New York is one city that is surely on the bucket list of any travel blogger, being home to some of the most famous cultural landmarks worldwide.
Landmarks such as the Empire State Building and the Statue Of Liberty are all part of the natural history of New York City. The Big Apple as NYC is also referred to as one of the best skylines and is home to many other side attractions.
NYC offers lots of activities to do, with a ton of places to visit. You can take some of the best pictures with a million Instagram likes guaranteed for any visitor. A New York bucket list could be hard to draft, but you cannot leave out a Staten Island Ferry cruise or a visit to Central Park. Your bucket list will be pretty long, with many places of interest vying for a final shortlist.
This piece was specially written for anyone coming to NYC for the first, second, and even hundredth time, as you can’t get enough of its skyline views while enjoying cookies and some ice cream. Being a tourist attraction for years to come, it is only right that we did an NYC bucket list article for our readers.
The ultimate NYC bucket list wasn’t going to be easy to compile in just a few words. We did our best to put in the details, so even a first time visitor can capture as much scenery as the United States financial capital has to offer. New York is one city that never runs out of delights, whether in the daytime or night time.
Want to see what our ultimate NYC bucket list looks like? Get a pen, a sheet of paper, and some coffee to jot down these places of interest, and update your bucket list next time you find yourself in New York City.
- 1 The Ultimate NYC Bucket List For Visitors
- 1.1 1.Visit the Empire State Building
- 1.2 2.Check Out The Statue Of Liberty
- 1.3 3.Experience Bright Lights And Billboards At Times Square
- 1.4 4.Be a Visitor At The One World Trade Center
- 1.5 5.Experience Serenity At Central Park
- 1.6 6.Done With Central Park? Head Over To Brooklyn Bridge Park
- 1.7 7.Check Out The Rockefeller Center
- 1.8 8.Take A Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge
- 1.9 9.Explore The New York City Museum Of Modern Art
- 1.10 10.Discover Prehistoric Roots At The American Museum Of Natural History
- 1.11 11 . Fan of Art? The Metropolitan Museum of Art Has You Covered
- 1.12 12.Ellis Island
- 1.13 13.Staten Island
- 1.14 14.Bateaux New York
- 1.15 15.Pick A State Park To Go See
- 1.16 16.See The Grand Central Terminal
- 1.17 17.Immerse Yourself In Views At The One World Observatory
- 1.18 18.High Line Public Park
- 1.19 19.9 11 Memorial Museum
- 1.20 20.Little Italy
- 1.21 21.Theatrical Performances At Broadway
- 1.22 22.Brighton Beach
- 1.23 23.Prospect Park
- 1.24 24.Bryant Park
The Ultimate NYC Bucket List For Visitors
The Big Apple is home to Manhattan, with skyline views like no other with different points offering stunning views of one of the best skylines in the United States. NYC takes creatives into account with countless live music bars and the American Museum of Natural History. Check out top neighborhood to live in manhattan.
New York has a lot to offer tourists, from some of the most visited museums in the world to iconic Hollywood scenes (you’ll see that later) and observatory points to take in high lie views, which the city has. Manhattan is a favorite destination with more attractions than you could imagine.
We have done all the research there is to do and have compiled a list of places of interest which are a must for an A grade bucket list in New York City.
Here’s our recommended bucket list for tourists heading to New York City all year round. Make sure to tick off as many as possible.
1.Visit the Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is one of the most famous attractions for anyone visiting New York for the first time and even return visitors.
The Empire State Building is part of the natural history of New York and was once the world’s tallest building until the World Trade Center was built in 1970.
The Empire State Building offers everything from a dazzling view of city sights such as Times Square and Central Park, to its observatory on the 86th floor. There is also a museum situated on the second floor, which attracts over five million visitors each year.
The Empire State Building also finds use as an office and retail space, with companies like LinkedIn having office space there. There is also a suite of rooms available at the Empire State building, although it is unknown if one can lodge there.
Here is a fun fact about the Empire State Building; Even though it is located within Manhattan’s zip code, 10001, the Empire State Building has its separate zip code: 10118. Talk about a city within New York City.
