New York is the city of cities. In order to get an overview of what you absolutely must see, we show you in this article our 10 best place to visit in New York City.
We love New York and if there’s a city we would travel to again and again, it’s definitely New York City. The abundance of sights in New York can also overwhelm you very quickly, especially when you are in the city for the first time. We do not want that to happen to you. That’s why in this article we present you our 10 absolute top highlights in New York.
We’ll show you which sights you can not miss in New York and of course give you all the important information you need to visit. For even better overview, we have sorted the sights in different categories.
General Tips: To visit New York’s attractions stress-free
Before we introduce you to our top 10 highlights in New York, we want to give you some tips on how to make the most of your time in New York.
# 1 Buy tickets for attractions beforehand
Sightseeing in New York can be quite stressful. Queuing is the order of the day at most sights: buying tickets, security checks, waiting at elevators. You should always take this into account in your planning.
So if you plan a bit more time for each attraction, you will not get into trouble on the spot.
Good to know : At least the queue at the ticket counters you can save in most cases, by ordering your tickets online before. In many cases this is even cheaper and saves you a lot of time on site. For each sight presented here, we have therefore left you links to the respective online ticket outlets.
# 2 Save money and time with city passes
Also popular with New York travelers are the various city passes for New York. These passes will give you access to many attractions in New York. Financially, this is sometimes even cheaper than buying one’s tickets, at least if you visit a relatively large number of attractions.
In total, there are 5 different city passes for New York. For each attraction in this article, we write you each to whether the entrance to the city passes is there.
# 3 Plan your visit to the sights
New York is huge, which is why it is definitely worth planning your visit to the various sights beforehand. It’s best to make a plan in which you write down which sights you want to visit on which day.
We have written a detailed program schedule for a week in New York. You can easily adjust the plan to 3, 4 or 5 days:
1 week New York: program and plan
To get from one attraction to another, in most cases the subway is the best means of transport. All information about the New York Metro and the Metrocard we have put together in a detailed article:
All information about subway and Metrocard in New York.
So, now enough the preface. Now we come to our top 10 attractions in New York.
Top 10 Attractions In New York
1. Statue of liberty
Let’s start with the most famous buildings in New York, which you definitely should not miss.
The Statue of Liberty is THE landmark of New York. The Statue of Liberty used to be the first thing US emigrants saw when they boarded the ship.
Today, it is one of New York’s most famous attractions. We have written here compactly all important information about the Statue of Liberty. A detailed description of the various ticket options and the visit can be found in an extra article:
Information about visiting the Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is located south of Manhattan on the small island of Liberty Island.
Right next to Liberty Island is Ellis Island. Here the newcomers were registered between 1892 and 1954. Nearly half of today’s US population has ancestors who immigrated via Ellis Island.
Today, Ellis Island is a museum where you can follow the steps of the immigrants of the time – from the luggage room to the medical examination.
Americans can find out in a database, which of their ancestors landed here and from where they started the long journey to the United States.
To visit the Statue of Liberty you should plan a relatively long time. The security checks at the ferry often take up to 2 hours. Overall, it will take more than half a day to visit.
Tickets for visiting the Statue of Liberty
If you still want the Statue of Liberty, you have the choice between different ticket options. Tickets are sold on the website of Statue Cruises .
All tickets include visits to Liberty Island and Ellis Island, including the museum on Ellis Island. Optionally you can also book a visit to the pedestal and crown of the Statue of Liberty. The Kronentickets are however strictly limited, so you should take care of it here early for a ticket.
Boat trips passing the Statue of Liberty
To see the Statue of Liberty up close, we recommend a boat cruise.
Very nice boat tours offers Circle Line. We recommend the Best of New York Tour , which will take you around Manhattan next to the Statue of Liberty, so you can see New York’s main attractions from a fresh perspective from the water.
Also very nice is the Harbor Lights Cruise . The tour leads along the same route, but in the evening. This is of course very appealing, especially in New York.
If you’re traveling to New York on a budget, you can also take the free ferry from Manhattan’s southern tip to Staten Island and back. The Staten Island Ferry we present below as their own attraction in more detail.
2. Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is one of the world’s most famous skyscrapers. For several decades, it was even the tallest structure in the world and an icon of progress.
