Cultural Experience | New York City

Top Things to Do or See in New York City

Find out what to see and do in NYC from students who know it best.

Top of the Rock
Visit the Top of the Rock, at 30 Rockefeller Center in the heart of Manhattan. This incredible skyscraper will allow you to see the most incredible 360 view of New York City. You’ll be able to spot the gorgeous Central Park, the Empire State Building, and every beautiful skyscraper forming New York City’s skyline from the Observation Deck. No matter what what time of the year it is, either the white and snowy scenery or the warm and green summery panorama, there’s nothing like this view to fall head over heels for New York City. Nikki McKenna, Florida Atlantic University

Walk the Brooklyn Bridge 
Crossing the East River is a perfect activity to do with a group of friends or a significant other. In the grayness of winter this can still make for some amazing pictures and a unique view of the city. Even in the cold, the bridge is swarming with people and bicyclists. You could easily spend anywhere from a half hour to 2 hours exploring here. Don’t forget to check out DUMBO in Brooklyn while you’re there. Emily Roth, University of Connecticut

Brooklyn Bridge


Find a Hidden Speak-Easy
While in New York City, take a night to step off of the beaten path, away from the magical Broadway shows and the blinding lights of Time Square. Try visiting a place only in-the-know locals are aware of. Go visit The Blind Barber. A trim and a shot? Located in the East Village, this small, vintage barber shop leads to the hidden entry of its bar. The nightly crowd gathers in the stylish old-timey lounge while drinking signature drinks and mingling with friends. The Blind Barber gives a whole new meaning to “business in the front, party in the back!” Sara Burke, Georgia Southern University

If you decide to make a night of exploring hidden bars, you may also want to stop by Please Don’t Tell. This hidden gem can be found within Crif Dogs’ hot dog restaurant on St. Marks Place. The bar may be hard to find, in fact, visitors dinning in the small shop may not even notice party goers disappearing after entering into the phone booth. To enter into the small bar, you must go into an old-fashioned phone booth and press the buzzer once. After approval the wall of the phone booth will open into the hidden bar.

Stroll through the Met
Spend a day with your artistic side at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Located on 5th Ave. and 82nd street, the Met has 4 floors and countless galleries for you to spend hours getting lost in! Be sure to check out the photography gallery as well as the modern art section, and make sure to see the special, temporary exhibits! With suggested admission rates, the Met is perfect for a student budget, giving you the opportunity to pay what you wish! Emily Freebery, Fordham University

Metropolitan museum of art

And if you visit anytime between May and October, head on up to the museum’s rooftop garden and bar for an amazing view of the city and a drink or two!

emily freebery roof top bar


Take a Ferry to Lady Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is one of the most famous landmarks throughout the history of the United States. Located on Liberty Island, the statue has welcomed all immigrants into the United States since 1882. You have the option to take the ferry for a simple boat tour of the waters and can catch a glimpse of the statue from afar. If you’re daring you can take a ferry to Liberty Island and get up close to the statue. The Statue of Liberty is over 300 feet tall and has over 3 million visitors a year. It is possible to walk up all the steps until you reach the top of the crown, welcoming a magnificent view of the city. If you have the time make a stop at Ellis Island for the Immigration Museum  Alea Samantha, Curry College

statue of liberty


Have  sweet snack from a Cupcake Bakery
Cupcakes are yummy! And it’s no secret that Manhattan has some great options spread out around the city. Pretty much anywhere you go, there’s at least one delicious treat rounding out the street corner. Living in Manhattan this summer, there was nothing I liked more than indulging my sweet tooth and trying the very best Manhattan has to offer. Off of 60th, is Sprinkles cupcake bakery… and their very own Cupcake ATM… That’s right, a bank ATM made specifically to dispense cupcakes. Sounds like heaven. Who could ever forget the classic Magnolia Bakery in the heart of Midtown? There’s no doubt why the shop is always packed: the flavors are delicious. Featuring ginormous cupcakes and several Manhattan storefronts, it’s no secret that Crumbs is one of the city’s favorite cupcake bakeries. Albeit tiny, Baked by Melissa cupcakes are the perfect bite-size treat that come in a plethora of unique flavors, including exclusive monthly editions. Next time you visit the city, indulging in Manhattan’s sweet tooth is a must. Miranda Siwak, Elon University

Chelsea Market and the High Line
When you visit New York in the winter, you should definitely make an effort to check out the Chelsea Markets for global cuisine and handmade trinkets. If you happen to stop by the markets on a warmer winter day, you could also walk a short distance to the High Line, an NYC park built on an elevated subway track, for a great view of the Hudson River. Carine Alexis, St John’s University

chelsea markets

If you find yourself craving a sweet treat while exploring the city, be sure to check out the bakery that’s quickly becoming a New Yorker’s favorite. Dough, a Brooklyn-based doughnut bakery has stolen hearts with it’s delicious flavors like Dulche de Leche with Almonds and Lemon Meringue. If you can’t make it out to Brooklyn, you’ll still be able to find these treats at Dough’s W19th Street location, and at various breakfast spots throughout the city.

See the lights of Broadway
You don’t have to be rich to experience the excitement of seeing a Broadway show! Visit one of NYC’s TKTS booths and get tickets to broadway shows at an extremely discounted price. TKTS discount booths are the perfect way for everyone to experience the magic of the arts of New York City on a college budget. From dramas to comedies, musicals to mysteries there’s something for everybody!  (How to be a proper theater goer on a student budgetAlexandra Perez, University of Iowa

Ice Skate in Central Park or Rockefeller Center
Ice skating anywhere in NYC in the winter is magical! With rinks in Central Park, Bryant Square, Rockefeller Center and other locations around the city, Ice Skating is a perfect way to get active, take in the city around you and have fun by yourself, with friends, or a significant other! So get a cup of hot cocoa and head to a rink! Gabrielle Hickmon, Cornell University

ice skating at rockerfeller center

Photo Credit: Emily Freebery

TOP THINGS TO DO OR SEE IN NYC(Image credit to Jenna Rice)

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