Little Island things to do in manhattan

25 Best Things to Do in Manhattan, New York

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As the most popular borough in NYC, there are all kinds of things to do in Manhattan. From the Broadway theaters and luxury shops of Fifth Avenue to the iconic landmarks and beautiful urban parks, Manhattan offers something for everyone in every season.

As you’ll see in this guide, there are lots of fun places in Manhattan, so I’m sure your to-do list will fill up with museums, observation decks, and other attractions in no time. For this reason, I recommend investing in an NYC attraction pass, which will help you save money on the top activities and sights. For first-timers, we recommend the New York Pass since it includes over 100 NYC attractions. It also includes the Big Bus Tour, which goes to many of the places that I’ll recommend in this article.

So, if you’re ready to plan your ultimate adventure in Manhattan, keep reading to see the 25 best things to do in Manhattan!

1. Rockefeller Center (Top of the Rock), one of the coolest places in Manhattan

If heights aren’t a concern, then you must visit the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center. This Manhattan landmark offers beautiful panoramic views of the city, and the vista is especially pretty at sunset.

Of course, any time of day or night is a great time to visit this observatory. The speedy Sky Shuttle elevators will take you up 850 feet to the viewing platform, which takes up the 67th and 69th floors. You can also step onto the 70th floor’s outdoor deck if you’re feeling adventurous. From all the way up here, you can see other NYC hotspots like Central Park, Times Square, and the Empire State Building, so bring your camera!

Rockefeller Center (Top of the Rock), things to do in manhattan

1. Rockefeller Center (Top of the Rock), one of the coolest places in Manhattan

Moreover, the Top of the Rock is one of the best observation decks in NYC, so I can’t recommend it enough. If you want to go, you can use your New York Pass or get a ticket online.

While you’re at Rockefeller Plaza, it’s worth checking out the other attractions here, like Radio City Music Hall. This is one of the coolest places in Manhattan, especially if you’re a fan of show biz. You can even take a tour like this one, which brings you behind the Stage Door of this iconic venue.

2. Times Square, a lively place in Manhattan you must see

The flashy lights, the wacky street performers, the vibrant bars and restaurants…Times Square is unlike any other tourist attraction in Manhattan. Here, you can find everything from entertainment and people-watching to kid-friendly attractions and high-end shops.

Times Square never has a dull moment, and while you can visit 24/7, you’ll get the full experience at night, when the area is glowing with billboards and neon ads. Once you go, you’ll see why it’s one of the best things to do in NYC at night.

Times Square, best things to do in manhattan

2. Times Square, a lively place in Manhattan you must see

If you’re visiting with kids, check out M&Ms World or Madame Tussauds. You could also check out the TKTS Pavilion at the Red Stairs to snag Broadway tickets at a steep discount. The Broadway Theater District is part of Times Square, so there are plenty of show venues, like the PlayStation Theater.

Whether you’re just strolling through this area, or you stay to check out the attractions, there is nothing quite like Times Square, and everyone should visit at least once!

3. Central Park, another free place to go in Manhattan, NYC

Central Park is an urban green space where many Manhattan activities take place, so be sure to check it out. Spanning over 840 acres, it has everything from public art and playgrounds to wooded areas, lakes, and historic landmarks, so it’s one of New York’s best city parks.

Depending on your interests, you may enjoy the sculptures and statues here, such as the Bethesda Fountain and Cleopatra’s Needle. There are also several impressive buildings in the park, like Belvedere Castle, a decorative Gothic-style castle with an observation deck.

Central Park, place to go in Manhattan

3. Central Park, another free place to go in Manhattan, NYC

If you prefer to immerse yourself in nature, you’ll find all kinds of lush areas where you can escape the city noise. Among the wooded forests, lakes, and gardens, the Great Lawn and Sheep Meadow are two of the most popular green spaces in the park.

Again, Central Park is huge, so if you want to get around more quickly, consider renting a bike (rentals are included in the New York Pass), or taking a bike tour.

4. Visit the Empire State Building, something fun to do in Manhattan

If you’re looking for another observation deck in NYC, the Empire State Building is an excellent choice. Formerly the world’s tallest skyscraper, this iconic landmark is still impressive, at 102 stories high.

