Free NYC Bucket List: 71 Things to Do in New York

Manhattan from Sunset Park Brooklyn NYC New York

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The ultimate NYC bucket list for first timer visitors or bored locals!

The list includes food, drink, sports, musical, theater, seasonal activities and touristy things to do in NYC.

How many New York bucket list items have you done? Tell us in the comments!

You may also like our guide to unique things to do in NYC.

NYC Bucket List

Let’s start with the most popular area for first time visitors, Manhattan.

Things to Do in Manhattan

  • Ride the subway
  • See the Statue of Liberty
  • Visit Ellis Island
  • Do the Staten Island Ferry
  • Meet Spiderman in Times Square
  • Sit in the bleachers at Times Square
  • See the Midnight Moment at 11:57 pm at Times Square
  • Look out for the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop at the top of Times Tower
  • See the starry roof at Grand Central
  • Learn more at the 9/11 Museum
  • Row a boat at Central Park
  • Admire the Strawberry Fields memorial
  • Check out Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans at the Museum of Modern Art
  • Sit on the Met steps and summon your inner Blair xoxo
  • American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side
  • Pose near the Flatiron Building
  • Visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Guggenheim
  • Hit the shops at Saks and Macy’s, and experience their Christmas decor after Thanksgiving
  • Go on, take a pic wearing shades at Tiffany’s
  • Be entertained by The Ride
  • Get a pic at Oculus New York
  • Visit the plush Bryant Park bathrooms
  • Sit on the sofa at The FRIENDS™ Experience
  • Go to a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden
  • See a Broadway show, we love Six!
  • Listen to New York Philharmonic
  • People watch at Washington Square Park
  • Stroll along the million-dollar houses at Washington Mews in Greenwich Village
  • Sex and the City sites bus tour
  • Watch a jazz show in Harlem
  • Play arcade games at Dave & Buster’s
  • Relax at AIRE Ancient Baths 
  • Do an NBC Studio Tour
  • Apply to see Saturday Night Live
  • Walk Along The Highline
  • One of your five a day at Apple Garden in the West Village Park
  • Buy a book at The Strand
  • Check out the two walled cemeteries at the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral catacombs
  • Take the aerial tramway from 59th Street and Second Avenue to Tramway Plaza on Roosevelt Island

Sticking to a strict budget? Read our guide to the cool free things to do in NYC.

US flag Times Square NYC New York

Observation Decks

If you are prepared to remortgage your house, you might just tick off all the NYC observation decks from your NYC bucket list.

  • Empire State Building Observation Deck
  • Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center Observation Deck with “The Beam” ride
  • One World Trade Center Observation Deck
  • Summit One Vanderbilt Observation Deck
  • The Edge Observation Deck
Views Manhattan from Brooklyn Heights Promenade NYC

Things to do in Other NYC Neighborhoods

  • Appreciate the brownstones at Park Slope in Brooklyn
  • Cross the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Get that pic from DUMBO, Brooklyn
  • Walk along the Riegelmann Boardwalk at Coney Island
  • Go to a Yankees game in the Bronx
  • Do your best Joker dance on the stairs at Shakespeare & Anderson Ave at West 167th St (Bronx)

If you’re looking to venture into nearby cities outside NYC, you may like our guide to Hoboken, NJ– just less than 30 minutes away from New York City.

Foodie NYC Bucket List

  • Stuff a hot dog from a cart in your mouth
  • Test if Katz’s pastrami and corned beef is really the best thing since sliced bread
  • Drink an espresso at one of the oldest cafes in NYC, Caffe Reggio 
  • Eat brunch or a burger at Remedy Diner
  • Do drag brunch at Lips
  • Splurge on an afternoon tea at The Palm Court at The Plaza 
  • Have lunch in the pink cafe, Pietro Nolita
  • Grab lunch at Chelsea Market
  • Eat a slice at Da Nico in Little Italy
  • Eat oysters at The Grand Central Oyster Bar 
  • Taste a Sex in the City Magnolia Bakery cupcake
  • Eat seafood at The Lightship Frying Pan
  • Get lit at the 3-hour prohibition pub crawl 
  • Have a pint at McSorley’s Old Ale House 
  • Or a drink at Luke Cage’s bar in Marvel’s Jessica Jones, 7B Horseshoe Bar
  • Don’t bypass Mazzola Bakery in Brooklyn too
Mazzola Bakery bread

Seasonal NYC Bucket List

  • See Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
  • Get your skates on under the Rockefeller at Christmas
  • Be wowed by the Christmas lights at Dyker Heights- especially when you visit on Christmas day in NYC.
  • Watch the Radio City Rockettes
  • Watch the St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  • Drink apple cider in fall at the Union Square Farmers Market 
  • Attend these fall festivals in NYC which include food, drink, books and burlesque!
West Village fall door NYC New York

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