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Experience your destination with peace of mind. Learn what steps operators are taking to keep you safe and search for activities with increased health and safety measures. Before you go, check local regulations for the latest information.

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Things to Do in New York City

New York City is one of the most iconic destinations in the world and the glamourous backdrop for countless films, books, and television shows. Among some of the Big Apple’s most famous landmarks are the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York Harbor, along with the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, and other skyscrapers that have long defined the city’s skyline. Manhattan is home to Times Square—whose lights you can find on at any hour—and Central Park, an impressive 843 acres of open fields, lakes, and paths for horse-drawn carriages, situated smack dab in the middle of the city. Shopping and trendy bars abound in the neighborhoods of SoHo and Chelsea, and the borough of Brooklyn is only a short subway ride away, a must-see for its arts and music scene, restaurants, and Coney Island. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum, which rests on the old site of the World Trade Center, pays tribute to the solemn events of 9/11, while the new One World Observatory offers panoramic views of the city. Opt to hit all of the top attractions with a hop-on hop-off bus tour, or catch bird’s-eye views with a helicopter tour. One thing’s for certain: the city will be awake at any hour to welcome you.
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New York City St. Patrick's Cathedral
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Located at 460 Madison Avenue, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest gothic-style Catholic Cathedral in the country, as well as the seat of Timothy Michael Dolan, the archbishop of New York. Completed in 1878, St. Patrick’s Cathedral welcomes more than five million visitors each year who come to take part in mass, light candles, attend choir and organ recitals, participate in public programs and view the art and design of the building. Before entering, take in the white marble exterior, pinnacles and 330-foot twin spires reaching toward the sky. Inside explore the many chapels of the church, each one named after a different saint. Additionally, the Rose Window is 26 feet in diameter and showcases a masterpiece of 20th-century century stained glass art. Note: If you’re interested in visiting the crypt where all the Archbisophs of New York are buried you’ll need to make an appointment.

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Flatiron Building
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Located in Manhattan at 175 Fifth Avenue and Broadway, the Flatiron Building is a groundbreaking skyscraper. Built in 1902, it encompasses 22 stories and 307 feet. While not the tallest skyscaper in New York, it’s dramatic Beaux-Arts facade makes it a popular attraction, especially with photographers. What also makes it unusual is, unlike other early skyscrapers in New York that looked like rising towers, the Flatiron building showcases a concept from the Chicago school that divides the facade into a base, shaft and capital, which makes sense as it was designed by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. The name of building stems from its resemblance to a cast-iron clothing iron. Interestingly, back then the building’s unique shape was thought to create intense updrafts that would lift women’s skirts passing on 23rd Street. If a man tried to sneak a peak, police should shout “Hey! 23 skidoo!” This is thought to be where the phrase comes from.

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New York City Little Italy
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Like its neighbor Chinatown, Little Italy is a vibrant remnant of Manhattan’s legendary multicultural makeup. A great area for city walks, the focus is Mulberry Street and Old St Patrick’s Cathedral.

It’s a historic neighborhood of cobblestone streets, tenements, pizza bars, and Italian restaurants. The most authentic remnant of Little Italy is the section of Mulberry Street between Broome and Canal streets.

In September Mulberry Street hosts the 11-day San Gennaro street festival, with parades, street vendors, and outdoor food stalls.

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Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
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Located between West 62nd and 65th and Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a cultural hub focused on music, dance and theater. Each year, the center puts on hundreds of performances throughout 26 venues. The center is composed of 12 elite performing arts organizations, some of which include The Juilliard School, The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet and the New York Philharmonic. Along with taking in a performance, visitors can opt for a guided tour of Lincoln Center to see what goes on behind the scenes and to get more in-depth knowledge on the performances and venues. Tours are available in English, as well as Spanish, Japanese, French, Italian, German, and American Sign Language upon request. Throughout the year, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts puts on various major events, some of which include Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, the New York Film Festival and the Mostly Mozart Festival.
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Lower East Side
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What was once a destination for immigrants arriving in America and later, the hub of gritty New York City, is today one of Manhattan’s trendiest neighborhoods. Visitors will find unique boutiques, small galleries and plenty of character in this part of New York that’s bordered by East Houston, Essex, Canal Street and the Bowery. Travelers venturing into Chinatown, NoLita, SoHo and the East Village should be sure to add a stroll through the Lower East Side to their itinerary.

