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.

Founded by Rita Brookoff, who became a proponent of vintage fashion when she began wearing her mother’s 1940’s suit jacket during her high school years, Legacy is a funky boutique on Thompson Street in New York’s Soho that offers shoppers a unique blend of both vintage and modern fashion.

Since 1991, the award-winning Big Onion Walking Tours has been offering guided tours through New York’s ethnic neighborhoods and historic districts.

The well-edited, mint-condition The well-edited, mint-condition vintage clothing at always feels just right, particularly the garden-party frocks from the ’40s and ’50s.

Preorder the fried chicken.

Inside a restored townhouse, this 6,000-square-foot spa and lounge created by Jamie Ahn (she also founded Acqua Beauty Bar) offers a complete selection of spa services.

Years as Agent: 18. Specialties: New Orleans, Switzerland. Fee: Varies.

The biannual Pier Antiques Show is a treasure trove for collectors, decorators, and designers. The show, held at Pier 94, attracts locals and celebrities with its extensive collection of antiques, including furniture and ceramics, from more than 500 vendors.

Striped Breton sailor tops hang from driftwood displays at this fair-trade- and organic-focused shop. Its owner, Joelle Klein, used to be a designer for Calypso Christianne Celle.

No New York institution displays monumental modern art better than Dia: Beacon. The former Nabisco factory shows notable works like Richard Serra’s 1997 Torqued Ellipses.

A retro dessert parlor with cookies named after the owner’s relatives, and whoopee pies made of cream cheese and pumpkin cake.

Great for a family tubing trip down the Delaware River.

When she couldn't find sheets to fit the sleek steel beds her husband, artist Julian Schnabel, designed, Olatz Schnabel went back to her design-school roots and created her own.

Nope, this isn’t about J.Crew (the casual clothing store) branching out into brandy and fine old Scotch.