Traveling to New York was a dream come true for me. That city has fascinated me for years, because of all the art and history, and architecture that has existed there and made a mark on humans.
A city with the most beautiful museums, shops, and galleries, where you can watch the show on Broadway, visit a modern art museum, and shop for thrift books in just a few blocks radius.
My dream came true and I got to spend a week there, exploring and enjoying the nature of Central Park, culture, and museums, while the autumn leaves were getting gorgeous colors. Sipping on to-go coffee while observing the quiet corners of Central Park was very peaceful and relaxing.
I did not find New York too busy and too loud as I expected. Compared to the other big cities, this one seems to have more hidden gems and quiet corners where you can hide and relax.
In this article, you will read about the best things to do in New York in a week, and a lot of suggestions for solo travelers, or couples that love art and culture.
1. Central Park is one of the best things to do in New York in a week
Given that Fifth Avenue runs down its eastern side and is 843 acres in size or the equivalent of 422 football fields, this enormous green space is located smack in the middle of Manhattan and is therefore difficult to overlook.
Central park zoo
The Central Park Zoo is a tremendously well-liked attraction, with more than one million visitors annually. Every zoo has a unique character, but Central Park Zoo has a little odd air to it because you’ll be witnessing some magnificent wild animals with Manhattan’s stunning buildings looking over the top of your line of sight. The zoo has an unusually wide range of species. There are numerous endangered animal species, including two snow leopards, tamarins, and snow monkeys.
Skate at Wollman Rink
An outdoor ice rink is always special, and this is especially true of the Wollman Rink in Central Park. The ice rink is to the southeast, close to the zoo, and it provides breathtaking views of the New York skyline as you play around on the ice with your friends or go for a quick romantic skate with someone special.
This ice rink arrives in Central Park in late October, but it’s a great attraction and it often is open until March. You must go ice skating in Central Park before (or after) viewing the Rockefeller Center Tree if you’re visiting New York City to experience the holiday spirit!
Walk around Central Park
It’s wonderfully fascinating to explore Central Park’s dozens of different tree, flower, and plant species while also taking in views of Manhattan’s stunning cityscape when it peeks over the tops of the trees.
Autumn in Central Park
To me, the most magical season to visit Central Park is autumn when all the fall colors are out and everything seems magical. Let’s start by saying that the end of October to the first of November will be the ideal window of opportunity to witness the fall foliage in Central Park. The leaves will start to turn from their mostly green hues to shades of orange, yellow, and red throughout October.
At the Museum of Modern Art, you will discover a wide variety of artwork, including paintings and sculptures. Additionally, there are pictures and movies.
Even design elements like helicopters are presented in the museum.
Moma houses artwork that was recently created as well as hundred-year-old pieces. You can sit and relax while observing the exhibits.
3. The Met
Since it was established in 1870, The Met has aimed to be more than just a collection of priceless artifacts. Every day, the Museum’s galleries, exhibitions, and activities bring art to life, revealing fresh insights and surprising connections across time and cultures.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art collection includes items from all corners of the world and spans 5,000 years of world civilization, from prehistory to the present.
4. American Museum of Natural History
One of the best things to do in New York in a week includes a visit to this fascinating museum where you can spend a full day exploring. Through an extensive program of scientific research, education, and exhibition, the Museum has expanded its global goal since its foundation in 1869 to discover, interpret, and distribute knowledge about human civilizations, the natural world, and the universe.
It is also a well-known scientific and cultural organization on a global scale. Discovering the origins of humans, animals, and civilizations through museum visits also helps support the research staff. It is not necessary to be an expert in the natural sciences to comprehend and enjoy the exhibitions.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is well-liked among admirers of contemporary art and architecture. The Guggenheim Museum’s most well-known feature is undoubtedly the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed structure, but visitors may also take pleasure in perusing the institution’s permanent collection and constantly-changing roster of exhibitions.
