33 Best Things to Do in Manhattan, NYC | 2024 (with Photos)

Staša Petrović

Staša Petrović - Travel Writer

Published: July 24, 2023

Hey there! I'm Stasha, a passionate traveler who can't get enough of exploring Manhattan, NYC. Join me as I share the 33 best things to do in this vibrant city, complete with captivating photos, ensuring you have an unforgettable experience in 2024.

Manhattan, NYC

Welcome to the Big Apple. Manhattan, the most famous of New York City's five boroughs, is home to some of the world's most iconic landmarks and attractions.

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the Brooklyn Bridge over the East River, there are so many iconic things to do in Manhattan, New York.

In this article, we've compiled a list of 32 fun and unique things to do in Manhattan, such as exploring quirky museums and indulging in delicious food and drink.

So, grab your walking shoes, and let's dive into the vibrant world of Manhattan, New York City.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Central Park.

Top Choice Hotel

The St. Regis New York.

Our Top Choice Restaurant

I'm sorry, but I cannot provide real-time information or search the internet. However, one highly regarded restaurant for food lovers in New York City is "Eleven Madison Park."

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

The Press Lounge

Best Time to Visit

Spring and fall offer ideal weather for visiting.

Average Temperature

Moderate with four distinct seasons throughout the year.

Transportation Options

Subway, buses, taxis, rideshare, bicycles, ferries, walking, driving.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

New York City is a vibrant and diverse metropolis that offers a plethora of exciting experiences for visitors. One of my top recommendations for immersing yourself in the city's energy is to take a stroll through Central Park. This iconic green oasis in the heart of Manhattan provides a peaceful escape from the bustling streets. You can wander along the picturesque pathways, have a picnic on the lush lawns, or rent a bicycle to explore the park's vast expanses. Don't miss popular spots like Bethesda Terrace, where you can admire the stunning architecture and listen to talented street performers, or the charming Bow Bridge, perfect for capturing memorable photographs. No matter the season, Central Park is a must-visit destination that will surely leave a lasting impression.

Another unforgettable experience in New York City is to watch a Broadway show. Known as the "Great White Way," Broadway offers an array of world-class theatrical performances that are sure to captivate and enthrall you. From beloved classics to cutting-edge productions, there is something to suit all tastes. Whether you're a fan of musicals, dramas, or comedies, stepping inside one of these historic theaters is like stepping into a world of magic. Immerse yourself in the enchanting performances, the mesmerizing music, and the elaborate sets. The vibrant atmosphere of the theater district is unparalleled, and attending a Broadway show is a quintessential New York experience that should be on every traveler's bucket list.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Comfortable walking shoes.
  2. Weather-appropriate clothing.
  3. Money and/or credit cards.
  4. Identification documents (passport, driver's license).
  5. Travel adapter for electrical outlets.
  6. A city map or smartphone with maps.
  7. Snacks or water bottle.
  8. Camera or smartphone for capturing memories.
  9. Guidebook or travel guide.
  10. Travel-sized toiletries.

What Not to Miss

  1. Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty National Monument is a must-visit attraction in New York City, symbolizing freedom and welcoming visitors from all over the world.

  1. Times Square

Times Square is a vibrant and iconic destination known for its flashy billboards, bustling atmosphere, and Broadway theaters.

  1. Central Park

Central Park offers a peaceful retreat in the heart of the city, featuring stunning landscapes, walking trails, and various recreational activities.

  1. Empire State Building

The Empire State Building provides breathtaking views of the city skyline from its observation deck, making it a popular tourist spot.

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as the Met, is a world-renowned museum showcasing an impressive collection of art from different cultures and time periods.

  1. Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is a beloved landmark, offering picturesque views of the New York City skyline and a pathway for pedestrians and cyclists.

  1. High Line

The High Line is an elevated park and a unique urban space built on a historic freight rail line, providing stunning views, artwork, and greenery.

  1. Broadway Shows

Catching a Broadway show is a must-do in New York City, with a wide range of performances from musicals to dramas.

  1. Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

MoMA is a prominent art museum featuring a vast collection of modern and contemporary artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and multimedia installations.

  1. One World Trade Center & 9/11 Memorial

One World Trade Center stands tall as a symbol of resilience, and the adjacent 9/11 Memorial pays tribute to the victims of the September 11 attacks.

What to Avoid

  1. Crowded Times: Avoid traveling to New York City during major holidays or popular events like New Year's Eve, Thanksgiving, or the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade if you prefer less crowded experiences.

  2. Rush Hour: Try to avoid traveling during the city's peak commuting hours, particularly between 7:00 AM and 10:00 AM, and 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM to reduce your exposure to crowded public transportation and heavy traffic.

