New York City, New York.
The Big Apple.
Let’s Discover the City That Never Sleeps
Whether it’s the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square, or any of the many other iconic NYC landmarks, there is plenty to talk about, when it comes to New York City. As always, getting that glimpse of the city that never sleeps, be it in movies, TV Shows, and / or various other pop culture mediums is exciting on its own, but actually visiting the city in real life is an entirely different and awe-inspiring experience. With over 60 million people flocking to the great city of New York, each and every year, it’s one of the most visited tourist destinations in all the world, and for good reason.
Known all over the world for its vibrant history, culture, architecture, fashion, and food, New York City is an exhilarating holiday destination for both individuals and families. Whether you are looking for a thrilling experience or just want to take in the city lights, the sounds, and the diverse identity of the inhabitants, the city that never sleeps, is the place to go.
NYC boasts some of the most interesting places, landmarks, and cultural icons in the world. With so many varied options at your disposal, you’ll find that the city really has something for everyone. Young or old, foreign or domestic, this city that is always awake offers innumerable outlets for everyone to enjoy and make the most of their trip.
So we decided to put together a list of the most iconic places and tourist attractions that you should simply not miss when you take a trip to this city. Read on and see what you can do to discover the city that never sleeps in the best way possible.
1. Visit The Statue of Liberty
It comes as no surprise that the first entry on our list is The Statue of Liberty. Featured in an overwhelming majority of American movies, TV shows, magazine articles, tour guides, and even New York themed merchandise, the Statue, or as it’s known by the locals, Lady Liberty, has become synonymous to the City itself.
Standing guard atop its pedestal is the 150 ft tall copper statue. Situated on Liberty Island (renamed from Bedloe’s Island in 1956), it consists of a magnificent statue of the Roman goddess Libertas with a torch in one hand, and a tablet inscribed with the date of The Declaration of Independence. Originally a gift from the people of France to the People of the USA, the statue has become a monument of freedom and helped welcome immigrants to their new lives in the early 1900s.
One of New York’s most visited sites, tourists can take a short ferry ride to the island and view the statue up close. The ferry will cost $5 for children aged 4 through 12, $12 for visitors $13 and up (including adults) and $10 for senior citizens (aged 62 and above).
Entry into the statue is free, however, if you wish to climb the 354 steps up to the crown and witness the breathtaking sight first hand, you will have to get a separate ticket. Additionally, you may not be allowed to take anything up other than a camera or phone so you should pack and prepare accordingly.
Finally, the lines for admission at the Statue of Liberty are known to get quite long, with the months of June through September seeing the largest crowds. Still, it should be one of the must-see attractions on your visit to New York. With Lady Liberty, we begin to discover the city that never sleeps.
2. The Empire State Building
Speaking of buildings, you might have seen in American movies and TV shows, The Empire State Building is an iconic New York City construction which is featured in quintessential American movies.
Once the tallest building in the world, this 102 story, 381 meter tall building still offers a jaw dropping view over the hustle and bustle of New York. Ever since its opening in 1931, the Empire State Building has been a main-stay of every Big Apple tourists’ list of sites to visit.
This technical and architectural marvel comes equipped with not just one but two observatories on the 86th and 102nd floors. Rising to 1050 ft and 1250 ft respectively, both offer stunning views, especially on clearer days when you can see clearly for up to 80 miles all around to the neighboring states and buildings.
Visitors should note that while the 102nd floor observatory is naturally higher and offers a breathtaking view, it’s also enclosed. Most visitors prefer the slightly lower, but equally marvelous view from the 86th floor observatory. This floor is known for having the city’s largest open air observation deck and is usually a bit less crowded. You can reach this floor using high speed elevators and take in the beautiful sights in glass-enclosed viewing areas that also offer heated and cooled environments, depending on the time of year (wouldn’t want to catch a chill at 1050 ft!). Alternatively, you can also avail the open air experience on all four sides of the building.
Even if you just get to stand below the Empire State Building, we think it’s worth the visit.