Moreover, the Empire State Building has observatories on the 80th, 86th, and 102nd floors, so you can get a variety of viewpoints. There are also indoor and outdoor viewing platforms, which is nice if you’re afraid of heights or the weather isn’t great. From the observation decks, you’ll have 360° views of NYC, including famous attractions like Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, and the Hudson River.

Empire State Building, places of interest in manhattan

4. Visit the Empire State Building, something fun to do in Manhattan

I recommend visiting right before sunset when the Empire State Building feels like the most magical place in Manhattan. You’ll see the sun lowering behind the skyline, bathing everything in pinks and purples. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best things to do in New York City, especially with your loved ones.

If you want to go up to the observatories, I suggest buying your ticket in advance or getting the New York Pass.

5. Wall Street, an interesting place in Manhattan to visit

Located in Lower Manhattan, Wall Street is NYC’s financial district and one of the top places of interest in Manhattan. Among the historical buildings here are the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Federal Hall, and New York’s first City Hall. The vibe here is definitely all-business, and some of the most significant banks have headquarters here, such as Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and Lehman Brothers.

Wall Street, Manhattan landmark

5. Wall Street, an interesting place in Manhattan to visit

Wall Street takes up eight city blocks between Broadway and South Street, so the best way to see all the highlights is on this walking tour. It includes a guide who will take you to landmarks like Trinity Church and Bowling Green, the oldest public park in the city. You’ll also see the famous Charging Bull sculpture and the Fearless Girl statue.

6. Grand Central Terminal, one of the most popular places in Manhattan, NY

You probably passed through Grand Central Terminal if you arrived in NYC by public transportation. This huge train station connects the city’s subway and rail systems and serves over 20 million people annually. While a terminal may not sound exciting, it offers a few free things to do in Manhattan, so it’s worth checking out.

First, Grand Central Station is over 100 years old, so it contains some historical treasures, like the Main Concourse Clock, its chandeliers, and other Beaux-Arts-style elements. If you look closely, you’ll notice the artwork throughout the station, like the celestial-painted ceiling in the Main Concourse. There is also a Cornelius Vanderbilt statue, cast-iron eagles on the terminal’s façade, and temporary art installations throughout the year.

Grand Central Terminal, Manhattan landmarks

6. Grand Central Terminal, one of the most popular places in Manhattan, NY

Besides the art and transportation services, the terminal has a variety of shops and restaurants, including Grand Central Market. Also, the station is next to the Chrysler Building, another Manhattan landmark, so you might want to walk by it before or after visiting Grand Central.

The Chrysler Building is a famous Art Deco-style skyscraper, and looking up at the 1,046-ft building from ground level is quite impressive. The interior is full of corporate offices, but you can go into the lobby to see more Art Deco architecture.

7. See New York from above at One World Trade Center Observatory

The observatory at One World Trade Center is one of the best places to visit in Manhattan and one of the most important sites in the city. It’s worth visiting the entire World Trade Center complex, which includes the 9/11 Memorial & Museum and the observation deck at One WTC.

The observatory is between the 100th and 102nd floors of One WTC, which currently stands as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. The skyscraper is 1,776 feet tall, while the observation deck is 1,268 feet tall.

One World Trade Center Observatory, best places to visit in Manhattan

7. See New York from above at One World Trade Center Observatory

As you can imagine, the sweeping views from up here are breathtaking and stretch for miles. You’ll get a panorama of the city, including the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. Along with the views, you can check out other attractions in the observatory, like the theater or the Sky Portal, a glass platform with a camera feed of the city streets below.

Visiting the observation deck is a popular thing to do in Manhattan, so be sure to get your ticket or New York Pass in advance. If you also plan on visiting the 9/11 Museum, which I’ll mention next, you can get this combo ticket.

8. 9/11 Memorial & Museum, a reflective place to visit in Manhattan

The 9/11 Museum honors the memory of those killed in the 2001 World Trade Center attacks and the 1993 bombing. While it’s a heart-wrenching event to remember, it’s an important part of U.S. history, and the museum does a wonderful job of commemorating the victims, so it’s a must-see in Manhattan.

