What to do in New York – The complete guide to the best attractions

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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The Big Apple is a city that always surprises. Our columnists tell you everything you need to know before visiting the city: What to do in New York, the best shopping and Broadway shows, unmissable restaurants, hotel recommendations and many essential tips to make the most of your trip

What to do in New York is a frequent question among travelers to the city. Taking a trip to New York is visiting a little bit of the whole world in one place.

The city's diversity guarantees surprises and novelties with each visit, whether due to the constantly changing cuisine or the attractions that change with each season. To get to know the city like a local, you need to breathe and take it easy: you won't be able to cover all the countless museums, galleries, restaurants – and the 1 dollar pizzas – in a single visit. 

Even more so now that the suburbs also attract as much attention as Manhattan, making repeat trips to New York is not only a possibility, but an essential thing to put on the agenda.

In this post you will see:

  • Buy tickets to top NYC attractions
  • New York Sights You Can't Miss:
    • 1) Central Park
    • 2) Times Square
    • 3) Top of The Rock
    • 4) One World Trade Center Building
    • 4) 9/11 Memorial
    • 5) Statue of Liberty
    • 6) Brooklyn Bridge
    • 7) Wall St., Financial District
    • 8) Empire State Building
    • 9) Visit the city's iconic squares
    • 10) High Line
    • 11) Series and movie sets
    • 12) Broadway
    • 13) Museums and Art
      • MoMa: The Museum of Modern Art
      • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) 
      • Guggenheim Museum
      • Natural History Museum
      • Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum
    • 14) Shopping in New York
    • 15) Outlets in New York
      • Woodbury Common
      • Jersey Gardens  
  • Where to eat in New York
    • New York restaurants
    • Bars and Nightlife in New York
  • Where to Stay in New York – The best options in each region of the city
    • Upper East Side:
    • Upper West Side:
    • Midtown Manhattan:
    • Lower Manhattan:
    • Brooklyn:
  • Quick tips about New York:
  • New York Travel Insurance

How to get around in New York?

Flickr: Anthony Quintano - Vista de Nova York do Empire State

JFK is far from Manhattan, about 30-40 minutes drive. Therefore, taxis can be expensive and cost around U$ 70. Another option is to ask for an Uber. The Pool (the shared ride version) is around $46 and the UberX (exclusive version) is around $60.

Another option for those who want to save money on this route is to schedule a Shuttle It costs about $20 each way. This is a shared van that takes airport arrivals to the door of every hotel in Manhattan. The hotels on the island are very close to each other, which can be worth the savings.

Once installed at the hotel, the best way to get around Manhattan is by public transportation! Abuse and use the city's subway, which is super efficient and connects practically everywhere in the city. You can purchase a ticket (as a single ticket) for a month of public transport for those who will spend more time in the city.

Another classic option is to take the yellow taxis from the street, or of course, order an Uber!

If you are planning to leave Manhattan, a great option is to rent a car in the USA. We like to use RentCars, which compares the prices of more than 100 rental companies and shows you the best – and most reliable – deals too. In addition, you pay in reais and escape the IOF! Oh, and you can pay up to 12x the rent.

Buy tickets to top NYC attractions

Few people give this tip, but if you buy tickets to New York's main attractions before leaving España you can save a lot! Even more with this high dollar of recent times, isn't it?

you can buy the Citypass of New York that gives the right to enter the main attractions of the city (museums, Empire State, Statue of Liberty, etc) for half the price of what it would cost there in the city.

Already NYC Pass admission to 80 attractions in the city (that's a lot!) and can be purchased depending on the duration of the trip to New York. You'll get there, enter all the attractions you want without standing in lines to buy tickets, and you'll still save a lot!

Compare the two options and see which one fits best with your trip:

  • Citypass
  • New York Pass

See all the tour options in New York and guarantee your tickets in advance and at a discount!

Useful information for your trip

  • Coin: American dollar
  • Tongue: English
  • Population:
  • Timezone: (-2hrs Brasilia time)
  • How to bring money to New York? You can carry cash, use your credit card (remember to unlock it at the bank for international travel) or buy a VisaTravelMoney.
  • Need Passport? Yes
  • Do you need a Visa? Yes, more info above.
  • Need travel insurance New York? It is important to hire this service for your financial and physical security.
  • Do you need a Yellow Fever Vaccine? It's not mandatory.
  • Do you need an international license? The Brazilian CNH is valid. However, you must be 21 years of age or older to rent a car in the US.
  • What currency do I take? American dollar
  • Typical food: Burgers, pizza, waffles, among so many American delights.
  • Voltage / Sockets: 110v
  • Phone and unlimited 4G internet in New York? Seriously, this is amazing! You receive the Chip with the American number at your house in Spain, change the chip on the plane, and start using the internet leaving the airport, upon arriving in New York. People always use America Chip.

