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Things to Do in New York City - page 4

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Federal Reserve Bank of New York
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15 Tours and Activities

This bank in the heart of Lower Manhattan is one of 12 Federal Reserves in America. Visitors can go behind the scenes of trading rooms, museum and the famous vault—which holds some 900 tons of gold—on a guided small group tour of this iconic finance destination. Informative guides share stories about the banking system, American currency, global trade and importance of gold to the national economy.

Although tours are free, space is limited and most visitors will need to book at least 30 days in advance. Tours of this high-security landmark are ideal for families and visitors receive packets of shredded out-of-circulation cash as they leave the premise. It’s unlikely non-ticketed travelers will be able to enter the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, but the building’s exterior is impressive and still worth wandering past while in Lower Manhattan.

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Bowling Green
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The oldest public park in one of America’s oldest cities, Bowling Green offers a serene escape in the middle of New York City’s urban jungle. Situated at the heart of the financial center and beside Wall Street, it is home to the famous Charging Bull bronze statue that has become a symbol of New York. Many visit the bull, which stands for aggression and economic success, to receive good luck.

The public area dates all the way back to 1733, and you’ll notice it is still surrounded by an 18th century iron fence. The teardrop-shaped square is framed with trees and manicured greenery, with an elegant fountain at its center and many benches for people to pause and enjoy.

Historically the space did indeed house a bowling green. It has also served as a trade route, market, and even a cattle field. It has always been a central meeting point in the city. It is even thought that the sale of Manhattan lands from an Indian tribal leader took place on these grounds.

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High Line
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Once an elevated railway, the abandoned space was converted into an innovative urban park that is now the High Line. Stretching from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street between 10th & 11th Avenues, the lifted park features greenery, gardens, bird houses, interactive art, innovative furniture, cafes and views of the city and Hudson River. The types of exhibits you may see in the park include tin and mirror sculptures reflecting the surrounding nature, sound installations that transport you to the jungle and black and white oval marks that draw attention to areas not usually paid attention to. When you’re finished exploring the gardens and creativity, exit at West 18th Street and grab a bite at Artichoke Basille’s Pizza, one of New York’s highest-quality pizza shops.
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Carnegie Hall
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Located at 881 Seventh Avenue in Midtown West, Carnegie Hall is a prestigious concert venue known for being an important cultural institution as well as a space where many notable musicians were able to break out. Opened in 1891, it is the place where Judy Garland made an album that won five Grammys in 1961, Benny Goodman elevated the status of swing music and produced one of history’s greatest-selling jazz albums in 1938, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., gave his last major public address of all time in 1968. Today, Carnegie Hall puts on about 250 high-quality classical and popular music performances each season. The architecture is another draw to the attraction, as it is one of the city’s last large buildings built entirely of masonry without a steel frame. Moreover, its Italian Renaissance design, eclectic international accents, intricate carvings, brick-insulated walls and high-ceilings allow for an elegant space with first-rate acoustics.
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Frick Collection
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European sculptures, decorative artwork and Old Master Paintings are part of what make a visit to the Frick in New York City so unique. The private collection of Henry Clay Frick, an old-school Pittsburgh industrialist, now lines the halls of a Fifth Avenue mansion, in what has become the perfect display of art and wealth.

In addition to literal masterpieces by renowned artists like Bellini, Vermeer and Rembrandt, visitors can check out rotating temporary exhibits, lively concert series, informative lectures and educational programs on a visit to this iconic museum in Manhattan as well.

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Whitney Museum of American Art (The Whitney)
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The Whitney (as it’s locally known) was established in 1931 by sculptor and arts patron Getrude Vanderbilt Whitney when the Metropolitan Museum of Art rejected her personal collection of 600 avant-garde works of art. Originally arranged amongst a trio of Greenwich Village townhouses, the present Upper East Side incarnation of the Whitney is a granite cube with upside-down windows, designed by famed Modernist architect Marcel Breuer. The museum houses over 19,000 unique, modern and sometimes controversial works from the 20th and 21st centuries, many by still-living artists.

Especially renowned for its Whitney Biennial exhibition, which highlights the work of young and emerging artists, the museum is devoted to connecting under-the-radar artists with New York’s wealthiest and most influential art collectors. Held every two years in the spring, the Biennial often features huge sculpture displays that are mounted in nearby Central Park.

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Central Park Conservatory Garden
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The Conservatory Garden, located within Central Park, is a serene escape from the fast-paced urban life of Manhattan. It takes its name from a conservatory that stood on site until 1934 but is now a collection of fountains, sculptures and pathways through landscaped lanes. Spread across six acres, the garden is divided into three distinct areas influenced by French, Italian and English styles. It is also a designated “quiet zone” that has become known as almost a secret garden to many. The area is free of runners, bicyclists and dogs, and is a popular place for weddings. The garden has two massive seasonal floral displays: tulips in the spring and chrysanthemums in the fall. Whether you’re strolling through the hedges and flower displays or relaxing on a bench with a book, the Conservatory Garden is a colorful place of calm, natural beauty meant to be savored.

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Belvedere Castle
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Designed in the late 1860s by architects Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmstead and as part of their “Greensward Plan” to beautify a then-young Central Park, this turret-topped castle of schist and granite stands atop Vista Rock, looking out on the woodlands of The Ramble, the Turtle Pond, and panoramic views of the Upper West Side.

Originally built in 1865 as a Victorian Folly – a structure with no intended use beyond sheer delight – it would come to be used as both a weather station and a nature center. In 1919, the National Weather Service began taking wind and rainfall readings from the top floor of Belvedere’s tower, the highest point in Central Park; this practice continues today. Over the next several decades, the largely empty structure of high ceilings and winding staircases fell into increasing disrepair, until it was renovated and re-opened in 1983 as the Henry Luce Nature Observatory.

