New York Bucket List: 192 Things to Do in The Empire State

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Wondering what amazing experiences await you in the Empire State?

Get ready to explore a diverse range of activities and attractions- from the concrete jungle of NYC to the serene landscapes of the upstate countryside. 

Whether you’re seeking the bright lights of Times Square, the natural wonders of Niagara Falls, or the artistic vibe of Woodstock, this New York Bucket List has got you covered.

Discover fun and unforgettable activities, hidden gems, and must-visit attractions that make this destination truly extraordinary.

Our curated set of things to do in New York State are grouped according to the cities and towns where they are located so it is easier for you to navigate.

For seasonal guides, you may want to check our list of things to do during spring in NY, fall in Upstate NY, or NYC winter day trips.

Free New York Bucket List

Adirondacks Bucket List

Nestled amidst towering peaks and wilderness, the Adirondacks offer a nature lover’s paradise with endless opportunities for hiking, camping, and breathtaking landscapes. 

At the heart of the Adirondacks lies the charming village of Lake Placid, known for its picturesque setting and rich Olympic history. 

From serene lakes to beautiful mountain views, this region is a haven for outdoor adventurers seeking a slice of tranquility. 

  • Be daring with Experience Outdoors, LLC.
  • Spend the day at Mirror Lake admiring its beauty and check out the various shops and restaurants.
  • Embark on an adventure with Lake Placid Marina and Boat Tours.
  • Take a hike on Mount Jo.
  • Spend the day exploring Lake Placid.
  • Visit the John Brown Farm State Historic Site.
  • Grab something to eat at the Adirondack Corner Store and Deli.
  • Take a ride on the Adirondack Carousel.
  • Get your blood pumping with Adirondack River Outfitters.
  • Have a winter adventure with C&C Snowmobile Tours.

For something seasonal, read our guide to autumn in the Adirondacks for more activities to add to your New York fall bucket list.

Beautiful Village of Lake Placid with fall colors at Adirondack Mountains New York State

Albany Bucket List

Step into the capital of New York State, where history meets modernity.

From strolling through the lovely streets of the historic downtown to exploring the state’s museums and cultural institutions, Albany has something for everyone. 

Discover the rich tapestry of the city’s past, savor culinary delights, and soak up the lively atmosphere that makes Albany a hidden gem worth exploring.

  • Visit the New York State Capitol.
  • Dine at the Iron Gate Café.
  • Learn something new at the Albany Institute of History and Art, one of America’s oldest museums.
  • Explore Lark Street and all the shops, diners, and bars it has to offer.
  • Check out what is happening at the Palace Theatre.
  • Dine at 677 Prime.
  • See what events are happening at Times Union Center.
  • Taste ciders made from local fruits at Nine Pin Cider Works.
  • Learn about American History during World War II on the USS Slater.
  • Have an adventure at Albany Indoor Rockgym.
Albany New York skyline at night.

Buffalo Bucket List

A city that combines rich industrial heritage with a thriving arts and culinary scene, Buffalo is a destination that will surprise you.

From architecture to exploring vibrant neighborhoods, this place offers a unique blend of culture, history, and warm hospitality. 

  • Discover more about Buffalo’s famous dish and try some delicious wings on this food tour.
  • Take a foodie bike tour and discover some of the most diverse and tastiest foods Buffalo has to offer.
  • Wander around the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.
  • Check out Buffalo Harbor State Park.
  • Enjoy some peace at Tifft Nature Preserve.
  • Catch a hockey game at the KeyBank Center.
  • Eat at Panorama on Seven.
  • Explore Canalside.
  • Watch a baseball game at Sahlen Field.
  • Visit the Buffalo Museum of Science.
  • Admire St. Joseph’s Cathedral.
  • See art from Western New York Artists at Burchfield Penney Art Center.
  • Dine at Gene McCarthy’s.
  • Spend the day at Explore and More The Ralph C. Wilson JR. Children’s Museum.
  • Visit the Flying Bison Brewing Company.
  • Start your day right with breakfast from Swan Street Diner.
  • Take a walk through the historic Forest Lawn Cemetery.
  • Enjoy a nice dinner at Hutch’s.
  • Check out the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra website to see what events are on.
Panoramic view of Buffalo in New York, USA.

Cooperstown Bucket List

Wander through quaint streets, indulge in delectable treats, and dive into the world of baseball legends. 

