Many New Yorkers will confess that they’ve never visited the Statue of Liberty, never beheld the view from the Empire State Building, or never explored the city from atop a tour bus. As a city of curious people with cultivated tastes, we’re far more likely to search for out-of-the-way speakeasies in laundromats or closet-sized family-run restaurants than traditional tourist attractions. But there’s something to be said for embracing some of the unparalleled sights that people travel from all over the world to enjoy. If you’ve never allowed yourself to indulge in some good old-fashioned touristy fun, here are a few destinations to get you started.
334 Furman Street between Grace Court & Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Open Daily 6AM-1AM
This 85-acre waterfront park offers all the nature a New Yorker could want, with an unparalleled view of the city’s East River, and, of course, the Brooklyn Bridge itself. Like most great spots in Brooklyn, the park is located on a revitalized industrial space. Featuring everything from bike paths and boat launches to gardens, dog runs, and playing fields, Brooklyn Bridge Park offers something for the entire family, that special date, a weekend outing with friends, or simply time alone in nature.
476 Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York, NY 10018
Open Sunday 1-5PM; Monday 10AM-6PM; Tuesday & Wednesday 10AM-8PM; Thursday through Saturday 10AM-6PM
One of New York’s prime spots for book lovers to read, think, and simply admire since 1911, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is of stunning Beaux-Arts design with books, art, shops, and plenty of architectural eye candy. No trip to Schwarzman is complete without checking out the Rose Main Reading Room, frequented for the past 100 years by internationally renowned writers, Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, inventors, activists, and students. This historic landmark has been recently renovated and is known for its breathtaking ceiling murals and plaster archways.
Central Park West & 79th Street, New York, NY 10024
Open Daily 10AM-5:45PM
The American Museum of Natural History has been discovering and exhibiting information about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe since it opened its majestic doors in 1865. Its permanent collections vary from the Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life, which features more than 750 marine creatures, to the Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites, displaying more than 130 meteorites. This year, the museum is hosting its 150th-anniversary celebration, with special exhibitions such as T. Rex: The Ultimate Predator and The Blue Whale Model, as well as multiple halls displaying fossils of primitive animals.
89 East 42nd Street between Park & Vanderbilt Avenues, New York, NY 10017
Open Daily 11:30AM-9:30PM
In the competitive food world of New York City, there is one restaurant that has stood the test of time for over a century: the Grand Central Oyster Bar, which has been boasting the city’s tastiest oysters since 1913. Its current owners have maintained the old-school glamour of the 440-seat capacity restaurant while updating its food offerings to include 25 to 30 varieties of fresh oysters every single day. Additionally, this iconic eatery is located in one of the most architecturally stunning buildings in the city, yet another reason to stop by, enjoy delicious oysters, and admire.
42nd Street – 47th Street & Broadway, New York, NY 10036
True, Times Square is arguably the most touristy place to be in all of New York. But there may be a good reason for that. Times Square is a sight to behold, regardless of how long you’ve lived here. It’s the spot where the city really doesn’t sleep, where it’s perpetually daytime, where the best theater in the world is in constant rotation. It’s the place where tour buses begin, where street performers dazzle, where Wall Street flashes its numbers, and where everyone is always looking up. What could be more New York than that? You may not want to stay, but Times Square is definitely worth at least a visit.
990 Washington Avenue at Montgomery Street, Brooklyn, NY 11225
Hours vary seasonally. Check here.
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is high on the list for many New York visitors, but that doesn’t make it any less fun for folks who live here year round. Each season brings new, beautiful colors to this 52-acre urban botanic garden. While autumn and spring are universally gorgeous times to visit, April means cherry blossom season, arguably the most stunning time of all.