If you're headed to New York City for the first time, you've probably been dreaming about the city's big lights and towering skyline. You can never run out of things to do in the city that never sleeps, but you won't want to leave without seeing New York's biggest and best attractions.
Start off in Times Square, where the towering billboards and neon lights make it impossible to forget you're in one of the biggest cities in the world. There's a reason nearly 40 million tourists visit Times Square every year. Next, you can admire the world-famous New York skyline from the top of one of its iconic midtown skyscrapers. Both the Empire State Building and 30 Rockefeller Centeroffer breathtaking views of the city below, and if the view from the top isn't enough, the Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise will show you all around the city with unobstructed views from the water.
Once you've seen the city from all angles, pay your respects at the 9/11 Memorial and see New York's newest-and tallest-skyscraper, One World Trade Center, then venture out the city's most enduring symbol of freedom, the Statue of Liberty. The Battery Park Ferryoffers service from Battery Park to Ellis Island. If you haven't had enough of beautiful views, include a trip up to the crown in your tour of Lady Liberty.
The New York City subway system makes it easy to get around, even for visitors who don't know the city like the back of their hand. If you make it to only one subway stop, make it Grand Central Terminal. Grand Central isn't just an important subway and rail hub-it's an architectural gem. Visit the main concourse to see the famous astronomical ceiling mural.
New York City is a global hotspot for the arts, so you'll want to sample some of the world-class cultural experiences the city has to offer. The Metropolitan Museum of Art houses one of the world's most impressive art collections, containing more than two million works from antiquity to today. The nearby Guggenheim Museum specializes in art from the 19th century on, and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building is a work of art in itself. Both museums are located along "Museum Mile" on Fifth Avenue, along with seven other institutions.
Of course, you can't miss seeing the stars on Broadway. Tickets to big-name Broadway shows can be bought months in advance, or you can wait to get discounted, last minute tickets at one of the TKTS booths with locations in Times Square, South Street Seaport and Brooklyn. Don't forget to check out what's playing off-Broadway; you could have the chance to see the next great show before it hits the big time.
When you're ready for a short break from the hustle and bustle of the city, get back to nature in Central Park. You'll find some of the best photo opportunities along the mall, including the Literary Walk andBethesda Fountain, but don't forget to explore the other side of the lake and theRamble, where the natural beauty of the un-manicured woodlands will make forget you're in the middle of one of the world's largest cities. Venture far enough and you'll catch a glimpse of historicBelvedere Castle perched on top of Vista Rock.