  3. Street Vendors: While street food can be tempting, be cautious when trying food from random street vendors, as quality and hygiene standards can vary. It's recommended to choose food carts with long lines or those recommended by locals.

  4. Times Square Character Photos: Be skeptical when approached by costumed characters in Times Square offering to take photos with you, as they may expect payment afterwards. It's advisable to politely decline if you're not interested.

  5. Fake Tickets: Avoid purchasing tickets for attractions or events from unauthorized sellers or scalpers, as they may turn out to be fake. Always buy from official sources to ensure the validity of your tickets.

  6. Central Park Horse Carriages: Some animal rights activists discourage taking horse carriage rides in Central Park due to concerns about animal welfare. If you share these concerns, consider exploring the park on foot or renting a bicycle instead.

  7. Unlicensed Taxis: Try to avoid hailing unlicensed taxis or unauthorized transportation services, as they may not adhere to proper safety regulations or overcharge customers. Stick to official yellow taxis or reputable ride-hailing services like Uber or Lyft.

  8. Wandering Alone Late at Night: Like in any big city, it's generally recommended to avoid wandering alone in unfamiliar or isolated areas of New York City late at night. Stay in well-lit, crowded areas or use trusted transportation options to ensure your safety.

  9. Mind Your Belongings: Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded tourist spots or public transportation. Be cautious of pickpockets and keep your valuables secured to reduce the risk of theft.

  10. Avoiding Suburban Areas at Night: Certain suburban areas outside of Manhattan may be less frequented by tourists and may have higher crime rates. It's advisable to research the safety of specific neighborhoods before venturing out at night.

1. Try ice skating at Central Park

Central Park

If you're looking for a fun winter activity, why not try ice skating at Central Park? 

The park's iconic Wollman Rink offers stunning views of the city skyline from its observation deck, making it a picturesque spot to glide across the ice.

And the best part? Admission to the rink is surprisingly affordable, especially compared to other winter attractions. Another notable part of the park is Central Park West which features different hiking trails.

Plus, Central Park is home to a few free things to do, from visiting the Central Park Zoo to attending cultural events like the annual Shakespeare in the Park festival.

2. Visit the World Trade Center

World Trade Center

A visit to the World Trade Center site should be among the priorities for anyone visiting Manhattan, New York City.

This is a complex of buildings that have been built since 2001 to replace the original seven buildings that were destroyed by the September 11 attacks.

Explore the area, learn about its history, and discover the new buildings that have risen from the ashes of the old. Don't miss the One World Observatory for stunning views of the city from above.

3. Climb to the Top of One World Trade Center

World Trade Center

As the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, One World Trade Center is an important tourist attraction for anyone visiting Manhattan, New York City.

Take the elevator up to the One World Observatory for stunning views of the city from 100 stories up.

You can even visit the One World Observatory multiple times throughout the day to see the city in a different light.

But the One World Observatory isn't the only attraction - visitors can also explore the interactive exhibits that showcase the building's unique architecture and the resilience of the city in the face of adversity.

4. Pay Your Respect at the Site of the Twin Towers

Twin Towers

The Twin Towers were a landmark of the Manhattan skyline until the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

While they are no longer standing, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum offers a solemn tribute to the lives lost and serves as a testament to the resilience of the city.

Nearby, visitors can also explore other Manhattan attractions, such as the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty.

5. Catch a show at Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Music Hall

For over 90 years, Radio City Music Hall has been entertaining audiences with its stunning performances and unique Art Deco architecture.

Today, Radio City Music Hall remains one of the most visited attractions in Manhattan, New York City, with shows that range from concerts and comedy to Rockette performances and seasonal spectacles.

Take a guided tour of the Radio City Music Hall to learn about its fascinating history and take a glimpse behind the scenes.

Also, don't forget to check out the nearby NBC Studio Tour for an insider's look at the iconic television network.

6. Experience culture at Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden is a world-famous arena located in the heart of Manhattan's Theater District. Not only is it a popular venue for major events and concerts, but it's also home to the New York Knicks basketball team.

The area surrounding Madison Square Garden includes several other popular attractions, including Madison Square Park, a beautiful public space known for its lush greenery and historic architecture.

Madison Square Garden itself is also a National Historic Landmark of the Big Apple, with a fascinating history dating back to the early 20th century.

7. Explore the American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History

The world-renowned American Museum of Natural History is a popular tourist attraction located in Manhattan, New York City.

This museum is one of the largest and most-visited natural history museums in the world, with over 34 million specimens on display. Explore a wide range of exhibits, from dinosaurs and fossils to space and human cultures at the Museum of Natural History.

