You can’t go to New York and not see these 20 must see New York attractions

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New York is without a doubt one of the most incredible and innovative cities in the whole world, there’s so many things to do and admire here that one could never tire of it! If you’re heading to the city for the first time or just want to know what you shouldn’t miss on your next visit then we have it covered! Here’s our pick of the 20 must see New York attractions. Enjoy!

Statue of Liberty seen from the Circle Line ferry, Manhattan, New York

1. The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is undoubtedly the icon of New York. To view the statue up close, you can catch a ferry out to Ellis Island, or to save a few pennies catch the free Staten Island Ferry round-trip for a decent view from afar.


2. The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is best viewed from the Top of the Rock, as it is directly in front of it’s south facing viewing platform. Building of the Empire State Building began in 1929 and it is today one of New York’s most recognisable landmarks.


3. The Top of the Rock 

The Top of the Rock is located on the top floors of the Rockefeller centre in Midtown. It costs about $25+ a ticket and holds without a doubt one of the most spectacular views of the city. You’ll be stunned by the view that lies in front of you from the viewing platform. It’s especially exquisite during Golden hour and sunset, so take a look at when the sun is setting that day and head up there for then!


4. The Highline 

The Highline was opened in 2009 and is a converted railway line that runs above ground. It runs from Ganesvoort Street in the Meatpacking District all the way up to 34th street. It’s open to all and is counted as one of New York’s parks, you’ll find benches, tables and sun loungers lining the walkway amongst a breadth of greenery. It’s a lovely place to take a lunch break and wander along gaining little views down New York’s streets as you pass.


5. The Metropolitan Museum

The Metropolitan Museum is right by Central Park and is huge brandishing many different wings holding some of the finest artworks in the world. It’s worth checking out the Temple of Dendur where the Met Ball is held each year, it’s exquisite and in the winter time the view out to Central Park is magical. Whilst entry is technically free they do advise donations.


6. The Freedom Tower

The Freedom Tower (One World Trade Centre ) was finished and opened in 2014. It replaces the gap in the skyline that was left after the devastating attacks on 9/11. The building itself is completely futuristic and catching glances of it is quite spectacular, especially when the sun is setting! The One World Observatory is now open to the public and costs $30+ to go up. image: New York Magazine


7. MoMa

The Museum of Modern Art is another of New York’s museums that is well worth checking out. Located in Midtown close to the Met Museum it has a selection of international as well as American art and sculpture lining it’s interior. On Friday evenings they have Free entry between 4-8pm so if you’re looking at saving a little money while you’re in the city then be sure to head over for then! They also have a fantastic restaurant inside, the french fries are some of the best I’ve ever eaten, so if you’re feeling peckish then head on over.

central park

8. Central Park 

Central Park is unsurprisingly smack bang in the middle of the city and is a must see on your trip to the city. If you’re visiting in winter then the Trump Rink is definitely worth a little ice skate around. The Central Park Zoo is also within the grounds and if you’re into that type of activity is definitely worth checking out. Otherwise just go for a stroll, a morning run, or even hire a row boat to enjoy the park!

New York Times Square

9. Times Square

Times Square is one of New York’s most famous squares. It is named after the New York Times who’s head offices moved there in 1904. If you want to see the sky lit up with lights then this is your place to do so, it’s quite amazing to look up and appreciate. It’s definitely worth a trip during your stay in the city, it’s also in the heart of the theatre district. (image: terrabass via Wikicommons)

Brooklyn Bridge

10. Brooklyn Bridge 

Brooklyn bridge is by far one of the most beautiful bridges that join Manhattan to the outer boroughs. It was completed in 1883 and is iconic to New York as well as being one of the oldest suspension bridges in the USA. You can wander across it or alternatively head to Brooklyn Bridge park on the banks of the East River to check out a spectacular view of it, Manhattan Bridge and lower Manhattan.


11. The Cloisters

The Cloisters are located on the Upper West Side and are an incredibly beautiful location to visit on your trip to New York. Built to replicate European friary’s, there are no other buildings quite like it in the city. It’s owned by the Metropolitan museum and it holds their medieval collection of art. Add this beautiful building to your list!

Sept 11 Museum Funding

12. The 9/11 Memorial 

The 9/11 Memorial was opened in on the 10th anniversary of the attacks in 2011. The Memorial Park is a beautiful tribute to all those that lost their lives in the attacks. It’s located on the sight of where both towers used to stand and is definitely a must when visiting the city.

