Home Featured Destinations A Tourist's Guide to New York City

A Tourist's Guide to New York City

by Timothy Kotowski
The Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island in New York, New York.

The Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island in New York, New York. Stock photo via Envato Elements.

New York City is a vibrant and exciting metropolis that offers something for everyone. From the hustle and bustle of Times Square to the placid Hudson River waterfront, there’s never a shortage of things to do and see in this multifaceted city.

The focus of this guide is on some of the city’s most notable museums, parks, and monuments. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or just looking for a peaceful escape from the the busy city, New York has something for you. We’ll take a closer look at some of the city’s most popular attractions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty. Grab your walking shoes and let’s explore!

New York City Monuments:

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic symbols of New York City and a must-see for any visitor to the city. Located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, the statue was a gift from the people of France to the United States. Dedicated in 1886 and standing at 305 feet tall, the statue is a testament to the principles of freedom and democracy that have long defined America.

Visitors to the statue can take a ferry from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan to Liberty Island, where they can explore the statue up close and learn about its history and significance. The ferry ride provides stunning views of the statue and the surrounding harbor, and the island itself is a peaceful oasis amid the bustling city.

At the base of the statue, visitors can explore the museum, which offers interactive exhibits and displays about the statue’s history and symbolism. From the pedestal, which can be reached via a staircase, there are breathtaking views of the harbor and the city skyline. For those who are up for the challenge, the crown of the statue can be reached via a winding staircase, offering the best views of all.

National September 11 Memorial & Museum

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum, located at the site of the former World Trade Center, is a powerful and moving tribute to the victims of the 9/11 attacks. The memorial consists of two large pools, each surrounded by a grove of trees that sit in the footprints of the former Twin Towers. The names of the nearly 3,000 victims are inscribed on the bronze panels that line the pools, and the waterfalls that cascade down the sides of the pools serve as a constant reminder of the lives lost on that fateful day.

A young woman at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City.

A young woman at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City.

Visitors to the memorial can take a self-guided tour, or join a guided tour led by trained volunteers who are 9/11 survivors, family members of those were lost, as well as rescue and recovery workers.

The 9/11 Museum, located beneath the memorial, offers a more in-depth exploration of the attacks and their aftermath. The museum features a wide range of exhibits, including artifacts from the site, personal stories of the victims, and interactive displays that provide a glimpse into the lives of those who were lost.

African Burial Ground National Monument

The African Burial Ground National Monument, located in Lower Manhattan, is a tribute to the estimated 15,000 enslaved and free Africans who were buried here between the 1600s and 1800s. The site was rediscovered in 1991 during the construction of a federal office building, and, in 1993, it was designated as a National Historic Landmark.

The monument consists of a six-acre park and a memorial that features a large granite circle with the names of the known African burial sites across the United States inscribed on it. The park also includes sculptures and other artwork that honor the memory of the Africans who were buried at the site.

Visitors to the monument can take a self-guided tour, or join a guided tour led by a National Park Service ranger. The tours provide a deeper understanding of the history and significance of the burial ground, and the ongoing efforts to preserve and honor the memory of those who were buried there.

New York City Museums:

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to New York City. Located in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the museum houses a vast collection of artwork from all over the world, spanning centuries of history. From ancient Egyptian artifacts to modern works of art, “The Met” offers something for everyone. It houses works from some of the great 19th and 20th century painters, including Cézanne and Monet. The museum also features a variety of special exhibitions throughout the year, featuring both permanent and visiting collections.

The American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History is another must-see when visiting New York City. Located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the museum offers visitors a chance to explore the wonders of the natural world. The museum houses collections of fossils, mammals, insects, birds, and more. The museum also features a wide variety of special exhibitions, including the popular Hayden Planetarium.

The Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art is another popular destination in New York City. Located in Midtown Manhattan, the museum houses a collection of modern and contemporary art. The museum’s collection includes works by some of the most famous artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, such as Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Jackson Pollock. The museum also features a variety of special exhibitions, focusing on topics such as fashion, photography, and design.

New York City Skyscrapers:

The Empire State Building

View of the Empire State Building in New York City.

View of the Empire State Building in New York City. Stock photo via Envato Elements.

The Empire State Building is probably the most iconic building in New York City. Standing at 1,454 feet tall, the building was the tallest in the world when it was completed in 1931, and it remained the tallest building in the world until 1970. Located on Fifth Avenue and 34th Street, the building has 102 floors and is a popular tourist attraction, with the observation deck on the 86th floor offering stunning views of the city. The building’s Art Deco style, with its iconic spire and illuminated crown at its top, has made it one of the most recognizable buildings in the world.

Chrysler Building

Another iconic building in New York City is the Chrysler Building. Completed in 1930, the building was the tallest in the world for a brief period of time before being surpassed by the Empire State Building. Located on Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street, the building is 1,046 feet tall and has 77 floors. The building’s Art Deco style is distinctive, with its towering spire and the intricate decorations on its terracotta facade. The building’s lobby is also famous for its ornate decorations, with marble walls and floors, and lavash ceiling.

One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center is the tallest building in New York City, standing at a towering 1,776 feet tall. Located at the site of the former World Trade Center, this 104-story skyscraper was designed by David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and was completed in 2014. The building is the centerpiece of the new World Trade Center complex, which also includes the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and the Oculus transportation hub.

