Top 10 New York City Essentials - Museums and Astonishing Views

Tags: #NewYork ,   #EmpireStateBuilding ,   #CentralPark ,   #MuseumMile

Alex O'Brien

Alex O'Brien

Last updated:  2023-11-28 15:27:11

The Big Apple, as New York City is often called, has a lot to offer to people of every age. However, our top ten list focuses on the best viewing points and museums in New York City. New York City is a perfect city break, as it has many great museums, but we'll just bring you absolutely must-see ones. Many of them are a part of Museum Mile, a stretch of Fifth Avenue between 110th and 82nd streets. So let's look at them in our New York City itinerary!

10. One World Observatory

One World Observatory in Manhattan, New York
One World Observatory is the highest point of Manhattan (photo: Khara Woods/

One World Observatory is located on 100-102 floors of One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. One WTC is the highest construction in the western hemisphere at 1776 feet. Still, the elevator ride to the 102nd floor of the observatory is only 47 seconds long. At the top, you can enjoy the beautiful views of New York City

Moreover, step on the sky portal, a circular glass disc, and you'll see the city above you in real-time using HD cameras. Meanwhile, if you get tired, you can rest at the observatory café or have a meal in the fine dining restaurant with an incredible view.  

9. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum

The 11 Memoria and Museum, New York City
The most tragic museum and memorial, the 9/11 (photo: Jesus Kiteque/

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum stands on the former World Trade Center spot, tragically destroyed by the terrorist attack on Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. The museum tour takes around 40 minutes, and you'll get insights into the tragic events that occurred that day. 

The 9/11 complex honors the victims, their families, and those included in the rescue and recovery after the attack. The 9/11 Memorial admission is free of charge, but it's better to book your tickets ahead for the museum.

8. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City
Impressive architecture of Guggenheim Museum (photo: personal archive)

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, or Guggenheim, is an art museum located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in Museum Mile. In the middle of the 20th Century, renewed architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed the museum, which is considered his most outstanding achievement. The circular concrete building is impressive and stands out among the other structures in NYC. 

Inside the museum, a spiral ramp will take you from one floor to another, exposing the artworks of Kandinsky, Picasso, Miro, and many other famous artists. Museum's rotunda is a unique blend of artificial and natural light combined by artist James Turrell. So take a few moments below the circular rotunda and enjoy the colors, lights, and sounds.


A view at Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyscrapers from DUMBO in New York City
Check out the streets and beautiful sights from DUMBO (photo: Adam Gong/

Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, or shortly DUMBO, has an incredible view of Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan skyscrapers, so it should be on your New York City itinerary. DUMBO is set on the Brooklyn side of the city and is now home to many tech companies. 

The neighborhood has changed dramatically, as previously industrial buildings have been converted into exclusive residential lofts. Moreover, the area is full of art galleries, shops, and trendy restaurants with delicious food. The best way to get to DUMBO is by ferry from Manhattan or simply walking over the Brooklyn Bridge and enjoying your time exploring the cobblestone streets.

6. American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History in New York
Kids really enjoy visiting the American Museum of Natural History (photo: personal archive)

The American Museum of Natural History is on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The American Museum of Natural History is one of the best museums in New York City and one of the world's largest museums. By far, the most interesting are the skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex and the model of the Blue Whale. 

Also, don't miss the museum's planetarium and the show "Worlds Beyond the Earth," which will take you on tour around our solar system. The museum even arranges sleepovers to attract and educate the children. Moreover, you might recognize it as the set of a few movies, especially "Night at the Museum" with Ben Stiller.

5. Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art in New York
MoMA, the most impressive museum of modern art (photo: Jonathan Hoxmark/

The Museum of Modern Art is a must-visit! Commonly known as MoMA, it's located in Midtown Manhattan, on 53th Street and between Fifth and Sixth Avenue. Co-founders of MoMA were Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Lillie Bliss, and Mary Quinn Sullivan back in 1929.  

Today the MoMA is the most influential museum of modern and contemporary art globally, which attracts around two million visitors annually. The most valuable paintings are The Stray Night by Vincent Van Gogh, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso, Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair by Frida Kahlo, and Campbell's Soup Cans by Andy Warhol. However, it also has some of the most beautiful cars in history.

4. Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan, New York City
Top of the Rock offers a view from the open-air terrace (photo: Adrien Bruneau/

Top of the Rock is located on the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors of 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan. From the 67th and 69th floors, indoor and outdoor viewing areas offer beautiful Manhattan and the Empire State Building views. 

Moreover, on the 70th floor is an open-air rooftop terrace without glass protection, offering an unobstructed 360-degree view of the Big Apple. In addition, 30 Rockefeller Plaza has a Rainbow Room fine dining restaurant and Bar SixtyFive on the 65th floor.

3. Liberty and Ellis Island

The Statue of Liberty in New York City
Liberty and Ellis Island are a part of the great American history (photo: Mercedes Schulz/

Two islands settled next to each other are owned by the federal government. Back at the end of the 19th Century Ellis Island became an immigration station. During its 62 years of operation, more than 12 million immigrants passed through the island. Today, the previous immigration complex's main building is converted into The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration.

Meanwhile, Liberty Island was chosen for the Statue of Liberty location given to the USA by France. Back in 1886, the monument was unveiled by President Cleveland, and it became the symbol of freedom and hope. If you wish to take a look from the crown, you must book the visit and climb the stairs. Still, it's worth it.

2. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City
One of the greatest museums in the world the MET (photo: Stephen H/

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or shortly MET, is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, in the Museum Mile. This is the biggest museum in the United States and one of the most visited globally. MET has an impressive collection of artworks, but the Egyptian wing with 40 exhibition rooms and an astonishing Temple of Dendur stands out.

Moreover, the MET hosts the annual Costume Institute Benefit, commonly known as the MET Gala. This luxurious, themed event gathers celebrities including Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande and includes a cocktail hour and a dinner.

1. Empire State Building

Empire State Building in the evening
Empire State Building is among the most recognizable symbols of NYC (photo: private/

The beautiful art-deco building in Midtown Manhattan with 102 floors dates back to 1931. The magnificent Empire State Building has lost the title of the tallest building in New York City and might not have the highest observatory deck, but it is by far the most impressive and most visited one. Moreover, it's an iconic landmark of the city. Due to appearing in many movies, almost everybody knows how it looks.

Observatory decks are on the 80th, 86th, and 102nd floors. The 80th-floor observatory deck hosts exhibitions and a mural of NYC skyscrapers. The 86th observatory deck is the main deck, and it has an open-air viewing platform and an enclosed one, so it's open all year long. However, to get to the 102nd observation deck, you'll need to pay an additional fee. Afterward, the glass elevator will take you right to the top, offering an incredible view on your way up.

At the end of this top ten, we recommend you check out City Pass options, as they will save you time and money. A few of them are available for purchase, so look for one that best fits your needs.

Have you ever visited a museum or viewing point in New York City? Please write to us in the comment section. We would like to hear your impressions. 

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Daphne82 Says:

I had realistic expectations about New York, so I loved it the first time. Stay at least for a week to really feel it.

June 14 at 09:00:33 AM

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