31 Best Things to Do in Central Park: My Favorite Spots as a Local
Are you looking for unique things to do in Central Park? I've listed all my favorite spots, so follow my lead and you’ll have a perfect visit to the park.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.
New York City is constantly changing, with new unique activities popping up every day.
I’ve lived in the city for 13 years and there are still things I haven’t crossed off my list.
Consider this the ultimate travel guide to navigating New York City like a local.
I’ve included a bunch of non-touristy things to do, in case you’ve already checked out all the usual spots.
Pick a few activities that appeal to you most and focus on enjoying them.
Take your time and enjoy the journey. The biggest mistake travelers make is rushing to see everything.
Sit back, relax and follow a New Yorker’s advice on the best things to do in New York City for the ultimate vacation.
If you only make it to one park while in the city, make sure it’s Central Park.
From Strawberry Fields to Bethesda Fountain, it’s easy to understand why this park is so iconic.
Local’s Tip: Make sure to attend Shakespeare in the Park if you visit during the summer.
It’s my favorite thing to do in the city. I love bringing a picnic to enjoy before the show.
Broadway is one of New York’s most iconic streets and pastimes. You’ll never forget your first Broadway show.
I’m an avid theater fan. Scratch that. I’m a total theater nerd! I’ve seen over 400 shows while living in the city (over 30 in the last year alone).
Feel free to ask me for recommendations, I can talk theater all day.
Broadway offers a variety of plays and musicals each year. Most shows provide a wide range of ticket prices.
My favorite way to find the cheapest tickets offered is to check the blog Broadway for Broke People. It always has the most up to date information on lottery and rush tickets.
If you’re a theater nerd like me, check out some of these cool Broadway tours and classic shows!
A select few bars have survived in the city since the 1700s.
The oldest operational bar is Fraunces Tavern, built-in 1719. You may even sit at the same stool that George Washington sat on.
McSorely’s is the oldest Irish Saloon. They even have a pair of Houdini’s old handcuffs connected to the bar rail.
Grand Central is another iconic New York landmark that you don’t want to miss.
I love any excuse to venture through the terminal’s Main Concourse. The ceiling view of the constellations in the night sky is stunning.
When I have time, I enjoy taking advantage of the famous oyster bar. It’s the perfect way to
Don’t miss the iconic clock above the information booth. SNL modeled its opening clock after it.
The Terminal is home to the Metro-North Railroad, and the MTA’s 4,5,6, and S lines of the subway.
This legendary transportation hub has been running since 1913.
When in doubt, get on a boat and take in the picturesque views of Manhattan’s skyline from the water.
There are plenty of tours and even a sailing option (my favorite).
Manhattan by Sail offers a view of The Statue of Liberty and the city skyline from the deck of a sailboat.
I recommend booking a sunset sail for the best views of the city.
Every musician and singer dreams of getting to perform one day at Carnegie Hall.
I lived in the city about ten years before I finally crossed this off my list.
I left vowing to attend a performance here at least once a year. It was a wonderful experience.
Their list of iconic past performers includes:
The architecture and prestigious acts are enough to make it a must-do on your list.
Is there anything more iconic than the Empire State Building?
I’ll never forget my first time traveling to the top. It’s one of the best views in the city.
The art déco skyscraper, completed in 1931, is now the 45th tallest skyscraper in the world.
Both the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building were in a race to be the tallest building in the world.
Construction was expedited and the building only took one year and 45 days to be built.
Be prepared to wait at least an hour unless you splurge on Express Pass tickets.
The Met is one of the world’s largest museums. It’s also my favorite museum to visit.
I love the view from the rooftop, and the sheer number of exhibits is staggering.
It’s Egyptian wing has the largest collection of Egyptian art outside of Cairo.
The Met also has a collection of arms and armor, fashion exhibits and of course, some of the best art in town.
Local’s Tip: If you visit during the summer, make sure to check out their rooftop art installation.
I make a point to go every year, as it always provides a beautiful view of Central Park.
Want an incredible view without paying for it?
Take the elevator at Rockefeller Center to the Rainbow Room’s Bar Sixty-Five.