Home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown immerses you in the history and magic of the sport. 

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or simply curious about America’s sporting heritage, Cooperstown is a must-visit destination that will leave you cheering for more.

  • Visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
  • Learn something new at the Farmer’s Museum.
  • Eat at Hawkeye Bar and Grill.
  • Have a picnic and explore Glimmerglass State Park.
  • Let loose at Barnyard Swing Miniature Golf.
  • Indulge in some handcrafted spirits at Cooperstown Distillery.
  • Stop for something to eat at Mel’s at 22.
  • Test your skills at the Cooperstown Escape Rooms.
  • Pick up some local produce at the Cooperstown Farmers Market.
  • See how bats are made at Cooperstown Bat Company.
Hyde Hall Covered Bridge Glimmerglass State Park of Cooperstown, NY.

Hudson Valley Bucket List

The Hudson Valley invites you to escape into a world of picturesque landscapes, idyllic town settings, and an abundance of cultural attractions. 

From exploring historic mansions along the riverbanks to savoring farm-to-table culinary delights, this region is a feast for the senses. 

If you like wine, this is the New York destination for you.

  • Spend the day at Legoland.
  • Explore America’s oldest winery, Brotherhood Winery, which dates back to the 1800s.
  • Enjoy the views of the Hudson River Valley while sipping on handcrafted wines at Benmarl Winery.
  • Admire the Olana State Historic Site.
  • Visit the FASNY Museum of Firefighting.
  • Walk through the Henry Hudson Riverfront Park.
  • Enjoy some time in nature at Greenport Conservation Area.
  • Take a boat tour with Hudson Cruises.
  • Practice self-care at Bodhi Holistic Spa and Yoga.
  • Eat at Grazin’.
Fall colors of the Hudson River valley in New York State

Ithaca Bucket List

Tucked away in the heart of the Finger Lakes region, Ithaca is a town that captivates visitors with its natural beauty and lively atmosphere. 

From the gorges and waterfalls of Robert H. Treman State Park to the downtown area lined with shops and eateries, this town offers a perfect blend of nature adventures and urban appeal.

  • Explore the Robert Treman State Park.
  • Admire the Cornell Botanic Gardens.
  • Indulge in a sweet treat from Cornell Dairy Bar.
  • Visit the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory.
  • Check out the Ithaca Falls.
  • Explore Ithaca Commons
  • Spend the day at the Sciencenter.
  • Enjoy a wine tasting at Ports of New York Winery.
  • See what is happening at the Hangar Theatre.
  • Grab something to eat at the Ithaca Bakery.
  • Take the kids to the Ithaca Children’s Garden.
  • Ride your bike through the Black Diamond Trail.
  • Try the food at Collegetown Bagels.
  • Have a unique experience at Gourdlandia.
  • Take flight with Southern Tier Balloon Tours.
  • Check out the Museum of the Earth.
Scenic view of Ithaca Falls in Ithaca, NY.

Lake George Bucket List

Known as the “Queen of American Lakes,” Lake George is a breathtaking destination that promises crystal-clear waters, scenic mountain views, and endless recreational opportunities. 

Whether you’re seeking a relaxing beach day, a thrilling adventure on the water, or a leisurely cruise to admire the surrounding beauty, Lake George has it all. 

  • Explore Lake George.
  • Reach the summit of Prospect Mountain.
  • Take your kids to the Magic Forest Amusement Park.
  • Stop to eat at Caldwell House Restaurant.
  • Soak up the sun on Million Dollar Beach.
  • Check out the House of Frankenstein Wax Museum.
  • Enjoy a treat from Lake George Baking Company.
  • Find a treasure at the Antiques Market Place.
  • Dine at Bistro LeRoux.
  • Play around the World Mini Golf Course.
  • Spend the day hiking Buck Mountain.
  • For some winter fun, check out Ice Castles (closed during the summer).
Aerial view of Lake George, NY surrounded by greeneries.

Long Beach Bucket List

Want a place that’s worthy to be added to your New York summer bucket list?

Just less than an hour away from the hustle and bustle of New York City, Long Beach beckons with its sandy shores, boardwalk, and surf-ready waves. 

Whether you’re a seasoned surfer catching the perfect wave or a beachcomber seeking relaxation, this destination offers a coastal haven that blends seaside charm with city amenities. 

