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Summit One Vanderbilt
Photograph: Summit One Vanderbilt

The five coolest things every visitor to NYC should do now

The five coolest things every visitor to NYC should do now

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

There's cause for celebration! The Covid-19 travel entry ban has been officially lifted, opening back up the gates to travelers from 33 countries including the U.K., China, South Africa and countries in the Schengen Area (most of Europe). 

The city has been through a lot and it's come out the other side with some exceptional cultural additions. Now, after almost two years, the Big Apple awaits you with the coolest things to do, from incredible art shows to fantastic theater productions and more.

We've gathered five must-see things in NYC for tourists and travelers looking for something less obvious than popular NYC attractions but still worth some hype this fall and winter.

RECOMMENDED: The 95 best things to do in NYC for locals and tourists

The soul of the city under one roof

  • Restaurants
  • Food court
  • price 1 of 4

We've packed all our favorite NYC restaurants under one roof at the Time Out Market New York. The DUMBO location in Empire Stores has fried chicken from Jacob’s Pickles, pizza from Fornino, inventive ice cream flavors from Sugar Hill Creamery and more amazing eateriesall cherry-picked by us. Chow down over two floors with views of the East River, Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyline. 

The coolest things visitors to NYC should do now

  • Attractions
  • Sightseeing
  • Midtown East

If you're looking for an exquisite view of NYC, head to SUMMIT One Vanderbilt, an (indoor) observation deck experience that sits atop the new 67-floor One Vanderbilt super-tall—a 1,401-foot-high—skyscraper. As the city's fourth-tallest building after One World Trade Center, Central Park Tower and 111 West 57th Street, it sits just west of Grand Central Terminal. Visitors take an elevator up to the 91st floor, where they're 1,000 feet over the streets and sidewalks of NYC. Kenzo Digital has created a totally mirrored infinity room called "Air" that reflects the sky and city views over and over, making you feel like you're walking in the sky or on another plane of existence. After you ascend to the third level of this experience, guests are introduced to "Levitation," a series of transparent glass sky-boxes that jut out of the building at 1,063 feet above Madison Avenue. Here, you can stand over the street with just glass between you and the ground. Guests are also whisked up into one of two all-glass elevators called "Ascent" that travels up the outside of the building to 1,210 feet (and 120 feet off the observation deck, which is taller than Edge at Hudson Yards). Our knees buckled on this experience, so beware!

To make Summit One Vanderbilt an entire experience, it also features Summit, an all-day après-style cafe and bar by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events, which has an outdoor terrace bar, and an art gallery where Japanese artist and icon Yayoi Kusama has an exhibit called "Clouds."

  • Art
  • Midtown West

This thought-provoking immersive art show is one that'll stick with you. Head to Hudson Yards' new performance and art venue The Shed to see "Fragile Future" by Amsterdam-based artists DRIFT. Through multiple installations, you'll be encouraged to reconnect with nature through multiple installations including the shimmering lights of  "Coded Coincidence" that follow the flight pattern that elm seeds take each spring, "Ego," a large block made of hair-thin illuminated threads is suspended and morphs in mid-air, and "Drifters" that uses projected films to represent a portal to another world with a group of concrete blocks that float through environments in NYC and other locations.

  • Museums
  • Fashion and costume
  • Prospect Park

This year, the Brooklyn Museum has stepped up with a high fashion exhibit featuring the House of Dior that's worth trekking to Brooklyn for. The major exhibit—co-curated by Dior scholar Florence Müller of the Avenir Foundation Curator of Textile Art and Fashion at the Denver Art Museum—thoroughly explores the high fashion history of The House of Dior, which dates back to the turn of the 20th century, when the brand's namesake Christian Dior founded the label. The multi-gallery exhibit brings many of Dior's sources of inspiration to life, including flowers, nature, classical and contemporary art, featuring artwork from the Brooklyn Museum's collections. Objects on display will be primarily from the extensive Dior archives and some 200 haute couture garments as well as photographs, archival videos, sketches, vintage perfume elements, and accessories.

  • Theater
  • Musicals
  • Midtown West

Go to hell—and by hell we mean Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell’s moody yet fizzy musical. Ostensibly, the show is a modern retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. But the newness of Mitchell’s score and Rachel Chavkin’s gracefully dynamic staging bring this old story to new life. — Adam Feldman, Theater Editor

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