3. Central Park
Stretching out between the Upper West and Upper East Sides of Manhattan, we have Central Park. Although it’s only the fifth largest park by area in New York, it still takes up 843 acres of space. Central Park is famous as it’s known for being the most filmed location on Earth.
With numerous landscape and geographic features such as winding paths for jogging, cycling and running, eight large lakes and ponds where you can fish or even go boating, and vast wooded areas populated by all kinds of trees and plant life (also many bird species for all our ‘birders’ out there), the Park is absolutely perfect for anyone looking to take a break from the fast paced New York lifestyle.
Maybe you’re tired from all the walking and would like to tour the park for a change. No worries. You can easily rent a bicycle or even a carriage ride through the park and let the sights go by as you relax.
It doesn’t matter if you want to get some exercise in on your holiday, or just sit back on a park bench with a nice coffee and take in the sights. Central Park offers spectacular views of nature and is a must-visit for anyone on a trip to the city that never sleeps.
4. Fifth Avenue
Ever notice how all the luxury and designer brands always have ads and logos with the words New York just under the brand name or logo? Or how all those exclusive companies showcase their finest designs and products in New York stores?
That’s because New York is one of the fashion capitals of the world. Showing off a rich and colorful history of clothing, accessories, footwear and jewelry, New York earns its place among the most fashionable and trendy cities in the world. With many contemporary designs and vogues originating here, it only makes sense that a lot of high fashion brands and companies call this city home.
Dubbed one of the most famous shopping streets in the world, Fifth Avenue, specifically the area between 60th and 40th street, is the premier spot for shopping in New York. With brands such as Cartier, Tiffany, Bergdorf-Goodman and so many others, it’s the perfect place to let your inner shopaholic run free. Even if you are just window shopping, Fifth Avenue offers a fun walk through one of the more posh areas of the city.
And if silk dresses and diamond rings don’t pique your interest, the famous Apple Store Fifth Avenue is also close by, where cutting edge design and technology come together to create a seamless shopping experience that blends natural light and an underground setting for a marvelous store setup.
5. Rockefeller Center & Top of the Rock Observation Deck
This is another site that is usually on every tourists’ list of places to visit when in New York. The Rockefeller Center is a complex of shopping and entertainment, housing the famous NBC TV and other such media franchises.
But the real star of the show is 30 Rockefeller Plaza. It’s a 70 story tall building that commands some spectacular views from all over the city and Manhattan. You can take in these views from the well-known ‘Top of the Rock Observation Deck’ which comprises of 67th, 69th and 70th floors. Much like the Empire State Building, here too you can enjoy both indoor and outdoor viewing sites.
The Top of the Rock offers breathtaking views, day or night, and should be a definite consideration for your next visit to the city that never sleeps. To go there, you can actually buy a Top of the Rock Observation Deck ticket in advance. This is very convenient as it comes with a flexible voucher redemption policy which allows you to change the date of your visit if you so choose or in case the weather isn’t optimal.
Oh, and did we mention the outdoor ice skating rink? It’s situated right at the base of the tower and is a very fun activity for families or couples. It’s usually open during the winter months from October to April.
Finally, another great feature of the Rockefeller Center is the massive Christmas tree that is erected during the holidays. Many of our readers might recognize this as the tree under which Kevin’s mom reunites with him in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
6. Times Square
Odds are, when you think of New York, you think of the towering bright lights of Times Square. You’re probably already familiar with the sight: large crowds moving around, brilliantly lit digital displays and billboards, neon beams lighting up the night sky.
While a crowded city center might not sound like the most attractive spot, therein lies the beauty of Times Square. It symbolizes the very idea of The City That Never Sleeps. When the sun goes down, this entire square seems to come alive with ever changing billboards and lights streaming all over the masses. It serves as its own type of aesthetic that you won’t see in any other city in the world.
