New York City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, attracting millions of visitors every year. From the towering skyscrapers of Manhattan to the bustling streets of Brooklyn, there’s no shortage of fun things to do in NYC and see in this iconic city. But with so much to choose from, it can be overwhelming for both tourists and locals alike. In this article, we’ll share with you the top fun things to do in NYC from a local’s perspective, so you can experience the best of what the city has to offer without breaking the bank.
Things to do in NYC
- Statue of Liberty
- Empire State Building
- Central Park
- Times Square
- The Upper East Side
- Greenwich Village
- Street food
- Fine dining
1. Must-see top NYC attractions
The Statue of Liberty: A symbol of freedom and democracy, the Statue of Liberty is an absolute must-see. You can take a ferry from Battery Park to Liberty Island, where you can explore the museum and climb to the top of the pedestal for incredible views of the city.
The Empire State Building: One of the most famous skyscrapers in the world, the Empire State Building offers breathtaking views of the city from its observation deck on the 86th floor. This can be a romantic things to do in NYC if you are travelling as a couple. For an even more breathtaking view, you can purchase tickets to the 102nd floor.
Central Park: Central Park is a massive urban park located in the heart of Manhattan. It’s a great place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The park spans over 840 acres and features several lakes, walking paths, and recreational facilities. You can also rent bicycles or capture some memorable shots at some of these best photo spots in Central Park.
Times Square: No trip to NYC is complete without a visit to Times Square. It’s the city’s most famous commercial intersection, known for its bright lights, billboards, and lively atmosphere. Some of the must-see attractions in Times Square include the TKTS booth, the Red Steps, the Hershey’s Chocolate World store, and the Broadway theaters. Times Square is generally safe to visit at night if you are looking for things to do in NYC at night.
Click here to find out more on other NYC tourist attractions that you can explore.
Tips on visiting popular NYC attractions:
- You should purchase your tickets ahead of time, either online or through a travel agency, to avoid long lines and potential sell-outs.
- Dress comfortably as some of these attractions require a lot of walking, so wear comfortable shoes and clothing appropriate for the weather.
- If you’re short on time but still want to experience the best that New York City has to offer, a NYC private tour by PhotoTrek Tours is the the perfect solution. Besides maximising your time visiting iconic landmarks, you will get learn more about the city’s history through your native New York guide and memorable photoshoots of NYC!
2. Exploring the neighborhoods
New York City is a melting pot of cultures, and each neighborhood has its own unique character and charm. Whether you are looking for unique things to do in NYC or things to do alone in NYC, here are some of our top picks for exploring the different neighborhoods.
Upper East Side
Home to some of the city’s wealthiest residents, the Upper East Side is a great place to go if you want to see some of the most extravagant mansions, high-end shopping destinations at Madison Avenue or have a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant.
A bohemian neighborhood that has been home to many famous artists and musicians, Greenwich Village is full of charming cafes, independent bookstores, and quirky shops. Some of the recommended things to do in Greenwich Village are such as visit the Washington Square Park, explore the Village’s Historic Streets or attend a performance at the Comedy Cellar.
A hipster enclave in Brooklyn, Williamsburg has become one of the most popular destinations in New York City due to its hip vibe, artistic atmosphere, artisanal coffee shops, and vintage boutiques. When visiting Williamsburg, head towards Brooklyn Bridge Park, taking in the stunning views of Manhattan and the East River along the way.
The walk is around 30 minutes and it’s a great way to get some exercise while exploring the city. Alternatively, you can also sign up for a private Brooklyn tour to learn more about the rich history and diverse culture of the neighbourhood.
Tips when exploring NYC neighborhoods:
- Research the neighborhoods you want to visit and create a list of must-see attractions. This will help you make the most of your time and ensure you don’t miss out on anything.
- New York City has an extensive public transportation system that includes subways, buses, and trains. Using public transportation is a cost-effective and efficient way to explore the city.
- Be mindful of local customs and traditions, and be respectful of people’s privacy and avoid taking photos without their permission. Avoid littering, be mindful of noise levels, and treat local businesses with respect.
3. Exploring the Food Scene
New York City is a food lover’s paradise, with something for every taste and budget. Even if you are not travelling in a group, this is one of the fun things to do alone in NYC. Here are some of our top picks for best food in NYC that you should try.
Bagels are another local specialty in New York City, and they’re best enjoyed with a schmear of cream cheese. Some of the best places to eat in NYC for bagels include Russ & Daughters, Ess-a-Bagel, and H&H Bagels.
Besides must try restaurants in NYC, one of the best way to experience New York City is by trying street food. New York-style hot dogs are a classic street food that has been a favorite of locals and visitors alike for over a century. You can find hot dog carts on nearly every street corner in Manhattan and other boroughs. Soft pretzels are a beloved street food that can be found throughout NYC. The pretzels are twisted and baked until they are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and are usually served with mustard or cheese sauce for dipping.
Tips when exploring the food scene:
- Some of the best hot dogs can be found at iconic stands like Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island, Gray’s Papaya in the West Village, and Papaya King on the Upper East Side.
- Many street food vendors only accept cash, so be sure to carry enough with you to avoid disappointment.
- If you’re unsure about a food item or want to know more about the ingredients, don’t be afraid to ask the vendor. Most street food vendors are happy to answer questions and make recommendations.
New York City is a city like no other, and there’s always something new to discover. Whether you are looking for birthday idea in NYC or some NYC date ideas, a private tour from PhotoTrek Tours will definitely able to help you experience the best of NYC and capturing the memories.