  • Spend the day on Long Beach.
  • Check out Earth Arts of Long Beach.
  • Stop for a drink at Nolan’s Pub.
  • Grab a bite to eat at Lido Kosher Deli.
  • Learn to surf with Skudin Surf.
  • Feast on seafood at Five Ocean.
View of Long Beach at night in New York.

Montauk Bucket List

Discover the laid-back coastal beauty of Montauk, a beach town at the eastern tip of Long Island that offers ocean views, sandy beaches, and vibrant surf culture. 

Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, fresh seafood, or simply some relaxation by the sea,  this place offers a wide range of New York activities for visitors to enjoy.

  • Explore Montauk Point State Park.
  • Snap photos of Montauk Lighthouse.
  • Spend the day playing in the water, lounging on the beach, or surfing at Ditch Plains Beach.
  • Enjoy a sweet treat from Montauk Bake Shoppe.
  • Check out Shadmoor State Park.
  • Stop for a brew at Montauk Brewing Company.
  • Take in views of the ocean from Amsterdam Beach Preserve.
  • Go on a boat tour with Sail Montauk.
Montauk Lighthouse and beach on Long Island in New York

Niagara Falls Bucket List

Prepare to be awe-struck by the natural wonder that is Niagara Falls, where thundering cascades of water create a mesmerizing spectacle. 

Whether you choose to marvel at the falls from a boat tour, hike along scenic trails, or simply stand in amazement of the sheer power of nature, Niagara Falls promises a noteworthy experience.

  • Make an unforgettable memory with the Maid of the Mist and Cave of Winds combo tour.
  • Take a Jet-Boat tour of the Niagara River.
  • Explore Niagara Falls State Park.
  • Ride the Niagara Scenic Trolley.
  • Get a great view of the falls from the Niagara Falls Observation Tower.
  • Try your luck at Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino.
  • Do a little shopping at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls.
  • Visit the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center.
  • Taste the best wines from the Niagara area on the Niagara Wine Trail.
  • See the Nikola Tesla Monument.
  • Try the burgers at Flip Burger.
  • Walk down Third Street Art Alley.
  • Eat at Donatello’s Restaurant.
  • Escape from the Panic Room.
  • Sign up for a class at the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University.
Fall colors on the American side of Niagara Falls in full flow with water mist rising.

NYC Bucket List

As the pulsating heart of the state, New York City needs no introduction. 

The Big Apple, as it’s affectionately known, offers a dizzying array of attractions, from world-class museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art to Broadway shows that will leave you singing show tunes for days.

Check out the list below and see for yourself why this city is a go-to location for some of the best things to do in New York.

  • Get a New York City Pass to visit top attractions and get some great deals.
  • Take a private tour of NYC.
  • See the best views of the city with a Manhattan Island helicopter tour.
  • Explore Central Park.
  • Walk around Times Square.
  • Shop at Fifth Avenue.
  • Visit the 9/11 Memorial.
  • Learn something new at the Hayden Planetarium.
  • Visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • See the best views of the city from Top of the Rock observation decks.
  • Grab your tickets to see Aladdin or The Lion King on Broadway; they sell fast.
  • Catch a show at Stephen Sondheim Theatre.
  • Check out what is happening at the Beacon Theatre.
  • Stroll along the High Line.
  • Skip the line at the Empire State Building and purchase your tickets ahead of time.
  • Admire the architecture of the New York Public Library.
  • Visit The Museum of Modern Art.
  • Learn something new at the American Museum of Natural History.
  • Enjoy summer and winter activities at Bryant Park.
  • Watch a game at Madison Square Garden.
  • If you’re a Friends fan, then you must check out the Friends Experience.
  • Walk around The Museum of FIT.
  • Stroll Park Avenue.
  • Visit the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site.
  • Browse the Union Square GreenMarket.
  • Immerse yourself in a museum of sweet treats at the Museum of Ice Cream.
  • See the Ghostbuster Fire Station.
  • Visit the SeaGlass Carousel.
  • See the iconic Statue of Liberty with a 1-hour cruise around Ellis Island.
  • Ride the Staten Island Ferry for free.
  • Walk along the Brooklyn Bridge
  • See the Dyker Heights Christmas lights on this bus tour.

You may also like our guide to outdoor activities in New York City, NYC on a budget, and hidden gems in NYC.

