26 Best Things to do in Manhattan in 2022


When you think of New York, Manhattan is usually the first borough that springs to mind. There are endless things to do in Manhattan, and the borough has celebrity status. If you want to be entertained day and night, you have made a great choice by choosing to visit Manhattan.

Manhattan represents everything that visitors love about the Big Apple. It has classic landmarks like the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Grand Central Station, and Central Park. Manhattan attractions are equally famous. You’ll find plenty of museums and art galleries spread across Downtown Manhattan.

Things to do in Manhattan

Let’s delve into the things to do in Manhattan that you can’t miss when visiting. Whether it is your hundredth or first time visiting New York, these are the absolute best things to do in Manhattan.

1. Central Park

things to do in manhattan central park

Central Park doesn’t need an introduction. The 843-acre park is arguably the most well-known park in the United States and is a definite addition to your New York itinerary.

Central Park is free to enter. However, you may wish to indulge in a tour or one of the Central Park attractions. Walking tours depart daily from the Central Park West intersection. You can also spend a day at Central Zoo or take a boat ride on Central Park Lake.

Sheep Meadow is also a great place to visit in Central Park for a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline.

2. One World Trade Center

things to do in manhattan one world trade center

One World Trade Center is the tallest building in the United States. The skyscraper is part of the World Trade Center complex and was built in 2014 to commemorate the 2001 Twin Towers terrorist attack. Visitors can visit to pay their respects and admire the grandeur constructed in the victims’ honor.

The most famous part of One World Trade Center is the One World Observatory. One World Observatory sits dizzyingly high on the building’s 100th, 101st, and 102nd floors. If you want an aerial view of New York, this is one of the best things to do in Manhattan.

The Observatory also features interactive exhibits and restaurants. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself to a delicious meal while you are up in the clouds. Make sure to check out the Sky Portal feature as well.

3. Radio City Music Hall

Places to visit in manhattan radio city music hall

Fancy a night at the theater? Radio City Music Hall is a stunning art deco theater venue in Midtown Manhattan.

Radio City is where you’ll find concerts, film screenings, stage shows, and special events. And if you are visiting Manhattan at Christmas, visiting Radio City Music Hall is unquestionable. Throughout the festive season, there is a Christmas Spectacular, which includes performances by the Radio City Rockettes.

A visit to Radio City Music Hall is easily one of the most entertaining things to do in Manhattan. Make sure to carve some time out in your itinerary. Radio City Music Hall tours are free with New York Pass or $31 at Radio City Music Hall Venue.

4. Empire State Building

empire state building manhattan

The Empire State Building is one of New York’s most visited attractions. The 1,454-foot tall skyscraper sits in the middle of Manhattan and has two observatories providing stunning city views.

The Empire State Building isn’t the tallest building in New York. However, it is easily the most famous of New York City’s skyscrapers. The building has been frequently voted as the United States’ favorite piece of architecture, and the art deco giant is a loved part of the Manhattan skyline.

Visitors can choose to head to the 86th or 102nd floor. You’ll have to pay extra to reach the 102nd floor, but it is worth it for a higher vantage point. Get your Skip the Line Tickets up the Empire State Building here.

5. Catch an event at Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Gardens

Madison Square Garden is popular with locals and visitors alike. The arena is in the middle of Manhattan and hosts cultural events like sporting competitions and concerts.

Catching an event at Madison Square is the sort of Manhattan attraction that depends entirely on your visiting dates. Unless to plan your visit to coincide with an event that interests you, you’ll have to rely on luck and have a bit of flexibility and open-mindedness. Still, that is all part of the adventure.

Check the arena schedule online to see what events you could attend while visiting New York. Watching a show, concert, or game at the arena is a bucket-list experience in Manhattan.

Little Italy in New York City

For many of us, New York City is a place to window shop rather than buy. The city is full of designer brands and expensive stores. However, Canal St is where to go if you want to shop for bargains.

Canal Street joins many different Manhattan regions, including Soho, Chinatown, and Little Italy. It is widely considered a gentrified area of New York City, and its reputation has been on a sharp upwards curve over recent years.

If you walk along the street, you’ll pass street vendors selling knock-off designer goods and plenty of clothes shops. You can’t find a better shopping spot for value for money.

7. Grand Central Terminal

grand central station manhattan

If you haven’t already heard of Grand Central Terminal, you may wonder why it is such a popular tourist attraction.

In short, Grand Central Station is much more than a transit hub in Manhattan. It is quite possibly the grandest train station you’ll ever see and is complete with golden décor and chandeliers. The station has become a symbol of wealth, rebirth, and the American Dream. Plus, it is a pretty fantastic photo location and place to grab a coffee and people-watch.

