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The Best Things To Do In New York City

The Best Things To Do In New York City

Discover top attractions & activities in New York City. From Broadway shows to iconic landmarks, explore the best of the Big Apple. Plan your perfect trip now.

New York City, often referred to as the ‘Big Apple’, is a city that pulsates with energy, culture, and endless possibilities. This bustling metropolis is a vibrant and diverse destination that offers an array of experiences for every traveller. From iconic landmarks to world-class museums, eclectic neighbourhoods to culinary delights, NYC has something to captivate everyone's interests.

Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveller, here are the best things to do while on holiday in the city that never sleeps:

Visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is a quintessential New York experience, offering a profound glimpse into the history and spirit of the city.  It's an opportunity to reflect on the values of freedom, diversity, and resilience that have made the United States a beacon of hope for generations.

Embark on a ferry ride to witness the majestic Statue of Liberty up close, and marvel at Lady Liberty, a symbol of freedom and democracy that has welcomed millions of immigrants to the United States. The neoclassical copper sculpture, designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, stands at 305 feet (93 metres) tall! Explore the Statue of Liberty Museum to learn about the statue's construction and the inspiring stories of those who sought a better life in America.

Then, hop over to Ellis Island and step into the National Immigration Museum to delve into the experiences of the millions of immigrants who passed through its halls. Stand in the Great Hall - the very place where immigrants were once processed and admitted into the United States.

Admire the Architectural Marvel of the Empire State Building

No visit to New York City is complete without marvelling at the iconic Empire State Building, a symbol of New York. Capture unforgettable photos and soak in the historical significance of this Art Deco masterpiece.

As you ascend to its observation deck, prepare to be dazzled by breathtaking panoramic views of the city. From the bustling streets below to the sparkling skyline stretching out as far as the eye can see, the Empire State Building offers a bird’s-eye perspective of the city that never sleeps.

Cross the Historic Brooklyn Bridge

Take a leisurely stroll across the historic Brooklyn Bridge, an engineering marvel that spans the East River and connects Manhattan to Brooklyn. As you walk along the elevated pedestrian pathway, you'll be treated to stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and the bustling activity on the water below.

Breathe in the atmosphere of this iconic landmark, an enduring symbol of New York which has been featured in countless movies and photographs, and appreciate the ingenuity and craftsmanship that went into its construction.

Experience the Vibrant Energy of Times Square

Step into the heart of New York City's entertainment district and immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of Times Square - a place of sensory overload that encapsulates the essence of New York and serves as a symbol of the city's relentless spirit.

Marvel at the dazzling billboards, bright lights, and larger-than-life digital displays that illuminate the area day and night. Join the bustling crowds as you stroll through this iconic intersection, surrounded by world-class theaters, flagship stores, and an electrifying atmosphere.

Celebrating New Year's Eve in Times Square is a bucket-list experience that draws people from around the globe. Join the revellers as they gather to bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new one. As the famous ball drops at midnight, the atmosphere crackles with excitement and anticipation. Enjoy live performances by top artists, confetti showers, and the collective cheer that fills the air.

Explore World-Renowned Museums and Galleries

New York is a treasure trove of world-class museums and art galleries. From classical to contemporary, from ancient artefacts to modern installations, the city offers an endless array of artistic and cultural experiences that will captivate and inspire visitors from around the world.

Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) and immerse yourself in its vast collection spanning thousands of years and diverse civilisations. Explore the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for contemporary masterpieces by renowned artists like Picasso, Monet, Warhol, and Pollock. Delve into the American Museum of Natural History and journey through fascinating exhibits on dinosaurs, ancient civilisations, and the wonders of the natural world.

Make sure to head to The Guggenheim Museum - as much a work of art itself as the masterpieces it houses! Home to a collection of modern and contemporary art, including works by Kandinsky, Picasso, and Warhol, it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and the museum's spiralling structure is a sight to behold.

