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New york Attractions - Free Things to do in New york

Top New york Attractions

Top rated Free New york Attractions and Paid Attractions list

1. Times Square (Free)

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Times Square is a focal point of New York City. The bright lights and vibrancy epitomise the rise of New York’s popular culture. The area was originally owned by John Morin Scott, who served George Washington in New York’s militia during the American Revolution. The value of the land first became apparent when John Jacob Astor began to sell plots it to new hotels and other real estate, as the city’s growth spread this far uptown. The late 19th century saw the area given its first name: Longacre Square, due to its being a hub of the carriage industry akin to London’s Long Acre. In 1904 The New York Times moved their office to a building there and the area became known as Times Square.

Since the 1980’s Times Square has become one of the biggest tourist destinations in America. You can find shops and attractions that are unrivalled anywhere else in the world. Outlets such as M&M’s world, Disneystore and Planet Hollywood are famous for their operations. Times Square is home to the famous New Year’s Eve countdown which sees thousands gather there to see the ball drop.

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2. The Frick Collection (Paid)

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The Frick Collection can be found inside The Henry Frick House, a former mansion. The building itself was constructed in 1912 and designed by Thomas Hastings. The mansion was initially build for Frick and his family to live in, but he always had the intention for it to be transformed into a museum for his work after his death. Frick passed away in 1919, but his wife Adelaide and his daughter Helen continued to live at the mansion. It was not until Adelaide passed away in 1931 that Frick’s daughter began as her father wished, to transform the mansion into a museum.

Since 1935 The Henry Frick House has been open to the public, with many of Frick’s work still laid out how it was originally. There are 6 galleries inside the museum, which are home to various old master paintings including some renowned European artists. A notable feature of this museum is its fine furnishing, which is seen as art in its own right.

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3. The Statue of Liberty (Paid)

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The Statue of Liberty is perhaps the most iconic New York landmark. The statue itself is proudly situated on Liberty Island and is visible from Brooklyn, New Jersey and Manhattan. The statue has become famous since installation, as a welcoming sign of freedom when arriving in New York via boat. Work was started on the statue in France in the early 1870’s. The aim of its creation was to be a gift from the people of France to signify America’s independence. After designer FrédéricAuguste Bartholdi finished the head and torch bearing arm of the statue, this segment of the piece was exhibited at shows internationally. It was not until 1886 that The Statue of Liberty found its home in New York.

In modern culture the statue is regularly visited by tourists. There are ferries that operate from both Liberty State Park, New Jersey and Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. When visiting New York, a visit to Liberty Island plays an important part towards understanding the history of the city and the entire country of the United States of America.

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4. Central Park (Free)

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Centrally located in Manhattan New York City, Central Park has been offering public recreational space since 1857. Now spanning 840 acres of city owned land, it is the most visited urban park in the whole of America with around 35 million visitors annually. In 1962, Central Park became a designated National Historic Landmark and is currently looked after by the Central Park Conservancy. The area has played host to many stellar events over the years including: Shakespeare in the Park, performances by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and even a concert by Bob Marley and the Wailers.

Exploring everything Central Park has to offer in a day would be impossible. Activities available range from boating and rock climbing to ice skating and birding. For animal lovers, there is Central Park Zoo which costs $16 for adults and $11.50 for children. There are also 21 free playgrounds for family days out, including the 3 acre Heckscher Playground. Other notable sights include the Central Park Carousel, which was installed in 1951 and remains to date one of largest in the United States. Home to many artists and sculptures; Balto, King Jagiello and Duke Ellington are all popular sights.

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5. Empire State Building (Paid)

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The Empire State Building was the tallest building in the world between 1931 and 1970. The 103 story building towers over New York City and has become a focal point since its creation. New York itself is known as the Empire State, making this famous landmark a proud institution for locals. In 1986 it was even recognised as a National Historic Landmark. Some of the most notable tenants currently occupying the Empire State Building are: LinkedIn; The Human Rights Foundation and Air China.

