Every trip in New York City starts with Manhattan or should start with Manhattan. It is located in the center of NYC and home to some of the most iconic city attractions. It is also home to restaurants serving great cuisines and the biggest Broadway shows.
The rest of the city has also a lot of things to see and enjoy but it is Manhattan where the action begins. Even after spending a week on this island, you could still miss several attractions to behold. Explore the tiny island city in subways, hop on a yellow cab to reach your favorite restaurant or just keep walking to soak the beauty and liveliness of Manhattan.
Manhattan is officially known as New York County and is majorly divided into three sections including Uptown, Midtown and Downtown. Locally, going Downtown means going in the South direction and Uptown means heading towards North. The city is always on the run and offers some great attractions to explore, experience and enjoy.
Being the financial capital of the world, Manhattan is the prime attraction for people from all over the world. This is the reason that it is also one of the most expensive cities in the world for tourists. But there is no need to get disheartened as it offers several tourist attractions which can be explored on a budget without breaking your bank.
#1 Cycle through the Brooklyn Bridge
Apart from serving the practical purpose for New Yorkers to reach from lower Manhattan to Brooklyn; Brooklyn bridge is also one of the most iconic structures of Manhattan. This 19th-century engineering marvel is a 1.3-mile long steel-wire suspension bridge. Its construction started in 1869 and completed after 14 years in 1883. It was designed by celebrated civil-engineer John A. Roebling. When it was built, it was the largest suspension bridge in the world and over 1,50,000 people crossed the bridge on the day of its inauguration.
Rent a bike and cycle across the upper deck amid two gothic towers of the bridge during sunrise or sunset. Soak in the beauty of the impressive structure, explore the City Hall Park
Located directly on the Manhattan side of the bridge and enjoy incredible DUMBO on the Brooklyn side of the bridge. Visit Brooklyn Bridge Park, weekend flea markets and soak in the beauty of the Statue of Liberty from a distance.
#2 Take a Stroll in the Central Park
Central Park is Manhattan’s beautiful green space and one of the most iconic parks in the world. Surprisingly, there are a lot of fun activities one can do in Central Park. Explore its several lawns, walking paths, fountains, picnic spots and ancient trees including cherry blossoms. You can go boating, hiking or check out the Alice in Wonderland statue. You can also go ice skating at the Wollman Rink during the winter season or can catch a hockey game.
Other attractions include Conservatory Garden, fake pony ride, enjoy plays at the public theatre, attend a live music gig, or climb up the Belvedere Castle.
#3 Take a Portrait with the Charging Bull
Thanks to Hollywood movies, the iconic bull is famous across the world and one of the most prominent landmarks of Wall Street. Italian artist Arturo Di Modica installed the bull as a symbol of America’s strong economy in the year 1989. The 3.5-ton statue has become one of the most visited tourist attractions over the years. Snap few pictures with the bull to cherish it for years to come. Now, the bull has also got a companion; Fearless Girl. You can also join a guided tour to understand the history of the financial district.
#4 Explore New York Botanical Garden (NYBG)
The New York Botanical Garden is the largest botanical garden in the USA. The garden was founded in 1891 and is popular for annual orchid show and holiday train show in the incredible Haupt Conservatory. This 250 acres large botanical garden consists of hills, forests and lush green gardens.
The NYBG was born out of a civil movement to position New York City as the world’s cosmopolitan capital. It also operates one of the largest plant research and conservation programs armed with hands-on curriculum-based educational programming, state-of-the-art molecular labs and impressive botanically focussed art exhibitions which attract millions of visitors through the year.
#5 Sail through the Liberty Island to Watch Statue of Liberty
The Statues of Liberty’s torch is held high since 1886, the year it was placed in Manhattan. The 305-foot copper statue was designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and gifted to the USA from France as a friendly gesture. The statue is also the infallible symbol of American liberty and no trip to NYC is complete without visiting the iconic lady of liberty. You can book a sightseeing cruise to float around the harbor and get the best possible view of the statue of liberty. The cruise will also give you the opportunity to peek into Ellis Island. But make sure to book the tickets online in advance considering the high footfall at the iconic statue of liberty.
#6 Ride Bike Along Hudson River
The Hudson River Park Bikeway runs from Fort Tryon Park to Battery Park. Pretty much, top to bottom of the Manhattan. Through the 13 mile ride, you can see a major part of the Manhattan in a single day. The waterfront park allows you to look at the majestic Hudson River or New Jersey. You can also indulge in Kayak rides and youth sports along with the bike ride.
The iconic waterfront park is also a great picnic spot where you can chill with your family and friends on a warm afternoon. Through the bikeway, there are benches, flowers and piers to keep you welcomed.
#7 Visit the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
MoMA is the one stop where you can find all sort of incredible modern art pieces. The works preserved here date back to as long as the 18th century and are one of the finest collections preserved at one place. The museum stays pretty crowded during Christmas and the summer season. You can buy a $25 ticket online to avoid long queues and crowd to take a glance at some of the finest modern art pieces done by the likes of Picasso and Van Gogh.
#8 Ride on an Elevated Tram to Roosevelt Island
Subway is too mainstream when you can take an elevated tram to Roosevelt Island. Explore the beautiful skyline and the bustling city of Manhattan from the top. The boxy tram glides over the East River and is probably one of the most interesting modes of public transport to reach Roosevelt Island. You can click some outstanding pictures of the Manhattan from a few meters above the ground. The best part is that you can ride on this elevated tram by paying the same price which you would pay to ride in a subway.
The area’s major attractions include Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedom Park which is a tribute to the 32nd president of the United States of America, ball fields and tennis court. You can also check out an abandoned smallpox hospital.
#9 Read in the New York Public Library (NYPL)
NYPL is another one of the most iconic jewels of New York City. It is over a century old library and one of the most desirable setting to read. You can read either on your laptop or opt for a more traditional way called books. The institution’s mascots are huge Tennessee-marble lions, Fortitude and dubbed Patience which covers the main portion of the library.
The other main area of NYPL is the Rose Main Reading Room which sprawls over 300 feet and its ceiling shines with murals and chandeliers. You can join a freed guided tour at 11 am or 2 pm at Bill Blass Public Catalog Room which offers free Wifi access or Rose Main Reading Room. Author readings and special exhibitions are some of its other major attractions to look for.
#10 Explore Sizzling Food at Smorgasburg
Last but not least, how can we forget the local food while exploring Manhattan. Smorgasburg is the best opportunity to savor local flavors of NYC. It is one of the largest open-air flea food market run by over 100 local food vendors. Starting from April to November, the market runs every single weekend and offers delicious local food options.
On Saturdays, Smorgasburg is at Williamsburg’s East River Park and Prospect Park’s Breeze Hills on Sundays. This flea food market is the favorite among locals and tourists. You can satiate your hunger with some good food and at really cheap prices. Also, it a great way to explore local culture and its eating habits.
NYC is a city which never sleeps and Manhattan has always been the heart of it. It offers something to people from all quarters of life. It should be a must-visit place in your bucket list to experience the cosmopolitan nature of this vibrant city.