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The best New York attractions

Discover the New York attractions locals love including historical landmarks, stunning NYC parks and more

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
Written by
Charlie Allenby
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Our definitive guide to the best New York attractions is a great place to start whether you're entertaining out-of-town guests or simply want to channel your inner tourist. The list is a compilation of our favorite sights and spots in the city, including everything from great parks and art museums, to food markets and historical venues. The Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty are obviously must-see attractions, but we’ve also highlighted a few of our favorite hidden gems, such as one of NYC's greatest flea markets, Hudson Yard's Vessel and foodie haven Smorgasburg. Thirsty for more? Discover the 50 very best things to do in NYC

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The soul of the city under one roof

  • Restaurants
  • Food court
  • DUMBO
  • price 1 of 4

We really like eating around the city, and we're guessing you do, too. So lucky for all of us, we've packed all our favorite restaurants under one roof at the Time Out Market New York. The DUMBO location in Empire Stores has fried chicken from Jacob’s Pickles, Japanese comfort food from Bessou, inventive ice cream flavors from Ice & Vice and more amazing eateriesall cherry-picked by us. Chow down over two floors with views of the East River, Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline. 

Note: Time Out Market New York is currently closed but will reopen this spring.

79 best New York attractions

  • Shopping
  • Shopping centers
  • Financial District

The world’s most expensive train station, the Oculus serves the PATH train and 12 subway lines, and houses a beautiful mall inside of it. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, the exterior resembles the skeleton of a whale, has white metal-clad steel ribs that reach up and out, which symbolize a hand releasing a dove. The structure is a lasting reminder of the attacks of September 11, 2001. It is in alignment with the sun’s solar angles on each September 11, from 8:46 am, when the first plane struck, until 10:28 am, when the second tower collapsed. Its central skylight fits this alignment and washes the Oculus floor with a beam of light. The new shopping center inside has stores like the Apple Store, Aesop, Kate Spade, John Varvatos and others. Dining includes Eataly, Gansevoort Market, Wasabi Sushi & Bento and more.

  • Attractions
  • Midtown West

The highest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere has landed at Hudson Yards. Sadly, the bird's-eye attraction dubbed Edge won't be open to the public until 2020. But judging by the rendering, it appears to be worth the wait—that is, if you’re not afraid of heights. The building’s outdoor terrace takes you 65-feet into the sky making it the highest public balcony in NYC. The deck not only features panoramic views of our city’s skyline but a killer vantage point below. Brave souls can stand on a large, see-through glass floor and wave to passerby 1,100 feet beneath. Much like the Top of the Rock concept at Rockefeller Center, there’s a 10,000-square-foot bar, restaurant and event space on the 101st floor.

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  • Art
  • Art

The Frick Madison is now at 945 Madison Avenue—the former home of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Met Breuer—while Henry Clay Frick's mansion undergoes a massive renovation. This new stint will last two years, and while the Brutalist building by Marcel Breuer is a huge departure from the Gilded Age mansion, the space is offering a much different and rare look at the collection, according to museum officials. Unlike at the Frick Mansion, the Breuer building is a clean slate—stark in contrast, which actually helps to attract the viewer's attention to individual works. Eyes aren't busy looking at ornate furniture here. It's all about seeing the smaller details in the artwork that you might have overlooked at the mansion. According to Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Director Ian Wardropper, "It's a different Frick than you’ve ever known."

 

  • Sports and fitness
  • Stadiums
  • Queens
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While they haven’t been as successful as their Bronx rivals in recent years, the Mets can certainly be happy about their stadium, which opened in 2009. With great sightlines, fun activities for kids and a prodigious selection of food and booze (including Shake Shack and Blue Smoke outposts), even those with the barest interest in the game will enjoy themselves at the park, which in recent years has also doubled as a concert venue with appearances by mega-stars like Paul McCartney and Nas.

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

Floating on the Hudson River, just off the Chelsea shoreline, will soon be a 2.4-acre island oasis called Little Island for New Yorkers to escape to for some good fun. The $250 million public park is set to open in the spring of 2021, and the landscape looks positively dreamy: rolling hills, walking paths and lawns for activities, and 100 species of trees and shrubs. The best part? Aside from all the eye-catching nature, Little Island will have a 700-seat amphitheater for year-round performances. Billionaire Barry Diller, who is funding the project with wife and fashion designer wife Diane von Furstenberg, has ensured that 51 percent of tickets for these performances will either be free to the public or under 30 bucks, so you can count on this to be an affordable or free activity to do in NYC.

Note: The park is set to open in the spring of 2021.

  • Museums
  • Special interest
  • Queens

Though not as easily accessible by public transit as most NYC museums, this Queens County treasure is well worth the bus trek or car ride. As the city’s longest continually farmed site in the city (it’s been in operation since 1697), the 47 acres feels like an entirely different world compared to Manhattan. Feed and pet the barnyard animals, including sheep, ponies and goats, hop aboard a hayride and come back during the fall harvest season when you can go pumpkin picking and attempt to find your way through the Amazing Maize Maze (yes, that’s a corn maze). Don’t forget to stop by the store on your way out for fresh fruits and veggies grown on the premises!

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  • Things to do
  • Queens

You can actually look forward to going to JFK International Aiport because of this gorgeous, completely renovated TWA Terminal, which serves as a hotel, food-and-drink and convention destination. The interior of Eero Saarinen’s landmark 1962 building exudes 1960s chic with 512 guest rooms that offer views of JFK’s runways, a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, a rooftop pool and an observation deck. 

