Must-see attractions for every New York City traveller

New York City skyline

Zoe Macfarlane

Posted August 01, 2022

New York City is a destination that is so well-known, thanks to movies and TV shows, that even if you’ve never visited before, when you land it feels familiar. Some of the world’s most famous attractions, buildings and stadiums reside in New York City including the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Madison Square Garden. 
That sense of deja vu doesn’t, unfortunately, help you plan your perfect New York City vacation. With hundreds of activities, dining, and entertainment options across all five boroughs of New York City – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island – choosing where to go and what to see can be overwhelming. Thankfully, we’ve put together our favourite New York City sites to help you plan the perfect Big Apple getaway with ease.

NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met)

New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art is often called The Met by locals.

Enjoy New York City’s thriving art scene

New York City has always been synonymous with art and culture, with many artists moving to the Big Apple for their make-or-break moments. The city’s reputation means art is on every corner – almost literally in the sense of street art - but also across the 1,000+ galleries that dot the five boroughs. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the city’s most established fine art institute and the largest art museum in the Western Hemisphere. Over two million pieces are permanently displayed, representing 5,000 years of global culture. 

If you prefer contemporary works of art, including Avant-Garde paintings, sculpture, film, and multi-media art, consider MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art. MoMA has been ground-breaking in many ways, including being founded by three women (in 1929) and for hosting up-and-coming artists that have later shot to fame. 

Other places to get your art fix include the Guggenheim, David Zwimer, and on an inspiring street art walking tour.


NYC's Central Park

Central Park is beloved by locals and tourists alike in New York City.

Experience Manhattan’s best parks

The High Line is a slice of history and greenery wrapped into one unusual concept: a public parkway growing along the old, elevated railway tracks in west Manhattan. A stroll southward along this 2+ kilometre trail gives you an unusual vantage point above Greenwich Village, the Meatpacking District, and Chelsea. Along the trail, witness art, events, street food and top-notch people-watching.

Continue your park at the newly opened, Little Island in Chelsea. Little Island is a floating park on the Hudson River. While small, it’s been designed for visitors to enjoy skyline views and the fun events that take place here, like dance, music, theatre, comedy and workshops.

The ultimate New York City park is, of course, Central Park, the huge 341-hectare space on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Designed originally to give New Yorkers a slice of the country to counteract city stress, it still hits the brief. Within Central Park, walk, run, blade, skate, rent a bike, row a boat, pack a picnic, or you can even take a yoga class!


NYC's Statue of Liberty

You can't miss New York City's Statue of Liberty on your holiday.

Stand in awe of New York City’s iconic skyline

Move over Empire State Building, there’s a new observation deck in town and it’s atop New York City's 4th highest skyscraper. SUMMIT One Vanderbilt is more than just a place to see the iconic NYC skyline, it’s a mind-bending immersive, multi-sensory experience.

SUMMIT’s Air offers a 5-part immersive art experience to challenge and transform visitors’ relationship to the city, sky, weather, people, and themselves. For the bold and the brave, Levitation offers two enclosed glass ledges that allow you to step out high over midtown Manhattan. Ascent gets you to the top of One Vanderbilt’s highest point in a small glass elevator.


pedestrians crossing a NYC street

The corner of 6th Avenue and Central Park sees thousands of tourists and New York City locals gather every day.

Walk your way around New York City

Unlike many US cities, New York is easily walkable, and while you can take the subway or grab a yellow cab, exploring on foot reveals the greatest gems.

One of the best walks in the city is over the Brooklyn Bridge thanks to its midway vantage point of the familiar Manhattan skyline. Allow 30 minutes each way, go early or on weekdays to avoid the crowds, and consider returning at night for the prettiest view.

Walking tours are all the rage in New York City, adding history, culture, and context to your on-foot explorations. Try a history-focused tour to garner a deeper understanding of the city, taste your way around Brooklyn on a food-focused walking tour, or hit up an East Village walking tour for a true rock 'n' roll experience.


Manhattan's Fifth Avenue skyline

New York City's Brooklyn Bridge is a must-visit attraction in the Big Apple.

Splurge on shopping sprees

If you’ve got room in your suitcase for a new outfit or two, tax-free shopping in New York City will not disappoint. For the ultimate shopping spree, Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue has been filling the bags of shoppers for over a century. For the most famous, stop by the iconic luxury Bergdorf Goodman department store, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Tiffany's.

If you love designer brands at discounted prices make your way to one of two designer outlets, just outside of New York. Woodbury Common has a pleasant outdoor layout with 220 outlet stores. Less fancy, the Mills at Jersey Gardens has 180+ outlet stores over two floors.

For more boutique, unique or street-style threads, wander Soho, the Lower East Side, or downtown Brooklyn.


family pizza restaurant

Grab a delicious pizza slice at Joe's Pizza on Broadway.

Catch a Broadway show & dinner

Grabbing ‘dinner and a show’ is a very New York concept as New York City is home to Broadway, one of the most famous boulevards in the world for theatre and musicals. With 41 theatres on Broadway alone, plus 120+ ‘off Broadway’, there is a performance to suit every member of your party. Book tickets for longstanding shows like the Phantom of the Opera, Lion King, or Wicked, or see something like Hamilton, the city’s hottest performance.

Thanks to New Yorkers rarely cooking at home, there are fabulous dining options for every tastebud and budget. Want to dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant before your show? Head to Le Bernadin. Keen for a slice of that famed New York pie? Joe’s Pizza Broadway. And if you want to potentially spot a Broadway star, dine at Joe Allen, a theatre district institution.


RACV Members save more on amazing travel experiences.
Discover more →