9/11 Memorial & Museum, fun Manhattan museum

8. 9/11 Memorial & Museum, a reflective place to visit in Manhattan

Inside, the museum features over 58,000 photos, audio recordings, videos, and other artifacts, including a surviving staircase from one of the Twin Towers. At the exact site where the Twin Towers once stood, there are now two beautiful reflecting pools. The 9/11 Memorial also includes bronze plaques inscribed with the 2,983 victims’ names, and the “Survivor Tree,” a pear tree that survived the World Trade Center’s collapse.

There was clearly a lot of thought that went into the 9/11 Museum, which is why it’s one of the top museums in NYC. Admission is included in the New York Pass, or you can get a museum ticket or combo ticket to the museum and observatory.

9. MoMA and other popular museums in Manhattan

Speaking of the best NYC museums, you can’t miss the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). This fun Manhattan museum has three floors of architecture, paintings, drawings, photographs, and other exhibits.

Some of the collection’s highlights include Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and Monet’s Water Lilies. If you like architecture, be sure to check out the Mies van der Rohe archives and works by Frank Lloyd Wright and Isamu Noguchi. MoMA even has a small video game collection, so it’s a fun place to visit in NYC with kids, too. You can get a skip-the-line ticket here.

MoMA, must-see in manhattan

9. MoMA and other popular museums in Manhattan

Besides MoMA, there are other great museums in Manhattan, like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. If you’re not an art lover, the American Museum of Natural History is an incredible institution featuring biological and geological specimens.

Most of these museums are included in the New York Pass, and we have a guide to NYC’s free museums that’s also worth checking out.

10. St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a tranquil place in Manhattan you should see

Among all the impressive architecture in Manhattan, St. Patrick’s Cathedral has some of the best design elements and iconography. It’s also the largest Neo-Gothic Catholic church in New York and the entire United States, so it’s a must-see in Manhattan.

Even if you aren’t a religious person, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a beautiful place to visit, both for its spiritual significance and its artistic splendor. Built in 1878, the cathedral stands nearly 330 feet tall, with a bell tower containing 19 church bells. Two large bronze doors measuring 16.5 feet tall and weighing 9,200 pounds depict Saint Patrick, Saint Joseph, archangels Michael and Gabriel, and other religious figures.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, must-see in manhattan

10. St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a tranquil place in Manhattan you should see

Inside, the nave has 32 marble columns and 12 dedicated altars, while the sanctuary can accommodate 3,000 parishioners. Lovely stained-glass windows adorn the inner sanctuary, and a replica of Michelangelo’s Pietà sculpture sits nearby. The cathedral also has two huge pipe organs that still function, and a crypt containing the remains of several members of the Archdiocese of New York.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is an NYC designated landmark in Manhattan, and it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, making it one of the most famous churches in the country and a sight you can’t pass up.

11. Fifth Avenue, the best place in Manhattan to go shopping

Speaking of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, it’s on Fifth Avenue, the main boulevard that runs through Manhattan from Washington Square Park to West 143rd Street. This avenue is famous for its luxury shops and retailers, but it also goes past several tourist attractions in Manhattan, so it’s a good place to check out.

The name that’s most synonymous with Fifth Avenue is probably Saks Fifth Avenue, a high-end department store with a long history in NYC. The first Saks store opened in New York City in 1902 and featured seven floors of retail space. The store is still there today in Herald Square, along with five other Saks shops, including Saks Fifth Avenue.

Fifth Avenue, tourist attractions in Manhattan

11. Fifth Avenue, the best place in Manhattan to go shopping

Other luxury and name-brand retailers on Fifth Avenue include Armani, Bergdorf Goodman, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Valentino.

As I said, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is also on this street, specifically at Fifth Avenue and East 51st Street. If you’re in this area, you won’t be far from other popular sites in Manhattan like the Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, and MoMA. So, whether you want to shop or sightsee, this main thoroughfare is a hotspot you can’t miss.

