The 25 Most Popular New York City Attractions as Ranked by Yahoo Travel
1. Times Square (Theatre District)
Named after the New York Times, which moved here in 1924, Times Square is a vibrant, neon-lit area in the heart of the Theater District. Over the years, this area has transformed with increasing number of hotels, office towers and commercial businesses that have sprung up here. Conde Nast , mega stores and theme restaurants have also set up shop. Times Square remains the city's favorite venue for New Year's Eve, where a huge street party is highlighted by a glitter ball dropped from Times Tower. The Times Square Alliance which was founded in 1992, works for the betterment and promotion of this most popular New York city attraction.
2. Central Park (Upper East Side)
Right in the heart of Manhattan stands this oasis of rolling pastures and gardens, stretching from Midtown to Harlem. It was created in 1857 by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux. These days walkers, roller bladers, bikers and joggers compete for space. Lovers meet at the Bethesda Fountain on Bethesda Terrace. To the north, others wonder at the mystery of Belvedere Castle . Nearby is the Delacorte Theater, where you can watch plays in the summer. It blends so easily with the Manhattan environment that it is difficult to guess that it is totally man made. Across the park lies a charming Central Park Wildlife Conservation Center , and children of all ages love the restored carousel .
3. St. Patrick’s Cathedral (Midtown)
This massive cathedral, situated across from Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue, is the largest Catholic cathedral in the United States. With its two soaring 330-foot spires, St. Patrick's Cathedral is also one of the city's most spectacular architectural sights. Construction on the neo-gothic structure had started in 1850 and completed in 1878. Inside, it boasts a seating capacity of 2,500, numerous altars and stained glass windows, and a giant organ with over 7,300 pipes. Services are held throughout the day, and many New Yorkers stop in for a moment of serenity in their otherwise hectic lives.
4. Statue of Liberty (Manhattan)
Lady Liberty, representative of freedom to the world, shines bright in New York Harbor. Created by Frenchman Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the Statue was a gift from France to the United States. Now, visitors can view the inside of the statue through a glass ceiling, and capture a better image of Lady Liberty through the enhanced lighting and video system surrounding the statue. Visitors can walk onto the observation deck to see New York City and its Harbor. With a torch and a book in her hands, Lady Liberty has generously welcomed immigrants and visitors for over a century.
5. Metropolitan Museum of Art (Upper East Side)
Any visitor to the "Big Apple" should spend at least a couple of hours at this vast museum. Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, it has more than 1.5 million square feet of exhibition space. European paintings on display include works by Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Titian and Vermeer. The Egyptian gallery is unparalleled. Asian art, sculpture, armory, and photography also vie for your attention. During warm weather, the open-air roof garden displays contemporary sculpture. See their website for exhibition schedule, membership details, complete visitor details and especially Met Holiday Mondays.
6. Greenwich Village (West Village)
The zigzagging streets and charming brownstones of the Greenwich Village have a far more laid back atmosphere than most neighborhoods in the city. The center of New York's gay and student communities lies here, with a variety of funky shopping and nightlife including jazz, rock and dance clubs, restaurants, bars and cafes. By the early 1900s, the Village had fully established itself as the center of radical thinking in the United States. Famous reformers, artists and intellectuals all gathered here—and many still do. Do not miss a visit to Washington Square Park as it will take your breath away!
7. Yankee Stadium (West Concourse)
The 1923 Yankee Stadium is a historic landmark in the world of Major League Baseball. Some of the sport's greatest players have spent their careers there, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, and Joe DiMaggio. Though they'll never be able to replace this monument, the franchise debuted their new stadium in 2009, directly across the street from their old park. The 'new' Yankee Stadium has many new features, such as expanded walkways, more concessionaires, and a renovated Monument Park. Lifetime fans will notice familiar touches, though, the biggest among them being the outfield frieze back in its original location around the upper deck. Suite and party facilities are available for those looking for something slightly more private. Check website for pricing, schedules and other info.
8. Brooklyn Bridge (South Street Seaport)
Brooklyn Bridge was built to connect the island of Manhattan to Brooklyn. At almost 1,600 feet, at the time of its completion in 1883, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. Its architecture remains a wondrous sight in the New York cityscape. After dark, the twin Gothic towers and strong steel cables make a striking silhouette against the night sky. Walking across the bridge is a huge thrill, particularly if you start from the Brooklyn side and view the Manhattan skyline on your stroll across the East River.