8. High Line

highline manhattan

High Line is an inner-city park with a twist. Less than two miles long, it is a leisurely park to explore in an hour or two. It was built on the former New York Central Railroad, so it is uniquely raised and provides a vantage point over the busy streets of Manhattan it passes.

If you are traveling to Manhattan on a budget, you’ll save money by adding this park to your itinerary. It is entirely free to visit, yet it is one of the best things to do in Manhattan – win, win.

While walking through the park, you can spot the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building, and the Empire State building. Who needs a sightseeing tour when you can visit High Line for free?

9. Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center Manhattan NY

Rockefeller Center is another one of the most popular tourist attractions in Manhattan. The complex features many department stores and is the perfect place for a day of shopping.

However, the Rockefeller Center really comes to life at Christmas. There is a seasonal ice skating rink and a giant Christmas tree throughout the festive period. Manhattan is famous for its ice skating rinks at Christmas, and the Rockefeller Center is a great place to put on your skates. The atmosphere is electric, and you can be sure of a good celebration.

Rockefeller Center is shopping heaven all year round. But definitely prioritize a visit for festive fun in December.

10. Chelsea Market

chelsea market manhattan

Speaking of shopping, Chelsea Market is another shopping mall to visit when visiting Manhattan.

However, you should know by this point that Manhattan doesn’t just provide straightforward shopping malls. Chelsea Market has everything – from street food vendors to department stores. There is even Artechouse NYC, an art center displaying a collection of modern art exhibits.

The market is located in the Meatpacking District of the Chelsea Neighborhood. It is well combined with a visit to the nearby Whitney Museum of American Art or High Line park.

11. Liberty Island

things to do in manhattan liberty island

To tick off New York City’s most iconic attractions, Liberty Island is one of the best things to do in Manhattan.

The island is home to the Statue of Liberty, and visitors can get up close to Lady Liberty herself – you can even access the observation deck at the statue pedestal. But, of course, there is more to see on Liberty Island than just the Statue of Liberty.

Allow time to visit the museum, sculpture garden, and the Flagpole Piazza. The piazza has some of the best views of Manhattan and is an excellent place to finish your trip on Liberty Island. Read our full guide Tips for Visiting The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

You can book this 90 Minute Cruise of New York City – If you don’t have time to visit the Statue of Liberty, take this cruise to see the iconic sites of midtown and lower Manhattan on a Semi-Circle Cruise. See Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. Sail down the Hudson, cruising around the Battery, and up the East River. You’ll pass under the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg Bridges to the United Nations – and then head back to Pier 83

12. Ellis Island

things to do in manhattan ellis island

The Big Apple is not short of history. There are museums all over New York City, especially in Manhattan. But the best place to experience immersive history in New York City is on Ellis Island.

The island opened in 1892 as an immigration station and was the first point of contact with the United States for millions of immigrants. Nowadays, you can take a guided tour of the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration and visit the old immigration complex. There are lots of personal stories to hear, and many find Ellis Island an emotional place to visit – especially if they have personal connections to the station.

To understand New York City and its social history, make sure to include a trip to Ellis Island when visiting Manhattan. Book this highly rated Ellis Island Guided Tour of Liberty and Ellis Islands. Reserve Line Access boarding on the ferry to Liberty Island.

13. Bryant Park

things to do near times square new york bryant park

Okay, we’ve listed a few different Manhattan parks so far. So what makes Bryant Park different from Central Park or High Lines?

For a start, Bryant Park is smaller than Central Park. At just 9.6 acres, it has a community feel and is much more walkable if you are short on time. You’ll often see office workers taking their lunch breaks walking or sitting to relax.

In the summer, you can catch free movies in the park; in winter, there is a pop-up ice skating rink to enjoy. The park is also located right next to New York Public Library. It is ideally combined with a visit to the library’s Reading Room. On a rainy day, you can always stay in the library and pop outside to explore the park during dry spells.

14. Try new foods in Hell’s Kitchen

Pizza tour in Brooklyn

Food lovers, Hell’s Kitchen is where to eat when visiting Manhattan. The neighborhood lives fast and furious, with the best nightclubs and eateries in New York City.

Craving a street-cooked pad Thai? Or maybe skip the Thai cuisine for Uzbeki or Argentinian? Anything goes in Hell’s Kitchen, and you can let your cravings lead the way. The neighborhood is full of cuisine options and is a great place to go and try new foods.