12. The High Line, a beautiful place in Manhattan you can’t miss

Walking along the High Line is one of the top things to do in Manhattan with friends, family, or even by yourself. These renovated train tracks have been transformed into an elevated park and walkway that stretches 1.5 miles from Manhattan’s Meatpacking District to Chelsea.

I recommend taking your time to stroll the High Line and admire its green spaces, gardens, and public art. Besides being a beautiful addition to the city, the High Line goes past several attractions like the Whitney Museum and Chelsea Market, which I’ll talk about later.

The High Line, top things to do in Manhattan

12. The High Line, a beautiful place in Manhattan you can’t miss

It also winds past The Vessel, an awesome observation deck in NYC that’s unlike any other. The Vessel’s beehive shape is quite dizzying, but it’s a lot of fun to ascend the multi-level viewing platforms and experience the different lookout points. You can learn more about The Vessel and the High Line on this guided tour, which is also included in the New York Pass.

That said, the High Line is a completely free thing to do in NYC, so if you’re not sure where to go in Manhattan, explore this attraction and see where it leads you!

13. Manhattan helicopter tour, the best thing to do in Manhattan as a couple

Without a doubt, the coolest thing to do in Manhattan is to take a helicopter tour. There are all kinds of helicopter tours over NYC, so I’m sure you can find a suitable option for your budget and timeline.

For example, this basic Manhattan Island helicopter tour lasts for 20-30 minutes and takes you over the most iconic places in the city, like Central Park, the Empire State Building, and the Statue of Liberty.

Manhattan helicopter tour, where to go in Manhattan

13. Manhattan helicopter tour, the best thing to do in Manhattan as a couple

If you want to capture amazing photographs, I recommend this doors-off helicopter tour, which is the one we took during our trip. We got awesome aerial views of Liberty and Ellis Islands, New York Harbor, Battery Park, and other landmarks.

Finally, this private heli-tour is a romantic thing to do in Manhattan at night, especially with your significant other. The two of you can soar over the city at sunset or after dark, taking in the glittery lights and skyline. It’s a sensational experience you’ll never forget!

14. Go to Broadway, one of the top things to do in Manhattan

Another great couples’ activity in Manhattan that can cap off your night is a Broadway show. There are dozens of venues in the Broadway Theater District, so I’m sure there’s a show for anyone.

We’ve seen Aladdin, The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, and Chicago, and everything was wonderful, from the set design and the costumes to the acting. If you want to browse tickets to other shows, you can check this website.

Broadway, activity in manhattan

14. Go to Broadway, one of the top things to do in Manhattan

Another option is visiting the TKTS Pavilion at the Red Stairs in Times Square, which sells tickets at a steep discount. While you can’t always choose which show you’ll see, all the musicals and plays, from the mainstays to the limited-time showings, are spectacular.

Experiencing a Broadway show for yourself is something you must do in Manhattan at least once. That said, if you’re a theater fanatic, you’ll love this walking tour of Broadway, which is led by a professional New York City actor.

15. Bryant Park, a lovely outdoor place in Manhattan, New York

No matter the time of year, a visit to Bryant Park is a great thing to do in Manhattan. You can find this popular park along Fifth Avenue, between 40th and 42nd Streets.

Bryant Park is modeled in the French style, with lots of sculptures, statues, and memorials. The sprawling lawns and walking paths make it the perfect place to go in Manhattan if you want to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. If you’re visiting with kids, be sure to check out Le Carrousel Magique, a charming merry-go-round that plays French music. Also, if you’re in New York during Christmas, you can experience the park’s Winter Village, which features holiday activities and an ice skating rink.

Bryant Park, best places to go in manhattan

15. Bryant Park, a lovely outdoor place in Manhattan, New York

Of course, it’s always a good time to go to the park, and while you’re there, you should also visit the New York Public Library. Located in the eastern part of Bryant Park, this Neo-Classical building is the NY Public Library’s main branch and the third-largest library in the world. Among its 20 rooms are a children’s library, a computer lab, and a study with a marble fireplace. You can’t take out any books without a library card, but it’s still worth going inside and exploring this literary paradise.

