Are you looking for the ultimate NYC bucket list of things to do in New York City? Keep reading for over 80 suggestions!
Visiting NYC and looking for the ultimate NYC bucket list? This article is going to give you all the ideas you need. 80 of them to be precise… That’s a lot of bucketlisting!
There are so many things to do in NYC – it can be a little overwhelming deciding how to spend your time and what to see first! Having this NYC bucket list handy during your trip will make sure you’re checking off all the good stuff! Hopefully, this NYC bucket list will give you some ideas, and also give you a little information about each and every one of these great things to do in NYC!
Tip when reading my NYC bucket list: I’ve put the classic / iconic NYC bucket list options near the top of the list, and the more quirkier choices towards the end! So if you’re an NYC-pro and you’ve already seen the main tourist attractions, you might want to scroll down to get some different ideas!
NYC bucket list: The Statue of Liberty
How could we write an NYC bucket list and not include the Statue of Liberty! The Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic statues in the world and one of the most un-missable places to visit in New York City. If you want to know more about the best ways to see the Statue of Liberty just click the previous link – where I’ve gone through all the different tours and boat trips on offer, and discuss which is best!
Empire State Building
Next on this NYC bucket list… The Empire State Building! This is one of the most famous buildings in the world, and it’s located in the heart of New York. You can view the Empire State Building from the ground (it’s pretty impressive to look up at!) but you can also visit the Empire State Observatory too, which offers up some amazing views of the city. You simply have to have the Empire State Building on your NYC bucket list!
This might not be NYC’s most famous park, but it’s one of my favourite places to visit in New York, so it’s right at the top of my NYC bucket list. This little park is nestled away in midtown, and it has a huge green space, lots of tables to eat at (perfect for lunch!) and a great view of The Empire State too. It’s a perfect place to spend a few hours in the sunshine… and in the summer time they also host free yoga classes here and even outdoor cinema nights!
The High Line Park
The High Line Park is one of the most interesting parks in the city of New York, having been built on old abandoned rail tracks and it’s a great addition to any NYC bucket list. It’s pretty impressive, interesting and fun to walk along, and there are some lovely views of New York along the walkway too. Definitely one of the best places to visit in New York for those who love a leisurely walk in the morning!
You can take a walking tour of the highline park and the meatpacking district, which I highly recommend!
Top of the Rock Observation Deck
Next on this NYC bucket list, it’s the Top of the Rock! Top of the Rock observation deck is at the very top of the Rockefeller Centre in Midtown. In my opinion, this is the best observation deck in NYC, as the views are pretty unparalleled. There are epic views of the New York skyline and the Empire State from up here! This is an absolute must-do, so make sure to add it to your NYC bucket list.
NYC bucket list: Central Park
How could we write an NYC bucket list without including Central Park? Central Park is beautiful, no matter what the weather or time of year. It’s simply beautiful, so give yourself a day to explore it properly! Central Park is just stunning.. In all weather and all seasons! We couldn’t write an NYC bucket list without including it.
If you want to take a tour of NYC – I wrote about all the best ways to tour Central Park here.
Times Square is one of the most iconic and famous places to visit in New York so of course it’s on our NYC bucket list. It’s bright, colourful, loud and busy – but there’s nowhere else quite like it. Head there in the daytime and the evening for the full effect – because it feels completely different at different times of the day. Times Square is a great place to enjoy a coffee, and take a few photos too! This is a classic option for any NYC bucket list.
Macy’s Department Store
If you love shopping, then Macy’s should definitely be on your NYC bucket list. Macy’s is one of the biggest department stores in the world, and it’s well worth a visit during your time in New York! Head to Macy’s and enjoy some shopping, browse the stores, and maybe even buy yourself a thing or two!
Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in the world, so of course it made our NYC bucket list. If you’ve got time, take a walk across the bridge itself and enjoy the amazing views of the Manhattan skyline and Brooklyn too. If you’re wondering where to find the best views of the Brooklyn Bridge – I wrote about that here!
The Vessel is a new vertical park in Hudson Yards and it’s new on my NYC bucket list. The huge sculpture-type structure is full of steps you can climb up to get the best views of the city. It’s unique, different and really quite special. If you love exploring and you love photography – this is going to be one of the best places to visit in New York for you! This is a must-see for any lover of architecture or unique buildings, so make sure to add it to your NYC bucket list.