2.Check Out The Statue Of Liberty
NYC is where the symbolic Statue Of Liberty is located. Another monument that makes up part of the United States’ natural history, the Statue of Liberty, dates back to the 18th century.
First-time visitors to New York have the option to get a better view of the Statue Of Liberty through a boat ride. Most tourists also opt to visit Ellis Island, located at the Hudson River’s mouth. Take out time to visit the Statue of Liberty Museum for more information on the history of the statue and other facts.
Located on Liberty Island, Manhattan, visiting the Statue of Liberty is definitely one of the things to do for any visitor heading to NYC. Definitely a site where one would want to take a picture for an Instagram post.
Some fun facts about the Statue Of Liberty are that she wears a size 879 shoe, weighs about 225 tonnes, and nobody is allowed in the torch.
3.Experience Bright Lights And Billboards At Times Square
Times Square is among the busiest intersections in New York City and the world.
Located in Manhattan and home to many billboards, Times Square is one of the best advertising spaces in the world. Times Square was renamed in 1904 and was formerly known as Longacre Square.
Times Square has been described as a mix of work and play by many. Save for the billboards; there are many retail stores and restaurants to explore when you are less busy at Times Square. There are also painters, guitarists, cosplay artists, and other creatives around Times Square to keep the place lively.
With a dazzling view at night, Times Square remains a major attraction in New York City. Everything from being a major bus stop to the Times Square Jumbotron and the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop continues to make this place one of the busiest attractions in modern-day New York.
In fact, Times Square has been referred to as the ”Crossroads of The World”, among other names. Times Square is said to generate foot traffic of over three hundred and forty thousand people every day!
4.Be a Visitor At The One World Trade Center
The One World Trade Center was constructed in 1971 and is one of the tallest buildings in New York, at 541 meters.
This building is the major arm of the two buildings that make up the reconstructed World Trade Center in New York City that was destroyed on September 11th, 2001.
For people who are more accustomed to heights, this will surely be one of the places of interest to visit in Manhattan. This is actually the tallest building in the United States and the sixth tallest worldwide. With one hundred and ten floors, brace yourself for a thrilling view of the city once you make it to the last floor.
Here is one fact about this building. Its height in feet is 1,776 and directly references the year of independence of the United States of America.
5.Experience Serenity At Central Park
Central Park is one of America’s historical landmarks and is said to be the inspiration for a lot of other parks in existence today.
Central Park is also said to draw its design inspiration from Birkenhead Park. Central Park is situated between the West and East side of Manhattan and is accessible by various means of transportation such as trains and metropolitan buses.
Central Park is more than just a park for the average New York City resident. Central Park plays host to a lot of picnics and romantic outings with your better half. Spanning eight hundred and forty-three acres, Central Park is filled with lots of attractions for kids and adults. These include the Central Park Zoo, the Strawberry Fields, and a lot more to mention.
Central Park has everything to keep you occupied irrespective of what season it is, including winter. Wollman Skating Rink remains one of the best spots for ice skating among New York City residents and Americans.
Here is a fun fact about Central Park; Central Park is the most filmed movie locations globally, with movies like Avengers having scenes shot there.
6.Done With Central Park? Head Over To Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park is another favorite park for NYC residents to cool off in the summer. Spread over eighty-five acres and located on the side with Brooklyn near the East River in New York City, this park has many portions or piers, as they are called.
There is Pier 1 to Pier 6, Main Street, and the Empire-Fulton Ferry. Some guides are available to give visitors on location tours across the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Dumbo, and Dyker Heights, among other side attractions.
Regarded as one of the best parks in New York City for its amazing scenery and views the city has to offer, you can spot the Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue Of Liberty from the park.
Next time you find yourself in the Big Apple, be sure to walk around the park, take some pictures and revisit it when hopefully, you come to New York again.
7.Check Out The Rockefeller Center
The Rockefeller Center is regarded as a cultural landmark spanning 22 acres and is located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Now a commercial complex covering 22 acres and comprising nineteen buildings solely for commercial use, the center has lived up to its purpose imagined by its founder, the late J.D Rockefeller.