Empire State Building
  • Attractions
  • Monuments and memorials
  • Midtown West

It's practically impossible to imagine the sparkling New York skyline without the iconic Empire State Building. A famed piece of Art Deco architecture that took over 400 days to structurally complete, the skyscraper reaches an astonishing height of 1,454-feet—and while it's no longer the tallest building in New York, it held that title for several decades following its 1931 completion date. Visiting this illustrious landmark? Keep your eyes peeled for some of the finer details in the lobby, which was lovingly restored in 2009. Enjoy visions of the topper’s three tiers of lights, which illuminate up to nine colors at a time and don't miss the rod at the top of the building, which is frequently hit by lightning—yep, you might see sparks (literally) fly. Oh, and (of course) spend some time on the observation deck—the cityscape is ace. There may be a queue but trust us, it's totally worth the wait. Besides, the Empire State is open 365-days a year, so there's no reason to pass this one by.

 

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  • Attractions
  • Historic buildings and sites
  • Manhattan

No mere river crossing, this span is an elegant reminder of New York’s history of architectural innovation. When it opened in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was a feat of engineering: It was the first structure to cross the East River and, at the time, the longest suspension bridge in the world. (It also made use of steel-wire cables, invented by the bridge’s original designer, John A. Roebling.) Now it attracts thousands of tourists and locals, who enjoy spectacular views of lower Manhattan and other city landmarks (such as the Statue of Liberty and Governors Island) as they stroll its more-than-mile-long expanse. Heads up, though: You may run into the occasional cyclist trying to navigate through the crowds on the pedestrian walkway. —Amy Plitt

Central Park
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Central Park

To feel truly out of the city, head to the 38-acre wilderness area on the west side of the park known as the Ramble. The area has a storied history (as a gay cruising spot dating back to the turn of the last century, among other things), and it was even proposed as a recreational area in the mid-'50s. Thankfully, the winding trails, rocks and streams remain, seemingly waiting to be discovered. If you want plenty of sunshine and more of a social vibe, spread out a blanket at Sheep's Meadow, where groups playing guitar and frisbee and tanning topless are sprawled out as far as the eye can see.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Towers and viewpoints
  • Midtown West
  • price 2 of 4

Let the world believe the Empire State Building has the best view of New York City–it keeps the crowds slightly more manageable at 30 Rockefeller Center’s spectacular open air observation deck. The bird’s eye view of Gotham from 70 stories up allows visitors to not only see other landmark skyscrapers around midtown–including the aforementioned Empire State building–but also to see the full sprawl of Central Park. Not quite as expensive as that other observation deck (Adults $38, seniors $36, children 6-12 $32), and for those who don't want to wait in line, there's a VIP ticket ($75) that gives guests the chance to skip lines and get priority elevator access. If you’re willing to splurge don’t forget to dress up and stop by the Rainbow Room–the historic lounge on the 65th floor–for exceptional cocktails, fine dining, live music and spectacular sightlines that rival the deck’s, albeit a few stories lower.

The Statue of Liberty
  • Attractions
  • Monuments and memorials
  • Liberty Island

Lady Liberty—or Liberty Enlightening the World, as she’s officially known—was a gift from France on America’s 100th birthday. A universal symbol of freedom that welcomed over 10 million immigrants sailing past to Ellis Island during the turn of the 20th century, the copper-plated sentinel stands 305 feet tall from the bottom of her base to the tip of her torch. Reserve well in advance—three weeks or more—to see New York’s skyline from Liberty Island with access to the statue’s crown, and go earlier in the day if you want to also take the ferry to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

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  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Towers and viewpoints
  • Midtown West

New York’s ever-changing skyline has acquired another sky-high attraction for Gothamites to climb: Vessel. The 60-ton sculpture, located at sleek cultural destination Hudson Yards, resembles a honeycomb, although some New Yorkers joke it looks like a waste can. Others say the larger-than-life art installation designed by British architect Thomas Heatherwick is New York’s version of the Eiffel Tour. We say it looks like a good excuse to exercise and Instagram. Visitors will climb the spiral staircase made up of 154 interconnecting staircases, almost 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings, and while the current sight of construction is less than ideal (the attraction just opened to the public on March 15), the various outlook points offer sweeping views of the Hudson River that will appear mighty dreamy at sunset.  Know before you go visiting and climbing Hudson Yards’ new jungle gym is free, but you must reserve a time slot and get tickets in advance. Every morning at 8am same-day tickets are up for grabs, if you cant get a reservation in advance.

Note: The Vessel is currently closed. Check its website for reopening plans. 

  • Attractions
  • Towers and viewpoints
  • Financial District

Although the One World Observatory occupies floors 100 to 102 of the tallest building of the Western Hemisphere, this observation deck can be reached in just 60 seconds via a set of visually immersive 'Sky Pod' elevators. During the interactive tour experience, guests walk through some of the bedrock on which the building is built before entering the elevators, which are fitted with floor-to-ceiling LED screens showing a video of the city and building's history. Once at the top, the video concludes as the screen lifts up to reveal stunning 360-degree views of the Manhattan skyline. After soaking up the sights, head to One Café for casual fare, One Mix for small plates and cocktails or, the gem, One Dine for a full dining experience with large windows looking onto the horizon (reservations required). —Dan Q. Dao

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  • Museums

Sprawling doesn’t even begin to describe this Manhattan institution: It’s one of the few spots in the city where you could spend literally an entire day and see only a fraction of the holdings. Behind the doors of its iconic neoclassical facade lie 17 curatorial collections spanning countless eras and cultural perspectives, from prehistoric Egyptian artifacts to contemporary photography. Those seeking to satisfy their anthropological curiosity can explore the extensive assemblage of musical instruments, weapons and armor or the Costume Institute’s centuries of wearable art. And for committed museumgoers who have made their way through the permanent collections—an admirable feat—special exhibitions merit return visits year after year. Recent blockbusters have examined the career of the late designer Alexander McQueen and featured the works of Pablo Picasso. —Carolyn Stanley