15. NBC studio tour

things to do in manhattan nbc

Touring NBC Studios is one of the best things to do in Manhattan if you are a television fan. The studio is where shows like The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, The Voice, and America’s Got Talent are filmed.

Tour highlights include a 4k short film introduction in a specialized theater room and a visit to at least two studios. The tour also stops by a special studio where you can have a go at creating your own show.

For those interested in television production or an avid fan of one of the studio’s shows, an NBC studio tour is a fun thing to do in Manhattan.

16. St Patrick’s Cathedral

You don’t have to venture to Ireland to celebrate St Patrick. St Patrick Cathedral was constructed in 1878 and dedicated to the patron saint of Ireland as a nod to the number of Irish immigrants joining the Manhattan community.

Thanks to its neo-Gothic architectural design, St Patrick’s Cathedral is a major attraction in Manhattan. The cathedral is also known because of its famous marriages and funerals. St Patrick’s Cathedral has a crypt where a select few figures are laid to rest. The first bishop of New York, John Connolly, is resting at the cathedral’s crypt, as is Thomas Eckert (Abraham Lincoln’s advisor).

Visitors can take tours of the cathedral interior and the crypt. You should allow an hour or two to appreciate the entire cathedral and aim to visit on a rainy day.

17. Brooklyn Bridge

things to do in manhattan brooklyn bridge

The East River splits the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan. But, in 1883, Brooklyn Bridge was completed as a way to join the two boroughs.

When visiting Manhattan, you should definitely walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. You’ll get unmatched skyline views and walk along one of the most famed landmarks in New York City. Walking the Bridge is even more impressive at sunrise or sunset – which is worth setting your alarm to watch in style.

The walk takes around an hour if you walk leisurely and stop to take lots of photos. It is an excellent way to incorporate a day trip to Brooklyn into your Manhattan itinerary, or you can just reach the end of Brooklyn Bridge and head straight back to Manhattan.

18. Whitney Museum of American Art

Contemporary art lovers, you are going to love the Big Apple. New York City is packed with art galleries. However, we think that the Whitney Museum of American Art is the best.

The gallery features works by Edward Hopper, Jacob Lawrence, and Georgia O’Keeffe. Most works come from the 20th century, and the artists take an active role in their exhibitions, as the majority are still alive and creating.

For a fresh, up-to-date experience of art in Manhattan, the Whitney Museum is the place to go.

19. New York Public Library

Whether you want to read, research, or just explore the interior, visiting New York Public Library is one of the best things to do in Manhattan.

As we’ve previously said, it is next to Bryant Park and is a great rainy day activity in Manhattan. The library is home to extensive collections and numerous famous rooms. The most popular room to visit is the Rose Main Reading Room, which features ceiling murals of skies and clouds.

Anybody can study in New York’s public library. But for select rooms like the Reading Room, you must take a guided tour when visiting ‘just take a look’.

20. American Museum of Natural History

things to do in manhattan museum of natural history

The American Museum of Natural History is another of Manhattan’s major attractions. The museum explores various topics – from dinosaurs to human biology and outer space. You could be passing a skeleton of a triceratops one moment and a stuffed elephant the next.

If you want educational things to do in Manhattan, this museum is one of your best choices. The standard of exhibits is also extremely impressive, and you can spend at least half a day walking through the different floors. The museum is the largest natural history museum in the world, so take your time and pace yourself. The New York Pass gives access to New York Museums and attractions. If you plan to go into a lot of museums, it is a great option.

21. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC

As we said, there are a lot of art galleries and museums in New York City. But if you want a wide range of ancient and contemporary pieces, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is your best choice.

Rather than just featuring trending recent artists or artists from the 20th century, the museum has a broad art collection. You’ll find anything from a Samurai Sword exhibit to an exhibit displaying a collection of baseball cards.

For those who want a gallery experience in New York but aren’t huge art enthusiasts, the Metropolitan Museum is also a good option. The variety of art means there are more likely to be pieces that catch your interest. The ancient art also gives a historical element to the gallery.

22. Watch a basketball game

Madison Square Gardens

See if there are any basketball games scheduled while you are visiting Manhattan. New York’s team is the New York Knicks, and their home ground is Madison Square Garden.

As we’ve said, Madison Square is a great place to visit, and the atmosphere is perfect for large-scale events. However, a basketball game in New York City is an attraction in its own right.

International visitors should know that the United States takes its basketball very seriously. A basketball game is fast and exciting to watch, plus the ideal introduction to Manhattan’s sporting culture.

23. Choose from the Hudson River boat tours

The Best Views in New York City

A Hudson River boat tour is one of the best ways to get a taster of the Manhattan attractions and landmarks.

