Things to do in New York City
The Big Apple. The City that never sleeps! There are so many reasons why the world loves New York. Vinnie Van GO loves it too, and has made a guide for you of his favorite spots in America’s biggest and busiest city: NYC. This is one of the best cities in the world for food, museums, parks and theater among its world-class sights, entertainments and experiences. Besides the main tourist must-see spots in New York, Vinnie has some out-of-the-way places you have to visit while you’re in town.
Vinnie Van GO and the travel experts at The GO Group offer these suggestions for your next visit to New York City. Book a New York event shuttle to get to the iconic landmarks or tour the city.
Here are just a few of the annual events happening in New York! Book a GO shuttle to enjoy events without worrying about the road.
Street Fairs and Festivals
New York is a party all year long. Whether it is food, music, books, beer, film, arts or crafts, there’s always something to celebrate. Regardless of when you visit New York, you’ll find lots of opportunities to mix with locals at a street fair or festival. New Yorkled Magazine, which covers the city’s parks museums, sights and more, maintains a complete calendar of events. Check it out.
Museum Mile Festival
Once a year, on June 12th, the 23-block stretch along the Upper East Side’s Fifth Avenue that houses many of the world’s most iconic museums hosts New York’s biggest block party. Seven of the best museums in the world, including the Guggenheim, El Museo del Barrio, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Neue Galerie, the Museum of the City of New York, the Jewish Museum and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum participate annually, offering free admission and extended hours. The street is blocked off, hosting live music, face-painting, chalk-drawing and more.
Not in town for June? There are plenty of other nights during the year where NYC’s museums have free nights. Before planning your stay, check out The New York City Official Guide for the days and hours.
Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks & Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest
For the 4th of July, there’s no better place to celebrate than New York City. Early in the day, head down to Coney Island. This waterside amusement park is worth a trip any day of the year, but to see something truly spectacular, Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is an experience you’ll never forget. Be warned: the weather is hot and the crowds are big. Arrive early, wear comfortable clothes and lather on that sunscreen while you wait for the festivities to begin.
Times Square Ball Drop
Are you in town for New Years Eve? One of the most magical New Years countdown experiences takes place in Times Square. Join the throngs of people braving the cold for one of the biggest and most fun events of the year. There’s always a lineup of A-list performances and celebrity cameos to keep you occupied while you wait for the iconic ball to drop as you ring in the new year.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Gobble gobble! Vinnie Van GO thinks there’s no better place to spend your Thanksgiving than at one of the most famous parades in the world. The parade begins at 9 am, and proceeds from 77th street and Central Park West, down to the Macy’s in Herald Square. There’s no bad spot to watch along the parade route, but make sure you get there early to get yourself a good spot. If you can’t get to the parade early enough to be in front, don’t worry! You can see the parade floats and balloons from anywhere!
National Puerto Rican Day Parade
If you’re in New York for early June, the National Puerto Rican Day Parade is a must-see. This parade honors the nearly four million people of Puerto Rican descent that live in the United States. The parade route winds along Fifth Avenue, from 44th street to 86th street. This is the largest Puerto Rican cultural parade, and one of the biggest outdoor events in the states, attracting nearly two million spectators annually.
New York has some of the best sports teams and attracts the biggest entertainers, so it’s sure to have some of the biggest and best stadiums and arenas in the world.
Vinnie, who is an avid sports fan, reminds you that New York City is the biggest of the big leagues. Depending on the season you can watch the Rangers or Islanders play hockey; catch a Mets or Yankees baseball game, root for the Jets or Giants at a football game, or go courtside at a Nets or the Knicks basketball game. Don’t forget to book a sporting event shuttle to get to the game on time! Here are some of the best spots to catch a game:
For a Mets game:
123-01 Roosevelt Ave
Queens, NY 11368
Is basketball or hockey more your thing?
1 E 161st St
Bronx, NY 10451
For the Knicks or Rangers:
Madison Square Garden
4 Pennsylvania Plaza
New York, NY 10001
For the Brooklyn Nets or Islanders:
620 Atlantic Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217
For a tennis tournament:
Forest Hills Stadium
One Tennis Place
Forest Hills, Queens, NY 11375
If you’re hoping to catch a concert or performance in town, there are several stadiums and arenas that have A-list performances, including several listed above. If you’re in town for the summer months, Forest Hills Stadium has several concerts in this beautiful outdoor venue. For massive concerts, there’s nothing like seeing a Barclays Center stadium performance.
