It’s that time of the year again when New York City becomes the most popular travel destination in the world. Not that NYC isn’t charming, mesmerizing, and infinitely adventurous and exciting all year round, but there is just something indescribably beautiful and enthralling about springtime and summertime in New York. The entire city comes to life in a gorgeous mixture of color and that distinct NYC vibe that permeates every street from downtown Manhattan to the beaches of Staten Island.
Indeed, ‘tis the season to visit New York and experience it in all its vibrant glory. And remember, you can travel on a budget as well, so don’t be afraid to book your flight! Here are the 10 must-see attractions you need to experience on your NYC adventure.
The Statue of Liberty, obviously
The Statue of Liberty is not just a historic landmark, it’s a cultural gem and a bastion of freedom. It is the gateway to the land of the free and the home of the brave, it welcomes travelers and settlers into the land of endless opportunities. Whether you hold it dearly in your heart like the rest of the New Yorkers or not, the Statue of Liberty should be the first monument you visit.
The top observation deck offers spectacular views of Lower Manhattan and the Hudson River, and you can catch one of multiple ferries departing from Battery Park just south of the Brooklyn Bridge. Be sure to snap some scenic photos from the ferry as well!
Take a stroll through Central Park
Another iconic “spot” in the Big Apple is, of course, Central Park. Well, that was an understatement, because this four-kilometer-long natural gem is an expansive oasis residing in the center of one of the busiest cities on Earth – and it’s also the perfect place to experience the romance of NYC with your significant other on your vacation. Central Park is romantic and mesmerizing in all seasons, but there is just something truly bewildering about its springtime beauty.
Watch as the greenery comes to life within its numerous meadows and take a moment to soak in the tranquil beauty of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir juxtaposed by the towering skyscrapers in the distance. While there, don’t forget to visit the Butterfly Gardens in the North Meadow.
Immerse yourself in the cityscape from the air
One of the most popular ways to see New York in all its shining glory is to view it from the air. Tourists and travelers flocking into the city have popularized this form of sightseeing in recent years, as taking a helicopter tour in NYC is the best way to experience the sheer beauty and expansiveness of the Big Apple, without having to dodge people on the street as you’re looking up into the towering buildings above.
These tours are not only for the gentlemen who wish to wow their significant others and live out the most exciting and romantic date ever, but also for those of you who simply want to experience NYC from a truly different perspective. You will be flying over all of the most iconic landmarks, including Lady Liberty herself, the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, One Trade Center, and Times Square.
Soak in the hustle and bustle of Times Square
Now, flying way above the hustle and bustle of New York City might be one of the most unique things you could do here, but so is actually standing in the most famous square in the world. It might not be unique in the sense that it’s a tourist hotspot, but it sure is one of the most unique things any traveler can do. After all, this is a spot you won’t be able to forget once you start to soak in the neon-light culture of your surroundings.
There is no “quiet time” to visit Times Square, as this is the very heart and soul of Manhattan. Here you will find everything from exclusive dining spots and artisan eateries to world-famous brands, and of course, the many theaters on and off Broadway. If you’re a smart traveler, though, you will book your tickets for any of the shows several months in advance!
Climb the top of the Empire State Building
Haven’t had enough of the panoramic views of this vast urban jungle? No problem, NYC has enough skyscrapers to quench your thirst. One of the most iconic buildings in the city, and the world for that matter, is the Empire State Building, which is also the perfect place to gaze upon the seemingly never-ending cityscape below.
The lines to the observation deck might be long, but it will be worth the wait once you exit the elevator on the 86th floor to be encountered by one of the most spectacular views you could ever see. Once you’ve taken enough selfies and posted them on your gram page, it’s time to visit a few cultural landmarks as well.
Don’t forget to visit the Met
The Metropolitan Museum of Art might very well be the most popular museum in the world. If not, then it’s certainly sharing the top few spots with the Louvre, and perhaps the Vatican. Nicknamed “the Met”, this museum houses more than 5,000 years’ worth of art from all over the world.
Interestingly, it didn’t own a single work of art when it was founded in 1870, yet its collection quickly grew through the combined knowledge and efforts of its many generations of art collectors, patrons, curators, and researchers. This is a cultural gem you shouldn’t miss, one that will leave a lasting impression on your mind and soul.
Snap a photo of the Brooklyn Bridge
Over the years, Brooklyn has risen to become one of the most prominent boroughs in New York City. Once an industrial district that kind of had a bad reputation throughout the 19th and 20th century, now a thriving hipster district with lively restaurants and artisan coffee shops, beautiful residential complexes, and everything one could need to live an exciting life outside of Manhattan.
So naturally, you need to visit Brooklyn on your NYC adventure. Most importantly, you want to snap a photo of the historic Brooklyn Bridge from the Brooklyn Bridge Park. From there, you can head deeper into the borough, perusing around and making your way to the sprawling Brooklyn Heights.
Eat at the cheapest restaurants in Chinatown
Traveling back to Manhattan, you will find yourself in another historic district, this time reminiscent of the Far East. Chinatown is a place where you not only go to experience the sights and sounds of the east, but it’s also a place where you go to have the best meal in your life.
This is one of those foodie havens every foodie traveler must visit at least once in a lifetime. Seek out the street food stalls dotting the streets for that perfect bowl of dim sum before you dig into the explosion of flavor that is chop suey.
Go even higher to the top of One Trade Center
Want to go higher than the Empire State Building? Then head over to One Trade Center, the tallest building in the western hemisphere. Erected on the side where the twin towers of the World Trade Center used to reside, One Trade Center stands a bastion of resistance to terrorism – a symbol of the free world.
Seek out celebrities at the Rockefeller Center
And finally, Rockefeller Center is the home of NBC Studios where many popular tv shows and movies have been made over the decades. If you’re looking to snap a picture of A-listers and celebrities in general, then Rockefeller Center is the place to be. This is also a great place to take the entire family, as the square itself boasts numerous action-packed activities for everyone to enjoy.
New York City is a very unique place. The sheer size of the city makes it impossible to experience everything it has to offer in a single lifetime, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t experience everything that matters most in a single trip. Use this guide to plan yourself the NYC adventure of a lifetime.
Cover Image credits: Photo by Quintin Gellar from Pexels