Our guide to New York City tourist attractions
Whenever and however you're traveling — with friends or on a romantic getaway — and no matter how long you have, from 24 hours to see the sights to a full four days to soak in every last sight, we have recommendations to help make the most of your stay in New York City.
2-3 day Itinerary
- New York City activities are as abundant as hot-dog vendors and taxicabs, and there's a long-weekend itinerary for every persuasion. Kick things off with an early dinner at Sushi Seki followed by tickets to "Six," a Tony Award–winning musical.
- The next morning, take a stroll through Central Park, then hop on the subway downtown to Chelsea to browse the art galleries and meander on and off the High Line, an elevated railway–turned-walkway running along the West Side.
- Stop for dinner at the perennial West Village favorite Via Carota—wait for your table across the street at Bar Pisellino, owned by the same duo—then duck into Smalls Jazz Club for some after-dinner music before ending the evening with a nightcap at Bar Sprezzatura, on the roof of Kimpton Hotel Theta.
- The next morning, visit the Museum of Modern Art first thing then post up for brunch at Lodi, which fronts the Rockefeller Center plaza.
3-4 day New York City itinerary
- On day three, grab breakfast at Russ & Daughters Cafe, the sit-down offshoot of the legendary smoked-fish icon that bears its same name. Fuel up on bagels with all the fixin's while taking in the stylish crowd.
- From there, it's onto the Tenement Museum; walk through recreated tenement apartments to see firsthand how immigrants from all over the world lived when the buildings were operational housing. Don't miss the chance to visit the art galleries on Orchard Street and partake in the neighborhood's terrific restaurant scene: Dhamaka serves food from all over India, and Kings Co Imperial has some of the city's best Chinese long beans.
- On day four, take the subway to Brooklyn and spend the morning meandering around Brooklyn Bridge Park. Stroll along paved pedestrian lanes and explore the parkland, much of which takes over formerly disused piers jutting into the East River.
- Make your way from the park to Brooklyn Heights. End the trip on Atlantic Avenue, where you can dig into the pies at Luzzo, a legendary pizza spot known for its charred crusts and homemade sauce.
Family-friendly New York City itinerary
- There's no better place to start a family trip to New York than Central Park, where you can spend roaming the running paths and exploring the meadows. Kids (and kids at heart) will love the Central Park Zoo, set on a packed-but-manageable 6.5 acres. Spend a couple of hours hanging with the sea lions, then post up at a playground—there are 21 to choose from.
- The next day, visit the The Museum of Natural History, which recently unveiled a brand-new, architecturally stunning wing that looks like a canyon and is devoted entirely to science. Explore astronauts, insects, and more, then grab brunch at the aptly named and much-beloved Upper West Side stalwart: Good Enough To Eat.
- Head to Brooklyn to check out the New York Transit Museum, set in a former working subway station underground (read: the perfect choice for rainy days). Little ones can burn off energy by romping around old subway cars—without fear of disturbing cranky commuters. Grab a kid-friendly lunch or dinner at Shake Shack, just a few blocks north.
- New York is packed with stores just for kids, but none are quite like CAMP, a chain of hybrid stores-playspaces (often with rotating exhibitions themes) with several locations around the city. Visit the one in Flatiron, then pop over to the playground at Union Square, just a few blocks east.
Romantic New York City itinerary
- Begin your romantic getaway at The Up & Up, a cozy subterranean West Village cocktail bar where the tables are snug and the drinks are meant to be savored without any hurry. From here, wander along picturesque streets to King, a shoebox Soho restaurant serving a daily-changing menu of French and Italian favorites.
- Spend the morning wandering through the Union Square Greenmarket, stopping in for a coffee and seasonal crullers at Daily Provisions. Stroll up Irving Place to Gramercy Park, an exclusive, gated park lined with magnificent private homes. Savor a midday spritz and cacio e pepe–style eggs at Maialino while catching up on the news.
- Head uptown for Date Night at the Met; the art museum stays open until 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Peruse the latest exhibitions and explore the permanent collection, then take a beat in the cafe; in summer, you can also have drinks on the roof, which overlooks Central Park. Make your way to the Upper East Side location of La Pecora Bianca, a buzzy, dimly lit Italian restaurant, for a pasta-filled final note.
- Use your MetroCard to hop aboard the Roosevelt Island Tramway, which runs laterally to 59th Street, across the East River, to the residential community of Roosevelt Island. Be sure to visit the namesake memorial at the southern end: It's a tranquil, four-acre green space with some of the best views you'll ever find of the Manhattan skyline.