For those who have a bucket list, or are thinking about one, New York City is a place where you can check off many great experiences and add some new adventures. With thousands of places to eat, see, and be entertained, the list could be endless. Below are some popular "must see" attractions in the Big Apple. Add your own New York bucket list “musts” in the comments section.
Enjoy New York City views by boat
See the skyline of the largest city in the United States. Take a water tour around the island and marvel at the spectacular architecture and size of the city. In less than 90 minutes you can identify famous landmarks throughout the city, from the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the skyline dominating One World Trade Center. I found the New York Water Taxi ideal for getting a big picture view of the major parts of the city from the river before venturing inland. The all day access pass is a hop-on / hop-off water tour with five stops around the city. This is a convenient way to see mid-town, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Greenwich Village, the financial district, and parts of Brooklyn. The tour, without disembarking, is 90 minutes; however, boats dock every 45 minutes at one of the five stops. Circle Line Sightseeing offers cruises around part or the entire island, non-stop, returning to the same pier. Both the New York Water Taxi and Circle Line Sightseeing offer night cruises for a city lights tour.
See a Broadway Musical
Take in a Broadway musical. With over 40 theaters nestled in what is called the theater district, that portion of Manhattan located between 41st and 53rd Street and between Sixth and Ninth Avenues, there is never a shortage of excellent entertainment. Many people line up at TKTS Discount Booths for up to half off the cost of Broadway musicals, plays and dance productions, at one of three sites around the city. The most popular site is located in Times Square.The two other locations are South Street Seaport and Downtown Brooklyn.
Climb the Statue of Liberty
Tour the Statue of Liberty. Officially "The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World" has graced the harbor of New York since 1886 and has become the iconic symbol of freedom around the world. You can only get onto the island from New York's Battery Park or Liberty State Park in New Jersey on the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Ferry system. Advanced ticket reservations are recommended. You may now tour the museum, pedestal and crown. Over the years access has occasionally been restricted, so now is a perfect time to climb inside the statue and look out the crown at the New York City skyline. The tour stops at Ellis Island where you may tour the museum which was once the first stop in America for over 12 million immigrants.
Visit the 9/11 Memorial
Visit the 9/11 Memorial. Open daily the memorial consists of two thirty-foot waterfalls pouring into pools set in the footprints of the original Twin Towers. These are the largest constructed waterfalls in North America and are surrounded by a wall that has the names of the victims of September 11th inscribed around the top. The memorial's mission is to "Remember and honor the thousands of innocent men, women and children murdered by terrorists in the horrific attacks of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001." Towering above the memorial is America's tallest building at 1,776 feet. Also on site is the 9/11 Memorial Museum which tells the story of what happened on 9/11 at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Flight 93, as well as the people killed in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Tickets and reservations are required for the museum, but not for the memorial.
Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. With the Museum's two-million-square-foot building housing over two million objects, of which tens of thousands are on view at any given time, you could spend your entire vacation at the museum and not take it all in. On a recent trip, my wife and I identified two exhibits we wanted to see and tried not to get distracted on the way to these locations. We failed and ended up spending more time looking at historical statues . Even the architecture of the building is magnificent. An amazing and overwhelming experience. Plan what you want to see before you go or you may experience sensory overload.
Tour the Empire State Building
Travel to the top of the iconic Empire State Building. There are observatories on the 86th and 102nd floor with unmatched views of New York City. On a clear day, visitors can see New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Delaware. From a glass-enclosed pavilion, 1,050 feet above the city’s crowded streets, the 86th floor Observatory offers panoramic views of the city. At 1,250 feet the open-air promenade is on the 102nd floor. Observatories are open from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. The last elevators go up at 1:15 a.m. Tickets for both the main deck and top deck are $46 for adults. If you are taking in multiple tours of New York consider the NY CityPASS that will save you up to 40% on multiple exhibits and tours.
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge. Seen in movies such as The Dark Night Rises, I am Legend, Annie Hall, and Gangs of New York, the Brooklyn Bridge is an engineering marvel. Opened in 1883, originally for horse drawn carriages and pedestrians, the bridge has evolved into an iconic piece of New York history. For the best view, I recommend walking from Brooklyn to Manhattan so you can enjoy the beautiful Manhattan skyline. Bike traffic shares the elevated walkway which travels above the centerline of the bridge.
See The Starry Night at MOMA.
The Museum of Modern Art houses some of the world's great masterpieces, from Picasso to Monet and Van Gogh. Walking through the museum was like seeing my high school and college art books come to life. Here I was able to see original canvases of Vincent Van Gogh's much parodied, The Starry Night, Matisse's Dance, and one of my favorites, Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World.
Walk in Central Park
Take a walk in Central Park. A great get away only steps from the hustle and bustle of a city with over eight million people. The 843 acre park is full of wonderful surprises, from the architecture of bridges and buildings to street performers, musicians, artists, and vocalists who populate the park. The meandering walkways and statuary along our shaded journey provided a nice break from the city.