Known by locals as Loisaida because of its large Spanish-speaking population, this neighborhood is home to plenty of Latin-influenced cuisine. But travelers will find plenty of diverse flavors, including the iconic Katz’s Delicatessen, made famous in When Harry Met Sally. Travelers who want to take a look at Manhattan’s earliest inhabitants can check out the Tenement Museum, which showcases the life of the city’s earliest immigrants.

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Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (New York Public Library Main Branch)
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The New York Public Library is actually comprised of four major research libraries and about 100 branches spread throughout Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, but the Beaux Arts-style Stephen A. Schwarzman Building generally takes the title for itself. Home to a non-circulating collection of volumes on the humanities and social sciences, as well as a circulating children’s collection, this landmark library is renowned both for its signature stone lions out front, and for its free access to some of the most fascinating research materials in the world.

These materials include an archive of New Yorkers’ oral histories; firsthand accounts of Shackleton’s explorations in the South pole; a vast array of historical photos and maps from around the world; some of Shakespeare’s earliest work, from 1623; ancient Japanese scrolls; vintage baseball cards; and famous comic books.

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Madison Square Park
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Located in the Flatiron District, specifically at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway at 23rd Street, Madison Square is one of New York’s most important and historical squares. This is where you’ll find iconic buildings like the Flatiron Building, One Madison Park and Metlife Tower, as well as the main focus of the square, Madison Square Park. The park runs from Broadway to Madison Avenue and East 23rd to East 26 St Streets, and is a great place to snap photos of the surrounding architecture, admire 19th-century statues and monuments and stroll through the 6.2 acres of tranquil green landscape. Fun fact: This was the original location of Madison Square Garden and a temporary display area for the Statue of Liberty’s right arm and torch from 1876 to 1882. Along with the green space, Madison Square is renowned for being one of the city’s best shopping areas, especially in terms of home design and housewares.

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Upper West Side
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Located between Central Park and the Hudson River and West 59th Street and West 110th Street, the Upper West Side is known for being one of Manhattan’s more upscale residential neighborhoods, with beautiful brownstones and a generally safe atmosphere. For those looking to experience some of New York’s best cultural sites, the Upper West Side has plenty. For example, Lincoln Center is an important cultural institution in the neighborhood, as the center puts on an array of topnotch music, dance and theater performances. In fact, it is home to some of the world’s most elite performing arts groups like The Juilliard School, The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet and the New York Philharmonic.

There is also the American Museum of Natural History, American Folk Art Museum, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens, The Children’s Museum, Museum of Arts & Design, Nicholas Roerich Museum and New York’s oldest museum founded in 1804, the New-York Historical Society.

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Belvedere Castle
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Designed in the late 1860s by architects Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmstead and as part of their “Greensward Plan” to beautify a then-young Central Park, this turret-topped castle of schist and granite stands atop Vista Rock, looking out on the woodlands of The Ramble, the Turtle Pond, and panoramic views of the Upper West Side.

Originally built in 1865 as a Victorian Folly – a structure with no intended use beyond sheer delight – it would come to be used as both a weather station and a nature center. In 1919, the National Weather Service began taking wind and rainfall readings from the top floor of Belvedere’s tower, the highest point in Central Park; this practice continues today. Over the next several decades, the largely empty structure of high ceilings and winding staircases fell into increasing disrepair, until it was renovated and re-opened in 1983 as the Henry Luce Nature Observatory.

