Manhattan Destination Overview
As the core of the Big Apple, Manhattan is ripe with enough world-famous sights to set any traveler's itinerary ablaze. From Times Square to the Empire State Building to the Apollo Theater, Manhattan is the center of action in New York City. Fashionistas, culture nuts and downright attraction junkies will get more than one fix in one of the most photographed boroughs in the world.
There is no shortage of iconic spots in this traveler's heaven. Scratch the must-sees off the list before making your way to more off-the-beaten path niches.
Located at the junction of Broadway and 7th Avenue, Times Square is dubbed the "Crossroads of the World." The mesmerizing digital advertisements running across the buildings look even brighter in person. Times Square is also a theatrical hub of Manhattan, overflowing with more than 200 modern art galleries, Broadway plays and musicals.
Empire State Building:
No trip to Manhattan is complete without a visit to the Empire State Building. As one of New York's tallest structures, the Empire State Building scrapes the sky at a grand height of 1,453 feet. Take the elevator up to the 86th or 102nd floor observation decks for breathtaking views, and to avoid the worst lines, go at 8:30 a.m. or during lunch hours on Monday through Wednesday. In addition to the decks, you'll experience a restored lobby with Art Deco ceiling murals, the historical Dare to Dream exhibit and the new Sustainability Exhibit.
American Museum of Natural History:
You don't have to be a history nut to appreciate the jaw-dropping dinosaur exhibits and insightful human evolutionary timelines at the American Museum of Natural Museum. Upon entering, you'll immediately spot the massive Barosaurus skeleton replica in the rotunda before diving further into other specimens, such as the Deinonychus in the fourth-floor fossil halls. The 95-foot-long blue whale model, 3-D shows at the IMAX auditorium and the Hayden Planetarium make this museum a hit for visitors young and old.
Get up on the good foot at the Apollo Theater, the 80-year-old venue where Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix have all graced the stage. More recently, the theater has brought in big-name comedians such as Aziz Ansari, Tracy Morgan and Jim Gaffigan as well as A-list rock stars such as Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen. With its storied history and grand decor, a night at the Apollo Theater is never dull.
While everyone loves the Empire State Building and Times Square, the lesser-known sites in Manhattan can still offer glory without the glamor. Get a more intimate feel for the city by exploring these spots:
Hall of Fame for Great Americans:
Founded in 1900, this is the country's original hall of fame, dedicated to prominent Americans who made a dent in the nation's history. Showcasing authors, architects, educators, judges, humanitarians and many more, the Hall of Fame for Great Americans is home to 98 bronze busts, including those of Alexander Graham Bell and President Franklin Roosevelt. The institution is open to the public for self-guided tours daily between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. - two weeks advance notice is suggested.
Paley Center for Media:
With collections featuring nearly 150,000 clips from TV shows, radio programs and podcasts, the Paley Center for Media is the place to come. To get the full treatment, check the schedule for upcoming events, which include a showcase with the writers of the Late Show with David Letterman, an evening with Amy Poehler and moderating by Seth Rogen.
Roosevelt Island flies under the radar, though the spot is full of quirks. Visitors can see the new Four Freedoms Park, named for the principles outlined in FDR's 1941 State of the Union address, or delve into the eerie ruins of the Smallpox Hospital, which closed in the 1950s. Guests can even take the four-minute trip on the city's only commuter tram.
Dining in Manhattan
Heck, even a drink is named after this neighborhood, so you can bet your bottom dollar the culinary experience will be nothing short of delightful. Exotic plates will titillate your taste buds as you hop from Michelin-starred restaurants to a diverse array of ethnic eateries.
Eleven Madison Park:
Ideal for a romantic night out, Eleven Madison Park is the epitome of fine dining. Executive chef Daniel Humm masterfully stirs up market-driven cuisine with creative dishes, but be prepared to spend a pretty penny: The tasting menu starts at $225.
Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar and Grill:
Let the good times roll at Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar. Offering authentic Japanese cuisine, this restaurant uses fresh seafood - from oysters to lobsters to crab - to roll up top-notch sushi delicacies.
Marea is chef Michael White's third New York City establishment, so you, the culinary connoisseur, have done something right if you get a reservation here. Indulge in a tasty combination of seafood and Italian cuisine in this restaurant's warm yellow-accent walls. Thirsty diners can take advantage of the selection of wine from three different continents.