What to Do in Manhattan

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Manhattan, New York. Some say it’s the best city in the world. When people talk about New York City, they often think of Manhattan first. It’s home to big attractions like Central Park, the Empire State Building, world-class museums, and of course, Times Square and Broadway, among others. But there’s so much more to it. Manhattan is home to charming neighborhoods, restaurants, and concert halls. Whether you are visiting or are planning to relocate in the near future, there are definitely lots of amazing things to do in Manhattan.

There are so much energy and a kind of vibrancy you just don’t feel anywhere else. Lower Manhattan offers bustling sidewalks with winding cobblestone alleys and lots of beautiful parks. Let’s explore the town and see the wonderful things to do in Manhattan whether you’re with friends, alone, or with a significant other.

Exploring Manhattan

Before we look at particular and seasonal events, let’s explore the many things it has to offer when you walk around this beautiful town.

  • New York Historical Society

    A trip to the New York Historical is great for a relaxed and enjoyable afternoon and is one of the educational things to do in Manhattan. The featured exhibits are well done and there is a lot to learn about history and there are free guided tours you can take.

    Learn about America’s past in Living History Days. There is the World War I Beyond the Trenches which explores great artists and how their work depicted conflict of the times. The Henry Luce Center displays stunning and illuminated glass lamps and the Center for Women’s History lets you learn about the pivotal role of women in American history.

  • Night Bus Tour

    At night, enjoy the city lights on the Night Bus. It departs from 7pm up to 11pm. You can see the sights of Midtown Manhattan atop the double-decker bus. Hear the amusing stories about the historic district. The sights include Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Chinatown, Brooklyn Bridge, and the Manhattan Bridge but there are so much more.

  • Parks

    You can’t say you’ve been to New York if you haven’t taken a stop and maybe sit on the grass at Central Park, though there are other smaller parks as well. It’s an 843-acre oasis with a gorgeous 19th-century design. Nobody has to convince you of its amazing views like the lake, the trees, and the bridges. There are also cultural activities which are great things to do in Manhattan like Shakespeare in the Park. You can ice skate during the winter or visit the Central Park Zoo in warmer seasons.

  • City Bikes

    In warmer weather, you don’t have to compete for cabs. If you don’t like taking the trains, you can just rent the bikes or get a Citi Bike subscription. There are hundreds of stations and there are also day passes if you’re staying for only a short time.

Theater and Shows

A visit to Manhattan would not be complete without seeing a musical on Broadway and other fabulous shows.

  • Broadway

    Miss Saigon is currently being restaged on Broadway and this is definitely one of the best things to do in Manhattan, especially if you’re a fan of great singing voices and world-class acting. It’s a jaw-dropping spectacle with an emotional core. Of course, there are other newer Broadway shows like Hamilton or you can see the mainstays.

  • Madison Square Garden

    You can also see musicals at the Madison Square Garden. During the holidays, they stage lots of heartwarming shows like Elf the Musical.

  • Prudential Center

    If you’re traveling with kids, don’t forget to bring them to the Prudential Center where they can see spectacular shows like Disney On Ice. Let them see their favorite characters like Mickey Mouse appear, dance, and sing while on skates.

Festivals

It’s extra wonderful to visit Manhattan during the holidays but you will find lots of festivals all year round.

Shopping

Manhattan is also a great shopping district and shopping designer clothes as well as other great finds are just some of the things to do in Manhattan.

  • Holiday

    During the holidays, there are lots of shops that open for the season. In Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan, you can explore the Holiday Shops where you will see lots of glass kiosks and find European-inspired items. There is the Grand Central Holiday Fair where you can shop for clothing, accessories, and even toys.

  • Harlem

    Harlem has a long history of cultural movements in the United States and today, you can find lots of local shops as well as jazz clubs and museums.

Museums

Lots of amazing museums can be found in Manhattan and dedicating a day for the museums is one of the most cultural things to do in Manhattan.

  • American Museum of Natural History

    It is a New York icon and you can explore lots of exhibits showing people and animals through the ages. It also has a planetarium and an IMAX theater.

  • The Met

    There is The Met at Fifth Avenue which is one of the largest and most comprehensive art museums in the world. It houses over 2 million artworks and you can definitely experience the best of human creativity.

Other Things to Do in Manhattan

  • Comedy Clubs

    You also shouldn’t miss the city’s comedy clubs. You might even catch a show of the next superstar in comedy before their big break. Lots of comics started in Manhattan’s comedy bars like Louis CK, Amy Schumer, Chris Rock and many others.

  • Boat Tour

    See the Statue of Liberty on a boat tour as well as other views like Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the iconic Manhattan skyline.

  • Dinners

    There are also fun themed dinners for those adventurous souls. Visiting a city is also all about the food. There is a dinner with live music and Murder-Mystery Dinner at the Murder Mystery Co. If you like buffets, go to the Cornucopia Cruise Line.

When exploring Manhattan during the winter, don’t forget to dress up appropriately and know how to layer your clothes. Put on your best boots and gloves as well. On the other hand, for another travel guide, check out our take on what to do in Kentucky.