Things to Do in New York City
The 20th-century artwork displayed on the gently inclining white walls of the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum often take second place to the building's landmark Frank Lloyd Wright design.
The great architect's last work is an uplifting sight, from both outside and within, and a thorough restoration program was completed in 2008. Unwinding like a coil of white ribbon, the exhibition space spirals upwards around a central skylight.
As well as hosting changing exhibitions of photographs and paintings, the Guggenheim's permanent collection includes works by Gauguin, Picasso, van Gogh, Monet, and other early Modern masters.
European sculptures, decorative artwork and Old Master Paintings are part of what make a visit to the Frick in New York City so unique. The private collection of Henry Clay Frick, an old-school Pittsburgh industrialist, now lines the halls of a Fifth Avenue mansion, in what has become the perfect display of art and wealth.
In addition to literal masterpieces by renowned artists like Bellini, Vermeer and Rembrandt, visitors can check out rotating temporary exhibits, lively concert series, informative lectures and educational programs on a visit to this iconic museum in Manhattan as well.
The world's premier modern art gallery, MoMA provides visitors with a master class in modernist and contemporary art. The collection numbers more than 150,000 works of art, along with a sizable film and photography collection. Familiar standouts include Monet's water lilies and works by van Gogh, Rousseau, Picasso, Dali, Warhol, Pollock, Andrew Wyeth, and Frida Kahlo.
Exhibitions are held from time to time, along with performance art and exhibits of architecture, prints, and illustrated books. The building was recently renovated to vastly expand the museum's exhibition space.
The Conservatory Garden, located within Central Park, is a serene escape from the fast-paced urban life of Manhattan. It takes its name from a conservatory that stood on site until 1934 but is now a collection of fountains, sculptures and pathways through landscaped lanes. Spread across six acres, the garden is divided into three distinct areas influenced by French, Italian and English styles. It is also a designated “quiet zone” that has become known as almost a secret garden to many. The area is free of runners, bicyclists and dogs, and is a popular place for weddings. The garden has two massive seasonal floral displays: tulips in the spring and chrysanthemums in the fall. Whether you’re strolling through the hedges and flower displays or relaxing on a bench with a book, the Conservatory Garden is a colorful place of calm, natural beauty meant to be savored.
A welcome patch of green in Downtown Manhattan, Union Square is one of New Yorkers’ favorite city squares. It’s the place for public gatherings, yoga and exercise classes, and for people from all walks of life to take a break and catch some sunshine, eat lunch, or read a book.
Stock up on fresh produce at the wonderful Greenmarket held here Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays, and Saturdays, and if you’re here in November/December you can pick up gifts at the holiday market. Some striking architecture surrounds the square, and you’ll find statues of famous figures dotted throughout, including Washington, Lincoln, Lafayette, and Mahatma Gandhi. Big-name stores and fine restaurants are nearby, and Chelsea, Greenwich Village, and the Flatiron District are just a stroll away.
In the lobby of the American Express headquarters at the World Financial Center in New York City, the company has created a memorial honoring the eleven American Express employees who were killed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The memorial was designed by lower Manhattan artist Ken Smith. The foundation of the memorial is composed around a black granite reflecting pool with eleven sides. A 600-lb piece of Brazilian quartz is shaped like a tear and carved with eleven sides. The quartz is suspended over the granite reflecting pool by eleven thin cables. Inscribed in the sides of the granite pool are the names of the victims who died in the attack, along with five words or phrases describing each person. “Tear drops” of water fall gently from the ceiling into the pool below, and a nearby plaque offers more personal details on each of the victims.
More Things to Do in New York City
New York City is home to some of the biggest celebrities and most famous faces—but a walk through Midtown doesn’t always result in getting star struck. Luckily the quirky Madame Tussauds—an iconic wax museum in the heart of Times Square—offers travelers the chance to check getting up close and personal with big names in music, movies and television off their list.
From world leaders to Hollywood stars, the halls of Madame Tussauds are filled to the brim with faces recognized across the globe. Travelers can saddle up for photo ops that will have friends back home believing that lunch with Leonardo DiCaprio really did happen on a visit to the Big Apple.
The Whitney (as it’s locally known) was established in 1931 by sculptor and arts patron Getrude Vanderbilt Whitney when the Metropolitan Museum of Art rejected her personal collection of 600 avant-garde works of art. Originally arranged amongst a trio of Greenwich Village townhouses, the present Upper East Side incarnation of the Whitney is a granite cube with upside-down windows, designed by famed Modernist architect Marcel Breuer. The museum houses over 19,000 unique, modern and sometimes controversial works from the 20th and 21st centuries, many by still-living artists.
Especially renowned for its Whitney Biennial exhibition, which highlights the work of young and emerging artists, the museum is devoted to connecting under-the-radar artists with New York’s wealthiest and most influential art collectors. Held every two years in the spring, the Biennial often features huge sculpture displays that are mounted in nearby Central Park.
More than 500 weird and wild artifacts, plenty of interactive exhibits and 20 themed galleries make a visit to this one-of-a-kind museum a real New York experience. From a two-headed calf to a pickled tourist head and an albino giraffe, a visit to Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Times Square is guaranteed to shock and amaze.
In addition to exploring the galleries filled with everything strange, grotesque and truly unique, travelers can also catch sword swallowers and cheese carvers in regularly scheduled (and incredibly wacky) sideshow performances at this quirky museum.
