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New York City guide: Where to go in New York to eat, stay, and find entertainment

Read our comprehensive guide to planning a trip in the city, and discover the best neighborhoods and sites to explore no matter what you're interested in.

Gillian Russo
Gillian Russo

For a small island, Manhattan is packed with big possibilities when it comes to planning a trip. There’s so much to see and do on every block, so how do you know what’s unmissable and where to find it? You’ve come to the right place.

The long and short of it is that no matter what neighborhoods you go to, countless restaurants, museums, attractions, shows, and cultural experiences await. Which ones you choose depends on your taste — whether you’re here to shop, museum hop, experience live shows, or have fun with the kids.

Below, find a rundown of the best theatre, attractions, and experiences; must-see landmarks to get you started; and guidance on where to eat, stay, and explore. Find links to our other guides for more in-depth information about the NYC cultural experiences on offer, NYC trips with kids, and get tickets to NYC events right here on New York Theatre Guide.

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Best Broadway shows in New York

It’s not a trip to New York without catching a show on Broadway, one of the city’s foremost hallmarks. See a tried-and-true favorite or be among the first audiences to see something new. Discover old-fashioned musical comedies, dramatic plays, bio-musicals about famous musicians, and shows with major celebrities in the lead roles.

Broadway has comedy, tragedy, sci-fi, romance, horror — you name it! Its musical genres are equally diverse, with country, folk, pop, rock, and classic Broadway music all represented. Like movies or TV, theatre comes in all genres, so there’s something for everyone.

Chicago

Chicago razzle dazzles audiences, with its memorable score, flashy costumes, and iconic choreography. This long-standing show is recommended for patrons 13 and older.

Get tickets to Chicago on New York Theatre Guide.

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Wicked

Defy your family’s expectations with tickets to Wicked! This long-running show, a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, features some of the most famous musical theatre songs, like “Defying Gravity” and “Popular.”

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The Lion King

Hakuna matata! The The Lion King is a roarin’ hit with audiences of all ages. Experience how the incredible costumes, masks, and storytelling transport audiences to Africa.

Get tickets to The Lion King** on New York Theatre Guide.

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For more ideas, read our guides to:

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What to see and do in New York City

If you’ve never been to NYC, some popular attractions are surely on your bucket list already, like the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge. Those are good places to start. In addition to those, there are plenty of famous NYC sights — like the sprawling parks and picturesque piers — that are free or pay-what-you-wish. It’s worth the money to see the sights, but you can pepper your free time with awe-inspiring activities everywhere you turn.

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is synonymous with New York City itself and has made cameo appearances in hundreds of films! Climb aboard a tall ship and cruise around the Hudson River for an up-close view of Lady Liberty.

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The Brooklyn Bridge

One of the best ways to view the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty on the East River is to walk over the storied Brooklyn Bridge! This iconic landmark, completed in 1883, is sure to offer a memorable experience.

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Central Park

Central Park is a world-famous urban oasis. After a day of museum-hopping and sight-seeing, find some respite in the 843 acres of Central Park. For a unique experience, take a walking tour with a park historian to find some hidden gems.

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Fore more ideas, read our guide to the best things to do in New York City.

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Best New York City attractions and experiences

Now that the basics are covered, there’s so much more to discover, with experiences that cater to every visitor’s interests. Broadway shows and famous landmarks aren’t all NYC has to offer — the possibilities are endless! Catch an opera or a stand-up comedy act, peruse a historic library, or catch live music in one of NYC’s parks or jazz clubs.

Sunset Sail

Go on a sunset cruise around the New York harbor, offering glimpses of Lady Liberty and much more. This cruise is the perfect way to relax at the end of a busy day of sightseeing!

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Ghost tour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art boasts more than 2.2 million square feet of art! For a unique experience at the museum, go on a ghost tour to learn about some of frightful things in the museum’s many galleries.

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More more ideas, check out our guides to the top New York City attractions, and browse our full list of NYC experiences and events on offer on New York Theatre Guide.

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Times Square

Best New York City neighborhoods to visit

There’s no one “best neighborhood” in New York — it all depends on what you’re looking to do. Consider the following neighborhoods:

Times Square

If you’re here to see Broadway shows, you’ll, of course, want to be in the Times Square/Theatre District area. Between famous pre-show restaurants, theatre-themed museum exhibits, and the shows themselves, there’s certainly enough to do there to fill multiple days!

Soho

You might want to explore other, less touristy neighborhoods, too. If you’re looking to shop, for example, Soho is the neighborhood for you.

Chelsea

Art aficionados might plan most of their visit for Chelsea, which is littered with galleries. This downtown neighborhood is also a hub for restaurants.

Upper East Side

If you plan to visit lots of musuems, stay in the Upper East Side. This neighborhood is close to Museum Mile along Central Park East.

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Times Square

Where to stay in New York City

The best place to stay in New York depends on your itinerary. If your plans span different neighborhoods, stay in a central neighborhood so you don’t have an extremely long commute at any point.

If you're seeing theatre

Coming to the city to see lots of theatre? Find a hotel around Times Square, in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood just west, or in the Garment District or Chelsea neighborhood just south. The Times Square area is a popular choice, as most subway lines either stop in Times Square or are located within a 15-minute walk from it.

If you're sightseeing

Fulton Street in the Financial District is another multi-subway hub. If you plan to visit landmarks like The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, or the 9/11 Memorial, you’ll want to stay downtown by the Financial District.

If you're museum hopping

If your trip to NYC is a once-in-a-lifetime event, you might want to experience one of its iconic hotels along Fifth Avenue. But there are also tried-and-true hotel chains in or near every neighborhood.

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Where to eat in New York City

No matter what kind of cuisine you favor, New York City has it. There are more than 50 neighborhoods in Manhattan, and each offers a multitude of dining options.

The Theatre District

The Theatre District boasts some of NYC’s most famous restaurants, like Carmine’s, Junior’s, and Ellen’s Stardust Diner, featuring singing waitstaff. The adjacent Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood is also famous for its numerous eateries, including the stretch of 46th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, which is dubbed Restaurant Row.

Read our guide to popular restaurants in the Theatre District

Uptown

The Upper East Side offers all kinds of different cuisine, from farm-to-table fare and classic Italian food. Discover recommendations for the Upper East Side.

Downtown

The East village is a mecca of music venues, vintage stores, theatre companies, and, of course, restaurants. Check out our East Village guide, which includes places to eat and drink.

Things to do in New York City with kids

New York has so many kid-friendly shows, attractions, and experiences in every neighborhood.

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Right on the Hudson River in Midtown West is the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, where kids can explore historic ships and take part in interactive presentations and activities. The interactive museum features missile submarines, jets, and over 20 military aircraft.

Get tickets to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on New York Theatre Guide.

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Broadway

There are several family-friendly musicals on Broadway that will delight kids, from Disney musicals to interactive performances. Check out our list of shows perfect for the whole family.

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Read our full guide to planning an NYC trip with kids, including the best shows and attractions to check out.

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