Top 10 New York Attractions

New York City. The Big Apple. Whatever name you call it, New York has something for everyone. It's hard to know what to see first. There is so much to see and do. This list of top 10 New York attractions is enough to start a trip to New York, but there is enough to fill any trip to New York, no matter how long the trip is. Whether you are an arts aficionado or simply have to shop or just want to take in the view, the city has something for everyone.

1. The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building

Located in midtown Manhattan and easily accessible bysubway, the Empire State Building is an iconic piece of the New York Cityskyline.  It has two observation decks;one on the 86nd floor, and one on the very top 102nd floor, whichallow for great views of the city.  TheEmpire State Building is open from 8 am – 2 am EST daily.  It's open all holidays and in inclementweather. 

            For adifferent perspective on New York, come in the snow; views of the city in thesnow can be just as breathtaking as a New York sunset.  The last elevator goes up at 1:15 am EST, butthe best time to visit is in the morning between 8 and 11 am, EST.  A saxophonist graces the building with musicThursday through Saturday evenings until 1 am. 

            Built in the early 1930's, theEmpire State Building has been featured in several films.  It was declared one of the greatestengineering achievements in American history in 1955 and was put on theNational Register of Historic Places in 1982. The Empire State Building is a New York City landmark, a major feat ofcivil engineering, and something every traveler to New York must see.

2. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibits art from around theglobe and all different time periods. The museum features both the main building and The Metropolitan Museumof Art at the Cloisters, which is a separate building devoted to medievalEuropean art.  Admission fees for the Metcover both the main building and same-week admission to the Cloisters.  It is open seven days a week. 

            In order toprotect the priceless art and artifacts the museum houses, there arelimitations on what guests can bring into the building.  No food or drink except bottled water areallowed inside the museum.  The use ofpens and markers is also prohibited, though pencils are permitted.  A full list of restrictions can be found onthe museum website. 

            To provideaccess to the widest range of people, the Met offers programming for people ofall abilities.  They offer programs in signlanguage and transcripts for audio guides for visitors with hearingdifficulties.  For visitors with visualimpairment, touch tours and workshops are available. 

            The museum is about three blocksaway from the subway and is easily accessible by bus or taxi.  The Cloisters is accessible by bus orcar.  The museum recommends that groupsmake reservations in advance.

3. Times Square

Times Square

All the bright lights, glitz, and glamour of New York arecentered in Times Square.  Larger thanlife billboards advertise the latest Broadway plays overhead while musiciansplay their hearts out on street level. This is the heart of New York. It's not a square; instead, its a major intersection in midtownManhattan.  Sometimes called the GreatWhite Way, Times Square acts as a center for the Theater and Commercialdistricts of Manhattan.  It is one of thebusiest pedestrian intersections; roughly 330,000 people pass through the areaon an average day, but more when the area is busy.  The glitter comes to life on New Year's Evein Times Square when the ball drops to ring in the new year, but Times Squareis full of life and glamour on a regular day. 

            The Broadway Tour, offered byWalkin' Broadway, zeroes in on Times Square's rich theater heritage.  There is tons of stuff to do in Times Square,from shopping to theater to food.  Timessquare has it all.  For those on abudget, the TKTS booth offers discounted tickets to Broadway shows.  There are dining options for all budgetrequirements as well.  The Times SquareAlliance is a great source of information and trip planning advice.

4. 9/11 Memorial and Museum

The National September 11 Memorial honors those who werekilled in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon aswell as the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania and the earlier attack in1993.  Their names are etched into bronzepanels that surround twin reflecting pools. More than 400 trees surround the Memorial pools, giving a sense ofrenewal to the place.  A clearing in thetrees provides a space for ceremonies and special occasions.

            A pear treestands in the grounds.  This particulartree, known as the Survivor Tree, was damaged in the attacks.  It was replanted and nourished under the careof the New York Parks and Recreation Department, who kept it alive.  It was returned to Ground Zero in 2010.  Seedlings from the tree are given tocommunities that have endured tragedy in recent years.

            The memorial and museum is easilyaccessible by several different means of transportation.  Subway, bus, ferry, taxi, and PATH are allconvenient.  It is open daily.  Museum hours are from 9 am – 8 pm EST duringthe week, but Friday and Saturday the closing time is 9 pm EST.  Memorial hours are 7:30 am – 9 pm EST.

5. Statue of Liberty

Visitng Lady Liberty requires a reservation.  The National Park Service strongly recommendsmaking reservations in advance to avoid long wait lines at the ticketcounter.  Some Statue of Liberty experiences,like visits to the crown and pedestal, can only be booked in advance.  Crown tickets are often booked six months inadvance.  There are no elevators insidethe statue, so visitors wishing to book tickets to the Crown must be sure theyare physically able to climb a staircase inside a confined space to the top ofthe statue.  There is a museum in thepedestal level of the statue detailing the history and construction of LadyLiberty among other topics. 