It’s two floors below Top of the Rock, giving it pretty much the same view people pay to see.
Enjoy a cocktail and take in the view of the city. It’s best to go at sunset. My go-to cocktail is the Matcha Goddess.
The Jazz Age in New York is legendary.
From Louis Armstrong to Duke Ellington, the city has produced some of the best jazz players in history.
It would be a crime for any music lover to leave New York without taking in a bit of jazz.
Some of the most notable venues include:
There’s a reason SNL is based out of New York. It’s always had a talented comedy scene.
I love the surprise element of it. You never know who you might discover.
My first comedy show in the city featured an up-and-coming Amy Schumer!
My favorite comedy clubs include:
Oh, and don’t forget to turn your phone off. You’ll thank me later.
One World Observatory reminds me of how fragile and beautiful life can be.
It’s stunning design is meant to pay respect to its past.
It’s the 7th tallest building in the world. Plan on going near dusk for some of the most sensational city views.
I’ve gone up twice with my Dad—it’s his favorite thing to do in the city.
On a clear day, you can see 5 different states from the top of One World Trade Center.
If Sex and the City taught us anything, it’s that New York City is the shopping mecca of the world.
And that ovens really can double as sweater storage in tiny Manhattan apartments.
Stroll 5th avenue, shop the trendy boutiques in SoHo, and wander Madison Avenue.
Even if you’re only window shopping, it’s well worth the stroll for fashion lovers.
Here’s a list to get you started:
Local’s Tip: Macaron lovers should note that L’Avenue at Saks now sells Pierre Herme macarons.
They’re my favorite macarons (much better than Laduree’s). It’s the only place in the U.S. that imports them (I would know).
Linking Manhattan and Brooklyn, this iconic bridge is worth the walk.
It’s my favorite way to get to Brooklyn during the summer.
Take photos of the Manhattan skyline, and Lady Liberty as you cross the bridge.
Going at sunset or sunrise provides the best views.
Don’t make the same mistake I did—bring a jacket, it gets chilly on the bridge.
While checking out Midtown, stop by Rockefeller Center, especially if the tree is up.
There’s a shopping center underground year round.
Plus, the plaza features the iconic ice rink and Christmas tree in the winter.
It’s also easy to ride the elevator up to Bar Sixty-Five at Rainbow Room for a cocktail with a view.
Word of warning: if you go during the holidays, be ready for a large crowd.
Local’s Tip: I love walking over around 11pm after seeing a Broadway show. The plaza is calm and you can actually enjoy the tree.
Citibike makes it easy to get your exercise while exploring the city.
I love renting a bike and riding around Central Park, over Brooklyn Bridge, or through the West Village.
You can buy a day pass for $12 or a 3 Day pass for $24.
You can also check out one of these guided bike tours!
If you’re visiting in the summertime and need a break from the intensity of the city heat, hit up Coney Island.
It took me 12 years to venture over to this area.
I couldn’t believe how nice it was. Immediately I regretted not spending more summer days there.
For a perfect day trip, combine the beach with time on the boardwalk and a bit of fun at Luna Park.
Ride the famous Wonder Wheel and legendary Cyclone roller coaster for an unforgettable day.
Built during the American Revolution, Trinity Church’s chapel, St. Paul’s is the oldest chapel in the United States.
George Washington supposedly went there to worship on the day of his inauguration in 1789.
It’s also the site of Alexander Hamilton’s grave.
My Mom and I wandered into this church for the first time not knowing any of its history. From the moment we entered we felt it was a special place.
In the days after 9/11, the chapel provided a place of refuge for those helping to dig through the rubble.
The church still has letters and gifts of gratitude on display from 9/11.
A lot of major shows are filmed in New York City. Most offer lotteries to be a part of their studio audience.
Shows that film in New York include:
Over the years I was lucky enough to get to The Tonight Show, SNL and The Late Show. Every experience has been a fun and memorable one.
If you like sports, or day drinking with lots of yelling, this is for you (can you tell I’m not a big sports fan?).
Personally, I’d choose theater over sports every time.
Both the Yankees and the Mets are iconic “New York” baseball teams to witness while in the city.