Although there are now some taller buildings in New York, visiting the Empire is still a must-do for many.
The view is definitely one of the best that New York has to offer.
Information about visiting the Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is one of the highlights of the city, which leaves hardly a visitor. Accordingly, it is full there. Tickets cost $ 37 and it’s definitely worth buying before.
For an additional $ 17 dollars you can pay to visit a second viewing platform, which is a bit higher. In our opinion, this is not really worth it.
Tickets for the Empire State Building
As mentioned before, the entry fee for the Empire State Building is $ 37, which is equivalent to about $ 32.
You should definitely buy the tickets beforehand. You have the choice between two options:
# 1 Standard Ticket : With the standard ticket for 35 Euro you bypass the queue at the ticket counter.
# 2 Express-Ticket : This ticket costs 72 Euro, but you can skip the queue at the entrance and at the escalators. If you have little time, this is definitely a good option.
3. Rockefeller Center & Top of the Rock
The Rockefeller Center is also such an icon that everyone has heard of before. If you come to New York in the winter, you can go for a spin on the world’s most famous ice skating rink.
Not just in winter, but in any season, you should not miss the viewing platform with the beautiful name Top of the Rock , which is located at the top of the Rockefeller Center.
Of all the vantage points in New York this is the most beautiful in our opinion. You have a great view of Central Park in the north (although now Rockefeller Center and Central Park is also built diligently) and look to the south on the Empire State Building.
The view from Top of the Rock is also so special, because there are no disturbing glass panes in the way and you can take pictures very well.
Information about visiting the Top of the Rock
The Top of the Rock is usually not as full as the Empire State Building. The lookout terraces on the Rockefeller Center are also much sprawling, so it’s a whole lot more pleasant up there.
Tickets for the Top of the Rock
Admission costs $ 39.20 per person, which is about $ 34. It is also advisable to buy the tickets in advance to avoid the snakes.
By the way, brand new: The viewing platform Edge
And because we are talking about great prospects: The gigantic new building complex Hudson Yards is currently the site of the highest outdoor viewing platform in the western hemisphere, Edge.
At a height of 335 meters, the building protrudes 20 meters from the skyscraper named 30 Hudson Yards and is entirely made of glass.
That means you have a 360-degree view of Manhattan, the rest of the city and, if the weather is good, the state of New Jersey. You can look down through the glass floor 100 floors to the streets of Manhattan. Pure thrill!
The observation deck opens in March 2020, but you can already buy tickets now. A simple, time-bound ticket costs $ 36 per person.
4. 9/11 Memorial & Museum
September 11, 2001 has shocked New York and the world. The city commemorates this day and its victims with the 9/11 Memorial and a museum.
Both are very worth seeing and even if it is very depressing, we can put a visit to your heart.
In the places where the Twin Towers used to be, there are now two deep basins where water falls in the depths.
Around the basins are engraved the names of all 2,983 people who lost their lives on September 11th.
The memorial also includes a museum, whose visit we can also highly recommend. In the 9/11 Museum the complete day and its consequences are reconstructed.
There are many original sounds, photos and film shots, as well as numerous exhibits, which were recovered from the rubble.
information about the visit of the 9/11 Memorial and the Museum
Admission to the Memorial is free and entrance to the museum is $ 26. You can buy the tickets online before and you do not have to queue at the ticket counter:
The visit to the 9/11 Museum is also included on all New York Passes .
It takes about 30 to 60 minutes to visit the memorial, but you should allow more time for the museum. You will need two to three hours to really grasp everything.
If you take a headset for the Audio Guide Tour (surcharge of $ 7 per person) and you also want to take the many picture and sound recordings to heart, you need of course correspondingly more time.
5. One World Observatory
The old World Trade Center has now been replaced by the new One World Trade Center.
Architecturally, the new building lacks grace in our opinion. The Twin Towers simply looked more elegant and shaped the skyline of New York more than the slightly blocky new building.
Definitely worth seeing is the new underground station of the World Trade Center. The Oculus called main hall is a real eye-catcher and a great photo opportunity.
The One World Trade Center houses the city’s highest observation deck, the One World Observatory. In our opinion, the view does not come to the Empire State Building or the Top of the Rock.
