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This post covers the best NYC attractions, architecture, historical landmarks, and points of interest.

We include free, family-friendly, nighttime, and neighborhood-specific attractions, each with a New York City tourist map listing these attractions.


Unfortunately, not everything is free in NYC. Some of the best and most popular attractions come with entry fees, and sometimes with hefty price tags.

Below, we list our top 10 and provide a long list of additional attractions that require paid tickets to enter.

Be sure to check out our neighborhood, nighttime, and family-friendly sections for more ideas.

But before we list them, there is a way you can visit many of them for free or at a discount.

New York Tourist Discount Passes

If you are considering visiting at least 2 of the city's main paid attractions, then consider an all-inclusive tourist attraction discount pass.

If you are efficient with these deals, you will end up getting 1 or 2 attractions for free each day.

Be sure to read our post that details and compares the various attraction passes available to you to see if one is right for you.

Our Top 10 NYC Tourist Attractions


For in-depth information on how to visit these landmarks, simply click on the attraction's name and you will be taken to another post with information such as:


Below we list the top free attractions in New York City as well as a map of even more free points of interest.

We start off with this section because many of the most famous NYC tourist attractions cost nothing to enjoy, and you could plan a trip without paying for even one.

Our Top 10

Below is a map listing many other free landmarks and points of interest as well as resources for even more free attractions (there are over 100).

We list additional attractions that are completely free of charge.

Click the free New York attractions map for an interactive version.

Free NYC Attractions Map

Be sure to check out our master post on free things to do in NYC as well as our post on free museums and attractions.

There you will find even more free attractions, including paid attractions that offer free days.

Also. check out the other sections of this post for free attractions organized by:



Great Public Spaces

Famous Buildings

Free Shows and Music

Many of our walking tours visit several of the sights listed above, such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, and the 9/11 Memorial.

Our tours are free to sign up for and work on a pay-what-you-wish basis only after a successful tour.

Free New York Tours


In this section, we highlight the main attractions in NYC that are top picks for those with children.

Below is the map of our top 21 NYC attractions for kids.

We have several in-depth articles for families, including our master post on things to do with kids and a 3-day kid-friendly NYC itinerary.

Click the family-friendly New York attractions map for an interactive version.

Map of Things to Do with Kids in NYC

We have several in-depth articles for families, including our master post on things to do with kids and a 3-day kid-friendly NYC itinerary.


In this section, we list some of the top attractions that have late-night hours, including free and kid-friendly attractions.

For even more ideas, check out our master post on things to do in NYC at night.

Top 10 Attractions with Late Hours

Free Attractions 

In addition to what was mentioned in other sections, here are 5 more ideas.

Be sure to check out our things to do for free post for other budget-friendly attractions open late.


In addition to what was mentioned in other sections, here are 4 more ideas.

Be sure to see our things to do with kids post for more kid-friendly attractions open late.


Each of our things to do by neighborhood posts below get more granular by area and each can help you plan your morning, afternoon or a full day.

You can also visit our NYC neighborhoods page to view a clickable map of NYC to better understand how each neighborhood is positioned in relation to the others.

Attractions from Midtown to Harlem

Lower Manhattan to the Financial District

Brooklyn Attractions

Be sure to also check out our post on things to do in Brooklyn.


In this section, we will break down some of the best attractions that you can visit for free or at a heavy discount with a New York City tourist attraction discount pass.

In addition to providing a list of the most popular activities included with each service, we will also explain some of the differences between them to help you pick one that fits your itinerary.

Note: We update this section every 6-months, so there could be discrepancies. Last updated in January 2023.

The following is a list of the top attractions available on all three of the major New York Tourist Passes.

  • Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
  • Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Ferry
  • Top of the Rock
  • Madame Tussauds
  • 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  • American Museum of Natural History
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
  • Clipper City Sailing Cruise
  • Whitney Museum of American Art
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Inside Broadway Walking Tour

If you're looking for an attraction that isn't listed above, don't worry – you may find it listed below on a specific pass.

In addition to these options, we should also mention that both Groupon and Living Social often offer discounts on some of the most popular activities in New York City.

New York Pass

The following attractions are not included with some of the other tourist passes in New York City.

If you see any activities you like, read our recommendation to get a sense of some of the best things about this pass.

New York Pass Reviews
  • Empire State Building
  • Rockefeller Center Tour
  • Catacombs by Candlelight
  • Fotografiska NYC


This pass will allow you to take the next step and dig a little further into notable sites such as Rockefeller Center and the Empire State Building.

New York Sightseeing Pass

These attractions may not be offered by other tourist passes.

Sightseeing Flex Pass NYC

If you're interested in seeing or doing anything on this list, check our recommendation to determine whether or not this is the right pass for your needs.

  • One World Observatory
  • LOL Times Square Comedy Club
  • New York Aquarium
  • Central Park Zoo
  • Bronx Zoo


If you're looking for even more popular activities to enjoy, this is an excellent option. Families should also take note that admission to both the Central Park Zoo and the Bronx Zoo is included with this service.

This is available as either an all-inclusive pass or a set number of attractions pass.

To learn more about each option, read the "before you buy" section on our New York tourist pass post.

Explorer Pass

This list will only include attractions that aren't offered by at least one of the other New York tourist passes.

If you're still not sure about which pass to get, check our recommendation to get a better sense of what to expect.

  • Empire State Building
  • Rockefeller Center Tour
  • Escape Virtuality VR
  • The TOUR


As you could probably tell, many of these attractions are also included with the New York Sightseeing Pass.

The main difference between these two services is that the Explorer Pass lets you pay one flat price for a certain number of activities.

This pass can be used at any time over the course of an entire month, so it will last much longer than the other options on our list.


About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo,, and more.
Updated: May 16th, 2023
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