While there is no lack of beautiful art in New York City, the Guggenheim genuinely stands out from the crowd. The museum and its contents never fail to fascinate visitors with both permanent and rotating exhibits. The Thannhauser Collection is one of the more well-liked long-term displays.
6. Frick Collection
The Frick, a world-renowned museum and research facility, is known for its brilliant Old Master paintings as well as exceptional examples of European sculpture and decorative arts.
A visit to The Frick Collection demonstrates the potential of great art collections to inspire viewers now while also conjuring up the majesty and serenity of a bygone era. Western classics of painting, sculpture and decorative art are housed in the New York City townhouse erected by Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919), one of America’s most prosperous entrepreneurs, and presented in a tranquil and private environment.
In keeping with the way Mr. Frick experienced the art he cherished before leaving it to the public, each of the Collection’s sixteen permanent galleries presents a special arrangement of works of art that are, for the most part, grouped without consideration of period or national origin.
Broadway features a wide range of productions, including plays and musicals, that is always changing. The Broadway theatrical productions, in the opinion of many, are the best in the world. Tony Awards are given out each year for the top Broadway productions. One of the most well-liked tourist attractions in New York City is Broadway plays.
Watch a live performance
A Broadway performance provides you with genuine live entertainment. Actors could be a few feet or a few inches away from you as they transport you on a journey that is heartfelt, exciting, and even suspenseful.
You may turn off your brain for two hours while watching these shows and let yourself be mesmerized by the power of performance.
Relate to others
One of the appeals of going to the movies is being able to share the artistic experience with others. A Broadway theater offers the same experience! As soon as you enter one of the several theaters like Broadhurst, Booth, Gershwin, or August Wilson, you’ll see a tonne of other people watching a Broadway musical alongside you.
Study history and current social and political issues
Every author creates a Broadway production based on their own life, historical events, or everyday occurrences. Hamilton by Lin Manuel Miranda teaches you about the Founding Fathers while also highlighting the significance of a predominantly BIPOC ensemble.
8. Radio City Music Hall
On this 60-minute guided tour of Radio City Music Hall, discover its past and aesthetic splendor. Visit Radio City’s hidden apartment, The Roxy Suite, and take in the magnificent 60-foot-high foyer, both of which are works of art in the art deco style. Learn about the legendary Great Stage’s past while enjoying privileged views of the magnificent auditorium.
9. Fifth Avenue
Fifth Avenue, sometimes referred to as Millionaire’s Row is the most well-known street in the Big Apple. It runs from north to south across the entirety of Manhattan. With the most expensive retail locations on the planet, it is New York’s most expensive and nicest shopping strip. This street can be compared to Ginza in Tokyo or the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
Central Park is close to Fifth Avenue’s busiest shopping district. High-end shops like Armani and Cartier can be found here.
The most well-known store on the street is Apple, which is next to the park. It is well-known for its style and for providing free internet connection on laptops, which is very popular with travelers.
From Washington Square to the Flatiron building, New York’s first skyscraper is another significant shopping district. However, Fifth Avenue’s middle section, which runs between the Flatiron Building and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, is rather unsettling and unsatisfactory due to its low-quality gift shops.
Along with shops, Fifth Avenue is home to the Empire State Building, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the New York Public Library.
The Metropolitan, the Frick Collection, and the Museum of the City of New York are just a few of the excellent institutions visitors may find close to Central Park.
10. Top of the rock
Although Top of the Rock is famous for its breathtaking vistas, getting there is a unique experience in and of itself. Take use of three indoor and outdoor viewing decks, including the open-air roof deck on the 70th level.
The Top of the Rock gives some of the best views over Manhattan and is well worth the price of admission. The combo ticket, which includes admission to the observation deck and a tour of the building, is highly recommended.
11. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
When visiting New York, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral should be on your itinerary. It is well known for its enormous bronze doors, stunning high altar, and lavish Neo-Gothic architecture that includes a large number of stained glass windows. It serves as the final resting place for some of New York’s most illustrious clergymen and humanitarians.