If you’re here in the off season, I hear we have a pretty good football team called The Giants.
We also have our local hockey team, the Rangers, as well as our basketball team the Knicks.
Both teams play at Madison Square Garden.
The Cloisters is a Medieval museum in Fort Tryon Park that makes you genuinely feel like you’re stepping back in time.
It took me years to finally get to the Cloisters, and I cannot recommend them enough.
With their beautiful gardens and view of the Hudson River, it’s a lovely place to spend the day.
Local’s Tip: Save your ticket from The Met, as the ticket allows entry to both museums.
Lincoln Center boasts plenty of options for an evening’s entertainment. It’s a place I spend a lot of time enjoying.
My Mom and I love going to the “Chaplin Award Gala” every year. I’ve seen them honor Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Helen Mirren.
Art lovers, take a peak inside the Met Opera’s lobby. It features artwork by Marc Chagall.
If you’re in town during the holiday season, The Nutcracker ballet is a festive must see.
Classic New York speakeasies are technically a thing of the past, but the concept has become a recent trend.
My favorite speakeasies include:
Arrive early as these bars often fill up fast.
No doubt you’ve heard of Alexander Hamilton recently with the rise of mega theatrical sensation Hamilton.
Hamilton Grange in Harlem is the preserved relocated home of Alexander Hamilton.
It’s where this Founding Father lived out the last part of his life.
If you can’t score (or let’s be honest, afford!) tickets to the Broadway show, this may be the next best thing.
Venturing off-Broadway is a great option for entertainment.
Especially with more off-Broadway shows transferring Broadway recently (think Hamilton).
Some of my favorite Off-Broadway theaters include:
I don’t go to Brooklyn often, but when I do it’s normally for a picnic in the park with friends.
Prospect Park was designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmstead, who also designed iconic Central Park.
This landmarked park is absolutely worth a visit if you end up in Brooklyn.
The Staten Island Ferry is free to ride and it passes the following locations:
Local’s Tip: Once you get to Staten Island, stop by Enoteca Maria. A different Italian grandmother is invited to cook for the house each night.
Venture up to Harlem and attend a show at this legendary theater.
Plenty of legends have gotten their starts at the Apollo Theater, including:
I can’t count the number of times my friends and I have ended our night drunkenly serenading each other to Shake it Off.
Yep, I’m talking Taylor.
The city offers plenty of opportunities for karaoke. Some of my favorite spots include:
Times Square is called one of the “crossroads of the world” for good reason.
It’s a mixture of tourists and frustrated locals all playing a big game of chicken.
After working in Times Square for over seven years, there’s one piece of wisdom I’d like to impart on tourists —Don’t stop in the middle of the sidewalk! It drives locals crazy.
This unique and sexy immersive experience places you in Shakespeare’s Scottish tragedy.
It’s definitely a show I’d love to experience again.
Get there early and have a cocktail at their rooftop bar, Gallow Green, or indoors at Manderley Bar.
Sleep No More requires everyone in the audience to wear masks that they provide.
Local’s Tip: Learn from my mistakes and wear shoes that you can run in. You’ll be doing quite a bit while following the characters around.
The High Line is the perfect place to escape the intensity of downtown and stroll through some nature.
The walkway runs from Gansevoort Street up to 34th Street.
It’s home to over 500 types of plants and trees, as well as multiple art installations.
This almost 2 miles long elevated nature walk along an old train rail path is best in lovely weather.
The Whitney boasts over 25,000 works of American art created during the 20th and 21st centuries.
Its newest home in the Meatpacking District is a modern and sleek space that offers some great views.
Keep an eye out for special exhibitions and retrospectives. I really enjoyed the Andy Warhol one I attended last year.
This little landmark is located in Fort Washington Park below the George Washington Bridge.
Also known as Jeffrey’s Hook Light, this is one of the few remaining lighthouses in New York City.
This lighthouse was made popular by the children’s book The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge.
Each September there’s an annual festival. It includes a celebrity reading of the famous children’s book.
I love lying under the stars with a picnic and a good movie almost as much as the theater.
Many parks offer free movie nights, with some rooftops offering ticketed showings during the summer.
