New York City is not called the city that never sleeps for no reason! There is always plenty of things to do in New York City, in any month, at any hour. From popular events, festivals, attractions, tours, entertainment, and free activities New York City has a lot to offer.
Top attractions in New York
1. Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty tours start with a scenic ferry ride to the island, where you can explore the grounds or head to the famed 10-story-high observation pedestal to see the original torch. From there, enjoy great views and photo ops of the New York City skyline and neighboring New Jersey. You can also secure tickets to the crown but be prepared to climb 354 steeply winding steps to the top.
Guided tours feature live narration and historical insight, while informative audio tours explore the construction and restoration of the monument. The monument is also a highlight on New York Harbor cruises, city helicopter tours, and waterfront walking tours.
2. Empire State Building
Set in Midtown Manhattan, the 102-story skyscraper is a must for any first-time visitor to New York City. While it’s easy to catch a glimpse of the tower around the city, this attraction is best enjoyed from one of its two observation decks, where the panoramic views over the Big Apple are legendary. Tickets to one or both of the observation decks can be purchased solo, although the Empire State Building is also visited on many city sightseeing tours, which often also include stops at Times Square and the Statue of Liberty. If you plan to visit on your own during peak times, it’s a good idea to buy an Express Pass to skip the line all the way to the 86th floor.
3. Ellis Island
Explore the Ellis Island Immigration Museum on a 45-minute self-guided audio tour through exhibits including photos, films, archive material, and recordings. Additional audio tour options describe exhibits in more detail via in-depth interviews with historians, architects, and archaeologists. Visitors can also book a private tour of Ellis Island to maximize their experience and understanding of the sight, or a combo tour of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
4. Central Park
Central Park has something for everyone. Visit Bethesda Fountain, the Strawberry Fields monument, or the Alice in Wonderland statue; enjoy kid-friendly fun on the carousel at the Central Park Zoo; sail model boats at the Conservatory Water pond; or simply relax and soak in the scene at Bethesda Terrace or Sheep Meadow. The park’s size can be overwhelming, so consider a park bike tour, a walking tour, or a pedicab tour for a guided experience. Bike rentals are also available.
5. Cave of the Winds
A Cave of the Winds tour is a must for those who want to experience Niagara Falls up close. Though the cave that once existed behind Bridal Veil Falls is no longer, the site now features wooden observation decks that allow visitors to experience the powerful, thundering water. The journey begins on the US side of the falls, with a 175-foot (53-meter) elevator descent down Niagara Gorge to the level of the Niagara River. From there, visitors can venture onto the aptly named Hurricane Deck or keep their distance on a platform 150 feet (46 meters) from the base of the falls.
For an in-depth experience, combine your Cave of the Winds tour with a ride on the famed Maid of the Mist boat or a trip to Prospect Point Observation Tower. A half-day tour of Niagara’s American side allows visitors to explore highlights such as Goat Island and the Mighty Whirlpool, while a full-day tour also features Canadian attractions such as Skylon Tower.