New York

Things to do in New York

Given New York’s size and diversity, just narrowing down your list of things to do in New York may be challenging. See the city like the newcomers did: Start with a harbor tour and then head over to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The panoramic views from Lady Liberty never cease to be thrilling. Fifth Avenue has the biggest names (and often the biggest prices), so what to do in New York if you don’t have limitless funds? Wander the boutiques in Soho and Greenwich Village, and shops in Chinatown, for quirkier and more economical finds. Don’t dismiss the outer boroughs, either. Queens has Jackson Heights, which is gaining a large following for great ethnic food, and the Bronx has the famed Bronx Zoo, as well as historical sights such as Edgar Allan Poe Cottage, the author's former home on the Grand Concourse.

Seeing the big museums has always been one of the big things to do in New York—but it can be overwhelming. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, narrow your visit to a few collections and then take your time with them. Another don’t-miss is the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), or smaller museums like the Frick Collection on the Upper East Side.

As a quick side trip from the side—and an alternative to the hyped Hamptons— head to Greenport, on the North Fork in Suffolk County. It has a quaint village or inns and shops, and a fun Maritime festival in September. The Catskills and the Adirondacks offer endless outdoor things to do in New York: hiking trails, cool springs, and plenty of lodges or cabins where you can sit on a quiet porch that feels worlds away from the big city.

Taking its name from the Latin word meaning “home,” Domus is a small shop in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen that sells a selection of handcrafted home décor items from vendors around the world.

This striking home for downtown's contemporary art hub—led by savvy director Lisa Phillips—made a splashy debut in December 2007, thanks to its extraordinary lopsided, six-story building designed by Japanese duo Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa from acclaimed architectural firm SANAA.

A New York City landmark, the Macy’s Herald Square store is a retail giant encompassing a city block and rising 10-and-a-half stories high.

Don't miss Ditch Plains, with its legendary offshore breaks and wide beach bracketed by jagged cliffs.

Set on an estate that once belonged to Eleanor Roosevelt’s grandparents, Kaatsbaan provides dance companies with studios and a performance space as large as the Metropolitan Opera stage. Check the calendar for shows from the likes of the American Ballet Theatre.

Not the place to pick up a $100 Schwinn, this tiny Chelsea bike shop (and gear-head hang-out) focuses on more high end options. Ground zero for cycling enthusiasts, the shop packs its inventory in from the floor to the ceiling, but it also offers soup-to-nuts repairs.

Check out the collection of Native American art.

If Auntie Mame had a store, it would be this vibrant Upper East Side boutique, which designer Freymann fills with women's and children's clothing, accessories, and gifts gathered on her world travels.

Few public works aim as high, literally, as the old Poughkeepsie Highland Railroad Bridge—now called the Walkway over the Hudson, which is currently being revamped. When it reopens in October 2009, it will be the longest pedestrian bridge in the world, spanning 1.28 miles across the river.

Chelsea wine shop Bottlerocket distinguishes itself by how its selection is organized. Most wines are separated by the foods that they pair with best, ranging from poultry to Chinese take-out, and the 300-plus different wines in stock even change with what foods are in season.

The Sony Wonder Technology Lab, located in Manhattan, is a four-story interactive museum dedicated to encouraging visitors of all ages to learn and explore.

Manhattan’s Antiques Garage, adored by legions of New York collectors, was slated for demolition but has been saved from the wrecking ball—at least for the foreseeable future. This bi-level concrete parking lot is a survivor from the days when the neighborhood was full of antiques venues.

In a borough littered with beautiful old buildings, these architectural-salvage specialists sell an impressive range of hard-to-find fixtures and hardware.