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More Things to Do in New York City

Central Park Conservatory Garden

Central Park Conservatory Garden

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The Conservatory Garden, located within Central Park, is a serene escape from the fast-paced urban life of Manhattan. It takes its name from a conservatory that stood on site until 1934 but is now a collection of fountains, sculptures and pathways through landscaped lanes. Spread across six acres, the garden is divided into three distinct areas influenced by French, Italian and English styles. It is also a designated “quiet zone” that has become known as almost a secret garden to many. The area is free of runners, bicyclists and dogs, and is a popular place for weddings. The garden has two massive seasonal floral displays: tulips in the spring and chrysanthemums in the fall. Whether you’re strolling through the hedges and flower displays or relaxing on a bench with a book, the Conservatory Garden is a colorful place of calm, natural beauty meant to be savored.

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Friends Building

Friends Building

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Any fan of the iconic TV show ‘Friends’ will recognize the building at the corner of Grove and Bedford streets in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Although the show was filmed on a studio set, the sextet’s apartment building appeared in the opening credits of every episode and in many scenes of the show as well. There aren’t many tourist attractions around the building, but die hard ‘Friends’ fans won’t want to miss the opportunity to take a picture in front of the building and grab a bite to eat at the ‘Tiny Owl,’ the restaurant on the building’s ground floor that was known in the show as the cafe ‘Central Perk.’ From across the street (and with the help of a little imagination), you can almost hear Phoebe strumming her guitar and singing ‘Smelly cat, smelly cat, what are they feeding you? Smelly cat, smelly cat, it’s not your fault.’

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The Met Cloisters

The Met Cloisters

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A branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), The Cloisters is a museum and gardens dedicated to medieval art. The name of the attraction, which opened to the public in 1938, comes from five medieval cloisters, all of which are woven into the museum’s design. Along with strolling through the gardens, visitors can take in paintings, tapestries, chapels, carvings and halls designed for different periods. For example, while The Late Gothic Hall showcases 15th century limestone windows and altarpieces from Germany, Italy and Spain, The Romanesque Hall features stone portals from 12th and 13th-century French churches. For those who want a more in-depth experience, opt for an audio guide and listen to interviews with educators, curators and conservators, as well as some Medieval music for an immersive experience.

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The Met Breuer

The Met Breuer

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Fort Tryon Park

Fort Tryon Park

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Bryant Park

Bryant Park

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Located between 40th and 42nd Street and Fifth and Sixth Avenues, Bryant Park encompasses 9.6 acres of public green space and recreation. For those looking for a respite from the bustling city, Bryant Park provides a relaxed atmosphere with historical monuments, colorful flower beds, London plane trees, the 300-foot lawn and the Southwest Porch lounge where you can relax on rockers and swings and enjoy free wireless. Play games like chess, backgammon and ping pong or get a free petanque lesson Monday through Friday from 11am to 6pm. For something whimsical, Bryant Park also features a timeless carousel. In the winter, the park is full of festive cheer with an ice skating rink as well as a makeshift village of “streets” lined with artisanal holiday shops. And no matter what time of year it is, visitors can enjoy quality food and drinks in the park. While Bryant Park Grill features American cuisine and a rooftop for aerial city views, Bryant Park Cafe is an informal outdoor cafe.

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American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History

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Located on Central Park West at 79th, the mission of the American Museum of Natural History is “to discover, interpret, and disseminate information about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe through a wide-ranging program of scientific research, education, and exhibition.”

The museum is expansive, and you can easily spend an entire day exploring it. Founded in 1869, the institution features space shows, an IMAX theater and permanent exhibitions on animals, space, dinosaurs, Theodore Roosevelt, human origins, global cultures and the environment. Check out the Hall of Reptiles and Amphibians to learn about the anatomy and behavior of these creatures, or the Hall of Primitive Mammals, which traces the evolution of lower branches of mammals like the armadillo and sloth. Additionally, the Hayden Big Bang Theater will make you feel like you’re experiencing the event in real time.