My favorite spots to enjoy outdoor cinema include:
Local’s Tip: Book tickets ahead of time whenever possible. Arrive early to free events, as they fill up fast.
The iconic lions, Patience, and Fortitude stand guard outside this New York City institution.
Completed in 1911, this landmark will be on every architecture or book lovers must-do list.
Sex and the City fans will recognize it as the location of Carrie’s ‘almost’ wedding.
They offer free daily tours. So, step inside the New York Public Library to view all its stunning architecture.
This subway hub and shopping center next to One World Trade Center is a must if you’re into architecture.
The Oculus’s Mezzanine level is filled with shops and the ceiling makes for an epic photo.
If you enjoy standing around with a high probability of ending up on national TV for a few seconds, then this is the way to spend your morning.
I recommend checking The Today Show’s performance schedule and trying to go when there’s a musical act.
Don’t forget to bring a sign so your family and friends can spot you in the crowd.
Brooklyn Academy of Music offers world-class theater, music, and film. It’s a great reason to trek to Brooklyn.
BAM has multiple venues in Brooklyn, so make sure to double-check the show’s address before you go. I’ve shown up to the wrong theater more times than I care to admit.
Their programs usually sell out ahead of time, so book early.
The Museum of Modern Art, known to locals at MoMA, is a must if you’re an art lover.
Some of their most famous pieces include:
Keep an eye out for special exhibits being offered at MoMA as well as at MoMA PS1 in Queens.
Visiting the Headquarters of the United Nations is a unique experience.
Tours are available in a variety of languages and can be booked ahead of time.
Local’s Tip: Arrive an hour early to complete their mandatory security check point.
Sea the City offers jet ski tours in New York Harbour with views of the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge.
They also offer a longer 2.5-hour tour that goes around the entire island of Manhattan.
This is an activity I’ve been wanting to try for ages. I always see them having fun on the East River.
Either tour is guaranteed to offer beautiful views and adventure.
Escape the chaos of the city in one of New York’s botanical gardens. It’s a lovely way to spend the afternoon.
Brooklyn Botanical Gardens near Prospect Park, are over 100 years old. Keep an eye out for their annual Cherry Blossom Festival.
You’ll find the century plus old New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.
It was inspired by the Royal Botanic Kew Gardens in London.
Walk through the immigration station that millions arrived at from 1892 until 1954.
It’s estimated that nearly half of all Americans today can trace their family history to one person who passed through Ellis Island.
They offer tours and a changing exhibit on the third floor of the visitors center.
Plus it has amazing views of the Statue of Liberty!
Personally, I love the art-deco design of the Chrysler Building. It’s a timeless icon in the cityscape of New York.
In 1929 it claimed the honor of being the tallest building in the world.
The title only lasted until the Empire State Building was completed eleven months later.
The observation deck closed in 1945. Your best bet is to check out the iconic building from street level or from a rooftop in midtown.
Arrive starving and try all the food you can at Smorgasburg. You won’t regret spending time here. It’s one of my favorite weekend activities.
It’s the largest open-air food market in America, with over 100 local vendors.
Smorgasburg takes place every Saturdays in Williamsburg and Sundays in Prospect Park.
The New York Times crowned the event, the “Woodstock of Eating”.
Local’s Tip: Don’t make the same mistake I made. Bring cash, as not all vendors accept credit cards.
If you want to get some walking in while you eat, check out one of these food tours!
The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s most distinguished scientific institutions.
I love taking visitors to see the Great Blue Whale. It’s massive and is impossible to miss, as is the T-Rex in the lobby.
Make sure to investigate the Hayden Planetarium. You’ll see hyper- realistic views of the planets and galaxies.
It’s been one of my most memorable museum experiences.
Why just tour the catacombs of New York, when you could be having Burgers, Bourbon and listening to Beethoven in them?
This is one example of the events “Angel’s Share” at Greenwood Cemetery hosts. It’s located in one of the oldest structures in the cemetery from the 1850s.
The term “Angel’s Share”, refers to a point in the whiskey aging process.
As the whiskey is aging in the barrel, some will evaporate into the air as some like to think, rising to the angels.
