best things to do in Manhattan New York

What to see in Manhattan on a first trip? Looking at the map of the Big Apple, surely you will have a thousand questions: what is the essential? Where are the most typical places?

Don’t worry : we have lived here for years and, so that you can position yourself and enjoy your adventure from the first minute, we have created this list with the 10 best things to do in Manhattan on a first visit.

Is it your first time in Manhattan ? In this article we are going to tell you what are the top 10 things you have to see and do in Manhattan. It is possibly the most famous city in the world, a place that every travel lover dreams of visiting at least once in their life.

New York is made up of five various neighborhoods: Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx.

But most of the most iconic attractions and places can be visited on the island of Manhattan. One of our dreams was to walk through the streets of the Big Apple, surrounded by skyscrapers and visiting in the first person those places that we had seen so many times in American movies and series. And we have finally fulfilled it.

What to See and Best Things to Do in Manhattan


New York, and especially Manhattan, needs no introduction. There is little about this great city in the United States that has not been said already, so in this article we limit ourselves to telling you which are the essential visits to do in Manhattan in a week , if it is your first time in the city.

1. Climb the Empire State

panoramic view of Manhattan

The Empire State Building is one of the icons of the city and possibly the most famous skyscraper in the world . It is an essential visit to do in Manhattan, whose entrance is included in most of the tourist cards of New York . We were lucky and we hardly waited in line to get in, but as you can imagine, going up to the Empire State Building is one of the most popular activities in the city.

The busiest time is at sunset. From our experience, we recommend visiting the Rockefeller Center terrace first thing in the morning and the Empire State Observatory at sunset. As the sun goes down, the skyscrapers begin to light up and the panoramic view of Manhattan makes up for any queue or wait to enter . The spectacular views from the Empire State’s terrace will remain in your mind forever.


2. Taking a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

It is one of our favorite places in New York. This iron bridge connects the island of Manhattan with the district of Brooklyn and from it you can enjoy some of the most spectacular views of the city. Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the must-do things to do in Manhattan.

We decided to get up early and go by subway, with the first rays of sun, to Brooklyn, to be able to take the typical photos in DUMBO and surroundings without anyone bothering us.  And it was a success, because we were able to spend a pleasant and quiet time on the banks of the Hudson, a perfect place to see Manhattan and its spectacular skyline. Later, we return to Manhattan crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on foot, one of the walks we have enjoyed the most in our lives.


3. St. Patrick’s Cathedral – Manhattan, NY 10126

St. Patrick's Cathedral new york

Very close to Rockefeller Center, and hidden among the skyscrapers of Fifth Avenue, is one of the most spectacular buildings that can be seen in Manhattan : The Gothic St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Its two towers of more than 100 meters high and its exterior built in white marble contrasts, in a harmonious way and I would say almost perfect, with the modern constructions around it.

Admission, which is free, is a must-do on any trip to Manhattan. St Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the largest religious temples in North America.


4. Wall Street Tour – Wall Street Walks

Wall-Street manhattan

Located in the south of the island we find one of the best known streets in New York : Wall Street.

It gives its name to the financial district and is home to several of the oldest buildings that can be seen in Manhattan. In this neighborhood is the La Bolsa building , Federal Hall , which was the first city hall of the city and where George Washington was named president of the United States, and the bronze sculpture of a Bull (The Charging Bull) , one of the most photographed places in the city.

Very close to Wall Street there are other highly recommended visits to do in Manhattan, such as the 9/11 Memorial , the famous Century 21 outlet , the modern shopping centerOculus , designed by Calatrava, and the pretty Battery Park.


5. Grand Central Terminal Park Avenue New York

Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal is the most important train station to see in Manhattan

Grand Central Terminal is one of the largest terminal in the world, with 44 platforms and more than half a million passengers daily.

But not only passengers visit this station, hundreds of tourists come to it daily, attracted by the huge astronomical map designed on the ceiling of the main hall and its large central clock.

It was inaugurated in the 19th century and today it is one of the jewels of the city, an architectural marvel that you cannot miss on your visit to Manhattan.


6. Chelsea Market, a must-see place in New York

The Chelsea Market

We loved this place.

The Chelsea Market is one of the fashionable corners to visit in Manhattan.

Full of shops, bars and restaurants. Within its brick walls it housed an old cookie factory, inaugurated no less than in 1890. For a few years, this old factory has been given a new life, making it a perfect plan to do in Manhattan on a rainy day. On the upper floors it houses the offices of such well-known technology companies as Google and YouTube.


7. High line park

high line park

Very close to Chelsea Market is the High Line Park . It is one of the new parks that can be seen in Manhattan, although that if, different from all the others. It is an elevated park, built on an old train track, that runs through the Chelsea and Meatpacking neighborhoods.

It is more than 2 kilometers long and has become one of the most popular attractions in New York, a different and highly recommended place to visit in Manhattan. As it is an elevated park, its route offers fantastic views of the neighborhoods and areas it passes through.


8. Visiting New York’s Central Park : Top Attractions in Manhattan

Central Park

Known as the lung of New York , Central Park is much more than just one park. It is one of the symbols of the city, an essential place to see in Manhattan and, possibly, the most famous park in the world . It is located in Uptown and you will need a whole day to explore its more than 340 hectares.

In our guide to Central Park we tell you everything you can see and do in the park.

Boat trips, romantic corners, monuments, breathtaking views, long walks, outdoor sports, a tour of its famous statues, visit a castle, ride a bike, ice skating, having a picnic and many other things. Central Park is one of the essential places to visit on any trip to Manhattan.


9. Madison Square and Madison Square Park

Madison square park

This small park is one of the corners that, although we did not have written down in our travel itinerary, we enjoyed the most in New York. It is located on Fifth Avenue, next to the popular Flatiron Building.

It has an area with small tables and chairs where in the afternoon, when we got tired of sightseeing, we would sit down to eat an ice cream (next to the park is the popular Cha Cha Matcha ) or have a coffee, enjoying the good weather.

In New York during the summer. At this time, Madison Square Park hosts many events, exhibitions and shows of all kinds. In addition, in the middle of the park there is a Shake Shack kiosk, one of the most popular (and delicious) hamburger chains in the world. This small park is a highly recommended visit to do in Manhattan, if only to give you a break from so much tourism in the city.


10. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET)

Located on the east side of Central Park, the MET is one of the most important and visited museums in the world.

It has a fantastic collection of American, Egyptian, Greek and Roman art, as well as modern art and with numerous temporary exhibitions. Its most outstanding rooms are those dedicated to Ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire.

The MET is one of the must see places on a trip to Manhattan , for many the most important museum in the United States. Do you want some advice? Go up to its roof. From there you will have fantastic views of Central Park and the skyscrapers that surround it.

So far the Top 20 of the best things to do in Manhattan!

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