  • Attractions
  • Civic buildings
  • Midtown East

We won’t argue if you want to call this glimmering pinnacle of Art Deco architecture NYC’s most eye-popping skyscraper. Triangle-shaped windows in its crown are lined with lights, creating a beautiful effect come nighttime. Oozing a moneyed sophistication oft identified with old New York, the structure pays homage to its namesake with giant eagles (replicas of ones added to Chrysler automobiles in the 1920s) in lieu of traditional gargoyles and a brickwork relief sculpture of racing cars, complete with chrome hubcaps. During the famed three-way race to construct Manhattan’s tallest building, the Chrysler added a needle-sharp stainless-steel spire to best 40 Wall Street—but was outdone shortly after its completion in 1930 by the Empire State Building. —Tim Lowery

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  • Things to do

When the weather is pleasant, there’s nothing quite like walking the High Line. NYC’s elevated park is certainly one of more popular New York attractions everyone needs to check off their list. To give you a bit of history, the High Line was once a railway line, in use until 1980. In 2009, the 1.45-mile-long strip was transformed into what is now considered one of the most unique parks in NYC. Featuring wildflowers, greenery and outdoor art installations in addition to killer views of New York’s skyline. —Evelyn Derico

  • Things to do
  • Midtown West

You’ll find a smorgasbord of New York sites in this distinctive, multi-block complex—in fact, the ground level alone is home to the tourist-packed ice-skating rink, the bronze Atlas statue and the ‘Today Show’ plaza. Higher up, Top of the Rock rivals the Empire State Building in panoramic city views. You may not be able to access the five private rooftop gardens if you’re not a Saturday Night Live cast member, but you can still peek at the spaces from Saks Fifth Avenue’s eighth-floor shoe department if you can't help but be curious. Special credentials are not required, however, to inspect the Art Deco murals that appear in several buildings. Don’t miss the triptych above the outdoor entrance to 5 Rockefeller Center or the rinkside Prometheus statue; both purportedly contain secret Freemason symbols. —Allison Williams

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  • Attractions

For over a hundred years, this transit hub has funneled thousands of daily commuters (over 700,000 a day) through its expansive halls and concourses. Though technically a passageway for those looking to go elsewhere, the building is certainly a destination in it's own right. With its grandiose Beaux Arts framework, the terminal is a spectacle of both form and function. Familiar features include the vaulted, constellation-adorned ceiling and the four-faced opal clock topping the main information booth, both located in the Grand Concourse. Above the 42nd Street entrance find symbolism of Mercury, the god of travel (naturally), and an ornate Tiffany-glass timepiece. — Dan Q. Dao

  • Things to do

Urban visionaries Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who most famously designed Central Park, also put their stamp on bucolic, 526-acre Prospect Park. Amenities like the Long Meadow and Nethermead offer plenty of space to pull up on a patch of grass and indulge in some people-watching, and the woodland expanse of the Ravine is a towering forest within bustling Brooklyn. But we also have to give props to Robert Moses: The controversial city planner was behind some of the park’s kid-friendly offerings, including the zoo and LeFrak Center at Lakeside, where roller skating and ice skating goes down.

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  • Art

Brooklyn’s premier institution is a less-crowded alternative to Manhattan’s bigger-name spaces, though the innovative and impactful items found inside are just as important as anything you'll find in the city. The museum, found on the edge of the sprawling Prospect Park, has a large holding of Egyptian art as well as the famous feminist piece, The Dinner Party, by Judy Chicago. Works by such Impressionists masters as Cézanne, Monet and Degas are also included in the collection along with with prime examples of Early American Art, period rooms and so much more.

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  • Museums
  • Art and design

When Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, a sculptor and art patron, opened the museum in 1931, she dedicated it to living American artists. Today, the Whitney holds about 19,000 pieces by nearly 2,900 artists, including Alexander Calder, Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns, Georgia O’Keeffe and Claes Oldenburg. Still, the museum’s reputation rests mainly on its temporary shows, particularly the Whitney Biennial. Held in even-numbered years, the Biennial is among the most prestigious (and controversial) assessments of contemporary art in America. The 2015 opening of the Renzo Piano-designed edifice near the High Line drew acclaim for its sleek and simplistic layout. —Andrew Frisicano

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  • Museums
  • History
  • Upper West Side

History buffs will love this Upper West Side institution. Built in 1804, it's the oldest museum in New York City. In a nod to the city’s heritage, the museum kept the hyphen in its name, which is how New York was known in the early 1800s. The collection features more than 1.6 million works that explore the history of the city and the country, including exhibits, art and historical artifacts. Don’t miss floor four, where you’ll find the center for Women’s History and a glowing gallery of 100 beautiful Tiffany lamps. —Cristina Gibson

  • Attractions
  • Zoo and aquariums
  • The Bronx

Located in the Bronx (obvs) this massive attraction is the largest metropolitan zoo in the country. Spanning 265 acres, it has numerous exhibits, forests, outdoor activities and restaurants. Oh, and don’t forget about the 5,000+ animals! There are lions and tigers and bears (both grizzly and polar), all residing in naturalistic habitats. You can easily spend hours walking the trails past themed exhibits, like the African Plains or World of Reptiles. The zoo also has premium exhibits for an additional fee, but the sea lion feeding is completely free and highly recommended. —Rebecca Fontana

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  • Museums

New York’s Guggenheim is as famous for its landmark building—designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and restored on its 50th birthday in 2009—as it is for its impressive collection and daring temporary art shows. The museum owns Peggy Guggenheim’s trove of cubist, surrealist and abstract expressionist works, along with the Panza di Biumo Collection of American minimalist and conceptual art from the 1960s and ’70s. In addition to works by Manet, Picasso, Chagall and Bourgeois, the Guggenheim holds the largest collection of Kandinskys in the U.S. —Howard Halle

