Top 11 Things to do in New York City this weekend

Things to do in New York City this weekend

New York City is a vibrant metropolis with endless things to see and do. With world-class museums, iconic landmarks, amazing food, and non-stop entertainment, there is something for everyone. If you find yourself in the Big Apple this weekend, here are the top 11 things you must experience:

Top of the Rock360-degree views from Rockefeller Center.
Central Park StrollExplore the park’s iconic spots.
Broadway ShowExperience live theater in NYC’s theater district.
Brooklyn Bridge WalkWalk across for skyline views.
Smorgasburg Street FoodSample street food at the food market.
High Line ExplorationWalk the elevated park on Manhattan’s West Side.
Museum Mile HopVisit world-class museums along Fifth Avenue.
Washington Square Park HangoutEnjoy the lively atmosphere and performances.
Iconic NYC FoodsTaste New York’s famous culinary offerings.
Staten Island Ferry RideFree views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
Swing46 Tap Dance ShowEnjoy tap dancing at a jazz club.

Known as the city that never sleeps, New York City is one of the most exciting places to visit on the planet. As one of the major cultural hubs of the world, New York has something to offer for every taste and budget. From iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty to world-famous institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City is a destination everyone should experience at least once.

The array of things to see and do in New York can seem overwhelming. With limited time, it’s best to have a plan to make sure you hit the highlights. This weekend, make sure to check these 11 amazing experiences off your NYC bucket list. From classic tourist attractions to local favorites, these are the top things to do in New York City this weekend.

1. Take in the Views from the Top of the Rock

Name and Location: Top of the Rock Observation Deck on the 70th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza in midtown Manhattan provides stunning 360-degree views spanning across New York City’s iconic skyline.

History and Significance: Originally built as GE Building in the 1930s then renovated in the mid-2000s, Top of the Rock sits atop Rockefeller Center offering unmatched panoramas from its indoor and outdoor decks through floor-to-ceiling glass as a breathtaking NYC experience.

What to Expect: Visitors take a quick elevator ride to be greeted by aerial sights of Central Park, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Statue of Liberty and more alongside multimedia exhibits that provide context on the city’s architecture and history from rare perspectives.

Visitor Information: Timed-entry ticketing helps manage crowds. Tickets start around $42 for adults. Open daily 8am-midnight, last elevator at 11pm.

For stunning 360-degree views of New York City, head to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck at Rockefeller Center. Located on the 70th floor of the iconic 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the open-air deck offers breathtaking panoramas of Central Park, the Empire State Building, and other NYC landmarks. Tickets start at $42 for adults. Go at night to see the city sparkle against the night sky. On a clear day, you can see for miles in every direction. It’s one of the best views in all of New York City.

2. Stroll through Central Park

Name and Location: Central Park spans over 800 acres in the center of Manhattan, shaped by landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux with features like Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, Belvedere Castle, the Delacorte Theater and more.

History and Significance: As one of the world’s most famous parks, Central Park has welcomed over 40 million visitors a year since the late 1850s with its lush lawns, lakes, ponds, trails, bridges, artwork and monuments representing unique green space in the bustling concrete jungle of New York.

What to Expect: Outdoor pursuits like walking, jogging, biking, boating across the Lake, taking carriage rides, enjoying concerts and plays, exploring gardens, zoo wildlife, iconic sites like the Gapstow Bridge or simply relaxing on the grass offer endless Central Park magic year-round.

Visitor Information: As a public park, access and attractions are free excluding certain tours and concessions. Open 6am-1am daily. Multiple subway routes reach Central Park stops. Some restrictions may apply.

Central Park is an oasis of green in the concrete jungle and a must-visit. At over 800 acres, it’s easy to spend hours meandering along its winding paths. Some top spots include the Bethesda Fountain, Bow Bridge, Conservatory Garden, and Strawberry Fields. Visit the Central Park Zoo or rent a boat and row out on the lake. Have a picnic, go for a run, orsimply find a bench and people watch. There’s always something happening in New York’s backyard escape.