16. Go to The Battery, a fun thing to do in Manhattan

At the southern end of Manhattan, you’ll find The Battery, also known as Battery Park. This 25-acre public park offers relaxing pockets of nature, exciting attractions, and kid-friendly activities, so visiting it is a great thing to do in Manhattan with family.

The Battery faces New York Harbor, so it boasts lovely waterfront gardens and views. Among the perennial plants and flowers, there is also an urban farm, a woodland area, and contemplative green spaces tucked away in the trees.

The Battery, must see in manhattan

16. Go to The Battery, a fun thing to do in Manhattan

If you want to just pass through the park, you can use the bike path or take a stroll along Monument Walk, which features nearly two dozen memorials. That said, I suggest spending some time here, taking in the sights and the fun attractions. For example, Castle Clinton, a 19th-century fort, served as the first immigration station in the U.S. between 1855 and 1890. It predates Ellis Island, so it’s a cool historic landmark in Manhattan that’s worth seeing.

During the summer, cool off at Bosque Fountain, which has water jets that spray 15 feet into the air. Then, lounge or have a picnic on the two-acre lawn at The Oval. For the kids, there are several playgrounds and the SeaGlass Carousel. Battery Park also has a ferry terminal, so you can take a ride to Staten Island or do a Statue of Liberty tour like this one.

17. Visit Chinatown, Little Italy, & SoHo, something to do in Manhattan with friends

Of all the places to visit in Manhattan, you can’t miss Chinatown. Home to the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere, Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown is one of the best and most famous Chinatowns in the country. It’s also the perfect way to experience the Chinese diaspora in one place, thanks to the grocery stores, markets, produce stalls, restaurants, and noodle houses lining the streets. The best dim sum in the city can be found here, as well as all kinds of unique shops and vendors.

Bordering Chinatown to the east, you’ll find Little Italy, another Manhattan neighborhood worth visiting. Besides hosting cultural events and religious festivals, Little Italy serves the best authentic Italian cuisine, so arrive hungry.

Chinatown, things to do in manhattan

17. Visit Chinatown, Little Italy, & SoHo, something to do in Manhattan with friends

In fact, one of the best ways to experience these neighborhoods is through an NYC food tour, although this walking history tour is also very good. Along with Chinatown and Little Italy, you’ll also explore SoHo and Tribeca, two other fun places in Manhattan.

SoHo is an artsy area known for its galleries, artists’ lofts, trendy boutiques, and vintage shops. It’s part of the larger Tribeca neighborhood, which borders Chinatown to the west. Home to the Tribeca Film Festival, this area is recognized for its industrial buildings, many of which have been converted into private residences. The Hudson River Park and a secondary branch of the New York Public Library are also in Tribeca.

18. Visit the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and ride The BEAST

I already mentioned some of the most popular museums in Manhattan, but another one that I want to recommend is the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. The museum is inside the USS Intrepid, an aircraft carrier and National Historic Landmark. Today, the watercraft is berthed on the Hudson River at Pier 86, but it was first launched in 1943. Throughout its career, the Intrepid survived numerous War World II kamikaze attacks and took part in the Vietnam War.

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, things to do in manhattan ny

18. Visit the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and ride The BEAST

Visitors to the museum can explore the Intrepid’s hangar and flight decks, as well as the Space Shuttle Pavilion and other museum galleries with additional aircraft. Among the 28 restored models, there is a Concorde SST, a Lockheed A-12, submarines from the Cold War, and spy planes. Admission is included in the New York Pass, or you can get a ticket here.

While you’re at Pier 86, consider taking a ride on The BEAST speedboat. This jet-powered thrill ride is one of the coolest boat rides in NYC, so if you want to make a splash with the kids, it’s a great thing to do in Manhattan with family. The BEAST boasts 1400 BHP-horsepower and a maximum speed of 45 mph, so you’ll feel the need for speed as you cruise down the Hudson River, past the Statue of Liberty, and back to the pier. The ride is about 30 minutes of twists and turns, so it’s the perfect daytime activity.

19. Join a Gospel service in Harlem, a unique thing to do in Manhattan

Without a doubt, Harlem is one of the coolest places in Manhattan, as it’s a neighborhood rich in culture, art, and history. While it originally began as a Dutch settlement, the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 30s brought Black culture to the forefront, leaving behind a legacy of African American music, literature, and fashion.

