10 NYC Tourist Activities You Need To Do At Least Once In Your Life

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Hundreds of thousands of people come to visit New York City every year, yet, for native New Yorkers, making a plan to hit up some of the major attractions can take a lifetime of planning. (Having this stuff right next door makes it easy to make excuses!)

While NYC has much more to offer than just tourist sites, it is 100% worth it to experience the hype of some of the city’s landmarks at least once. These are our top ten must-sees, for both tourists and natives alike. Check ’em out!

1. Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
photo: @margiviaggi via Instagram
photo: @margiviaggi via Instagram

Lady Liberty is a sight to behold. For history buffs, kids, families, and anyone with an interest in our nation’s relationship with immigration, the museum at Ellis Island as well as the statue herself are a must see!

2. Empire State Building
photo: @adara_photo via Instagram
photo: @adara_photo via Instagram

Whether you want to head to the top of the Empire State Building or to the Top of the Rock to get the views of the building in all its glory, seeing the skyline from up above is a must!

3. See a Broadway show
photo: Susan via Flickr
photo: Susan via Flickr

Hamilton, The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera. Even if you aren’t really into musicals, seeing a Broadway play is an experience you can cherish forever. New York is the center of the world for theater so it’s almost obligatory that you see at least one show. Who knows, musicals might just be your new favorite form of entertainment. You can get tickets ahead of time to a selection of different shows here.

4. Rockefeller Center
photo: @passagersdiary via Instagram
photo: @passagersdiary via Instagram

Whether you’re in New York City during the holidays and want to see the giant tree and go skating, or you’re just passing through Midtown, Rockefeller Center is a glamorous and iconic NYC tourist destination. You’ve probably already passed through but if you haven’t meandered into the plaza make sure you put that on your bucket list.

5. Dine at the Russian Tea Room
photo: @therussiantearoom via Instagram
photo: @russiantearoom via Instagram

For more than 91 years, the Russian Tea Room has been serving tea and fine cuisine in an elegant and modern, Russian-decor inspired space. It was founded by members of the Russian Imperial Ballet in 1927 and has been impressing New Yorkers and tourists ever since.

6. Check out the art at the MoMA or the MET
photo: @nelahorakova via Instagram
photo: @nelahorakova via Instagram

Art aficionados, New York is the city for seeing art and if you haven’t been to one of these two museums yet, you’re doing it wrong. The MoMA is a great option for those of you who prefer things on the wackier side while the MET is the best bet for those of you looking for more classical or traditional art.

7. 9/11 Memorial Museum
photo: @911memorial via Instagram
photo: @911memorial via Instagram

9/11 had a lasting and devastating impact on New York, but the Memorial Museum shows our city’s resilience in a beautiful and respectful way. While this isn’t necessarily a fun activity, it’s an important historical landmark that New Yorkers and tourists alike will find interesting and informative and will prompt some serious reflection.

8. Take a stroll around Central Park
photo: @nycforgo via Instagram
photo: @nycforgo via Instagram

Taking a walk around Central Park is free, good for your health and a great photo op. What is there to lose? If you’re looking to go for a run, there are tons of other green spaces as well. This map showcases where exactly those other parks are while this guide highlights five of the best running trails in NYC.

9. Wander through Little Italy and Chinatown
photo: @moe_habeeb via Instagram
photo: @moe_habeeb via Instagram

Little Italy in Manhattan and Chinatown are two neighborhoods that everyone needs to eat their way through during their time in New York. Since they’re right next to each other, it’s easy to pass between the two. Dumplings for dinner and a cannoli for dessert anyone?

10. Bronx Zoo
photo: @caulfieldholden01 via Instagram
photo: @caulfieldholden01 via Instagram

Believe it or not, the Bronx Zoo is actually one of the most important and largest zoos in the entire country. Home to more than 4,000 animals, the Bronx Zoo is great for animal-loving children and adults alike. On Wednesday, admission to the zoo is free all day. You can find more information about tickets on the Bronx Zoo website.

Looking for more? Check out some other great ideas for things going on in New York City.

Featured image: John St John via Flickr