Top 17 Attractions and Places to Visit in New York State
Attractions and Places to Visit in New York State – Choosing some of the top attractions to represent the entire state of New York has never been easier, thanks to its nearly endless number of things to see and do. From the historic to the most contemporary, New York State is full of exciting places to visit.
New York City is unquestionably the most popular tourist destination in the state, and it is packed with famous attractions, restaurants, and shops.
The borough of Manhattan is home to many of the city’s major destinations, such as Central Park, Times Square, the Empire State Building, and more.
Upstate New York, as locals call much of the north of the city, offers year-round vacation possibilities. The many lakes and mountains are the main attraction in summer, along with New York’s charming small towns.
Winter is also a popular time to visit because of the ski resorts, luxury hotels, and lodges that make great getaways.
Plan the perfect getaway any time of year with our list of attractions and places to visit in New York State.
- Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
The Statue of Liberty is the most iconic monument in the country, a symbol of hope for the millions of immigrants on their way to Ellis Island.
Tourists can visit both attractions via a ferry operated by the National Park Service that meets passengers at Battery Park and runs a continuous loop throughout the day.
The first stop is the statue, where visitors can enjoy views of both the monument and the New York City skyline at no charge.
You can also buy tickets to access the pedestal or Crown, although Crown passes sell out at least six months in advance.
Be sure to stroll through the museum at the base of the statue and see the extensive educational signs, figures, and historical markers.
The ferry stops at Ellis Island, where on the first floor of the main building is a museum, an architectural masterpiece that once served as the central processing center and hospital from 1892 to 1954.
On the upper level, tourists can walk around the rooms to see some of the original bunks in the Quarantine Wing and the facilities used by those hoping to start a new life.
Inside are poignant exhibits, with walls of photographs, documents, and personal stories that capture the defining moments in American history one person at a time.
Tourists should plan for at least a half day to enjoy sightseeing at both attractions, or if time is pressured, consider boarding the ferry and exploring these New York City sights from multiple angles. Use the ride to get unprecedented views.
Official Site: www.nps.gov/stli
Niagara Falls is one of the natural wonders of North America, attracting millions of visitors every year. Located on the border of Canada and the United States, the park has three waterfalls: Bridal Veil Falls, American Falls, and Horseshoe Falls. Horseshoe Falls is the widest and highest, falling 167 feet below the 2,700-foot-wide shore.
For the best panoramic view of all three falls, visit the Observation Tower, or take the famous Hornblower Boat Tour to the Basin of Horseshoe Falls. This is one of the most popular things to do in Niagara Falls.
In addition to park information and tour tickets, the visitor center has a gift shop, several dining options, and a theater that shows a 40-minute film about the history and legend of the falls.
The park also provides waterfall lighting at night and hosts spectacular fireworks displays on special occasions.
In winter, the falls turn into a frozen spectacle of massive snowflakes, cold fog, and snow-capped trees and railings.
On clear, calm days, the mist rising from the falls rises high into the sky and can be seen as far away as the CN Tower in Toronto.
Official Site: www.niagarafallsstatepark.com
- Central Park
While it may appear on a map as a small patch of green within a grid of Manhattan streets, Central Park is a vast area with enough sights and things to do to last for days, if not longer.
Central Park is home to impressive architecture and various attractions, from peaceful gardens to skating rinks.
Bethesda Terrace is known for its stunning Bethesda Fountain, and the Mall, an idyllic, sweeping passageway fringed by the arched limbs of centuries-old American elms, begins at the terrace.
Tourists will find many peaceful places to relax, such as the formal Conservatory Garden, Shakespeare Garden, or the famous Chess and Checkers House.
Kids will enjoy the Central Park Zoo, which houses sea lions, penguins, and other animals, and little ones will want to ride on the historic carousel. The park, of course, has lush green lawns and enough playgrounds to keep the kids busy for days.
Heckscher Playground is located mid-park between 61st and 63rd Streets and boasts an extensive sprinkler area to help the little ones cool off on hot summer days.
It dates back to 1926 and features slides, a giant sandbox, climbing structures, and lots of open space to explore.
The Billy Johnson playground near the zoo has a stone slide loved by children. A newspaper, or better yet, be sure to sit while sliding the lid of the pizza box, as this makes the ride quicker.
Many ponds are also on hand to enhance the atmosphere. Pack a picnic and enjoy your meal with the people-watching.
Central Park can be visited by horse-drawn carriage for the ultimate romantic sightseeing experience. (Places to Visit in New York State)
Official Site: www.centralparknyc.org
- Times Square
There are weeks worth of attractions and things to do in and around Times Square, but even a brief visit to experience the larger-than-life excitement is well worth the visit.
The heart of Times Square is at the junction of Broadway and 7th Avenue, where you’ll be mesmerized by the giant screens that announce everything from the latest movies and shows to notable productions.
Pedestrian areas are filled with artists, performers, and tourists, taking in the hustle and bustle of the city and the enticing smells of food trucks plying the streets.
