Located in the heart of lower Manhattan near the Staten Island Ferry and Wall Street, The National Museum of the American Indian is home to one of the largest collections of Native American art and artifacts in the world. Travelers who venture to this destination will find more than 800,000 unique items on display, which detail the history, culture and traditions of America’s native people. And while a majority—close to 70 percent—of the museum’s collection is from the U.S., visitors will find plenty of items from Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean.
Travelers can wander the galleries, which are jam-packed with pieces that detail the unique experiences of a variety of tribes, wander past photography displays, or settle in for one of the occasional movies or audio tours that’s on offer at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York.
Arguably the most luxurious department store in the city, Saks Fifth Avenue is the result of a partnership between two powerful New York City department store families: the Saks’ and Gimbel Brothers. In September 1924, Horace Saks and Bernard Gimbel opened this famous chain’s flagship store in Midtown Manhattan, next door to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and across the street from the site that would become, in 1939, Rockefeller Center.
Saks’ flagship building occupies an entire city block and is decorated in the Art Deco style, inspired by the 1925 Paris Exposition. The store’s layout is divided into a series of high-end specialty shops, each highlighting individual designers of clothing, accessories and home wares. The 8th floor shoe department, 10022-SHOE, is a fantasy-inducing collection of the world’s greatest luxury shoe designers, and is named with the zip code of the surrounding neighborhood.
Paying tribute to Civil War hero and former president General Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia, the General Grant Memorial is the largest tomb in North America. General Grant is commended for his role in ending the bloodiest war in American history, with his words “let us have peace” immortalized in the structure.
The large granite and marble mausoleum is surrounded by seventeen intricate, Gaudi-inspired benches designed by Chilean artist Pedro Silva. The structure itself takes after classical inspiration with Doric columns and an Ionic colonnade. It bears resemblance to some of the ancient monuments of Rome. The interior, however, was inspired by the Tomb of Napoleon at Les Invalides in Paris.
One of Manhattan’s most vibrant neighborhoods, the East Village has a storied history of New York’s counterculture, art and literature movements, and social and political acts including riots and protests. It was here that punk rock, experimental theater, and even Andy Warhol shows took root in New York City. As such, the area is considered a large contributor the arts and culture of the United States. Museums, libraries, festivals, and theaters can still be found in great number. It is also known for its thriving bar and budget restaurant scene.
The East Village was first developed as an artistic community in the 1950s with its affordable housing costs attracting many students, musicians, and alternative lifestyles. It is known still for its artistic attitude, nightlife, and diversity, though some would argue that the gentrification of the city is changing its culture.
In the lobby of the American Express headquarters at the World Financial Center in New York City, the company has created a memorial honoring the eleven American Express employees who were killed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. The memorial was designed by lower Manhattan artist Ken Smith. The foundation of the memorial is composed around a black granite reflecting pool with eleven sides. A 600-lb piece of Brazilian quartz is shaped like a tear and carved with eleven sides. The quartz is suspended over the granite reflecting pool by eleven thin cables. Inscribed in the sides of the granite pool are the names of the victims who died in the attack, along with five words or phrases describing each person. “Tear drops” of water fall gently from the ceiling into the pool below, and a nearby plaque offers more personal details on each of the victims.
It’s no surprise that one of the most iconic restaurants on earth also calls one of the most iconic city blocks its home. Hard Rock Café Times Square exists in the heart of New York City, where sky-high buildings, flashing lights and crowded streets meet. This kinetic destination welcomes visitors from around the globe to experience the energy and excitement of the big apple.
Visitors can tuck into heaping plates of American fare—like burgers, fries and frosty milkshakes—surrounded by an impressive collection of music memorabilia. The famed white suit of Led Zeppelin, the glossy white bass used by The Who and handwritten lyrics from Jimi Hendrix make this popular restaurant feel more like a museum than mealtime (though travelers say the vibe is way more fun).
This iconic whitewashed house in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood was built in 1765 and is officially the oldest home in the borough. Now a museum dedicated to the city—and the nation’ —colorful past, the Morris-Jumel Mansion once served as the headquarters for the American Revolution. In addition to exploring the galleries, which are filled with historic artifacts and photographs, travelers can enjoy the expansive gardens, which are tended by local volunteers, and even relax during warmer months with live music performances in the stunning outdoor setting.