I rode Jane’s Carousel for the first time a few years ago.
I surprised my Dad with a trip to this ride. He actually grew up riding this carousel at Idora Park in Youngstown, Ohio.
My dad says they restored it to exactly how he remembered it from childhood.
This 1920s carousel operates in Brooklyn Bridge Park, next to the East River.
Meow Parlour Cafe offers a “Yoga and Kitties” class twice a month.
New York’s first cat cafe also offers reserved playtime with some adorable cats.
Make a reservation early, as they take very few walk ins.
And in case you fall in love, all the cats are all up for adoption.
The Guggenheim museum is known for its iconic building that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
The museum is made up of multiple personal collections, making it one of the more eclectic museums.
Keep an eye out for any special exhibitions or events.
On the NBS Studio Tour you’ll get a view behind the scenes at NBC.
My Mom and I took this tour on our first trip to the city and had a wonderful time.
The tour will take you throughout the television production process. You’ll also see at least two TV studios.
You’ll even see studio 8H where they film the iconic SNL. If you’re lucky, you may even see the cast rehearsing for that week’s show.
I recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time.
One of Brooklyn’s latest trends is axe throwing. Some locations even offer archery.
Enjoy a night out learning how to throw an axe like a badass. My friends and I had a great time when we went.
Check out one of the following for a fun night out:
Remember that final scene from You’ve Got Mail?
The one where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks finally reunite in a garden with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” playing?
That’s Riverside Park!
It’s one of only eight officially designated scenic landmarks in the city.
Keep an eye out for the local goats the park brings in each summer to help control the weeds.
New York has lots of opportunities to see some talented ladies perform each night.
My friends and I always have a fun and memorable night out when we go to a drag show.
Some of the best venues include:
If you’re already near Coney Island, stop by the NY Aquarium for a day of exploration.
They have a variety of fish, turtles, sharks, and penguins. And even offer an interactive show with the sea lions.
Most of the exhibits are outdoors, so dress for the weather.
The 9/11 Museum and Memorial is located on the original site of the World Trade Center.
Tours are offered for the Museum and Memorial. Each tour focuses on a different part of the 9/11 story.
The museum also offers special exhibitions and rotating galleries.
Shakespeare in the Park is easily my all time favorite activity during the summer.
To me, there’s nothing better than watching a well-acted play while in nature.
It’s a magical experience as the sun is setting and the night sky is taking over.
The Public Theater has been offering free theater for over 60 years.
Productions generally have at least one to two notable actors participating.
Keep an eye out for special events, like film screenings of Top Gun that happen on the ship’s deck every summer.
This military and maritime museum is located on the Hudson River at 46th Street on Pier 86.
The Intrepid is a legendary aircraft carrier. It served during World War II and Vietnam and was a recovery ship for the Gemini and Mercury space mission.
Sofar Sounds is one of NYC’s best kept secrets, even most locals don’t know about it.
They host intimate concerts in everyday spaces.
Venues have included apartments, rooftops or retail spaces.
Past performers have included:
Each concert features three mystery performers in a surprise location. Book early to guarantee entry!
The New Year’s Eve Ball has dropped every year since 1907.
The only exception being 1942 and 1943, because you know, the war.
The ball is created out of 2,688 Waterford Crystal and 32,256 LED lights.
Call me a New York cynic, but I wouldn’t wait around all day to see it drop at midnight when you can look up while in Times Square to view it any time of year.
But hey, that’s just me!
Old City Hall Station is a must for fans of history and architecture alike.
In 1904, New York’s very first subway ride left from City Hall Station.
It’s no longer an active station, although the 6 line does turn around there.
Tours are offered by the New York Transit Museum.
Make sure to book early, as dates fill up fast.
The old TWA terminal at JFK was recently restored into a 1960s style hotel and museum. Complete with a rooftop pool and ice rink.
The TWA Hotel is like stepping back in time and is the only hotel directly at JFK.
Their exhibits feature TWA’s history, including Howard Hughe’s ownership of the airline.
Local’s Tip: Check out the 37 full TWA uniforms they have on display. The styles range from 1945 to 2001.
