I am in no way a New York expert – I’ve been twice and hopefully will go back again, but these 11 sights are definitely worth a visit if you’re going to New York for the first time. Even if you don’t make it to all of these, you can tick off some of the best tourist attractions in this wonderful city.
If you love travel make sure you check out my other travel posts here.
The Statue of Liberty
Say hello to Lady Liberty!
Being one of the most well known monuments in the world it’s definitely one to visit, and it’s only a ferry ride away. Yes, this means you can get some amazing city-scape shots of Manhattan whilst enjoying the boat ride.
Don’t forget to book your ticket before you go! There’s usually no tickets available on the day, so make sure you book up in advance so you don’t miss out. You can book them here. Make sure you get the right one that you want – there’s three types. One is solely a ticket that gets you to Liberty Island and Ellis Island via the ferry, the second incorporates ‘Pedestal access’ meaning you can go up the Statue of Liberty pedestal, or there’s the third option – ‘Crown access’. This ticket allows you to climb up to the top of the Statue of Liberty, however be cautious if you are afraid of heights, falling or don’t like the fact you can see the infrastructure of the statue, because trust me you won’t like walking up it (and especially not down). Take that from someone who had a
mild panic attack on the way down…
Top tip: the views are great from the pedestal compared to the ones for the crown – at least that’s what I found having done both, however if you go on a very clear day I bet the views from the crown would be amazing.
In regards to the photo below, I’m well aware this photo looks… for a better word ‘fake’, but it was amazingly clear on the day I took this haha! Honestly couldn’t have asked for better weather.
If you were to only visit one sky scrapper make it this one!
If you’ve done some research for your future trip to NYC you would have probably come across a ton on photos with people on a tall building with New York City behind them – all very picturesque. most of these are taken at the top of the Rockefeller (aka Top of the Rock).
In my opinion this building gives you the best views of the city where you can take some incredible photos or just soak it all in. Dare I say it might even be better than the Empire State Building…
Top Tip: Make sure you book tickets for this attraction early – they sell out fast!
Empire State Building
You can’t go to New York and not see the Empire State building. It’s a classic sky scrapper in the art deco style that’s truly one of a kind, but sadly you won’t see King Kong at the top.
Although I personally prefer the Rockefeller Center for the views, the Empire State building is an icon that cannot be missed from your holiday itinerary.
One of my favourite parks is Central Park located in the heart of New York City.
There are many attractions within the park for everyone to enjoy. For me, I prefer to stroll around and enjoy meeting all of the doggies along the way. Of course this does mean that I would stop every few minutes and pet them all.
This memorial is located where the World Trade Center site was and is a tribute to those who lost their lives during the events of 9/11. The names of everyone who lost their lives are inscribed in the bronze panels around the edge of the memorial pools. Although I don’t like to consider this a ‘tourist attraction’ it’s somewhere I would always recommend visiting because it’s peaceful and calming. The reflection pools are beautiful and remind us to reflect and be thankful, something I think we don’t do enough in our busy lives.
As well as this memorial there is also a museum. For more information you can visit the website here.
I don’t know why, but museums are always a must when visiting a new city, and New York has many of them.
Some of the most popular are: the Metropolitan Museum of Art (aka The Met), The Guggenheim (you have no idea how many times I had to check the spelling of this!), American Museum of Natural History, Museum of Modern Art, and of course the New York Public Library.
Top Tip: make sure you check out each museum website to see what the current / upcoming exhibitions are for when you are there.
Top Tip #2: Don’t do what I did and go to the Magnolia Bakery before heading to the Metropolitan museum as they won’t allow you to take in food. Needless to say I chose the cupcakes over exploring the museum. I get my priorities straight haha!
Bright lights, big city!
Times Square is on of those places that you see in the movies and so many instagram photos and it looks amazing, and in it is, but it can also disappoint. Now, if you’ve never been to Times Squares I would highly recommend it – it’s got so much to it it’s hard to explain (much like the famous Shibuya crossing in Tokyo).
Surprisingly I’ve never been to the High Line. On first visit to NYC I never knew this existed and on my second it was snowing, so I didn’t think I would get the full benefit of it.
The High Line is a public park build on an old railway line that stretches from West 34th Street down to Gansevoort Street, and from hearing and seeing photos it looks amazing! Perfect for a casual stroll.
Occasionally there are events on the High Line – there’s a full day festival of music, art and more on later this month on the 21st April. You can see if there’s anything going on via the website here.
If it’s a good day I’d recommend walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, even if you don’t plan to go to Brooklyn, it’s a lovely walk with amazing views (especially the cityscape of Manhattan). If you plan to go during New York’s colder month you will need to wrap up with a hat, scarf and gloves if you don’t want to freeze!
Grand Central Station
If you’ve watched Gossip Girl you would have seen this magnificent station in the opening to season one and throughout the rest of the series. It’s a world famous landmark for a reason – and no I don’t just mean because of the films and tv series it’s appeared in. The architecture is incredible and it might sound strange, but it’s one of the nicest stations to see.
Why not take a look around, pose of a photo like you’re Serena van der Woodsen and have a bite to eat.
If you plan to visit a number fo these attractions it may be worth looking into the City Pass (here) which covers many of the attractions I’ve mentioned, HOWEVER the ticket does not include pedestal or crown access to the Statue of Liberty. So bare this in mind if you plan to buy the City Pass.
Are you planning a trip to the big apple soon? Or have you already been? Why not share your top tips below in the comments.