New York Travel USA

Iconic Places You Must Visit in New York City

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Written by Edith & Juan

New York holds a special place in my heart.  I can’t even explain what it is that captivates me about it and why!  But somehow New York managed to steal my heart since the very first time I was there.  Everything about it keeps you coming back.  Despite the dirty and busy feel of the city, it has a charm that I don’t usually find in big cities.

When visiting new places, I like to try off the beaten path places and then recommend them.  But New York City isn’t New York City without a visit to those iconic places that make it the Great Apple.  New York City is the city where visiting the touristy places is perfectly fine.  Visiting the top attractions are a must to fully understand why people love this city so much.

Here are some touristy and iconic place you must visit in New York City!

Times Square

You’ve seen these lights on t.v. for New Year’s Eve, you’ve seen it in the movies, and you’ve probably considered receiving a New Year here some day.  This iconic area captures the energy of the city, the one that never sleeps.  With its beautiful bright lights, the numerous stores and restaurants, and the massive amounts of people, Times Square should be seen both in the day and night-time.  In fact, this is a perfect hangout despite the crowds.  But if you prefer less crowds, past midnight is a good time! Just around the corner, you can catch a Broadway show.

places you must visit in New York City

Central Park

It’s quite hard to separate New York from the movie images that play in my head, especially when it comes to Central Park.  This is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city where one can escape to relax in nature.  It is also the place to ride a bike, go for a jog, visit museums, practice photography, fall asleep, catch a free concert, or go on a carriage ride.   For me, this is perhaps one of the best places to go in the city.  It has it all!

places you must visit in New York City

places you must visit in New York City

Statue of Liberty

Considered a national symbol that stands for freedom, I can say it quite feels special to visit the Statue of Liberty.  Lady Liberty is located on Liberty Island and is only a short ride away from the city.   It can be experienced by riding the free State Island Ferry but without a stop on the island, or through tours that stops at both Liberty Island and Ellis Island.  Ellis island is where they have a museum focusing on those who immigrated into the country.  It’s an interesting stop.

places you must visit in New York City

Empire State Building and/or Top of the Rock

I’ll say this, if you can visit both, I highly recommend you do!  Each building is extremely awesome.  Though the Empire State Building is the most famous one, my favorite is Top of the Rock because of the view and that openness.  I also loved how you could see the Empire State building from here.  However, I also loved the night view of the city from the top of the Empire State Building.  And let me not forget to mention how being at the top of the Empire State Building just kept reminding me of King Kong.

places you must visit in New York City

View from Empire State Building

places you must visit in New York City

View from Top of the Rock

National September  11 Memorial & Museum & Ground Zero

I’ve had the chance to visit Ground Zero three times during different stages of construction following the events of September 11th.  Each time I saw the One World Trade center a few stories higher.  On my final visit, I finally saw the memorial fully built.  All three times were special because it brought history to life.  Those images I once saw glued to my t.v as I sat in sadness came back alive at Ground Zero, but they taught me so much about appreciating those I love.

places you must visit in New York City

Grand Central Terminal

Okay, I don’t really consider myself a movie person but I have to say this is another place that brings movie memories come to life.  You know all those cheesy romantic chick flicks where the main characters find each other at Grand Central Terminal? They will come to mind.  Trust me.  Perhaps it’s time I take Juan to join me so we can recreate our own cheesy romantic story here.  On another note, this is such a great place to experience life underground and the city hustle.

places you must visit in New York City

Subway Ride

Since we’re on the topic of underground life, New York City should not be done without experiencing a subway ride.  Yes, I know this is not technically a place to visit, but it seriously feels like it is.  Some terminals have shopping, others have performers, and others are just plain busy and show what New York City life is really like.

places you must visit in New York City


I’m not the biggest fan of museums but somehow I always end up visiting and enjoying them.  However, despite my low enthusiasm for museums, New York City has quite a few that are worthy of a visit.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum, American Museum of Natural History, and the Museum of Modern Art are just a few of the ones I got to visit and loved.  It’s a New York thing you must do!

places you must visit in New York City

Brooklyn Bridge

An icon and a National Historic Landmark, the Brooklyn Bridge is famous for its design.  A walk or a bike ride are a  perfect way to experience the bridge.  Not only do you get to walk on this iconic bridge, you also get an amazing view of the skyline.

places you must visit in New York City

If I were to take someone to New York, these would be the top places I’d take them to see.  However, New York has an endless amount of things to do and I still have so many more on my list.  What are your favorite things to do in New York?  What are your favorite touristy things to do in the city?

Head over to our Instagram for more pictures of the places we visit!

About the author

Edith & Juan

From Arizona but currently traveling through Asia living only from a backpack each. Edith and her husband Juan created Life Beyond 520 to share inspiration from their travels and adventures beyond Arizona-the 520 area code. Edith is the blogger behind these posts, but together they hope to inspire couples and others to get out there and explore new places, including their own city.


  • You are right! New York would not be New York without these iconic places. During my last visit, I didn’t go to Central Park or the Grand Central Terminal. Those are two places I need to revisit. Plus, I have never been to the Statue of Liberty. I need to do that one for sure! #WeekendWanderlust

  • Also love New York! The highlght of my time was catching the free Staten Island Ferry – I caught it over and then stayed on to come back, mainly just because of the epic views of the Statue of Liberty and the Skyline 🙂

  • There are so so many iconic places and attractions in Manhattan, New York and every pick has been featured in so many Hollywood Blockbusters, TV Show, important social events and intenational functions. For those who ever visit New York must not miss all of those! @ knycx.journeying

  • All these places seem so real, even though we have never been to New York. They figure so much in books, movies, and television, that it feels we have seen them up close. But visiting them in reality, is undoubtedly a totally different experience. Hope to get to New York some day to visit these iconic sites.

  • I loved NY – and I’m so pleased I’ve done (almost) everything on your list! I chose the Empire State building over Top of the Rock so I need to go back to that – and I missed the Brooklyn Bridge! I still can’t believe I did that!

  • Great round of the must-see places in NYC, which is not easy because there are so many! It’s actually a budget-friendly destination too as many of the museums (including the 9/11 one) have free or discount or pay what you want days, and the best thing to do is just walk around, and oh the High Line too 🙂

    • I agree, it’s not as expensive as many may think. We did New York with the New York Pass and got to see all the museums, tourist destinations, tours, and so much more with it and saved so much. Still need to go to the High Line.

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