Harlem, manhattan landmarks

19. Join a Gospel service in Harlem, a unique thing to do in Manhattan

Among the landmarks here are the historic Apollo Theater, the Jazz Museum, and the Museo del Barrio, one of the best museums in NYC. The northern end of Central Park trails into Harlem, and the Bronx borders the neighborhood’s eastern edge.

That said, Harlem is unique in its own right and most certainly worth exploring. As you walk the city streets, you may notice many churches, and this is because there is a strong religious influence in Harlem. The neighborhood has over 400 churches, and some are even designated historic landmarks. It’s not uncommon to hear soulful gospel music emanating from these religious buildings, and if you want to experience the power and emotion of the gospel choirs, consider taking a Sunday morning gospel tour.

20. Browse Chelsea Market, one of the coolest attractions in Manhattan

Chelsea Market is a mainstay in the city and a fun place in Manhattan to visit day or night. The former Nabisco factory takes up a full city block and sells everything from food and specialty items to arts, crafts, and clothing.

Perusing the vendor stalls at Chelsea Market is a great Manhattan activity for friends and the perfect thing to do on a rainy day. Don’t forget to check out Pearl River Mart, a popular Asian American retailer.

Chelsea Market, places to go in manhattan

20. Browse Chelsea Market, one of the coolest attractions in Manhattan

Chelsea Market is also home to office spaces for Google, YouTube, and other tech giants, and one of the most recent additions is ARTECHOUSE. This immersive exhibit is part virtual reality, part art gallery that combines cutting-edge technology and digital art. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience, so book your ticket in advance.

Speaking of art, one of the best things to do in Chelsea, Manhattan is to browse the various galleries and art stores. The High Line also runs right past the market, so this walking tour is the best way to ensure you don’t miss anything.

21. Stroll through Greenwich Village, a must-see in Manhattan, New York

Greenwich Village is one of the coolest neighborhoods where you’ll find some of the best things to do in Manhattan. It rose to prominence in the 1960s as the Bohemian capital of the world and, today, Greenwich Village is an artsy district full of colorful shops, trendy stores, and jazz theaters.

If you go here, you’ll be able to walk past some historic landmarks like the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar and the location of the Stonewall riots of 1969. There is also the Hotel Albert, which housed writers and artists like Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Salvador Dalí, and Jackson Pollock. You’ll also see lots of places to watch a cabaret performance or jazz concert, so consider taking in a show.

Greenwich Village, tour gratis por nueva york

21. Stroll through Greenwich Village, a must-see in Manhattan, New York

Along with its emphasis on alternative lifestyles and LGBTQ+ rights, Greenwich Village has several parks and playgrounds, with Washington Square Park being the most well-known. Also, this neighborhood is home to the largest Halloween parade in the U.S., so be sure to check it out if you’re visiting during this time.

Finally, Greenwich Village is a hotspot for foodies, with a wide range of cafes, restaurants, and bakeries. Consider indulging in an NYC food tour like this one, which visits several eateries and shops that you’ll only find in this neighborhood.

22. See the views from The Edge at Hudson Yards

The EDGE is an incredible observation deck overlooking NYC’s Hudson Yards that boasts some of the most impressive architecture in the city. It opened in 2020 and has quickly become one of the best things to see in Manhattan.

What makes this sky deck different is its glass floor that protrudes from the 100th story, creating a feeling of floating in mid-air. Not only that, but one edge of the observation deck narrows into a small, triangular area big enough for one person. If you stand here, you’ll be 80 feet from the edge of the building and 1,100 feet above the ground.

The Edge, sightseeing in Manhattan

22. See the views from The Edge at Hudson Yards

There are other activities at The EDGE, like the City Climb, in which you scale the building from 1,200 feet up. However, you don’t have to do that to enjoy some amazing sightseeing in Manhattan, not to mention a drink or two!

If you want to experience The EDGE for yourself, you can get a ticket here or use your New York Pass.