The Rockefeller Center offers a great walk around experience with sculptures depicting science, philosophy, and large art murals for a thrilling aesthetic effect like no other. Make sure you go up to the 70th floor to experience The Observation Deck. Here you will get a view of everything within the New York City skyline plus Lower Manhattan.
This is also the site where most of your favorite shows are filmed for those who did not know. The Radio City Music Hall is located within the building too.
There is also the Rockefeller Plaza, where you can grab some rest after exploring the beauty and details of this commercial hub. Fine dining is not too far from here, as you can grab a bite of a New York pastrami sandwich, steaks, and culinary delights.
If you are a fan of jewelry, check out Tous for pieces that may interest you. After a day filled with observing, eating, and pictures, the Rockefeller Center is guaranteed to leave an impression on you.
Fun fact; each year, a Christmas Tree about 75 feet in height, 45 feet wide, and 11 tonnes in weight is lit here each Christmas.
8.Take A Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge
Constructed across the East River, the Brooklyn Bridge offers a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline. This bridge has its origins in 1883 to transport commuters to and from Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn.
The bridge has two entrances, with one end located at Manhattan, and another at Brooklyn. The iconic Brooklyn Bridge is now more than a century old, with details such as its steel cables being one of the most recognizable in Hollywood and the world.
Brooklyn Bridge is over a mile long, and tourists can access this symbolic landmark through various train routes. Visitors and New York City residents often
jog and cycle on the bridge, but it is advised against due to collision with pedestrians.
Visitors to New York City hoping to get a greater feel of the Brooklyn Bridge should be looking at any time before the sun rises, and people come out in their droves.
Fun fact about Brooklyn Bridge: one of America’s greatest showmen P.T Barnum, led a display of twenty-one elephants across to show that the bridge was firm and stable enough to handle passage.
9.Explore The New York City Museum Of Modern Art
The NYC Museum of Modern Art is located in Midtown Manhattan and is one of the largest existing collectors of modern art today. The Museum Of Modern Art also plays host to artworks from contemporary artists from the 18th century down to the 1900s.
The Museum of Modern Art is one of the best among many museums in Manhattan, New York, for art lovers coming to NYC to visit. Visitors come in all year round to see sculptures, the famous gallery garden, and art murals.
Being home to many artworks, there are some must-see pieces at this museum in Manhattan. Some of such pieces include The Bather by Paul Cezanne, The Starry
Night By Vincent Van Gogh, and the Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali. Although there are more pieces, you’re going to have to visit NYC and see for yourself.
Other museums of interest in Manhattan, New York include the 9 11 Memorial Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ellis Island Immigration Museum, and the American Museum of National History, to name a few.
This is one museum that should be on your bucket list when coming to New York.
10.Discover Prehistoric Roots At The American Museum Of Natural History
Also known as the American Museum of Natural History sits on the Upper Westside of Manhattan and is made up of twenty-eight interconnected buildings, forty-five halls filled with exhibits, a library, and the Hayden Planetarium. Judging by its gargantuan structure, it is one of the largest natural history museums in NYC.
Being one of the largest natural history museums in the world means a lot of exhibits on display. Feel free to visit any of the various halls to have a feel prehistoric life human evolution.
The museum also has some must-see exhibits which you cannot possibly miss. There is the Great Blue Whale, the Dimetrodon skeleton ), and Lucy, who happens to be one of the most intact skeletons of hominids found.
The Museum of Natural History attracts over five million visitors all year round, and you should definitely add this to your bucket list when next you visit New York City.
11 . Fan of Art? The Metropolitan Museum of Art Has You Covered
Another top museum in Manhattan is the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which exhibits everything from diverse cultural pieces to prehistoric paintings and modern day works. Also known as the Met, this storehouse of art and culture sits on more than two million square feet and boasts over two million works on display.
Playing host to more than five million visitors in 2019 and a large collection of art, the museum has its own share of reputable paintings. These include The Death of Socrates, The Denial of Saint Peter, Lamassu, and Venus Italica.
There are more than ten sections to explore, each containing artwork and artifacts linked to each section. There is Modern and Contemporary Art, Medieval Art, Egyptian Art, and many others.
This museum is absolutely worth visiting and adding to your bucket list for anyone paying a visit to New York, especially Manhattan.
