New York Tourist Attractions: Exploring NYC & Beyond on Weekends

new york

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve moved to New York from Japan. Everyone wants to walk around New York City like a local, but most of us still, well, do look like tourists. If you’re one of the newcomers, you have probably already googled “tourist attractions New York” and have zero idea where to begin. I’m here to tell you about lots of things. The first of them is this: don’t be afraid of looking like a new person. Even those who’ve been here for years look like tourists in New York. Everyone loves the newcomers because they can show them the best New York tourist attractions; also, it gives you the freedom to make mistakes and find what makes you happy regardless of the popularity of every location you visit. After my arrival, I went through lots of attractions until I finally understood which parts of tourism are my favorites.

Now, I have a special route that I use to guide me through this bustling city whenever one of my friends or family visits me. Today, I’ll show you around. If you’re going to visit the famous New York State or want to know about the best places to visit in New York, stay with me.

attractions in New York

Source – Giphy

Adirondacks and Lake George Highlights

Although many people speak about the Adirondacks as the main attractions in New York, not everyone has the time and resources to go there. Whenever I walk my friends to these places, we also invite city guides who know the scenery well with us just to get the most out of it. I think it’s one of the places where your love for adventure tourism can thrive because it is a location with a rich history and an impressive diversity of forests, lakes, and rivers. Because I’m from Japan, I’m really fascinated by the regional highlights of the environment in the entire U.S. and New York in particular.

If you’re the one to go away from the city, it’s the best place to go. It’s probably the place with the best scenic views in New York. You might also want to check out Lake George, where I spend at least a few nights with my friends camping. It’s the best place for those who love adventure. If you don’t want to go full-on “wild,” you can live in a cabin or a cottage. And regardless of the place you visit, the scenery is breathtaking!

Lake Placid city guide

My favorite place in the entirety of the Adirondacks is Lake Placid, which is the best option for those who really want a short retreat from the busy city life and enjoy some outstanding activities. Lake Placid is right in the heart of the mountains, and it’s known for its adventure tourism opportunities for enthusiasts. Its winter sports history is actually pretty serious: two Olympic Games were held there.

New York tourist attractions

Source – Giphy

Central New York’s Attractions

When people reflect on what makes up NYC, they usually think about the well-known center. This place is my favorite because it was the first of the attractions I visited without the city guides: I wanted it all to myself. It has a special value for me because after I did everything for my uni and went on a relaxing adventure. I bought myself a cup of coffee and stood there, enjoying the scenery of hundreds of people being in a sense of constant movement, the light and cars passing by. That’s the best place for tourism if you love fancy hotels, restaurants, and museums. You can take a stroll through the downtown, eat at one of the best restaurants or go on educational tours, enjoying the new and the old architecture intertwined.

Although some people love golf courses among all the New York State attractions, I’m still not a fan of it. But there are plenty of them: Amsterdam Municipal Golf Course, Leatherstocking Golf Course, and many others. But if you’re more into cultural attractions, check out the Arkell Museum, the Iroquois Indian Museum, or Stone Quarry Art Park as some of the options. One of my top favorites that I lead my friends to is the U.S. Route 20 Scenic Byway, where you can find all sorts of antique things that belong to people living in this city or anywhere outside New York.

Long Island’s coastal beauty

The pearl of New York tourist attractions, Long Island’s coast is something of a dream. While it takes me about an hour to get there if I use public transportation, Long Island totally deserves its position in tourist destinations for the majority of people going to New York State. I suggest going there on a less popular day, definitely not on the weekend, because there are plenty of people with a guide or two who will take away from your experience. The entire coast is marvelous enough, but there are so many unique local attractions with their history that you can visit that I cannot emphasize enough how valuable this location is for me. Don’t miss Montauk Point Lighthouse, North Fork wineries, and Sands Point Preserve.

Exploring Greater Niagara

You probably know about the Greater Niagara even if you’ve done only a preliminary research of the NYC tourist attractions. However, what I’ve discovered is that there are plenty of places to be and things to do there. I’ve always been fascinated by the number of beautiful tourist destinations in New York, but even I was not expecting the beauty of the falls, culinary attractions, and the adequate and respectful tourism that people practiced there. Actually, I’ve added this one to the list not only because of the famous Niagara Falls but because of a funny event that happened to me there. I was brave enough to think that I could go without a guide and brushed aside my parents’ concerns (they were spamming my WhatsApp). Although nothing particularly bad happened to me, I got lost. My phone was uncharged, and I had had a bad day before. I almost cried on the spot. A cute couple who owned a restaurant called out to me and invited me to sit with them. They told me about their month-long trip across New York State and how they decided to open their small family business. They charged my phone, listed the best tourist destinations and the ones I should avoid, gave me cocoa, and helped me find my way back.