  • Things to do

Manhattan’s heart was once a hub for vice, teeming with sex shops and drug dealers. Over time that notorious reputation has eroded, and now the area can feel like a tourist-clogged shopping mall. Still, changes such as the stairs above the TKTS booth and a pedestrian plaza along Broadway have improved the sightseeing experience…sort of. If the thought of attending the annual glitzy New Year’s Eve celebration gives you hives, you can see the midnight countdown re-created on a smaller scale at the Times Square Visitor Center, thanks to one of the Waterford crystal balls used in years past. —Allison Williams

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens

Every city park offers its own brand of verdant escapism, but this lush expanse goes beyond landscaped flora. In addition to housing swaths of vegetation—including the 50-acre forest, featuring some of the oldest trees in the city—the garden cultivates a rotating roster of shows that nod to the world’s most cherished green spaces, such as the regal grounds of Spain’s Alhambra palace and Monet’s alfresco sanctuary at Giverny. —Sarah Bruning

  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs

Attending an outdoor bazaar is certainly a must here in New York, and Brooklyn Flea is hands-down one of the top flea markets to hit. The market has everything, including an impressive selection of throwback wares and records, which you certainly wouldn’t find in any vintage clothing store or record store in the city. The food selection is also nothing to sneeze at, since the creators also operate one of the city’s best food festivals: Smorgasburg.

Note: Brooklyn Flea is currently only operating in Chelsea (29 West 25th St.) right now.

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Flushing Meadows–Corona Park
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Queens

Give the city’s fourth-biggest park a day and it’ll show you the world: Its most enduring icon is the Unisphere, the mammoth steel globe created for the 1964 World’s Fair. But there’s also first-rate culture and sports at the New York Hall of Science, Arthur Ashe Stadium and Citi Field (depending on how the Mets are doing). The rolling green fields also encompass a zoo, a boating lake, a skate park, a barbecue area, playfields, and a $66 million aquatic and hockey center. In 2011, wetland plants such as swamp azalea and swamp milkweed were added to better handle the park’s water runoff, improving the catch-and-release fishing in Meadow Lake. —Allison Williams

Brookfield Place
  • Shopping
  • Shopping centers
  • Battery Park City

This downtown luxury complex, originally dubbed the World Financial Center, is now home to a number of offices including Merrill Lynch and American Express. On the ground level, however, find a mecca of retail attractions ranging from fashion (Burberry, Hermes, Gucci) to dining (Amada, the food hall Le District). Beyond shopping, stroll around the space to enjoy installations of art in the glass-encased winter garden, or head outdoors for ice skating during cold-weather months. — Dan Q. Dao

See Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and Battery Park.

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Chelsea Market
  • Shopping
  • Shopping centers
  • Chelsea

Once home to a National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) factory, this Chelsea-set food court caters to locals and restaurant-savvy tourists alike. An ever-changing lineup of dining and drinking options range from all-star Philadelphia hummus slingers Dizengoff to the oyster-and-seafood bar Cull & Pistol and the master-sommelier–helmed Corkbuzz Wine Studio, while commercial vendors include Anthropologie, Posman Books and the locally-driven Artists & Fleas. A stone's throw away from High Line Park and the nightlife hub of the Meatpacking District, the market is a must-visit destination when in the area. — Dan Q. Dao

  • Theater
  • Musicals
  • Harlem

This Harlem institution has been the site of more than a few historic moments: Ella Fitzgerald’s first performance happened here in 1934; Live at the Apollo, recorded in 1962, practically launched James Brown into the mainstream; and a young Jimi Hendrix won an Amateur Night contest in 1964. Despite its storied history and grand decor, this living link to the Harlem Renaissance feels rather cozy inside. As of late, the theater has attracted big-name comedians (Aziz Ansari, Tracy Morgan, Jim Gaffigan) and huge rock stars (Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen), while still welcoming under-the-radar talent to its famed Wednesday Amateur Night. —Tim Lowery

Note: The Apollo Theater is currently close but it's offering a slew of programs online. Check them out here.

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Brooklyn Heights

For a great place to enjoy a panoramic view of everything the city has to offer, beeline for Brooklyn Promenade. Opened in 1950, this one-third-mile stretch of pavement along the East River has long been a favorite destination of residents, tourists and couples looking to make out next to an unforgettable span of NYC’s skyline. Breathtaking views of the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty are both visible from here. Follow the views with a stroll around the 19th-century row houses down Brooklyn Heights’ tree-lined side streets, or head down to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

  • Shopping
  • Department stores
  • Midtown West

Holiday windows and enormous balloons may draw gawkers to Macy’s flagship during the winter, but the mammoth department store is a year-round destination for some 20 million shoppers. The $400 million renovation in 2015 outfitted the store with ostensibly Millennial-friendly gear like 3D printers, selfie-walls and laser-imaging tech, but restored the 34th St entrance and iconic rickety wooden escalators that have been at Herald Square since its opening in 1902. This department store is also home to the always stunning and annual Macy's Flower Show—Allison Williams

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Prospect Park

Those searching for a little peace and quiet would do well to spend a few hours at this verdant oasis. The garden—which abuts two other neighborhood gems: the Brooklyn Museum and Prospect Park—was founded in 1910 and features thousands of types of flora, laid out over 52 acres. Each spring, crowds descend on the space for the Sakura Matsuri Festival, during which many trees bloom along the Cherry Esplanade. But equally impressive are serene spots like the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, the first Japanese-inspired garden displayed in the U.S., and the Shakespeare Garden, brimming with plants (such as primrose and crocuses) mentioned in the Bard’s works. —Amy Plitt

  • Sports and fitness
  • Stadiums
  • The Bronx

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 cup holders at every seat and a high-def scoreboard are noticeable improvements. A museum behind center field aims to hold signed baseballs from every living Yankees player, but the most potent relic wasn’t allowed to stay on site—in 2008 the construction staff jackhammered out a Red Sox jersey a rival fan tried to install in the structure’s foundation. —Allison Williams

