Top of the Rock
The Rockefeller Centre trumps the Empire State Building for the place to grab the best views of New York City, in my humble opinion. At the Top of the Rock, you can take in glorious views of lower Manhattan: skyscrapers, the horizon stretching from the East River around to the Hudson. Looking north, you’ll see the lush and picturesque Central Park, which takes an almost-perfect rectangle of greenery out of the otherwise concrete surrounds of the city.
Tickets can be purchased here.
Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge
This is a really fantastic thing to do when staying in New York City: join hundreds of other smiling pedestrians in walking across the bridge that will help give you the grandest views of Manhattan. It’s no short walk either, the bridge is quite and long and you’ll be wanting to stop every couple of minutes to grab photos of the amazing scenery.
More info can be found here.
Go to a Free Concert in Central Park
In summer, the Rumsey Playfield in Central Park plays host to a series of free concerts known as SummerStage. Here, they feature a wonderfully eclectic series of concerts that will go ahead rain or shine. Just make sure you get in early, or you’ll be left to listen to (but not see) the concert from outside the venue.
More information on SummerStage and other Central Park concerts can be found here.
Hit Up Coney Island
This seems to be one of the more neglected things that travellers do when in New York, possibly because of its proximity to the rest of New York and the time it takes getting the train down there. This being said, Coney Island is fantastic – an exciting carnival of beachside Americana complete with amusement parks, boardwalk bars, hot dogs, and cheesy music.
Take a Hip Hop Tour
New York is awash with cool stuff to see and do if you love hip hop. Just walking around Brooklyn, you’ll find massive graffiti murals paying tribute to late, great artists like Notorious B.I.G and ODB. There are great venues, record stores, and locations referenced in hip hop tracks. You can take guided tours, such as those at Harlem Hiphop Tours or try and find them for yourself, but this can be difficult.