10 touristy new york city activities

A few weeks ago we took an extended weekend trip to NYC with a couple of dear friends and had the best time. It’s true there’s loads to do in that city and sometimes things get left out or the touristy New York City activities get bumped from the list. However, I’m here to tell you there are a few tourist activities you really shouldn’t miss in NYC. While you may not have time for them all in one weekend, we had two full days and did all of the below.

Don’t disregard these items just because they may be for tourists, they are truly worth it. With a little planning you can definitely get them all done in a long weekend (provided you don’t sleep until noon). This was my 5th time to NYC but I hadn’t been in over 10 years so I was very excited to do each of these things again, and to experience them with people who hadn’t. There’s even a couple of activities I had yet to do before. Keep reading to find out my 10 touristy New York City activities that you need to do. Plus, download a few free photos from the trip on the Journey Junkies page. If you’re not a member, you can sign up here, it’s free!


10 Touristy New York City Activities

Take a Ferry Ride

First up, definitely take a ferry ride while in New York City. While most everything is quite expensive, I was surprised that you could get a ferry ride, visit the Statue of Liberty and go to Ellis Island for about $18. Considering I paid $8 for a cup of juice on the street, that wasn’t too bad. Just know the ferries do get crowded and take some time getting on and off so give yourself time. I definitely recommend booking your tickets ahead of time and choosing a time to board the ferry. This will allow you to skip the line and board the ferry as soon as it’s your time.

Take a Ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in NYC
Take a Ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in NYC

Marvel at the Statue of Liberty

If you do the first recommendation then you’ll easily be able to do this as well. Take a ferry out to the Statue of Liberty. It’s pretty cool to see from the boat and you can hop off to walk right up to it. You can also climb to the top, if you want but be sure you make a booking ahead of time and get there first thing in the morning, it definitely gets crowded.

Visit the Statue of Liberty by Ferry in NYC
Visit the Statue of Liberty by Ferry in NYC

Tour Ellis Island

Your last stop on the Ferry ride is Ellis Island. You could spend an entire day here, but you don’t have to, you can see plenty in a few hours. The audio guide is worth getting as well so you know what you’re seeing.

Visit the Ellis Island Museum
Tour the Ellis Island Museum

Attend a Yankees Game

There are few things that are more New York than Yankees baseball. The first time I went, I sat in the bleachers seats which is an experience I do think everyone should have. While not the best seats in the house, they are certainly the most lively. You can also sit pretty much anywhere else and have a great time as well. You may also want to check out the Yankees museum there too, it’s pretty amazing.

Attend a Yankees game while in New York City
Attend a Yankees game while in New York City

See a Play on Broadway

I always love seeing plays, but even if you don’t, you need to when in New York. You can’t really go wrong and one thing that surprised me the first time I went is you can wear anything. No need to get dressed up, just head on over there. I can highly recommend Wicked too if you haven’t seen it.

See a play like Wicked on Broadway in New York City
See a play like Wicked on Broadway in New York City

Go to the Top of the Empire State Building

While this next one is a super touristy New York City activity, I do believe it’s well worth it. This one is a little pricey but there’s a lot to see on the way up too. When we were there, the F.R.I.E.N.D.S couch was on top of the building so I raced to the top to sit on it. However, I did notice that they have the history of the building as well as props from movies where the building was featured.

View New York City from the top of the Empire State Building
View New York City from the top of the Empire State Building
NYC from the top of the Empire State Building
NYC from the top of the Empire State Building
View from the top of the Empire State Building
View from the top of the Empire State Building

Spend an Entire Morning in Central Park

This next activity is touristy but also a place you’ll find the locals. I recommend spending a whole morning walking around Central Park. While I had definitely been there before, but I didn’t really spend much time and loved having the chance to really walk around.

Spend a morning in Central Park in New York City
Spend a morning in Central Park in New York City
Spend the morning in Central Park in NYC
Spend the morning in Central Park in NYC

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge is something I’ve always wanted to do, but was never able before this trip. This meant, I was definitely doing it this time around and it’s fantastic. Such great views of the city and the bridge itself is also stunning.

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City

Visit FAO Schwartz and Other NYC Stores Near Time’s Square

You can’t go to New York without hitting a shop or two. While I realize SAKS, Macy’s and Bloomingdales may be the more adult choices, I personally love FAO Schwartz near Rockefeller Plaza and places like the M&M store on Times Square.

Play a large piano in FAO Schwartz in New York City
Play a large piano in FAO Schwartz in New York City
Visit the M&M Store on Times Square in New York
Visit the M&M Store on Times Square in New York

World Trade Center Memorial

Finally, when visiting New York City, it’s important to visit the World Trade Center Memorial. While extremely difficult, I find it important to remember the lives lost and the heroes that ran in to help. It’s also very well done, and there are flowers placed on the names surrounding the ponds on the person’s birthday.

The 9/11 World Trade Center Memorial
The 9/11 World Trade Center Memorial in NYC
The 9/11 World Trade Center Memorial
The 9/11 World Trade Center Memorial

Freebies of Touristy New York City

Download Free Black and White photos of NYC on the Journey Junkies page
Download Free Black and White photos of NYC on the Journey Junkies page

If you’re planning a trip to New York City and need a little photographic inspiration, then head over to the Journey Junkies page. You can download free prints of the city in black and white. If you missed the link to sign up, you can find that here.

10 Touristy New York City Activities to Do

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