For tourists there are two observation decks, one on the 86th floor and a second on the penultimate 102nd floor. The 86th floor observation deck offers breath-taking panoramic views over New York City. This vantage point is potentially the most famous in the whole of New York and is flocked to by people from all over the world. The higher observation point on the 102nd floor is not as big but the higher view is even more impressive. Any visitor to New York will find it hard to resist the temptation of The Empire State Building’s view, because you can’t really go anywhere without seeing it.

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6. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Paid)

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the United States of America. It is also ranked second in the world, having an average of 5 million visitors per year. The museum is home to some of the finest pieces of art known to mankind. Artists of the calibre of Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, Matisse and Rembrandt can all be found here. The museum features over two million pieces spread across seventeen departments. You can find artwork from as far back as Ancient Egypt here, in what many deem the most renowned home of art in the world.

Admission into The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers an insight into the unique talent behind each of its pieces creators. The artefacts you will be able to see are one of the best documented walks through history. As well as general admission to the museum, a guided tour is offered from time to time. You can check their calendar for information on when there is a relevant tour to suit you.

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7. Solomun R. Guggenheim Museum (Paid)

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Originally called The Museum of Non-Objective Painting, it was renamed after the death of its founder: Solomun R. Guggenheim. More commonly known as ‘The Guggenheim’, some of the world’s most well-known modern art can be found here. The museum specialises in impressionist, post-impressionist and contemporary art and was opened in 1939. The building itself is seen by many to be a work of art. The unusual shape and interior have made it recognisable in popular culture featuring in films such as Men in Black, The International, Bye Bye Birdie and Downtown 81.

A visit to Solomun R. Guggenheim Museumprovides an incredible insight into modern contemporary art. The fascinating artefacts on show are popular among art lovers and the museum is regularly attended by visitors. Look out for exhibitions hosted by the director Richard Armstrong. This is one of the younger museums on ‘Museum Mile’ but since it’s completion in 1959, it has held a firm place inside New Yorkers hearts.

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8. City Hall (Free)

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Centrally situated in City Hall Park, City Hall is the oldest of its kind in the whole of America. Built between 1810 and 1812, it is recorded as a National Historic Landmark and is included on the National Register of Historic Places. It contains both the office of the Mayor of New York City and the chambers of the New York City Council. Numerous presidents have passed through the walls of New York City Hall and to this day George Washington's desk can still be found in the Governor's Room. Other notable rooms include Room 9 and the Blue Room, which hosts official press conferences given by the mayor. The City Hall also houses a collection of over 100 portraits depicting many influential figures from American history.

The grounds around City Hall are as popular as the building itself. On July 9th 1776 it was where people gathered to hear George Washington read out the Declaration of Independence. It is from here tourists can observe the stunning architecture, which reflects styles from French Renaissance to Georgian. Newly-weds can often be seen wandering the park after taking their nuptials at City Hall.

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9. Federal Hall (Free)

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The Federal Hall in New York has played an important role in the history of the United States of America. The building itself was built in 1700, a mere 74 years after the land was purchased from the Native Americans by Dutch colonies. The Federal Hall was the location where George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States. This was also the place where the United States Bill of Rights was introduced to congress. In 1812 the building was demolished and it was not until 1845 that the United States Custom House was built there in its place. In the modern day, the building serves as a museum for the historic events that took place there.

Outside the building is a statue of George Washington marking the day he took his oath to become the first president. Naturally this makes the Federal Hall Memorial Site a location of great interest for tourists and residents of the United States. You are currently able to partake in free tours of the building.

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10. Ground Zero Museum Workshop (Paid)

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The tragic events of September 11th 2001 left a big scar in the centre of New York. More than a decade on, the former site of the World Trade Center has become a memorial site to remember those who lost their lives on that day. A particular feature of the remembrance is the dedication to the brave New York City Police and Fire Fighters that lost their lives trying to save others. The area is now home to a museum which includes pictures and memories from that fateful day.