Attend a Broadway show

Immerse yourself in the world of theatre by attending a live performance of a Broadway show. From classic musicals like "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Chicago" to contemporary hits like "Hamilton" and "Dear Evan Hansen," Broadway offers a diverse range of productions to suit every taste.

Prepare to be captivated by the exceptional talent of the actors, the stunning sets, and the electrifying atmosphere of these world-class performances. Attending a Broadway show is a magical, unforgettable experience that showcases the pinnacle of theatrical arts.

Beyond the glitz and glamour of Broadway, New York City also boasts a vibrant off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway scene. These smaller, more intimate venues offer a platform for emerging playwrights, experimental performances, and innovative storytelling.

Visit Greenwich Village and Harlem

To truly understand the cultural fabric of New York City, venture beyond the tourist hotspots and explore the diverse neighbourhoods that make the city come alive.

Greenwich Village, known as a hub of bohemian culture, is home to a thriving arts scene, cosy cafes, and historic music venues. Stroll along its tree-lined streets, soak in the artistic energy, and discover independent bookstores, art galleries, and performance spaces.

Harlem, on the other hand, is renowned for its rich African-American heritage and contributions to music, literature, and dance. Experience the soulful sounds of jazz and blues at iconic venues, visit historic landmarks like the Apollo Theater, and indulge in delectable soul food.

Sample Diverse Cuisines

Immerse yourself in the flavours of the world by visiting vibrant ethnic neighbourhoods like Chinatown and Little Italy. These neighbourhoods offer an immersive dining experience where you can discover the true essence of their respective cultures through the tantalising aromas and delectable flavours of their cuisines.

Explore the bustling streets of Chinatown and savour authentic Chinese delicacies, from dim sum to Peking duck. In Little Italy, experience the rich heritage of Italian cuisine with mouthwatering pasta dishes, wood-fired pizzas, and cannoli.

Try New York-style Pizza and Bagels

No visit to New York City would be complete without indulging in two iconic culinary staples: pizza and bagels. Grab these quintessential New York bites from iconic establishments and experience the culinary heritage that has made them legendary.

Sink your teeth into a slice of New York-style pizza, characterised by its thin, crisp crust and generous toppings. From classic cheese to gourmet varieties, there's a pizza joint on practically every corner. And don't forget to savour the city's legendary bagels, known for their chewy texture and variety of toppings, whether it's a classic lox and cream cheese combination or a creative flavour fusion.

Shop on Fifth Avenue

Fifth Avenue is synonymous with high-end fashion and luxury shopping. This iconic street boasts a lineup of prestigious brands and flagship stores that will entice even the most discerning fashion enthusiasts and offers a world-class shopping experience in an elegant and sophisticated setting.

Explore designer boutiques such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Chanel, where you can indulge in the latest trends and timeless elegance. Discover opulent jewellery stores like Tiffany & Co., where you can admire exquisite diamond creations and iconic designs.

Explore Iconic Department Stores

New York City is famous for its iconic department stores, where you can find everything from fashion and beauty to home goods and electronics. Saks Fifth Avenue, located on Fifth Avenue itself, is a luxury department store renowned for its upscale offerings and impeccable service. Explore its multi-level shopping experience, featuring designer collections, beauty products, and exclusive fashion collaborations.

Macy's, a retail institution known as the world's largest department store, offers an extensive range of products across various categories. Explore the flagship store in Herald Square and immerse yourself in a shopping adventure that spans multiple floors and boasts an impressive selection of brands and styles.

Escape to Central Park

Escape the urban jungle and immerse yourself in the tranquillity of Central Park. A sprawling oasis in the heart of Manhattan, it offers a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether you seek solitude or a leisurely outing with friends and family, the park offers ample space to relax and unwind.

Take a leisurely walk along its winding paths and discover hidden gems such as the Bethesda Terrace, where you can admire the iconic Bethesda Fountain and hang out on the terrace overlooking the lake. Visit the Central Park Zoo, home to a variety of animals, including penguins and snow leopards. Other notable landmarks within the park include the Shakespeare Garden, the Belvedere Castle, and the Conservatory Garden, as well as Strawberry Fields, which is dedicated to legendary musician John Lennon.

