New York City is one of humanity’s great urban achievements. Known as the city that never sleeps, New York City makes for an excellent place to visit no matter what you’re interested in seeing or the time of year you’re traveling in. The city has a long history, a rich and varied culture, phenomenal food, arts galore, and the beautiful sensation that you’re walking around in a movie with each corner that you turn. The following will explore just a few of the many reasons you might want to visit New York City.
While there are lots of conversations surrounding different sights to see in New York City, not enough is said about the scope of the city. New York is the largest city in the United States by population and the most densely populated city in America. It’s part of the New York metropolitan area, which is the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban area. Not only is New York City huge, but it’s also incredibly varied. The city is a collision of world cultures that results in a smorgasbord of vibrant energy. Every culture and creed is present in New York—as many as 800 languages are spoken, making it the most linguistically diverse city on earth—and all these cultures are mixing with each other to become something entirely new and distinctly human.
New York has the largest foreign-born population out of any city on earth, and it is this diversity that has the city regularly being voted the greatest city in the world in surveys of over 30,000 people from all over the world. There’s a reason so many artists and writers find their way to the city and craft some of their best work there: the city is filled to the brim with humanity and, therefore, inspiration. People from all walks of life congregate in the rush and flow of traffic that weaves between boroughs.
Eat Until Your Heart’s Content
Given the size and cultural variance in New York, you can find pretty much any type of cuisine. There are stunning Michelin-starred restaurants that it takes ages to get a table at and food trucks and carts filled with classic, hearty New York staples. In 2019, it was estimated that there were 27,043 restaurants in the city and around 4,000 mobile food vendors licensed by the city (and likely many more that are not). No matter what you’re craving or interested in eating, you can find it in New York.
Of course, New York is also known for its iconic sights. You have the Statue of Liberty, Coney island, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, The Museum of Modern Art, The American Museum of Natural History, Queens Botanical Garden, Broadway, Time Square, The Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge, and countless movie sets among so much more. The list of best things to do in New York is very long, so long, in fact, that many people find one trip isn’t enough. It’s worth noting that if you’re planning on hitting up lots of sights, you need to prepare yourself for how far apart some of them are (again, New York is huge) and design a schedule that is aware of this. You probably want to explore the city by borough so that you’re not running back and forth across the city and losing out on precious time.
Given the size of the city and the cultural explosion that is always ongoing, you can bet that you’re going to be able to find the kind of shopping you’re interested in. If record collecting is your thing, you can explore countless shops filled with every rare record imaginable. If high-end luxury fashion is your thing, New York is filled with the highest tier of high fashion clothing shops. Quirky toy stores, mysterious occult shops, candle stores with thousands of options—no matter what you’re looking for, you’re likely going to be able to find it in New York City. There’s even a store where you can buy animals and human bones. Yes, for real.
Given New York’s pivotal role throughout American history—it was at one point the capital— the city makes an excellent place for history buffs to get their fix of history. Originally a Sutch settlement that was taken over by the English, New York City played a vital role in the American Revolution. Between 1892 and 1954, millions of people arrived in New York Harbour, passing through Ellis Island on their way to immigrate to New York. 40% of Americans can trace at least one ancestor back to an arrival on Ellis Island. Every street and building has a rich history, and you can’t help but feel overwhelmed by the different historical developments that took place in and around New York City as you wander.
New York’s skyline is famous for a reason: it’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous. The city is packed with architectural wonders, including Gilded Age mansions, the largest and most varied selection of skyscrapers in the world, Gothic revival skyscrapers, art deco masterpieces like the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, distinctive wooden roof-mounted water towers, brownstone rowhouses, the Beaux-Arts style Grand Central Terminal, and countless examples of International Style structures. There are also classic and iconic bridges like High Bridge, Brookly Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, Queensboro Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, George Washington Bridge, and Whitestone bridge. If you’re someone that enjoys cityscapes or architecture, New York is not to be missed.
Because New York is home to so many artists, musicians, composers, painters, and other creative types, it’s hard to go anywhere without experiencing art. Street art covers alleys and buildings, street performers can be found in most subway stations, and galleries are everywhere. Just walking around the city involves breathing in works of art, and for this reason, many people visiting the city find themselves inspired to create something.
The above list contains just a few of the many reasons you might want to visit New York City at least once in your life. There is nothing quite like it anywhere else in America or the rest of the world, for that matter!