9. Chinatown (LoDel)
New York's Chinatown is a cultural haven full of ancient and exotic traditions, and a huge amount of restaurants. This bustling and crowded neighborhood is home to over half of the city's Chinese population. In the grocery stores and fruit stands, you will find many food items available nowhere else in the city - from exotic fruit and vegetables to live snails and dried shrimp. Excellent Thai, Vietnamese and Korean restaurants have joined the mix. Every lunar new year, the street are filled with the hubbub of the Chinatown Chinese New Year Parade .
10. Chrysler Building (Murray Hill)
Completed in 1930, this towering edifice was the first construction project to rise higher than the Eiffel Tower. This leadership was to be short-lived, however, as The Empire State Building was built 1,048 feet taller only a few months later. The Chrysler Building still holds people's interest both culturally and architecturally. Walter Chrysler commissioned its construction in honor of his success in the automobile industry, which is reflected in its flamboyant art deco style. For example, sculptures of cars are carved into the brickwork.
11. Top of the Rock (Midtown)
The opening of the Top Of The Rock observation deck adds to the many facets of the Rockefeller Center's international appeal, which already include a skating rink, NBC Studios and the famous Christmas tree. The Top Of The Rock observation deck sits serenely on the 70th floor of Rockefeller Center. With its awesome views of Central Park , Times Square , the Brooklyn Bridge , and northern Manhattan, you'll be transported to a more peaceful state of mind. Wile away the hours soaking in a gorgeous sunset or experiencing the hands-on, multimedia exhibits. The innovative ticket reservation system claims to guarantee a comfortable atmosphere that is never overcrowded. There's no other place in New York like it.
12. Empire State Building (Midtown)
The majestic Empire State Building was completed in 1931 as the world's tallest building. While not the tallest anymore, it remains as impressive as ever. At night the building is lit up, with special colors displayed on holidays. Tickets can be purchased online through the Empire State Building's website or in the building's lobby. The observatory here is open 365 days a year.
13. South Street Seaport (South Street Seaport)
This seaport dates back to the 1600's. It was remodeled to become a historic landmark as well as a shopping mall. The South Street Seaport features amazing views of the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge . The mall is divided into three sections; one based in the original home of New York City's fish market, another at Pier 17 along the water, and the final section in the Fulton Market building near South Street. A center of activities, events, a maritime museum, dining and shopping, this is an important NYC experience!
14. Museum of Modern Art (Midtown)
MoMA is considered by many to be one of the best modern art museums in the world and with a major renovation recently completed by Yoshio Taniguchi, it has only become better. The building was erected in 1939 under the supervision of Edward Durrell Stone and Philip Goodwin. The galleries are filled with paintings, drawings, prints, illustrations, and photographs. Besides Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe and Pablo Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, there are plenty of other classics to view. There is also a restaurant and a museum shop. Check the website for admission prices, event times and more.
15. Rockefeller Center (Theatre District)
Always filled with people, Rockefeller Center stretches for blocks. There is plenty to do here; in winter an outdoor cafe is transformed into an ice-skating rink. There is a shopping plaza with stores, restaurants and bars. The GE Building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza houses NBC, which offers guided tours of its premises, as well as the Top Of The Rock observation deck. Visitors can also take a tour of Radio City Music Hall on 50th Street at Sixth Avenue. In December, be sure to check out the enormous Christmas tree.
16. Carnegie Hall (Midtown)
This world famous concert hall offers classic music, opera, pop and jazz.
17. Grand Central Terminal (Midtown)
Built in 1913, Grand Central Terminal is impressive even to New Yorkers, particularly the massive main hall with its cathedral-like vaulted ceiling. The building is beautiful with chic shops and a food court lending an air of urban charm, not an easy feat for a railway station that is filled with a half million commuters each week. The bar at Michael Jordan's The Steak House overlooks the busy terminal. If you crave shellfish, dine at the legendary Oyster Bar . The Vanderbilt Hall within the station is also the site of numerous cultural events, so check out the website for the latest in the station's support of artistic endeavors. The station services outlying suburbs via the Metro-North Commuter Railroad.
18. Battery Park (Wall Street)
The 'Battery' was created in 1693 when the British government that then controlled New York mounted cannons there. It played a role in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and even the Civil War as draftees were housed in a tent city there. Today, Battery Park attracts many New Yorkers and visitors, especially in warm weather. There is a fine view of the Statue of Liberty and New Jersey across the river. Castle Clinton is located inside the park.