Ellis Island is an island owned by the government that once served as the busiest inspection point for immigrants. Ellis Island has been incorporated as part of the Statue of Liberty monument and is accessible to the public through ferry.
Ellis Island is affiliated with the National Immigration Museum and is home to pictures and detailed historical records of immigrants. There is the Family History Center, where you can trace your roots.
Ellis Island offers a one-of-a-kind experience for tourists who have mixed roots. It is always open to the public and will always remain relevant to America’s history.
Staten Island is located in the New York Harbor on the South of Manhattan and is also considered a borough. The island is home to about half a million people and transports more than 20 million people annually across Saint George and Whitehall Street in Lower Manhattan.
The Staten Island ferry is the most reliable transportation means for New York City residents moving from Staten Island to Manhattan. Staten Island is the smallest of the five boroughs of New York and is often referred to as the ”forgotten borough”.
A cruise on the Staten Island ferry is a must for anyone traveling to NYC for vacation or just plain sightseeing.
14.Bateaux New York
Bateaux New York offers more than just a boat cruise experience. The Bateaux promises an exceptional dining experience with the finest wines, intercontinental delights, desserts, and appetizers for those onboard.
Taking off from Chelsea-Piers in Manhattan, the Bateaux cruise takes its route along the New York Harbor with views of the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge. The cruise starts at one hundred and fifty dollars.
The boats used in the cruise are entirely shielded with glass for better ambiance, while you are treated to live bands, champagne, and cocktails.
If a boat ride or a cruise was not on your bucket list before, here is your chance to update it. It’s only right that you experience the calm breeze and sea waves with many other things NYC treats its visitors to.
15.Pick A State Park To Go See
New York is home to many state parks such as the Amherst State Park and the Allegany State Park. However, the largest is the Adirondack Park and Catskill Park.
With more than ten parks to choose from, tourists would find it hard to settle for which to visit. Niagara Falls State Park offers dazzling scenery, mile long hiking trails, and attraction such as the Maid of Mist and the Niagara Falls Observation Tower.
Long Island also has a load of state parks like Bethpage State Park, Hallock State Park Reserve, and a lot more worth visiting. State parks also provide some of the best spots for hiking and holding picnics.
NYC is guaranteed to sweep you off your feet when it comes to parks and outdoor leisure. Try visiting one when next you go to New York for vacation.
16.See The Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal is one of the most popular rail terminals for commuters located in Midtown Manhattan in New York City. Also known as Grand Central, this terminal serves commuters plying the Northern part of the New York metropolitan area.
Being the third busiest train station in North America, the terminal is estimated to receive over 750,000 visitors per day. Grand Central was also named one of the most visited tourist attractions in 2018, with over 22 million visitors.
Like most of the other places on this bucket list, Grand Central has its own fair share of attractions. The prevalent ones would be the Information Booth Clock, The Whispering Gallery, and the Grand Central Market, which has over 10,000 visitors daily.
Here is a fun fact about Gran Central Terminal; there is a clock in the main concourse valued at almost 20 million USD.
17.Immerse Yourself In Views At The One World Observatory
The One World Observatory is situated in Downtown Manhattan, with its entrance on West Street. Often said to give an unforgettable experience from above, the One World Observatory is one of the best spots to get a stunning view of NYC and its numerous skyscrapers.
With high-speed Sky Pod elevators capable of going over 1250 feet in a minute, the One World Observatory treats its visitors to an unforgettable experience. From the Global Welcome Center to the Horizon Grid, there are also restaurants offering in-house dining.
A breathtaking view of New York from the tallest skyscraper in the city would be among the things to add to a bucket list, plus a picture here would make you feel on top of the world.
18.High Line Public Park
The High Line is a public park created on the west side of Manhattan, New York City, and was constructed on a freight rail line. High Line public park has been a top tourist attraction, with over eight million visitors annually in 2019.
There are many things to see at the High Line Public Park from the beginning of the 1.45-mile walk to the end. The Whitney Museum Of American Art, The Chelsea Market, and The Amphitheater are a few must-sees at this new and exciting park.
