Of New York City’s five boroughs, Manhattan is the largest geographically and population-wise. It includes some of the most familiar downtown elements, from Central Park to the Statue of Liberty. Cultural opportunities abound in the Broadway/Theater District area, and Wall Street is home to top financial movers and shakers.
Manhattan is truly a series of communities and attractions that can bring in millions of tourists all year long, but also blend nicely with the millions of New Yorkers who live, work and play here.
If you’re planning a trip to Manhattan, check out some of these strategies and locations to make sure you have an enjoyable, enriching and safe experience. (Safety is especially key especially if you’re not used to big city life and heavy traffic.)
This location has everything from dog walkers to a carousel. It’s America’s first landscaped public park, and the most filmed part of the city. The 843-square-foot urban park has been a fixture of community life for more than a century, and offers tranquil places to stroll, run, and sit, plus enjoy several distinct types of gardens and lawns.
Statue of Liberty
Since being received as a gift from France in the late 19th century, Lady Liberty with the always-burning torch has greeted generations of immigrants as they relocated for a new life here. You can take a boat to Liberty Island and walk around the 305-foot statue’s base. Sometimes there are structural integrity reasons that keep the public from climbing inside to the top of the torch, but it’s still a recommended experience to see this inspirational icon close-up.
Empire State Building
When it was being built, the building owner wanted the 102-story structure to be the tallest in town. So, in addition to the 1,250-foot building, there’s a 443-foot antenna. The building is now one of the most recognized skyscrapers in the world. Unlike some super structures that are off-limits to the public, the top floor observation platform can be visited daily from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., which makes a wonderful panorama of seeing the whole city.
Whatever your thoughts are on the New York Times, the country’s paper of record gets plenty of credit for creating a great community space near its original offices. Today, Times Square is one of the prime spots in Manhattan. It’s the site of the annual New Year’s Eve celebration, and a prime spot for billboards, restaurants and other eye-catching displays. More than 300,000 people pass through this single area every day.
The present home of NBC and a spot where shows like the Today Show are filmed live is another community attraction worth visiting. During the year, people line up here for NBC tours, and during the winter, there’s an enormous Christmas tree on display and an ice rink.
Even though some tickets to the biggest shows can be tough to come by, especially without a reservation, there’s still plenty of ways to have fun in this neighborhood. There are restaurants, cafes, smaller theaters and a profound sense of history. Take a walking tour for even more of a good perspective.
Overall, if you know you’re going to be Manhattan-bound, be ready for anything, including plenty of people. You can take the subway or cabs everywhere to avoid the legendary traffic and extended traffic jams, or you can also brush up on your skills behind the wheel ahead of time by finding a useful defensive driving course in your area.