Hudson Yards Mall
Next on my NYC bucket list, it’s Hudson Yards mall – this is a pretty great mall and right next door to the Vessel. This new luxury shopping mall is located in the newly developed Hudson yards neighbourhood, and it’s beautiful! It’s a great place to indulge in a little bit of retail therapy! It’s also right next to the Vessel (mentioned above). If luxury shopping is your jam, this place needs to be on your NYC bucket list.
NYC bucket list: Manhattan Bridge
Manhattan Bridge might not be as famous as it’s neighbour Brooklyn Bridge, but it’s just as beautiful! I love this bridge, and I’ll take any excuse to take some gorgeous photos of it! If you want to see all of NYC – then this beautiful bridge needs to make your NYC bucket list.
Roosevelt Island Tram
Another lesser-known activity on this NYC bucket list… It’s the Roosevelt Island tramway. This is actually just a method of public transport from the upper east side to Roosevelt Island. Saying that makes it sound a bit boring though – which it certainly isn’t! The Roosevelt island tramway is really fun, has some great views of the city, and it’s surprisingly cheap too! It’s a great addition to any NYC bucket list.
Grand Central Terminal
How could we write an NYC bucket list and not include Grand Central Terminal? It’s also known as Grand Central Station, and this is one of the most famous rail stations in the USA and it’s a hub of transport in NYC. It’s a lovely building to visit, it’s really beautifully designed and has lots of history behind it too – so deserves a spot on your NYC bucket list. There’s also a food market inside which we adore!
The Edge Observation Deck
This is a brand new place to visit in NYC but a great addition to any NYC bucket list! It’s a new observation deck with great views of the city. What makes it different to the other observation decks? This place is literally like walking on the edge of the view, you can go right up to the edge of the viewing deck (hence the name!).
New York Public Library
You might remember this amazing building from the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” as the place where the characters hide out from the storm. Aside from being the movie location of that film, it’s also a pretty kick-ass library and one of the most beautiful buildings in midtown! Why should it make your NYC bucket list? Well, it’s one of NYC’s oldest and most prominent buildings, and you’ll instantly recognise it.
NYC bucket list: Chrysler Building
The Chrysler Building is a really beautiful building, that was (once upon a time) the tallest building in the world. Of course, it’s not anymore, but it’s still a really lovely building to visit and take a look at. It’s definitely worth adding to your NYC bucket list.
Belvedere Castle in Central Park
Did you know that Central Park has a castle? Lots of people don’t!
Belvedere Castle is located about halfway up Central Park and it’s one of the most unexpected places to visit in New York! Definitely worth a photo or two! It’s definitely worth adding to your NYC bucket list – it’s such a unique part of the city many people never even visit!
Columbus Circle is located on the South West corner of Central Park and it’s a pretty nice place to walk around and explore. I actually love the shopping mall at Columbus Circle – especially the huge Whole Foods! It’s a great place to add to your NYC bucket list.
Next on our NYC bucket list, it’s this iconic art museum. The Guggenheim is one of the most iconic art galleries in NYC, so it’s definitely one of the main places to visit in New York – especially if you love art and culture. The design of the building is also really interesting too! It’s a must-visit for any art lovers, so should definitely make your NYC bucket list.
Central Park Zoo
Yes, Central Park has it’s very own zoo! It may not be the biggest zoo in the city, but it’s one of the most charming, and it’s a great place to visit in New York if you love animals!
Flat Iron Building
The Flat Iron Building is probably one of the most recognisable buildings in New York, and one of the most unique too, so of course it made our NYC bucket list. As the name suggests, it looks a little like one of the vintage flat irons, and the slim shapes lends itself perfect to the surrounding skyline.
Washington Square Park
Another lovely park in New York, this park is near the university district! My favourite bit about this park is the special dog park inside it! Who doesn’t love puppies! You might recognise this park if you’ve ever watched ‘Impractical Jokers’ – they film a lot of their pranks here. Definitely a must for your NYC bucket list.