3. Catch a Broadway Show

Name and Location: Broadway theater shows shine from dozens of magnificent venues concentrated on the Theater District around Times Square between 40th and 54th Streets in Midtown Manhattan.

History and Significance: Broadway theater has represented pinnacle performing arts in NYC since the early 1900s when venues like the New Amsterdam Theatre arose, staging spectacular original plays and musicals that achieved widespread American cultural influence over 100+ years in showbiz.

What to Expect: Glitzy Broadway shows feature seasoned actors, extravagant sets/costumes and rousing scores, enrapturing audiences amid New York’s unmatched theater scene through comedy, drama and song-and-dance spectacles unlike anything else.

Visitor Information: Individual show box offices sell day-of tickets when available but booking ahead online, by phone or at the TKTS booth is recommended for choice seating at $50-500 per ticket depending on date/demand. Most venues between 41st-45th Streets.

For an only-in-New-York experience, catch a show on Broadway. NYC’s theater district is the pinnacle of live performance. Classic shows like The Phantom of the Opera and Chicago are can’t miss. But also check out new and buzzworthy hits like Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, and Hadestown. Splurge for orchestra seats or get rush tickets for shows sold out months in advance. The neon lights, grand theaters, and incredible performances make Broadway magical.

4. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge

Name and Location: The pedestrian-only Brooklyn Bridge walkway connects lower Manhattan to Brooklyn, spanning East River Drive in NYC with entry/exit points around City Hall Park and Dumbo’s Washington Street.

History and Significance: As one of America’s oldest suspension bridges completed in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge remains an architectural marvel renowned for its Gothic Revival towers and cable arches stretching 6,000 feet to offer unforgettable skyline perspectives of Lower Manhattan post-9/11.

What to Expect: Locals and tourists from across the globe traverse the elevated wooden-plank walkway admiring sweeping views of the New York Harbor and Downtown buildings with options to bike or take scenic photo stops along the approximately one mile journey, which takes 30-45 minutes each way.

Visitor Information: The Brooklyn Bridge walkway allows pedestrian access daily 6:00am-12:00am. Entry at major intersections at Park Row and Tillary/Adams Streets in Manhattan or Washington Street in Brooklyn.

Get a new perspective on NYC’s famous skyline by walking across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. Built in 1883, it was one of the longest suspension bridges of its time. The 1.1-mile journey takes about 30 minutes each way. Along the way, stop and take in the views of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Make it a round trip, starting in either borough. Bring a camera, because the picturesque views of the bridge framed by the cityscape make for amazing photos.

5. Eat Smorgasburg Street Food

Name and Location: Smorgasburg is an outdoor Brooklyn food market hosting 100+ vendors every Saturday on the Williamsburg waterfront at East River State Park and Sundays in Prospect Park.

History and Significance: Launched in 2011 as an open-air food bazaar for local food entrepreneurs, Smorgasburg has become New York’s largest weekly open-air food market and forefront for innovation drawing epicureans seeking favorite ethnic eats and Instagram-famous foods against iconic backdrops.

What to Expect: Alongside views of Manhattan, Smorgasburg serves up inventive cuisine spanning tacos, bbq, pasta, desserts and more from local makers citywide with long lines forming by noon for creative eats like ramen burgers alongside bands, beer, games and people watching galore.

Visitor Information: Smorgasburg operates 11am-6pm rain or shine; some vendors sell out so arriving early suggested. Free admission; take subway lines to East River Ferry or Atlantic Ave then walk riverside 15 minutes. Cashless payments preferred.

Skip the fancy restaurants and head to Smorgasburg food market. With locations in Williamsburg on Saturdays and Prospect Park on Sundays, Smorgasburg gathers the city’s best food vendors selling delicious bites. Gorge yourself on gooey grilled cheese sandwiches, crispy empanadas, Ramen burgers, lobster rolls, and more. With options from 100+ vendors, the hardest part is deciding what to eat. Come hungry and ready to sample an array of amazing street food finds.

6. Explore the High Line

Name and Location: The High Line is a 1.5 mile elevated urban park built along a former railroad spanning Manhattan’s West Side between the Meatpacking District at Gansevoort Street and West 34th Street.