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  • Museums
  • Science and technology
  • Upper West Side

Beyond the iconic, show-stopping displays–the grizzly bear in the Hall of North American Mammals, the 94-feet long blue whale, the prehistoric Barosaurus skeleton rearing up as if to scare the adjacent Allosaurus skeleton–is an expertly curated, 148-year-old museum that fills visitors of all ages with a curiosity about the universe. Whether you’re interested in the world below our feet, or the cultures of faraway lands or the stars light-years beyond our reach, your visit is bound to teach you a few things you never knew. —Tolly Wright

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Union Square

This gathering place was named for the union of two of Manhattan’s busiest thoroughfares: Broadway and Fourth Avenue (formerly Bowery Road). Political activism has played a large role in the site’s history; the square has hosted rallies, protests and assemblies from the Civil War through Occupy Wall Street. Nowadays, its biggest draw might be the year-round Greenmarket—the city’s first, started by a handful of farmers in 1976—which brings locally grown goods to thousands of New Yorkers every week. —Carolyn Stanley

Go on a customized walking tour.

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Flatiron Building
  • Attractions
  • Monuments and memorials
  • Flatiron

This 21-story Beaux Arts edifice once dominated midtown. Although it’s now dwarfed by other structures, when it debuted in 1902, the triangle-shaped monolith represented the threat and the thrill of modernity: Naysayers claimed it would never withstand the high winds plaguing 23rd Street, while revered photographer Alfred Stieglitz—who captured it in an iconic shot in 1903—wrote that it was “a picture of a new America still in the making.” Today, it’s possibly the least tourist-friendly New York landmark. The space above the ground-floor shops, occupied by publishing house Macmillan, is inaccessible to the public, but during office hours you can admire black-and-white photos and read a few panels on the history of the tower in its lobby. If you want to see the “point” offices (just over six feet wide at their narrowest), we suggest getting to work on the Great American Novel. —Jonathan Shannon

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The Cloisters
  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Washington Heights

This Middle Ages museum may have been constructed in the ’30s, but it feels much older than that. Set in a bucolic park overlooking the Hudson River, the structure re-creates architectural details from five 15th-century monasteries and houses items from the Met’s medieval art and architecture collections. John D. Rockefeller, who donated the land for the museum, even purchased a tract across the river to preserve the pristine view. Make sure to inspect the tapestries, including the famous 16th-century Hunt of the Unicorn. —Andrew Frisicano

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  • Museums
  • Military and maritime
  • Hell's Kitchen

Get schooled on the glorious history of American aviation and the brave heroes who pioneered the world's last frontier at this non-profit, educational institution featuring the titular, legendary aircraft carrier Intrepid. Founded in 1982, the museum also boasts an unparalleled collection of fighter jets, a Blackbird spy plane, a Concorde, the nuclear submarine USS Growler, a prototype space shuttle and a capsule that returned one of the first astrotourists to earth. Permanent exhibits include a harrowing 30-minute video with audiovisual effects about the kamikaze attacks the Intrepid suffered, while new, rotating programs range from a summer movie series (kicking off with Star Trek, fittingly) to an annual Space & Science Festival. — Dan Q. Dao

Lincoln Center
  • Theater
  • Upper West Side

One of the world's largest campuses for the performing and visual arts, Lincoln Center began its construction in 1959 thanks in part to funding from John D. Rockefeller III. Today, the center houses 30 world-class venues—including the Metropolitan Opera House, the David H. Koch Theater and the Julliard School—as well as 11 resident organizations that collectively host thousands of events every year. At the heart of the complex is the well-recognized Josie Robertson Plaza whose fountain can be seen spouting white-lit jets of water with the golden glow of the Met lobby serving as an elegant backdrop. — Dan Q. Dao

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National Museum of the American Indian
  • Museums
  • Natural history
  • Financial District

The life and culture of Native Americans is presented in rotating exhibitions—from Navajo jewelry to ritual tribal-dance costumes—along with contemporary artwork. The Diker Pavilion for Native Arts & Culture, which opened in 2006, has already made its mark on the cultural life of the city by offering the only dedicated showcase for Native American visual and performing arts.

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  • Museums

Sure, you could spend a day getting lost in the permanent exhibits, which showcase all manner of priceless pieces from renowned artists. But just as essential are this museum’s other elements, including an attached cinema that combines art-house fare and more accessible offerings, a sculpture garden with works by Picasso and Rodin, and the Modern, a high-end restaurant and bar run by Danny Meyer. Free Fridays, an alluring prospect considering the sizable entry fee ($25 for adults), are best left to the tourists and penny-scraping students; visit the museum when you can hunker down for a while.

Queens Museum
  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Queens

Located on the grounds of two World’s Fairs, the QMA holds one of Gotham’s most amazing sights: The Panorama of the City of New York, a 9,335-square-foot scale model of the five boroughs, created for the 1964 exposition and featuring Lilliputian models of landmarks. With an ambitious expansion project in 2009, the museum doubled in size when it reopened in 2013, featuring public events spaces, eight new artists studios and a glass façade featuring Grand Central Parkway. —Andrew Frisicano

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  • Attractions
  • Religious buildings and sites
  • Midtown East

Even though it faces off against the imposing Art Deco Rockefeller Center, architect James Renwick's Gothic Revival building holds it own with intricate marble towers, a cavernous ribbed vault, pointed arches and buttresses. But the real treasures are inside this active house of worship, which is bursting with awe-inspiring works. With a $175 million restoration project completed in 2015, visitors can delight in a shimmering, bronzed and polished new interior. More than 200 saints are represented throughout the church, with many alters helpfully explaining their stories for those who cut Bible studies class. Seek out the alter of Saint Louis, just north of the Lady's Chapel, designed by the Tiffany workshop and donated by Jackie O's father Michael Bouvier. To the south of Saint Louis is an oversized copy of Michelangelo's Pieta, made by the same sculptor who fashioned the lions outside the New York Public Library on 42nd Street. —Jonathan Shannon

