New York is a buzzing hub of American culture and home to some of the most famous landmarks the world has ever seen. Made up of five boroughs, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island, the state is awash with expansive skylines and instantly recognisable attractions. It continues to provide international inspiration and global influence in everything from business and entertainment to art and fashion.
Expedia India have compiled this handy guide of the top 10 New York attractions to visit for a real taste of the Big Apple. We always encourage you to explore beyond our suggestions to discover your own personal American adventure, but here are just a few ideas to help you get started.
10) Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is arguably the most iconic landmark on the globe. Towering over 300 feet above the waters of the New York Harbour, the distinctive green copper statue celebrates the freedom and values that define modern day America. Dating back to 1886, when the people of France gifted it to the United States, the statue is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has cemented its place in the history, heritage and culture of the country.
The site welcomes thousands of visitors every day, with many travelling up to the crown to indulge in the incredible views. A ticket to the attraction includes access to both Liberty Island and Ellis Island, where tourists can visit the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. This site served as the first port of entry to around 12 million immigrants and provides an amazing opportunity to hear the stories of the people who started new lives in America.
9) Empire State Building
With a total height of 1,454 feet, the Empire State Building dominates the skyline of Midtown Manhattan. It features 102-storeys of Art Deco architecture, topped with an antenna spire. From its opening in 1931, the building held the title as the world’s tallest building for nearly four decades. Today, it is the fifth tallest freestanding structure in America and the 25th tallest completed skyscraper in the world.
There’s no better place to capture incredible 360 degree images of New York than at the Empire State Building. The 86th floor is home to a panoramic deck, while the top floor provides the city’s highest lookout point, where you can see all New York’s boroughs, along with five neighbouring states from where you stand.
8) Central Park
Nestled in the heart of Manhattan is Central Park. The spacious 843 acres of land provides everything from rambling treks to rolling grass fields and beautiful bodies of waters. One of the most impressive things about this park is that it was all designed and crafted in the mid-19th century by two men: Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. With its tranquil touches and luscious greenery, it’s hard to believe that Central Park wasn’t sculpted out by nature.
Visitors to Central Park will be amazed by the sheer number of activities and events available there. See the animals at the Central Park Zoo, take a ride on the Friedsam Memorial Carousel or explore the Belvedere Castle. You can ice skate in the winter at the Trump Rink or simply unwind with a summer picnic on the Great Lawn. You’ll be absolutely spoiled for choice.
7) Times Square
If you’re longing for the bright lights and busy crowds, then be sure to make your way to Time Square. This major commercial intersection is brightly lit, night and day, with beaming digital billboards. The streets are flooded with independent art sellers, jewellery stalls and renowned local characters, including the Naked Cowboy who serenades passerbys in nothing but his boots, underwear and hat.
Time Square is bursting with things to do. Shopaholics will love browsing the flagship locations of their favourite stores, while tourists can come face to face with celebrities in the Madame Tussauds wax museum. Watch star-studded performances and award winning shows at Broadway and Off-Broadway, or take a walk across West 46th Street to Restaurant Row for a real taste of America.
6) National September 11 Memorial & Museum
The tragic events of September 11th 2001 shook the world and left the landscape of New York forever changed. The Memorial Plaza was opened on the 10th anniversary of the attacks and dedicated to the thousands of victims. The area holds a heavy, reflective atmosphere and spreads across eight acres, complete with over 400 trees, waterfalls and two pools. A pair of bronze parapets display the names of all the innocent people who lost their lives there.
The events and effects of the attack are explored in further detail in the Museum, which is located just below the Plaza. Here, visitors can see powerful exhibitions of pictures, videos and personal stories. It is a difficult and devastating part of a great country’s history, but is well worth visiting to pay respects and remember the day that changed the course of history.
5) Staten Island Ferry
Take to the waters and enjoy an awe-filled journey, traversing from Lower Manhattan across to Staten Island. This 25-minute ferry ride operates for 24 hours a day and has become a tourist attraction in itself, thanks to the incredible views of the New York Harbour, Statue of Liberty and the rolling Manhattan skyline that passengers can enjoy free of charge.
Travellers on the ferry will be dropped off at the St. George Ferry Terminal. Go through the day to visit the area’s many sights. Explore the Staten Island Museum, tour through the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art or catch a show at the St George Theatre. Then simply hop on the ferry in the evening to relax with a beer as you watch the stunning city illuminations across the night sky.
4) Coney Island
The young at heart won’t be able to resist travelling to the charming beachfront entertainment district of Coney Island. With an abundance of rides and attractions, there’s sure to be something to keep everyone entertained.
Wander down the boardwalk, take a splash on the beach or get a rush of adrenaline at the Luna Park amusement park. The New York Aquarium features an array of aquatic life, giving you the opportunity to get up close and personal with sea lions, penguins and walruses. And if you’re a fan of rollercoasters, then a ride on the Cyclone is a must. Serving thrill seekers for nearly 90 years, this famed amusement ride is arguably the heart of the characterful Coney Island.
3) Metropolitan Museum of Art
Discover more than 5,000 years of great art, from Ancient Egyptian masterpieces to modern American designs, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Boasting around two million works of art in its permanent collection, it comes as no surprise that the beloved ‘Met’ is the largest art museum in the country and one of the most visited in the world.
Founded back in 1870, the museum covers around 2 million square feet and is home to a whole host of different captivating collections, spanning different centuries, countries and cultures. And for just a small recommended admission fee, you can feast your eyes on all of it, with access to the Met Store and delectable dining options too.
The Bronx Zoo makes a great family day out. The 265 acres of land have been transformed to recreate natural habitats from across the globe. Watch lions, zebras and giraffes roam across the African Plains or wander deep into Madagascar as you met lemurs, hissing cockroaches and the monstrous Nile crocodile. For a pay-what-you-wish admission fee, you’ll not only get to explore different countries but see around 4,000 animals and 650 different species of animals too.
The zoo also has a whole host of daily activities and events that can be enjoyed for a small additional fee. Along with daily animal feedings, you can take a ride on the creepy crawly Bug Carousel, walk through gardens filled with beautiful butterflies or take an indoor tropical adventure in the Jungleworld exhibition.
1) Flushing Meadows Corona Park
From hosting the US Open to featuring in silver screen titles, Flushing Meadows Corona Park is a well loved New York site. Located in the boroughs of Queens, it is the fourth largest public park in the city, stretching across an impressive 897 acres. Within that expanse of land is plenty of notable attractions, including the New York Hall of Science, Queens Zoo, the Botanical Garden and Citi Field, home to the New York Mets baseball team.
The site was originally created for the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair. It also went on to play host to the 1964-65 World Fair, when the 140-foot Unisphere was built. The stainless steel globe still stands today as a reminder of the park’s origin.