Are you wondering what are the reasons to visit New York? New York City is probably the most exciting and energetic place you can visit. There are so many reasons to visit New York because this iconic city provides the absolute best choices when it comes to culture, food, and entertainment.
11 Reasons To Visit New York
There are a myriad of inspiring reasons to visit New York!
Here are just 11 reasons to visit New York to get you started.
1. Enjoy the Unique Neighborhoods
One of the most special things about Manhattan is its distinct neighborhoods, each with its own vibe and culture. The architecture changes throughout the city and so do the shops, vendors, and people.
You’ll find your favorite spots in different parts of town. Allow yourself time to walk and wander and you’ll see what I mean.
Harlem – is in Upper Manhattan and is known for its African American history, cool jazz clubs, and delicious food.
The Upper West Side – is on the west side of Central Park and is known for its stunning old New York buildings, Columbia University, chic shops and restaurants, famous spots like Zabars, and the cafes of Columbus Avenue.
The Upper East Side – is on the east side of Central Park and is known for its luxury buildings, Museum Mile, upscale restaurants, and spots like the Carlyle Hotel.
Midtown – is famous for Times Square, Chelsea, Murray Hill, and Gramercy and is filled with hustle and bustle, high rises, luxury apartments, and hidden gems like Gramercy Park.
Downtown – is where the grid of the avenues and streets disappears and you’ll find the winding cobblestones, charming Greenwich Village, New York University, Soho (South of Houston), and Tribeca (Triangle Below Canal) on the west side, and the East Village, Lower East Side, Nolita (north of Little Italy), Little Italy, and Chinatown, on the east side.
The Financial District (FiDi)– is the bottom tip of Manhattan where money makes the world go round. Wall Street and the financial industry are the backdrop of the magnificent 9/11 Memorial, World Trade Center and Oculus, and the historic South Street Seaport.
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2. Broadway Shows & Theater
There’s no business like show business and New York City’s Broadway shows are unlike any theater you’ll see anywhere else in the world.
Broadway shows are a deep part of the fabric of NYC and will leave you feeling uplifted, inspired and singing through the streets of Times Square.
The historic theaters are intimate and there’s never a bad seat in the house. The quality of talent you’ll see makes the price of the tickets worth it.
Look for bargains through an app like Today Tix. You can sign up for notifications on discount seats. Or wait in line at the TKTS booth in Times Square under the famous steps.
3. Home of the World’s Most Iconic Skyscrapers
The views of the New York City skyline are magnificent because of some of the world’s first architectural wonders. The history of these buildings alone is one of the reasons to visit New York.
As you walk through the city, be sure to look up. To really experience the spectacular views, check out one of the great observation decks.
Enjoy a sunset overlooking Manhattan and learn all about the history of New York and the creation of these engineering marvels.
There are 5 observation decks in NYC:
~ The Empire State Building deck is 1050 feet at the 86th floor, 1250 feet at the 102nd floor. This is the most iconic of all, famous for so many movies from King Kong to Sleepless in Seattle.
Learn more in the Things You Must See In New York City.
Location – 20 West 34th St.
Hours – 8:AM- 2:AM daily
Tickets – start at $44
~ The Edge At Hudson Yards deck is 1131 feet at the 100th floor. This is the highest deck in the Western Hemisphere and you can even scale the side of the building if you are a thrill seeker.
Location – Hudson Yards near West 34th St.
Hours – 10:AM – 10:PM daily (deck may be closed due to weather)
Tickets – start at $38
~ The Summit At One Vanderbilt deck is 1063 feet at the 93rd floor. This midtown Manhattan spot near Grand Central Station is the 4th tallest building in NYC, and has a full art installation as you enjoy the 360 degree viewing experience.
Location – 1 Vanderbilt Ave. near Grand Central Station at East 42nd St. Enter from the street, or directly from the Grand Central Terminal.
Hours – 9:AM – 10:30 PM daily
Tickets – start at $43
~ One World Observatory deck is 1268 feet at the 102rd floor. This is the top of Freedom Tower and is the 7th tallest building in the world.
Location – One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan
Hours – 9:AM – 9:PM daily
Tickets – start at $47
~ The Top Of The Rock deck is 850 feet at the 70th floor. This is the top of Rockefeller Center and from here you can see the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, One World Trade Center, and Central Park lit up in the night sky.
Location – West 50th St & Avenue of the Americas at Rockefeller Center
Hours – 9:AM – 10:30 PM daily
Tickets – start at $34
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4. Art Museums
If you love art, then the museums of New York City are among the best in the world. Museum Mile of 5th Avenue on the Upper East Side is a great place to start your exploration and work your way downtown.