History and Significance: Constructed as an aerial rail line in the 1930s then fallen into disuse, the High Line route was redeveloped as green space above the city starting 2009. It threads through neighborhoods, passing attractions and popular architecture as an internationally praised adaptive reuse project.

What to Expect: Strollers, cyclists and joggers traverse artistic walkways overlooking 10th and 11th Avenues populated with gardens, glass railings, benches and site specific art installations while enjoying Hudson River views against an urban background. The Whitney Museum anchors the southern end.

Visitor Information: The High Line Pedestrian Greenway offers free daily public access 7am-7pm with extended summer hours, wheelchair-accessibility and nine entry points including stairwells and elevators.

The High Line is an innovative urban park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets of Manhattan’s West Side. This green space features beautiful landscaping and runs from Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street between 10th and 12th Avenues. Walk the entire 1.5 mile length, stopping to enjoy views of the Hudson River and city streets below. Look out for cool public art installations along the way. Grab lunch or a drink at one of the park-like food vendors in the converted rail cars.

7. Museum Hop on Museum Mile

Name and Location: Museum Mile represents a section of 5th Avenue in Manhattan running alongside Central Park that concentrates nine world-class art and culture museums between 82nd to 105th Streets.

History and Significance: Since its 1978 designation tying these famed institutions together, Museum Mile hosts special events and encourages visitors to discover its illustrious halls which include the Metropolitan Museum of Art plus El Museo del Barrio, Cooper Hewitt and Guggenheim Museum to name a standout few.

What to Expect: Art and culture lovers traverse grand museums and their sculpture gardens on Tuesdays when select venues offer free/pay-what-you-wish admission from 6-9pm between Memorial and Labor Days on annual Mile-wide Night.

Visitor Information: Aside from seasonal Mile-wide Night evenings, individual museum tickets range from $12-25 for general entry plus member and children reductions. Subway lines connect; research specific museum locations/hours.

Art and culture lovers can’t miss Museum Mile, a section of Fifth Avenue with nine world-class museums. Some top stops include The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and The Jewish Museum. Many museums offer pay-what-you-wish admission hours so you can see amazing art without going broke. Don’t miss institutions off the main drag like the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Whitney Museum of American Art.

8. Hang out in Washington Square Park

Name and Location: Washington Square Park stretches 9.75 acres in Lower Manhattan’s Greenwich Village centered around the Washington Square Arch with pathways extending down Fifth Avenue in a hub for NYU students and music/art displays.

History and Significance: Dating back to the early 1800s, Washington Square Park served as a cemetery, military parade grounds and gathering spot before controversial renovations brought its iconic fountain and arch to usher in decades of artistic expression and demonstrations around its central plaza.

What to Expect: A creative spirit endures today through public performances, recreational activities and社交 on this elegant park’s lawns facing NYU lectures and the Empire State Building soaring in the background alongside triumphal Roman architecture honoring George Washington.

Visitor Information: Washington Square Park remains freely open to the public 24 hours for passive recreation through idyllic tree-lined paths and people watching atop the history-steeped grounds.

Washington Square Park is like NYU’s quad and the heart of Greenwich Village. At this lively public space you’ll find street performers, musicians, people playing chess, and NYU students studying. Hang out on the central fountain or walk under the iconic Washington Square Arch. There are walkways lined with trees on all sides as well as plenty of benches and lawns to relax. Stop to watch a lively drum circle or impromptu jazz band jam out. The festive park is quintessential New York.

9. Eat Iconic NYC Foods

Name and Location: Iconic eats like New York-style pizza, hot dogs, bagels, cheesecake and street cart foods can be found across Manhattan and the outer boroughs from eateries that perfected certain dishes.

History and Significance: From 19th century immigrant influence infusing flavor into hotdogs and pizza around Coney Island and Little Italy to Jewish bakeries baking legendary rye bread creations, iconic NYC foods arose from neighborhoods where unique gastronomy left an indelible impact on American food culture through staples still popular today.

