Shubert Alley
Taking in a Broadway show is one of the highlights of a visit to New York City. Considered the pinnacle of American theater, it has long been world-renowned for its performances. This is the place to come to see the latest shows and the long-running classics. Broadway usually refers simply to Broadway theater which encompasses a large number of theater venues in the theatre district and along the street of Broadway. For the most popular shows, tickets should be purchased well in advance.
Shubert Alley is a famous pedestrian-only alley in the theater district, and home to two well-known playhouses; the Shubert on 221 West 44th Street and the Booth at 22 West 45th Street. Historically, aspiring actors would frequent Shubert Alley looking for opportunities to perform in a play sponsored by theater baron, Sam S. Shubert. “A Chorus Line” played at The Shubert for a record 6,137 shows. The musical, “Oklahoma” debuted in 1941 at the St James playhouse just down the street. Other legendary places include Sardi’s restaurant where many famous actors met and the Music Box Theater, where Irving Berlin staged “The Music Box Revue” in 1921.
Rockefeller Center is a vast entertainment and shopping complex in the middle of Manhattan, and home to NBC-TV and radio and other media. There is an outdoor skating rink which is incredibly popular in winter. At Christmas, a huge tree stands out front. Inside are shops, restaurants, and an observation deck. In front of the International Building is a famous sculpture of Atlas. The centerpiece is the 70-story RCA Building, a slender, towering structure that offers views of midtown Manhattan. If you are looking for a place to see the city skyline, try the Top of the Rock Observation Deck. The “deck” includes three floors, located on the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors. There are both indoor and outdoor viewing spaces, which are open to the public day and night. Buy your Top of the Rock Observation Deck Ticket in advance to make sure you don’t miss out. These tickets come with a flexible voucher redemption policy so you can change the date if your plans change or the weather doesn’t cooperate.
Fifth Avenue has long had a reputation as New York’s premier shopping area. Many top-end designers have their flagship stores located along this famous avenue. Cartier, Tiffany, Bergdorf-Goodman, the famous Apple Store Fifth Avenue, and of course Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as many others, line the posh avenue. Even none shoppers can enjoy a walk along Fifth Avenue.
The Brooklyn Bridge, completed in 1883, was the world’s first bridge to be constructed of steel. It spans the East River from Manhattan. The bridge is an American landmark that has inspired generations of poets, songwriters, and painters. Engineer John Roebling conceived of the bridge in 1855 and worked out every detail from its two granite towers to its four suspended steel cables. In June 1869 while determining the Brooklyn tower site, a ferry crushed Roebling’s foot. Three weeks later, before the ground had been broken, Roebling died of tetanus. Roebling’s son, Washington, picked up the reins and executed his Father’s grand plans. In 1872, however, Washington developed caisson’s disease which robbed him of his seeing, walking and writing facilities. The bridge features two powerful stone towers that are connected at the top with Gothic-shaped arches. They carry four cables that cross the East River.
Formerly Longacre Square, Times Square was named in 1904 after the New York Times tower. The newspaper first posted current headlines along with its famous moving sign, the world’s first, in 1928. Long the heart of the Theater District, Times Square fell into decay during the Depression when many theaters shut down. The city cleaned up the area by inviting corporations such as Disney to move into the area. Today, Times Square has become a much safer place, day and night, with shopping, theaters, and restaurants galore, not to mention its mammoth billboards.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is home to one of the world’s finest collections of modern art. The unique building, likened to a giant white shell, was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1943. Visitors take the elevator to the top floor and walk down the spiral ramp while viewing paintings. The works of Picasso, Chagall, Modigliani, Kandinsky, Leger, Manet and many others are displayed.
Wright’s single spiral ramp is ingenious and functional, while the outer “shell” design was aimed to make the building appear like a piece of sculpture. During construction, Wright battled city officials who demanded one fire escape per floor. Wright argued that there was only one floor, one continuous one, in his building, so it required only one escape.
Stretching for 8 city blocks from Broadway to South Street is the world-famous Wall Street. This street and the surrounding area are home to some of the most important exchanges in the world including the New York Stock Exchange, the NASDAQ, and the New York Mercantile Exchange. Also located nearby are the impressive Trinity Church and the Federal Reserve. Wall Street is a popular tourist attraction and it is common to see a large number of tourists walking around craning their necks looking up at the impressive skyscrapers.
14 St Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one of New York’s finest examples of Gothic Revival, with its massive bronze doors (weighing 20,000 lb each), white marble facade, 330 ft spires, the Great Organ, rose window, bronze baldachin, 2,400 seating capacity, and the statue of Pieta at the side of the Lady Chapel. With more than 5.5 million visitors annually, the cathedral is a major destination for believers and tourists alike. The building was erected in 1879 and has been carefully restored and maintained throughout its existence.