Everything you need to know to get the most out of the city you can print this guide or save it as a PDF. With it, you will have all the information you need to know on your trip to New York.

New York Sights You Can't Miss:

Whether this is your first – or thousandth – trip to New York, there are things that are always essential. A morning walk in Central Park, a late afternoon watching the city transform at dusk on top of the tallest buildings in the city or a night full of good restaurants, theaters and entertainment.

There are some places that should always be on your list of things to do in New York, and some attractions that are must-haves. Check out the main tourist attractions in New York:

See the best tours in New York and guarantee your tickets in advance and at a discount!

1) Central Park

Was it cold? haha I visited NYC in the winter and spending time at Strawberry Fields is essential, inside Central Park. Photo: Virginia Falanghe

None of New York's landmarks is as iconic — and essential — as the city's beloved 843-hectare park. Today, 42 million people visit Central Park every year, sprawling over its sprawling garden, beautiful lake and incredible surprises.

Be sure to visit the famous Strawberry Fields, which is opposite the building where John Lennon lived (and where he was murdered). The Beatles memorial is always a place to remember.

In winter, New York's ice skating rink is the best in town. And the cheapest too! Don't miss going there.

We do not recommend riding in Central Park horse-drawn carriages. Several controversies have already spread over the mistreatment of horses that stay in the park. So get to know the park on foot and be enchanted at every corner.

2) Times Square

Love it or hate it, Times Square is without a doubt one of the most iconic places among the tourist attractions in New York and one of the musts of things to do in New York. Despite the street being closed at the height of Times Square, you will hear horns, come across people dressed as Elmo or Disney characters, people wanting to sell shows and Stand-Ups. Aside from the tourists with cameras everywhere and the blinding glow of the posters that glow around the square. And for all the crazy and chaotic features, Times Square is also one of the most fascinating places in the city, full of hidden history and details. easy to miss.

The good tip in Times Square is that all stores are tax free. In other words, enjoy shopping there. Be sure to visit the Hershey's and M&M store. If you like Forever 21, Times Square has a 6-story store for the brand!

3) Top of The Rock

One of my favorite views in New York is the Top of The Rock. At Rockefeller Plaza, you will enter the NBC building and take the elevator up to floors 67, 69 or 70. On the 69th floor, there is also a super cool experience of colors that follow you along the wall. 

A good tip is to go to the observatory, which has 360º views of the city at sunset. So you'll enjoy the spectacular skyline of the city by day, at dusk, and see the lights of Manhattan come on at night.

  • Buy your ticket in advance for Top of The Rock at Civitatis.

4) One World Trade Center Building

Among New York's newest sights is the One World Trade Center. Built in place of the twin towers, One World Trade Center opened just over 2 years ago and guarantees one of the most impressive views in the city. It's already on the “must” list of things to do in New York.

The observatory is on the 102nd floor! It's so high, it's hard to see the details of Manhattan, but it's a surreal sight. One of the highlights of the visit is the elevator that takes you to the top of the building. It is surrounded by screens that show the development and history of Manhattan starting 500 years ago and ending in the present day. It's an attraction in itself, the problem is that the climb only takes 47 seconds.

Unlike its competitors like the Empire State and Top of The Rock, it doesn't allow you to go to any terraces outside the building. However, it is a different experience, which is also worth it!

  • Buy your ticket in advance for One World Trade at Civitatis.

4) 9/11 Memorial

Memorial – Flickr: Gabriel de Andrade Fernandes

In honor of the thousands of lives taken during the 11/9 terrorist attacks, the 11/XNUMX Memorial takes visitors through the before, after and during the tragic day. At Ground Zero (where the attacks took place) water mirrors are in the place where the twin towers were. It is an exciting visit, as described by our columnist Bruno Tavares this post.

  • Buy your ticket in advance for the 9/11 Memorial at Civitatis.

5) Statue of Liberty

You can't talk about New York's tourist attractions without thinking about the Statue of Liberty. One of the biggest icons in the city – and in the United States – deserves to be on your list of 'What to do in New York'.

