5 biggest tourist attractions in New York

So you are planning a trip New York and wondering what places to visit? Many people prefer to stay on the beaten path, or visit the most popular attractions. It’s not a bad idea – oftentimes, these sites as defining for a city and they have gained that status with a good reason. For instance, one couldn’t imagine going to Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower. So let’s see what the main tourist attractions in New York are and what makes them so popular among crowds gathering from every corner of the world:

  1. The Empire State Building experience

This skyscraper located in Midtown, Manhattan, is an American cultural icon and is also known for holding the record for the tallest building in the world for almost four decades, until the early 70s when the World Trade Center Twin Towers surpassed it. Empire State Building is in the distinctive Art Deco style and it attracts tourists mainly with its observation deck, providing an amazing view. Many tourists say that the view at sunset is the best, but Empire State Building offers an excellent experience at any time of the day – the most appreciated aspects among visitors seem to be the friendly staff, the interesting exhibit, and the beautiful interior.

empire state building

  1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

More often referred to as “the Met”, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the United States. There are almost 5,000 years of art from all over the world included in this museum and over two million art works divided among seventeen curatorial departments. Items in the permanent collection include art from the classical antiquity and ancient Egypt, paintings and sculptures belonging to European masters, and a wide range of American and modern art. It is one of the oldest museums in the United States, and it opened on February 20, 1872, with its original location at 681 Fifth Avenue. Tourists are mostly impressed with paintings belonging to the most famous painters in the world, with the real Egyptian temple, with the antique treasures from all over the world, and the large gift shop, where you can find a wide range of items to bring home or offer to friends.

metropolitan museum of art

  1. The American Museum of Natural History

New York has checked one more item on the list of the largest museums in the world with the American Museum of Natural History (ANMH), located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Just like the previous museum, ANMH requires a lot of time to make an extensive visit, and nobody can probably say they have seen all of the 33 million specimens. Exhibits include plants, fossils, minerals, rocks, meteorites, human remains, and cultural artifacts in such as large number that just a small fraction can be displayed at any given time. The museum complex includes 28 interconnected buildings which host 45 permanent exhibition halls, a planetarium, and a library. The museum’s mission statement is “To discover, interpret, and disseminate—through scientific research and education—knowledge about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe.” People who have visited AMNH say there is so much to see there and were impressed by the way animals are set up to appear in their natural habitats. The main attractions are the dinosaur exhibit, the mummy exhibit, and the Dark Universe section.

american museum of natural history

  1. The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is one of the symbols of New York and a gift from France to the people of the United States. It was dedicated on October 28, 1886, and it has undergone several restoration periods, in 1938, between 1984 and 1986, and between 2011 and 2012. The Statue of Liberty is being maintained by the National Park Service since 1933. Until 1916, the public used to have access to the balcony around the torch, but this was banned for safety reasons. The idea for the Statue of Liberty was first proposed by Édouard René de Laboulaye, the president of the French Anti-Slavery Society, who first mentioned it in a conversation with sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi in 1865. The statue was built in France and shipped to the United States in crates, and then assembled on a pedestal on what was called at that time Bedloe’s Island. The magnificent statue was for a long time a welcome sign for immigrants who arrived to the United States on boats.

statue of liberty

  1. The 9/11 Memorial & Museum

The tragic events on September 11, 2001, have unfortunately become a part of New York’s identity. The 2,997 victims killed in the 9/11 attacks and the six who died at the World Trade Center bombing of 1993 are commemorated at the memorial located at the World Trade Center site, the place where the Twin Towers used to stand before being destroyed by the two planes flown into them by terrorists. The idea of the memorial was proposed in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, and several architects have competed against each other for this project. The winner was Israeli architect Michael Arad from Handel Architects, a New York- and San Francisco-based firm. Construction began in August 2006, and the site was open on September 11, 2011, with a dedication ceremony commemorating the tenth anniversary of the attacks. More than one million people visited the memorial in the first three months after its opening. In 2012, private tours hosted by family members of victims, survivors, and first responders were provided. The museum is operated by a non-profit corporation whose mission is to raise funds for the program and for the operation of the complex at the World Trade Center site. The names of the 2,983 victims from both attacks are inscribed on 76 bronze plates found on the parapets of the walls of the memorial pools. The names are arranged according to an algorithm, based on relationships, proximity at the time of the attacks, and organization affiliations.

9/11 memorial

These five attractions are representative for New York and give account of its past and present. If you are planning a short visit there, these are the most recommended sites – we advise you to allocate between several hours to an entire day for each item on our list.