MoMA PS1
  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Long Island City

Fans of the Manhattan predecessor won't mind crossing the river to find this Long Island City offshoot, which is unique for its constantly evolving lineup of avant-garde artwork and new programs. And while there's no shortage of world-renowned artists supplying work here (Janet Cardiff, Olafur Eliasson), the venue also curates one of the city’s most popular music events, Warm Up, which pairs innovative installations with live music from up-and-coming acts to challenge visitors’ expectations of what art can be. — Dan Q. Dao

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  • Things to do

Take a walk in the area south of Broome Street and east of Lafayette, and you’ll feel as though you’ve entered not just a different country but a different continent. Mott and Grand Streets are lined with stands selling exotic foodstuffs such as live eels, square watermelons and hairy rambutans, while Canal Street glitters with jewelry stores and gift shops. Here you’ll find some of the best restaurants in NYC representing the cuisine of virtually every province of mainland China and Hong Kong, plus Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai and Vietnamese eateries and shops. As Chinatown—NYC's largest Asian community—continues to grow, it merges with neighboring Little Italy and the Lower East Side. — Tazi Phillips

Tour Chinatown, SoHo, and Little Italy.

  • Attractions
  • Historic buildings and sites
  • Greenwich Village

The beatniks, folkies and hippies who famously flocked to this public space are still there, though sporting slightly different facial hair than their boundary-breaking predecessors. During warmer months, the park is one of the best people-watching spots in the city, as musicians and street artists perform in the shadow of the towering 1895 Washington Arch, a modest replica of Paris’s Arc de Triomphe designed by Stanford White (whose fingerprints are found on more than a few landmark NYC structures). From 2007–2014, the park underwent a controversial, multimillion-dollar renovation, which has yielded more benches, paths, lawn space and vegetation. —Tim Lowery

Go on a two-hour walking tour of Greenwich Village.

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  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Midtown West

Big, beloved and not-so-beautiful MSG is perhaps the most famous sports arena in the world. Perched above Penn Station since 1968, the 20,000 seat venue is not only home to New York basketball and ice hockey teams the Knicks and the Rangers, but also is a favorite spot for college basketball tournaments (The Big East), professional boxing, MMA fighting and, as a destination for WWE. Non-sports fans, however, mainly know the Garden as the best spot in town to catch touring international sensations like Adele, Beyonce and Aziz Ansari and countless other amazing concerts.. To learn about the history of the arena, which existed in several other iterations at other locations for the past 130 years, and for a look at where the athletes get dressed, check out the all-access tour ($26.95, seniors and students $19.95, or with show ticket an additional $16, group rates available), which has stops in the locker rooms, the arena bowl and through exhibits featuring images and paraphernalia from iconic moments in sports and performance history. — Tolly Wright

Socrates Sculpture Park
  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Astoria

In 1986, artists and activists created this 4.5-acre city park over a landfill. Now, it hosts large-scale sculpture exhibits year-round, and is one of the few locations in the city specifically designated for artists to create outdoor works. The splendid Queens space looks out over the Manhattan skyline and is open 365 days a year, with a Greenmarket, free yoga and tai chi classes and more.

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Midtown East

Here’s a pawsh art musem for pups. On February 8, the AKC Museum of the Dog reopend in midtown, and New Yorkers have been panting in excitement ever since. The American Kennel Club moved the original exhibit, formerly doghoused in the New York Life Building, closer to its home turf and library. To be clear: This is not a relentlessly Instagrammable Museum of Ice Cream or Museum of Pizza situation. So, why dig up the 15 bones to enter? For the photo booth that reveals which dog breed you look most like. Have your pup-arazzi moment!

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Staten Island
  • price 1 of 4

Sitting just a ferry ride away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, this Staten Island gem, a former home for retired sailers, is still somewhat of a secret. Spread across 83 acres, the area boasts an enormous botanical garden and cultural center surrounded by cobblestone streets and tiny paths of Victorian and Tudor homes. One of the most popular attractions here is the Chinese Scholar’s Garden, fitted with magnificent rocks meant to resemble mountains inspired by the poetry and paintings of Confucian, Buddhist and Taoist monks, as well as a bamboo forest path and Koi-filled pond.

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  • Things to do

Hitting up midtown's most beloved park? Situated behind the New York Public Library lies a a well-cultivated retreat that hosts a dizzying schedule of free entertainment during the summer, including the popular outdoor movies. In the winter, visit the Bank of America Winter Village for the free ice skating rink and pop-up shops for the holidays.

  • Restaurants

New Yorkers love eating outside, whether it’s at one of the city’s best waterfront restaurants, elevated rooftop bars or open-air food flea markets like Brooklyn’s famed Smorgasburg. A favorite amongst locals and tourists alike, Smorg features nearly 100 vendors selling seriously delicious and graciously cheap snacks. It’s open from April to November (11am-6pm) at Williamsburg’s East River Park on Saturdays and at Prospect Park’s Breeze Hill on Sundays. —Christina Izzo

Note: Smorgasburg in Williamsburg is currently on hold so visit its Manhattan location on Saturdays and Sundays (8am-4pm) at Chelsea Flea, 29 West 25th St. 