Buffalo & Niagara Falls spotlight

I went through Buffalo with a great desire to taste everything from wine to the well-known “Buffalo Wings” at Anchor Bar. I heard a lot of people talking about the great history this place has, and I downloaded a free audio guide to listen to the narrative without joining the group.

My highlight of the visit to Niagara Falls were, well, the falls themselves. It was an otherworldly experience. If you’ve heard that the scenery is something majestic, I can say that even the photos cannot fully tell you about its beauty. If you want, you can go on water sports activities in either of the towns. I’m a little bit afraid of such adventure water sports as the one offered there, but two of my friends decided to go kayaking!

Buffalo & Niagara Falls spotlight

Source – Giphy

Discovering the Hudson Valley

After seeing lots of attractions in New York City, my next step was to study the Hudson Valley. Because it’s a large section of the valley of the Hudson River, I decided to go with a guide to know more about this place’s history and its role in colonization and the Revolutionary War. I spent a lot of time cruising around New York State, but it took me some time to get to this one of all tourist destinations. Perhaps because it’s so extensive and combines beautiful scenery with lots of places to visit, but it has a really special place in my heart. I’m yet to fully explore all of its attractions. Hudson Valley has lots of historical sites like Kykuit or Philipsburg Manor that can teach a foreigner a lot about the country. While I’ve gone to all three districts, I’m still passionate about the tourism investment of this region, which often fascinates my family and friends. They never get bored!

Albany’s rich history

Albany’s a little bit lesser-known New York State tourist attraction in contrast to the city of New York itself, but I’ve realized that it’s a great place to see the great side of New York. Albany is still a pretty large city to visit, and I was pretty surprised to learn that it’s most known for its economic and cultural attractions. Because I love marketing, both work for me. It offers a large number of locations to visit, from museums and historic sites, but the thing that always gets me is the Palace Theatre. There’s something impressive about its vibe, and when you get inside and look out, you also realize why city guides always tell you about its history since its opening day in 1931. The current design is close to the original, and I simply love it!

The Charm of the Catskills

I was shocked to learn that most people overlook Catskills when searching for New York City tourist attractions. Although it’s often included in the list of tourist destinations, not all people go there. It’s not a city but a town with little more than 11 thousand people. Visiting such a place allows people to relax if they feel too tired of New York State attractions that involve lots of traffic and people. When I was looking for something unconventional, I decided to think about the places that are very different from New York. It’s the last on my short tour guide list because most of the individuals I know get pretty exhausted by the end of our tourism escapades. Not only do you get the scenic views, but there are also many opportunities for those fond of adventure. You have probably guessed that I like watching the attractions more than doing extremely crazy stuff! But I can’t complain about the scenery: my friend and I bought the largest cups of tea from a local coffee shop and sat outside watching the sunset.


  • What are the top tourist attractions in New York?

There are plenty of tourist attractions in New York City, and the ones I’ve mentioned above are my favorites. I can’t guarantee that my list will be the best, but you can start from there. However, if you want to see some of the regional highlights that are known to most, think about Times Square in New York, Niagara Falls, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But you can pick anything you want! Some people are into adventure tourism, while others adore historical sites.

  • How can I explore the cultural heritage of New York?

New York State and City both have so many attractions to see that it can be difficult to grasp what to do first. If you’re a person unfamiliar with American history, like I was, the best thing to do is to hire a guide. They can show you around the city and its cultural attractions without your need to go hard on your tourism efforts. Nonetheless, if that’s not your case and you like to visit all the attractions alone, go to Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, Black Gotham Experience, International Center of Photography, or Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. As you see, New York is really rich in its cultural attractions.

  • What are some must-visit historical sites in New York?

Some of these historical sites will also guarantee you scenic views: Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, and Bartow-Pell Mansion. New York has a central role in history in general, and even if you visit these most known attractions, there are a number of those you won’t even know about. So be ready to explore!

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Akari Saito
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Akari is an undergraduate Marketing student in New York. Though born in Tokyo, Akari’s heart belongs to the Big Apple. In her free time, she enjoys drawing anime and cartoons, reading, and learning as much as she can about whatever niche topic she’s interested in at the moment. She never gets tired of enjoying her collection of Dragon Ball characters.