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Most popular attractions in New York City

Most popular attractions in New York City

From world-class museums to swooping skyscrapers and countless parks, Musement looks at the most popular attractions in New York City.

New York City sits atop the list of travel destinations for many people traveling throughout or into the United States. With an abundance of exciting things to do, it might be hard planning your next trip to the Big Apple.

There is so much to explore. For that reason, Musement conducted a study to find out the most popular attractions in New York City by category. Musement analyzed the city’s attractions in Google Travel* and produced a map with the results to help guide your way through the Empire State.

So, whether you love attending museums, going for a stroll at the park, or enjoy seeing a city from different heights, here are the top attractions in New York City that are worth a visit.

New York City's Most Popular Attractions

Entertainment

Rockefeller Center

Particularly during this time of the year, a visit to Rockefeller Center should be on everybody’s agenda. The Art Deco complex transforms into a winter wonderland, drawing tremendous crowds. With its ice-skating rink, enormous Christmas tree, and decorated storefront windows on the nearby Fifth Avenue, you will not be left disappointed. If you still want more Christmas energy, catch a showing of the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall to top it off.

 

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Times Square

If you keep walking a few blocks west of Rockefeller Center, you will arrive at Times Square, the top-ranked entertainment attraction. Come experience the “bright lights, big city” motto in person, admire the street performers and billboards that surround you. Known as “The Crossroads of the World”, this pedestrian intersection is situated in the heart of the Theater District. It is the perfect place to head to shop prior to seeing a spectacle on Broadway.

 

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History

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Just a stone’s throw from Rockefeller Center, history buffs will want to make their way to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The iconic church has a storied past of over 140 years and takes up one whole city block. Standing at 330 feet, the Neo-Gothic architectural style church houses some marvelous artworks including a rendition of Michelangelo’s Pieta. Take part in a self-guided audio tour to capture the essence of the church as you learn about its history.

Statue of Liberty

A visit to the Statue of Liberty should be on everyone’s “to-do” list when visiting New York. This world-famous sculpture, a gift from France, has been standing on Liberty Island since 1886. Designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, Lady Liberty represents the freedom and democracy of the United States. A ten-to-fifteen-minute ferry ride will bring you from Lower Manhattan to this emblematic landmark.

Museums

The Met: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Museum lovers will not want to pass up an opportunity to see one of the world’s largest museums, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met houses over two million pieces, including mummies and artwork from the medieval times. Van Gogh’s Self Portrait with a Straw Hat, Monet’s Water Lilies, and John Singer Sargent’s Madame X are just a few of the must-see pieces of artwork at the Met.

 

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9/11 Memorial & Museum

Visit the touching 9/11 Memorial & Museum and pay your respects to those whose lives were lost 20 years ago. There are two recessed waterfall pools outside of the museum, each in the place of where the towers once stood. Inside the museum, guests will explore over 10,000 artifacts and narratives from this tragic day. The museum is open Thursday to Monday from 10 a.m to 5 p.m.

 

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The captivating works at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) are also worth a visit, although it is not included in the map since it ranked third in the Museum category.

Parks

Bryant Park

If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, there are plenty of parks throughout the city. Located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, Bryant Park will allow you to kick back and relax in its lush gardens. Guests can grab a bite and check out the charming scenery around them at the designated dining area. Similar to Rockefeller Center, the park becomes a Winter Village during the winter with an ice-skating rink and plenty of food and drinks to indulge in.

 

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Central Park

The urban oasis Central Park offers a completely different scenery from New York’s concrete jungle. Not only is it one of the best parks in New York City, it is also the most popular attraction in the state. From lakes to meadows, the park has tons of entertaining everyday activities that you’ll never get bored. Wildlife lovers appreciate this park because besides the many species of animals roaming the grounds, the park also has its own zoo.

 

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Zoos/Aquariums

Central Park Zoo

According to this study, the Central Park Zoo ranked as the second most popular zoo in the Big Apple. The zoo dates back to 1861, making it the second-oldest zoo in America. Three diverse biomes make up the zoo: the Tropic Zone, the Polar Circle, and the Temperate Territory. Discover some of your favorite animals like the red panda, snow leopards, and tropical birds at the Central Park Zoo.

 

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The Bronx Zoo

To no surprise, one of the largest zoos in the US comes in as the most popular. The Bronx Zoo houses more than 4,000 animals from over 650 species, making it a huge hit. Spread over 265 acres within the Bronx Park, animals from all over the globe call the zoo home. Bring the whole family and enjoy a fun-filled day at the Bronx Zoo.

 

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Observation Decks

Top of the Rock

One of the best ways to see New York City is to take your experience to another level. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline from the Top of the Rock. Take a breath of fresh air as you make your way up to the 70th-floor observation deck. Rumor has it that the 360-degree panoramic views from the Top of Rock observation deck are the best in the city. Landmarks that can be seen include the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, and more. Go up and see for yourself!

Empire State Building

One of America’s coolest observation decks also happens to be one of the most iconic skyscrapers in the world. At the time of its completion, the Empire State Building was the world’s tallest building and held that title for almost 40 years. Visitors can ride up to one of two (or both) observation decks, one on the 86th floor and the other on the 102nd floor. The unobstructed views from 1,250 feet up will have you feeling like you are on top of the world.

The One Vanderbilt observation deck, The SUMMIT, just opened last month so it does not have many reviews. It is a diamond in the rough and should not be missed.

Family Friendly

Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge ranked as the most popular family-friendly attraction. Connecting Brooklyn to downtown Manhattan, the bridge allows visitors to capture the city’s beauty and its iconic landmarks from a different angle. Locals tend to use this bridge as part of their route for daily jogs, gazing at the towering buildings during a workout. Take part in a bike tour with the whole family to take in the splendid views.

 

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The High Line

Built on an old elevated railroad, the High Line displays the New York’s beauty up close. Nearly 1.5 miles in length, the park grounds runs through several neighborhoods and has something for the whole family. Whether you want to admire some public art, enjoy a picnic, or just go for a stroll, the High Line is the place to be.

*Methodology: To determine the most popular attraction in New York City, each attraction was searched in Google Travel (source: https://www.google.com/travel/things-to-do). The attractions were placed into different categories based on topics (Ex: Parks, Museums, Zoo, etc).
The top two attractions with the highest number of Google reviews were chosen as the most popular.

Explore the top attractions in New York City for yourself:

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