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There is so much to see and experience in The Big Apple; it can quickly become overwhelming when you first arrive. Where should you start exploring? As soon as you’ve unpacked and are ready to see the best tourist attractions in New York City, tackle the following list below. You’ll want to cover some of the top tourist destinations if you haven’t already, along with some spots only the natives frequent.
After you have conquered our New Yorker-approved list of the best tourist attractions, try our list of the top free things to do in New York City.
The Empire State BuildingThe Empire State Building
This Empire State Building is recognized worldwide due to its super-slim silhouette and featured in many great romantic movies, including Sleepless in Seattle. You can view the city from the popular 86th-floor deck with the tourists, but head up even further to floor 102 to the observatory; to get an even more fantastic view of the city below that many visitors never sees. Visit Website
9/11 Memorial9/11 Memorial
The 9/11 Memorial is located directly on the footprint where the Twin Towers stood before the terror attacks. There are 30-foot waterfalls in place of the towers, each with its acre-sized pool below. They are the largest human-made waterfalls in North America. Along with the pools on the ground level are panels containing the names of the nearly 3,000 people who perished during the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, Flight 93, and those who died in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Visit Website
Brooklyn BridgeBrooklyn Bridge
More than a way to get across a body of water, the Brooklyn Bridge was the longest suspension bridge globally when it opened in 1883. It was the first to cross the East River and was engineered; with steel-wire cables. Walking across the mile-plus bridge’s pedestrian walkway gives you breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty, lower Manhattan, and Governor’s Island.
Washington Square Park and West VillageWashington Square Park and West Village
Greenwich Village’s center is Washington Square Park, with playgrounds for the smallest New Yorkers, dog runs, and the large Central Fountain. Stroll through the park, past the fountain, and into West Village for charming cafes enjoyed by the locals, quiet streets, and smaller stores than you’ll find on 5th Avenue. You may even spot some celebrities in the Village. In the 1800s, this park was the site of public executions!
The High Line Elevated ParkThe High Line Elevated Park
In 1980 a rail track went out of use, but the line was recreated as a 1.45-mile-long park in 2009. Now, you can walk along The High Line from Hudson Yards to the northern edge of Chelsea, enjoying some of the best views in New York City. You can even stop for a visit to the playground. It’s a green space with wildflowers and grass, two things that are hard to come by in the busy city. You’ll feel like you’re out of the city, yet you’ll appreciate being right in Manhattan with the views.
National Museum of the American IndianNational Museum of the American Indian
A little lesser-known than the Museum of Modern Art or the American Museum of Natural History, the National Museum of the American Indian is a great way to absorb some culture and history without the crowds. The NMAI; offers daily guided tours to give you a little more insight into the incredible collections of exhibits and artifacts. Admission is also free at the NMAI, so you can bring the whole family without worrying about breaking the bank. Visit Website
The CloistersThe Cloisters
At the Cloisters, you can experience Medieval Europe and see over 2,000 pieces of art and other various cultural artifacts right in NYC. Closed only for Christmas, New Year, and Thanksgiving, you can see this Medieval European museum almost any day. And for locals, admission is free with a valid ID; but of course, you’re welcome to donate for entry if you choose.
Chelsea GalleriesChelsea Galleries
The Chelsea District is loaded; with incredible art galleries; it’s the perfect place for art enthusiasts looking to spend a cultural afternoon. Since admission to most galleries is free, there’s always new artwork and artists to check out with all the galleries available. Or, if you’ve never been to an art gallery before, it’s also a great place to dip your toes in and try it.
Hudson River ParkHudson River Park
The Hudson River Park is teeming with fun activities for the whole family to enjoy. Especially in the warmer months, the Hudson River Park is a great place to enjoy water activities like rowing, kayaking, canoeing, etc. Not to mention, they have soccer fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, and more. They even have free salsa dance lessons on Tuesday nights during the summer! Whether you want to kayak on the Hudson; play some pickup basketball, or take a pleasant stroll along the waterfront; the Hudson River Park has all your bases covered.
Immersion TheatreImmersion Theatre
If you’ve never heard of immersion theatre before, you’ve got to check it out. Unlike a regular show where you sit, nodding off between sips of your cocktail, these shows will have you on the edge of your seat. The whole premise of immersion theater is to immerse the audience’s performance; the audience becomes part of the show! Yes, that means you! Check out the Accomplice in Manhattan, or Then She Fell in Brooklyn for an unforgettable theatre experience.
Tourist Attractions New Yorker ApprovedTourist Attractions New Yorker Approved
These are just a few things on our local-approved to-do list for NYC this spring. If none of these things pique your interest, don’t worry; in the city that never sleeps, there’s always something fun and exciting going on to keep yourself entertained and away from the tourist traps!