Check for special exhibits of your favorite genres of art and I guarantee you will find what you are looking for. Art is definitely one of the reasons to visit New York.
~ The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
Location – 2 East 91st St.
The Cooper Hewitt is a museum dedicated to the history of design and has one of the most diverse design collections in the world. Be sure to spend time in the glass reading room.
~ The Solomon R.Guggenheim Museum (Guggenheim)
Location – 1071 5th Ave.
The Guggenheim was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and is an architectural beauty. Being there is like seeing art within art. Circle up through the floors in what is considered a landmark of NYC, sitting on the banks of Central Park.
~ The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)
Location – 1000 5th Ave.
The Met is the queen of all NYC museums and can keep you busy for as long as you like. It’s the largest museum in the Western Hemisphere and is very popular. Expect long lines. I recommend you get your tickets in advance.
~ Neue Galerie
Location – 1048 5th Ave.
This is a lesser known, must see museum of German and Austrian art, housed in the William Starr Miller House. Not only can you see the famous Klimt’s Woman In Gold, but you can roam through this fgorgeous Gilded Age home and dine at Cafe Sabarsky.
~ The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Location – 11 West 53rd St.
MoMa has the premiere collection of modern and contemporary art in NYC. It’s also known for having the largest research library of any art museum and is one of the largest modern art museums in the world.
~ The Morgan Library & Museum
Location – 225 Madison Ave.
The Morgan Library was the personal library of the wealthy book and art collector, Pierpont Morgan, built in 1902 next to his New York City mansion. Not only is the vast collection of books, manuscripts, and art impressive, but the setting is so beautiful and grand, it’s honestly jaw dropping.
~ The Whitney Museum of American Art (The Whitney)
Location – 99 Gansevoort Street
For a whole different vibe, head all the way downtown to the Whitney for the comprehensive collection dedicated to American Art. On the banks of the Hudson River and at the start of the Highline, this gem in the meatpacking district is always a great way to spend a few hours.
5. Central Park is a Great Reason to Visit New York
Central Park is the jewel of New York City. Located up town, dividing the west side from the east, Central Park is 843 acres of land in the midst of the city.
This is not your average park. Find maps and tours at the Dairy Visitor Center, a Victorian Cottage built in 1871, mid park at 65th Street.
So much to do in all parts of the park! Take a walking tour, take a horse and buggy, or just roam. Here are the top 11 spots (in alphabetical order):
- Belvedere Castle – In the middle of the park at 79th St., the castle sits on the Vista Rock and overlooks the Turtle Pond, the Great Lawn, and the Ramble. Go there for the visitor center and souvenir shop.
- Bethesda Terrace and Fountain – In the middle of the park at 72nd St., this is probably the most photographed spot in the park. The fountain is famous for its Angel of the Waters sculpture. The fountain marked the opening of the fresh water aqueduct in 1842.
- Bow Bridge – In the middle of the park at 74th St. The bridge spans the lake, linking the Rambles to the Bethesda Terrace. It looks like a lovely bow for a violin and is known as a romantic backdrop to many photos.
- The Carousel – In the middle of the park at 65th St., this iconic feature was built in 1908 and installed in the park in 1951. Bring the kids and ride on one of the 57 horses.
- Central Park Zoo – On the east side between 63rd and 66th streets, this famous zoo was opened in 1934. The Tisch Children’s Zoo is open from April through November.
- Conservatory Garden – On the east side at 104th St., is the formal garden of the park. Enter at the Vanderbilt Gate to see the French, Italian, and English gardens that have been opened to the public since 1937.
- Conservatory Water – On the east side at 75th St. is where you will find the model boat pond. You can rent the boats and enjoy the cafe at Kerb’s Boat House.
- Delacorte Theater – In the middle of the park at 80th St. is the open air theater. Home to Shakespeare in the Park, a New York City tradition.
- Imagine Mosaic in Strawberry Fields – On the west side between 71st and 75th streets is the memorial to John Lennon, just across from the Dakota Building where he and Yoko Ono lived. The gardens include plants donated by countries from all over the world.
- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir – in the middle of the park between 89th and 96th streets, this is the spot popular for runners. It’s a 1.58 mile loop around the largest body of water in the park. Great for bird watching, it was named for Jackie O. in 1994 because she used to jog here and had contributed so much to the city she called home.
- Wollman Rink – On the east side at 63rd St., built in 1950, skaters can be on the ice from October to April.
6. Is Times Square one of the best reasons to visit
Talk about iconic! Times Square, at 42nd Street, is the gateway to Broadway and all things theater. It’s famous for its lights, action, and the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop. It’s energetic and a bit wild at all times of the day and night.