Take an NYC boat tour
Next on our NYC bucket list, is an NYC boat tour! If you didn’t know, NYC is surrounded by water, so a city boat tour is a great way to see the amazing buildings and views the city has to offer! I really recommend taking a boat tour if you have the chance whilst in NYC, so be sure to add it to your own NYC bucket list! It’s such a fun and unique way to see the city.
Wall Street is one of the most important parts of New York, as it’s where all the stock exchanges take place, so of course it made our NYC bucket list. Taking a stroll through Wall Street on a working day is a bit crazy, busy and bustling – but it gives you a real insight into New York life for the brokers who works there every day! I really recommend taking this walking tour of Wall Street, Chinatown and Little Italy – you get to see so much of the city!
NYC bucket list: Fifth Avenue Shopping
If you fancy shopping until you drop, then fifth avenue is going to be one of the best places to visit in New York for you! There are SO MANY shops on fifth avenue, you’ll have loads of choice! You could spend a whole day walking up fifth avenue visiting all the shops! Another great choice to add to your NYC bucket list.
A broadway show
Next on my NYC bucket list, take a trip to a Broadway Show. If you’re unsure which show to watch (don’t worry, that’s normal as there are so many of them!) I actually wrote a guide about Broadway Shows here. Take a read of that guide to figure out which Broadway show you’ll enjoy the most!
NYC bucket list: MoMA
Another brilliant art gallery, the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) is an absolute must-see for people who love art (especially modern art!). There are loads of amazing artists in this gallery, so it’s unmissable. Another great museum to add to your NYC bucket list.
Intrepid Air and Space Museum
An educational choice next on this NYC bucket list. The Intrepid Air and Space Museum is a really interesting museum in New York and is all about planes, aircrafts and air travel. It’s fascinating for anyone remotely interesting in air travel, and it has outdoor and indoor exhibits too.
Staten Island Ferry
The Staten Island Ferry is a great place to visit in New York – and it’s free! It’s one of my favorite choices on this NYC bucket list. The Ferry leaves from the southernmost point of Manhattan and it’s a free ferry that makes round trips between Manhattan and Staten Island. You’ll get great views of the skyline as you make the crossing too, and there’s even a little cafe onboard!
Next on my NYC bucket list, it’s Koreatown. It’s a pretty small neighbourhood (near Macy’s) but it has some of the best Korean BBQ places in the city and you’ll be spoilt for choice. If you already love Korean BBQ then you’ll be convinced already – but if you haven’t ever had it – trust us, it’s amazing!
New York Giants Stadium
Next on my NYC bucket list, it’s the New York Giants Stadium. If you’re visiting New York during the NFL (American football) season, then grab some tickets and go watch a game! It’s honestly so much fun and the stadium is pretty epic! I LOVE heading to a game whenever we’re in the city – it’s so much fun and an absolute must for any NYC bucket list.
American Museum of Natural History
Probably the most famous museum in New York, so it had to make our NYC bucket list. The Natural History Museum is huge and so interesting for people of all ages! It’s a great place to visit with kids too – as there’s so much for them to do and see.
One World Observatory
The One World Observatory is next on this NYC bucket list. It is located at the top of NYC’s tallest buildings, so of course it had to make my list of places to visit in New York. This is an observation deck with incredible sky-high views, unlike any other in the city. You can book skip-the-line tickets by clicking here.
NYC bucket list: Yankee Stadium
Even if you’re not that into sports (or the Yankees) it’s still pretty cool to go to the stadium and watch a game. Yankee Stadium is an iconic sporting ground so you should definitely add it to your NYC bucket list. If it’s not game season, see if you can book a stadium tour instead, and explore all the hidden behind-the-scenes areas usually off-limits to tourists and visitors. It’s a great addition to any NYC bucket list.
Experience an NYC breakfast
You can’t have an NYC bucket list and not include having a classic NYC breakfast. NYC is known for having an amazing array of breakfast places – so if you’re looking for suggestions, check out this list of the best breakfast in NYC.
Westfield Mall – World Trade Centre
The Westfield Mall is a relatively new mall in NYC and the design and building is just incredible. Go to admire the incredible interiors design, but stay for the shopping! Definitely a brilliant one of the places to visit in New York, that pleases everyone! And a must-see for any NYC bucket list.
