Blake Walsh

35 Best Things to Do in New York City, NY

  • Published 2023/01/28

New York City attracts millions of tourists from around the world for good reasons.

For one, the city teems with numerous attractions, including museums, parks, coffee shops, bars, hotels, and restaurants.

Here, you can bike around the city, visit bookshops, and go shopping at Time Square, among many others.

Indeed, New York City is perfect for all sorts of visitors.

Interested to know more about this bustling place?

Here are the 35 best things to do in New York City, New York:

Take a Walk through Central Park

Central Park

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Nothing else feels more like New York than a hearty day spent at Central Park, often considered the city’s heart.

You can spend an entire day here by indulging in activities such as Yoga classes, biking, running, and strolling around the massive lush green area.

Boating at Central Park

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During summer, you can enjoy Shakespeare in the park plays, concerts, and open-air film concerts at night.

There is something for everyone here, from fitness enthusiasts to romantic couples.

Indeed, Central Park never disappoints.

Kids playing at Central Park

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Visit the Beaches at Coney Island

Rides at Coney Island

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A visit to Coney Island will rejuvenate your soul because of its sandy beaches, charming restaurants, and vibrant atmosphere.

The island is located in the South Western part of Brooklyn, a city borough.

The famous Luna Park opens every year in April.

Crowd enjoying their day on the beach at Coney Island

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The legendary amusement park started in 1903 and includes rides such as the B & B Carousel, Thunderbolt, and the Cyclone Rollercoaster.

Don’t forget to try the classic hot dogs from Nathan’s.

Shops at Coney Island

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Cross the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

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The Brooklyn Bridge was constructed in 1883 and connected lower Manhattan with Brooklyn.

View of the Brooklyn Bridge

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A landmark site constantly featured in Hollywood movies is eternally congested with tourists from all over the world.

Here, you’ll see the breathtaking views of the city and the East River.

Night view of Brooklyn Bridge

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Pay Your Respects at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum

9/11 Memorial and Museum

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An oasis of white oak trees surrounds the site of the World trade center, which now remains hollow.

9/11 Memorial and Museum was opened to the public on the tenth anniversary of the attacks and contained artifacts from the towers, recordings of the survivors and first responders, and photos of more than 2,000 victims.

View of 911 Memorial and Museum

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Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Metropolitan Museum of Artis, more famously known as the MET, is the location for the ultra-glamorous MET Gala event.

The museum was started in the 19th century and has since been able to curate a remarkable collection that includes Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Leonardo Da Vinci, Islamic art, and sculptures from Europe, Greece, and Rome.

Exterior view of Metropolitan Museum of Art

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The biggest crowd-puller of the MET is the costume institute founded in 1946, which houses designers such as Gianni Versace, Chanel, and Yves Saint Laurent.

Interior view of Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Marvel at the Statue of Liberty

Closer view of Statue of Liberty

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The towering and majestic presence of the Statue of Liberty signifies the friendship between America and France.

The Statue of Liberty stands 305 feet tall, and the torch is 29 feet tall.

View of Statue of Liberty

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You can either enjoy a clear view of the national monument from a ferry or buy a ticket to climb the stairs to the statue’s pedestal and access the balcony.

A visitor can also learn more about the statue’s history at the museum and later grab a bite at the cafeteria.

Bird's eye view of Statue of Liberty

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Grab a Bite at the Queens Night Market

Queens Night Market

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Queens Night Market is often considered a secret seasonal food festival that pays homage to cuisines from all over Asia.

The market is located in New York’s flushing meadows, Corona Park, and espouses contagious energy and salivating smells.

You can gorge on Egyptian washi, Indian masala noodles, cheese donuts, and shark sandwiches.

This is a diverse space created to represent the communities living in New York and is a must-visit on every visitor’s list.

Admire the Art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim Museum

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Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is located on fifth avenue street in New York.

It was established in 1939 under the patronage of a wealthy miner named Solomon Guggenheim, who had collected impressive artwork throughout his life.

Visitors looking at the exhibition at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

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The museum is one of the most visited ever and houses collections by Paul Cezanne, Franz Marc, and Ernst Ludwig.

The museum mainly specializes in post-impressionist, modern, and contemporary art.

Shop at Smorgasburg


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A foodie in New York is like a child in a candy shop because the number of options available never stops delighting you.

One such option is an open-air food market called Smorgasburg that takes place in Brooklyn, New York, and offers a delicious taste of the city.

Bolivian Sliders at Smorgasburg

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The stalls here include pizza moto specializing in brick oven pizza, lobsterdamus, Himalayan horizon, bread and monkey, frico Italia and big mozz.