            It ispossible to visit Liberty Island with a Grounds Only ticket; it's the mostwidely distributed ticket.  There is plentyto do in the grounds alone.  For example,park ranger guided tours are included with the cost of the ticket.  A ferry ticket includes access to EllisIsland, the point of arrival for millions of immigrants to the UnitedStates.  The museum there discussesimmigration and its history in America. To do both Ellis and Liberty Islands in the same day, an early ferrydeparture is recommended.

6. Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art highlights the best of modernart.  It was founded to challenge theconservative policies of older museums and devote itself to modern art.  The museum aims to educate visitors on modernart from a historical perspective as well as highlighting new artists.

            The Museum of Modern art is opendaily, 10:30 – 5:30 EST, with extended hours on Friday evenings.  Admission includes all special exhibitions,talks, gallery talks, and films (films do require a separate screening ticket,but the price is included).  Film ticketscan be purchased separately from MoMA admission; tickets go on sale two weeksbefore showings start.  For visitors withaccessibility concerns, MoMA offers audio tours.  Sign language interpretation is availablewith at least two weeks notice.  Largeprint transcripts of all audio programs are also available.  Located in midtown Manhattan, the museum iseasily accessible by subway or bus.  Thisworld-class museum is great for art aficionados or for people whow just want tolearn a little more about art.  Everyvisitor through the museum is sure to have an unforgettable experience.

7. Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden is probably the world's most famousarena.  It transforms from a basketballarena to a concert stage on a regular basis, but turns around to host hockeygames and other sporting events.  Thismulti-purpose arena takes up two city blocks and is located on top of PennStation on 7th Avenue between 31st and 33rdStreets.    The massive arena hosts majorconcerts and sporting events.  It is thefourth Madison Square Garden to bear the name; the original was located inMadison Square.  Although this one is notlocated in Madison Square, this arena bears the name with pride.  

            For persons with accessibilityconcerns, Madison Square Gardens has handicapped seating available through theirDisabled Services Department.  It is open9:30 – 4:30 EST.  Companion tickets areavailable, provided seats are available. Additional seating may be purchased as close to the handicapped seatingarea as possible.  Wheelchairs may beprovided for guests with limited mobility in order for the guest to be able toreach his or her seat.  Assistance onsite can be obtained by asking a security officer.

8. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Built in the late 1950's and 1960s as part of the Renewal projectfor Lincoln Square, the Lincoln Center of the Performing Arts brings the artsto life.  Known for hosting thousands ofevents annually from its Upper West Side location, the Lincoln Center stagesevents in all of the performing arts. Performances range from music to dance to drama and feature some of thefinest artists in the world.

            The LincolnCenter is more than a concert hall.  TheCenter is a performing arts complex.  Ithas venues for film, jazz, dance:  allthe performing arts.  It is home to thefinest arts organizations in America, including the Metropolitan Opera and theNew York City Ballet.  It was one of thefirst arts centers in the country to be wheelchair accessible and includehandicapped seating in the restrooms.

            Guidedtours of the Lincoln Center are available . They depart from the David P. Rubenstein Atrium, located on Broadwaybetween 62nd and 63rd Streets.  All tours are walking tours and last about 75minutes.  Ticket prices are available onthe website or by calling the Lincoln Center.  

9. Central Park

Central Park is the first public park in America.  Designed in the 19th Century, thepark was declared a scenic landmark in 1974 and underwent a major restorationstarting in 1980.  Central Park hasseveral visitor centers that offer information to the public about the parkitself and park events. 

            The parkfeatures beautiful scenery and idyllic spots for photography or quietconversation.  The Shakespeare Gardenfeatures plants mentioned his works and statuary with quotes from theBard.  Cross-country skiing and iceskating are popular winter activities. Horse-drawn carriages are available for hire in Central Park South.  The Central Park Zoo is a fun activity forthe whole family.  A small zoo located inmid-park, the Zoo features animals from around the world.  A petting zoo for children is locatednearby.  No matter what kind of traveleryou are, there is something in Central Park that will allure you.  From beautiful scenery to adventure andactivity, this refuge of nature has something for everyone.

10. Brooklyn Bridge

Connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge is a5,989 feet long cable suspension bridge. Construction began on the bridge in 1869 and was a difficultprocess.  Construction required thebridge foundations to reach the bedrock of the East River, so the bottom of theriver had to be excavated.  Theengineering marvel of the Brooklyn Bridge started from that moment. 

            Bothpedestrians and vehicles travel across it, but buses and other large vehiclesmust find another way across.  Thepedestrian walkway is just over a mile in length.  Bicycles are also permitted.

            On theBrooklyn side, there are several things to do. Brooklyn Bridge Park is an 85-acre rediscovery of New York's Brooklyn waterfront.  A renewal of previously deterioratedindustrial space, the park is a stunning, lush green space best accessible bysubway, bus, or ferry.  Whether you startin Manhattan or Brooklyn, the Brooklyn bridge guarantees great views of thecity and wonderful photogrphic opportunities, especially if you start inBrooklyn and walk toward Manhattan. 

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