This New York City bucket list is perfect if you’re a first-time visitor to the city, or just still trying to check off the classics after a few visits.
New York City has so many layers and is ever-changing. Honestly you could visit a thousand times and never experience it all. But some things will always remain classic, essential New York City experiences.
This post was originally published in 2021 and has been updated for 2023.
And if you don’t know where to even start when it comes to trip planning, you’re in luck! I’ve teamed up with Hotels.com to bring you this most essential New York City bucket list. It covers all the most iconic things to see and do in NYC, introduces a few newbies but goodies, and suggests a few great places to stay to get you started.
Where to stay in New York City
As you can imagine, there are hundreds of amazing places to stay in New York City for all budgets and needs. So, to get you started, here are a few of my personal favorites:
I’m a big fan of the New York Pod Hotels and have stayed in them many times (multiple locations, multiple room types). New York’s Pod Hotels offer you the best possible value there is for NYC hotel rooms. However, they do that by offering small, no-frills rooms.
A Pod Hotel stay is definitely unique but it’s also so fun and a great way to save some cash. Plus, they have the best locations you can get for those prices! They have three Midtown locations: Pod 39, Pod 51, and Pod Times Square.
For everything you need to know about New York Pod Hotels, check out my review and guide in that link!
Moxy NYC Chelsea
The Moxy is a 4-star hotel just a couple of blocks from the Empire State Building and it is so cool. This place has such a chic, modern vibe and the views here are unbeatable.
It has an on-site restaurant, two bars and lounges, and has breakfast available. Located just a few minutes’ walk from some of the top New York City bucket list stops, the Moxy is a great, centrally-located hotel. (There’s also a Times Square location if you want to check that out!)
The rooms are on the smaller side (though nothing like the Pod Hotels) but you will not feel cramped with those floor-to-ceiling windows.
citizenM Times Square
Another super hip Midtown hotel is the citizenM, located just around the corner from so many stops on this New York City bucket list.
It, too, has a restaurant and two bars, available breakfast, and great city views. It has a 9.2/10 rating and reviewers love the cleanliness, comfort, friendliness of the staff, and the perfect location.
Get the New York CityPASS
If you’re interested in ways to save money while checking off your New York City bucket list, the New York CityPASS is exactly what you need!
This booklet includes discounted admission to many of New York’s top sights (all of which are featured in this post) and even allows you to skip the line in most cases! You’ll save 40% on admission to these sights just for having the CityPASS. Think of it like a bulk discount.
I use CityPASS whenever I’m in a city that offers them and I highly recommend them. Save almost half on the sights you’re going to be visiting anyway. There are no losers here! Grab your New York CityPASS here!
Have a great time checking off your New York City bucket list!
More info for your trip to New York City
- Heading to New York City? Find more great places to stay here.
- Pick up a New York CityPASS to save 40% on NYC’s top attractions.
- Don’t forget a New York City guidebook for more information.
- Check out more New York City posts.
- Like this post? Have questions? Reach out on Instagram
What big things are on your New York City bucket list?
Let me know in the comments!
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