A ferry – which takes around 30 minutes – takes you to Liberty Island and leaves Battery Park, in Manhattan (which is already beautiful too)! Arriving on the island, you will have panoramic views of Ellis Island, New York and New Jersey. On the island there is the Liberty Island Museum and also the visitor observatory inside the statue's crown.

  • Buy your ticket in advance for the Statue of Independence at Civitatis.

6) Brooklyn Bridge

Crossing the East River, the iconic Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883 to link Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. One of the most recognizable parts of New York's landmarks, the bridge is often featured in movies and television shows, and is a real piece of New York City history. A walk along the pedestrian bridge on the bridge is a must-have experience during your trip to New York.

The Manhattan side entrance is on Park Row and Center Street opposite City Hall Park; on the Brooklyn side, enter Cadman Plaza East or where Boerum Place. After crossing the bridge, it's worth getting to know a little more about Brooklyn and amazing places there.

  • Buy your ticket in advance for the Brooklyn Bridge at Civitatis.

7) Wall St., Financial District

The Financial District is located between Wall and Broad Streets. It is one of the first boroughs of Manhattan. Among its attractions are Trinity Church, the New York Stock Exchange and the Collecting Bull sculpture, which you have to pull over to get $!

Also be sure to stop by the first capitol of the United States of America and where George Washington was sworn in as the nation's first president.

8) Empire State Building

Located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, the Empire State Building is more than just an iconic sight and one of New York's top landmarks. Embark on a journey through one of the most famous monuments in the world, where you'll discover the Art Deco lobby and murals and the historic exhibition “Dare to Dream.

And of course, you'll also enjoy breathtaking views of New York from its open-air observatory.

  • Buy your advance ticket for the Empire State Building at Civitatis.

9) Visit the city's iconic squares

Washington Square in NYC. What to do in New York

Ah, the squares of New York. Surely, when you come across one – even unintentionally – you will recognize them either from a movie or series you watched. The squares that are worth passing between the tourist spots in New York are Washington Square, Union Square and Battery Park.

In Union Square, every Saturday there is a market there. Just across the square is New York's largest bookstore, Barnes & Noble.

10) High Line

Facade – Standard Hotel, on the High Line. It is worth visiting the hotel's Rooftop- Photo: Official Site

The High Line is one of the most popular and original parks in the city. Built with an elevated and abandoned railway line, the High Line park changed the entire old setting. Now, the green space offers unparalleled views of the west side of Manhattan.

It's a great place to relax and get to know the city on one of the breaks between New York's tourist attractions.

11) Series and movie sets

Who recognizes the famous building where the characters of the series “Friends” lived?. Photo: Virginia Falanghe. what to do in new york

New York is one of the biggest settings in Hollywood movies. When you're there, you're sure to feel like one. There are several movie sets that are a tourist attraction in their own right, like the famous building in “Friends” or the “Magnolia Bakery” in the Sex & The City series.

There are countless movie sets in New York. But it is worth visiting some of the most iconic, such as the hotel 'The Plaza', the Flatiron Building, Washington Square, Little Italy (Godfather), Soho, among many other neighborhoods.

  • Buy your ticket in advance for a bus tour of New York's top film sets with Civitatis.

12) Broadway

Broadway is the heart of New York's arts. No visit to the city is complete without seeing at least one Broadway musical, which is located in Midtown Manhattan (near Times Square). So put it on your to-do list in New York. No matter what day you want to see a Broadway musical, every day has a show. The best Broadway musicals are The Lion King (the most popular in the world!) and the new show of Aladdin.

A Broadway ticket usually costs around $250. Once again, our insider tips on how to save come into play, lol! You can get tickets for almost half the price by buying in advance.

Tip: Buy your tickets about three months in advance to guarantee the best prices on Broadway shows.

  • Buy your tickets in advance for Broadway shows at Civitatis.

13) Museums and Art

Museums in New York need to be on the list of Things to do in New York, yes. Mainly the MoMa and the Natural History Museum. Check here for more information about each one:

MoMa: The Museum of Modern Art

The collection of MoMA is comprised of nearly 200.000 modern and contemporary artworks ranging from outdoor sculptures and hand drawings to fun interactive exhibits. Among the main works in the museum are the paintings of Andy Warhol and the portrait of Frida Khalo. Until June 3, 2018, a special exhibition by Brazilian artist Tarsila do Amaral is on display there.

  • Buy your ticket in advance for the Museum of Modern Art at Civitatis.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) 

No MET, visitors can see more than 2 million pieces in the museum's permanent collection alone. That's days and days inside the museum, lol! But at least part of this collection deserves to be seen.

