According to Travel and Leisure magazine, a full 5 of the top 50 tourist attractions in the world are in New York City. These world-ranked locations draw people to experience for themselves iconic places that have an almost mythical power over the imagination. And if you want to “see the sights” in just a day, consider hiring a car and driver to ferry you around the city, minimizing the fatigue and maximizing the pleasure of a day in the Big Apple.
Times Square ranks as the number one tourist attraction in the world with over 39 million visitors a year among the 300,000 people passing through every day. At the intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue, the “Crossroads of the World” has been a vibrant symbol of the American Melting Pot. It got its name “Times Square” when the New York Times newspaper moved there in 1904. The annual New Year’s Eve ball drop began in 1907 from the Times Building and has become one of the most famous new year events in the world, with a million spectators crowding the square and over a billion people watching worldwide.
Central Park sits at the center of Manhattan and with over 38 million visitors a year, is the second most popular tourist attraction in the world. The park borders Fifth Avenue between 59th and 110th Streets, a stretch that includes the Metropolitan and Guggenheim museums. The park has trails for walking and riding, grassy meadows and lakes, two ice-skating rinks (one of which becomes a swimming pool in summer), and a host of attractions such as the Central Park Zoo, Shakespeare in the Park festivals at the Delacorte Theater, a marionette theater and a historic carousel.
GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL
Grand Central Terminal in Midtown Manhattan is the largest train station in the world. It serves both commuters and long-distance travelers, contains restaurants and shops on multiple levels. It is the number six most-visited tourist attraction with over 21 million visitors a year. People come to see the architecture of the Grand Concourse with its recently restored astronomical ceiling, and the Min Concourse with its restaurants, exhibitions, and annual Christmas Market.
SOUTH STREET SEAPORT
The South Street Seaport, where Fulton Street meets the East River, is an official historic district next to the NY Financial District and draws over 9 million visitors a year. It has some of the oldest architecture in downtown Manhattan, is the home of the famous Fulton Fish Market, and with the renovated commercial buildings and sailing ships, feels a bit like a step into the past.
METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, located on the grounds of NYC’s Central Park, has over 2 million works in its permanent collection and admits over 5 million visitors annually. Admission to the Met is pay-what-you-wish with a $25 admission “recommended.” (The Museum is currently facing a lawsuit about duping visitors into thinking the fee is required.) The museum not only houses works of art, but musical instruments, costumes, and antique weapons from around the world.