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New York City Bucket List (2024)

New York City Bucket List (2024)

This New York City bucket list includes all the best places to visit in NYC as well as where to eat and some more unique things to do in New York City.

New York City is one of the most visited places in the world and for good reason. It should be on your USA bucketlist and is at the top of many, many travel lists.

While there are some landmarks that are well-known to everyone who has some basic knowledge of the city, there are also some hidden gems that only those who have visited NY a couple of times are aware of.

If you have New York on your travel bucket list in 2024, here are some of the landmarks that you shouldn’t miss from your itinerary.

New York City Bucket List

Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

One of the most famous landmarks in NYC is the Statue of Liberty. Given to the US as a gift from France in 1886, the statue greeted millions of immigrants in the late 19th century through to the early 20th century. 

There are various ways that you can see the iconic landmark. We recommend taking the Liberty cruise to the island itself and book tickets in advance to head up to the crown of the Statue of Liberty.

After a visit to the statue, you can also jump back on the cruise boat to visit Ellis Island; an immigrant inspect station which processed new immigrants to the country between 1905 to 1954. 

Alternatively, you can catch a harbor cruise to see the Statue of Liberty from the waters, but either way, this is one of the best things to do in New York City.

Buying Broadway tickets

Broadway 

You cannot come to New York without seeing at least one show on Broadway. There’s a wide range of shows, from comedies to dramas, and well-known classics like Moulin Rouge, Sweeney Todd or Wicked to newer additions like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Just make sure to buy your tickets quickly to make sure your spot is secure since Broadway is hugely popular with the locals but there are many ways you can buy Broadway tickets either in advance or on the day of the performance.

Central Park

Central Park

Another New York City Bucket List must see is Central Park. Take a stroll through the beautiful park, escaping the busy streets of the city. This is gorgeous no matter which seasons in NYC you visit in.

This is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world and is also one of the most filmed locations in the world. Fun Facts; when Calum and I visited the park in 2011, we happened to see the Avengers Assemble movie being filmed in the park. We didn’t even realize a movie was being made until we watched the movie the following year! 

Wander through the part and see the points of interest like Belvedere Castle, Central Park Zoo, Strawberry Fields and the famous Loeb Boathouse. 

The Empire State Building

The Empire State Building

Located in Midtown Manhattan, the Empire was once the tallest building in the world (until the World Trade Center took over it in 1970). 

Constructed in 1931, the building has been featured in numerous movies and is an iconic landmark in NYC. 

Visitors can head to the two observation decks; the 86th floor being an outdoor deck and the 102nd floor being an indoor deck. All tickets include the lower deck but the higher deck is an extra fee.

We recommend enjoying this New York City bucket list attraction during the day, then heading to the next bucket list item in the evening. Even if you have just 2 days in New York City, then the Empire State Building has to be on your list.

Top of the Rock

Rockefeller Center & Top of the Rock

Also located in Midtown Manhattan, the Rockefeller Center is a complex of 19 buildings commissioned by the Rockefeller family. Top of the rock is an observation deck located here, which offers spectacular views of Central Park and Midtown Manhattan. 

If you are enjoying a Midtown Manhattan walking tour, you will find yourself passing plenty of the architecture within the complex.

Often, it is recommended you visit this deck over the Empire State Building because your photographs can include the iconic building but personally, nothing beats the historic Empire State Building during your NYC trip.

This is also a popular area to stay in NYC, so have a look at the hotel options in Midtown before booking your trip.

Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art

At 11 W 53rd St, there’s the MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art established in 1929. The museum’s collection is ever-expanding and currently approaches nearly 200,000 works of art spanning roughly 150 years.

Sculptures, painting, photography, media, film, design and printmaking are a few of the visual expression mediums you can see at the MoMA. Check this website to ensure perfect and reliable connectivity no matter where you are so that you can send pictures of the exhibits you see to your friends and family back home.

One Vanderbilt

One Vanderbilt 

The One Vanderbilt is a supertall building that is approximately 1,401 feet tall; one of the most impressive skyscrapers in New York City. Construction began in 2016, and was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The building had its official opening on September 14th, 2020.

The building was created as a way of providing visitors with an immersive, real-life art experience.

You can find rotating art installations created by Kenzo Digital inside, and the interior design was created by an Oslo-based design firm that aims to improve the sense of surroundings people have in indoor areas.

And, of course, you can also enjoy a unique dining experience with unique food and cocktails.

Little Island 

Little Island 

New York’s Little Island at Pier 55 is a relatively new attraction. It opened in May 2021 and can be visited throughout the year. The artificial park is situated west of Manhattan, on the Hudson River.

This green area with wide lawns, trees, shrubs and gardens offers a break from New York’s typical urban jungle environment.

If you plan to visit in the afternoon, you’ll need a special reservation. During the summer months, you can attend events in the Island’s amphitheaters and join the Savory Talks & Performances that take place every Monday at 6 pm to take part in a conversation regarding food sustainability.

Wildlife Conservation Society 

Wildlife Conservation Society 

Headquartered at the Bronx Zoo, the Wildlife Conservation Society spans nearly 270 acres and is the home of roughly 5,000 animals. All reside in habitats that are as close as possible to their natural environments.

If you plan on visiting this attraction, you must set aside a special day just for it, as it will take hours to get through all of it. If you want a more unique experience, you can pay an extra fee for the premium exhibits, like the feeding of the sea lions.

The zoo also gives you the opportunity to spend a night in the wild. If you’re over twenty-one, you can spend the night in a camping tent as part of a specially planned sleepover.

Flatiron Building 

Flatiron Building 

Originally known as the Fuller Building, this 22-story high building is the landmark of the district with the same name located in Manhattan.

When it was completed in 1902, it dwarfed the buildings around it. While now there are other higher structures around, the Flatiron remains an essential part of the history of The City.

Although the building mainly hosted offices, it was announced in October 2023 that it would be converted into a place for luxury housing.

Met Cloisters 

Met Cloisters 

It might seem out of place to come to New York to learn more about the Middle Ages, but that’s precisely what you can do by visiting the Met Cloisters in Upper Manhattan.

Also known as The Cloisters, the museum specializes in European medieval architecture and art, hosting 5,000 items such as wood and stone sculptures, illuminated manuscripts and tapestries.

The famous Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries, stained glass from the Rhine Valley, and several cloisters coming from French monasteries are the centerpieces of the museum.

Chinatown in NYC

Chinatown 

The Chinatown of Manhattan is a great place when you’re looking to soak up the local culture and hunt for some bargains at the same time.

It is home to the highest concentration of Chinese population in the Western Hemisphere, with a population of roughly 100,000 people, and is one of the nine neighborhoods of its kind in NYC.

Some of the best restaurants and eateries in New York City are located here, and you can find fare from every single Chinese province, plus Hong Kong, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Thai and Indonesian foods and shops.

Take a walk through Doyers Street, a place with a grisly historical reputation, but also the place of the first Chinese Opera House in the city.

You can also visit the Nom Wah Tea Parlor, the oldest continuously running restaurant in Chinatown that has been welcoming customers since 1920.

New York is one of the most incredible places in the world you could visit, and if you have a trip planned to the area, you should definitely try to find some of the lesser-known spots. That way, you know for sure that you can enjoy a unique trip.

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