12. Brooklyn Bridge
One of the top must-do free activities in New York City is crossing the Brooklyn Bridge. You may get a close-up view of the Brooklyn Bridge’s unique design and enjoy one of the best views of the New York City skyline by crossing it on foot. From the bridge, the views are truly breathtaking!
13. Coney Island
Since the beginning of the 20th century, Coney Island, New York, has been the hub of seaside entertainment. Over the years, it has been idealized in music and movies; appreciated for its thrilling rides and bizarre attractions for kids and the sentimental feelings it evokes for adults.
It breaks up the monotony of the static scenery and lets you comfortably tour the entire island in two hours, with time for photos.
14. The High Line
You are treated to breathtaking 360-degree vistas of NYC from the High Line. Beautiful buildings and modern installation art are also visible. The High Line is one of NYC’s best locations for photography, so bring your cameras! You can stroll across the constantly shifting environment or sit and observe life as it happens.
15. Bryant Park
Numerous free year-round events, a popular lawn, free entrance to ice skating in a winter wonderland, and beautiful seasonal gardens can all be found in Bryant Park.
Visits are undoubtedly worthwhile. There is frequently an interesting development. You may play table tennis, get free newspapers and books, and there is a lot of seating. There are various eateries and cafes located close to the park.
16. The Cloisters
The building itself is worth the journey because it is a stunning structure with distinctive architecture. If you appreciate art and architecture, or just want to spend a quiet day surrounded by lovely things, I highly recommend visiting The Cloisters in New York City.
It takes two to three hours to properly explore the Cloisters. Take your time and don’t rush. Afterward, take a stroll around the Cloisters, relax on the terrace, and then proceed to Tryon Park.
17. Prospect Park
Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s equivalent to Central Park, houses the Brooklyn Museum of Art, a zoo, and an Audubon center. It is a haven for children and nature enthusiasts who come to play ball, watch birds, and attend outdoor concerts. The Memorial Arch, which stands at its entrance, is a significant landmark.
The 60-acre Lake, Brooklyn’s only freshwater lake, is the culmination of a complex network of artificial pools, streams, and waterfalls.
18. Rockefeller Center
The Rockefeller Center, a well-known tourist destination in New York City, is situated in Midtown East/Grand Central and features an observation deck, a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as NBC Studios. The center was built in stunning art deco style by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1929 during the Great Depression with the hope of revitalizing the neighborhood and providing much-needed employment.
The Rockefeller Center, a 19-building commercial complex, is worth visiting for its art and architecture as well as its variety of attractions, which include top-notch dining and shopping options, seasonal activities, the Top of the Rock observation deck, and the NBC Studios, where TV shows like the Today Show, Jimmy Fallon, and Saturday Night Live are all broadcast.
The Radio City Music Hall is located in the Rockefeller Center, which is well-known for its Christmas tree and ice skating rink during the holidays. The Rainbow Room, which is a New York landmark in its own right and is situated at the top of the GE Building, is another well-known music venue and fine dining establishment.
19. Union Square Greenmarket
The renowned Union Square Greenmarket, which started in 1976 with a small number of farmers, has fully expanded. During the height of the season, 140 local farmers, fishermen, and bakers offer their wares to a devoted crowd of city people. The seasonal richness is unmatched at Greenmarket’s flagship market, with hundreds of options available at any one time. Freshly picked fruits and vegetables, award-winning farmstead cheeses, heritage meats, artisan bread, jams, pickles, an abundance of cut flowers and plants, wine, cider, maple syrup, and much more are all available.
The atmosphere at Union Square on a market day is electric: 60,000 market shoppers shop and chat with farmers; students of all ages tour the market and learn about seasonality; visitors watch and taste cooking demonstrations by some of New York’s hottest local chefs. Union Square is one of the great public spaces in New York City.
20. Summit One Vanderbilt
If you are looking for attractions add Summit One Vanderbilt to your best things to do in New York in a week list. A four-story viewing facility called SUMMIT One Vanderbilt combines areas for art, gathering, and amazement to imagine a new way of experiencing the skyline of New York City.
