It’s summer and you’re in your main character era, so what better time to visit one of the most exciting cities on Earth? There are infinite things to do in New York City this summer that will fill your heart with wonder, and your camera roll with picture-perfect memories.

Hopping on the subway and navigating the city blocks is an adventure in itself. You hardly need an itinerary to make your trip memorable — a single walk down Broadway will immerse you in New York City culture more than any museum ever could.

However, there are some essential sights that you must add to your itinerary. If you have the luxury of time, you can spend an afternoon people-watching in Central Park. But, if you only have a few days to experience the city, you’ll be on the move quite a bit.

If your step count isn’t off the charts by the end of your trip, you didn’t do it right!

With that being said, let’s get into some specifics.

Major attractions

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the New York CityPASS, which lets you hit up Manhattan’s biggest attractions for a fraction of the cost. It’s a convenient and budget-friendly way to experience the city through its most iconic landmarks.

With this pass, you’ll get to visit five attractions for 40% off the regular admission price.

That includes the Empire State Building and the American Museum of Natural History, as well as three more of your choosing from the list below:

  • Top of the Rock Observation Deck
  • Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
  • Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
  • Guggenheim Museum

Some of these spots require reservations in advance and you can do all of that on the CityPASS app, which makes it really easy to check these spots off your itinerary.

Marvel at Picasso’s paintings at the Guggenheim, hit the Rockefeller Center for those unbeatable views, and finish your day with a Harbor Lights Cruise at sunset. Sounds like the perfect day to us!

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Now that you’ve saved some money on sightseeing, it’s time to talk about all the activities that are worth the extra room in your budget, starting with SUMMIT One Vanderbilt. The 93-storey supertall skyscraper recently unveiled a new three-level immersive experience that will truly blow your mind.

Ascend to the very top of the One Vanderbilt and step into another realm, filled with panoramic city views and 30,375 square feet of mirrors. As you soak up the unbelievable sights, you can also venture out onto glass ledges suspended 1,100 feet above Madison Avenue for the ultimate photo op.

We don’t want to give too much away — you just have to check it out for yourself. But, there’s one thing we will insist on and it is staying for the sunset. Not only does the city look its best at golden hour, but dramatic waves of colour will illuminate the space and create a beacon of light that’s visible to the whole city.

At the end of the experience, you’ll be led to the wrap-around terrace, where you can enjoy a cocktail and a bite with 80-mile views all around you.

Also worth adding to your itinerary is a museum that will give you the ultimate introduction to NYC and its one-of-a-kind magic — we’re talking about the Museum of the City of New York!

It just so happens that 2023 is the centennial anniversary of the museum’s founding, and as one of the most established museums in the city, you already know that they’ve got something special going on.


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Visitors and locals alike are absolutely loving the museum’s centennial exhibition called This Is New York: 100 Years of the City in Art and Pop Culture. The full-floor exhibition will give you the ultimate overview of how NYC has inspired storytelling across all artforms over the past 100 years.

“It features both famous and lesser-known depictions of New York in film and television, visual and performing arts, music, poetry and literature, and even fashion, painting a collective, moving, and sometimes funny version of a city that has captured the imagination of the world,” says a description on the museum’s website.

You’ll even get to see original costumes from some of the most iconic NYC-based shows and movies of all time — yes, that’s code for Carrie Bradshaw’s wardrobe! Afterward, you can zip over to the West Village to see Carrie’s original brownstone apartment at 66 Perry Street.

There are several other fantastic exhibits at the Museum of the City of New York that are worth checking out this summer. We’d recommend Food in New York, Raise Your Voice, City of Faith, and the triennial photography exhibition New York Now: Home.

Foodie Spotlight: Urban Hawker

Now, let’s talk a little bit about food. While you’re out and about, you have to make a pit stop at the delicious Singaporean street food center called Urban Hawker. Located right in the heart of midtown, this would be a great place to grab a bite after your trip to the Rockefeller Center.

Headed by renowned chefs, this unique spot gives you a taste of the authentic UNESCO hawker centers of Singapore. With 17 vendors in total, you’ll get to chow down on mouthwatering Malay, Peranakan, Chinese, Indian, Southeast Asian, and Asian-style Western cuisine.

Treat yourself to prawn ramen, build-your-own dumpling noodles, and delicious satays, finished with Singaporean coffee, cocktails, and decadent pandan.


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Where to stay

Choosing where to stay is equally as important on a trip to NYC. It’s safe to say that you won’t be spending much time at your hotel, but it’s wise to pick a spot that is not only comfortable but also conveniently located and affordable — by Manhattan’s standards, of course.

Moxy Hotels are a great combination of all of those factors. Described as a lifestyle hotel, Moxy boasts a fun and playful vibe, affordable rooms, tech-savvy amenities, and buzzing lobby bars — oh, and did we mention that some locations will give you a free cocktail when you check in?

The brand-new Moxy Lower East Side is described as an “eclectic and stylish pleasure garden in the neighborhood that defines New York cool.” It has a variety of restaurants and bars of its own, including a piano lounge, a rooftop bar, a modern Japanese restaurant, a cafe, and a subterranean club.

It’s also conveniently located near the best of lower Manhattan, including Chinatown, Soho, and Tribeca.

Underrated attractions

A few blocks away from Moxy Lower East Side is the Tenement Museum, and this attraction is a must for those who love an immersive deep dive into fascinating historical events.

This museum offers guided tours that take you into restored tenement buildings, providing a glimpse into the lives of the diverse communities that once inhabited them.

It’s a lesser-known gem that provides a fascinating experience that “celebrates the enduring stories that define and strengthen what it means to be American,” according to the website.

Speaking of hidden gems, we have a few more of those to share with you, starting with a unique destination called The Met Cloisters.


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Tucked away in Upper Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park, The Cloisters is a medieval art museum and a serene oasis away from the city’s hustle and bustle.

This hidden gem features stunning architecture, beautiful gardens, and a vast collection of medieval art and artifacts. Take a leisurely stroll through the cloistered gardens or admire the breathtaking views of the Hudson River.

Nestled in the Upper East Side, The Frick Collection is a gem for art enthusiasts. Housed in a former Gilded Age mansion, this museum showcases a remarkable collection of European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts.

Admire works by famous artists like Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Goya, and immerse yourself in the elegant atmosphere of the mansion. It’s an off-beat spot that offers a unique and intimate art-viewing experience.

While not exactly a secret anymore, The High Line is still a must-visit for any New York City explorer.

This elevated park is built on a historic freight rail line and stretches along Manhattan’s West Side. Walk along the lush greenery, enjoy public art installations, and soak in the unique perspective of the city. It’s especially vibrant in the summertime!


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Fans of art, specifically literary arts, can’t miss the weekly Reading Room events held at Bryant Park throughout the summer.

From Tuesday night poetry readings to panel Q&As with renowned authors to writers’ workshops, there are events taking place every evening of the week at this iconic NYC park. You can see the full lineup of events here.

Now that you have a good idea of all the most incredible things to do in New York City this summer, it’s time to start dreaming up your adventure.

Whether you’re planning a week-long excursion or a weekend stint, NYC is guaranteed to amaze and entertain.

So, what’re you waiting for? Get that itinerary sorted and start counting down the days. A world of adventure awaits!

This author was partially hosted by New York City Tourism + Conventions