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Top 20 Tourist Attractions of New York City

New York City is undoubtedly one of the greatest cities in the world. It is almost impossible to capture the awe and charm of this city in just one blog. This global power city is often considered to be the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world. It is said that nearly 800 languages are spoken in the city everyday! There are attractions galore in every nook and cranny of the city that can engage tourists of all ages and interests. The city is the capital of New York state and is divided into 5 boroughs — Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Staten Island. Numerous landmarks and attractions are scattered all over these 5 boroughs. Here is our pick of the top attractions that you just cannot miss when visiting New York City.

 

  1. Ellis Island
Ellis Island with Manhattan in the background

New York City was the port of entry for millions of immigrants in the late 19th and most of the 20th century. Ellis Island remained the prime inspection station for these immigrants from 1892 until 1934. This US National Monument has been transformed into a museum where visitors get an insight of the immigration system and policies of the US. The museum has an immigrant database where visitors can search for their relatives.

 

  1. St Patrick’s Cathedral
St Patrick’s Cathedral photographed from behind the Atlas statue in front of Rockefeller Center

St Patrick’s Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral  located on the northern part of Fifth Avenue. It stands exactly across the street from the Rockefeller Center with its famous Atlas statue. The cathedral was built in 1910 and remains as one of the finest examples of Neo Gothic architecture in the city. It is visited by nearly 5.5 million visitors every year making it one of the prominent attractions of the city. The bronze doors that welcome the visitors each weigh a staggering 20,000 lbs.

 

  1. Broadway Theater
Broadway Theater

The Theatre District is located in Midtown Manhattan neighborhood in New York City. It is home to 41 professional theaters which, along with the West End Theatre of London, are considered to present the highest quality of English theatres. Such is the popularity of this neighborhood that it attracts tourists from all over the world, clocking over 13 million annually. These shows are commonly known as Broadway, and most feature musicals. The neighborhood is also home to many recording studios, television studios, and several eateries. Madam Tussauds and Ripley’s Believe It or Not are also located in this district.

 

  1. Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center

The Rockefeller Center is a 22 acre complex that has 19 skyscrapers and shopping centers. The neighborhood is home to several radio and TV studios. It is also popular for its huge Christmas tree that has become a New York landmark during the holiday season. There is a outdoor skating rink which draws a large footfall in the winter months. The complex gets its name from the Rockefeller family which had commissioned the construction. The 30 Rockefeller Center — a 70 floor high skyscraper —  is the centerpiece of this complex. It is home to NBC-TV and hosts many of its popular shows. It also has the Top of the Rock observation deck which has sweeping views of the city.

 

  1. Fifth Avenue
Fifth Avenue

New York City is not only the financial and cultural hub of the US, it is also a premier shopping destination. Fifth Avenue, stretching from Washington Square Park to West 143rd Street, tops the list as one of the most desirable and most expensive shopping streets in the world. It started gaining prominence as an upscale commercial street in the late 19th century with the construction of the Waldorf- Astoria Hotel, which has now been replaced by the Empire State Building. Even if you are not planning to buy anything, take a stroll on the street to enjoy its glitz and glamour.

 

  1. Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge

Featured in numerous movies and TV shows over the years, the Brooklyn Bridge has become on the most prominent images of New York City. It was built across the East River in 1883 connecting Brooklyn with Manhattan. It was the first steel wire suspension bridge in the US and one of the oldest of its type in the country. The bridge can be easily identified for its two strong granite towers  topped with Gothic styled arches. Brooklyn Bridge has a length of nearly 6000 feet – about 1.8 km – and not only has 6 lanes for cars, but also paths for pedestrians and cyclists.

 

  1. Chrysler Building
The brightly lit tip of the Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building is one of the most iconic skyscrapers of New York City. It was completed in May 1930 and remained the tallest building in the world for the next 11 months until the completion of the Empire State Building. The building is considered to be one of the finest examples of the Art Deco style of architecture. It resembles  a finely sharpened pencil. The Chrysler Building has a height of 1046 feet, including the antenna. It has 77 floors which are serviced by 32 lifts and elevators. It is owned by the Chrysler family which founded the Chrysler Corporation, the automobile company.

 

  1. New York Public Library
Rose Main Reading Room of the New York Public Library

The New York Public Library, located in Manhattan, is the 4th largest public library in the world. The main Reading Room itself stretches for a staggering 2 blocks of the city! It was established in 1895 and presently has a collection of over 53 million books and other associated artifacts. The Stephen A Schwartzman building, popularly known as the Main Branch, is a classic example of the Beaux Arts style of architecture. It has featured in several movies including Ghostbusters (1984), Sex and the City (2008), and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961).

 

  1. Solomon R Guggenheim Museum
Solomon R Guggenheim Museum

The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum is considered to be one of the foremost art museums in the world. It is located on Fifth Avenue and named after its founder who was a businessman and an avid art collector. The museum was established in 1937. The building – designed by Frank Lloyd Wright – in which the museum is housed is an attraction in itself. It is a cylindrical building with the base smaller than the top. Visitors take the elevator to the top level and then take the spiraling staircase-gallery downwards.