The art installation is what distinguishes SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, but the observation deck also offers one of the greatest vistas of New York City. Since One Vanderbilt offers views of the city from all four sides, SUMMIT provides a 360-degree panorama of Manhattan.
It is advised that you allow yourself two to three hours to experience all of SUMMIT’s features due to their number. Large bags, backpacks, and luggage are not permitted inside, and there is no bag check.
21. National September 11 Memorial & Museum
The 9/11 Memorial & Museum celebrates the approximately 3,000 victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993, pays tribute to the bravery of the survivors and pays tribute to those who risked their lives to save others as a monument to human dignity, bravery, and sacrifice.
The vicinity of the twin towers’ former locations is now known as the monument. The museum, which is located underground, includes excellent exhibits that detail the entire incident, including the pentagon attack and the Pennsylvania plane crash. You must visit the museum!
22. Grand Central Terminal
With 45 track platforms and 63 tracks, Grand Central is the biggest train station in the world. Trains depart from that station every 58 seconds during the busiest part of the morning commute.
The fact that Grand Central Terminal is one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City (second only to Times Square) is due to the abundance of attractions, history, architecture, culinary options, and shopping all housed under one grand roof.
23. New York Public Library
The building’s exterior features stunning architecture, while its interior features a wide variety of art exhibits, curated collections, and history, drawing 18 million visitors annually. This library is a dream of every book lover and by visiting it you will get to see the gorgeous reading room with a painted ceiling. Although a tourist attraction it still functions as a library and you will see people reading and working inside.
24. The Morgan Library & Museum
The Morgan Library & Museum is made up of several buildings. Charles McKim of the company McKim, Mead, and White created the main structure, and Benjamin Wistar Morris created the annex.
A thorough tour of the museum could take up to two hours. If you only have a short amount of time, walk around Morgan’s library and take in the ambiance before concentrating on the particular exhibits.
25. Whitney Museum of American Art
The best venue to immerse oneself in the contemporary art scene is this special space devoted to American art from the 20th and 21st centuries. Over 21,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, films, videos, and new media works by more than 3,000 artists are included in the Whitney Museum‘s permanent collection.
26. Times Square
Bars, restaurants, theaters, museums, and a terrific atmosphere may all be found in Times Square. The city is completely mesmerized by the most famous square in the city as the sun sets and Times Square’s lights illuminate it. As a traveler to New York, a trip to Times Square is essential.
Times Square, the hub of the media and a well-known New Year’s Eve location, is one of the most visited tourist destinations in New York City. A stroll through the region is very stunning, with its sparkling lights and towers covered in digital billboards.
27. Empire State Building
For many years, the Empire State Building, which is 102 floors tall, has dominated tourists’ itineraries and the perspective of the city. On a clear day, you can see for miles and take in vistas of up to five states from the observation deck, which offers an amazing view of New York.
When visiting New York, you absolutely must see this famous building, which is one of the most recognizable on the entire globe. Although the Empire State Building can be viewed from the outside, going inside to witness the breathtaking views available from the upper levels will provide the finest experience.
28. Chrysler Building
It is the world’s tallest brick structure with a steel framework, standing at 1,046 feet (319 meters), and it held that title for 11 months following its completion in 1930.
Although there isn’t an observation deck, you may still tour the lobby and take in its exquisite art deco decor. Look northeast from the Empire State Building Observatory or southeast from the Top of the Rock to see the magnificent exterior of the structure.
29. Statue of Liberty
The torch of the Statue of Liberty illuminates the path to liberty and directs us there. Even the statue’s actual name, “Liberty Enlightening the World,” captures its most significant emblem.
A moving experience is touring Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. These amazing monuments and associated museums illustrate the history of immigration and honor the human spirit that underlies the principles of our country as dual emblems of freedom and hope.
30. Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park is famous for its fountain, which is 43 years older than the arch, and a popular gathering place, as well as its arch, which honors George Washington, the man for whom the park is named. A public outdoor park is located in Washington Square. Year-round, it is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Free entry is offered.