One World Trade Center is a symbol of resilience and determination, as it stands on the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The building’s height is a symbolic reference to the year 1776, when the United States declared its independence. The building’s design is modern and sleek, with a glass-and-steel exterior that reflects the surrounding cityscape. The building is also environmentally friendly, featuring a sustainable design and a green roof.

The observation deck on the 100th floor offers breathtaking views of the city and beyond. Visitors can see the Statue of Liberty, the Hudson River, and the surrounding skyline from the observatory. The building also houses office space, retail stores, and a dining area.

Other Places of Interest:

Broadway

New York City is home to the world-famous Broadway theater district, where you can catch top-notch productions of some of the best plays and musicals in the world. Broadway theaters are located in the heart of the Theater District, just a short walk from Times Square.

Some of the most popular Broadway theaters include the Imperial Theater, the Shubert Theater, and the Lyceum Theater. On Broadway, you can see all kinds of hit plays and musicals, including notable productions like Jersey Boys, Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar and Cats.

Many Broadway theaters offer tours, where you can learn about the history and architecture of the buildings and see behind-the-scenes glimpses of the theaters. You can also often see shows at discounted prices by purchasing tickets at the TKTS booth in Times Square.

Fifth Avenue and SoHo Shopping Districts

One of the most popular destinations for tourists and locals alike is Fifth Avenue, known for its luxury boutiques and flagship stores. Located in Midtown Manhattan, this iconic street is home to some of the most exclusive shops in the world, including Tiffany & Co., Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bergdorf Goodman. Whether you’re looking for designer clothes, high-end jewelry, or luxury beauty products, you’ll find it all on Fifth Avenue.

Just a few blocks south of Fifth Avenue, you’ll find the trendy neighborhood of SoHo – short for “South of Houston Street.” Known for its cobblestone streets and cast-iron buildings, this vibrant area is a hub for fashion, art, and dining. From high-end boutiques to independent shops and galleries, SoHo has something for every taste and budget.

Times Square

A tourist enjoys Times Square in New York City.

A tourist enjoys Times Square in New York City. Stock photo via Envato Elements.

Times Square is a bustling hub of activity located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. It’s known for its bright lights, giant billboards, and endless crowds of tourists and locals alike. It’s a must-see destination for anyone visiting New York City.

At the center of Times Square, you’ll find the iconic red steps, where visitors often gather to snap photos and take in the sights and sounds of the area. The steps are also a popular spot for street performers and other entertainers, who often put on lively shows for the crowds of all ages.

In addition to the red steps, Times Square is home to a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and other attractions. You can find everything from souvenir shops and fast-food chains to high-end retailers and fine dining establishments. There are also plenty of entertainment options, including movie theaters and arcades.

New York City Parks and Recreation:

Central Park

One of the most iconic and beloved parks in New York City is Central Park. Located in the heart of Manhattan, Central Park spans 843 acres and is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With its rolling hills, serene lakes, and abundant greenery, Central Park offers a peaceful retreat from the busy city. It is said that this park is the most valuable real estate in the world, with an estimated worth of $39 billion dollars.

Central Park is home to a variety of recreational activities, including jogging and biking trails, playgrounds, and sports fields. There are also several iconic landmarks within the park, such as the Bethesda Fountain and the Central Park Zoo. The park also hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year, from outdoor concerts to holiday celebrations. This park has been featured in countless movies, including, When Harry Met Sally, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Love Story, The Devil Wears Prada and Hannah and Her Sisters.

Aerial view of Central Park.

Aerial view of Central Park. Stock photo via Envato Elements.

Gateway National Recreation Area

Another popular park in New York City is the Gateway National Recreation Area. Located in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, the Gateway National Recreation Area spans over 27,000 acres and includes a variety of natural habitats, including beaches, marshes, and woodlands. The park offers a range of recreational activities, including hiking, fishing, and birdwatching.

One of the most unique features of the Gateway National Recreation Area is its historic structures. The park includes a number of historic lighthouses, as well as Fort Tilden and Fort Wadsworth, which offer a glimpse into the city’s military history. The park also offers a variety of educational programs and events, such as guided tours and nature walks.

Manhattan Waterfront Greenway

Located along the edge of Manhattan, the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway is a popular destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike. The Hudson River portion of the Greenway stretches from Battery Park City to Inwood, this multi-use path offers breathtaking views of the Hudson River and the New Jersey skyline.

The Hudson River Greenway features a variety of recreational activities, including biking, running, and walking. It also offers access to several scenic parks and landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and One World Trade Center and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

For those interested in history, the Greenway offers a unique opportunity to explore the city’s maritime heritage. There are several historic sites along the route, including the 18th century Fraunces Tavern and the South Street Seaport Museum.


New York City is a vibrant and dynamic metropolis that offers something for everyone. From world-class museums and theaters to delicious food and endless shopping, the city is a must-visit destination for any traveler. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned New Yorker, you’ll never run out of things to do and see in this exciting city.

This time, it's OK to leave a trace (Review)

There are no reviews yet. Be the first one to write one.

Submit a review of A Tourist's Guide to New York City