You can catch a boat from New York Harbor and explore a lot of New York City by water. Longer boat tours can cover all five boroughs and take you on a full-day trip around New York City. You can also get express tours that take you quickly to a specific attraction, like Liberty Island.

If you want more freedom with your itinerary, we suggest a hop-on, hop-off boat tour. The most popular hop-on, hop-off boats are bright yellow water taxis, so you can’t miss them.

24. Times Square

things to do in manhattan times square

Times Square is the face of New York City. Full of bright lights, billboards, and constant buzz, it is the best place to visit in Manhattan to experience New York City’s commercialism. It is also a favorite spot for tourist photoshoots.

Times Square is a little cheesy, and you can expect to see lots of street performers in costumes charging money for photos. Visiting is signing yourself up for sensory overload, so give yourself a chance to sit down, people watch, and take the atmosphere in.

25. Battery Park

NYC Itinerary Battery Park

Our final park on this list is Battery Park. Located right next to New York City Harbor, this 25-acre park is one of the most popular green spaces in Manhattan and wider New York.

So, why visit? The park is home to a 19th-century fort which is perfect for history enthusiasts. The fort is called Castle Clinton and was actually America’s first immigration station, operating before Ellis Island was brought to use.

The park is a great choice if you want a Manhattan park with history. You could easily spend half a day exploring its grounds.

26. New Victory Theater

Our final recommendation of things to do in Manhattan is for visitors with children. Head straight to New Victory Theater in the Theater District for child-centered entertainment.

The theater aims its schedule and performances entirely at children. From child-friendly show times to engaging, relatable characters, this theater guarantees a fun event. Asking children to sit through a 90-minute Broadway show might be a bit ambitious. However, this theater provides a great alternative. Families, note it down.

How to get to Manhattan

Charging Bull on Wall Street New York City

The best way to get to Manhattan is to fly unless you live a short drive away or are planning a road trip.

Getting from New York airports to Manhattan is also very easy. You can reach Manhattan by public transport from all three of New York City’s airports, although John F. Kennedy airport is the most popular and straightforward. From JFK, you simply jump on the AirTrain and switch to the Long Island Railroad or Subway for the final leg of your trip.

Getting around Manhattan

how to get to the statue of liberty

We suggest following the local lead and using the subway when getting around Manhattan. Not only is using the subway in New York City a rite of passage, but it is also much cheaper than using taxis or Uber. The subway system is so well-connected that it is usually much quicker than getting stuck in traffic as well.

You will probably find that you can walk between many attractions too, especially if you choose an accommodation location wisely. While, for a novel way to get around Manhattan, you can always catch a water taxi.

If you want to see a lot of sights, The New York Pass includes the Hop on Hop off Bus and offers skip the line admission to many of Manhattan’s top attractions. See more details here.

The best time to visit Manhattan

DUMBO New York City manhattan skyline

Manhattan is wonderful all year round. In late spring and summer, you’ll benefit from warmer weather to enjoy the parks and green space. In fall, the borough turns beautiful, with autumnal leaves creating a different city aesthetic.

However, we think Christmas in New York is the most magical time to visit Manhattan. Many of our attractions listed have notable events in the festive period, and you’ll find ice rinks and Christmas trees all over the neighborhood.

Where to stay in Manhattan

Historic Places in New York city

You can read our detailed guide on the best places to stay in New York here. If you get the chance, you should carefully research and consider which locations in Manhattan are best for you. Location is often more important than the hotel itself, although you should always look for properties with high reviews.

In a rush? These are our quickfire recommendations on where to stay in Manhattan.

To conclude

911 Memorial Museum New York City

Manhattan is a fantastic borough to visit in New York City. It has endless things to do and see, and you can benefit from classic landmarks and attractions on your doorstep.

Architecturally, culturally, and historically, Manhattan is one of the best boroughs in New York. We hope that you feel inspired and excited about your upcoming trip.

When you think of New York, Manhattan is usually the first borough that springs to mind. There are endless things to do in Manhattan, and the borough has celebrity status. If you want to be entertained day and night, you have made a great choice by choosing to visit Manhattan.

Manhattan represents everything that visitors love about the Big Apple. It has classic landmarks like the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Grand Central Station, and Central Park. Manhattan attractions are equally famous. You’ll find plenty of museums and art galleries spread across Downtown Manhattan.

So, let’s delve into the things to do in Manhattan that you can’t miss when visiting. Whether it is your hundredth or first time visiting New York, these are the absolute best things to do in Manhattan.


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