The most visited urban park in the United States, Central Park in middle-upper Manhattan encompasses 778, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962. Among the attractions are the Belvedere Castle, a whimsical, miniature castle; the ravine with its hidden stream and waterfall; the Strawberry Fields memorial to John Lennon, and the vintage Central Park Carousel, located on the southern end of the park. Maps and a list of tours are available through the Central Park Conservancy.
Top of the Rock
Some say to go to the top of the Empire State Building. But Vinnie says skip that line, and head to the Top of the Rock for an even better view. Located in Rockefeller Center at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the observatory at the top of the building is a must-visit if you’re hoping for an iconic skyline view. Either make a reservation ahead of time or keep your fingers crossed for a short line.
Venture off the island for a break from the big city. It’s a bit of a trek, but the beach and amusement park at Coney Island are worth it. If it’s in season, visit the park for roller coasters, arcade games and food along the boardwalk. Out of season, take a walk along the beach or stroll through the surrounding Russian neighborhoods. Get yourself a hot dog at Nathan’s, and if you’re in town for the 4th of July visit the annual hot dog eating contest.
The High Line
This landmark is one of Vinnie Van GO’s all-time favorites. In 2007, this 1.45 mile long park was built upon an existing section of the long-abandoned New York Central Railroad. Inspired by the Promenade plantée in Paris, the park hosts art installations, events and food stalls. The modern design has made it one of the best spots in New York, beloved by tourists and locals alike for its views of the city. Try to visit during the week – it’s pretty packed on the weekends!
New York can be overwhelming. Sometimes the best way to take in the big city is to have someone else lead you. Don’t miss a thing with one of these fantastic tours.
For a truly immersive experience led by a native New Yorker, the Native Creative Concierge has private tours that take you beyond the typical tourist stops. These personalized excursions can be arranged for the day or night, and can also be arranged for food, film and art special events. This tour also doubles as a networking experience – you’ll meet professionals from every sector on this tour!
Feeling hungry? You should check out the Slice of Brooklyn Chocolate Tour. The bus tour takes you on the chocolate circuit, visiting four different chocolatiers with free samples at each stop. While chocolate is the focus, this tour is also a great way to see Brooklyn, taking you from Dumbo to Red Hook to Sunset Park.
For theatre fans, Disney’s Behind the Magic tour takes you to Broadway. This tour is inside the New Amsterdam Theatre, the oldest working Broadway theatre, and is a mix of Disney charm with historical theatre knowledge. You can also try on genuine Broadway costumes! But beware… rumor has it that the ghost of actress Olive Thomas haunts the building.
City Sights features five different double deck tours in 11 different languages. The most popular is the two-day hop-on hop-off, which takes you all around the city including downtown, uptown, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Included in your pass is a free night tour, city tour, hop-on-hop off ferry tour, free entrance to the Museum of the City of New York or the New York Historical Society and an “Eat and Play” Discount Card.
Here are a few more events and things to do that Vinnie Van GO wholeheartedly recommends.
New York’s newest observatory attraction is One World Observatory on top of One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. The experience begins in the Global Welcome Center where you can watch a program titled “Voices” that tells the stories of the men and women who constructed the building. You’ll then ascend a high-speed elevator, reaching the 102nd floor in less than a minute. At the top, guests view a two-minute video that depicts city life in three dimensions. The main observatory on the 100th floor, offers 360-degree views as well as a circular sky portal that shows real-time footage of the street below. A high-tech “City Pulse” exhibit, identifies landmarks and neighborhoods.
Philharmonic Concerts in the Park
Hosted in Central Park in the summer months, the New York Philharmonic hosts several free concerts on the Great Lawn. Bring a blanket, a sweater and snacks, and arrive early. The lawn fills up fast. Keep in mind, no dogs are allowed and lawn chairs are discouraged. Meet with your group beforehand, it’s extremely difficult to find people you know in a massive crowd of picnickers!
Shakespeare in the Park
You can tell Vinnie Van GO loves Central Park… The summer months also bring you Shakespeare in the Park in the park’s Delacorte Theater, one of the city’s most beloved traditions. Each season hosts two productions – 2017 will bring Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Every performance begins at 8pm. Make sure to dress warm and eat beforehand.