Times Square is one of New York City’s most-visited landmarks and no street encapsulates all this destination has to offer quite like 42nd Street. It represents the heart of the Big Apple and the ultimate success to actors and actresses looking to make it on stage. But this busy spot has more to offer travelers than just live entertainment.
In addition to being the center of the theater district and a Times Square thoroughfare, this iconic stretch of street that runs from east to west is also home to several of the city’s most impressive sites. First-time visitors to this east coast city can check out the stunning Grand Central Station, Bryan Park’s urban Oasis, the United Nation’s Headquarters and the New York City Public Library without ever leaving 42nd Street! Since this is the main artery of one of America’s favorite cities, travelers will find it not only easy to access, but also easy to navigate, since literally all subway lines lead to 42th Street.
Broadway, one of New York's most famous streets, runs the full length of Manhattan. However for most visitors to New York the name Broadway is synonymous with theater, musicals and first-run shows. Broadway more than any other street in America stands for entertainment. The heart of Broadway is the few blocks surrounding Times Square. Book Broadway tickets in advance for guaranteed seats and pricing. Local sellers also offer last-minute deals (if not always great seats).
The oldest public park in one of America’s oldest cities, Bowling Green offers a serene escape in the middle of New York City’s urban jungle. Situated at the heart of the financial center and beside Wall Street, it is home to the famous Charging Bull bronze statue that has become a symbol of New York. Many visit the bull, which stands for aggression and economic success, to receive good luck.
The public area dates all the way back to 1733, and you’ll notice it is still surrounded by an 18th century iron fence. The teardrop-shaped square is framed with trees and manicured greenery, with an elegant fountain at its center and many benches for people to pause and enjoy.
Historically the space did indeed house a bowling green. It has also served as a trade route, market, and even a cattle field. It has always been a central meeting point in the city. It is even thought that the sale of Manhattan lands from an Indian tribal leader took place on these grounds.
This bank in the heart of Lower Manhattan is one of 12 Federal Reserves in America. Visitors can go behind the scenes of trading rooms, museum and the famous vault—which holds some 900 tons of gold—on a guided small group tour of this iconic finance destination. Informative guides share stories about the banking system, American currency, global trade and importance of gold to the national economy.
Although tours are free, space is limited and most visitors will need to book at least 30 days in advance. Tours of this high-security landmark are ideal for families and visitors receive packets of shredded out-of-circulation cash as they leave the premise. It’s unlikely non-ticketed travelers will be able to enter the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, but the building’s exterior is impressive and still worth wandering past while in Lower Manhattan.
Ground Zero is the 16-acre site on Lower Manhattan that, until the tragic events of September 11, 2001, was home to the twin towers of the World Trade Center. America's most sacred ground is now a construction site, as the frames of the Libeskind Memory Foundation take shape.
The planned redevelopment includes several World Center tower buildings, a memorial museum, and landscaped plaza. The original footprints of the two former World Trade Center towers will be preserved as reflecting pools.
Whether you take a walking tour, drop into the nearby Ground Zero Museum Workshop or view the tributes on nearby Church Street, a visit to Ground Zero is an emotional, numbing experience that's not soon forgotten. It's a site for reflection and respect rather than snapping photographs.
Fraunces Tavern is a national historic landmark, museum, and restaurant in New York City, famous for being the place where George Washington bid farewell to his troops at the end of the American Revolution. Since 1904, the building has been owned by the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York Inc., who claim it is Manhattan’s oldest surviving building. It is part of the New York Freedom Trail and the American Whiskey Trail. The museum’s mission is to create appreciation for New York City history as it relates to Colonial America, the Revolutionary War, and the Early Republic.
Through the varied exhibitions of art and artifacts relating to the museum’s historic site, the museum aims to create this appreciation through educating the public. Different exhibits include the ‘Long Room,’ the site of General George Washington’s farewell to his officers at the end of the Revolution. The room is a recreation of an 18th century public dining room.
One of Manhattan’s most vibrant neighborhoods, the East Village has a storied history of New York’s counterculture, art and literature movements, and social and political acts including riots and protests. It was here that punk rock, experimental theater, and even Andy Warhol shows took root in New York City. As such, the area is considered a large contributor the arts and culture of the United States. Museums, libraries, festivals, and theaters can still be found in great number. It is also known for its thriving bar and budget restaurant scene.
The East Village was first developed as an artistic community in the 1950s with its affordable housing costs attracting many students, musicians, and alternative lifestyles. It is known still for its artistic attitude, nightlife, and diversity, though some would argue that the gentrification of the city is changing its culture.
Located in the heart of lower Manhattan near the Staten Island Ferry and Wall Street, The National Museum of the American Indian is home to one of the largest collections of Native American art and artifacts in the world. Travelers who venture to this destination will find more than 800,000 unique items on display, which detail the history, culture and traditions of America’s native people. And while a majority—close to 70 percent—of the museum’s collection is from the U.S., visitors will find plenty of items from Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean.
Travelers can wander the galleries, which are jam-packed with pieces that detail the unique experiences of a variety of tribes, wander past photography displays, or settle in for one of the occasional movies or audio tours that’s on offer at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York.
Things to do near New York City
- Things to do in New York
- Things to do in Delphi
- Things to do in Jersey City
- Things to do in Brooklyn
- Things to do in Newark
- Things to do in Long Island
- Things to do in New Haven
- Things to do in Philadelphia
- Things to do in Baltimore
- Things to do in Boston
- Things to do in Washington DC
- Things to do in Niagara Falls & Around
- Things to do in Montreal
- Things to do in New Jersey
- Things to do in Connecticut