Our NYC date ideas contain stuff to do that you can add to your New York spring bucket list.

If you’re looking to stay a bit later and want to fill your New York winter bucket list, check our guide to ice skating in NYC.

Statue and Red Steps surrounded by buildings with LED screen in Times Square, NYC.

Oneonta Bucket List

Welcome to Oneonta, a college town located in the heart of upstate New York! 

Stroll down Main Street, where quirky shops and cozy cafes beckon, or venture out to the nearby hiking trails and scenic parks for some outdoor excitement.

  • Take a hike at Delaware Otsego Audubon Soc. Sanctuary.
  • Check out Robert V Riddell State Park.
  • Take your kids to Oneonta World of Learning.
  • Learn something new at A.J. Read Science Discovery Center.
  • Eat at Autumn Café.
  • Try the legendary Cold Cheese Pizza at Tinos!
  • Visit the Yager Museum of Art and Culture.
  • Check out what events are happening at Neahwa Park, look out for the local deer.
  • Buy a new book or two at The Green Toad Bookstore.
  • Have some fun Rock climbing at Table Rock Bouldering.
Picture of Main Street Oneonta in New York.

Syracuse Bucket List

Wondering what to do in New York for avid sports fans?

Get ready to cheer on the Orange as you explore the lively city of Syracuse, home to a rich history, vibrant arts scene, and passionate sports culture. 

From exploring exhibits at the Erie Canal Museum to catching a game at the JMA Wireless Dome, there are many thrilling things to see and so at this place.

  • Visit the Erie Canal Museum.
  • Grab a treat from Columbus Baking Co.
  • Spend the afternoon at Onondaga Historical Association.
  • Watch a show at the Landmark Theatre.
  • Stroll around Clinton Square.
  • Browse the Syracuse Antiques Exchange.
  • Enjoy a beer on the patio at Middle Ages Brewing Company.
  • Walk through ArtRage Gallery.
  • Enjoy a meal from Pastabilities.
  • Catch a game at the JMA Wireless Dome, known before as the Carrier Dome.
  • Visit the Jerry Rescue Monument.
  • Eat at Stella’s Diner.
  • Take a class at Syracuse Yoga.
  • Wander around the Central New York Regional Market.
  • Have fun at the Museum of Intrigue.
  • Check out the New York State Fairgrounds. 
Skyline of Syracuse, New York.

The Hamptons Bucket List

Immerse yourself in the exclusive coastal retreat of the Hamptons, where beaches, luxurious estates, and a fun social scene create an irresistible allure. 

From chic boutiques to art galleries, this playground of the rich and famous offers a glimpse into a world of sophistication and indulgence- some of the ​​places to see in New York.

  • Spend the day at Cooper’s Beach.
  • Walk around the LongHouse Reserve Gardens.
  • Visit the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center.
  • Browse Round Swamp Farm.
  • Check out the events at Guild Hall.
  • See what is happening at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Centre.
  • Look up what events are going on at Southampton Arts Center.
  • Visit the Thomas Halsey Homestead.
Aerial view of sunset along the beach at Towd Point in Southampton, Long Island, New York

Woodstock Bucket List

Journey back to the iconic era of peace, love, and music in the town of Woodstock. 

Nestled in the heart of the Catskill Mountains, this bohemian enclave invites you to embrace its free-spirited atmosphere, explore its quirky shops, and revel in its thriving arts scene. 

  • Explore Overlook Mountain.
  • Visit the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Tibetan Buddhist Monastery.
  • Sign up for a class at Woodstock Goat Yoga.
  • Eat at the Garden Café.
  • Browse the Sunfrost Farm Market.
  • Enjoy dinner and live entertainment at the Bearsville Theater.
  • Dine at The Bear Cantina.
  • Relax at the Glo Spa Woodstock.
  • Stop for a slice of pizza from Woodstock Pizza Theater.
  • Look around the Historical Society of Woodstock.
  • Indulge in fresh bread and baked goods from Bread Alone.
  • Catch a show at Woodstock Playhouse.
  • Look up what events are happening at Maverick Concerts.
The grounds where Woodstock Festival was once held in New York.

Final Thoughts

We’re glad you’ve checked out our NY bucket list- hopefully, this inspired you to plan for your ultimate adventure in the Empire State.

If you have any recommendations for places and activities to try in New York or want to share your experience, feel free to comment below.

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