Welcome to NYC, the capital of the world.
From iconic landmarks you’ve seen on the movies and famous sites around every turn, to fun events going on all time, it can be hard to choose what to do during your time in the city. There’s so much to do and the list gets longer and longer to the point it feels overwhelming. Let us help you plan your trip!
Keep reading to learn all you need to know to make most of your time in the city!
Things to do in NYC
There’s so much to do in NYC! Make sure to organize your trip before you go so you can make the most out of your time.
NYC Tip: get the Sightseeing Pass to save money on your visit. This pass includes most observatories (except Summit), most museums, the Statue of Liberty boat tour & other fun activities and discounts. It’s also easy to use as you can use the QR code on your phone.
These are the main things to do in the city:
- Observatories: there are 5 main observatories in NYC and they’re all worth the visit. You can visit the top of the Empire State Building, the Summit One Vanderbilt, the Edge, the Top of the Rock and the One World (Freedom Tower).
- Museums: if you’re an art and history aficionado you’ll love NYC’s museums. The main museums are the MoMa, the MET, the Guggenheim, the American Museum of Natural History, the Whitney museum & the Morgan library.
- Brooklyn bridge: it doesn’t get more iconic than this! Cross the pedestrian pathway in the early morning or during sunset to soak in the views.
- Statue of Liberty: another icon in NYC is the Statue of Liberty. Hop on a boat tour to visit Liberty island and if you book it in advance, you can also climb up to the crown of Lady Liberty!
- 9/11 Memorial: located at the World Trade Center, a monument that pays homage to the people killed in the terror attacks in 2001, another must when visiting the city.
- Broadway show: get your tickets in advance as most are likely to sell out!
- Central Park: Central Park is nice all year round and it deserves at least half a day in your itinerary.
- Yankee stadium / Madison Square Garden: are you a baseball / NBA fan? Then plan your trip accordingly.
- Shopping: do not miss the shops in 5th Avenue and SoHo, and visit the outlets if you can!
- Staten Island ferry: one of the best free things to do in NYC, getting amazing views to the Liberty Statue from the boat.
Where to stay in NYC
Accommodation in NYC is one of the most expensive parts of the trip. We recommend booking your stay as soon as you have your travel dates, hotels in the city fill up quickly!
We also recommend staying in Manhattan rather than other NYC’s boroughs so you make the most of your time. Especially if it’s your first time in the city, you might want to stay near Times Square so you’re close to everything. I’ve been to the city several times and still choose this area!
- Click here to get the best hotel deals in NYC
- Our tried and tested guide with the best hotels in NYC
- Still lost? Check our guide to the best areas & hotels in NYC
NYC Tip: A personal favorite is LUMA Times Square, a fabulous stay in the middle of everything. It’s located steps away from Times Square and Bryant Park but in a quiet street so it doesn’t get as noisy as other areas in the city. The suites are spacious and some of them have a view to the Times Square’s ball! It’s a perfect choice for first-timers, especially during Christmas as you can even celebrate NYE with a view to Times Square.
Other recommended stays in New York City:
- Best value for money: LUMA Times Square
- Budget friendly: POD Times Square
- Party animals: The Williamsburg Hotel
- Boutique Hotel: ModenHaus SoHo
- Luxury travel: Mandarin Oriental New York
Foods & restaurants in NYC
NYC has it all, and when it comes to the food scene the options are endless!
You can find any type of cuisine you want, from fancy restaurants to cool cafes and food trucks. There’s always something new and exciting to try, and the competition among restaurants is fierce, so you know you’re getting the best of the best.
These are the foods you need to try in NYC:
- Pizza – check the best pizzas in NYC here!
- Hot Dogs – the most famous ones are from Nathan’s famous hot dogs food truck in Grand Army Plaza (next to Central Park)
- Pastrami on rye at at Katz’s Deli
- Bagels – highly recommend Ess-a-bagel!
- Tacos at Los Tacos No. 1
- Banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery – check all the sweets you need to try in NYC here.
- Do you want to play the tourist? Do not miss Ellen’s Stardust Diner in Times Square.
- Brunch – there’s plenty of options to choose from!
No trip to NYC is complete if you don’t visit any of their rooftops! Check our favorites here.
Tours from NYC
If you have plenty of time in the city and want to explore other places nearby, it can be a great opportunity to visit other cities in different states. There’s so much to see in this country and you can make the most of your trip getting to know different places such as Washington, Boston or even the Niagara Falls.
These are the main day tours from NYC:
- Washington: Full day Washington city highlights tour
- Niagara Falls: 1 day Niagara Falls tour from NYC
- Boston: Boston day tour from NYC
Apps to download
When visiting NYC, the following apps will become handy:
- Google Maps to get around the city.
- OpenTable and Resy for restaurant reservations.
- MyMTA to get all the public transportation updates.
- TodayTix for last-minute discounted Broadway show tickets.
- Uber or Lyft for ride sharing.