“New York is a place halfway between America and the world.”
– George Bernard Shaw
The City That Never Sleeps – Top Tourist & Dining Destination
There’s no place quite like New York City – it has a special magnetism, excitement, and energy that makes it unique. It’s no surprise that New York is the nation’s “Top Tourist Destination,” visited by millions of people from around the world. Ethnically and culturally diverse, New York City also holds the distinction of being the Country’s “Top Dining Destination.”
Why is New York referred to as the “Big Apple?”
Jazz musicians coined the phrase about 65 years ago. They referred to the “Big” Apple (vs. all the other apples) as the “big-time” gig in New York. They believed that New York was the place to perform and that if they could make it there, they could make it anywhere.
Fun New York City Attractions and Sightseeing Tours
New York City offers visitors (and New Yorkers) an abundance of fun activities. There’s more to do and see here than in just about any other city in the country. Must-see attractions include:
- Belvedere Castle
The castle sits high atop Vista Rock in Manhattan’s Central Park. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the green overlooking Belvedere Castle – the view looks like something out of a movie set.
No visit to New York would be complete without seeing at least one Broadway show.
- Brooklyn Bridge
The oldest and most famous bridge in NY was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964. Over 100,000 people crossed the bridge on its historic opening day – May 24, 1883.
- Central Park
The world’s most famous park is home to beautiful fountains, historical monuments and stunning bronze sculptures. Take a romantic Horse & Carriage ride. Visit Central Park Zoo. Rent a rowboat or kayak on Central Park Lake. Get free tickets to see a “Shakespeare in the Park” show.
This fun area is packed with Chinese restaurants, Dim Sum parlors, tea houses, fruit and fish markets, tiny stalls and herb shops.
- Ellis Island
Ellis Island (a part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument) is one of the nation’s most popular historic sites, visited by millions from around the world every year. Between 1892 and 1924, 25 million immigrants passed through New York Harbor’s gateway to freedom. Today, one American in three claims to have an ancestor who passed through Ellis Island.
- The Empire State Building
NYC’s most famous skyscraper offers breathtaking views from it’s Observation Deck on the 102nd floor. The Empire State Building has appeared in many hit movies, including: An Affair to Remember, Independence Day, King Kong, Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally.
- Greenwich Village
This is one of our favorite areas in NYC. Steeped in history, Greenwich Village was once home to famous writers, poets and artists, including Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Norman Rockwell, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning.
- Guggenheim Museum
Architecturally, this is one of the most beautiful buildings in NY. Built by Frank Lloyd Wright, the museum features art from the 19th and 20th century, including works by Picasso, Chagall and Van Gough.
- Little Italy
A fun place to explore, eat, shop, and people-watch – the area is dotted with cute little Italian restaurants, bars and cafés.
- 911 Memorial and Museum
The Memorial Plaza (an eight-acre park) features over 400 oak trees surrounding the Memorial pools — and an interactive Memorial Museum honoring the 2,982 people who lost their lives on 9/11/2001 and in the 2/26/1993 World Trade Center bombing. Names of those killed in both attacks are inscribed in bronze on the low wall surrounding the Memorial pool.
- Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art
This world-class art museum is one of the largest and finest in the Western Hemisphere. Its collections include more than two million works of art.
- Rockefeller Center
One of New York’s most popular year-round attractions – enjoy ice-skating in the sunken plaza during winter months. The Holiday Season, with its world famous Christmas tree, dazzling decorations and festive atmosphere is the best time to visit.
- The Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is one of NYC’s most popular tourist attractions – and one of the world’s most recognizable icons. If you’re feeling fit, climb the steep, narrow spiral staircase – 354 stairs to reach its Crown… and then down again!
- Strawberry Fields, Central Park
Visit Strawberry Fields (named after the Beatles’ song, “Stawberry Fields Forever”) and check out the beautiful circular black-and-white “Imagine” mosaic along the pathway – a tribute to John Lennon.
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral
History and architecture buffs won’t want to miss visiting the stunning 328-ft Neo-Gothic-style Roman Catholic Cathedral, located across from Rockefeller Center. This popular NY national landmark is visited by over five million people every year.
- Times Square
Don’t miss a visit to NYC’s most famous tourist site, especially at night. In 2009 part of Times Square was converted into a permanent Pedestrian Plaza by closing two sections of Broadway to traffic – it’s the best thing they ever did!
- Top of the Rock
The Observation Deck sits high above Rockefeller Center (on the 70th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza), in the heart of midtown Manhattan. It offers visitors an unobstructed open-air 360-degree view of NYC. It really is quite breathtaking!
Times Square – America’s Most Visited Tourist Site
Want to experience “sensory overload?” Just stand anywhere in the heart of Times Square after dark and watch the masses go by – there’s no place like New York City! Neon lights, street music, the crowds, the energy – Times Square is America’s most visited tourist site and one of the world’s most exciting destinations. It’s our favorite place to people-watch, especially after midnight.
Fun Day Trip to Niagara Falls from NYC
If you’re visiting Buffalo, NY, take a short drive to see Niagara Falls. It straddles the international border between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York – approximately 20 miles north of Buffalo. Niagara Falls can be seen from both sides of the border (U.S. and Canadian sides). Stay on the American side of the Falls or drive across the bridge to the Canadian side (be sure to bring your passport). Both sides of the Falls are spectacular, however we prefer the Canadian side (pictured below). Or take a Fun Day Trip to Niagara Falls from NYC.
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The Best Time To Visit New York City
The best time to visit New York City is during the Spring and Fall when the weather is mild and over the Holiday Season (November and December).
Christmas in New York City
New York City is a fabulous place to visit, especially during the Holiday Season. Rockefeller Center’s giant Christmas tree provides a festive backdrop to the ice-skating rink below. The area is filled with throngs of tourists and holiday shoppers, making it a great place for people-watching. See the Tree Lighting in December and be sure to visit the Top of the Rock Observation Deck to get a bird’s eye view of the city – it’s spectacular!
New Year’s Eve at Times Square
Times Square is world-famous for its annual New Years Eve celebrations and its “lowering of the Ball,” attended by thousands of people and watched by millions more on TV.