You’ill find tons of souvenirs and photo ops. Get theater tix at the TKS booth, or just hang out and people watch.
Go at night to experience the Midnight Moment. At 11:57 until 12 midnight, every night, 364 nights a year, since 2012, the billboards of Times Square turn into an art show when all 92 advertising displays in Times Square turn off the ads and turn on digital displays!
Times Square Fun Facts:
- It was Longacre Square and was renamed when the New York Times moved in, in 1904.
- Broadway between 42nd St. and 47th St. has been closed to traffic since 2009.
- The New Years Eve ball has dropped from the One Times Square Building since 1907. The Times Square Ball weighs six tons and has 32,256 LEDs.
- There are so many lights in Times Square that it can be seen from the International Space Station.
- It’s known as the Crossroads of the World
- Broadway is called The Great White Way because of all the lights dazzling the theater marquees along Broadway.
7. The 9/11 Memorial
New York and the world experienced unforgettable changes in 2001 and the 9/11 Memorial offers a chance to reflect and feel inspired by the reconstruction of this part of lower Manhattan.
The plaza, designed by Michael Arad and Peter Walker, honors the people killed on 9/11, as well as those who lost their lives in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993.
Visit the twin reflecting pools, with cascading waterfalls, surrounded by White Oak trees around the pools and see the names of 9/11 victims etched in bronze.
One World Trade Center, the Freedom Tower, and The Oculus, are designed as the transportation hub of the city, symbolizing a dove leaving a child’s hands.
There’s no fee to enter the memorial site. The 9/11 Memorial Museum is open Thursday – Monday 10AM – 5PM.
8. The Nightlife is a Reason to Visit New York
New York City is one of the best nightlife cities in the world. You can see sunsets over the water, the skyline lit up, go to shows, eat all your favorite foods, and dance ‘till dawn!
Here are a few ways to make the most of your New York City nightlife experience:
- See a Broadway Show.
- Take the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty.
- Hop on a nighttime bus tour.
- Go to a rooftop bar.
- Listen to world class jazz.
- Eat your way through Chinatown and Little Italy.
- Sing along at a piano bar.
9. The World Renowned Lincoln Center
New York City is fortunate to house the one and only Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on West 65th St.
It’s one of New York’s most precious places. New York City Ballet, The Metropolitan Opera, and the New York Philharmonic call Lincoln Center their home and perform in the beautiful spaces of the 16 acre complex.
The Julliard School campus is at Lincoln Center which trains some of the world’s best young talent.
These facilities are a reason to love New York and it’s sponsorship of the arts. Do you like ballet, opera, or the symphony? Lincoln Center is the place for premiere performances.
10. The High Line
Have you heard about The High Line? Climb the steps from just outside the Whitney Museum up onto the High Line. This is a MUST DO any time of the year.
The High Line is a 1.45 mile walk from Gansevoort St. to 34th St. It’s a public park built on the historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.
Neighborhood residents saved the old rail line from demolition in 2009 and made it one of the most fabulous, sustainable green, art, and design spaces in NYC.
Open from 7AM to 7PM in the winter and until 10PM in the summer months. It’s perfect for a sunset adventure.
11. Eat, Eat, Eat!
I’m not sure where to begin with the food thing! From morning coffee, to brunch, to lunches, and dinners, and late night snacks! NYC has it all. Food is definitely a primary reason to visit New York!
All flavors, all ethnicities, and all times of the day. Every visit means discovering a new favorite place to eat!
The food is a highlight of the whole NYC experience, so I recommend you make reservations and consider your meals as a big part of your touring day.
You won’t be sorry!
Here are some of my recent favorites:
- Dante – Greenwich Village , Italian caffe, bar, restaurant.
- Jack’s Wife Freida – 4 locations, great for brunch.
- La Pecora Bianca – 7 locations, Italian bar and restaurant.
- Lola Taverna – Soho, Greek food, great atmosphere.
- Lure Fishbar – Soho, Divine sushi in a boat like atmosphere.
- Modern Bagel – Upper West Side, best gluten free bagels and bakery.
- Numero 28 – East Village, Italian, pizza oven, fabulous.
- Rosecrans – Greenwich Village, Florist & Cafe. Adorable, great breakfast.
- Tri Dim Shanghai – Upper East Side, Chinese, gourmet, lovely spot.
- The Waverly Inn – Greenwich Village, American food, gorgeous atmosphere.
- Via Carota – West Village, Italian and amazing.