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  • Museums
  • Movies and TV
  • Astoria
  • price 2 of 4

Only 15 minutes from midtown, the Museum of the Moving Image is one of the city’s most dynamic institutions. Rubbing elbows with Kaufman Astoria Studios, it includes a three-story extension that features a state-of-the-art 267-seat cinema and expanded gallery spaces. Meanwhile, the museum’s “Behind the Screen” exhibit examines every step of the filmmaking process, with artifacts from more than 1,000 different productions, and 14 classic (playable!) video games, including Asteroids, Ms. Pac-Man and Space Invaders. And do not miss its fairly new Jim Henson exhibit, where you can "meet" all your favorite Muppets and Sesame Street characters.

Note: MoMI is currently closed, check its website for any reopening plans.

Book NYC tours and attractions.

New Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Lower East Side
  • price 2 of 4

The New Museum takes its name from The New School, where it originally opened in 1977. After a move to Soho, where the it became a fixture througout the ’80s and ’90s, the New Museum moved into its current location in 2007. It houses three main gallery levels, a theater, a café operated by Hester Street Fair and roof terraces. The New Musem focuses it program on emerging—and important but under-recognized—artists. 

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  • Museums
  • History
  • Central Park
  • price 1 of 4

The Jewish Museum, housed in the 1908 Warburg Mansion, mounts temporary exhibitions of contemproary and modern art and also has a substantial collection of artworks of art and Judaica. There is a permanent exhibit specifically for children, as well as a restuarant that includes an Uptown outpost of Russ & Daughters, the iconic Lower East Side purveyors of Kosher delicacies like lox, sable and whitefish.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
  • Things to do
  • Schools and universities
  • Upper East Side
  • price 2 of 4

Founded in 1897 by the Hewitt sisters, granddaughters of industrialist Peter Cooper, the only museum in the U.S. solely dedicated to design (both historic and modern) has been part of the Smithsonian since the 1960s. The museum hosts periodic interactive family programs that allow children to experiment with design.

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  • Attractions
  • Monuments and memorials
  • Financial District

In the footprints of where the Twin Towers once stood are North America’s largest man-made waterfalls, the bottoms of which seem to be impossible to see. The twin reflecting pools, the 9/11 Memorial designed by Michael Arad, are a solemn reminder of all that was lost during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. Lining the pools, each one acre in size, are bronze panels with the names of the 3,000 deceased victims from the attacks, including the rescue personnel who died helping the other victims. For those who wish to pay their respects to the tragedy and learn more about the events that transpired, the museum serves as the leading collection of artifacts and documentation of September 11. Inside, visitors can hear first-hand accounts of survivors, see picture and video footage of the attacks and see recovered objects such as wrecked recovery vehicles, large pieces of warped metal foundation and the 30-foot National 9/11 Flag. — Tolly Wright

  • Music
  • Greenwich Village
  • price 4 of 4

The Blue Note prides itself on being "the jazz capital of the world." Bona fide musical titans (Eddie Palmieri, Ron Carter) rub against hot young talents, while the close-set tables in the club get patrons rubbing up against each other. Arrive early to secure a good spot—and we recommend shelling out for a table seat.

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  • Theater
  • price 4 of 4

Each year, about 13 million locals and tourists take in Broadway shows at one of NYC's 40 Broadway theaters. Most of those venues are located in the theater district—roughly, 41st Street to 52nd Street and Sixth Ave to Eighth Ave. Each season brings a new wave of megamusicals, plays and star-driven revivals. Some boast gold from the Tony Awards. At the height of the fall and spring seasons, be sure to check our homepage for new critics picks, reviews and cheap broadway tickets. The savvy consumer can find discount tickets at most Broadway shows. NYC hurry—the curtain’s about to rise! — David Cote

Note: Broadway will be dark until at least Labor Day weekend because of health and safety restrictions.

The Noguchi Museum
  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Astoria
  • price 1 of 4

This 12 gallery space occupies a former photo-engraving plant, and the entire building was designed by the artist and sculpturer Isamu Noguchi to be a meditative oasis amid its gritty, industrial setting. As well as some of his most iconic sculptures, drawn, painted and collaged studies, architectural models, and stage and furniture designs, there is a garden populated with Noguchi’s work.

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  • Attractions
  • Arcades and amusements
  • Coney Island

You can guarantee that the majority of New Yorkers have ridden the Cyclone. After all, it’s stood on the banks of the Coney Island Channel since 1927, which is a fair feat considering it’s constructed from wood. Thanks to a cash injection from Astroland, an organization that took over in the ’70s, this rollicking ride is still going strong, which will bring some comfort to remember when you’re being flung around the old thrill-ride. —Danielle Goldstein

Note: Luna Park will be allowed to reopen on Friday, April 9.

Experience the magic of New York City.

  • Museums
  • Science and technology
  • Queens
  • price 1 of 4

Consider yourself a travel-loving foodie? Queens Night Market is your one-stop-shop in NYC to discover bites from 80 countries. Beginning in April through October, try a diverse range of grub that runs the gamut from Middle Eastern stews and Barbadian fishballs to Romanian-Hungarian chimney cake and tacos al pastor. The open-air bazaar operates from 5pm to midnight every Saturday, but the market has more to offer aside from fulfilling your late-night food cravings. There’s always a great lineup of live music and performances such as Bollywood dancers, Indian electronica tunes, DJs and more. Check out queensnightmarket.com for the schedule.  

Note: Queens Night Market is currently on hold but check its website for reopening plans.

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  • Theater
  • Midtown West

New York City is full of legendary performance venues, but few match Radio City Music Hall in terms of sheer elegance. The Art Deco concert hall remains one of the prettiest in the city: Designed by Donald Deskey, its interior features opulent chandeliers and lush carpets, while the stage and proscenium are meant to resemble a setting sun. Although Radio City is probably best known as the home of the Rockettes, a plethora of noteworthy performers have graced its boards, including huge pop stars (Lady Gaga, the Jonas Brothers) and indie faves (Pulp, Grizzly Bear). —Amy Plitt

Note: Radio City Music Hall will be allowed to reopen in April.

