New York City Travel Guide – Where to Go and What to See

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New York City is filled with bright lights, people, Broadway shows, crowds of people, and energy that takes those who visit through busy days and nights. When you choose to visit this fascinating city, you need to be prepared to spend hours seeing the sights each day and even at night. Here are 10 places to go and see during your visit to New York City:

1. Times Square

One of the best things to do in New York City is to visit Times Square, which means that you should find yourself in this magical destination at least once during your time in the city. The lights on the tall buildings will flash in front of your eyes and you will find yourself amazed at how many people can fit into what ends up seeming like a small space. Visits to the Hershey Chocolate Store, as well as many of the other shops, are a must when you are here. However, at the top of your list should be getting a selfie with the people dressed in costume. You can choose from the Statue of Liberty, Dora the Explorer, Elmo, and many more. Of course, you shouldn’t discount capturing a picture with the Naked Cowboy either, as that could end up being the highlight of your trip!

2. Broadway

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Broadway is filled with theaters and high-rated shows, which is why this area needs to be part of every New York City trip. There are so many shows to choose from that it can be difficult to decide which one you want to see the most. Sometimes, you may need to narrow down your choices by what tickets are available for that day, while other times, the ticket prices themselves, make the decision for you. A few of the current and more popular Broadway shows are Waitress, Chicago, Hamilton, Wicked, The Lion King, and The Phantom of the Opera.

3. Central Park

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As you are strolling around looking for cool things to do in New York City, you are bound to wander into Central Park at some point in time. It is quite extraordinary to see more than eight hundred acres of green space in the middle of a huge sprawling city! While it is possible for you to walk through as much of this park as you wish, you may want to consider taking a carriage ride instead, so you can sit back and relax as you take in the sights. A few of the better things to see inside Central Park include the Central Park Zoo, Strawberry Fields, Belvedere Castle, the Bethesda Fountain, and the Shakespeare Garden. Just outside the park is the largest Apple store in the world. It is located on 5th Avenue in between the park and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

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4. St. Patrick’s Cathedral

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Every New York City travel guide will tell you that a visit to see St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a must! This is an excellent time to see it too, as most of the restoration work in the inside and outside of this Neo-Gothic style building has been completed. As soon as you walk through the front doors, you will need to catch your breath from the beauty that is before your eyes. It is recommended that you begin on one side of the cathedral and continue in a circle, so that you do not miss any of the intricate details that have been placed on the walls, columns, and windows. The windows were created by artists from Boston and Europe, while the rose window was created by Charles Connick. Prior to leaving, you will have a chance to light a candle to honor your loved ones up in heaven.

5. Rockefeller Center

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Rockefeller Center is a massive complex of buildings, located just ten minutes from the central train station, that is known mostly as being where the NBC Studios are located. Out in the back of the building, you will see a large space that is either covered with tables for outdoor dining in the summer or an ice-skating rink during the winter months. Obviously, the best time to see this area is during the winter, when everyone has pulled on their ice skates to take a spin on the ice. Plus, during the holiday season, the large Christmas tree is placed near the rink and it is lit near the end of November, making that the best time to visit. However, no matter when you visit this iconic building, you must go up to the Top of the Rock, which is an observation deck that will allow you to look out at panoramic views of the city below.

6. Empire State Building

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Additional views can be seen from either the 86th floor or the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building. No one can end their New York City trip without a stop at this infamous building. While either observation deck offers fantastic views, most people prefer the open-air setting on the 86th floor. Of course, it could also be that they want to relive some of the scenes from their favorite movies, as this is the area that has been used in numerous movies and television shows.

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7. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

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Two of the best New York City tours and attractions include the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. These tours can both be completed on the same day. It is best to purchase your tour tickets prior to your arrival in the city, as they sell out quickly. You will need to arrive at your departure point well in advance of your tour time, so you can clear security and board the ferry to the islands. You will be taken to Liberty Island first and this is where Lady Liberty will stand before you in all her glory. You can explore the inside of the statue, but only up to the pedestal unless you specifically purchased tickets that will allow you to climb up to the crown. Your next stop will be Ellis Island, which is where millions of immigrants spent time waiting to be allowed to enter the United States. There is an abundance of history on this island and you may spot a family member or two’s name engraved on the wall of immigrants.

8. 9/11 Memorial and Museum

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Out of all the New York City tours and attractions, many people have chosen the 9/11/01 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center site the most in recent years. Most people want to try to understand the carnage that happened that day, while others want to pay their respects to those who lost their lives. The memorial part of this attraction is free to everyone who wants to see it, but there is a fee if you want to enter the museum. Inside the museum, aptly named Reflections, there are three sections that include what happened before 9/11, what occurred on 9/11, and the aftermath of 9/11. You will see exhibits that include artifacts from this fateful day while listening to the stories of those who either survived or lost a loved one.

9. Chelsea Market and High Line

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The High Line is a nice open green space in the city, although it used to be where freight trains ran through the city. This elevated park is approximately a mile and a half long and it is the perfect destination for enjoying a picnic, lounging in the sun, having coffee with friends, or just walking around getting some exercise and fresh air. Chelsea Market is not too far from the High Line, which means that it would be easy for you to take a detour at any time during your stroll. You will definitely want to visit this market, as it is filled with more than thirty vendors selling culinary delights. It is best to be hungry when you arrive at Chelsea Market or you will be bummed that you have no desire, or room in your stomach, to fit any of the foods that you are smelling in the air. There are also regular stores at Chelsea Market, which makes it the perfect place to grab some authentic New York City gear.

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10. Museum of Modern Art

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There are plenty of museums within this city, but every New York City travel guide will tell you that the Museum of Modern Art is the best of them all.  The locals and regulars simply call this museum MoMA and you will want to plan on spending a few hours there seeing all the art work. Amongst all the photography, design, and film pieces, you will see art that includes Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and Van Gogh’s The Starry Night.  While there are a few permanent exhibits, there are enough temporary ones to ensure that you will always see something new in addition to your favorites.

These are the 10 best places to go and see while exploring New York City and they need to be on everyone’s list. While a few can be seen once and then never again, there are a couple that should be appreciated each time you visit this wonderful city.