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More Things to Do in New York City

Upper East Side

Upper East Side

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Ground Zero Museum Workshop

Ground Zero Museum Workshop

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Ground Zero is the 16-acre site on Lower Manhattan that, until the tragic events of September 11, 2001, was home to the twin towers of the World Trade Center. America's most sacred ground is now a construction site, as the frames of the Libeskind Memory Foundation take shape.

The planned redevelopment includes several World Center tower buildings, a memorial museum, and landscaped plaza. The original footprints of the two former World Trade Center towers will be preserved as reflecting pools.

Whether you take a walking tour, drop into the nearby Ground Zero Museum Workshop or view the tributes on nearby Church Street, a visit to Ground Zero is an emotional, numbing experience that's not soon forgotten. It's a site for reflection and respect rather than snapping photographs.

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Spyscape

Spyscape

7 Tours and Activities
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The Met Cloisters

The Met Cloisters

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A branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), The Cloisters is a museum and gardens dedicated to medieval art. The name of the attraction, which opened to the public in 1938, comes from five medieval cloisters, all of which are woven into the museum’s design. Along with strolling through the gardens, visitors can take in paintings, tapestries, chapels, carvings and halls designed for different periods. For example, while The Late Gothic Hall showcases 15th century limestone windows and altarpieces from Germany, Italy and Spain, The Romanesque Hall features stone portals from 12th and 13th-century French churches. For those who want a more in-depth experience, opt for an audio guide and listen to interviews with educators, curators and conservators, as well as some Medieval music for an immersive experience.

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Museum of Sex

Museum of Sex

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Come learn about the history, the evolution, and the cultural significance of human sexuality. The Museum of Sex (MoSex) collects and preserves art and artifacts, and has had more than 25 exhibitions and 6 virtual installations since it first opened in 2002. The museum’s mission is to advocate open discourse around sexuality while presenting top-notch current scholarship in an unhindered and uncensored way. The museum showcases material and artifacts from many different cultures, continents, and time periods in many different media. The permanent collection has more than 15,000 objects including art, photography, clothing, technology, and historical artifacts (think Japanese Shunga prints and vintage condoms). The research library maintains a collection of works that ranges from the historically significant to current art to fiction.

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Macy's® Herald Square

Macy's® Herald Square

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Located at 151 West 34th Street, Macy’s Herald Square is the department brand’s flagship store. Since its opening in 1902 the flagship store in particular is advertised as the world’s largest department store, although according to the “Guinness Book of World Records” the title now belongs to Shinsegae’s store in South Korea’s Centum City, which is 5,487,595 square feet and over twice the size of Macy’s Herald Square. Even so, it is almost impossible not to find what you’re looking for in the department store, which showcases over 1 million square feet of merchandise over 10-and-a-half levels. Browse everything from cosmetics to apparel to housewares and beyond. In fact, the space is so expansive they have a Visitor Center on the 34th Street Balcony Level and restaurant located throughout.

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Tenement Museum

Tenement Museum

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Located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side at 103 Orchard Street, the Tenement Museum provides insight on immigrant history and personal experiences of these people in the neighborhood. Visitors can tour a tenement building at 97 Orchard for a first-hand glimpse at what life was like for these people including the living conditions, challenges and hardships. These dwellings usually had no running water or electricity, and often housed whole families and sometimes business offices in just 375 square feet. There are an array of tours to choose from, some of which include “Shop Life,” “Sweatshop Workers” and “Irish Outsiders.” Which apartment you explore and family you learn about will depend on the tour you choose.

In the visitor center, a film is shown to give background knowledge before exploring further. Note: To visit these tenements you must take a tour. Be aware there is much stair climbing involved.

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Nolita

Nolita

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Short for “North of Little Italy,” the name Nolita was coined in a 1996 article in The New York Times that aimed to label this then-newly trendy little area. Bordered by Houston Street (pronounced house-tun), the Bowery, Broome Street, and Lafayette Street, this Lower East Side neighborhood includes the famous Puck Building (at the corner of Houston and Lafayette) and the original St. Patrick’s Cathedral (at the triangular intersection of Mulberry, Mott and Prince Streets).

One of the smallest retail districts in the city, Nolita is light on green space and elbow room, but is nonetheless home to some of New York’s hippest restaurants and cafes, like Nolita House and Bowery Coffee, and shops, such as fashion boutiques Duncan Quinn and Creatures of Comfort, as well as independent bookseller McNally Jackson.

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Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Times Square

Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Times Square

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More than 500 weird and wild artifacts, plenty of interactive exhibits and 20 themed galleries make a visit to this one-of-a-kind museum a real New York experience. From a two-headed calf to a pickled tourist head and an albino giraffe, a visit to Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Times Square is guaranteed to shock and amaze.

In addition to exploring the galleries filled with everything strange, grotesque and truly unique, travelers can also catch sword swallowers and cheese carvers in regularly scheduled (and incredibly wacky) sideshow performances at this quirky museum.

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Hard Rock Café New York

Hard Rock Café New York

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It’s no surprise that one of the most iconic restaurants on earth also calls one of the most iconic city blocks its home. Hard Rock Café Times Square exists in the heart of New York City, where sky-high buildings, flashing lights and crowded streets meet. This kinetic destination welcomes visitors from around the globe to experience the energy and excitement of the big apple.

Visitors can tuck into heaping plates of American fare—like burgers, fries and frosty milkshakes—surrounded by an impressive collection of music memorabilia. The famed white suit of Led Zeppelin, the glossy white bass used by The Who and handwritten lyrics from Jimi Hendrix make this popular restaurant feel more like a museum than mealtime (though travelers say the vibe is way more fun).

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