Things To Do For First-Time Visitors in NYC

Diverse collection of “things to do” on your very first trip to New York City

When first-time visitors come to New York City, the place can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many activities in NYC and so much to see! You could visit New York a hundred times and never get to see all of the amazing things and take part in all the thrilling activities that the city has to offer. But there are handful of “can’t miss” activities and attractions that every first time visitor to NYC should try to see, and we have them all listed here on our “First-Timers Things To Do list. “

Obviously your list of things to do in NYC should include world-renowned attractions like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. Museum-going, tours, and seeing a Broadway show are all quintessential activities for NYC visitors as well. Even every day activities like shopping take on a whole new meaning when you’re walking down New York’s famous Fifth Avenue!

The number of things for first time visitors to do in the Big Apple is almost endless but some of the most interesting activities in New York City are as simple as visiting one place and just roaming around. You could spend days exploring the expansive Central Park, and in Times Square and on Wall Street you’ll see iconic NYC sights familiar from television and the media.


Around Town NYC
NYC Sites of Interest

Central Park

59th St to 110th St, between 5th Ave and Central Park West

You can’t miss that big green rectangle in the middle of Manhattan. Belvedere Castle, Cleopatra’s Needle, and Bethesda Terrace are just a few of the attractions in Central Park, which is also full of great restaurants, wandering musicians, and of course beautiful vegetation, picturesque bodies of water, and wooded areas.

Midtown Shopping

Along 57th Street and Fifth Avenue

If you walk along 57th Street from 7th Avenue to the East side and then stroll up and down Fifth Avenue, you will see some of New York City’s most famed shops, including Chanel, Prada, Tiffany & Co, and Bergdorf Goodman. Detour further East and walk up Madison or Park to see many exclusive little boutiques.

Times Square

41st St to 54th St, between 6th Ave and 9th Ave

To see Times Square at its brightly-lit best, make sure to go after dark. Just walk up Broadway from 42nd Street and take it all in.

Wall Street / New York Stock Exchange

11 Wall Street

Watch frenzied activity and millions of dollars trade hands at the hustling, bustling New York Stock Exchange.


NYC Attractions
NYC Attractions

Broadway Shows Times Square

New York City is home to the Broadway theater district in Times Square, which boasts some of the best commercial and non-profit theater in the world. Check out Broadway ticket discounts.

Empire State Building

350 Fifth Avenue between 33rd and 34th Streets,

Get the big picture – a panoramic view of New York City – from the Observation Deck at the Empire State Building ($20 adults, $13-18 children).

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

70 Lincoln Center Plaza,

New York City’s hub for the finest performing arts, Lincoln Center is home to the Metropolitan Opera, a Broadway and an Off-Broadway Theatre, and so much more.

Rockefeller Center

48th St to 51st St, between 5th Ave and Sixth Ave

The Christmas tree, skating rink, NBC Studios, Radio City Music Hall, and Top of the Rock are all here in NYC’s tourist central, Rockefeller Center. This should definitely be at the top of every first-time New York visitor’s Things To Do list.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets

This handsome neo-Gothic cathedral stands across from Rockefeller Center and is very welcoming to visitors.

Statue of Liberty Liberty Island

New York, NY 10004

Seeing Lady Liberty should be a priority among the must-see activities for all first-time visitors to New York City. You can take a ferry right to Liberty Island where she stands, take a harbor cruise that will allow you to see her from the water, or just go down to Battery Park and take a gander from there.


Museums and Tours in NYC
Museums and Tours in NYC

Ellis Island Immigration Museum

Ellis Island, 212-363-3200

Learn about America’s “melting pot” heritage and the immigrant experience at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Admission is free, but visitors must pay for a ferry ticket out to the island.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

1000 Fifth Ave at 82nd St, 212-535-7710

Roam endless galleries showcasing the world’s most extraordinary art – sculpture, famous paintings, artifacts, and much more – at the Metropolitan Museum of Art ($20 adults, $15 seniors, $10 students, children under 12 free).


Gray Line Sightseeing Tours

New York City, 800-669-0051

If you want to see a lot of NYC in a small amount of time, Gray Line offers several tours that will give you a good look at New York City and show you many of the top sights. This is a great way to experience NYC without the hassle of scheduling activities yourself or making up a list of things to do.

NBC Studio Tour 30 Rockefeller Plaza

49th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, 212-664-3700

See where Saturday Night Live, Conan O’Brien, The Today Show, and more are taped on this must-see tour at 30 Rockefeller Center ($20 adults, $17 seniors and children 6-12).