23. See a game at Madison Square Garden, something fun to do in Manhattan

If sports are your thing, then visiting Madison Square Garden is a must-do in Manhattan. This famous indoor arena has an over 19,000-person capacity and hosts all kinds of sporting events, such as boxing and wrestling. You can also see a New York Knicks basketball game or watch the New York Rangers hockey team battle it out on the ice.

Madison Square Garden, tourist attractions in Manhattan

23. See a game at Madison Square Garden, something fun to do in Manhattan

Besides sports, this multi-purpose stadium is a popular venue for ice shows, concerts, and other special events. Some of the most famous names in the world have performed here, including Elton John, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga. Moreover, along with the main arena, Madison Square Garden has the smaller Hulu Theater for more intimate concerts and events.

The arena is also close to other tourist attractions in Manhattan, like the Empire State Building, so it’s the perfect landmark to add to your list. If you want the full experience, you can book this all-access tour (it’s also included in the New York Pass), to go behind the scenes and see the arena’s Defining Moments and Retrospective exhibits, and witness the view from the VIP box seats.

24. One Vanderbilt, another thing to do in Manhattan as a couple

If you’re visiting the city with your sweetheart and you’re looking for couples’ things to do in Manhattan, I recommend going to One Vanderbilt. This observation deck is unlike any other and sits atop the 4th-tallest skyscraper in NYC. Here, you’ll be 1,210 feet above the city, granting you incredible views of Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs.

One Vanderbilt, things to do in Manhattan with family

24. One Vanderbilt, another thing to do in Manhattan as a couple

Another great thing about this observation deck is that there are different areas to visit. For example, the Levitation section features two all-glass balconies that protrude from the side of the building, so you feel like you’re floating above the ground. If you go to the Infinity Room, you can grab a drink and enjoy a digital art installation showcasing the views from One Vanderbilt.

If you do plan to go to this amazing NYC rooftop, I recommend going just before sunset, especially if you’ll be with your partner. Here, you can watch an amazing sunset over the Manhattan skyline, so you won’t regret it. Just be sure to book a ticket in advance, so you can secure your spot.

25. Go to Little Island, a fun thing to do in Manhattan with kids

Finally, if you’re looking for things to do in Manhattan with family, I recommend going to Little Island. Located at Pier 55, it’s a charming artificial island that provides a nice break from the concrete jungle of New York City.

Little Island, things to do in manhattan

25. Go to Little Island, a fun thing to do in Manhattan with kids

More specifically, Little Island is an urban green space jettied on the Hudson River. It’s only 2.4 acres, so while it’s small, it’s a nice little oasis and a great place to visit in Manhattan for free. Plus, if you’re with kids, you’ll find activities and attractions to keep them occupied here. There are performances spaces, food stalls, and an arts and crafts area scattered among the gardens.

Even if you just want to visit Little Island and walk among the landscaped grasses, trees, and plants, it’s one of the best free things to do in Manhattan. The walking paths slope upwards and downwards, and there are several lookout points and plazas where you can take a seat and enjoy the views.

Where to stay in Manhattan

If you’re looking for a place in Manhattan to stay for the night, we have a couple of recommendations for you:

  • Pod 51 – This accommodation is a cheaper alternative and within walking distance of several Manhattan landmarks like the Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

These are some of our favorite lodging options, but if you want more hotels, you can read our guide on where to stay in New York City.

Map of Manhattan

I hope this guide helps you get excited and inspired for your next trip to NYC! Here is a downloadable map of all the places in Manhattan I mentioned. Keep it handy so you can quickly locate all the spots you want to hit!

As always, if you have any questions or you’d like to share your favorite things to do in Manhattan, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Have a safe trip!


COFOUNDER & TRAVEL JUNKIE

Hi, I'm Ascen, a globetrotter based in Philadelphia, USA. I enjoy exploring new landscapes and creating in-depth travel guides for Capture the Atlas.

I have felt a special connection with nature and all the inhabitants of the planet since I was a kid. I am passionate about discovering new countries and especially their wildlife, but no matter how many places I visit, I will always belong to the remote beaches of Almería, in Southern Spain.

You can know a little more about me here.

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