While in the neighborhood, a visit isn’t complete without a dinner at Sardi’s restaurant and a show in the world-renowned theater district.
Are you traveling with kids? You’ll find plenty of family attractions, including Madame Tussauds, which has fantastic waxworks and interactive exhibits and offers a new perspective from the glass-walled viewing platform that stretches out onto the sidewalk.
Times Square has many shops, big and small, and no visit is complete without stopping at M&M World, where you can’t help but smile.
The Empire State Building, another NYC icon, is within walking distance of the square and is open until 2 a.m. for breathtaking views of the city below. (Places to Visit in New York State)
According to Iroquois legend, the long, narrow lakes in the landscape west of Syracuse were formed by the fingerprints of the Great Spirit.
The many lakes that make up the Finger Lakes region offer an array of outdoor opportunities in a visually stunning landscape.
The lovely towns and Finger Lakes resorts are located along the leading lakeshores, most of which are especially busy during the summer months.
Some exciting ways to explore the area are on the Cayuga Trail, Seneca Lake Trail, and the Keuka Trail.
Corning is home to the Southern Finger Lakes living history museum Heritage Village and The Rockwell Museum, which houses a wide variety of artifacts.
Auburn is also home to several attractions, including the Harriet Tubman House, the Seward House Museum, Willard Chapel, and the Fingerlakes Mall.
Additional interests include the Finger Lakes Museum, Sonnenberg Gardens, and Mansion State Park in Branchport.
Viewing the Falls at Watkins Glen State Park, Taking a hot air balloon ride over Letchworth State Park, and going on an adventure at Greek Peak Mountain Resort are one of the best things to do in the Finger Lakes. (Places to Visit in New York State)
- Placid Lake
Lake Placid’s world-famous winter sports resort, located at the foot of Whiteface Mountain, has twice hosted the Winter Olympics (1932, 1980).
Today Lake Placid is a significant tourist center located in beautiful natural surroundings with lakes and hills.
Although it is perhaps best known internationally for its winter recreation, especially skiing, the city is also a popular summer destination.
All kinds of unique shops and restaurants are the main tourist strip at Lake Placid. Beautiful resorts will be found along the shores and in the rolling landscape.
In addition to Lake Placid’s actual body of water, there is also the incredibly scenic Mirror Lake, which is the city’s centerpiece. The setting of this lake makes it one of the most beautiful lakes in New York State. (Places to Visit in New York State)
The town of Lake George is located at the southern end of the 32-mile-long lake of the same name. The city is a major tourist destination in summer, and the lake is the main attraction.
Several islands on the lake have been developed for camping, and the area is particularly popular with motorcyclists.
Million Dollar Beach, on Beach Road, offers swimming, picnic facilities, and a volleyball court. Sightseeing cruises are also a fun way to see the lake. Prospect Mountain offers a high scenic view of the lake and surroundings.
Historical sites around Lake George include Lake George Battlefield Park and the Fort William Henry Museum. (Places to Visit in New York State)
Storm King Art Center
Wear comfortable shoes when you visit the Storm King Art Center, named for the mountain overlooking the Hudson River.
This spectacular outdoor sculpture gallery set amidst 500 acres of rural landscape is one of the most picturesque attractions in New York State—and you’ll want to walk around it.
Are you not going to run? Do not worry. There is a tram on-site to take you past most of the colossal sculptures, but you’ll want to download the site’s app to get the most detailed information about each piece.
Also, since this is an open-air attraction, plan your trip for a lovely day out to make the most of your visit.
The many ambitious works on display in this unique exhibition’s regions and hills change frequently, and the art looks different each season.
This means you are ready for a new experience with every trip. And trust us, going once is not enough!
Storm King is open Wednesday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The last entry is at 4 pm.
If you want to stop and appreciate the impressive works, it will take at least two hours to explore the area, so plan your trip accordingly.
A café offering healthy lunches, drinks, and snacks is on-site to help stave off hunger pangs during your visit. (Places to Visit in New York State)
Address: 1 Museum Road, New Windsor, New York
Official Site: https://stormking.org/
Cooperstown is located at the southern tip of Lake Otsego in central New York State. It is best known as the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, where baseball fans can admire the sport’s legends and view memorabilia.
The Baseball Wax Museum is a fun follow-up to the Heroes Hall of Fame, and although it’s on the smaller side, it’s fun to pose with baseball greats in a relaxed atmosphere and enjoy their “Baseball Bloopers” movie. Small Theater.
Cultural attractions in Cooperstown include the Fenimore Art Museum and the Alice Bush Theater, which hosts the Glimmerglass Festival, an annual international opera event.
There are also historical sites such as Hyde Hall, which was once a sprawling colonial estate, and the Farmers Museum, where life on the Lippit Farmstead and a historic village are brought to life. (Places to Visit in New York State)
Thousands of small islands are located more than 50 miles downstream of the St. Lawrence River.
