So you’re planning a visit to New York City? With so many iconic landmarks, it becomes hard to narrow it down when picking tourist attractions. New York is probably the most diverse and incredible city in the United States. It’s the melting pot of America and the wonder city for any tourist who wants to see those cliché and popular places to visit that remind you of various movies. No matter what you decide to do, you will not go home regretting your choices because each place you visit will be special.
New York is a place I am in love with and wouldn’t mind going to year after year. My three trips there have allowed me to see the very touristy places as well as some off-the beaten path attractions and landmarks. It’s definitely a place where you should visit the touristy spots because they will not disappoint. Here I leave you with the top 10 tourist attractions in New York that I highly recommend visiting, especially if you are only there for a few days.
1. Central Park
I list Central Park first for a reason, it’s beautiful and huge! It has many things to do such as ride bikes, fish, ice-skate, exercise, eat, or the chance to have a picnic. Central park even has a zoo you can visit. If there is anything in New York City that stands out as its central and main attraction, its Central Park. If you love photography, this is the perfect spot to capture beautiful shots. I’ve been at central park during spring and summer and the scenery is different but still amazing in each season. I hope to catch fall and winter next time. Make sure you do not leave New York without paying Central Park a visit.
2. Statue of Liberty
You can’t go to New York City and not see the Statue of Liberty! It’s the national icon that stands for the freedom and democracy that this country is based on and the integration of different cultures through the acceptance of those who immigrated into this country. The statue is big and stands on its own small island that you can explore. You can also visit the souvenir store to take home some memories. To get to Liberty Island, you will need to catch a cruise through Statue Cruises which will also take you to Ellis Island. If you wish to visit the crown and pedestal you will need to reserve advance tickets. You can get more information here. And if you only want to pass by it for free instead, you can ride the Staten Island Ferry.
3. Times Square
Times square is the main gathering spot of New York City. Here you will find yourself surrounded by bright neon lights, faced with many dinner options and Broadway shows to see, surrounded by many people, sounds, and entertainment. You will see things from artists displaying and selling their work on the street side to vendors and characters to take pictures with. You might even see some crazy things like a woman playing a guitar in the middle of the street wearing only a while only a bikini. Times Square is also a heaven for shoppers and the perfect night out for those who want to hit the bars and have some fun. I could go on and on about Times Square because it is full of entertainment with many options to do different things. Whatever you are looking to do, it’s probably there. For me and my friends, Times square was the go to place for almost every night we were there.
4. One World Trade Center
The One World Trade Center will take you back into memory lane to when the events of September 11th took place. This is a place of emotion for visitors and of respect for those involved in the events. The fountains are beautifully placed with the names of every person who passed away. I’ve been able to see the tower under three different stages of construction and each time was special and reminded me of what a united country the U.S is. The World Trade Center is set to have an observation deck in 2015 becoming the highest building in the western hemisphere. It will give an incredible view of Manhattan and the fountains below. I will be sure to come back for this! Nearby you can also visit the 9/11 Tribute Center.
5. Brooklyn Bridge
One of the most recognizable landmarks of New York City is the Brooklyn Bridge. It has been shown in many movies and art projects. For my friends and I, it was the perfect place to get a quick exercise session by walking across, while others prefer to ride a bike. Be careful with them because they fly right past you! At the Brooklyn Bridge you will get a nice view of the New York City skyline and an opportunity to look out into the East River. If you prefer to see the bridge from afar, I recommend riding a water taxi where the driver will give you information about the bridge and take you to your next destination.
6. Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock
If you asked me to only choose one observation deck to visit while in New York City, I would choose Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Center. Why? It has better views. Top of the Rock oversees Central Park and has a view of the Empire State Building. The different levels of the observation deck with clear glass windows give a chance for taking beautiful and clear pictures. Down below at the Rockefeller Center, you will always find something to do such as shopping, ice-skating, eating, or a chance to walk around to see the temporary displays. You can even watch a free-concert during their free-concert series in the summer through the Today Show.
7. Empire State Building
The Empire State building is just as amazing as Top of the Rock. It has different views, such as that of the Chrysler Building and Flat Iron Building. It’s also higher than the other sky scrapers, allowing you to feel at the top of the world while looking down at the busy intersections and buildings. Plus, you get to be on one of the most popular sky scrapers known! Every visit here I can’t help but imagine King Kong when I look up to the tip of the skyscraper, how weird is that!? I recommend visiting Top of the Rock at day time and the Empire State Building at night. You get both views of the city.
8. Yankee Stadium
Ok, so maybe you’re not a Yankee fan, neither am I. But I can’t deny a visit to the Yankee Stadium to watch a game was pretty cool, especially to watch the iconic baseball team (even though some think they’re overrated). The stadium is amazing! It’s huge and with many vendors to grab food from. I also can’t deny it was nice to watch two well-known players, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez play baseball. During my visit, they played against the Los Angeles Angels, but I wasn’t necessarily rooting for either team. I was just enjoying my time there. The Yankee Stadium also has a museum, a tour, and you can visit Monument Park which is the stadium. Just take the 4,5,6 subway all the way to the Yankee Stadium.
9. Ride the Subway
Not sure if you want to consider this an attraction but my trips to New York City would have not been as interesting if I hadn’t ridden the subway. Riding the subway has to be the most convenient way to get around in New York City. I can’t even imagine renting a car or always riding the taxi just to be stuck in traffic! A ride on the subway will give you the experience of a true New Yorker. Besides the subway taking you places, you will also find yourself highly entertained by underground musicians, dancers, and by people-watching. There’s never a dull moment on the subway or underground while you wait, especially if you so happen to come across a huge rat, find yourself running to catch the subway, or find your personal space violated as people crowd in and block your breathing. I’m telling you, it’s interesting! You can’t miss riding the subway at least once. It will get you everywhere quickly and entertain you!
10. Grand Central Terminal (or Station)
Whatever you want to call it, it doesn’t matter because Grand Central offers many passageways where you will find food and shopping. It also connects trains and subways that are sure to get you where you need. This underground railway station is the busiest commute area in the U.S. It’s main concourse is huge and nicely designed. You will recognize it from various movies also. My favorite memory here was recording a dance with my friends for our own version of Pharell William’s video, Happy. People were so busy running to catch their train that we didn’t get many weird looks, only a few from other tourists like us. 🙂 If you don’t have much time in New York, at least give a quick stop here to see its main concourse.
Let me just end saying that it doesn’t matter what you choose to visit, all these attractions will leave you with great memories.