Rockefeller Centre ice rink
Next up on this NYC bucket list, it’s the Rockefeller Centre Ice-Rink. If you looking for places to visit in New York during the winter months, then the Rockefeller Centre ice-rink is a must-visit location. The ice-rink at the Rockefeller Centre is one of the most popular in the city, and it’s located right underneath the famous Christmas tree. Why is this the perfect addition to any NYC bucket list? It’s just on of those classic winter NYC destinations.
Visit the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights
If you’re visiting NYC at Christmas time, then you’re going to want to add the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights to your NYC bucket list. It’s the most ‘christmassy’ thing you can do in the city! What is it? Basically, it’s a neighbourhood of big suburban houses in Brooklyn, who all compete each year to display the most festive and opulent Christmas lights.
Read more about it here, including the best ways to see the Dyker Heights Christmas Lights!
Bow Bridge (Central Park)
Bow Bridge in Central Park is one of the most famous places in the park so it’s next on this NYC bucket list. It’s one of the most romantic places in Central Park too! Bow Bridge is also known as ‘proposal bridge’ as so many people pop the big question there!
Washington Street (Brooklyn)
This is one of those magic photography spots that you just won’t want to miss, so it has to make my NYC bucket list. It’s a perfect framed photo of the Manhattan Bridge, peeping through the streets, and it even has the Empire State Building in shot on a clear day!
NYC bucket list: St Patrick’s Cathedral
St Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the biggest cathedrals in New York, so it’s definitely one of the best places to visit in New York and had to make this NYC bucket list. This huge (and very beautiful) cathedral is a stunning contrast to the skyscrapers around it, and is located in the heart of midtown.
September 11 Memorial
The September 11 memorial located where the Twin Towers used to be is a very poignant, emotional and meaningful location in the city. I don’t think I class this as a tourist attraction (and please don’t treat it as such) but it’s an important place to visit for the history and for showing respect to those who lost their lives.
NYC bucket list: Chinatown
Chinatown is a really lovely part of New York, with lots of amazing restaurants to be explored and tried out! I really recommend taking this walking tour of Wall Street, Chinatown and Little Italy – you get to see so much of the city! A great addition to any NYC bucket list.
How could I write an NYC bucket list without mentioning one of the BEST diners in the city?! This CLASSIC deli is one of the oldest delis in NYC, which is why it makes my list of places to visit in New York. Seriously, Katz Deli is iconic int he city and you have to try a sandwich before leaving New York (otherwise did you even really visit NYC?). It’s also where that famous scene in ‘When Harry Met Sally’ was filmed! It’s an absolute must-visit and definitely needs to make it onto your own NYC bucket list.
Little Italy is a great neighbourhood to explore, as it feels a little different from other more ‘touristy’ places in New York. It’s one of my favourite places to visit in New York because of the food! There is so much great food here, as you’d expect! I really recommend taking this walking tour of Wall Street, Chinatown and Little Italy – you get to see so much of the city!
Madison Square Garden
If you’re headed to the city for a show or a game in Madison Square Garden then you’ll get to see this amazing venue anyway! So chances are, you may already have this venue on your NYC bucket list. But if not, it’s worth doing a tour of the building on an off-day because it’s a pretty cool place to see behind the scenes of!
A great (and super quirky) museum for your NYC bucket list. This immersive museum is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s all based around colour and how you experience it and interact with it. I can’t say much more without spoiling the experience – but trust me it’s fantastic. Click here to book tickets.
Levain Bakery is famous for it’s cookies… and oh boy, the cookies are out of this world. If you want to visit somewhere in New York that has a cult-following and serves up incredible desserts… you found it. If you’re a foodie, then definitely add this to your NYC bucket list.
NYC bucket list: Battery Park
Located on the southernmost tip of Manhattan, Battery Park is a lovely place to sit and watch the world go by, so be sure to add it to your NYC bucket list. There are also great views of the Statue of Liberty from here (the best views you’ll get without going on a boat) so that’s a reason to visit too!
Radio City Music Hall
If you’re visiting New York City at Christmas time, then one of the key places to visit in New York has to be the Radio City Music Hall! This is where the famous Rockettes performs their annual Christmas Spectacular – and it’s an awesome venue to experience! This is a must for your NYC bucket list, especially if you’re visiting during the festive season! It’s magical at Christmas!
