7 Sights You Have to See While Visiting New York City

If it’s important that you’re never bored while you’re on vacation, you should definitely consider taking a trip to New York City. With over 65 million visitors a year and millions more residents, it should come as no surprise that the city features plenty of things to do in order to keep all these people busy!

The trouble is, with so many things to do, it’s impossible to do it all while you’re visiting. Even people living in NYC haven’t seen it all!

What sights are worth a visit? Here are a few sights you just have to see that go beyond Central Park and Times Square.

Planning A Trip New York City (The ...
Planning A Trip New York City (The Ultimate Guide)

9/11 Memorial

A view of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

9/11 was a life-changing event for everyone. Those who were alive during the attacks can remember where they were, what they were doing, and what they were wearing when they heard the news that the twin towers had been hit.

Visiting the 9/11 Memorial is a great way to honor the thousands who died that day, in addition to the tens of thousands of rescue, recovery, and cleanup workers, many of whom are dealing with long-term health consequences of experiencing the aftermath of the attacks.

The main memorial features two reflecting pools that are a sight in their own right, regardless of their purpose. Each one is nearly an acre in size and features the largest man-made waterfalls in North America.

The 9/11 Memorial Glade is dedicated to the sacrifice of rescue, recovery, and relief workers, while a visit to the Survivor Tree reminds us all that we can continue standing, even during tough times.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

When you think of old churches that feature beautiful architecture, you probably think of the cathedrals found in European countries, like Notre Dame in France and the Vatican in Italy. However, we have a stunning example of religious architecture right here in the United States—St. Patrick's Cathedral.

St. Patrick's Cathedral is the largest neo-gothic Roman Catholic cathedral in the United States. Dedicated in 1879, it contains plenty of history. Stop by to tour the building and gawk at the architecture, go in and worship in one of the 2,400 seats, or listen to the giant organ that features nearly 8,000 pipes.

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal

Photo: Jens Fricke/Flickr

This world-famous train terminal is a must-see, whether you like trains or not. Still home to the Metro-North Railroad, this stunning structure sees 750,000 visitors every day.

Even if you aren't taking the train, there is still plenty to see. The station contains multiple restaurants and shops to keep you busy, in addition to a gorgeous opal-faced clock that is worth $20 million. Take a private tour, stop by for a special event, or play tennis on the fourth floor of the terminal. Then, make sure you gaze at the famous Tiffany & Co. clock that adorns the exterior of the building.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a great way to spend the afternoon, but there are so many stunning works of art to see that you could spend all day looking and still not see it all.

The museum regularly hosts special exhibitions that feature world-class works of art, in addition to showcasing some works that are on display all year long. A few of the artworks you must see when you visit include:

  • The Death of Socrates
  • The Denial of Saint Peter
  • The human-headed winged lion
  • Venus Italica
  • The Sphinx of Hatshepsut
  • Dancing Celestial Deity

One World Observatory

When you think of catching stunning views of New York City, the Empire State Building likely comes to mind. There’s no doubt that visiting the Empire State Building is a great option, but it isn’t your only option. Consider visiting the One World Observatory instead.

Located in the One World Trade Center, which happens to be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, it truly is the best way to see all the sights in New York City at once.

Over 100 stories up in the air, you can walk through the Observatory, bravely step onto the Sky Portal, or grab a bite to eat. When looking out the windows, you can gaze at the National 9/11 Memorial from above, see the Brooklyn Bridge, find Central Park, and admire the Manhattan skyline.

The Met Cloisters

Technically a branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters is located in Fort Tryon Park near the Hudson River. There are five galleries to explore, but the visit is really all about the French cloisters it’s named after, as well as its three medieval chapels, gardens, and terraces that make you feel like you’ve stepped away from the hustle and bustle of the city and gone back in time.

Every detail of The Cloisters is designed in medieval fashion and gothic style. History buffs, those who appreciate architecture, and nature lovers will love an afternoon spent here.

Statue of Liberty

museum statue of liberty

No list of sights to see in New York City is complete without the Statue of Liberty! However, what many lists miss is the fact that you can do a lot more than just gaze at it from afar.

There are many ways to enjoy this piece of American history. Visit the exhibit in the new museum here, watch a short documentary about the statue's creation, or take an audio tour around Liberty Island. If you want the grand tour, take the ranger-guided Promenade Tour or Observatory Tour to see the framework of the statue up close while learning about its design.

Don’t mind taking the stairs? Make sure you visit the statue's crown. It requires climbing over 200 steps and a reservation, but the views are well worth it! (Note that due to the pandemic, the interior of the statue itself is temporarily closed.)

There is no end to the things you can do in New York City. Some of the sights, like Central Park and the Empire State Building, are well-known, while others are less so. The perfect trip includes a combination of both, especially when you choose some of the sights to see on this list!

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