Let’s be honest: there’s more to New York than Manhattan. And as many locals and longtime visitors will take pleasure in telling you, some of the best things about the city are found in other neighborhoods. But at the same time, Manhattan is what most people think of when they think of New York. And although this relatively small area may be overrun with tourists, it still has plenty of memorable experiences you can’t afford to miss while you’re in the city.
Drop off your bags at a Manhattan luggage storage, and you’ll soon find dozens of iconic attractions just a short walk away. Visiting Manhattan for the first time can feel like you strolled onto the set of a movie, but try not to be overwhelmed as you explore the Big Apple. There’s so much to do in Manhattan that you need to stay focused.
No prizes for guessing that we would start here. Central Park is a true gem of New York, and it’s one of the few attractions that is just as popular with locals as it is with visitors to the city.
That’s because this oasis of green in the center of the city provides respite from the busy streets and nonstop hectic pace of New York. It’s a place where you can come to relax, take a stroll, have a picnic, or just people-watch. Central Park is also home to some of the city’s most popular attractions, including the Central Park Zoo and Belvedere Castle.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
If you love art, then the Metropolitan Museum of Art should definitely be on your list of things to do in Manhattan. This world-famous museum is one of the largest and most comprehensive art museums in existence, and it houses an incredible collection of art from around the globe.
With more than two million works of art spread out over more than two million square feet, the Met will keep you busy for hours. And even if you’re not particularly interested in art, it’s still worth a visit to see the impressive Egyptian art collection and the beautiful architecture of the museum itself.
The Empire State Building
For many visitors, a trip to New York isn’t complete without a visit to the top of the Empire State Building. This Art Deco masterpiece has been a symbol of the city for nearly a century, and it offers some of the best views in town.
You can take an elevator to the 86th-floor observation deck for breathtaking 360-degree views of Manhattan or even higher to the 102nd-floor for even better views. If you’re willing to splurge, you can also book a private tour that will take you to the very top of the building.
Top of the Rock
If you want to see the Empire State Building but don’t want to deal with the crowds, then you should consider going to Top of the Rock. This observation deck is located on the top of Rockefeller Center, and it offers stunning views of Midtown Manhattan.
One of the best things about Top of the Rock is that it’s much less crowded than the Empire State Building, so you won’t have to wait in line for hours just to get a glimpse of the city. And if you go at sunset, you’ll be treated to one of the most beautiful views in all of Manhattan.
Visit the Vessel
The Vessel is a new addition to New York City, and it’s quickly become one of the most popular things to do in Manhattan. This interactive sculpture is located in Hudson Yards, and it consists of 154 flights of stairs that you can climb for amazing views of the city.
But the Vessel is more than just a place to take pictures; it’s also a great place to people-watch and explore. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to discover, and you never know what you’ll find when you start climbing.
Walk the High Line
The High Line is a unique attraction that combines nature and urban life. This elevated park was built on an old railway line, and it offers stunning views of the city as you walk through gardens and grassy areas.
The High Line is also a great place to people-watch, as you’ll see a diverse mix of people strolling, running, and relaxing. And if you get hungry, there are plenty of food vendors along the way.
Explore Little Italy
Little Italy is one of the most iconic neighborhoods in Manhattan, and it’s a great place to spend an afternoon exploring. This vibrant neighborhood is filled with cafes, restaurants, and shops, and it’s the perfect place to grab a bite to eat.
You can also explore the neighborhood’s rich history by visiting some of its landmarks, such as St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral and the Museum of Italian American Culture, which will reopen in spring 2023.
Explore Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station is one of the most beautiful and historic places in Manhattan. This Beaux-Arts landmark is a working train station, but it’s also home to a number of shops, restaurants, and bars.
You can explore the station’s main concourse, which is decorated with stunning chandeliers and artwork. Or you can head up to the Grand Central Market, where you’ll find a variety of food vendors selling everything from pizza to oysters. And don’t miss the Whispering Gallery, an acoustic phenomenon that lets you whisper to a friend on the other side of the room over the noise of the crowd.
This list could go on forever, but we have to cut it somewhere. The truth is, as iconic as these attractions are, we’ve really only scratched the surface of all there is to do in Manhattan. Whether you’re in the city for a weekend or for a year, you don’t need to worry about running out of things to do. Just remember to leave the heavy bags behind and free yourself up to explore the heart of this incredible city.