Dining area at Smorgasburg

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Buy Some Books at the Mysterious Bookshop

Exterior view of Mysterious Bookshop

Charleswallacep, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Mysterious Bookshop was started by a book editor named Otto Penzler in 1979 and has become the world’s oldest and largest bookshop dedicated to crime fiction and thriller novels.

The average-sized bookshop holds mainstream hits and copies of popular books, but if scourged well, you can find some lesser-known gems.

To add to the store’s intrigue, a door is taped with yellow police tape attached.

You may be exalted to find significant manuscripts, first editions, and anthologies.

Travel Back in Time at the Tenement Museum

Street view of Tenement Museum

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In the 19th and 20th centuries, there was a surge of immigrants coming to America for a safer and better life from all over the world.

The Tenement Museum attempts to showcase their struggles and experiences.

View of Tenement Museum

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Here, you can visit historically restored apartments of immigrants to see how they lived and hear untold stories of their lives.

You will also become familiar with their lifestyle, music, food, and politics and visit lesser-known areas in the lower East side.

Get Serenaded at the Carnegie Hall

Outside view of Carnegie Hall

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The philanthropist and business mogul of the 19th century Andrew Carnegie is responsible for constructing one of the world’s largest and most renowned concert halls in Midtown Manhattan.

Carnegie Hall was opened to the public in 1891, and with its regal golden and red-hued interiors, it has become a landmark.

Facade of Carnegie Hall

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Many musical icons and legends have performed here, such as the Beatles, rolling stones, Tina Turner, and Led Zeppelin.

There are three auditoriums within its premises with a total seating capacity of more than 3,000.

Try Lexington Candy Shop’s Creamy Milkshakes

Lexington Candy Shop was opened in 1925 and is the city’s oldest family-owned restaurant.

The last renovation it experienced was in 1948; the cafe has retained the charm of older and simpler times.

Even though it markets itself as a candy shop, it is much more than that.

The restaurant still uses its original coffee urns and machines while serving famous dishes, like egg cream, tuna melt, and creamy milkshakes.

You will be transported back in time as you step inside the cafe.

Visit the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory

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Chinatown’s oldest ice cream destination has been family-run since the year 1978.

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory has a widespread social media presence and has garnered a loyal following of people with a sweet tooth.

You can choose ice cream flavors, including almond cookies, black sesame, red bean, green tea, zen butter, pumpkin pie, and oreo cookie, among many others.

Have Fun at Pier 54

Pier 54

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Pier 54 is a quieter and lesser-known area that holds in its heart the history of an unfortunate disaster.

This was the same pier where the Carpathia ship carrying the Titanic survivors first arrived in New York City.

Though the site is withering away, it still has a tranquillity rarely found anywhere else in the city.

People strolling around the Pier 54

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Explore The Met Cloisters

the Met Cloisters

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The Met Cloisters comes under the purview of the metropolitan art museum but is situated in a different geographic location than its parent museum.

A cloister generally means a covered walkway famous in France, and this museum specializes in European medieval architecture.

Corridor at Met Cloisters

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Four cloisters here include the Cuxa, the Bonnefort, the St. Guilhem, and the Trie, excavated from France and rebuilt in the States.

This is a lesser-known tourist spot in New York and makes visitors feel as though they have entered a European monastery, not a museum.

Stunning interior view of Met Cloisters

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Breathe in Fresh Air at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Scenic view of Brooklyn Botanic Garden

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Brooklyn Botanic Garden is a welcome change from the city’s dust-ridden streets, as this 52-acre oasis will mesmerize you.

Here, you’ll see the Japanese Garden, where you can marvel at River Turtles and step into a fairyland during the cherry blossom festival in April and May.

Christmas decorations at Brooklyn Botanic Garden

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There is also a Discovery Garden where you can enjoy family-related activities and participate in interactive programs.

The scenic walking trail and the diversity of plant life make this botanical garden the perfect getaway from the city.

Plants at  Brooklyn Botanic Garden

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Feel the Magic at Times Square

Times Square

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Times Square is situated in Midtown Manhattan and is easily the city’s most recognizable landmark.

Here, you can simply stand among the tourists and stare at the shining billboards and twinkling lights.

Night view of Times Square

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You can visit Madame Tussauds, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Bryant Park, and the Ocean Odyssey.

There are multitudes of restaurants to choose from, such as shake shack, chipotle, John’s pizzeria, and piccolo cafe.