For photographers, the observation deck is unfortunately not that great, because everything is behind glass.
Information about visiting the One World Observatory
Entry to the One World Trade Center is $ 34. It is also advisable to buy the tickets beforehand.
6. Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is still such an icon of engineering. When it opened in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world and a technical sensation.
Although it is now only one of several bridges connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn across the East River, it is still a real highlight.
Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge is simply part of visiting New York.
Information about visiting the Brooklyn Bridge
In which direction you cross the Brooklyn Bridge, we do not care which way. Both have their charm.
The pedestrian walkway is actually heavily populated around the clock and there are always narrow places where tourists and commuters get in the way of something on their bikes.
So make sure you’re on the pedestrian side of the road so as not to disturb the commuters on their bicycles.
If you like it a bit emptier, it’s best to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge early in the morning.
7. Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station is probably one of the most popular movie sets in New York. Innumerable films feature touching farewells, secret handovers or wild chases.
The Grand Central Terminal is definitely much more than a simple train station.
The imposing station hall with the famous clock in the middle is a real sight and is one of the most beautiful stations in the world for us.
Overall, Grand Central Station has 67 tracks, more than any other train station in the world.
8. Central Park
For a big city New York is surprisingly green and some of these parks are even among the top attractions in New York.
The most famous park in the city and maybe even the whole world is of course Central Park.
In the middle of the skyscraper canyons, 4 kilometers long and 800 meters wide, there is the huge park, which attracts up to 500,000 visitors daily.
The park has many attractions. These include the Reservoir Lake, the Central Park Zoo and of course Strawberry Fields, the memorial to John Lennon designed by Yoko Ono.
Information about visiting Central Park
In Central Park you can spend half an day or even a whole day. There is just so much to see.
If you do not have much time, we recommend that you visit the southern part of the park. Here are, among other things, the pretty Lake and Strawberry Fields.
Many New York Passes include bicycle rental in Central Park. The New York Sightseeing Pass also includes the Central Park Zoo.
9. Times Square & Musical Visit
Times Square is also a New York icon that everyone probably knows. The Broadway Square is a spectacle, especially in the evenings when the huge billboards on the skyscrapers light up brightly.
Did you know that just over 100 years ago, Times Square was still a small, sleepy village square, with little except for a few horse stables? Crazy, right? Today one can hardly imagine that.
It was only after the New York Times opened its office on the square in 1904, and eventually gave Times Square its name, that the area flourished.
The first theaters settled in the 1920s, and today Times Square is the center of Broadway musical theaters.
About a visit to Times Square
Especially in the evening, Times Square is always packed. Thousands of tourists admire the place and of course all want to take a picture. Meanwhile, the place is traffic-calmed, because the crowds have not really well with the traffic tolerated.
It was still too much of a hustle and bustle for us, so we took a quick picture and fled to the quieter areas again.
Our hotel CitizenM Times Square (all of our hotel tips for New York can be found here ) was also not far from the action, so we often stopped there – even at times when it was quiet.
Because in the daytime it is not so crowded in Times Square, but not quite as impressive.
10. Shopping in New York
Not a classic sight, but in New York it’s easy to shop. New York is a true shopping paradise. Especially clothes are much cheaper in New York than in Germany. Since a lot of bargains can be beat.
Note: In New York, prices are always quoted net in stores. So it still comes on the VAT, which is 8.875 percent in New York. But there is one exception: garments up to a value of $ 110 are exempt from VAT. Here the net price is equal to the gross price. The limit of $ 110 dollars applies per item. Two pairs of $ 100 each are tax-free.
Of course, you should also pay attention to the German customs guidelines. Up to a value of 430 € you can import your purchases from New York duty-free to Germany.
Not just a shopping temple, but a real landmark, is the Macy’s department store. It is one of the largest department stores in the world. On 10 floors there is everything the shooping heart desires.
Especially clothes are available here in huge selection and sometimes very cheap. There’s always some sale, so bargain hunters get their money’s worth all year long.
Our tip : For tourists, there are 10 percent discount on many products. There is also an online discount pass, which you can find here on the Macy’s website . It’s enough if you present the linked page on your smartphone. You can also print them out or get a discount pass on site at the store’s Visitor Center.