Bullets over broadway

13. A Broadway Show 

There’s nothing quite like seeing a show on Broadway, if you’re going to go it’s worth booking tickets in advance, but don’t worry if you haven’t, your hotel concierge will definitely be able to help. Broadway is renowned for incredible musicals so be sure to pay one a visit if that’s up your street!


14. Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim building is exquisite enough let alone the art it holds within. If you want to admire the architecture and view some beautiful art works then this is definitely a must see on your trip to the city!

brooklyn botanical

15. Brooklyn Botanical Gardens 

Located over the bridge from Manhattan lie the Brooklyn Botanical gardens, an eden in the city that never sleeps. They’re open Tuesday-Sunday and and closed on a Monday. Tuesdays are free, Saturday between 10-12pm is free and weekdays in the winter are free too! Make the most of those time periods to have a look around and walk through the beautiful gardens.

Spirit_of_America_-_Staten_Island_Ferry 2

16. Staten Island Ferry 

The Staten Island Ferry is a must do activity when you’re in New York, it’s completely free and it’ll take you past the Statue of Liberty and offer fantastic views back across to Lower Manhattan, there’s even a bar on board to grab a beer and enjoy the views! (image via Wikicommons).

charging_bull_wall_street 2

17. Charging Bull and Wall Street

The Charging Bull is another significant monument in the city, located down in the financial district. It’s been on the bowling green since 1989 and it was to represent the strength of the American people during the 1987 recession. While you’re down there you could have a wander along Wall Street and the financial district to experience the centre of US banking in operation.

grand central terminal

18. Grand Central Station 

Grand Central Station is beautiful, it’s definitely the most exquisite train station in the city. You don’t even need to catch a train from there, walk around and appreciate it like you would any great architecture! There’s also a great bagel store inside which you should definitely pay a visit to!


19. SoHo 

If you’re visiting New York then a wander around SoHo is a great way to fill an afternoon, with a selection of fantastic restaurants, beautiful shops and boutiques there’s plenty to see and do. Exploring Lower Manhattan is also the best way to get a feel of living in the city!


20. New York Public Library

New York Public Library is beautiful, the most beautiful area is the reading gallery on the 3rd Floor which brandishes gorgeous, ornate chandeliers and is the perfect location to unwind and delve into a fantastic novel. The building is exquisite and is not to be missed on a trip to the Big Apple, you’ll find it at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street.

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    March 24, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    I love the Highline, Centeral park, Met Museum. There is so manay things to see in Nyc!

    December 6, 2015 at 12:06 am

    Oh wow! A perfect list and the pictures surely add the much needed charm to it. Visiting NYC has always been a lifelong dream of mine and i am sure, one day, i will definitely visit this city and yeah! i am definitely going to refer to this list.

    September 23, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Great basic tourist guide! I would also include a food tour – there are several tours offered that travel around the city to the other boroughs in an air conditioned bus; that way you get to see more of the neighborhoods while sampling some of the fantastic ethnic foods – Italian, Latino, German, Indian, Hebrew, Asian, – even a pizza tour – so many choices!

    Also, the Statue of Liberty (which is on LIBERTY Island) tour includes Ellis Island (a short ferry ride away – the ferry only goes from Liberty to Ellis), which offers an amazing historic perspective of immigration in the US. If you don’t want to tour the monument (and why wouldn’t you??? It’s like not going to the top of the Eiffel Tower), you can still simply ferry out to Liberty Island or take the Staten Island Ferry (Free!) to take photos.

    August 24, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    Such a boring and generic list. What about Queens? What about Brooklyn? I see you included the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens but what about Prospect Park in general, exploring Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Or traveling into Queens for the international mixed bag that is Astoria?

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    August 18, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    I love usa.this is my dream place and i want to be there. The last time I went, I was only 9 years old, but I still remember playing on the Alice in Wonderland sculpture in Central Park and being in awe in Times Square.

    Beautiful pictures, great post!

    August 18, 2015 at 6:12 am

    Check your use of apostrophes. The plural of friary is friaries. By writing “friary’s” in the context here creates nonsense. You really should know better: you’re a professional writing. You should also hold your readership in greater esteem. Stupid, primary-school, errors like this are insulting to those that stop to read your article.

    alfredo ciano
    July 22, 2015 at 9:10 am

    The Ultimate View on New York by Emma : Congratulations !!!

    July 16, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    I love the Highline, Central Park, Met Museum, and Brooklyn Bridge. There’s so many things to see in NYC!