View of Times Square

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Explore The Museum of Modern Art

MOMA New York

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The Museum of Modern Art started in the year 1929 and has since become a beacon for the preservation of contemporary art in all its sacred and sometimes otherworldly forms.

The museum contains works of architecture, design, painting, sculpture, films, and photographs.

Entrance to Museum of Modern Art

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It showcases some of the most influential artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, such as Pablo Picasso, Diane Arbus, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Vincent Van Gogh, and Andrew Wyeth.

The artworks will move you, the photographs will haunt you, and the collection of books will leave you inspired.

Exhibits at Museum of Modern Art

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Eat Pasta in Little Italy

Little Italy

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Little Italy is where Italian immigrants first settled in the city, and this is the reason for the area’s rustic quality.

Little Italy has some of the best restaurants in New York, including Rubirosa, Parm, and Grotto Azzurra.

People enjoying their food at Little Italy

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Another shop that sells vintage prayer cards and other souvenirs is the Rossi E and Company, as well as the Italian American Museum, where you can learn about the immigrants’ detailed history and lifestyle.

The constant smell of pizza and a feeling of unbridled joy are the hallmarks of Little Italy.

Chef preparing food at Little Italy

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Wander around at Soho


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SoHo stands for ‘South of Houston street’ and is considered the most high-end shopping area in New York City.

You can visit the MOMA design store to pick a perfect gift from a collection of contemporary art sold at affordable prices.

Street view of Soho

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If you want to enjoy the perfect combination of a unique book with a cup of coffee, you should visit the Housing Works Bookstore CAFE, and if you’re looking to shop for some vintage clothes, then you should visit What Goes Around Comes Around.

Residential building at Soho

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Visit an Urban Garden at The High Line

High Line

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The High Line is a linear freight line constructed over a former New York railroad.

The elevated walkway has been transformed into an urban garden with plants and grass surfaces, making it a great place to escape from the concrete roads of the city.

The High Line was opened in 2009 on Manhattan’s West Side and is seen as an environmental revolution in the chaotic atmosphere of the surrounding areas.

Beautiful flowers at High Line

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Here, you can also visit a souvenir shop to purchase t-shirts, handkerchiefs, and other artwork.

The line also hosts special events and showcases public art while continuing to plant seasonal flowers.

People strolling around the High Line

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See the New York City from the Top of the Empire State Building

View of Empire State Building

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Empire State Building is the most important tourist spot in New York City.

A visit to this city will be incomplete without going to the top of the 102-story skyscraper in midtown Manhattan.

The construction of this building was completed in the year 1931 and had subsequently become the world’s 45th-tallest building.

Information desk at Empire State Building

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The observation decks of the building show marvelous sights of the city, especially at night when the city looks magical.

Empire State Building is also known for putting up light shows for special events, such as memorials and holidays.

View from the Empire State Building

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Experience the Serenity at Union Square Park

Union Square Park

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Union Square Park has been a constant fixture on the news because it is the center point for political demonstrations and rallies.

It is also a meeting point of cultures and a tourist-occupied street filled with buskers and skateboarders.

View of Union Square Park

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Four times a week, the area hosts the Union Square Green Market, an ideal space for exploring the food space of the city.

There are also ordinary people dressed up as famous personalities, such as President George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Mahatma Gandhi.

Moreover, you can stroll around and admire the eccentricities of the area.

View of Union Square Green Market

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Visit Brooklyn Heights

Brooklyn Heights

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Brooklyn Heights is a highly sophisticated and stylish neighborhood of the city, and a walk across the area is sure to result in a day well spent.

While walking around, you will encounter beautiful architecture and picture-perfect spots for your feed.

You’ll also learn about the area’s history, dating back to the late 19th century.

Houses at Brooklyn Heights

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You can also visit the New York Transit Museum, which contains old subway trains and other memorabilia.

Most importantly, it would be best to eat at restaurants here, such as River Deli and Damascus bakery.

View of Brooklyn Heights

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Enjoy the Views From the Staten Island Ferry

Staten Island Ferry

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Staten Island Ferry takes visitors from New York City to the boroughs of Manhattan and Staten Island in approximately 25 minutes through the New York harbor.

People enjoying the view from Staten Island Ferry

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The ferry takes more than 70,000 passengers each day and is famous among tourists and locals due to the breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and the calming breeze of the harbor.

The ferry has been featured in famous films, such as Working Girl, and I love Lucy.

Close up of a Staten Island Ferry

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Enjoy a Show at Apollo Theater

Entrance to Apollo Theater

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The renowned Apollo is essential in developing up-and-coming musicians and establishing legends.