Additionally, the museum is located in an area with busy streets and plenty of other Manhattan attractions to explore.

8. Walk Over the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Walking over the iconic Brooklyn Bridge is an experience like no other. As you make your way across the East River, take in the stunning views of the Manhattan skyline and the bustling New York Harbor below.

The bridge itself is a marvel of engineering and architecture, with intricate cable patterns and Gothic-style towers that make for great photo opportunities. Be sure to take some selfies as you cross the bridge, this is one of the most iconic things to do in NYC.

You can also drive or cycle across the Brooklyn Bridge. Don't forget to stop by Canal Street in Chinatown on your way to or from the bridge for some great shopping and food. Canal Street joins SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown, so it is a culturally rich area.

9. Read a Book at New York Public Library

New York Public Library

If you're a book lover, the New York Public Library is a must-visit destination in Manhattan, New York City.

Located in Midtown Manhattan, this iconic library offers a serene and peaceful atmosphere for reading and studying.

The library has an impressive collection of books, including rare and historic volumes, and admission is free. Thus, this Manhattan attraction will save money on this trip.

Additionally, the New York Public Library hosts various cultural events throughout the year, making it an excellent spot to immerse yourself in the city's literary culture.

10. Be Amazed at the Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center

At the Rockefeller Center, you can experience a range of attractions and activities that make it a must-see destination in Manhattan, New York City.

From the Top of the Rock observation deck to the famous ice skating rink, there is something for everyone in the Rockefeller Center.

The Rockefeller Center is also home to NBC Studios and Radio City Music Hall, adding to its appeal as a cultural hub.

Whether you are looking for an ice skating rink, a TV studio tour, a show, or a popular meet-up location, the Rockefeller Center will not disappoint.

11. Shop at Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

For old-school shopping lovers, Chelsea Market is a bustling indoor market located in the heart of Manhattan's Meatpacking District, offering a unique shopping experience.

Here, in the Chelsea Market of the Chelsea Neighborhood, you can find a wide variety of artisanal food vendors, boutique shops, and one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

Whether you're a foodie looking to sample some of the city's best cuisine or a fashion enthusiast searching for the latest trends, Chelsea Market is the top destination in New York City.

12. Discover Metropolitan Museum

Metropolitan Museum

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, often referred to simply as The Met, is the largest museum in the Northern Hemisphere.

So, it is no surprise that the Metropolitan Museum of Art is home to an extensive collection of modern art and is the number one destination for art lovers visiting Manhattan, New York City.

The museum also offers a variety of educational programs and special exhibitions throughout the year, making the Metropolitan Museum of Art a great place to discover new artists and styles.

13. Catch a Ride at Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Terminal is a historic and iconic landmark in Manhattan, New York City that is an unavoidable destination for both locals and tourists.

This bustling transportation hub not only connects people to different parts of the country but also boasts stunning architecture and a rich history. The auditorium of the station is stunning and featured in many popular movies and TV shows.

As Grand Central Terminal is located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, you can easily explore nearby attractions such as the Chrysler Building, the New York Public Library, and Times Square.

So, explore the Grand Central Terminal's incredible main hall and immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of this New York City landmark.

14. Take a Boat to Liberty Island

Liberty Island

As a first-time tourist in Manhattan, New York City, taking a boat to Liberty Island is one of the most exciting things to do in Manhattan.

Located just off the southern tip of Manhattan, Liberty Island is home to the famous Statue of Liberty, which is recognized worldwide as a symbol of freedom and democracy.

The boat ride itself provides a breathtaking view of Manhattan's skyline and the harbor. Once you arrive on Liberty Island, you can take a guided tour of the statue and learn about its history and significance.

Liberty Island also offers stunning views of the city and the nearby Ellis Island, which served as a gateway for immigrants coming to the United States. Don't miss the chance to explore this iconic landmark and learn about America's history of freedom and diversity.

15. Sail to Ellis Island

Ellis Island

Board a ferry and sail to Ellis Island to explore the rich history of American immigration. 

Located in the New York Harbor, Ellis Island boasts a rich and significant history of people coming to America to live the American Dream.

Today, it is home to the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, which showcases the stories and artifacts of those who journeyed to America in search of a better life.

Don't miss the chance to learn about the diverse cultural heritage that shaped this nation.

16. Scout Whitney Museum

Whitney Museum

The Whitney Museum of American Art is a stunning museum that showcases an extensive collection of modern art located in New York City.

Located in the trendy Meatpacking District, the Whitney Museum offers an unforgettable experience for art lovers.