    Kiah Page
    July 16, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    I love this post! New York is such a beautiful place to visit and this is a brilliant little guide. I’d recommend the New York Pass to anyone visiting as a tourist – You buy it and it’s a card that gives you access to many of the ‘main’ sights and then has lots of little museums and experiences that change depending on what’s on at the time of purchase, and you save lots of money as well as getting lots of ideas from it. My mum and I have used it on both of our visits and it’s great!
    – Kiah xxx

    July 16, 2015 at 11:00 am

    I agree with this list! The cloisters are my fave I should make a trip back up that way again soon. I’d also ad the East Village to this list!


    Sian @ The Blonde Tourist
    July 15, 2015 at 10:30 am

    Central Park and walking the Brooklyn Bridge were too of my favourite things I did when I went to New York last year. That and finding all the hidden speakeasy bars – so much fun!! Great list! BT x

    July 14, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Eeeeverything is worth seeing! That’s why I haven’t been to New York yet – I definitely need at least 2 weeks to explore the city thoroughly, like I want to, but so far it’s been difficult to find time!

    July 14, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Great list! I would add a stop at an iconic New York eatery as a must do as well (maybe a hot dog at Gray’s Papaya or a pastrami sandwich from Katz’s Delicatessen or pizza from Di Fara).

    July 14, 2015 at 5:26 am

    I have a 10 hour layover in New York (arriving at JFK), do you think I have enough time to take the train down into Manhattan for a few hours? If so, I would be coming in to Penn Station. What would you recommend for that area? Thanks!

    July 14, 2015 at 2:40 am

    Y’all, be aware that Rose Reading room on the 3rd floor is closed for renovations, and will be for about one more year.

    Amber Rhodes
    July 12, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    I’ve never been but it looks amazing .

    Claire @ TallGirlBigWorld
    July 12, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    SoHo is easily one of my favorite neighborhoods to explore. I’d also add 5th avenue to this list for anyone looking to do some hardcore window (or real) shopping. Just as a heads up, all the stores along this street are really expensive. Love the list!

    July 12, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Perfect list! New York is just one amazing place – gets everyone’s heart I would say!
    I did a list of ten must see places in New York a couple of weeks ago and it makes me want to go there again – so badly!

  • The Week That Was #12Pink Dynamite
    July 12, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    […] the city has interested me, this article from World Of Wanderlust is a great starting point with a list of 20 places you can’t miss. Most of these are already on mine…along with Shake […]

    July 12, 2015 at 7:10 am

    I really enjoyed your guide to New York City. I went on a road trip quite a few years ago with my mom and was only able to spend a day and a half in the city, but we did about half the things on here. Your list has reminded me why I need to go back.

    July 12, 2015 at 7:06 am

    Loved Little Italy and their food! I think it’s also a must see attraction!

    July 12, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Agreed! 😀

    July 12, 2015 at 1:03 am

    Me too, Carina! I had such a blast in the JFK airport I can only imagine what it is like actually in the heart of New York! Love this post!

    July 12, 2015 at 12:16 am

    Trip to New York City is a life long dream of mine. These were some great tips and I hope I could visit the city soon and see all these great places 🙂

    July 11, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    Love these suggestions! Good tip on seeing the Statue of Liberty en route to Ellis island. The Lower East Side Tenement Museum is another great stop in NYC. The five-story building that used to house immigrants is now a museum dedicated to sharing their stories of adjusting to the city. There are many tours from which to choose. We loved it!

    Saakshi Kumar
    July 11, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    15/20. Not bad for 3 days in New York, I believe.
    The most magical city in this heavenly world. Cannot wait to fly to New York again and explore the interiors of the city and the neighborhoods.
    Amazing pictures 🙂

    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel
    July 11, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    So I’m basically going to print this list and tick everything of while I’m in New York! It’s such a magical city, and so much to do!

    July 11, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    Great guide, thanks for this! Can you estimate how many days we would need to set aside in NY to see all these places (obviously more than one can be covered in a day). I’m trying to work out a U.S. trip itinerary at the moment!

    July 11, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Every time I read a blog post about new york, or see a video featuring the city, i say a quiet prayer for when the day comes and I have that luxury of visiting (or living!!) in this amazing city!
    This is definitely a post I’m saving for the future!

    x Carina

    Deepti @ Endless Postcards
    July 11, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    I’m going to New York in October to visit some friends and I couldn’t be more excited. The last time I went, I was only 9 years old, but I still remember playing on the Alice in Wonderland sculpture in Central Park and being in awe in Times Square.

    Beautiful pictures, great post!