What do you get when you combine liquor, performers, and a piano?
You know where I’m going with this…
Plan a night out at one of New York’s many piano bars.
Some of my favorites include:
The Frick Collection is housed in one of New York’s last remaining Gilded Age mansions. It’s seriously a gorgeous building.
The Frick offers lectures, art, special exhibitions, and an acclaimed concert series.
They house works of art by many artists, including:
Then She Fell is inspired by the life and writings of Lewis Carrol. The story is set in a hospital ward.
Located in Brooklyn, this Alice in Wonderland themed immersive theater experience is not to be missed.
It’s one of the most unique theatrical experiences that I’ve had in the city.
I know this is becoming a theme, but book ahead. The audience is limited to 15 guests per performance.
Who hasn’t daydreamed of ice skating at one of the classic rinks in New York City over the holidays?
It was an exciting thing to cross off my list until I remembered how hard ice skating is.
After making it around the rink a few times the experience felt less charming.
Arrive or book early, as the ice rinks get busy during the holidays.
Some of the best rinks in the city include:
Located in the Bronx, this landmarked little cottage is where Edgar Allan Poe lived from 1886 until his death in 1849.
He lived in the cottage when he wrote the famous poems “Annabel Lee” and “The Bells”.
Group tours can be booked Monday through Sunday and is by appointment only.
When in doubt, live music is always a good decision for a night out. I’ve seen some amazing concerts while living in the city.
From large venues to small ones New York City offers plenty of options for some live music.
Some of my favorite venues include:
The Museum of the City of New York offers a look into the history of New York City.
I went for the first time this year and was impressed at how it documents all aspects of the history of the city.
The museum has over 750,000 objects in its collection. They cover an array of subjects including:
They offer free guided tours of the museum and special exhibits, as well as private tours.
This isn’t your grandparent’s shuffleboard court.
I was skeptical the first time I heard we were going to spend the night playing shuffleboard.
By the end of the night, I was converted.
If you enjoy some competition over drinks, then the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club is for you.
They have a bar and feature a different food truck every night.
Larger parties should rent a cabana for the night.
There is nothing better than a bowl of Matzoh Ball soup or a greasy breakfast after a night out on the town.
If you’ve never tried Matzoh Ball soup, do yourself a favor and get some ASAP.
It’s my favorite diner order along with some fries (with hot sauce, naturally).
Here are some of my favorite diners:
Most are open 24 hours, so you can cure that karaoke hangover before it even starts.
The New York Stock Exchange rings the iconic bell twice per day, once to open the exchange (9:30 AM) and once to close it (4 PM).
If you’re in the area, it’s a unique experience to witness.
Get a snap of the Fearless Girl statue outside the NYSE.
The famous Charging Bull statue is also close by.
The Trapeze School has something for every level of athleticism.
They offer trapeze, silks, acrobatic, and trampoline classes.
I’ve wanted to try this ever since watching Carrie do it in Sex and the City (can you tell I’m a fan?).
The Italian translation of “belvedere” is beautiful view.
And would you believe it? That’s one thing climbing to the top of the highest tower of the Belvedere Castle will give you.
I climb up every time I pass by to enjoy the view.
This petite castle also offers one of Central Park’s few gift shops.
The Stonewall Inn is a National Landmark where Pride began.
Offering DJs, flip-cup, pool, and performances, this is a great way to spend a night out in the West Village.
The bar also operates “The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative“.
This is a nonprofit run by the bar that provides assistance and support to the LGBTQ community.
Are you into vintage shopping? Look no further than Brooklyn Flea. I’ve found some great items here over the years.
Brooklyn’s largest flea market features hundreds of vendors, selling furniture, vintage clothing and antiques.
The market has been ranked one of the best Flea markets in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure magazine.
President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife boast one of the biggest mausoleums in North America.
He was a politician and soldier prior to becoming the 18th President of the United States.
Tours of President Grant’s mausoleum are available. The visitors center also offers a gift shop and library.
Ice cream is always a good idea!
Visit the biggest ice cream factory in New York. Ample Hills Creamery in Red Hook, Brooklyn is offering tours of their factory.
