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The Big Apple headlines many vacation itineraries, especially among those who didn’t grow up on the northeast coast. There’s a good reason that a visit to New York ranks highly on many bucket lists. There are tons to do and see in the city that never sleeps.
From award-winning shows to masterpieces of visual art you can’t find anywhere else in the world, the Big Apple caters to cultured tastes. However, there are plenty of dive bars and not one, but two major league baseball teams to please the rugged, athletic crowd.
Where should you go when you save up the money to check off this item? Here’s your guide to nine destinations that belong on every New York bucket list.
1. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
When you gaze up at the sheer size of today’s museum, it’s hard to believe that at one time, the entire collection fits inside what is now the Robert Lehman wing amid a flurry of others. Today, this imposing building’s size makes sense, as it houses over 2,600 original art pieces.
There’s something here for everyone, including the world’s oldest piano. It’s also a mecca for fashionistas, featuring clothing and accessories spanning five continents and seven centuries. History buffs can spend time in an Egyptian pyramid or an Italian villa overlooking the ancient city of Pompeii before Vesuvius erupted.
2. The Statue of Liberty
What New York bucket list is complete without a visit to the Statue of Liberty? This symbol of freedom was a gift from France and now welcomes newcomers to the nation via Ellis Island.
The statue takes its name from the goddess it depicts, Libertas, who represented freedom. Be careful where you wave that umbrella if you visit on a rainy day. This attraction sees 600 lightning strikes yearly — but the towering torch should divert the bolt.
3. The Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art, or MOMA as it is called colloquially, is perhaps the second most well-known museum in the Big Apple, attracting aficionados from around the globe. Here, you’ll find Vincent Van Gogh’s famous “Starry Night” painting and other favorite pieces, such as Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s soup can.
Nor is visual art your only treat when you visit MOMA. The center also features performances and sculptures. The MOMA library houses over 300,000 books — that room alone is worth whiling away a pleasant afternoon.
4. The Empire State Building
It’s so iconic you’ll find it in famous movies ever since Fay Wray graced the silver screen in the original “King Kong.” It’s been in countless films since, including romantic classics like “An Affair to Remember” and “Sleepless in Seattle.”
You have two choices for seeing the sites from the top of the world: the 86th-floor observatory and observation deck or the big one on the 102nd floor. You’ll marvel at the Otis elevator exhibit, a ride that makes such towering buildings possible. Other Empire State Building exhibits highlight the various tenants that occupy the other floors and view stunning photography of the monument’s construction.
5. A Broadway Play
There’s nothing like seeing an authentic Broadway play. You’ll have plenty to choose from now that the theater district is back in swing. Some of the 2023 highlights include the following:
- “The Lion King”
- “The Book of Mormon”
- “The Life of Pi”
- “The Phantom of the Opera”
- “Moulin Rouge, the Musical”
6. FAO Schwarz Toy Shoppe
If you’re a fan of the “Home Alone” movies, you know that little Kevin McAllister pays a visit to the world famous FAO Schwarz toy store where he buys the turtle doves. He might have been working through his New York bucket list — this hotspot is a must-see for young and old alike.
Your children might enjoy their visit the most. Be sure to bring some extra pocket cash for them to delight themselves with a special memento of their trip. Although the original Fifth Avenue store shuttered in 2015, it was bought and reopened in Rockefeller Plaza in 2018.
7. A Yankees or Mets Game
Even if you hate the Yankees, it’s worth a trip to the stadium to catch a ball game. This venue didn’t see a no-hitter until 2022 against the Astros. Do you doubt the power of the rivalry? A construction guy buried a David Ortiz Red Sox jersey in the stadium concrete in the new ballpark’s concrete in 2008 — go Papi.
However, if you can’t get over your dislike of what’s arguably the most loved and hated team in baseball, head to Citi Field. There, you can catch a Mets game and enjoy the ballpark atmosphere without stepping into enemy territory (if you’re a Red Sox fan).
8. Central Park
Central Park spans 863 acres in the center of Manhattan — how’s that for an urban jungle? You’ll find walkways and play areas galore to delight young and old.
Pack a picnic lunch to save money before a posh dinner on the town and nosh on your trail mix by one of the park’s many fountains. Despite being larger than many counties, the park isn’t even the biggest in NYC — Van Cortland Park in the Bronx and the Staten Island Greenbelt top it in size.
9. The National 9/11 Memorial and Museum
Do you remember where you were on 9/11? If you are younger, you might not, but most people who were five or older as of 2001 have this date seared into their memories.
While the Twin Towers are no more, you can visit the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum erected on the site. You’ll need to buy tickets in advance or register for an experience tour.
New York Bucket List
Is the Big Apple on your bucket list? People from all over the world love visiting this city for its rich cultural heritage and multiple activity offerings.
Add the nine sites above to your New York bucket list. You’ll come home with a phone full of magical photographs and memories to last a lifetime.
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