Visiting New York | Top 10 Things to Do

My husband and I spent a gorgeous week in New York City in the fall and just loved it. It was my first time ever seeing the city and I definitely tried to see as much as I could. Below are my top 10 recommendations.

Central Park

I loved Central Park. I spent almost an entire day wandering around there and enjoyed it so much. I have another post just on the park that you can read here. I would highly recommend planning out your visit beforehand. It’s a huge area with lots to see. My personal favorite was the Bethesda Fountain and Terrace.


I visited several museums while in NYC, and The MET was simply the best. There’s so much to see there. They have history, art, and so much more. One could easily spend an entire day there. We visited on a Friday evening when the museum has extended hours and it was not crowded at all. My favorite exhibits were the impressionist art, the collection of musical instruments, and the temple of Dendur. This is another spot that would benefit from a little planning ahead.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Visiting The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island was another highlight of our trip. Visiting either location is free (including going up to the pedestal or crown), but the ferry is around $25 each passenger. The ferry leaves from Battery Park and is the only ferry service to the islands (make sure you book through the official website). Tickets can be reserved online. We really enjoyed the museums at both locations and walking around the statue was pretty great too. We lucked out with a bit of misty weather on our way back so my husband and I were the only ones on the top level of the ferry and we got to enjoy some pretty amazing views of the city.

Watch a Broadway Show

We saw The Phantom of the Opera and loved it. The story is really interesting (I also loved the movie back when it came out) and the music is fantastic. It was such a fun experience and I would definitely like to see another show someday. It’s best to buy tickets online ahead of time.

Brooklyn Bridge

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge was another highlight of our trip. I only walked about a third of the way over, but the atmosphere was a lot of fun and the views were beautiful. Afterwards, I walked down to Pier 17 to watch the sunset and it was the perfect spot. I could see both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge and the skyline was beautiful.

World Trade Center

The World Trade Center Museum and Memorial was a very somber visit, but definitely worth seeing and remembering. Just the other day I found my old diary from high school and was reading what I had written about the tragedy when it happened. It’s a lot emotionally walking through the museum, but it was good to see. I personally wouldn’t bring my kids inside the museum until they were older, but the memorial is a good spot for everyone and very peaceful. There’s also a nearby church that had a really positive impact during the 9/11 tragedy that’s neat to visit as well. Again, tickets can be reserved online for the museum, but the memorial and chapel are both free to visit.

New York Library

One of my friends recommended the New York Public Library and it did not disappoint. Their Treasures exhibit was pretty amazing, especially if you love literature. They have items like the original Winnie the Pooh and friends, a copy of the Deceleration of Independence, the earliest printed copy of Mother Goose, and lots more. The gift shop is great here too. I bought an autographed copy of the Library Lion and enjoyed looking at all the books.

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum has quite the collection of dinosaur bones and lots of other amazing exhibits too. We really enjoyed everything on South America and taking lots of dinosaur pictures to show our kids back home.


I’m going to be completely honest… MOMA was not my favorite museum. I really love impressionist and classical art and all the history that comes with each of those genres and modern art is just less to my taste. That said, I taught modern art to the girls last year so it was neat seeing lots of paintings that I recognized from our curriculum and of course it was also amazing to see Van Gogh’s Starry Night (the entire reason I wanted to go). There’s also a huge canvas from Monet that was beautiful to see in person.

Visit a historical church

I always loved all the old, beautiful churches in Europe and it was such a treat to visit a couple churches while in New York City. It’s such a nice, peaceful break from all the hustle and bustle. I personally visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral and St. Thomas Church. St. Thomas has choral evensongs at 5:30 on certain days if you’re interested in that sort of thing. It was very beautiful and a nice little break from the city.

There’s so much to see and do in New York City. Even though we did so much, I feel like there’s tons more to explore. I can’t wait to visit again and hopefully take our kids with sometime!

What’s your favorite spot in New York City?

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