Big Apple Bucket List: 14 Must-Visit Spots in New York City

New York City is a vibrant and bustling metropolis that attracts millions of visitors every year. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, the city offers an array of attractions that cater to all interests and preferences.

Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, there are plenty of places to explore and discover in this city that never sleeps.

One of the most popular destinations in New York City is Times Square, known for its bright lights, billboards, and bustling crowds. It's a hub of entertainment, shopping, and dining, with options for every budget and taste.

Another must-see attraction is Central Park, a sprawling green oasis in the heart of the city that offers a respite from the urban jungle. The park is home to several landmarks, including the Central Park Zoo, the Bethesda Fountain, and the Conservatory Garden.

For those interested in history and culture, New York City has no shortage of museums and galleries. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world's largest and most comprehensive art museums, featuring an extensive collection of works from around the globe.

The American Museum of Natural History is another popular museum, with exhibits that showcase the wonders of the natural world. The city also has a thriving theater scene, with Broadway shows and off-Broadway productions that attract theater-goers from around the world.

No visit to New York City is complete without sampling the city's diverse culinary offerings. From street food to Michelin-starred restaurants, the city has something for every palate and budget.

Whether you're in the mood for pizza, bagels, or ethnic cuisine, you'll find it in New York City. And if you're looking for a night out, the city's nightlife is legendary, with bars, clubs, and lounges that cater to every taste and vibe.

In this blog post, we'll explore some of the best places to visit in New York City, from iconic landmarks to hidden gems that only locals know about.

Whether you're planning a weekend getaway or a longer stay, these destinations are sure to make your trip to the Big Apple unforgettable.

1. 9/11 Memorial & Museum

9/11 Memorial & Museum
180 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007 (Google Maps)

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum is a somber yet impactful tribute to the victims of the 1993 and 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

The museum offers a well-curated exhibition that provides a comprehensive overview of the events and aftermath. The memorial's design is stoic and impressive, allowing loved ones to elegantly memorialize their lost people.

The pools and exhibits are a beautiful and emotional reminder of the tragedy. The museum can be emotional and is recommended for ages over 10.

The audio guides are available in several languages, making it accessible to a wide range of visitors. This is a must-visit place for those who want to pay their respects and gain knowledge about the terrible event.

2. Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge
New York, NY 10038 (Google Maps)

The Brooklyn Bridge is a must-visit landmark for anyone in the area.

Completed in 1883, this iconic suspension bridge was a feat of engineering at the time and remains a symbol of American ingenuity.

Visitors can walk or bike across the bridge and take in stunning views of the city skyline, especially at night. The bridge is also a popular spot for photographers.

Despite its age, the Brooklyn Bridge has stood the test of time and is definitely worth a visit. Just be prepared for crowds, especially on weekends.

3. St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral
5th Ave, New York, NY 10022 (Google Maps)

St. Patrick's Cathedral is a must-visit site for anyone traveling to NYC. The stunning neo-gothic architecture and beautiful stained glass windows make for an awe-inspiring experience.

Visitors can explore the various sections dedicated to different saints, as well as learn about the cathedral's rich history.

The gift shop offers a variety of souvenirs, including medals, rosaries, and candles.

While it can get crowded with tourists, the cathedral's serene atmosphere makes it a great place to reflect and admire the beauty of the space.

4. Top of The Rock

Top Of The Rock
30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112 (Google Maps)

Top of The Rock is an iconic observation deck located in the heart of a bustling city. It offers breathtaking views of the city skyline, including Manhattan, Central Park, and the Empire State Building.

Visitors can enjoy the panoramic views from multiple floors, both indoor and outdoor.

The building's unique architecture and character add to the overall experience. The staff is well-trained and friendly, making the visit smooth and enjoyable.

Though the tickets may be a little pricey, the views are worth every penny. Top of The Rock is a must-visit for anyone traveling to the city.

5. The High Line

The High Line

The High Line is a popular park built on an old elevated rail line.

Visitors can enjoy stunning views of the city and the river while walking 30 feet above street level.

The park is well-maintained and features beautiful greenery, unique architecture, and several seating areas.

It is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience New York City from a different perspective.

6. Bryant Park

Bryant Park

Bryant Park is a 4-acre urban oasis located in the heart of New York City.

It's a great place to relax and enjoy the view of the Empire State Building and the Grand Library.

There are plenty of tables and chairs to sit and enjoy a coffee or lunch from nearby food kiosks.

During the summer, there are open movie projections and musical gatherings. In the winter, there is an ice skating rink. It's a must-visit tourist attraction in NYC.

