Whether this is your first time planning a trip to NYC or you’re making your way back for another visit, putting together the perfect itinerary can feel totally overwhelming. Although we live in Brooklyn (and spent many years in Manhattan), even I can get inundated by what’s going on in the city.
There’s always something new happening in New York and it really can be hard to know what’s worth checking out. However, NYC is the ideal spot for a girls trip, couples getaway, or even a family vacation. There’s truly something for everyone to enjoy.
Because there are so many activities, restaurants, bars, and museums to scope out, it makes it hard to pick and choose what to actually do. That’s where this master list comes in!
With some help from my followers, I’ve outlined the best things to do in New York City. I’ve included some of my go-to’s along with some of my favorite restaurants and bars in NYC.
The Best Things to Do in New York City
1. Walk the High Line, a 1.5-mile elevated walkway in Chelsea.
2. Go on the Hudson River Cruise to see the Statue of Liberty up close and hear facts about New York City.
3. Do some shopping or grab brunch in Soho.
4. Visit the shops and restaurants at Chelsea Market.
5. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge for some of the best city views.
6. Visit the Met Cloisters, an underrated museum that’s totally worth seeing.
7. Check out Prospect Park in Brooklyn, which has really nice biking and walking paths.
8. Attend a Broadway show—tourists and locals love Broadway!
9. Head to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to see some of the most beautiful greenery and florals up close.
10. Bike along the Hudson or East River. If you come from uptown you can bike to Battery Park and enjoy a cocktail by the water.
11. Take the ferry from Manhattan to Brooklyn.
12. Get tickets to the Greenwich Village Food Tour.
13. Watch a show at the Comedy Cellar—you’ll never laugh harder.
14. Walk along Stone Street (one of the oldest streets in New York).
15. Go on the New York Architecture Boat Tour.
16. Get tickets to Drunk Shakespeare.
17. Have a picnic in Sheep’s Meadow (a huge, grassy spot in Central Park with amazing views).
18. Visit the One World Trade Center Memorial and Museum (but be ready for tears).
19. Go to Governors Island, a 172-acre island that’s just a quick ferry ride from Manhattan. They host concerts there in the summer, have insanely nice bike paths, and an Instagram-worthy hammock grove.
20. Go to a Yankees or Mets game (even if it’s just for a cold beer and the experience).
21. Check out the Restoration Hardware store in Chelsea. It has a gorgeous restaurant and rooftop bar!
22. Visit Coney Island.
23. Check out the Whitney Museum of American Art.
24. Go to The Slipper Room, where theater, comedy, magic, and dancing all come to life. One follower said that it “feels like an iconic old New York experience.”
25. Take a tour of Ellis Island.
26. Go to Pebble Beach (located in DUMBO) for a sunset picnic or walk.
27. Spend an afternoon at Smorgasburg and you’ll be able to try dozens of different local food vendors.
Where to Eat and Drink in New York City
28. Katz’s Deli is a classic New York eatery. The menu features a variety of meats, sandwiches, soups, and bagels.
29. Prince Street Pizza usually has a line but it is sooooo worth the wait.
30. Drunken Dumpling is the place to go for quirky and colorful soup dumplings.
31. Maison Premiere is an oyster bar and cafe that serves up a delicious lobster roll.
32. Le CouCou at 11 Howard is a must.
33. Levain Bakery sells cookies that will truly make your mouth water. SO good.
34. Carbone—high end Italian food that’s worth the price.
35. Milk Bar Cookies is another go-to for your late night sweet tooth cravings.
36. Ess-a-Bagel—a hot spot for the best NY bagels!
37. Grand Banks is an oyster bar on the water. Climb aboard a historic boat and enjoy nautically inspired cocktails and eats from a full brunch, lunch, or dinner menu.
38. Dante is a popular spot for cocktails.
39. Tavern on the Green in Central Park—an awesome place to sit outside during the warmer months.
40. Beauty and Essex is a must for a late night drink.
41. Rosie’s has a good variety of Mexican food, killer margaritas, and the best churros.
42. The Butcher’s Daughter is a classic (and very Instagrammable) spot for brunch.
43. Bathtub Gin is a fun speakeasy.
44. The Blind Barber is another one of the most unique speakeasy’s in the city. You walk through what’s a barber shop during the day to get to the bar at night!
45. Maman has an amazing brunch and coffee selection.
46. Drinks at Bar 65—you get all the views of Top of the Rock with the added benefit of a bar.
47. The Champagne Bar at The Plaza offers up a quintessential NYC experience.
48. Bar Pisellino—I like this spot for pre-dinner drinks.
49. Indochine, my all-time favorite “girls night out” restaurants.
50. Blue Note is a fab jazz bar if you’re looking for something low key.
51. The Happiest Hour is a fun bar to head to with girlfriends.
52. Mr. Purple is a rooftop bar with superb city views and a pool.
53. Pietro Nolita—an Italian restaurant with a photo worthy atmosphere.
54. Jack’s Wife Freda has an impressive brunch spread.
55. Serra by Birreria—located in Eataly.
56. Black Tap is known for their giant and uniquely flavored milkshakes.
57. Get the prime rib sandwich and the burger at Au Cheval down Cortland Alley.
58. Soup dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai are a NYC rite of passage.
59. Lil’ Frankie’s serves delicious pancakes and waffles for brunch.
60. Bemelman’s Bar has amazing cocktails and the atmosphere is to die for. It’s located inside The Carlyle hotel on the Upper East Side and is incredibly special.