101 things to do in New York: Your essential guide to Gotham

Discover what every local needs to tick off their NYC checklist in our roundup of the coolest and most quintessential things to do in New York.



Add +
  • 101 best things to do in New York City

    61. Attend a live taping of Late Show with David Letterman

  • 101 best things to do in New York City

    62. Attend a live taping of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

  • Photograph: Nadia Chaudhury

    101 best things to do in New York City

    63. Commune with other bibliophiles at an indie bookstore

  • 101 best things to do in New York City

    64. Burn up the dance floor at Cielo

  • Photograph: Urbankayaker

    101 best things to do in New York City

    65. Nosh on a knish

  • Photograph: Donald Yip

    101 best things to do in New York City

    66. Escape urban life on Governors Island

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    101 best things to do in New York City

    67. Cheer on the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center

  • Photograph: Phyllis B. Dooney

    101 best things to do in New York City

    68. Cheer on the Knicks at MSG

  • Photograph: Dominick Totino

    101 best things to do in New York City

    69. Cheer on the Mets at Citi Field

  • Photograph: Courtesy New York Yankees

    101 best things to do in New York City

    70. Cheer on the Yankees in the Bronx

101 best things to do in New York City

61. Attend a live taping of Late Show with David Letterman

David Letterman

Attend a live taping of Late Show with David Letterman

The veteran host began cracking up studio audiences in 1982, and folks have been chasing down the show’s notoriously hard-to-get tickets ever since. You can try your luck filling out a request form online from three months out till the day of the show, or request same-week and—on weekdays—same-day tickets in person at the studio (Mon–Thu 9:30am–noon; Sat, Sun 10am–6pm). Desperados can call the standby phone line at 11am on the day of a taping; they’ll be assigned a number and studio arrival time, but will be admitted only if any seats remain after regular ticket holders have entered. 212-247-6497, lateshowaudience.com. Must be 18 or older.

  1. 1697 Broadway between 53rd and 54th Sts
  2. Mon–Wed 4:30pm; Thu 3:30, 6pm
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1999--present)

…or The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Stewart’s absurdist, satire-soaked news-humor has helped make this show Comedy Central’s longest-running program. Check the site often for periodic ticket releases, but be aware that tapings are always overbooked, so admission is not guaranteed. Confirmed seats are allotted to ticket holders on a first-come, first-served basis from 2:30pm on the day of taping; given the popularity of the show, we’d advise turning up very early. thedailyshow.com/tickets. Must be 18 or older.

  1. 733 Eleventh Ave between 51st and 52nd Sts
  2. Mon–Thu 6pm
Stand Book Store's Books by the Foot program

Commune with other bibliophiles at an indie bookstore

Pick up a new book to read (a real one!) on your commute at one of the city’s many literary emporiums. The Strand (828 Broadway at 12th St; 212-473-1452, strandbooks.com) is a favorite for its endless array of discount tomes—okay, 18 miles worth, but at that point, who’s counting?—while we’re fans of WORD (126 Franklin St at Milton St, Greenpoint, Brooklyn; 718-383-0096, wordbrooklyn.com) for its homey feel and diverse events calendar.


Burn up the dance floor at Cielo

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Don’t hold the fact that it’s in the B&T-heavy Meatpacking District against it—Cielo’s a perennial go-to for those with a passion for top-shelf dance music, and has been for ten years. The ingredients are simple: a gorgeous, welcoming interior with mirror balls strung overhead; a beautifully warm yet crystal-clear Funktion-One sound system; and a housecentric (but far-ranging) DJ lineup. Swing by to check out François K’s weekly Monday-night Deep Space shindig, Louie Vega and Kevin Hedge’s Roots bash on Wednesdays, and the semiregular Dance.Here.Now party.