If you’re looking for an iconic experience and don’t mind tourist prices because the atmosphere is so great, then check out:
- The Russian Tea Room near Carnegie Hall
- Tavern On The Green in Central Park
- Katz’s Deli in the Lower East Side
2 Reasons NOT To Visit New York
I find it challenging to talk about the down side of New York because I’m such a big fan. But new York City is not for everyone and here are the reasons Not to visit New York:
❌ It’s Expensive
It’s expensive. Try to budget, and find lots of things to do for free, including lodging and food, but no matter how you slice it, New York is an expensive city to visit. You are likely to spend more than you anticipated or hoped to.
Plan ahead to avoid sticker shock. Some money saving tips:
- Research your lodging options and find reasonable reservations here on VRBO.
- Find the best market nearby and stock up on breakfast and lunch foods so you only dine out for dinner.
- Buy the least expensive show tickets because all seats in the theater will be great.
- Walk everywhere you can and buy Metropass for the subways.
- Buy a New York City Pass for attractions.
- Go to the museums on their free evenings.
The Homeless situation in NYC is a very real issue. As a tourist, you are likely to be spending time in areas that don’t have a high homeless population. That being said, you won’t avoid the reality of the problem entirely.
Seeing homeless people on the subway trains or on a corner can be unsettling.
I try to remember that these people and their needs are part of the community as much as all the residents and the tourists. How can we help?
Consider donating to the Coalition for the Homeless, or a shelter.
Why New York Is A Dream City
New York was voted the #1 dream city in a recent survey. Why?
It’s vibrant, creative, dynamic, and exciting.
New York is the dream city for anyone interested in art, music, and theater.
It’s the hub of finance and business.
It’s the home of all your favorite movies.
It’s where you can find your favorite food any time of the day.
It’s a place for college students, young professionals, and generations of families who keep the culture alive.
There is literally no place on earth like New York City.
When Is The Best Time To Visit New York?
I love NYC all year long, but here are some things to know about the best time to visit New York.
Mid June through Early July and Mid August through September are the most popular times to visit NYC. These fringe-of-summer times offer the best chances of warm, but not too hot weather. The middle of the summer can be very steamy and muggy. Remember, this is a concrete jungle and the heat comes off the streets like an oven!
Fall is ideal with average temps in the 60’s and 70’s. The trees are turning, the air is crisp, the crowds are gone, and the sun is still shining. A great time to be walking a lot!
November and December are my favorite time to visit NYC. The holidays bring a whole new festive energy to the town. You can experience all the winter activities, shops, decorations, and of course, the famous New Year’s Eve celebrations.
February and March are also less crowded and can bring surprise snow storms or surprise sunny days. Bring layers, umbrellas, and all-weather shoes!
A Few More Interesting Things About
New York City is filled with stories, legends, and quirky fun facts. Here are just a few.
Fun Fact: New York’s Nickname
New York’s official nickname is The Big Apple because that was the best prize given at horse races in the 1920’s. But the city is also called The City That Never Sleeps, The Empire City, and The City Of Dreams.
Fun Fact: Statue of Liberty’s Name
The “Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” is the official name of the famous Lady Liberty gift of friendship from France to the US in 1886.
Fun Fact: A Controversial Fearless Girl
The Fearless Girl statue was made in 2017 in honor of International Women’s Day. She was originally placed staring down the Charging Bull statue, but that was considered too controversial so she was moved to the stock exchange building.
Fun Fact: The OG Pizza
The first pizzeria in the US opened in 1905 in Little Italy. Lombardi’s on Spring Street. It’s known as America’s First Pizzeria and is still very popular today.
Fun Fact: And The Oscar Goes To
Central Park is the most filmed public park in the world, starring in over 240 feature films.
Where Are The Best Places to Stay in New York?
I did some research for you, and here are some recs for a luxury hotel in midtown, a mid-range hotel uptown, and a budget hotel downtown. All these spots have great reviews.
Arlo Soho is in the heart of Greenwich Village, has a rooftop bar, and views of the river. This spot can cost you $292 and up.
The Hotel Beacon is a historic building on the Upper West Side with apartment style rooms near Central Park. This hotel can cost you $479 and up.
Lotte New York Palace was formerly the historic Villard Mansion, on Madison Avenue. This grand, 5 star hotel can cost you $595 and up.
Now, don’t you agree that there are at least 11 great reasons to visit New York?
In a nutshell…
New York City is truly an incredible place to visit any time of the year.
You can find the best neighborhoods, food, entertainment, views, nightlife, history, and culture in The Big Apple. New York City literally has something for everyone.
Make a plan and start packing for your trip to New York City now!