Whether it’s the Eiffel Tower or Louvre, many tourist attractions are a must-see. However, there’s also something to be said for skipping the throngs of people at popular NYC spots and seeing what makes the boroughs beyond Manhattan unique.
The boroughs of Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens offer their own culture, street art, and landmarks that are worth a visit. Getting out of Manhattan and into the neighborhoods allows visitors to see the city from a different perspective and get a true feel for the locals.
New York City has some of the most recognizable skyscrapers in the world, making it one of the best cities for skyline views and photo opportunities. The iconic Empire State Building is a must-see, but the lines to go up there can be long and move slow, especially during peak times of the year. It’s a good idea to reserve tickets in advance or buy a skip-the-line pass to avoid the lines.
Located in Midtown Manhattan, the Metropolitan Museum of Art—or simply the Met—is considered one of the best museums in the world. Despite its crowded, overwhelming atmosphere, visiting the Met is an essential part of any New York City trip. The museum’s permanent collection is a must-see, and a limited number of temporary exhibits are well worth the visit as well. The current exhibition on sharks is fascinating, and the Butterfly Conservatory is a relaxing escape that’s perfect for kids.
Rockefeller Center is a popular tourist attraction in the heart of Manhattan, home to NBC Studios and boasting a 70-story Top of the Rock observation deck as well as an outdoor skating rink during winter months. Book a tour to learn more about the 19 impressive Art Deco buildings that make up this famous complex. During the summer, a free Today Show taping may be scheduled and the plaza is adorned by an enormous Christmas tree.
Times Square is a buzzing commercial intersection and entertainment center that draws over 50 million tourists yearly. If you’re looking to shop, Fifth Avenue is a world-famous shopping district featuring luxury brands and department stores like Tiffany and Cartier. Alternatively, head to Bryant Park to people-watch or take a break in the Great Lawn.
Lady Liberty, or the Statue of Liberty, is a must-see for first-time visitors to the city. This national treasure was a gift from France, and is a universal symbol of freedom. For those who have a vested interest in immigration history, the adjacent Ellis Island is a must-visit.
Unless you are in the market to score a coveted ticket for the Top of the Rock (or the new One World Trade Center), waiting in line to ride this attraction is a painful experience—and expensive. To avoid the lines, consider booking a pre-purchased tickets to skip the line or ask a friend who works in the building for a guest pass.