 

  1. Wall Street
Wall Street

Wall Street is an iconic street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan. It stretches 8 blocks and is home to the NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange, two of the largest stock exchanges in the world. With New York City considered a financial hub of the world, Wall Street has received iconic status for years, even having a movie named after it! Such is its popularity that millions of tourists visit the street every year. 80 feet underground is the Federal Reserve gold supply which is said to be worth over 100 billion US dollars.

 

  1. Bronx Zoo
Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo is the biggest zoo in the USA. It is located in the Bronx borough of New York City. Spread over 250 acres, this zoo comprises of natural habitats and parklands. More than 4000 animals live inside the zoo, many of which are listed as endangered. The zoo is divided into regions like ‘Wild Asia’ and ‘African Plains.’ The Bronx Zoo was the first zoo in the world to display Proboscis monkeys. This is a species of monkey found in Southeast Asia. None of those monkeys are at the zoo anymore. The last two of the monkeys were sent to Singapore Zoo in 1996.

 

  1. South Street Seaport
South Street Seaport

If you want to have a feel of the New York City of yesteryear, then the South Street Seaport is the ideal pace to have a stroll. This used to be the primary port of the city until the 19th century. The neighborhood has been fully restored in the recent years. You can visit the museum as well as the tourism center and the mall in that area. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes if you are looking to grab a quick bite or a drink. The Seaport has 5 vintage vessels docked in the harbor.

 

  1. Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or simply The Met, is the largest art museum in the USA. With over 6.7 million visitors, the museum is the 4th-most-visited art museum in the world. It was established in 1870 and presently has a collection of over 2 million objects. The collection ranges from the ancient Egyptian civilization right up to the modern times. It is divided into several departments and categories so it is best to get hold of a floor map from the reception before you start exploring. Other than some stunning historic sculpture, the museum is home to some precious artworks like the Self Portrait with Straw Hat by Van Gogh and The Card Players by Paul Cezanne.

 

  1. United Nations Headquarters
United Nations Headquarters

The Headquarters of the United Nations is located in the Manhattan borough of New York City. This complex in the Turtle Bay neighborhood is on an ‘international territory’ which means it is exempt from the local laws. It was built in 1952 and is home to a number of buildings like the General Assembly Building, Secretariat Building, Dag Hammarskjold Library, and the Conference Building. You can take a guided tour of the complex to know more about its history and functioning.

 

  1. Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal

The Grand Central Terminal is a railroad terminal located in Midtown Manhattan. This historical terminal was built in 1871 and has 44 platforms, more than any other rail station in the world. It went through several renovations and extensions and presently spans over 43 acres. All its platforms are below the ground level. It also has an art gallery, a fine dining restaurant, and the Grand Central Market inside it. This US National Historic Landmark is also known for its architectural beauty and has featured in numerous movies over the decades.

 

  1. Times Square
Times Square

No visit to New York City is complete without a visit to Times Square. Times Square is a commercial intersection in the Manhattan neighborhood of New York City. With its flashing billboards and famous neighborhoods like Broadway and Wall Street, Time Square has attained an iconic status to tourists. The New Year countdown celebration is also held at this site. It was originally named the Longacre Square and got its present moniker in 1907.

 

  1. Central Park
Central Park
Central Park

With around 40 million visitors annually, the Central Park of New York City is the most visited attraction in the USA! The park presently spans over 843 acres and is the green lung of the city. Central Park was opened to the public in 1857 and has since featured in numerous movies and TV shows. It has gone through several renovations over the decades. Presently, it is very beautifully landscaped with walkways, ponds, flowering trees, fountains, gardens, as well as a zoo. It is also sprinkled with many beautiful statues and sculptures.

 

  1. One World Trade Center
One World Trade Center

The One World Trade Center is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex. It was originally named the Freedom Tower and is located in Lower Manhattan. The building rises to a height of 1792 feet, making it the 6th tallest in the world, and the tallest in the Americas. It was completed in 2013. One World Trade Center has 104 floors and is serviced by 73 lifts and elevators. Although it has a square base, it has tops into a distinct looking 8 sided tower. There is a restaurant and an observation deck in the tower that is open to the public.

 

  1. Empire State Building
Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is probably the first celebrity skyscraper in the world. It was constructed in 1931 and remained the tallest building in the world until the construction of the World Trade Center in 1970 in the same city. Presently, the building has a height of 1454 feet including the antenna. The building got its name from the nickname of New York – the Empire State. The building was built in an Art Deco style of architecture and became one of the most beloved icons of not only New York City, but of the US. It has 102 floors which are served by 73 elevators. This US National Historic Landmark has featured in many movies over the years.

 

  1. Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty with the Manhattan skyline in the background

The Statue of Liberty is not just an attraction but an iconic global landmark. It is located on Liberty Island on the New York Harbor. This 151-feet-high copper statue was a gift from France to the USA in 1886. It was built by Gustavo Eiffel, the same man who built the Eiffel Tower. It represents Libertas, the Roman goddess, who is seen holding a torch in one hand and tablet with the date of the US Declaration of Independence on the other. The statue has greeted millions of immigrants who sailed to the US shores in the 19th and 20th centuries. You can visit the statue by taking a short ferry ride from the mainland. Visitors are allowed access inside the statue up to the crown but one has to buy the tickets through online pre-booking.

Originally posted 2017-08-21 12:52:46.

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