Best things to do in New York City (as a tourist)

From family-friendly attractions to seminal cultural excursions, there's something for everybody in this world-famous metropolis. 

The bustling Big Apple is full of iconic landmarks, cultural phenomenons, and some of the best eateries in the country. With so much going on, it can be tricky to know what the best excursions are in New York City.

If you’re short on time, why not drop off your belongings at an NYC luggage storage spot, and then check out some of the city’s top sights? 

New York City
New York City

Swing by the iconic Statue of Liberty

No trip to the Big Apple would be complete without stopping by the Statue of Liberty. This New York icon stands over 150 feet tall and was given to the U.S. by France in the late 19th century as a symbol of American freedom and liberty. 

Millions of visitors flock to Lady Liberty every year, and one of the most popular ways of seeing the statue is by booking a cruise down the serene Hudson River.

If you fancy a closer look, you can hitch a ride to Liberty Island and scale the 377 steps to the top of the statue’s crown, which affords stunning vistas of the Hudson River and the New York City skyline. 

Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty

Snap a selfie atop the Empire State Building

Speaking of breathtaking views, anybody looking to see New York City from high above the busy streets should plan a trip to the Empire State Building. Standing at over 1,400 feet tall, this world-famous landmark features

observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floor

, where you can enjoy sweeping panoramas of the Big Apple. 

If you’re craving a bite to eat in a unique setting, there are several restaurants in the Empire State Building, including the State Bar and Grill, which offers high-class dining on the 33rd floor. 

Things to do in New York City
Things to do in New York City

Soak up the sunshine at Central Park

A superb way to have a cheap day out in New York City is by spending the day at Central Park. One of the most famous parks in the U.S., Central Park covers over 800 acres of verdant meadows, thickets, and tranquil lakes at the heart of New York City. Central Park is a superb spot for families, with over 20 unique playparks to enjoy. If you’re feeling romantic, book a horse and carriage ride through the park for you and that special someone. 

Central Park
Central Park

See the cultural wonders on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York City contains tons of impressive museums, making it difficult to choose the best one to visit. However, any art lover will want to make sure they peruse the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met is one of the best and biggest art museums in the world, with over 5,000 years of art history on display. 

Works by some of the biggest names in art are on show at The Met, including paintings by the likes of Renoir, Seurat, and Picasso. With thousands of incredible pieces in the museum’s collections, it’s easy to see why The Met is one of the most visited galleries in the world. 

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Revel in family fun in Coney Island

Coney Island is perfect if you’re looking for some family fun. Overlooking Lower New York Bay, Coney Island boasts a boardwalk packed with amusement rides, outdoor eateries, and sandy beaches where you can top up your tan. 

Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park is sure to please your little ones, with dozens of thrilling rides to try out, including rollercoasters, carousels, and the renowned Wonder Wheel. 

Coney Island is also home to some intriguing cultural delights, like the historic Coney Island Circus Sideshow and the Coney Art Walls, which boasts of some of the best street art in New York City.

Things to do in New York City - Coney Island New York City
Coney Island

Marvel at exotic critters at the Bronx Zoo

Another idyllic day out for families in New York City is at the Bronx Zoo. This zoo is one of the biggest in the U.S., with thousands of adorable and endangered creatures on show from across the globe, including snow leopards, red pandas, and African wild dogs. 

As well as some fascinating animals, the Bronx Zoo features a few unique rides, including a bug-themed carousel and a zoo shuttle. If you fancy a once-in-a-lifetime experience,

book an animal encounter

and come face-to-face with cheetahs, toss fish to penguins, and hold adorable fennec foxes.

Bronx Zoo
Bronx Zoo

Step into the limelight at Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center is a must-visit for anybody looking to spot famous faces and see some locations featured on the silver screen. Consisting of over a dozen commercial buildings, tourists will love the incredible views from the

Top of the Rock Observation Deck

, or skating around The Rink at Rockefeller Center, one of the world’s best-known ice-skating rinks. 

There are also some excellent tours to take in Rockefeller Center, like the

Radio City Music Hall Tour

and the

NBC Studios Tour

. On the Radio City Music Hall Tour, you’ll have behind-the-scenes access to the home of the Rockettes. At the same time, the NBC Studio tour lets you see the inner workings of some of your favorite television shows, including Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show.

Things to do in New York City - Rockefeller Center New York City
Rockefeller Center

Grab a bite to eat at Katz’s Delicatessen

The Big Apple is home a multitude of restaurants sure to tantalize your tastebuds. One of the best eateries for a casual lunch is Katz’s Delicatessen. This historic deli was founded in 1888 and has been a New York staple ever since. This classic restaurant is famous for its loaded Rueben sandwiches and mouthwatering traditional Jewish cuisine. 

While there are a plethora of delis in New York City, none compare to the famous sandwiches and tasty treats on offer at Katz’s. 

Things to do in New York City - Katz's Delicatessen New York City
Katz’s Delicatessen