Ground Zero/World Trade Center Site
Church St. at Barclay St.
The vast swath of land between Church and West streets —now a teeming, constantly changing construction site—became one of New York’s most visited sites after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. At the nearby Liberty St. Firehouse, physical reminders of the day, such as the original Liberty Street road sign, can be found. Several blocks south, in Battery Park, is another ever-present reminder of the day’s destruction: a damaged sculpture, The Sphere, which used to sit in the plaza at the foot of the Twin Towers.
1071 Fifth Ave., at 89th St.; 212-423-3500.
The unusual spiral-shape of Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece has been luring visitors since 1959. Gaze up the inner spiral ramp to catch Wright’s take on the rigid geometry of modernist architecture. Circular shapes repeat throughout the building, from the spiraling rotunda to the oval columns.
70 Lincoln Center Plz., at 62nd St.; 212-875-5000.
At 16.3 acres, it's the largest performing-arts facility in the world, and the site of soaring structures that radiate around a glorious signature fountain, used to great romantic effect in Moonstruck.
151 W. 34th St., at Broadway; 212-695-4400.
It started in 1858 as a fancy dry-goods shop on 14th Street and Sixth Avenue and has grown into the most recognizable department store in the country. Ornate holiday windows and a famous Thanksgiving Day parade only add to its charm.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave., at 82nd St.; 212-535-7710.
Not only is the building itself an impressive feat, but the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden, open May through late fall, is one of the most unique outdoor sculpture spaces in the city. It’s also where museumgoers grab a drink and enjoy the incredible views of Central Park.
New York Stock Exchange
18 Broad St., at Exchange Pl.; 212-656-3000.
Built in 1903 with towering neoclassical columns, the Stock Exchange epitomizes America’s capitalist ethic. The Broad Street façade, draped since September 11, 2001, with a massive American flag, is crowned with a 22-foot sculpture representing Integrity, with the figures of Agriculture and Mining to the left, and Science, Industry, and Invention to the right.
Rockefeller Center and Top of the Rock
Rockefeller Plz. at 50th St.; 212-332-6868.
This nineteen-building complex in midtown is rife with photo opportunities. Around the winter holidays, there’s the Art Deco GE building and its adjoining sunken ice rink overseen by Paul Manship's golden statue Prometheus — not to mention the enormous Christmas tree and Radio City Music Hall’s brightly lit façade. Views of the Empire State Building and far, far beyond beckon from the 70th-floor viewing platform, known as Top of the Rock.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
14 E. 51st St., at Fifth Ave.; 212-753-2261.
Located across from Rockefeller Center, St. Pat's is one of the city's most spectacular architectural sights, modeled in a mélange of Gothic revival styles with two soaring, 330-foot-tall spires.
Staten Island Ferry
Manhattan: Whitehall Ferry Terminal , 4 South St., at Whitehall St.; 718-727-2508.
Staten Island: St. George Ferry Terminal, 1 Bay St.; 718-727-2508.
As if a free boat cruise isn’t a great deal already, the Staten Island Ferry also offers waterside views of lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
Statue of Liberty
1 Liberty Island; 212-363-3200.
Though access to Lady Liberty has been limited since 9/11 (levels higher than the tenth-floor observatory are still not open to the public), a glass covering with improved lighting now makes it possible to see all the way up to the crown—without huffing and puffing up those stairs.
Broadway and Seventh Ave., from about 42nd to 47th Sts.; 212-768-1560.
Visitors flock to see the biggest Broadway shows, glimpse celebrities in the giant windows of MTV studios, eat at over-the-top themed restaurants, or just gaze up at the giant TV screens and billboards that illuminate the sky.
River Ave. at 161st St.., the Bronx; 718-293-4300.
Baseball fans don't just head to the House That Ruth Built for a game; they also stop by Monument Park for a picture with their idols. This secluded garden beyond the left-field fence proudly displays plaques of Yankee greats from Babe Ruth to Don Mattingly.