What to Expect: Trying a slice at Joe’s Pizza or nibbling on an everything bagel from Ess-a-Bagel offers visitors authentic New York flavor experiences – though lines may form at the most famous eateries upheld by locals and tourists for generations seeking the city’s singular tasty trademarks.

Visitor Information: NYC restaurants stay open late; research must-try spots per borough. Pricing varies per iconic food but typically under $15 per person. Cash preferred at some casual counter-service shops.

A trip to New York isn’t complete without tasting its iconic foods. For the best pizza in town, skip the chains and go for a slice at John’s of Bleecker Street, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria, or Artichoke Basille’s Pizza. Nothing beats an authentic New York bagel from Ess-a-Bagel or Absolute Bagels. The pastrami sandwiches and matzo ball soup at Katz’s Delicatessen are local legends. And grab a black and white cookie from William Greenberg Desserts, a New York classic.

10. Take the Staten Island Ferry

Name and Location: The free Staten Island Ferry shuttles passengers across New York Harbor spanning the terminal at Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan to St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island.

History and Significance: As one of NYC’s oldest transit routes established in 1905, the iconic orange Staten Island Ferry carries almost 2 million annual passengers across the 5.2 mile harbor channel providing unmatched skyline and maritime views with a reliable, commuter-friendly ride.

What to Expect: During the 25 minute, 5 knot ferry ride, riders experience salt air sensations and sweeping harbor panoramas of landmarks like Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty and the lower Manhattan cityscape whisking by while ships glide past Staten Island bound or in the return direction back toward Whitehall’s terminal.

Visitor Information: Free ferry service operates 24/7 with departures every 15-30 minutes. Entry queues at either terminal; check schedules online. Drinks and snacks sold onboard certain vessels.

The free Staten Island Ferry provides one of the best deals in New York. The 25 minute ride across New York Harbor to Staten Island provides stunning views of the Lower Manhattan skyline and Statue of Liberty. Find a spot on the deck and snap photos of the iconic sights, with Ellis Island and the Verrazano Bridge in the distance. Stay on for the return ferry back to NYC and enjoy the same great views. With departures every 15-30 minutes from Battery Park, it’s an easy free excursion.

11. See a Tap Dance Show at Swing46

Name and Location: Swing46 is a jazz club hosting live music and tap dance nights located at 349 W 46th St in New York’s Theater District neighborhood in Midtown Manhattan.

History and Significance: Founded in 2002 under Clint Holmes in the heart of NYC’s jazz and Broadway scene, the Rat Pack inspired Swing46 immerses visitors through a vintage supper club experience fueled by world-class jazz and tap artists alongside themed craft cocktails true to American musical roots.

What to Expect: During Wednesday night tap jams, guests marvel at custom tap floors and a rotating roster of prolific performers exchanging rhythmic dance solos, duets and teams igniting fast footwork across stage and table-side while classic jazz scores electrify the intimate, opulent time capsule ambiance.

Visitor Information: Swing46 offers a free tap dance show every Wednesday at 7pm with dinner or drinks minimums per person. Reservations recommended for seating before 6:30pm so as not to miss the opening act. Proper evening attire required.

For a uniquely New York night out, head to Swing46 jazz club to see a high-energy tap dance show with dinner and drinks. The talented dancers will wow you with their rythmic footwork and dazzling choreography. Located in Midtown with shows nightly, it’s an intimate venue to see incredible dancing up close. Arrive early to get a seat near the stage and try their Southern cuisine like fried chicken and blackened catfish. Make a reservation for the 8 pm show so you can dance the night away after.


New York City deserves its reputation as one of the greatest cities on earth. The energy, diversity, culture, and endless things to do make it a destination everyone should visit at least once. With countless museums, attractions, tours, theaters, parks, and nightlife, NYC offers something exciting around every corner.

Use this New York City weekend bucket list to hit the top spots and make the most of your time. From quintessential sightseeing at the Statue of Liberty to joining locals for jazz in the park, these memorable experiences will show you why New York is a one-of-a-kind city. Don’t try and do it all in just one weekend. Come back again to discover even more to love about this amazing metropolis.

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