31. Ellis Island
Over 12 million immigrants were processed at Ellis Island, which served as America’s busiest and largest immigration center from 1892 to 1924. Ellis Island is an exciting attraction and a national treasure. It is among the most significant historic locations in New York for many people. Here, visitors can easily spend hours learning about the history of immigration to America and the various roles that the island has played ever since the founding of the country.
32. Governors Island
A family trip to New York City’s Governors Island is worthwhile. You’ll adore its extensive history, the abundance of family-friendly activities, the breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan Skyline, the cuisine, and so much more.
As a key command for the U.S. Army and Coast Guard from its start as a colonial militia camp in 1755 until its deactivation in 1996, Governors Island was one of the nation’s longest continuously operating military installations.
33. Apollo Theater
The Apollo Historic Tour offers visitors the chance to see this historic theater and learn about the legendary past of the Apollo with access to the “Where Stars are Born and Legends are Made!” location from behind the scenes.
This historic Harlem theater, which is located on 125th Street, is where jazz music’s culturally significant beginnings occurred during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. It is now the setting for the well-liked talent-hunting television program Showtime at the Apollo.
34. Metropolitan Opera House
The Metropolitan Opera House is located on Broadway at Lincoln Square on the Upper West Side. The theater was designed by Wallace K. Harrison. It first opened in 1966, replacing the original 1883 Metropolitan Opera House.
During the Met performance season, the Metropolitan Opera Guild offers backstage tours on weekdays at 3:00 pm and Sundays at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm. On the days of final dress rehearsals or other special opera house events, tours are not offered.
35. Brooklyn Botanic Garden
In the heart of Brooklyn, next to Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Botanic Garden was established in 1910 utilizing land from Mount Prospect Park. Over 14,000 different plants can be found in the 52-acre (21 ha) garden, which receives roughly a million visitors annually.
Try to arrive early; it will take you around 3 to 4 hours to see all the gardens, taking into account time for photos and a trip to the gift store.
36. New York Botanical Garden
Thanks to the facilities of the International Plant Science Center, the William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, and the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, NYBG is among the top two standalone botanical gardens where research on plants and fungi is performed.
You’ll have two to three hours to look around the conservatory, take the tram tour, and eat something. You could spend many hours at The Garden if you want to, but it depends on your interests and energy levels.
37. Brooklyn Heights Promenade
Although it’s a popular spot for runners, walkers, and Rollerbladers, it also provides a peaceful setting for people who would rather sit and talk while taking in the scenery. The Promenade is part of Brooklyn’s first Historic Preservation District and is flanked by opulent townhouses and mansions.
38. Brooklyn Museum
The Brooklyn Museum, the third largest museum in all of New York City, houses slightly over 1.5 million works of art across hundreds of thousands of square feet, making it a popular tourist destination and one of the top museums in Brooklyn and NYC to visit.
The Brooklyn Museum displays a variety of objects that aim to capture the aesthetic legacy of various world cultures. The museum is well recognized for its significant collections of Egyptian and African art, as well as paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from many schools from the 17th century to this day.
39. Food and drinks
The cuisine of the New York Metropolis includes a wide variety of dishes from numerous ethnic groups that have immigrated to the country through the city. In New York, almost every ethnic cuisine is well-represented, both inside and outside of the city’s different ethnic communities.
New York was also the birthplace of New York Restaurant Week, which has become popular all over the world as a result of the discounts it provides.
Over 12,000 bodega, deli, and grocery stores can be found in New York; many of them are open around the clock, seven days a week.
Cadence‘s Executive Chef Shenarri Freeman’s southern fried lasagna, which is topped with noodles, pine nut ricotta, spinach, and red wine, is one of NYC’s best new restaurants of 2021. One of the best new dishes to appear on menus recently is still Beyond Meat Bolognese.
Her chickpea-stuffed hearts of palm cakes and silky smoked grits are other popular dishes that are served at a chef’s stand in a glistening, constricting area. Beer, wine, and cider are also accessible, as well as outdoor seats.
