The 20 Best Sights to see for your First Time in New York

So, its your first time in New York City. 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!

New York City Guide | World of Wanderlust

Your First Time in 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.

Image via Unsplash

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!

Highline New York
Image via Unsplash @roadtojericho

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.

The MET New York

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.

New York City

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.

Guide to Central Park | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

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 rowboat to enjoy the park!

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.

Williamsburg Hotel New York | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

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.

New York | World of Wanderlust

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!

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.

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!

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.


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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WOW Contributor
WOW Contributor

Our in-house team of contributors are well-travelled and based in cities around the world. From Berlin to Paris and everywhere in between, our team love sharing the latest and greatest places that should be on your radar.

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