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By Elite Traveler | June 15 2019
As one of the world’s most visited cities, New York has a wealth of attractions that could keep you busy exploring for months.
The city is known as the cultural capital of the US with good reason: Nestled amid residential and shopping districts you’ll find an astonishing number of world-renowned museums and art galleries. Moreover, Manhattan has a bevy of sights and characteristics that make every visit unique. We have chosen our favorite galleries, museums, sights and activities that will complete any visit to The Big Apple.
There is probably no better, or easier, way to see everything in New York.
From the Empire State Building and Central Park to the Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty, the city is even more splendid from above. Sunset tours, when one can watch the forest of buildings in Manhattan change color, are the most spectacular.
Additionally, this convenient mode of transport is a great way to reach the heart of Manhattan from any of the metropolitan airports or the Hamptons.
Originally built in the 1930s to raise dangerous freight trains above Manhattan streets, the High Line has been restored as an elevated public mark more than two miles long.
The renovation was extraordinary: The former railway is now a sliver of green garden snaking its way above Manhattan’s West Side. Meandering concrete pathways are lined with wild plants and flowers native to the area, along with moveable seating, allowing you to relax and admire the view from this privileged vantage point.
When exploring the West Side neighborhoods of the Meatpacking District and Chelsea, take to the High Line for a gentle stroll with river views, or as a means to avoid the traffic and bustle of the streets below.
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The Rockefeller Center’s historic observation deck presents the finest views of Manhattan.
Atop this prominent building is a multi-level observation deck affording unobstructed, open-air views of the city’s most prominent landmarks, from the Chrysler Building to the Statue of Liberty and the entire length of Central Park.
A visit to Rockefeller Center wouldn’t be complete without this elevated perspective from Midtown’s vibrant heart. During the holiday season, Rockefeller Center hosts New York’s most famous Christmas tree and ice skating rink, and among the permanent attractions are some of the city’s finest art and dining.
Shopping is very much the center’s main pastime. Featuring some of the world’s most refined brand names in a truly iconic setting, Rockefeller Center continually abounds with keen shoppers.
You can easily spend a full day taking in the wonders that this 843-acre oasis in the center of Manhattan has to offer.
A perfect rectangle, flanked by striking buildings, Central Park is packed with bike paths, playing fields, playgrounds and more. It plays host to summer concerts and winter ice skating, not to mention year-round residents like the Central Park Zoo. Walking is a great way to experience this serene landscape, and there are many walking tours available, or you can opt for a romantic horse-and-carriage tour.
Central Park Zoo: Although it only occupies a tiny corner of southeast Central Park, this imaginative zoo houses more than 150 species in two climatic zones. In the tropics, you’ll meet monkeys and see free-flying birds, while the polar circle is home to penguins and polar bears, observable both above and below the water.
The Loeb Boathouse: Lunching in the Boathouse restaurant overlooking the lake and gardens beyond is a must. Explore the lake on a rowboat and float beneath romantic Bow Bridge.
Ice skating: For the best scenic ice skating in the park, head to Trump’s Wollman Rink.
Conservatory Garden: This six-acre, flowering formal garden graces Central Park’s northeast corner.
Delacorte Theater: Located in the heart of the park, this amphitheater is home to New York’s Shakespeare in the Park season. Past performers include Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman and Natalie Portman. Free tickets make for long lines, so ask your concierge to secure seats.
Picnics: For a true New York al fresco experience, ask your hotel concierge to prepare a picnic lunch or dinner and have it delivered to a park location of your choice. You’ll find yourself surrounded by locals, who love to enjoy both nature and city skyline views from this lush haven.
The Whitney Museum is the home of 20th-century and contemporary American art and maintains a focus on works by living artists.
Its dedication to the collection, preserving and interpreting modern works means preeminent artists have had their first comprehensive museum surveys at the Whitney. They include important figures such as Jasper Johns, Jay DeFeo, Glenn Ligon, Cindy Sherman, and Paul Thek.
The museum has strived to purchase works in the year they were created, often well before the artists who created them become broadly recognized. It is located between the High Line and the Hudson River in a vast building that allows for large exhibitions and programs.
One of the most iconic buildings in New York houses an internationally renowned art collection.
A visit to the Guggenheim is a unique experience unlike any offered by a conventional art gallery – architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed the museum as a journey, with visitors walking up (or down) a gently sloping spiral. The galleries are divided like membranes in citrus fruit, with self-contained yet interdependent sections.
Visitors can view pieces by great artists like Picasso, Kandinsky and Miró at their own pace or join a tour to learn more about museum highlights, special exhibitions or the building itself. Alternatively, book a private viewing before or after museum hours and have this amazing spot entirely to yourself.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is New York’s premier destination for lovers of 19th and 20th-century works.
The world-renowned institution’s collection includes pieces by the hands of Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh, Giacometti, Lawrence, Rothko and Warhol among many others.
Outside is Philip Johnson’s sculpture garden containing many of his striking minimalist works in matte black granite. In addition to the works of these modern masters, you will always find works or exhibits that question the notion of ‘art,’ making any visit to the MoMA an eye opener.
Originally a private art collection in a Fifth Avenue mansion, The Frick Collection has now been transformed into a wonderfully intimate museum housing a collection of the grandmasters from the 14th to the 19th centuries.
Among the Monets, Renoirs and many other priceless paintings are collections of bronzes that are the finest in the world, superb 18th-century French furniture, porcelains and Oriental rugs.
For private affairs and exclusive dining, The Frick also hosts concerts and parties in its beautiful garden.
From the Egyptian and Greek wings to the American wing to the Impressionist and Realist galleries, this museum is a treasure.
Known to New Yorkers as the Met, its exhibitions are always the talk of the city. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park, is one of the world’s largest art galleries.
After viewing some of these fascinating displays, enjoy a glass of wine on the beautiful rooftop garden.
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