Housed in a former New York City deli, the 9/11 Tribute Center has been paying homage to the lost lives of September 11 victims through photography and artifact displays, as well as the art of storytelling since 2006. Visitors can explore the halls of this memorial founded by The September 11th Families’ Association, and learn about one of the most notorious days in the city’s history. Travelers can take a five-point tour with one of 200 trained guides who will share their sobering stories, experiences and memories of this tragic day. Audio tours featuring a more in-depth look at the narratives of more than 20 guides are also available to help tourist navigate the galleries filled with iconic images, family photos and other items from the World Trade Center attacks. A unique oral history collection of more than 400 unique retellings of the day is one of the major highlights of this unique memorial center that is not to be missed.
Soaring 476 feet and 37 stories over Midtown, this 1930 Art Deco skyscraper was originally built for The New York Daily News, a still-popular tabloid newspaper which made its headquarters here until 1995. Architecturally significant for its trendsetting vertical stripes of windows and flat, non-ornamented top level, the building, designed by Raymond Mead and John Mead Howells (architects of the nearby Rockefeller Center) was named a National Historic Landmark in 1989.
The model for the Daily Planet building in the Superman movie franchise, the Daily News Building features the world’s largest indoor globe in its lobby, as well a collection of vintage weather instruments. An addition was built on the building’s east side in 1958, designed by Wallace Harrison and Max Abramowitz, then one of America’s premier architectural firms.
Set in the heart of New York’s theater district, New World Stages is a premier performing arts complex that has hosted some of the world’s most iconic shows. Its five stages extend to include a public lounge and art gallery as well as event spaces and an underground bar.
Built on the former site of Madison Square Garden and open since 2004, it is one of the city’s newer theatrical venues. It is currently home to five shows on its five stages, including the popular Avenue Q, as well as readings and concerts. Many of its play and musicals are known for their quirky and lively nature, many having historically shown on Broadway. The theaters are intimate in size, housing only 199 to 499 guests each. With quality performances and small venue size, it is considered be a central spot in the Off-Broadway theater scene.
Located at 36 Battery Place in Lower Manhattan’s Battery Park City, the Museum of Jewish Heritage is a living memorial to those who lost their lives in the Holocaust. Opened in 1997, the mission of the museum is “to educate people of all ages and backgrounds about the broad tapestry of Jewish life in the 20th and 21st centuries—before, during, and after the Holocaust.” In their collection, the Museum of Jewish Heritage showcases over 25,000 items that are used to tell the story of Jewish history. The permanent Core Exhibition features multiple perspectives on Jewish history, life and culture through artifacts, audio testimonials, photographs and films that are separated into three sections: “Jewish Life A Century Ago,” “The War Against the Jews” and “Jewish Renewal.” Not only is the exhibition itself impressive, but also the six-sided building it resides in, which is symbolic of the Star of David as well as the six million Jews who lost their lives during the Holocaust.
Located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side at 103 Orchard Street, the Tenement Museum provides insight on immigrant history and personal experiences of these people in the neighborhood. Visitors can tour a tenement building at 97 Orchard for a first-hand glimpse at what life was like for these people including the living conditions, challenges and hardships. These dwellings usually had no running water or electricity, and often housed whole families and sometimes business offices in just 375 square feet. There are an array of tours to choose from, some of which include “Shop Life,” “Sweatshop Workers” and “Irish Outsiders.” Which apartment you explore and family you learn about will depend on the tour you choose.
In the visitor center, a film is shown to give background knowledge before exploring further. Note: To visit these tenements you must take a tour. Be aware there is much stair climbing involved.
A four-mile strip of elegant public green space between the Hudson River and Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, this designated scenic landmark was first proposed in 1865, laid out in 1910 (using designs by Frederick Law Olmstead), re-designed in the 1930s by Robert Moses (who incorporated an underground train tunnel still in use by Amtrak), and enlarged by Donald Trump in the 1990s.
In addition to purely scenic paths landscaped with trees, flowers, terraces and bridges, the park includes a wide variety of recreational options, like baseball diamonds, basketball, tennis and handball courts, skate ramps, kayak and canoe launch sites, playgrounds, and fitness paths. As part of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, the park contains car-free bike routes, and its 110-slip public marina at 79th Street is part of New York State’s Water Trail. There are several graceful monuments within the park, including Grant’s Tomb, at West 122nd Street.