If you’re heading out to see the Statue of Liberty on the ferry, then you’ll be able to hop off the ferry at the Ellis Island as well as Liberty Island. Ellis island is a really important place to visit in New York because it’s so historically important. A classic and historical option for your NYC bucket list.
NYC bucket list: Bronx Zoo
The biggest zoo in New York, this is one of the best places to visit in New York for families, for sure! If you’ve got small kids, then make sure to add this to your NYC bucket list. There loads to see here, and they even have special experience packages to meet certain animals too!
Aire Ancient Baths
You probably haven’t heard of this place, but that’s because it’s a true hidden gem in the city. What makes this one of the best places to visit in New York? Aire Ancient Baths is just magical. For us, it’s an absolute must for any NYC bucket list. This is a private, serene underground spa, which whisks you away from the hustle and bustle of the city outside. One of my personal favourite places to visit in New York.
The Garment District
The Garment District in New York is where you’ll find all the material shops used by fashion students and fashion designers. I love looking around these stores in the Garment District, they’re so interesting and I love finding hidden gems too! A great place to add to your NYC bucket list.
NYC bucket list: Soho
Next on this NYC bucket list, it’s the neighbourhood called SoHo. SoHo is a neighbourhood in New York and it’s my next choice on this list of places to visit in New York. It’s one of my favourite places to visit in New York because it’s such a lovely local neighbourhood. It’s a lovely place to stroll around, grab a coffee, enjoy the views and snap a few photos. It’s such a nice neighbourhood! Here’s how to spend a day in Soho.
Union Square Market
Another great little market to add to this NYC bucket list. This is just a cute little local-seller market that happens in the park. If you want a taste of what local Manhattan life is like, or if you want to browse some cute stalls and taste some local produce – this is such a lovely places to visit in New York.
NYC bucket list: Bethesda Terrace
Bethesda Terrace is located in Central Park, and it’s one of the most interesting and unique parts of the park. There have been a few movies filmed under the terrace, but you’ll want to visit there for the amazing designs, and also the regular singers and performers that base themselves there. This is a must for any NYC bucket list, because it’s just so ‘New York’!
The Loeb Boathouse
The next suggestion on my list of places to visit in New York, is the Loeb Boathouse, make sure to add this place to your NYC bucket list. This restaurant located in the heart of Central Park is one of the most romantic spots to eat in the city, and it was also the filming-location for many famous movies too.
Next on my list of places to visit in New York, it’s Trader Joe’s. If you’re from the USA, you’re probably familiar with Trader Joes but if you’re from the UK or elsewhere you might not be. Basically, Trader Joe’s is where most of the locals do their grocery shopping – and it’s kind of fun to walk around as a visitor and see what there is on offer!
Whitney Museum of American Art
Another addition to my list of places to visit in New York – this is another option for the art lovers! It’s a slightly smaller gallery than the high-profile places above, but still brilliant! another great option for your NYC bucket list.
New York Botanical Garden
If you love plants, flowers, gardening, or all of the above… then you’re going to adore the New York Botanical Garden. It’s a lovely place to visit in spring or summer when all the flowers are in full bloom! Make sure this place is on your NYC bucket list.
This is one of the biggest outdoor food markets in New York and it’s such a fun way to spend the afternoon or evening – so if you love food, be sure to add this to your NYC bucket list. Honestly, if you love food and you love trying the best of local food, then Smorgasburg is one of the best places to visit in New York for you! You’ll be able to try a little bit of everything!
Another food market to add to your NYC bucket list, this is a popular indoor market full of foodie finds and deli-type stores too. Chelsea Market is popular with tourist and locals and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area, and makes a great lunch destination!
NYC bucket list: Time Out Market
Time Out Market in Brooklyn is definitely one of the coolest places to visit in New York if you’re into your food! I know I’ve included quite a few food places now on this NYC bucket list – but NYC is famous for it’s amazing food, so why not! It’s an indoor food market with some of NY’s most popular food vendors and restaurants selling their menu’s hot-picks. You really can’t go wrong – plus the view from the rooftop bar is epic!