  • Museums

The century-old main branch of the NYPL is about as regal a setting for reading—either on your laptop or those old dusty things called books—as you’ll find in the city. Two massive Tennessee-marble lions, dubbed Patience and Fortitude, flank the main portal and have become the institution’s mascots. Once inside, check out the cavernous Rose Main Reading Room, spanning almost 300 feet and outfitted with chandeliers and stunning ceiling murals. Though it’s a classy setting in most instances, it’s also where Bill Murray uttered, “Are you, Alice, menstruating right now?” and “Back off, man, I’m a scientist” in Ghostbusters—Tim Lowery

Note: The Stephen A Schwarzman Building is currently closed but check its website to find out its reopening plans.

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Governors Island
  • Things to do

As of summer 2016, the Hills on Governors Island are alive but not necessarily with the sound of music. Instead, you can hear the hum of parkgoers and their bicycles as they tool around the island’s two-plus-mile promenade, the gleeful squeals of folks slithering down one of the four massive slides and the delighted gasps of visitors ogling perfect views of the New York Harbor and Lower Manhattan. While much of the green space’s landscape has changed (and, oh, is it hilly), preexisting features such as Hammock Grove and Picnic Point (which had been closed since 2012) are still major focal points. —Jennifer Picht

Note: Governors Island opens for the season in late spring.

See lower and midtown Manhattan on a 90-minute cruise.

  • Museums
  • History
  • Little Italy
  • price 1 of 4

MOCA’s core exhibit traces the development of Chinese communities on these shores from the 17th century to the present through objects, images and video. Mixed-media displays cover the development of industries such as laundries and restaurants in New York, Chinese stereotypes in pop culture, and the suspicion and humiliation Chinese-Americans endured during World War II and the McCarthy era. There is also a gallery is devoted to temporary exhibitions, such as the work of contemporary Chinese-American artists.

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The Rubin Museum of Art
  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Chelsea
  • price 1 of 4

Opened in 2004, this six-story museum (once home to Barneys New York) houses Donald and Shelley Rubin’s impressive collection of Himalayan art and artifacts, as well as large-scale temporary exhibitions.

Village Vanguard
  • Music
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

After more than 80 years, this basement club’s stage still hosts the crème de la crème of mainstream jazz talent. Plenty of history has been made here—John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Bill Evans have grooved in this hallowed hall—and the 16-piece Vanguard Jazz Orchestra has been the Monday-night regular since 1966. Thanks to the venue's strict no cell phone policy, seeing a show here feels like stepping back and time. It's just you and the music. 

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The Tenement Museum
  • Museums
  • History
  • Lower East Side
  • price 2 of 4

This fascinating museum—actually a series of restored tenement apartments at 97 Orchard Street—is accessible only by guided tour. Costumed "residents" give glimpses into the daily lives of immigrant clans that called the building home over the decades, bringing to life the stories in an engaging and captivating way.

 

  • Art
  • Photography
  • Gramercy

The Fotografiska gallery in Stockholm, Sweden has opened a New York Branch in the heart of the Flatiron District that features three floors of exhibition space as well as Verōnika, a dining room and bar. The gallery itself mounts temporary exhibits featuring photos from “grand masters and emerging talent” that range from “easily accessible to hardcore conceptual.”

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  • Attractions
  • Historic buildings and sites
  • Noho
  • price 1 of 4

New York City’s only preserved 19th-century family home is an elegant, late Federal-Greek Revival house stocked with the same furnishings and decorations that filled its rooms when it was inhabited by hardware tycoon Seabury Treadwell and his descendants from 1835 to 1933.

The Morgan Library & Museum
  • Museums
  • History
  • Murray Hill

This Madison Avenue institution began as the private library of financier J. Pierpont Morgan and is his artistic gift to the city. Building on the collection Morgan amassed in his lifetime, the space houses first-rate works, including drawings by Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Picasso; three Gutenberg Bibles; a copy of Frankenstein annotated by Mary Shelley; manuscripts by Dickens, Poe, Twain, Steinbeck and Wilde; sheet music handwritten by Beethoven and Mozart; and an original edition of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol that’s displayed every yuletide. This is certainly not your average library.

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  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Upper East Side
  • price 2 of 4

This elegant addition to the city’s museum scene is devoted entirely to late-19th- and early-20th-century German and Austrian fine and decorative arts. The brainchild of the late art dealer Serge Sabarsky and cosmetics mogul Ronald S. Lauder, it houses the largest concentration of works by Gustav Klimt (including his iconic Adele Bloch-Bauer I) and Egon Schiele outside Vienna. You’ll also find a bookstore, a chic (and expensive) design shop and the Old World–inspired Café Sabarsky, serving updated Austrian cuisine and ravishing Viennese pastries.

  • Museums
  • Special interest
  • Flatiron
  • price 2 of 4

Situated in the former Tenderloin district, which bumped-and-grinded with dance halls and brothels in the 1800s, MoSex explores the subject within a cultural context—but that doesn’t mean some content won’t shock the more buttoned-up visitor. Highlights include a permanent collection ranging from a silicone Real Doll torso through to a nine-foot steel-framed love pen donated by a local dominatrix, to sex machines created by keen DIYers, such as the “Monkey Rocker,” constructed from a dildo and exercise equipment. Maybe not one to visit with your mom...

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  • Museums
  • Special interest
  • East Harlem
  • price 1 of 4

Located in Spanish Harlem (a.k.a. El Barrio), El Museo del Barrio is dedicated to the work of Latino artists who reside in the U.S., as well as Latin American masters. The 6,500-piece permanent collection ranges from pre-Colombian artifacts to contemporary installations. The space also features updated galleries, an exposed courtyard for programming and events, and a Pan-Latino cafe that serves tacos, chili, and rice and beans.

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