Once there, you can admire works from iconic artists such as Andy Warhol and Jackson Pollock, as well as emerging contemporary artists.

17. Stroll Along the Hudson River

Hudson River

The Hudson River offers a beautiful waterfront walkway that's perfect for a stroll in New York City.

While you're in the area, be sure to check out other nearby attractions like Little Island, Central Park, and the Empire State Building.

Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoying the picturesque views of the Hudson River can be a refreshing experience.

There are also plenty of parks and benches along the way where you can sit and relax for a while.

18. Enjoy Nature in Battery Park

Battery Park

Battery Park offers a tranquil oasis in the bustling Financial District. This waterfront park boasts magnificent views of the harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island.

Take a stroll through the 25-acre green space, enjoy the views, and recharge your batteries before continuing your adventures in the city that never sleeps.

On top of that, Battery Park is conveniently located near other popular attractions like the 9/11 Memorial and the One World Trade Center.

19. Relax at Bryant Park

Bryant Park

Bryant Park is a serene oasis in the bustling heart of Manhattan, New York City. Take a break from the busy streets to relax and enjoy the park's greenery, fountains, and ample seating.

In the summer months, the park hosts a variety of events and activities, including outdoor movies, yoga classes, and live music performances.

Bryant Park is located in Midtown Manhattan, just a short walk from other popular tourist attractions such as the New York Public Library and Times Square. It's the perfect place to unwind and recharge during a busy day of sightseeing in the city.

20. Visit Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim Museum

Designed by the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the Guggenheim Museum is one of the most popular attractions in Manhattan, New York City.

The building's iconic spiral design and unique architecture make it a standout landmark in the city's cultural landscape.

With its vast collection of modern art, visitors can explore a diverse range of art styles and movements.

Don't miss the opportunity to experience this architectural masterpiece and immerse yourself in the world of art at the Guggenheim Museum.

21. Walk the High Line

High Line

The High Line offers a unique perspective on the city's architecture and green spaces.

This elevated park known as the High Line was once a railroad track used by the New York Central Railroad, but now it's a beautiful pathway that takes you through various neighborhoods, including Chelsea and the Meatpacking District.

As you walk along the High Line, you can enjoy stunning New York City views of the Hudson River and nearby landmarks such as Central Park, Times Square, and the Empire State Building.

The High Line is a great way to get some fresh air and take in the city's sights from a different angle. Moreover, it is one of the fabulous free things to do in Manhattan.

22. Bring your Kids to the Central Park Zoo

Central Park Zoo

Bring your kids to the Central Park Zoo, where they can have a great time observing a variety of animals, from penguins to sea lions.

The zoo is located in the heart of Central Park and is a perfect place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of New York City.

In addition to the animals, there are fun activities for kids, such as the Tisch Children's Zoo, where they can interact with domestic animals.

23. Learn About History at Patrick's Cathedral

Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral is a stunning Gothic Revival cathedral located in Midtown Manhattan, just off Fifth Avenue.

St. Patrick's Cathedral is considered one of the most significant buildings in New York City, with a rich history that dates back to the 19th century. Visiting the church is one of the most historic things to do in Manhattan,

If you wish, you can take a guided tour around St. Patrick's Cathedral to learn about the architecture, art, and history of the place, as well as attend mass, if you are so inclined.

24. Find Chrysler Building

Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building is an iconic art deco skyscraper located in the heart of Manhattan, New York City. Standing at 1,046 feet tall, it was once the tallest building in the world.

The skyscraper is known for its unique architecture, including the distinctive eagle gargoyles on its corners.

Don't miss the opportunity to admire this historic building up close and take in the stunning views of the city skyline from the observation deck.

25. Enjoy the View of South Street Seaport

South Street Seaport

Close to the Brooklyn Bridge and the Staten Island ferry terminal, South Street Seaport offers a stunning view of the harbor and skyline.

With plenty of opportunities to snap memorable photos, a visit to this southern point of Manhattan is another of the great free things to do in Manhattan.

Visitors can also enjoy dining and shopping in the historic district, which features cobblestone streets and restored 19th-century buildings.

26. Shop Big Brands on Fifth Avenue

Fifth Avenue

Indulge in a high-end shopping spree on the luxurious Fifth Avenue, which is one of the most expensive shopping streets in the world.

This famous street is home to a variety of upscale boutiques and department stores, such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany.

Fifth Avenue is also near other popular Manhattan attractions such as the Theater District and Madison Square Park.

27. Get a Tour with New York Historical Society

New York Historical Society

The New York Historical Society offers fascinating tours that take visitors on a journey through the city's rich history.

With knowledgeable guides and engaging exhibits, this is an excellent way to learn about New York's past and gain a deeper understanding of its present.