The museum has fascinating collections ranging from works by famous traditional painters to displays of eclectic clothing and historical photographs.

Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim Museum, em Nova York

In one of New York's most iconic buildings, the collection of Museu Solomon R. Guggenheim is filled with award-winning pieces, including works by Picasso, Kandinsky and Miró. The Guggenheim always presents interesting and innovative exhibitions.

Apart from the layout of the museum, which looks more like a work by Niemeyer, as it is located along a huge ramp that spreads throughout the interior of the cylindrical building.

Natural History Museum

Museum of Natural History in New York. Photo: Bruno Tavares

If you love animals and history, be sure to visit the American Museum of Natural History. It's my favorite museum in town! Just arriving at the entrance lobby, you will come across a huge dinosaur bone!

Halls and exhibits explore the history of marine life and dinosaurs, while animal exhibits, interactive science experiments (how to find out your weight on the moon), among many other surprises.

  • Buy your ticket in advance for the Natural History Museum at Civitatis.

Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum

The museum Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum is a great tip for those who like space science and aviation. There you will walk the platforms of the legendary aircraft carrier Intrepid, a National Historic Landmark. You will also see the space shuttle Enterprise and the British Airways Concorde.

Finally, you can enter the Growler, the only guided missile submarine open to the public. The Museum also has the Exploreum, a fully interactive exhibit space where you can climb a Bell 47 helicopter and land a space shuttle.

14) Shopping in New York

Shopping in the Big Apple is a largely unconscious affair, half-infiltrated between visits to New York tourist attractions. You may not plan on shopping there, but you will definitely bring home a little something. Be it a souvenir, an interesting book, clothes, electronics, everything there is worth it. Check out the best stores and streets to shop in New York:

  • Apple on 5th avenue
  • All Fifth Avenue stores
  • B&H Photography
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • Best Buy
  • Forever 21 – Times Square
  • Macy's
  • Bloomingdale's
  • Century 21
  • Lord & taylor
  • Bergdorf Goodman
  • Saks Fifth Avenue
  • Hershey’s e M&M store

15) Outlets in New York

For those who want to save a lot and spend a whole day shopping, it is worth visiting the outlets near New York:

  • Buy your ticket in advance for a New York outlet shopping tour through Civitatis.

Woodbury Common

O Woodbury Common it is about an hour from Manhattan. The outlet is huge and has the main North American and world brands with good discounts. It is possible to go there by car or by bus. The bus leaves from the Port Authority bus station on 42 st and costs about 40 dollars. Opening hours: every day from 10 am to 21 pm.

Jersey Gardens  

O Jersey Gardens it is a closed mall, but with numerous stores that function as outlets. it is possible to go by car or bus, it is 40 minutes from Manhattan. The bus leaves from the Port Authoroty bus station on 42 st and costs about $13 round trip. Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 10 am to 21 pm and on Sundays from 11 am to 19 pm.

Already know what to do in New York? And what about the tourist attractions in New York? Now let's get to the most delicious part of this post. Where to eat there?

Where to eat in New York

Central Park view from Asiate Restaurant

It's no longer enough to put all the things on the list of things to do in New York. Now, it's time to start the list of where to eat in New York! Not bad that part either, huh?

New York has a little bit of everything. From some of the best restaurants in the world to $1 pizza slices. One thing is for sure, it doesn't matter if you want to eat in super chic and funky restaurants or want to save money, the New York classic is to have a coffee, donuts or hotdog in the sidewalk carts to live like a local.

After this experience, it is worth checking out our tips on where to eat in New York.

New York restaurants

Ninja Restaurant is a good idea for those who want to get out of the ordinary and eat authentic Japanese food. The dishes are served by samurai who delight visitors with magic tricks, juggling, and a few frights in the middle of dinner! The experience goes far beyond delicious dishes!

Other restaurants worth visiting is the Ellen Stardust Dinner, where you can grab a hamburger among the restaurant's singing waiters. Many Broadway scouts go to the diner to find new talent.

>> Other posts about where to eat in New York:

  • Discover Asiate Restaurant
  • New York Beyond Entertainment: 5 Must Go Restaurants

Bars and Nightlife in New York

Do you already know what to put on the list of things to do in New York, where to eat in the Big Apple, and now what to do at night there? One of the great charms of the Big Apple are the bars and clubs that are located on the roofs of the city's buildings.

