Call it befitting that The City That Never Sleeps lives in the dreams of citizens of the world. Home of the National Stock Exchange, high fashion, fine art, exquisite cuisine, and skyscrapers reaching high as the American Dream, New York consistently brings in millions of visitors from all over the globe. The most densely populated U.S. city has an endless list of attractions to explore on any given day, but a handful stand out with numbers as large as the city itself.
From New Year's to the stock exchange, entertainment to dining, Times Square endures as an iconic center of thriving metropolitan life. With over 39 million visitors annually, “the center of the universe” is the most visited tourist site in the world. The staggering number of visitors to the square prompted the city to make adjustments to address the hectic streets when it established designated areas for performers, seating, and exit routes.
In spite of countless private sales, the Brooklyn Bridge remains the property of the city. The nearly 6,000-foot bridge connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan sees over 120,000 vehicles, 4,000 pedestrians, and 2,600 bicyclists daily. By choice or by necessity, the Brooklyn Bridge is one of New York’s busiest hot spots, offering an idyllic view of the harbor for misty-eyed tourists and disgruntled commuters alike.
Grand Central Terminal
Driving through New York has never been for the faint of heart, making its public transit system a staple of many New Yorkers’ daily lives. Grand Central Terminal has been coined the “world’s loveliest station” with its opal glass clock, astronomical decorations, and fine dining. The beauty of its corridors attracts tourists and natives to breathe in the air of constant movement.
The 9/11 Memorial
On September 11, 2001, the world shook in the face of horror and tragedy. From the ashes of the World Trade Center, America summoned its strength to erect a monument in honor of the loss of innocent lives and the courage of the first responders who gave theirs in turn at a moment’s notice. Ten million visitors have graced the grounds of the memorial since its opening in 2014.
The Empire State Building
“Twas beauty that killed the beast,” but the tourists come for the view. At a height of 1,454 feet, the Empire State Building Observatory towers 102 stories above the heart of Manhattan with its breathtaking view of the New York City skyline. The National Historic Landmark continues to draw crowds, nearly competing with its own enormity. Over 110 million have visited the monument to date, with yearly totals around 3 million.
The Statue of Liberty
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to snap the perfect photo op for their Instagram account. Our green lady from France is still an internationally renowned landmark of the United States. Countless tourists from around the world and locals seeking a reminder of American history flock to the Statue of Liberty every year. In 2018, the Statue of Liberty saw 4.34 million recreational visitors.
The Metropolitan Art Museum
The image of New York is one of busy city streets, larger-than-life ambitions, and world-class art. It’s this last point that has been drawing the biggest crowds of any single attraction in the city. 2018 saw a record high for the Metropolitan Art Museum with 7.35 million visitors. This last year, the Met housed an exhibit of over 200 installations of Michelangelo’s work titled “Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer.”