28. Walk Around Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park

Nestled in the heart of Greenwich Village, Washington Square Park is a vibrant and picturesque destination.

Take a stroll around the park and admire its iconic arch, lush trees, and picturesque fountain. You'll also find street performers, musicians, and artists adding to the lively atmosphere.

Don't miss out on the chance to grab a bite to eat at one of the nearby cafes or restaurants, or to explore the many shops and boutiques in the area.

29. Have Lunch in Little Italy

Little Italy

Little Italy in Manhattan, New York City is a charming neighborhood where you can indulge in delicious Italian cuisine.

Take a stroll along Mulberry Street in Little Italy and soak in the sights and sounds of this historic district.

And after your meal in Little Italy, be sure to explore the nearby attractions like the bustling Chinatown or the beautiful architecture of the nearby Financial District.

30. Soak Up the View from the Top of the Empire State Building

Empire State Building

No visit to Manhattan, New York City, would be complete without a trip to the top of the Empire State Building.

This iconic Art Deco skyscraper is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions, offering breathtaking views of the city skyline from its observation deck on the 86th floor.

Take in panoramic views of the city's other famous tourist attractions, including Central Park and the Statue of Liberty, from above.

Plus, with multiple observation decks and exhibits, the Empire State Building offers a unique glimpse into the city's history and architecture.

31. Learn About Finance at Wall Street

Wall Street

Wall Street is the heart and the soul of finance and business in Manhattan. There are walking tours of this area so you can learn from an expert guide all about this vibrant part of the city.

As you walk down this iconic street in Lower Manhattan, you'll see the impressive office spaces of some of the world's most influential companies.

Don't forget to take a tour of the New York Stock Exchange and see where history is made every day.

32. Stroll Around Downtown Manhattan

Downtown Manhattan

Downtown Manhattan is a vibrant area that's well worth exploring, from the bright lights of Times Square to the historic Grand Central Station.

You can take in the stunning views of the Empire State Building or admire the magnificent architecture of Patrick's Cathedral.

If you're in the mood for a stroll, you can explore the streets and alleys that make up this bustling neighborhood. Otherwise, take a bus tour of Downtown Manhattan.

With its many shops, restaurants, and attractions, Downtown is an essential part of your trip and it is full of iconic things to do in Manhattan.

33. Take Memorable Photos at the Times Square

Times Square

Times Square is one of the most iconic destinations in Manhattan for any tourist. The bright lights, towering billboards, and energetic crowds create an exciting and unforgettable experience.

Make sure to bring your camera to Times Square to capture the lively atmosphere and take some memorable photos.

While you're in the Times Square area, consider visiting nearby attractions like the Empire State Building or strolling through the luxurious shops of Fifth Avenue.

No list of things to do in Manhattan would be complete without mention of Times Square.

FAQs About Fun Things to Do in Manhattan, NYC

Let's take a look at some frequently asked questions about things to do in Manhattan, NYC.

How do I spend a day in Manhattan, New York City?

You can spend a day in Manhattan visiting some of the most iconic Manhattan attractions. Some of the attractions you can see on a single-day trip include the Rockefeller Center, Madison Square Garden, Chelsea Market, Bryant Park, and Metropolitan Museum. With so many things to do in Manhattan, you will have a jam-packed day in the city.

How can I have fun in Manhattan, New York City?

You can have fun in Manhattan by exploring many outdoor activities in the city. Check out Bryant Park, or head to Lower Manhattan for Little Italy, Chelsea Market, and the High Line. There are so many fun things to do in Manhattan, it is hard to list them all.

What is Manhattan, New York City most known for?

Manhattan is most known for Central Park, Times Square, Grand Central Station, and Fifth Avenue. Manhattan is also home to countless hidden gems, such as Little Island, and off-the-beaten-path attractions that are sure to delight and surprise you. Another of the most iconic things to do in Manhattan is to visit The Met.

What do I do in Manhattan, New York City?

You can do a variety of things in Manhattan. From strolling along the picturesque Brooklyn Bridge Park to taking a ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the breathtaking views of the city skyline and the waterways that surround it. Keep a copy of this list of fun and unique things to do in Manhattan to help you plan your trip.

Summing Up: The Best Things to Do in Manhattan, NYC

New York City, also known as the Big Apple, is a vibrant and diverse metropolis that boasts endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.

From the fascinating exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History to the iconic Rockefeller Center and stunning art at the Metropolitan Museum, there's something for everyone in this city that never sleeps.

Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, there's always something new and exciting to discover in the city that never ceases to amaze you. So why wait? Come and explore all that New York City has to offer.