The ‘Friends’ apartment
Of course, we all know that majority of TV show ‘Friends’ was shot in studios in LA – but a lot of the outdoor shots we filmed in New York, and you can actually go and visit the apartment a lot of the TV was based at. It’s found at 90 Bedford St. A must-see place to visit in New York anyone who loves the TV show! If you loved the show… This has to make your NYC bucket list.
Next on my NYC bucket list, it’s Brooklyn Heights. Across the water from Manhattan – this has some great views of Manhattan! A perfect place for a picnic, or just a walk along the water to enjoy the views.
DUMBO in Brooklyn is one of the best places to view the NYC skyline, so it’s one of my favourite places to visit in New York. There’s some lovely green space there, as well as some shops and cafes too. It’s just a lovely place to sit and watch the world go by! I adore this part of NYC, so it’s always on our NYC bucket list.
NYC bucket list: Coney Island
Located a little further out of the city, Coney Island is a fun amusement park with lots of rides and games to try out. It’s a lot of fun and well worth the visit out of the city. The best time to visit Coney Island is definitely a sunny spring or summer day! Another classic choice for your NYC bucket list!
South Street Seaport
This little sport on the east side of Manhattan is a lovely place to spend a sunny afternoon. You can walk along the edge of Manhattan and enjoy the views of the bridges and Brooklyn! There are some great views from this spot on our NYC bucket list!
Tiffany’s New York
Next on our NYC bucket list, it’s Tiffany’s. You might’ve seen the movie ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ (or maybe you haven’t) but it was this movie that shot the Tiffany’s branch in New York to fame. Most of us won’t be able to afford anything inside the store, but that doesn’t stop us window shopping! It’s a totally iconic shop, and a perfect addition to your NYC bucket list.
The famous ice rink in Central Park with an amazing backdrop of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline! If you’re in New York during the autumn or winter, this is definitely one of the best places to visit in New York.
Conservatory Water (Central Park)
Next on my NYC bucket list, this is one of the lesser-known lakes in Central Park. I love Conservatory Water as it’s a little quieter, calmer and scenic. If you want to escape the touristy parts of the park, this is a great place to go.
Next on our NYC bucket list, it’s my favorite restaurant in the city. I’m including this on my list of places to visit in New York because Jacob’s Pickles is my personal FAVOURITE restaurant in the city. They serve up crazy delicious southern food with mega impressive portions. I’ve never had anything below average here – everything is freaking delicious.
Next on this NYC bucket list, it’s something for the movie fans! If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know exactly which fire station I’m talking about! This place is a bit of a New York gem, and it’s easy to locate and visit and snap a quick photo in front of! Definitely a must-visit location in New York for any movie lovers!
Dominique Ansel Bakery
If you want to try one of New York’s most famous foodie cronuts, then the Dominique Ansel Bakery is where you need to head to! This is one of those Instagramable foodie bucket list items – so don’t miss it, this place has to make your NYC bucket list.
The skyscraper museum
Exactly what it sounds like! This places to visit in New York is a museum dedicated to the skyscrapers in the city. If you love architecture and seeing the history of the city, this will be a great choice for you.
The Alice in Wonderland Statue
Next on my list of places to visit in New York, the beautiful Alice in Wonderland Statue. You’ll find this famous statue in Central Park (it’s quite far up!) and it’s one of the most well-known statues in the park. It’s a perfect place to pose for a photo, especially if you loved the books as a child A famous spot and a classic choice for your NYC bucket list.
Enjoy some of the city’s best chicken wings
NYC is known for being pretty good with the old chicken wing – and there are loads of places to find the best chicken wings in NYC. If you’re feeling peckish (see what we did there!) then I recommend checking out this list the best chicken wings in NYC and finding a favorite!
The Charging Bull
Last on my list of places to visit in New York, it’s the Charging Bull. This huge sculpture / statue in downtown (near Wall Street) is a must-see for anyone into history and art. It’s famous in itself, and was recently added to by another artist, who added the sculpture of a young girl challenging the bull. You’ve probably seen photos of it – and it’s amazing to see it in person too! This is a must-see, so don’t miss it off your NYC bucket list.
I hope this NYC bucket list is helpful and has given you lots of inspiration for your next trip to NYC!
NYC such an amazing and exciting city to visit and there are so many places to visit in New York, you could never be bored here! This NYC bucket list is full of things I love in the city – and hopefully you will too!