Since its inception, Apollo has been a hub for creativity and innovation.

It still serves as a lighthouse for the arts in Modern America and is currently a non-profit commissioner and producer of diverse performing arts.

Exterior view of Apollo Theater

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Jazz, swing, R&B, gospel, and blues—all distinctly American music genres—were all greatly influenced by the Apollo.

The Apollo Theater is an excellent location for events, including concerts, fashion shows, television productions, and photo shoots.

Performance at Apollo Theater

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Adore the Animal at Bronx Zoo

Entrance to Bronx Zoo


The wildlife conservation society’s signature park, the Bronx Zoo, debuted on November 8, 1899.

Since then, the zoo in the middle of The Bronx has given city inhabitants a unique view into the wild world and acts as a launchpad and center for conservation initiatives worldwide.

Gorilla at Bronx Zoo

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With a total area of more than 265 acres, the Bronx Zoo offers several possibilities for interacting with the animals you adore.

More than 700 different species of animals live there, totaling over 10,000.

They have you covered whether you want to observe the bison as they graze or listen to the professionals during a keeper discussion.

Cheetah at Bronx Zoo

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Participate in a Tour at the American Museum of Natural History

Exterior view of American Museum of Natural History

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One of the world’s leading institutions for science and culture, the American Museum of Natural History was established in 1869.

It is recognized for its scientific collections and displays, which guide the rest of the world and provide a snapshot of the many civilizations found there.

For a memorable New York experience, host your upcoming celebration at the American Museum of Natural History.

Entrance to American Museum of Natural History

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Its renowned halls and distinctive architectural features provide a variety of fascinating locations for your upcoming occasion.

Give your visitors a personalized tour of the permanent Museum halls and special exhibits.

View the most recent temporary exhibit or walk through galleries filled with enormous Mesozoic mega-predators—without the crowds.

Skeleton of a dinosaur kept for display at American Museum of Natural History

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Admire the Views at One World Observatory

Exterior view of One World Trade Centre

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Take your senses to the next level with One World Observatory!

View the New York City skyline from the top spot in the city, more than 100 stories above the streets.

From the luxury of an indoor, climate-controlled area, enjoy stunning 360-degree sights.

Check out the Horizon Grid, a multimedia extravaganza that highlights the notable events, well-known people, and recognizable locations that can be seen from One World Observatory.

It has a magnificent display that is driven by 145 screens.

Visitors at One World Observatory

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Be sure to eat at one of their renowned restaurants when you go.

The New York-inspired meals will enhance your dining experience and motivate you to lift your glass a bit higher.

Pop in for a beverage, a quick nibble, or a gourmet dinner.

View of One World Observatory

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View the Exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art

Exterior view of Whitney Museum of American Art

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The twentieth-century and modern American art are on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art, emphasizing works by artists.

Whitney’s new structure, created by architect Renzo Piano is situated between the High Line and the Hudson River, significantly expanding the Museum’s display and programming space.

Entrance to Whitney Museum of American Art

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It offers the most comprehensive perspective of its unparalleled modern and fresh American art collection.

The Whitney is devoted to maintaining, gathering, interpreting, and showing American art.

The Biennial, the Museum’s premier exhibition, is the top country’s assessment of current trends in American art.

Rooftop of Whitney Museum of American Art


Other Things to Do Nearby

Watch a Film at Nitehawk Cinema

Exterior view of Nitehawk Cinema

Morgan695, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nitehawk Cinema is a one-of-a-kind movie theatre with vast options for snacks and beverages, and the quality is higher than the ordinary cinema halls.

The interior of Nitehawk Cinema is spaced out, with comfortable seats.

There is a bar where you can purchase beer, whiskey, and wine.

The food items available here include hummus, fish tacos, tater tots, caramel popcorn, and kale salad.

The movie-watching experience is elevated further by the humorous commercials and witty sketches played before the movie starts.

Dine at Enoteca Maria

Enoteca Maria is a restaurant on Staten Island that employs grandmothers from around the world instead of professional chefs.

This is a one-of-a-kind venture rarely found in any other part of the world.

Here, calories are just a number because grandmothers make sure you leave nothing on the plate.

Final Thoughts

New York City is among the world’s most populous and prominent cities.

In addition to its historical past, well-known sites, museums, and theaters, the biggest city in the country offer a lot more.

You won’t just be amazed by New York City’s towering buildings and landmarks; you’ll also be astounded by its thriving arts, cuisine, fashion, and nightlife.

Make a checklist of everything you want to do for the best and most memorable vacation of your life.

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