Govinda’s Vegetarian Lunch
Govinda’s, named after the Hindu deity Krishna, is a volunteer-run Indian vegetarian (occasionally vegan) lunch counter that has been serving members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and the general public since 1984. It is located in the windowless basement of the Hare Krishna temple in Downtown Brooklyn. We adore Govinda’s soul-satisfying cuisine and practically incomparable costs.
You may order a variety of traditional Ethiopian dishes at this vegetarian eatery, including mashed split peas boiled with tomato, chickpea stuffing with kale, and red lentils in berbere sauce. With a piece of injera, you can reduce the intensity of the hotter ingredients.
Even after recent updates gave the place a facelift, Buddha Bodai is still among the city’s top vegetarian and vegan-friendly dining options. For more than 45 years, Chef Dong has served vegetarian sesame chicken, turnip cake, and Peking duck in plant-based form.
Ladybird, which debuted in 2016, offers vegan booze-friendly dishes including grilled cheese with tomato soup, tempura-fried broccoli, and green pea fritters. It’s a great choice if you want to brew up a little bit.
In NYC, you can indulge in every retail pleasure you choose. The greatest in high-end clothing is available in shops all around the five boroughs, along with gourmet items, books, gadgets, and much more.
There is a reason the City is regarded as the center of the world’s retail industry. With so many options, there is only one difficulty: where to start? Here are a few must-see stores for your New York visit.
Dover Street Market New York
Dover Street Market is a multi-brand retailer with its original Mayfair, London, location on Dover Street. New York City, Beijing, Tokyo, Singapore, and Los Angeles all have storefronts for it.
Rei Kawakubo of the Japanese design house Comme des Garçons and her husband Adrian Joffe founded Dover Street Market. Some brands that are available here are LOEWE, Gucci, Proenza Schouler, Roberts Wood, and many more.
The Strand BookStore
The bookstore bears the name of a well-known London street where writers like Thackeray, Dickens, and Mill frequented and where successful book publishers once flourished. The Strand, the last remaining member of Book Row, is currently the biggest independently owned bookshop in New York.
Harry Potter store
Wannabe wizards and witches can throng this magical center in New York City. The Harry Potter Store New York, the most magical location in New York City, is officially open. This is your acceptance letter to Hogwarts, New York.
The most likely wait time is 1-2 hours before you can visit the business. You have one hour to go back to the store after your number is called. You are immediately engulfed in all things Harry Potter as soon as you step inside the store.
For the largest collection of LEGO sets, go to the Rockefeller Center location! Additionally, purchase a variety of LEGO bricks and components from the largest Pick A Brick wall to construct anything you can think of!
Three Lives & Company
One of the biggest bookstores on the planet. At the intersection of West 10th Street and Waverly Place, in the center of New York City’s famed Greenwich Village, sits Three Lives & Company. This is a major book lovers attraction in NYC.
Get New York Pass
Getting a city pass is what I usually do when I travel to larger cities. They are well worth it if you love visiting museums and attractions. The New York Pass is very practical to use with the app you can download, and it covers most of the places you want to see.
Your pass will go into effect as soon as you enter the first attraction. The remaining consecutive days of your chosen pass term are then yours to spend however you like at attractions.
For instance, a 3-day pass that is activated on Monday will be valid on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The pass will expire at midnight on Wednesday.
Certain attractions will require a reservation. If so, all booking details are available on the reservations page as well as the pages for each attraction on the website and mobile application. A pass number or order reference number may be needed for some advanced reservations to confirm your reservation, so have it on hand!
In addition, there are a few very well-liked attractions in New York that don’t require reservations but do have lines during peak hours. These include the Liberty Super Express Cruise, the Best of NYC Cruise by Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, the Top of the Rock Observation Deck, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, and the One World Observatory.
New York was a dream come true for me, and although a week was enough to see the main attractions there is so much more to experience in the city, and I am looking forward to my next trip to NYC. Save these best things to do in New York in a week and let me know how your visit goes.