A short distance from Ground Zero is the Ground Zero Museum Workshop. Inside you can find an exhibition of Gary Marlon Suson’s photographic collection and other items that are on sale. The proceeds go towards six charities, including one to raise funds for sick and disabled Ground Zero workers. On the tour you will be able to see real artefacts found during the recovery, tools that were used for digging and clothes worn by the rescuers. There is also rare footage from inside The World Trade Center available for viewing. The Ground Zero Museum Workshop offers a real insight into the effect this event had on the lives of people.

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11. Green-Wood Cemetery (Paid)

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Green-Wood Cemetery is located in the heart of Brooklyn. Built in 1838, it soon became one of America’s most famous cemeteries. The area of land stretches over 478 acres and is home to numerous paths and ponds. Green-Wood is the place where George Washington and his troops fought the battle of Brooklyn. It is estimated that close to 600,000 people have been buried at Green-Wood Cemetery, including some of America’s most notable figures. The graves of the family of former president Theodore Roosevelt are perhaps one of the most well-known. The grounds itself are beautifully designed and are seen as a peaceful resting place.

The cemetery is still in operation to this day and a visit will enable you to take a stroll through nearly 200 years of New York and American history. The cemetery is of course accessible for you to view on your own, but there is a guided tour service that can offer a more in depth insight into the historic setting around you.

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12. Brooklyn Brewery Tours (Paid)

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In 1984, Steve Hindy returned to his home in Brooklyn after six years of travelling the Middle East. During his time there he learned to brew beer with the intention of founding a brewery in his home town. That same year, Hindy and his neighbour Tom Potter launched The Brooklyn Brewery. The beer was originally brewed by The Matt Brewing Company, but was distributed by Hindy and Potter themselves. It was not until 1996 that the pair converted an old factory in Brooklyn to launch their very own brewery.

Brooklyn itself has seen an incredible regeneration in recent years. There are not many other districts of New York to have seen such an investment into cultural improvement. The Brooklyn Brewery is at the heart of this. Founded by two natives to the area, of course instils a large proportion of local pride in the company. Tours of the brewery are popular which include tasting of their beers. Their product list includes specialities such as; India Pale Ale, Chocolate Stout and Pumpkin Ale.

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13. Broadway (Paid)

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The Broadway theatre district is one of the most famous in the world. Now with over 40 theatres, it is host to world-renowned plays and musicals. Broadway theatre was born nearly 200 years ago in 1829 with the opening of Niblo’s Garden. The most popular performances were originally Shakespeare plays such as Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice. Up until the late 19th century the heart of Broadway theatre was near Union Square, before it began to move closer to Madison Square due to real estate prices. It was here that the musical side of theatre began to flourish and The Black Crook broke all records by running for 474 nights. In the early 20th century, Broadway had to step up its game to compete with motion pictures and did so by adding even more flair and panache to its performances.

In the modern day, Broadway is still one of the most popular districts in New York. The most famous stage performances in the world can be seen here, with a wide range of different styles. Some of the most popular musicals of recent years still running today are: Chicago, Mamma Mia, The Lion King and Les Miserables.

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14. Governors Island (Free)

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The small land space of Governors Island played an important role in New York’s colonial history. Even before European colonies settled in the area, the Native Americans held the island in high regard. They referred to it as ‘Paggank’ which translates as ‘Nut Island’ because of its number of oak and chestnut trees. During the American Revolution, the island was fortified and used by both American revolutionaries and British loyalists at different times.

In 2003, Governors Island became open to the public on weekends during the summer. Since then there has been a lot of work carried out to improve the parks and cultural side of the island making it more tourist friendly. A $260 million investment has been made into a new 30 acre park, which will open in May 2014. The new design will include large seating areas and even areas of turf to play sport. From Governors Island there are some spectacular views of new-found beauty with the Manhattan skyline behind them.

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15. African Burial Ground (Free)

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Dating back to the late 17th and 18th centuries, the African Burial Ground is a reminder to New York City of the many Africans who spent their lives in slavery. The original burial ground spanned 6.6 acres and is believed to have interred around 20,000 people during the 1700s. Confined to history until 1991, it was not until the construction of the Ted Weiss Federal Building that this dark chapter of their past came to light. 419 sets of remains were unearthed from just one acre of the site, which were then re-interred on October 4th 2003. This area is now marked with the African Burial Ground Monument, which in 2006 became an official national monument.