  • New York by Night: Discover the Big Apple's Best Rooftops

Where to Stay in New York – The best options in each region of the city

Where to stay in New York is one of the main dilemmas for many travelers who are planning a Big Apple vacation. Whether in Manhattan or Brooklyn, each neighborhood has different characteristics for each type of profile: There are hotels in New York for those who want to spend little, for those looking for a beautiful offer with value for money or for those looking for the best in comfort and sophistication.

So you don't have to spend hours looking for hundreds of hotels in the city, our team has already selected the options that guarantee a good stay there! Shall we check it out with us?

  • New York hotels – The best directions in town
  • Luxury hotels in New York – 14 amazing options

Upper East Side:

  • Economic: Rent apartments or studios to reduce costs there
  • Value for money: The Franklin
  • Lux: The Pierre,  The Mark

Upper West Side:

  • Cheap: Broadway Hotel & Hostel, HI New York Hostel
  • Value for money: Hotel 99 , La Quinta
  • Luxo: Hotel Beacon,  Mandarin Oriental

Midtown Manhattan:

  • Econômico: Jazz on Columbus Circle Hostel, VanderBilt YMCA
  • Cost-Benefit: Seton Hotel, City Rooms NYC , Residence Inn by Marriot, Hudson New York
  • Lux:  The NoMad, 1 Hotel Central Park

Lower Manhattan:

  • Econômico:  Tribeca Lofts, The Bowery House
  • Value for money: The Ridge Hotel, Eurostars Wall Street 
  • Luxo: The Standard New York 


  • Cheap: NY Moore Hostel
  • Value for money: EVEN Hotel Brooklyn, The Brooklyn 
  • Luxo: 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge 
  • NY Moore Hostel

  • EVE Hotel

  • The Brooklyn

  • 1 Hotel Brooklyn

  • Tribeca Lofts

  • The Bowery House

  • The Ridge Hotel

  • Eurostarts Hotel

  • The Standard

  • Vanderbilt YMCA

  • Jazz On Columbus Circle

  • Seton Hotel

  • City Rooms NYC

  • Residence Inn Marriot

  • Hudson New York

  • The NoMad

  • 1 Hotel New York

  • Broadway Hotel and Hostel – great option for couples and friends who want to save money

  • HI NYC Hostel – good option for those who want to save money and like accommodations with action

  • Hotel 99

  • La Quinta Hotel – good value for money in the region

  • Beacon Hotel, Affordable Luxury on the Upper East Side

  • View of Central Park from Mandarin Oriental's rooms

  • Apartments on Lexington Avenue, a good budget option for those looking to stay in one of the most luxurious neighborhoods in NYC.

  • The Franklin is a good value for money.

  • The trendy The Mark, which has bikes available for guests and is adjacent to Central Park

  • An excellent option for students moving to New York is 92Y.

Quick tips about New York:

MET – Museums in New York

For those who want everything quickly, in a super straight to the point list of things to do in New York and the tourist spots in New York. Here are the New York Quick Tips:

  1. Climb the Top of The Rock at Rockefeller Center in the late afternoon to see the city by day and by night. It is one of the most essential tourist spots in New York.
  2. Go up to the One Trade Center that was built near where the twin towers once stood and go to the 9/11 memorial.
  3. Take a walk in Central Park and go to Strawberry Fields, and from there see John Lennon's apartment in the Dakota Building.
  4. Go to a Broadway musical, buy tickets 3 months in advance to guarantee the best prices.
  5. In Times Square there is a gigantic 21-story Forever 6, which is tax free. Downstairs has the best promos!.
  6.  Dine on burgers sometime at the Ellen Stardust Dinner, the restaurant has waiters who sing during dinner. Many are selected by scouts and become Broadway performers later!.
  7. Dine or lunch a day in Little Italy.
  8. Take a ride on the High Line. There is a bar on the rooftop of the Standard Hotel that is worth going up. It's super cool.
  9. Discover the Brooklin Bridge and take a tour of the neighborhood.
  10. Take the ferry from Battery Park to the Statue of Liberty.
  11. Eat a typical NYC street hotdog.
  12. Don't miss the MoMa, the MET and the Natural History Museum.
  • See the best tours in New York and guarantee your tickets in advance and at a discount!

Is that you? Did you like our New York Tips? Already know what to do in New York? Comment here and leave your questions and suggestions :)!

New York Travel Insurance

hire a New York travel insurance is an excellent tip to ensure a smooth trip and avoid worries. Even without being mandatory, having the assistance of insurance gives you the peace you need to enjoy the destination and know that you have support, if necessary. Also enjoy our Insurance Promo discount coupon. - SEE PRICES

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