Almost all of their mix-ins are homemade and they have 24 flavors of ice cream.
My favorite order is “The Munchies”, a pretzel infused ice cream that’s blended with potato chips, M&Ms, and Ritz crackers. It sounds weird but tastes incredible.
The building also offers a scoop shop, as well as an “interactive ice cream museum” party room.
The outdoor concert is another signature of a New York summer.
I went to Global Citizen last year and saw tons of legendary performers for free.
There are free concerts on the plaza and in the parks, and ticketed ones like Governor’s Ball and Global Citizen Festival.
Arrive early to free events, and book tickets well ahead of time for ticketed ones.
Newly renamed “The Battery”, this small park is known for its famous Sea Glass Carousel.
It’s well worth
Enjoy the gardens and one of the best land views of The Statue of Liberty.
The park used to house the New York Aquarium in the late 1800s.
Who wouldn’t want to spend the afternoon tasting beers?
Brooklyn Brewery tours cover the brewing process, beer history and their story.
They are credited with a James Beard brew-master.
Their beer is distributed in over 30 different countries, including most of the United States.
Take in the city with a bird’s eye view on a helicopter tour. It’s something I’ve always wanted to splurge on doing.
These are some of the most popular helicopter tours to check out!
With two floors of candy and a candy cafe upstairs, this is every candy lover’s dream.
I love stocking up here before a movie or long flight.
Dylan’s Candy Bar considers itself the modern-day Willy Wonka. It boasts over 7,000 different kinds of sweets.
The store is well-stocked with classic, international, and old school candies.
Step back in time to see some of the oldest remains of New York City preserved under glass panels.
“The Portal Down to Old New York” includes relics of Lovelace Tavern, which burned down in 1706.
Part of the old City Hall from 1642 is also visible. It was known as The Stadt Huys from when New York was still New Amsterdam.
What’s a vacation without a little rest and relaxation?
Aire Ancient Baths are my favorite escape from the chaos of the city.
The Baths offer a selection of massages and rituals based on Roman bathing traditions.
SpyScape Spy Museum gives you the chance to learn about the some of the world’s most famous spies.
This interactive learning experience takes you inside the world of secret intelligence.
Honestly, I was skeptical about going in after hearing it was interactive.
Once inside, my friend and I had a blast throughout the entire museum (including the interactive bits).
You’ll see artifacts used on past missions, test your lie detector skills.
Getting through the laser tunnel was especially comical for us!
This library reminds me of the epic one depicted in Beauty and the Beast. If you’re a book lover, meet your new heaven.
The library’s collection includes artwork, rare books, manuscripts, drawings, and ancient artifacts.
The Morgan Library and Museum offers exhibitions, performances, lectures, films and public tours.
This towering church, built-in 1879, is among New York’s top landmarks.
Even if you aren’t religious it’s worth stopping by to see the architecture.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral took 21 years to build and is the largest Gothic Roman Church in the U.S.
It was named for St. Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland due to the large number of Irish immigrants in the city.
It’s an easy stop while shopping on 5th Avenue.
Improv is (usually) hilarious and always full of surprises. I love going after happy hour drinks with friends.
Some of the my favorite groups include:
Designed to resemble a 16 story high honeycomb, the Vessel opened to much fanfare in 2019.
It looks cool but has caused some controversy.
It has a uniquely strict copyright policy that helps them avoid royalty fees.
The policy claims the right to use any photos or videos taken on the premises for commercial use.
Local’s Tip: Because of its popularity, you must reserve free tickets to climb the Vessel.
Near the NYU campus, this West Village park is teeming with young creatives.
It’s a wonderful place for people watching.
I love to grab some of Mamoun’s famous falafel before the park. It’s the perfect food for an impromptu picnic.
Make sure to check out the famous marble Washington Square Arch.
The Tenement Museum celebrates the stories of immigrants through immersive guided tours.
It offers a variety of tours focusing on the immigrant experience.
The museum features a collection of clothing, household accessories, photographs and furniture.
All objects displayed tell the stories of the people who lived and resided in the area.
Using these objects and stories we can look back at history and see how its shaped our lives today.