And if you happen to be visiting on or around New Year’s, you can treat yourself to all the festivities and celebrations that take place at Times Square, including the famous tradition of the ‘Ball Drop’, where a large ball ‘drops’ down a flagpole, perfectly coinciding with the stroke of midnight on the last night of the year. Observed almost every year for the last 100 years, this tradition is one to behold and is usually preceded by live performances, fireworks, and other similar attractions.
Getting into some of the more artistic activities you can get into on your New York holiday, we start with Broadway. If you appreciate the fine arts and have an interest in theater and plays, Broadway is the place for you.
Renowned the world over for being the premier location for theater and commercial dramatics, Broadway is home to the greatest plays, theater productions and musicals in the world. Constituting 41 theaters and auditoriums, all of which can easily seat 500 or more audience members, Broadway hosts the finest actors, actresses, costume designers, set designers, lighting and makeup professionals showcasing and honing their skills.
Regale yourself with such renowned productions as ‘Hamilton’, ‘Beetlejuice’, ‘Harry Potter and The Cursed Child’, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, ‘Mean Girls’, ‘West Side Story’, and many more.
So if you’re a fan of the arts and want to spend the night being entertained by the most talented people in the theater industry, consider coming down to Broadway. Tickets range anywhere from $20 to $200, and you can expect to pay more for popular plays, especially if you go on weekend nights.
8. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Keeping the focus on an appreciation of the fine arts and crafts, our next entry in this list is The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or as it’s more commonly referred to: The Met.
The largest art museum in the United States, The Met is visited by over 6 million people a year. Housing one of the largest and most exclusive collections of art, it’s a great place to visit if you wish to view both modern and classical paintings, sculptures, tapestries, installations, and learn more about the exhibits and their creators.
Here, you’ll find art pieces from all over the globe with the permanent collection at the museum comprising of works from Egypt, Asia, Africa, almost all the European masters, and a sizeable collection of American Art. Even other collections are represented, such as Byzantine, Oceanian, and Islamic art.
The price of admission to The Met is as follows. $25 for adults, $17 for seniors, specifically individuals over the age of 65, and $12 for students.
It’s also worth mentioning that admission is free for children under the age of 12 and also for caregivers who are accompanying people with a disability to the museum.
9. Brooklyn Bridge
Another readily recognizable landmark in New York is the Brooklyn Bridge. Stretching across East River to connect Manhattan and Brooklyn, this bridge with its Gothic inspired arches and suspension cables has been a great source of inspiration for many poets, painters and photographers.
Completed in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge has the distinction of being the world’s first suspension bridge. While it’s visible from many of the ferry rides and even the east side of Manhattan, perhaps the best way to experience the architecture and history of the bridge is by walking along it.
The bridge features a wooden plank walkway, above the traffic. This is only open to pedestrians and cyclists, so you can navigate it with ease. With viewing platforms on the bridge, you can get an up close look at the granite build and even look over Manhattan, the river, and farther along to the Statue of Liberty.
10. The New York Public Library
This library is one of the largest in the world and houses one of the most varied collections of books, magazines, research papers, and electronic records in the world.
To give you an idea of just how large it is, the Main Reading Room alone spans almost 2 city blocks. This massive area facilitates the housing of over 50 million items and makes the New York Public Library the second largest library in the United States after the Library of Congress.
If you’re looking for a fun day with some bookish magic included, the New York Public Library is the place for you to check out (pun intended!).
Lastly, perhaps the greatest sight you’ll see on your visit to New York is not the giant statues and Christmas trees, nor the art museums or bridges, the parks or the plays. Perhaps the greatest and most worthwhile thing you’ll experience is the city itself. Discover where you can find the best pizza in New York. Visit the tallest buildings in New York. Check out some of the rooftop bars in Brooklyn. Just go and experience the city.
Our Conclusion about the City that Never Sleeps…
The skyscrapers towering over the streets, the sun setting behind a city of metal and glass, the people going about their day to day lives, the water lapping at the city’s’ shores, boats and ferries going in and out of the ports. All these things come together to show the real New York. And when you separate the real city itself from the tourist traps and the passing fancies, that’s when you’ve truly discovered The City That Never Sleeps.