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31 Things to Do in Manhattan, NYC

It might seem a lot, but it’s not. The pulsing center of New York City is a universal reference of culture, art, fashion, finances, and really, whatever else you can think of. Its charm and fierceness are due to its mixed culture: old and new worlds, Wall Street businessman and street culture, haute couture and homelessness, nature and skyscrapers, etc. I will list bellow some of the things I’ve done while staying in this boiling melting pot called Manhattan, the list is just a beginning of what you can do. In this ever changing and yet traditional American big city the options are endless.

1. Central Park

Is the breathing lungs and breathtaking heart of the city, a place where New Yorkers and tourists go for exercising, relaxing, reading and recharging. In the park, you can find the Alice in Wonderland Statue, Bethesda Fountain, Strawberry Fields and Imagine memorials.

2. American Museum of Natural History

Find yourself surrounded by archeological treasures from every corner of the world. The museum also houses the Hayden Planetarium, directed by Neil deGrasse Tyson. The recommended admission fee is $22, however, you can donate any quantity you can afford.

3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Be submerged in a massive collection of art from every place and every era. Days could be spent in there amidst a seemingly endless array of paintings, sculptures, mummies, jewelry and other historical items. The recommended admission fee is $25, however, you can donate any quantity you can afford.

4. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Be astonished by this architectural phenomenon holding paintings of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, Early Modern and Contemporary art. The entrance fee is $16.

5. Park Avenue

Walk around to see the very, very pricey buildings where some of the richest New Yorkers live.

6. Dakota Apartments

Built in the late 1800s, one of the most prestigious and coveted residential buildings in Manhattan. The Dakota is the former home and assassination location of the legendary musician John Lennon. The building can only be seen from the outside since it is a private property.

7. The Plaza

The most traditional luxury hotel in NYC opened its doors in 1907. You could stay the night for as “little” as U$700.00, or just visit the lobby for free as I did, there you can find shops, restaurants and bars.

8. The Museum of Modern Art

Visit its impressive collection of Modern and Contemporary Art, the MoMA is also the resting place of Van Gogh’s world famous Starry Night. The entrance fee is $25 or FREE every Friday from 4pm to 8pm.

9. St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Completed in 1878, the Neo-Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral is a landmark in New York City. Enjoy the silence and beautiful decoration of the church, and escape for a few minutes from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

10. Rockefeller Center

Is a complex of commercial buildings and home to Top of the Rock and Radio City Music Hall. At the Lower Plaza of the Center, you will find the famous Prometheus statue, and on winters you can enjoy the ice-skating rink portrayed in so many movies.

11. Fifth Avenue

The shopping street where all the top designer brands in the world can be found, including the famous Tiffany’s shop from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The perfect place for spending a lot of money or just window shopping.

12. Queens Bridge

Walk all the way west on 59th Street until you reach the park at the waterfront, there you will find the iconic angle of the bridge shot by Woody Allen in his very own Manhattan.

13. New York Public Library

The third largest public library in the world, established in 1895. The library is function and hosts different exhibitions throughout the year.

14. Times Square

The brightest street in the Island, famous for its many giant billboards, is in the center of Theater District. Be immersed in the spirit of the Big Apple as marketing campaigns fight for your attention.

15. Broadway Plays

A must see, at least once, these plays are world wide acclaimed for a good reason, so choose one that suits your personal taste, sit down and enjoy a traditional New Yorker performance.

16. The Empire State Building

Standing tall since 1930, the 103-story building is the iconic symbol of New York City. Go to the observatory to see the Big Apple from this exquisite angle, the decks are opened until 2am and the entrance fee for the main deck is $26. I recommend seeing the sunset or going at night. Bring a jacket!

17. Macy’s on West 34th St.

Located right next to the Empire State Building, this very big department store was established in 1858 and became another traditional spot in the city, there you can find something for virtually everyone.

18. Penn Station

The main train station in town, functioning since 1910. Go through it to see the everyday New Yorker transportation.

19. Chelsea

This lower west side neighborhood is charming and filled with art galleries to browse through.

20. High Line Park

I found this place by chance while roaming through the Meatpacking District. A park built on an elevated section of the New York Central Railroad, the idle southern portion of the West Side Line running to the Lower West Side of the island. A good inspiration on how to turn the big cities of the world greener.

21. Pete’s Tavern

Have a drink in the oldest functioning tavern in Manhattan! Opened in 1864, the place is famous for its beers and Italian food.

22. Greenwich Village

Home to the Washington Square Park, NYU, Blue Note and, The Bitter End, and the Comedy Cellar. This is a fascinating neighborhood, known for its Bohemian, artistic and LGBT friendly characteristics. While visiting the area make sure to grab a slice at Joe’s Pizza for a traditional taste of New York. Walk through Bleeker & McDougall for many bars and restaurants.

23. East Village

Known for it nightlife, the neighborhood was the birthplace of Punk Rock and other artistic movements. If you’re a rebel soul, make sure to pay this part of town a visit.

24. SoHo

A trendy neighborhood in Lower Manhattan known for its artistic vein and upscale shops. On weekends, you can find many artists selling their paintings in the streets when SoHo transforms itself into a giant outdoor art gallery.

25. Little Italy

Right next to SoHo and Chinatown, once this neighborhood consisted of a large Italian population, today you will mainly find Italian restaurants and souvenir shops on Mulberry St.

26. Chinatown

The largest enclave of Chinese people in the occidental world. Expect to find many little shops selling cheap souvenirs, fake top designer brand’s accessories and Chinese restaurants and markets, bargaining is always in style in this part of town.

27. Brooklyn Bridge

Completed in 1883, the cable-stayed/suspension bridge connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, cross it by foot for a better appreciation of the panoramic view.

28. 9/11 Ground Zero

Formerly a commercial center and the twin towers of the island best known as World Trade Center. Today a museum and memorial honoring those who perished in the 9/11 attacks. The general admission is $24.

29. Wall Street

Home of the New York Stock Exchange, the largest in the world, and the heart of the Financial District. Walk around and observe the man and women in their suits ready to get down to some serious business.

30. Staten Island Ferry

Take this free ride on the ferry that, since 1905, connects Manhattan to Staten Island.

31. Battery Park

Located at the Southern tip of the island. In the park, you will find the Castle Clinton, Hope Garden, memorials and ferries to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.


Profile photo of Paula Stefanini

My name is Paula Stefanini, I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and currently live in Los Angeles, U.S. I am a writer and exploring the world is my ultimate passion in life. Getting to see incredible places and learn about different cultures and their history has always been fascinating to me. Traveling gives me the thrill of experiencing the unknown and the sensation of motion, which fulfills my soul in a way that nothing else does. Also, the knowledge acquired on trips are in itself another purpose to keep on doing it. So far I have visited 25 counties, and my goal is to see them all! I currently write for Unite4:Good Magazine, a publication which targets people and organizations working towards making the world a better place (

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