The task of choosing a handful of top attractions to represent the entire state of New York is not an easy one thanks to its nearly endless number of things to see and do. From the historic to the most contemporary, New York State overflows with interesting places to visit.
Upstate New York, as locals call pretty much anything north of the city, offers year-round vacation possibilities.
- New York’s charming small towns are the main attractions.
- Winter is also a popular time to visit due to the ski resorts and luxury hotels and lodges that make great getaways.
- Plan the perfect escape any time of year with our list of attractions and places to visit in New York State.
1. The Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is the nation’s most iconic monument, a symbol of hope to 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 continuous loops 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 purchase tickets to access the pedestal or crown, although crown passes sell out at least six months in advance.
2. Ellis Island
The ferry stops next to Ellis Island, where there is a museum on the first floor of the main building, an architectural masterpiece that once served as the main processing center and hospital from 1892 to 1954. On the upper level, tourists can wander the rooms of the quarantine wing and see some of the original bunks and facilities used by those hoping to start new lives.
Inside are poignant exhibits, with walls of photos, documents, and personal stories that capture defining moments in American history, one person at a time.
Tourists should plan at least a half day to enjoy sightseeing at both attractions, or if pressed for time consider hopping aboard the ferry and using the ride to get phenomenal views of these New York City landmarks from many angles.
3. Central Park
Although it may appear on a map as a small patch of green within the grid of Manhattan streets, Central Park is an expansive space that contains enough sights and things to do to last for days, if not longer.