New York is one incredible place to visit, especially with all the cool areas of the city to explore. This is no truer than with Manhattan, one of the five boroughs that make up the Big Apple.
With some of the best things to do in New York, Manhattan has a shedload of things to explore. Now, if it’s your first time in New York, you’ll likely be rushed off your feet when going around exploring all the different areas and sites that are dotted all across the neighbourhoods.
That being said, you’ll probably spend a lot of time in Manhattan, too.
After all, it’s where all the big-hitting and globally famous spots like; the Top Of The Rock, Time Square, Central Park and lots of museums are located.
Now, one thing to remember, although Manhattan is only one of the five boroughs, it will still take you months (if not years) to see it all. It’s huge!
This is exactly why I wanted to share some of the best things to do in Manhattan on your next trip to the Big Smoke. After all, you’ll want to make the most of your time in New York City and have the best time.
With that in mind, take a look at some of the best things to do in Manhattan on your next trip to New York. Have fun in the Big Apple!
1.) Top Of The Rock
Perched on top of the Rockefeller Center, visiting Top Of The Rock is one of the best things to do in Manhattan if you love a good view.
Now, there are quite a few viewpoints in the city, but for me, this is one of the classics. Plus, you get a picture-perfect view of the Empire State Building, too.
Now, if you want to go, make sure to book your tickets in advance, especially if you want to check out the sunset from here.
Tickets fill up faster for popular times (like the sunset slots) so book it before you arrive.
2.) Visit the Vessel
Okay, so the Vessel is one of the newer art installations in New York. Perched in Hudson’s Yard (not too far from Hell’s Kitchen) it’s a sight to behold.
Now, it’s totally free to enter, but has been currently closed for safety reasons.
When it reopens, you will need to book a timeslot online before you visit. It’s best to do weeks in advance, especially if you’re not flexible with your times.
Seeing the Vessel is easily one of the best things to do in Manhattan that’s unique. I’ve never seen anything like it and it’s well worth wandering around when around Hudson’s Yard.
3.) Visit the Morgan Library
Not too far from the Empire State Building, the Morgan Library was once the private library of JP Morgan.
After his death, he wrote it into his will that he wanted it opened to the public to enjoy, which is why, almost one hundred years later, you can explore it.
Now, you do need to pay a (relatively) small entrance fee, but it’s worth it for a stroll around the reading room and library itself.
A visit here might take about fifty minutes, so it’s easily one of the best things to do in Manhattan if you need a little break from the hustle and bustle of the streets.
It really is worth a visit and it’s so grand.
4.) Explore the different areas of Manhattan
Although Manhattan is only one of five boroughs in New York, it has a treasure trove of different areas to explore. Best of all they’re unique and all have a different character, too.
If it’s cool art galleries and museums you’re after, Midtown (with MoMA) and the Upper East Side (with the Guggenheim) are the place to go. It’s got a shedload of galleries and different museums that are well worth visiting when in the area.
Filled with world-renowned art and historical artefacts, they’re the kind of places you can spend hours exploring.
Honestly, it’s one of the best things to do in Manhattan, especially if you love art. Just make sure to keep an eye on the time, it’s easy to forget how quickly time can pass here.
5.) See Grand Central Station
Now, you might be wondering why I’d say to see a train station when recommending the best things to do in Manhattan. Well, for me at least, this is a truly stunning station to see.
Honestly, the main concourse is almost palatial and it’s well worth a gander whilst in the area. Plus, it’s not too far from the Chrysler Building that’s still one of my favourite skyscrapers in Manhattan.
Oh, and you can easily walk across from here after visiting the Morgan Library, too.
6.) Walk Brooklyn Bridge
Okay, so this technically isn’t Manhattan (or Brooklyn for that matter) but walking the Brooklyn Bridge is something that has to be done. This is especially true if it’s your first time in New York.
Take a stroll across the Bridge, over to Brooklyn and get some gorgeous views of Manhattan and the wider city itself. Now, the walk will likely take you around forty minutes, but it’s well worth it.
Afterwards, stop off at Dumbo in Williamsburg for an iconic New York shot (of the Manhattan Bridge) and lunch, too. We headed to Westville and the food was so good. It really is one of the best things to do in Manhattan.
7.) See the 9/11 Memorial Site
After the awful events of 9/11, you can’t miss a visit to pay your respects to the 9/11 Memorial Site.
Here, where the Twin Towers once stood, you can see take time to reflect. It’s a very sombre area but a spot you really can’t miss in Manhattan.
8.) Explore Time Square
Love it or hate it, Time Square is an iconic part of Manhattan and one place everyone has to see once.
Yes, it’s rammed with people and it’s an overload on the senses but you really have to see this area when in New York.
With towering billboards and people from all over the world, it’s the kind of place you visit for 15 minutes. Honestly, I can’t spend too long here (as it’s a little too much) but you kinda have to go when in New York.
9.) Walk the Highline
Made from issued metro lines, the Highline is one of the best things to do in Manhattan if you fancy a stroll.
Nowadays, these lines have been transformed into green walkways that are perfect on a sunny day.
Take a wander around the route and stop off at some of the city’s best places for food, too.
If it’s brunch you’re after, pop into Bubby’s which serves up some tasty pancakes!
10.) Visit Central Park
Often said to be the lungs of New York, Central Park is an iconic part of Manhattan and a place that’s easy to enjoy.
Perched just passed Midtown, you can head to Central Park during any season. There’s always something going on and you can’t really miss it.
If you’re visiting in the winter, head out ice skating in the park, if you arrive in the summer, go boating on the lake. Alternatively, if it rains, pop over to the American Museum of Natural History, that’s world-renowned.
Oh, and don’t forget to take a stroll to Belvedere Castle within the park itself.
It’s easily one of the best things to do in Manhattan, especially if you want a break from the busy streets.
11.) Visit the Empire State Building
Probably one of the most famous skyscrapers in the world, seeing the Empire State Building is pretty hard to miss.
You see, the Empire State Building actually dominates Midtown and is easy to visit.
If you fancy, book tickets to the top of the Empire State Building which has some great views across the city. Plus, these tickets have a queue jump added, so you won’t be wasting any time.
Just like the Top of the Rock, it’s a perfect place to see the city from above.
12.) See the Statue of Liberty
Okay, technically not in Manhattan (but on Liberty Island), the Statue of Liberty is a place you’ve got to see in the city.
Probably the most famous symbol of the United States, visiting is one of the best things to do in Manhattan for sure.
Now, you can join one of the boat tours (that drop you off on the island) from the lower area of Manhattan. From here, you’ll book a Statue of Liberty tour that typically lasts around three to four hours and takes in Ellis Island, too.
Though be warned, you might have to queue quite considerably at peak times. So, to keep your queuing to a minimum, book this Statue of Liberty sightseeing ticket that also includes a visit to Ellis Island.
If you’re short on time, head here first thing in the morning. This way, you’ll avoid most of the crowds.