The Best of New York
Collected by John Newton, AFAR Contributor
America's largest city (with a population of around 8.5 million) and by many measures the country's cultural capital, New York presents endless things to do. While this list includes more than 30 must-see sights, it's a mere starting point.
1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028, USA
The Metropolitan Museum of Art—or, commonly, the Met—is one of the world's great museums, alongside the Louvre, the British Museum, and a handful of others. It would be easy to devote an entire week's visit to the museum alone, and...
11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019, USA
The Museum of Modern Art, one of the city's—and the country's—premier institutions for modern and contemporary art, first opened its doors in 1939. Its permanent collection of almost 200,000 works includes masterpieces by many of the...
99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014, USA
For most of its history, the Whitney Museum, originally founded by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1931, was located on New York's Upper East Side, in the building that now houses the Met Breuer. In 2015, it reopened in a new, larger space designed...
1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128, USA
The Guggenheim Museum is a work of art in itself. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the building's iconic curved facade stands out on the orderly row of edifices lining its stretch of Fifth Avenue. Completed near the end of Wright's career (it...
1 E 70th St, New York, NY 10021, USA
The phrase "jewel box" may be overused when referring to exquisite galleries and museums, but there's no better way to describe the Frick Collection, at 70th Street and Fifth Avenue. The early-20th-century neoclassical mansion facing Central Park,...
2 E 91st St, New York, NY 10128, USA
While this New York institution has been around in one form or another since the end of the 19th century, it has a long and complicated history. It originally began as part of Cooper Union, a college in downtown Manhattan, but was later...
103 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002, USA
These days, wandering the Lower East Side (the area between the Bowery and the East River, with Houston Street marking its northern border and Canal Street its southern one), it can feel impossible to recall that this neighborhood was once among...
180 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007, USA
The morning of September 11, 2001—when two hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, and two others, also hijacked, crashed into the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania—is one of those moments for which everyone who was...
235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002, USA
New York's New Museum dates from 1977, but for the first 30 years of its existence it was an itinerant institution, moving between different leased buildings. In 2007, it finally found a permanent home—a 58,700-square-foot structure on the...
New York, NY, USA
Manhattan can, famously, feel like endless rows of apartment blocks and office towers for most of its length. At least above 14th Street, a regular grid of streets and avenues, bisected only by Broadway, has transformed the city into a dream for...
210 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011, USA
For much of its history, the western edges of Manhattan neighborhoods like the West Village and Chelsea consisted of small manufacturing buildings and warehouses that served the piers on the Hudson River. Over time, those factories were replaced...
610 5th Ave, New York, NY 10020, USA
New York has no shortage of places where you can spend your money, but one of the most famous strips of retail fantasies runs along Fifth Avenue, starting at Saks Fifth Avenue at 48th Street (across the street is the southern end of Rockefeller...
201 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10003, USA
At the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway, Union Square has a long history—back to at least 1845—as a gathering spot for locals. New York is too large to have one main plaza, but Union Square would make any list of New York's...
New York, NY, USA
The Statue of Liberty may be the most iconic sight that comes to mind when one thinks of the history of immigrants in New York, but not far from it in the harbor is another important landmark—Ellis Island. Until the Supreme Court ruled in...
Governors Island, New York, NY 11231, USA
Located in the middle of New York harbor, less than half a mile from Manhattan (and even closer to Brooklyn), 172-acre Governors Island feels like a world unto itself, far from the bustling city. It has played a key role in the defense of New York...
22 Cortlandt St, New York, NY 10007, USA
Located in Lower Manhattan, across from the World Trade Center site, the Century 21 flagship store is a must-shop for bargain hunters. (There are also locations in downtown Brooklyn and on the Upper West Side, at Broadway and 66th Street.)...
550 Broadway, New York, NY 10012, USA
If Fifth Avenue in Midtown is New York's primary higher-end retail strip, with Saks Fifth Avenue, Henri Bendel, and Bergdorf Goodman as its anchors, the SoHo section of Broadway (between Houston and Canal) is its less glamorous sister, crowded...
75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011, USA
Between 15th and 16th streets on Ninth Avenue in Chelsea, the Chelsea Market is a food court with New York attitude. Its restaurants and shops sell Australian meat pies, banh mi, and lobster rolls. These are no fast-food chains—this is a...
828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003, USA
If you are a fan of the old-fashioned brick-and-mortar bookstore, then you'll be in heaven at the Strand, on Broadway at 12th Street. The store boasts that it has 2.5 million books, or 18 miles of them. While we aren't sure how they measured books...
New York, NY 10012, USA
Washington Square Park is only a fraction of the size of Central Park, but it is as almost as much of an icon of New York as its much larger counterpart uptown. It's likely because it sits in the heart of Greenwich Village, and has thus served as...
476 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018, USA
The main branch of the New York Public Library is one of the country’s grandest Beaux Arts buildings, a temple to learning on Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd streets. At the end of the 19th century, John Bigelow, who oversaw the Tilden...
Central Park West & 79th St, New York, NY 10024, USA
Located on the Upper West Side, at 79th Street and Central Park West, the American Museum of Natural History is one of the world's largest museums. It has 45 different halls, occupies more than 2 million square feet, and has some 33 million...
45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111, USA
Rockefeller Center was one of the great construction projects of the Great Depression, a complex of 14 buildings between Fifth and Sixth avenues and 48th and 51st streets built over the 1930s. It's also one of America's grandest examples of Art...
334 Furman St, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
Completed in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge is an engineering wonder and an architectural one as well, a masterpiece of design that has inspired acclaimed poets (Hart Crane, Marianne Moore), writers (Jack Kerouac), and painters (Joseph Stella). While...
Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
Of the various abbreviations for different neighborhoods in New York, DUMBO wins the prize for cutest: It stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. It is a little off the beaten path, though you may find yourself here if you have...
254 Hicks St, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
One of New York's loveliest historic districts, Brooklyn Heights sits along the East River to the south of the Brooklyn Bridge. Its streets are lined with beautifully preserved and restored 19th-century town houses while a promenade along its...
1000 Surf Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11224, USA
First, Brooklyn's Coney Island is not, in fact, an island, having been attached to the rest of the borough by landfill since the 1920s. What the area is best known for, however, is its heyday from around the 1880s through World War II when it...
36-01 35th Ave, Astoria, NY 11106, USA
Between 1920 and 1933, some of the most successful films of the early 20th century were shot at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens, including The Sheik, starring Rudolph Valentino; several Marx Brothers movies; and the first Sherlock Holmes...
22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101, USA
This contemporary-art center dates back to 1971 and has been at its current location, a renovated Romanesque-revival public school in Long Island City, since 1976. In 2000, it merged with the Museum of Modern Art. The Queens facility offered room...
9-01 33rd Rd, Queens, NY 11106, USA
The Noguchi Museum is one of New York's most surprising museums, a serene, contemplative space in a once-industrial section of Queens. It's a fitting tribute to one of 20th-century art's most unusual figures. Isamu Noguchi was born in Los Angeles...
2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY 10458, USA
With more than 250 acres of grounds, the New York Botanical Garden manages to fit a number of different landscapes and experiences into its garden walls. The garden was established in 1891, the inspiration of Nathaniel Lord Britton and his wife,...
200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11238, USA
When plans for the Brooklyn Museum's building on Eastern Parkway were conceived in 1890, the borough was still its own city; it wasn't until 1898 that the five boroughs would be united into the New York City we know today. Brooklyn's leading...
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