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Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

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The 20th-century artwork displayed on the gently inclining white walls of the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum often take second place to the building's landmark Frank Lloyd Wright design.

The great architect's last work is an uplifting sight, from both outside and within, and a thorough restoration program was completed in 2008. Unwinding like a coil of white ribbon, the exhibition space spirals upwards around a central skylight.

As well as hosting changing exhibitions of photographs and paintings, the Guggenheim's permanent collection includes works by Gauguin, Picasso, van Gogh, Monet, and other early Modern masters.

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Broadway

Broadway

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Broadway, one of New York's most famous streets, runs the full length of Manhattan. However for most visitors to New York the name Broadway is synonymous with theater, musicals and first-run shows. Broadway more than any other street in America stands for entertainment. The heart of Broadway is the few blocks surrounding Times Square. Book Broadway tickets in advance for guaranteed seats and pricing. Local sellers also offer last-minute deals (if not always great seats).

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Central Park Zoo

Central Park Zoo

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Central Park is a must-see for any visitor to New York City, and the small zoo within it is no exception. The daily feedings of the sea lions and the penguins always draw a crowd (the sea lions do tricks for their snacks), and the paths through the zoo’s five acres lead through a variety of habitats designed to recreate the animals’ natural environments. Around the sea lions’ pool (which has glass sides to better see the sleek animals under water) is a perennial garden with plenty of bench seating.

The Tisch Children's Zoo lets children get up close and personal with domestic animals like sheep, goats, cows, and even a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. Little ones can pop a quarter in an animal-feed dispenser and let the animals eat from their hands, and they can touch small bronze sculptures of the animals next to each pen that emit the sounds of the animals they represent.

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Lower Manhattan

Lower Manhattan

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New York City is more than the bright lights of Broadway, the billboards of Times Square or the boutiques of SoHo. Travelers who want to make the most of their visit to the Big Apple should be sure to include a stop in Lower Manhattan, where plenty of culture, history and landmarks reign supreme. Whether it’s a couple of hours or an entire day, there’s something for every kind of visitor in this diverse destination.

History lovers can check out the African Burial Ground Museum or the 9/11 Memorial, while outdoor enthusiasts can revel in the sunshine of Battery Park or the cruise along the waters on the Staten Island Ferry. Bargain shoppers will love the deep discounts of iconic Century21 and the unique stores located at the South Street Seaport.

Lower Manhattan is also home to the world-famous financial district, which means a visit to Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange and its massive bull are an absolute must!

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Madame Tussauds New York

Madame Tussauds New York

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New York City is home to some of the biggest celebrities and most famous faces—but a walk through Midtown doesn’t always result in getting star struck. Luckily the quirky Madame Tussauds—an iconic wax museum in the heart of Times Square—offers travelers the chance to check getting up close and personal with big names in music, movies and television off their list.

From world leaders to Hollywood stars, the halls of Madame Tussauds are filled to the brim with faces recognized across the globe. Travelers can saddle up for photo ops that will have friends back home believing that lunch with Leonardo DiCaprio really did happen on a visit to the Big Apple.

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Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden

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Madison Square Garden is one of the world’s most famous sports and entertainment stadiums. Dubbed the Garden, the 1960s-era indoor arena stands on the site of the much-lamented Beaux Arts Pennsylvania Station.

The Garden hosts around 320 events a year, and is the home of the New York Rangers hockey, New York Knicks basketball, and New York Liberty women’s basketball teams. You can also catch circus acts, athletics meets, dog shows, conventions, lacrosse, wrestling, boxing, or a rock concert.

There are several other venues within the complex, including the WaMu Theater, an expo center, restaurants, and retail outlets.

All-access daily tours go behind the scenes, and a series of plaques commemorate the achievements of athletes and performers on the Walk of Fame.

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