They are located in the United States along a granite shelf extending from the Canadian Shield to the Adirondack Mountains, running the boundary between the islands.
It is an area of outstanding natural beauty at any time of the year but comes alive, especially in autumn during the foliage season.
Operating between mid-May and mid-October, boat tours through the maze of islands showcase ever-changing vistas.
They include glimpses of holiday homes ranging from the plainest of log cabins to the most luxurious summer villas. One of the most stunning sights in the Thousand Islands is the stunning Bold Castle dating from 1900. (Places to Visit in New York State)
The Adirondacks are a beautiful range of forest-covered hills in northern New York State with many lakes and recreational opportunities. The hills are part of the Canadian Shield and reach over 5,000 feet.
The highest peak is Mount Marcy, which has an elevation of 5,345 feet. The Adirondacks is a favorite vacation destination for New Yorkers.
People come here to enjoy hiking, canoeing on the vast waterways, and relaxing at lakeside cottages and resorts in the Adirondacks.
This is a beautiful area to photograph in the fall, with its incredible display of New York autumn colors. (Places to Visit in New York State)
Another popular destination for experiencing nature in New York State is the Catskills. The rugged terrain of rolling hills and peaceful lakes is perfect for recharging your mental battery.
You can be as active as you want by starting biking, canoeing, and hiking, Or be as lazy as you are by sitting by the pool, sleeping, or going to the spa at one of the Catskills’ many top resorts.
In winter, the Catskills turns into a snowy wonderland and draws skiers from far and wide to some of New York’s best ski resorts. (Places to Visit in New York State)
Letchworth State Park
Letchworth State Park is home to three waterfalls along the dramatic Genesee River Gorge. Steep rock walls line the gorge, surrounded by forest and often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East.”
Middle Falls is the largest with a drop of 107 feet and is illuminated at night from May to October. It has been dubbed one of the best waterfalls in New York for a good reason!
Upper Falls is just as captivating but only falls about 70 feet. It is surrounded by stunning rock cliffs and is crossed by the photo-worthy Portage High Bridge.
The park offers a full range of amenities, from campsites and cabin rentals to trails, swimming, a playground, and concessions. Winter activities include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and designated snowmobile trails.
One of the most memorable experiences at Letchworth State Park is the hot air balloon ride that soars above the otherworldly landscape, offering views that can’t be beaten. Book one during the fall for the most impressive of Mother Nature’s best color shows. (Places to Visit in New York State)
Darwin D. Martin House Complex, Buffalo
Darwin and Isabel Martin commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright in 1904 to design a multi-structure complex they did at the height of their Prairie House era. Many consider it his finest work.
One of the top things to do in Buffalo, the house is open to the public and can be visited on either a Basic Tour or an in-depth tour, accompanied by guides who can guide visitors to details of the structure.
It can enhance the understanding of visitors. , Parts of the property that were torn down over the years are being rebuilt. (Places to Visit in New York State)
Address: 125 Jewett Parkway, Buffalo, New York
Official Site: www.darwinmartinhouse.org
Watkins Glen State Park
Watkins Glen is located at the southern tip of Seneca Lake within Finger Lakes State Park. The glen spans two miles, covering 400 feet over 19 waterfalls, the last 200-foot cliffs carved out of the water.
In addition to admiring the gorge from its rim trails, visitors will find many things to do, including fishing, hiking, and even swimming in the park’s Olympic-sized pool.
The park has tents, RVs, and picnic areas for day visitors. Guided tours of the gorge are available in season. (Places to Visit in New York State)
Official Site: https://parks.ny.gov/parks/142/
George Eastman House and International Photography and Film Museum, Rochester
The 50-room George Eastman Mansion was completed in 1905 and originally included a stable, garage, barn, five greenhouses, and several gardens.
Located in Rochester, the house has been restored to its early 1900s appearance, with photographs made by Eastman and letters and notes that aided in the restoration.
The excellent International Museum of Photography and Film is located on the grounds and will interest anyone passionate about photography.
The museum also regularly displays several traveling exhibits and films. Be sure to check out their website to see what’s going on. (Places to Visit in New York State)
Address: 900 East Avenue, Rochester, New York
Official Site: https://www.eastman.org/
Kingston is a quaint waterfront town located on the outskirts of the Catskills, about two hours north of Manhattan. It is a popular place to spend a weekend in New York, especially during the summer, with many fun things to do.
When the hot sun shines, this plain town comes alive – in the form of outdoor concerts, festivals, and other fun events.
Grab a bite on an outdoor patio along the Hudson River, hop on a cruise, or visit one of the area’s many museums.
The Hudson River Museum is fascinating if you’re a fan of trains, while train lovers can spend hours at New York’s Trolley Museum.
Save time to practice a little retail therapy at the boutique shops in Uptown, but don’t miss wandering the streets of the Stockade Historic District.
The area comprises eight blocks of fairy-tale-worthy buildings and has so much charm that you’ll want to stay longer.
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