Walk the High Line

The High Line is a one-of-a-kind park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets of Manhattan's West Side. This urban oasis features beautifully landscaped gardens, public art installations, and breathtaking views of the city skyline.

The High Line provides a tranquil and scenic escape from the bustling streets below, offering a unique perspective on urban design and rejuvenation. Take a leisurely stroll along the elevated pathway, enjoy the vibrant plantings, and pause to admire the art and sculptures that line the route.

Enjoy Scenic Views from the Top of the Rock

Head to the Top of the Rock observation deck, located at the Rockefeller Center, for panoramic views of the New York City skyline. Ascend to the top of this iconic Art Deco building and be greeted by breathtaking vistas that showcase the city's towering skyscrapers, Central Park, and the Empire State Building.

Whether you visit during the day, at sunset, or in the evening when the city lights twinkle, the Top of the Rock observation deck offers a truly memorable and awe-inspiring experience. Capture unforgettable photos and appreciate the stunning beauty of the city from a bird’s-eye perspective.

Experience Festivals and Parades

New York City embraces its cultural diversity with a wide range of festivals and parades throughout the year. Every year, millions of spectators line the streets of Manhattan to witness the world-famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Marvel at the extravagant floats, giant balloons, and marching bands as they make their way through the city.

Attend the vibrant Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown, where you can witness dragon and lion dances, colourful costumes, and traditional performances that celebrate Chinese culture and traditions. Alternatively, immerse yourself in the spirit of inclusivity and equality by joining the renowned Pride Parade, a vibrant celebration of the LGBTQ+ community that features colourful floats, music, and a joyful atmosphere.

Hit Trendy Bars, Rooftop Lounges and Eateries

New York City is known for its thriving bar scene, with trendy establishments that cater to all preferences. Explore neighbourhoods like the Lower East Side, Williamsburg in Brooklyn, and the Meatpacking District, where you'll find a myriad of cocktail bars, speakeasies, and rooftop lounges.

New York City's culinary scene is constantly evolving, with trendy neighbourhoods offering exciting dining experiences. Head to SoHo, where you'll find a mix of upscale eateries, chic cafes, and gourmet food markets. Williamsburg is another hotspot for food enthusiasts, with a vibrant dining scene featuring everything from trendy food trucks to upscale dining establishments.

Enjoy Live Performances in Famous Venues

For music lovers, New York City is a haven of live performances and musical talent. Explore the city's renowned music venues and jazz clubs to experience the rich sounds and diverse genres.

Head to iconic venues like the Blue Note, Village Vanguard, or Birdland to enjoy world-class jazz performances that pay homage to the city's jazz heritage. If you're a fan of other genres, check out venues like Bowery Ballroom, Terminal 5, or Webster Hall, which host a wide range of live music acts, from indie bands to established artists.

For a night of laughter and entertainment, New York City's comedy clubs are a must-visit. Enjoy stand-up performances by renowned comedians and up-and-coming talents at venues like the Comedy Cellar, Gotham Comedy Club, and Carolines on Broadway. Experience the city's vibrant comedy scene and join in the laughter with fellow audience members.

Book Your Dream Holiday To New York City

New York City is a city of endless possibilities, offering a kaleidoscope of attractions, experiences, and hidden gems for every traveller. From iconic landmarks and world-class museums to diverse neighbourhoods and culinary delights, New York is a destination that promises to create cherished memories.

So, plan your itinerary, embrace the energy of the city, and embark on an unforgettable holiday adventure in the Big Apple. Book a holiday package to New York with Brightsun Travel and take the trip of a lifetime!

We are also offering the opportunity to WIN a pair of return tickets to New York, in partnership with American Airlines - enter at

(Competition closes at midnight on the 31st August 2023)

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