Here’s a fun fact: the rail where the High Line Public Park was once known as Death Avenue due to the number of casualties. Not to worry, it is now safe for tourists and shrouded in flowers to create some of the best natural scenery New York has to offer,
19.9 11 Memorial Museum
This museum is a part of the World Trade Center and tells the story of the bombings through real artifacts and media from the events in which 2,997 lives were lost. The 9 11 memorial museum also commemorates those killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.
The 9 11 memorial museum holds memories of loss, denial, and hope for the deceased’s loved ones. The museum has the Survivor Tree, a symbol of hope, and the Memorial Glade in honor of first responders and medics who lost their lives in the line of duty.
The 9 11 memorial museum holds mostly negative memories, although visitors are allowed to pay tribute to lives lost in the worst terrorist attack seen by the United States of America. There are also expert guides who give on location tours for a better experience.
Located in Lower Manhattan, Little Italy is a neighborhood known for its large number of Italian immigrants in the late 19th and 20th centuries. With the move of Italians to this neighborhood came their customs, foods, and festivals.
It is not uncommon to see pizzerias and shops serving espressos here, with chequered red and white tablecloths. Even though this area once known for its brimming Italian population has been reduced from fifty blocks to three, Italians’ cultures and traditions remain visible.
A visit to The Center for Italian and Modern Art promises a great experience for Italian art lovers. You cannot afford to miss the Festival of San Gennaro, which features a mix of American and Italian customs and cultures. The Festival Of San Gennaro is held on Mulberry Street and runs for eleven days every September.
Italian visitors looking to get a feel of home should add Little Italy to their bucket list of places on their next visit to NYC. Not just Italians, but anyone who would like to experience the Italian culture.
21.Theatrical Performances At Broadway
Also known as Broadway Theater, the performances given in the 41 theaters situated in Midtown Manhattan have created a reputation for Broadway as a tourist attraction.
Broadway shows have been dubbed by many as the best representation of live theater on a commercial scale.
A Broadway show could be a musical, play, or drama, with some popular shows being The Lion King and The Phantom of The Opera. Broadway has also given New York the title of ”the culture capital of the world”.
For the love of drama and musicals, seeing a Broadway show is worth adding to your bucket list. Considering an almost 15 million attendance for the 2018/2019 season, a Broadway show sounds like a must-see for any tourist.
Brighton Beach is home to several public parks in the Brooklyn borough of NYC. It is a popular spot for New Yorkers to hang out in the summer, as its beaches are located along the Atlantic Ocean. It is also close to a lot of the amusement parks in Coney Island.
This beach is home to public parks like the Century Playground and the Coney Island Boardwalk and Beach. There are the Brighton Center and The Brighton Music Hall, which are nearby attractions when done at the beach.
Brighton Beach promises a great experience for those coming to New York in the summer. Be sure to grab your suntan, swimsuits, and sunglasses.
Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s major park and is located in the midst of many other structures such as Park Slope and Windsor Terrace.
With an ice rink and other recreational facilities, Prospect Park has more than five million annual visitors. Side attractions include the Carousel, Prospect Park Zoo, and The Lefferts Historic House. Also check out the any candy store among the numerous stores to get treats for the kids.
Any tourist heading to NYC with the kids should explore Prospect Park. One fun fact about Brooklyn’s top park is that it houses over fifty butterfly species, with more than 30,000 trees in the park.
Referred to as the ”Town Square of Manhattan”, Bryant Park is bustling with amenities and many things to do while you pass the time.
There is the Le Carrousel, an ice skating rink, and the Bank of America Winter Village. There are also many candy stores and shops littered around the park, with gifts for the holiday season.
With over 12 million visitors annually, Bryant Park remains one of the most recommended parks to visit in New York.
Those are our places of interest, which should be on the bucket list of anyone planning a visit to NYC anytime. You could add some bonus points such as the Standing Room Comedy Club, bicycle-sharing via Citi Bike, and the Andrew Carnegie Museum in the upper east side of New York.
New York remains one of the most visited cities globally, with visitors trooping into the Big Apple all year-round. December is definitely going to have a massive turnout as friends and families go to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, and fly kites at public parks, while lodging at an affordable boutique hotel.
Be sure to tick off all points on our specially curated New York bucket list, as you have a wonderful Christmas.
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