  1. 18 Little W 12th St, (between Ninth Ave and Washington St)
More info
65. Nosh on a knish

Nosh on a knish

A Lower East Side staple since 1910, Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery still churns out some of the city’s tastiest versions of this dense Jewish pastry. If the classic potato doesn’t tempt you, go for one of Schimmel’s variations, which include spinach, kasha, vegetable and mushroom. 212-477-2858, knishery.com

  1. 137 E Houston St between Forsyth and Eldridge Sts

Escape urban life on Governors Island

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Since reopening to the public in 2005, this former military base has provided safe harbor on summer weekends for city-weary New Yorkers. Hop a free ferry from the Battery Maritime Building in lower Manhattan or from Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park and alight for leisurely strolls or bike rides, art installations and minigolf courtesy of nonprofit Figment, plus concerts and parties at the sandy bar Beach on Governors Island, food tastings and the annual Jazz Age Lawn Party series. At some point during the 2013 season, the completion of the first phase of a redevelopment will open large swathes of the island to visitors, including a Hammock Grove, playfields and a newly landscaped south side.

  1. Governors Island
More info

Cheer on the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center

  • Critics choice

Brooook-lyyyn. Brooook-lyyyn. That’s the elongated chant you’ll hear in the Barclays Center when the borough’s only major-league sports team goes on a run. And there have been plenty of opportunities to hear it this year, with the Nets—led by the all-star-caliber trio of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez—doing respectably well in the 2012–13 season. Follow the Nets on Twitter and Facebook for last-minute promo codes to snag $15 tickets. brooklynnets.com

  1. 620 Atlantic Ave, (at Flatbush Ave)
Book online

…or the Knicks at MSG

You may have visited the storied Madison Square Garden to see a concert, but avoided the woeful basketball team as it went through successive seasons of sucking since its ’90s heyday. But hell, we’re winning again! (And just as the Nets were hoping to welcome disaffected Knicks fans.) Expect to pay a pretty penny: A multiyear renovation of the interior has pushed ticket prices up, but it’s worth it to say you watched Melo & Co. in the iconic arena.

  1. 4 Pennsylvania Plaza (Seventh Ave), (between 31st and 33rd Sts)
Book online

…or the Mets at Citi Field

  • Critics choice

While they haven’t been as successful as their Bronx rivals in recent years, the Mets can certainly be happy about their newish stadium, which opened in 2009. With great sight lines, fun activities for kids, and a prodigious selection of food and booze (including Shake Shack—with the traditionally long line—and Blue Smoke outposts), even those with the barest interest in the game will enjoy themselves. During the 2012 season, the Amazin’s brought in the outfield walls by a few feet to eke a few more long balls out of the notoriously pitcher-friendly park. The result? An additional 45 dingers sent to souvenir city. mets.com

  1. Roosevelt Ave, (at 126th St)
More info

…or the Yankees in the Bronx

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

There’s something to be said for doggedly supporting a perennially losing team. But there are also good reasons for hopping onto a winning bandwagon—mostly the euphoria of victory. You’ll find that in spades at the Yankees’ schmancy stadium. The Bombers’ current field opened in 2009 to much fanfare, and stands opposite the now-flattened original. It may not be the House That Ruth Built, but many elements of the new arena—the limestone exterior, the gatelike frieze around the top—mimic the old, plus wider seats, more leg room and cup holders at every seat, and a high-def scoreboard are noticeable improvements. You’ll also find sushi and a steakhouse (along with more-standard fare, like Brother Jimmy’s BBQ and Tommy Bahama) among the concessions. newyork.yankees.mlb.com

  1. 1 E 161st St, (between Jerome and River Aves)
Book online

Users say

Cesar marin
Cesar marin

I love your 101 things to do in ny city, you are missing a couple of good ones like, Chelsea market, eataly at 23rd and 5th ave, go for a bike ride , run in the Hudson River park , Central Park , Kite fly ad the Hudson River park, Sunset under the Brooklyn bridge, cup cakes at magnolias bakery etc, etc.


This is great!! I've used loads, I also found a little gem called The Moth! They host weekly events around the city. If you go on their website. I'm new to the city and met lots of people there. Had a very fun night!!

Events calendar for New York City

  1. Holiday Under the...

    Take a break from Christmas shopping and check out...

  2. Christmas Lights...

    The maxim "a little goes a long way" is not one Dy...

  3. Columbus Circle...

    This annual holiday bazaar, run by the people behi...

391 more events »