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New York City vacations

Here are all the fun things to do in New York

The Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Central Park, and The Empire State Building are some of the world's most recognizable landmarks, and they can all be found in one place, New York City. Beyond the famous sights, there is so much culture and diversity to experience during your New York City vacation. Here are all the fun things to do in New York:

  • Dine at world-renowned restaurants or grab a hot dog off a street cart
  • Get tickets to the hottest Broadway show
  • Tour the endless amounts of national museums featuring famous art and other treasures
  • Take a double-decker bus tour to see the whole city in no time
  • Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for a gorgeous view of Manhattan
  • Stroll through Central Park and the Upper East Side
  • Add tickets to a Broadway Show, city tour, or museums to your vacation package for an opportunity to experience everything that The Big Apple has to offer. Book your Southwest Vacations® package to New York City today.

New York City activities

Additional information on New York City activities

There are endless things to do in New York City. This globally recognized city is home to some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks, most respected museums, and activities that will interest any visitor. Sightseeing, art museums, Broadway plays, cuisine from around the world, unparalleled fashion districts, and unique historic attractions make New York City the perfect destination for a cultural vacation package.

Start your New York City trip off with a visit to Central Park, home to Belvedere Castle and the Central Park Zoo. The park divides the Upper West Side, where you’ll find Lincoln Center and the American Museum of Natural History, and Upper East Side, where you’ll find the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim. Midtown Manhattan is home to a number of New York City's major landmarks including the Empire State Building, the United Nations Building, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Greenwich Village, the Broadway Theatre District, and Union Square. Explore the diverse and eclectic neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan, which is home to many notable historic sites and diverse neighborhoods. Visit the Statue of Liberty on historic Ellis Island. Discover cultural hotspots in Chinatown, Little Italy, SoHo, and Tribeca.

Explore the best of the city with a vacation package to New York that includes plenty of tours and activities. Take a bus tour of the city that goes to all the must-see NYC landmarks. Experience the beauty of New York at night with a night tour, and then go out on the town to experience the New York nightlife. Try to spot celebrities on a tour to popular TV and movie filming locations throughout New York City. Then, take in a memorable Broadway performance. Plan your perfect New York vacation package with Southwest Vacations.

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge

Living in the city, it can become easy to hate the Brooklyn Bridge, especially if you commute over it by bike. The camera-wearing hordes make the ride a treacherous hell. But set those feelings aside, and commit yourself to a leisurely stroll across the mighty structure, designed by John Augustus Roebling in the 19th century. It offers beautiful views of the sun setting among the boroughs, and if you walk it from Manhattan to Brooklyn, you can get a slice at Grimaldi's, in Dumbo, when you're done. You'll just have to wait some more.

Eating (and Shopping) at Eataly

A mall dedicated to the cuisine of Italy, Eataly is impressive, overwhelming, decadent, fun, and frustrating all at the same time. The sheer number of humans = not good. The sheer number of olive oil bottles = very good. Prepare yourself to strike a balance between these sorts of extremes, and you'll have a good time. Just don't get too caught up in one place, or at one stand. There are too many nooks and crannies and restaurants and counters to explore. The rooftop beer garden is also great; just know that you have to make a reservation.

Exploring Chinatown

During the summer, Chinatown is Manhattan's most fragrant neighborhood. But in winter months, the potent smell of fresh fish fades to a more subtle fragrance, which makes poking around cluttered side streets for exotic eats far more enjoyable. Get a cheap massage, pick up a knock-off for the girlfriend you're on the fence about, and eat as many mysterious Chinese ingredients as your stomach can handle. Sample candied fish bits, Durian, and sticky buns as an appetizer before heading to Wo Hop for the main event.

Walking the High Line

It's maddening that when so many people flock to NYC from other states and countries, they wind up in Times Square. The sidewalk-to-sky advertisements, the bad restaurants, the shitty stores—it presents a sickly face that reflects poorly on the city. That's why the High Line, a re-purposed section of the former elevated New York Central Railroad, is necessary. It attracts just as many tourists, meaning you'll still feel hemmed in walking above Chelsea, but instead of billboards, there's green. There are plants. Living things. It's a real urban park that won't make you hate humanity.

Eating Your Way Through the Chelsea Market

The Chelsea Market is the jam. Where else can you get some of the best coffee in the city (at Ninth Street Espresso), the best baguettes (at Amy's Bread), and pick up a great bottle of wine (at Chelsea Wine Vault) for dinner, all in the same place? From browsing in Posman's Books while snacking on brownie samples from the Fat Witch, or just basking in the intoxicating scents wafting from the specialty food boutiques, this is Holy Grail for food fanatics, and not even tourists can take that away from them.

Gawking at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Yes, it's just a large, well-lit Christmas tree. But just like how picking out the tree and decorating it as a child was a sign of the holidays, this 80-foot spruce ushers in the season for the entire city. It's a tradition, and something about seeing people skating in the rink below, surrounded by toy soldiers and 30,000 lights lit up all at once just melts some of the ice off our jaded, metropolitan hearts.

Riding the Staten Island Ferry

Overpriced "handcrafted" cocktails are cool every once in awhile. But sometimes a bottom-shelf vodka-and-cranberry aboard a boat—excuse us, a ferry—is just what the doctor ordered. Bring your parka and your scarf and mingle with tourists as you get toasted crossing the water. Enjoy an unmatched glimpse of the city's skyline and unobstructed views of the Statue of Liberty. Throw in a bag of pretzels and you've got yourself the perfect low-key afternoon.

Taking in the Chrysler Building

One of the most beautiful buildings in the skyline, William Van Allen's Chrysler Building is an Art Deco masterpiece. Your folks will want to see because it gets mentioned in Annie. You can walk them around the grand lobby, have them gawk before it from the sidewalk, and then leave them with this great story: Walter Chrysler had his office and private residence built on the top three floors, because he wanted to ensure that his toilet was the highest in New York. That way, he could "look down upon the city from his porcelain throne and shit on Henry Ford and the rest of the world." Welcome to New York, Mom and Dad.

Uncovering Secrets at the Grand Central Terminal

The Grand Central Terminal is not a mere transportation hub. It's like stepping inside a time capsule. The depressing terminal that is Penn Station doesn't hold a candle to this functional art piece. From the constellation-cloaked ceiling to the monstrous gold-plated clock, the building's architecture is trumped only by the unmatched people watching. Actually, it's a three-way tie between gawking at strangers, the fully stocked specialty food market (home to that wild, upside down crystal tree sculpture), and the whispering walls. If you don't know, now you know.