19. Sony Wonder Technology Lab (Midtown)
Hosted by the fabulous talking robot, B.B. Wonderbot, Sony Wonder Technology Lab is an interactive hi-tech playground which is a great place for kids, and the best part is that it is free. With rotating exhibits on audio, robotics, networks and more, children get hands-on experience making their own music videos or tracking the weather or participating in any number of technology education programs. It is fun for the parents, too, as it is attached to the Sony Style retail store, where there is plenty of cool stuff for grownups to play with.
20. St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral (East Harlem)
This impressive Upper East Side Cathedral, built at the turn of the 19th century, remains the center of Russian Orthodoxy in the United States. Five onion domes distinguish the opulent, redbrick structure that was inspired by the great architectural edifices of Tsarist Russia. Check the schedule for services and events.
21. United Nations HQ (Turtle Bay)
This complex was designated the permanent headquarters for the United Nations in 1952. Many buildings, including the General Assembly Hall, can be viewed on guided tours. When the flags in front of the complex are flying, the Assembly is in session. It is possible to sit in on a council session. Call the information desk for a free ticket. Seats are limited, so make sure you book well in advance. Tours are held every half-hour. Prices and opening times are subject to change.
22. Sanrio (Midtown)
Children, club kids and other devotees of Japan's favorite toy line can rejoice-Sanrio has opened this shop featuring Hello Kitty and friends in the heart of Times Square. Although plenty of other Sanrio lines are on hand, the true star here is the Hello Kitty character. Find Hello Kitty dolls, purses, wallets, jewelry, stationery, lunch boxes and much more. Splurge on their exclusive merchandise which spans everything from apparel to household items, like Hello Kitty toasters which leave an imprint of the loved characters face on your toast.
23. Wollman Rink (Bensonhurst)
Located in Central Park , the outdoor Wollman Rink is one of the city's premier ice skating spots. The atmosphere is fun and relaxed, and amateurs are certainly welcome. There is a snack bar and lockers available. Try to visit on the weekdays, as the weekends bring large crowds and lines. Skate rentals and lockers are available. During the off-season, the space becomes a roller rink (call for hours and details).
24. Riverbank State Park (Hamilton Heights)
One of its kind, Riverbank State Park is a 28 acre landscaped state-of-the-art park facility that offers a wide variety of recreational facilities. Boasting a terrific view of Hudson river, this park has a 400 seat amphitheater. Its sure to draw visitors of all ages with an Olympic-sized pool, a cultural theater, an athletic complex, skating rink and even a restaurant. For rates and other details, please check the website.
25. Little Italy (Little Italy)
The heart of this well-known Italian neighborhood is Mulberry Street. Years ago, the vast majority of people who lived here were Italian, but expansion of Chinatown and Italian migration to the suburbs has changed the make-up of the neighborhood. Still, cafes, restaurants and bakeries line the street. Take a walk and smell the fresh baked bread, garlic and sauces. Stop for a glass of wine or tiramisu at a sidewalk cafe, or gorge on the salamis hanging from store windows.
Other activities of interest:
. Let's face it, many people come to New York to shop. Apart from 5th, some other popular spots include:
- Bloomingdales - famous department store at Lexington @ 59th
- Macy's (and Herald Square) - the other big one, 34th and Broadway
- Canal Street area in Chinatown (lots of cheap handbags, sunglasses, and such)
- Dylan's - world's greatest candy store for kids, right near Bloomingdales (3rd and 60th)
- Serendipity 3
- Toys R Us - in Times Square, Broadway and 44th
- Barneys - for designer fashions, Madison Avenue and 61st -- continue walking north for another 10-15 blocks, plenty of high-class shopping
- Tiffany & Co - 5th Ave @ 57th
- American Girl Place - 5th Ave at 49th
- NBA Store - 5th and 52nd
- Niketown - 57th between 5th and Madison
- Saks Fifth Avenue - 5th @ 50th
- Sony Style - Madison @ 55th
- Strand Book Store - massive used books store, Broadway @ 12th
- Virgin Megastore - Broadway @ 45th
- Fulton Street and South Street Seaport
- Bleecker St. in Greenwich Village - many interesting little shops
- Shops at Columbus Circle - 4-story tall indoor mall, looking out over the corner of Central Park (Broadway and 59th)
- B&H Photo - all about electronics, 9th @ 33rd
- J&R Music - more electronics, downtown across from City Hall, 23 Park Row
- Union Square - park where Broadway crosses 14th to 17th, Greenmarket farmers market is here, plus the Holiday Market is here each year from Thanksgiving to X-mas (plus restaurants and boutiques on surrounding streets)