The monument, designed by Rodney Leon, now marks the focal point of the African Burial ground. Tourists can also visit the adjoining visitors centre which is housed on the ground floor of the Ted Weiss Building. The space provides information about the history of the burial ground and African contributions to the development of New York City. It is also the last stop of one of the most popular national park walking tours 'This Hallowed Ground'.

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16. The Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology (Free)

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The Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology draws in crowds of upwards of 10,000 people per year. Established in 1969, it claims a place amongst the illustrious list of the American Alliance of Museums. Producing informative and entertaining exhibits since 1975, expect a journey of fashionable education. With a collection of over 50,000 pieces, The Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology is certainly a treat for the eyes. All of the notable fashion houses are featured including Chanel, Dior and Balenciaga.

Containing three different galleries, The Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology boasts a tour which will take you through 250 years of history. The lower level gallery has a six month turnover, so returning visitors can be assured there will always be a new surprise in store. Gallery FIT on the main floor is dedicated to showcasing the latest in student talent, head here to find out what you might be coveting next season. This level is also home to the Fashion and Textile History Gallery which displays a rotating selection of 200 historical artefacts. The venue also offers an educational programme called Fashion Culture: a combination of lectures, discussions and tours.

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17. The Whitney Museum of American Art (Paid)

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With focus on collections from the 20th and 21st century, The Whitney Museum of American Art is a museum of more modern pieces of interest. Home to not only paintings, drawings and sculptures, you can also find some memorable prints, photographs and films from recent times. The entire collection inside The Whitney boasts over 19,000 pieces by more than 2,900 artists. A difference to other art museums in New York is the work of up and coming artists a being showcased at The Whitney’s annual and biannual exhibitions. A testament to the type of work appreciated at The Whitney Museum of American Art is the popular Jason Pollock, who has pieces regularly featured here.

Inside the museum you are encouraged to take part in the free tours available. This is included in the price of admission. A guided tour of The Whitney offers an insight into one of the most exciting collections of modern art in America. The museum has been looking to expand in recent years and is currently working on a new main building within the Meatpacking district of Manhattan.

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18. Chelsea Galleries (Free)

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Take a trip to the west side of Manhattan and you will find the neighbourhood of Chelsea. Attracting artistic types and trendy residents, this is largely due to the Chelsea Galleries which make up six blocks of this area. Rows of industrial space have been converted to display a varied selection of up-and-coming contemporary art. Chelsea cemented its place as the centre of the New York art world in the mid-1990s, when the art galleries made a collective move there from SoHo. With are over 50 galleries to peruse and regular new exhibitions, a whole holiday could be dedicated exploring this New York attraction.

Galleries typically hold exhibitions which last for around one month. Amongst the most popular are Gagosian Gallery, The Pace Gallery and The Matthew Marks Gallery; the latter of which was particularly influential in transforming this area into what it is today. Other venues include the Paul Kasmin Gallery which has featured work from the likes of David Hockney. Chelsea Galleries has become synonymous with displaying art by artists destined to shape the landscape of the future, and is a definite must-see for any enthusiasts of this field.

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19. Forbes Galleries (Free)

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Nestled on the ground floor of the impressive Forbes building in Greenwich Village, is Forbes Galleries. They showcase the illustrious Malcolm Forbes Collection. It developed from the obsession Malcolm had with collectables throughout his life. Forbes Galleries boast a large permanent collection of fine art and expensive trinkets. The Forbes family hold an esteemed place in American history and their bi-weekly business publication of the same name, is one of the most read in its genre. They are famed for their yearly ranking of the richest Americans, who may even themselves covet some of the articles on show at this gallery.

Alongside the permanent collection, Forbes Galleries also display a rotating selection of loaned artefacts and art. Some of their most famous pieces include the first ever Monopoly Board from 1933, various Olympic gold medals, numerous Fabergé Eggs and a treasure trove of toy figures. Attracting adults and children alike, Forbes Galleries makes you wonder what Christmas must be like for the super-wealthy.

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