7. Rockefeller Park

Rockefeller Park
75 Battery Place, New York, NY 10280 (Google Maps)

Rockefeller Park is a bustling and beautiful park located near the Hudson River. With stunning views of the river and New Jersey, this park offers a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere for visitors to enjoy.

The park is well-maintained, with clean restrooms and plenty of seating options.

The playground is perfect for children, while the walking paths and gardens offer a serene environment for adults. Visitors can also enjoy the public artwork and sculptures throughout the park.

Whether you're looking for a place to picnic, take a stroll, or simply enjoy the scenery, Rockefeller Park is a must-visit destination in the city.

8. Great Hill

Great Hill
Great Hill, New York, NY 10025 (Google Maps)

Great Hill is a hidden gem in the heart of the city. It's a spacious area with a lovely outdoor track, making it perfect for running and working out.

The hill is also an ideal spot for picnics and relaxing with friends and family.

The park is well-maintained, and there are plenty of benches and bathrooms available. Visitors appreciate the peaceful atmosphere and the stunning views of the skyline.

If you're looking for a quiet place to escape the city bustle, Great Hill is definitely worth a visit.

9. Pier 51

Pier 51
Hudson River Greenway, New York, NY 10014 (Google Maps)

Pier 51 is a must-visit for those looking for a peaceful and serene setting. This park offers breathtaking views of the Hudson River, the Freedom Tower, and the Jersey City skyline.

The playground is perfect for children of all ages, with water features in the summer and plenty of climbing elements.

The enclosed area ensures that kids can play safely in the heat. The park is also an excellent spot for jogging or biking along the pier.

The sandpit is an added bonus, but don't forget to bring extra clothes. Pier 51 is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the views of the city.

10. The Pond at Central Park

The Pond At Central Park
New York, NY 10019 (Google Maps)

The Pond at Central Park is a beautiful spot to visit. It offers a great opportunity for visitors to take close-up photos of wildlife such as ducks, crows, and squirrels.

The landscape view is also breathtaking, with modern and old buildings as a backdrop. Walking around the pond takes less than 30 minutes, with plenty of benches to sit and take in the sunshine and views.

The blend of buildings and greenery makes for plenty of good photo opportunities. Keep an eye out for turtles and other wildlife while there.

The picturesque Gapstow Bridge crosses over the Northern end, offering a great view of the pond and surrounding buildings. For nature lovers and photography enthusiasts, The Pond at Central Park is definitely worth a visit.

11. The Hills

The Hills
870-898 Gresham Rd, New York, NY 10004 (Google Maps)

The Hills is a must-visit tourist attraction that offers stunning views of the surrounding areas. This park is easy to climb and stroller-friendly, making it perfect for families.

The Hills provide a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, allowing visitors to relax and enjoy nature.

Bring your walking shoes or rent a bike to explore the area. The Hills are wheelchair accessible, making it inclusive for everyone.

This spot is perfect for a picnic or to reflect on life while enjoying the beautiful scenery. The Hills is a hidden gem that should not be missed during a trip to the city.

12. One Times Square

One Times Square
1 Times Sq, New York, NY 10036 (Google Maps)

One Times Square is a must-visit tourist attraction in New York City. This iconic location is beautifully lit with all kinds of signs and billboards, making it a sight to behold.

The atmosphere is always bustling with activity, from street performers to shops and restaurants.

However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be too crowded at times, with some people not following safety protocols.

Despite this, One Times Square remains a special landmark that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.

13. Staple Street Skybridge

Staple Street Skybridge
9 Jay St, New York, NY 10013 (Google Maps)

Staple Street Skybridge is a unique and historic location for photography enthusiasts. The bridge connects two buildings and was once used to transport patients from an ambulance garage to a hospital building.

Although currently under renovation, the bridge still offers an excellent backdrop for photos.

It is a popular spot for wedding photography and headshots due to its old-school charm. The surrounding neighborhood of Tribeca is also fun to explore.

If you're a fan of architecture, Staple Street Skybridge should definitely be on your list of places to visit.

14. Silverstein Family Park

Silverstein Family Park
Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007 (Google Maps)

Silverstein Family Park is a peaceful oasis in the heart of downtown Manhattan. This small triangular park features shaded benches, a relaxing fountain, and flower-filled planters.

It's a great place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy some fresh air.

Plus, it's conveniently located near the World Trade Center and various transportation options.

If you're looking for a quiet spot to rest and recharge, Silverstein Family Park is definitely worth a visit.