Local’s Tip: If you’re going on a hot day, be prepared for no air conditioning.
The Shops at Columbus Circle in the Time Warner building are worth a visit for a bit of shopping and a
It’s a great opportunity to grab some take away to enjoy in adjacent Central Park.
I used to do this during all my lunch breaks when I worked in Midtown.
Stop and see the famous Christopher Columbus statue as you cross the roundabout.
Brighten up your day at this interactive art exhibition.
The Color Factory invited local artists, creatives and designers to tell a unique story through color.
When you arrive you’ll register to gain access to photo booths throughout the exhibit.
All photos taken get emailed to you after your visit. You’re sure to leave with lots of Instagram options.
I had so much fun wandering around the space and taking photos when I went a few weeks ago.
The Museum of Moving Image is the nation’s largest collection of artifacts relating to the art, history, and technology of moving image.
I love wandering around this museum. It’s fascinating to see how technology has changed over the years.
The museum is home to an ongoing Jim Henson exhibit, creator of The Muppet Show.
There are over 47 puppets on view, including Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.
HigherDOSE at the Howard Hotel is committed to getting you hot and high in their infrared sauna.
Trust me, it’s pure heaven relaxing and listening to music in these private saunas.
Infrared saunas help detox heavy metals from your body. They promote a healthy glow and burn calories.
Consider it the perfect way to relax after a long day of sightseeing.
Located in Manhattan’s Flatiron district, this tiny park is home to the original Shake Shack.
Be sure to check out the well known Flatiron Building across the street (it’s hard to miss).
Local’s Tip: If you’re in the area for lunch, walk a couple of blocks to Beecher’s.
In my opinion, they have the world’s best mac & cheese (even Oprah agrees) and incredible tomato soup.
Fashion lovers rejoice, FIT has created the most fashionable museum in the city.
The Museum at FIT has a permanent collection of over 50,000 garments.
Each special exhibit always covers 250 years of fashion history.
Chances are you’ve probably seen The Summit featured on Instagram by now, since bloggers are obsessed with the mirrored details of this observation deck.
The mirrored walls, flooring, and ceiling make the room extra stunning at night, since they reflect the city lights.
You’ll absolutely by dying to take photos of the skyline, especially if you go at sunset.
My favorite part (besides how pretty it is), is that they’re home to Danny Meyer’s latest bar/cafe called APRÈS.
Grabbing a drink with this view is super romantic, and the perfect way to start off any night!
The Edge is NYC’s newest observation deck, and the only one offering a champagne bar along with an incredible view.
Make the most most of your time and go near sunset so you get the beautiful sky plus the opportunity to watch as the city lights up under the night sky.
The Edge is open until midnight, so you’ll be able to enjoy this epic view almost all night long!
Wandering what Little Island is?
It’s the newest development downtown and has both tourists and locals racing to check it out.
Just head to Pier 55 you’ll find an artificial island park chilling in the Hudson. It’s got stunning gardens, beautiful views of downtown, and even a few food trucks.
Fair warning, if you come and go in the afternoon they require you to have an online reservation.
In New York Harbor, Lady Liberty has provided an image of hope and freedom for Americans since 1886.
The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France. She’s one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks and a symbol of New York.
It’s actually a crime to leave the city without catching a glimpse of her (I may or may not be kidding).
My most important advice is to enjoy the journey.
Stay in the moment and enjoy where the city takes you.
Feel free to e-mail me with any questions or comments.
I’m also always happy to help with any theater recommendations!
Check out some of these popular tours and things to do during your time in New York!
Are you looking for unique things to do in Central Park? I've listed all my favorite spots, so follow my lead and you’ll have a perfect visit to the park.
New York City comes alive as darkness descends and the lights flicker to life. Check out my go-to list of things to do in NYC at night.
There’s romance around every corner in the city. You’re guaranteed to impress your date with one of these original and romantic things to do in NYC.
Want to have a truly original New York holiday? Embrace this guide to the best non-touristy things to do in NYC and you’ll fit right in with the locals.
Are you looking for something fun to do in Times Square at night? This list has ideas for tourists and locals, you just have to decide which option to do first!
Leave a Comment