Yes, New York City is expensive if you take taxis, eat at hot spots and buy prepackaged tours and high-priced event tickets. But it doesn’t have to be so costly. As a New York native, I’ve explored the city on countless occasions and I’m here to tell you that some of the best things you can do are free or almost free.
So, put away your wallet, and set out on your own. You’ll save a lot of cash and experience the city in a way that prepackaged tours can’t deliver. Here are 50 destinations to get you started:
1. Empire State Building
Location: 350 Fifth Ave.
Snobs will tell you that the 1,454-foot-high Empire State Building is a tourist site. So what? The building, opened in 1931, is also a 103-story art deco marvel. It’s easy to reach the midtown landmark by public transportation, which is one reason it’s a popular location for businesses. If you’re around at night, tower lights on the building make it visible for miles. If you do splurge on a ticket, you can take a tour, enjoy exhibits and experience one of the best views in the city; you can see almost 80 miles from the observation decks on the 86th or 102nd floor of the building. Want sparks to fly while you’re on a deck? Kiss your sweetie and prepare for static electricity, which tends to build up at high heights. For more information visit the Empire State Building website.
2. Central Park
Location: In the heart of Manhattan, from 110th Street to 59th Street and from Central Park West to Fifth Avenue
Don’t miss Central Park. Entry to the 843-acre park has been free since it first opened in 1858, and it truly offers some of the best sightseeing, recreation and people-watching in the city. Highlights include the Shakespeare Garden (filled with flowers and plants mentioned in the playwright’s work), one of the largest vintage carousels in the world, a zoo, statues depicting many beloved historic and fictional figures (including the “Alice in Wonderland” title character) and Strawberry Fields, a living memorial to slain singer-songwriter John Lennon. Wear comfortable shoes. It’s easy to wander far afield and realize you need to hike back or catch a (pricey) carriage ride. You can plan your time there with online options from Free Tours by Foot. Find out more including paid activities at the park’s official website.
3. The Highline
Location: Gansevoort Street in Chelsea to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues
You might not have heard of The Highline, a free public park opened in 2014 on what was once an elevated, freight rail line in Chelsea (also called the Meatpacking District) that was in use from the 1930s until the 1980s. You can walk the 1.45-mile line and enjoy the art installations, greenery and flowers along the way. The park hosts an array of free events ranging from concerts to guided tours and Tai Chi classes. Find out more on its website.
4. Times Square
Location: Midtown Manhattan
Unless you’ve never turned on a television, this scene will be familiar — the flashing neon lights, massive signage, street characters and densely packed retailers, ranging from designer Steve Madden to the New York Yankees Clubhouse store. Renovated and rehabilitated at the end of the last century from its days as a seedier section of town, the Times Square neighborhood is now a major commercial intersection, tourist destination and entertainment center. Explore and have fun, but remain cautious. Pickpockets, purse snatchers and other criminals prowl the ultra-crowded area (more than 300,000 people pass through Times Square daily), so guard your wallet and packages. Oh, and look for the flagpole on top of One Times Square. That’s where the ball drops at midnight every New Year’s Eve. Find out what to see when you visit on the Times Square website.
5. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Location: On the east side of Fifth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets
There’s something calming about seeing the neo-Gothic style Roman Catholic cathedral — St. Patrick’s — rising above the bustle of Fifth Avenue. The cathedral, which opened in 1879 and continues to function as a house of worship, just underwent a $177 million renovation. The place has an interesting history — and I recommend you read up on it before you go. Among other things, you will learn there are eight archbishops of New York buried under the high altar of the church. The cathedral holds 15-plus Masses each day and has also been the site of many high-profile weddings. One of the most famous was on April 3, 1920, when between Francis Scott (F. Scott) Fitzgerald married Zelda Sayre. The ceremony took place in the adjoining rectory. Look at the cathedral’s website to plan your visit.
6. Rockefeller Center
Location: Six square blocks between Fifth Avenue and Avenues of the Americas (between 48th and 51st Streets)
Rockefeller Center is a lot more than the basis for the television sitcom “30 Rock,” the location of the “Today” show sets and an annual Christmas Tree lighting. The buildings that comprise Rockefeller Center house an incredible collection of public art inside and out, just as founder John D. Rockefeller Jr. envisioned when it opened in 1933. You can see those as you walk around the buildings. That’s the free part. If you want to splurge, you can enjoy cocktails and dinner at The Rainbow Room on the 65th floor of 30 Rock. You can also buy tickets to go to the 70th floor observation tower called Top of the Rock. Find out more at the Rockefeller Center website.
7. Fifth Avenue
Location: Target the area between 49th and 60th Streets
Fifth Avenue runs all the way from Greenwich Village in the south end of Manhattan to Harlem in the north. Make sure you visit the section between 49th and 60th Streets. That’s where you’ll see the flagship stores of some of the finest designer brands including Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton and Gucci. You’ll also walk past the buildings where millionaires and billionaires — Rupert Murdoch and Charles Schwab to name a couple — own residential property.
8. Chrysler Building
Location: 405 Lexington Ave.
Don’t miss this building designed by architect William Van Alen. Its distinct design — which features racing cars sculpted into the brickwork — is a tribute to the automobile. And go inside for a free pass to enter the lobby that features a ceiling mural, customer-designed doors and other high-end architectural features. Free Tours by Foot offers a free guide and images. Find out more on this website.
Location: Lower Manhattan near Little Italy
Beginning around the 1870s, this area near Little Italy became a landing spot for waves of Chinese immigrants and today remains a densely populated, predominantly Chinese neighborhood. It has also evolved into a prime tourist destination for experiencing authentic Chinese and Southeast Asian restaurants, bakeries and tea houses. You will find temples, karaoke joints, herbal pharmacies and much more here. If you time it right, you may enjoy one of the area’s festivals, such as the Chinese New Year, also called the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, which falls in mid-February in 2018. There are paid tours of the area that are interesting, but you can see the most everything here on your own. Start out in the heart of Chinatown — Chatham Square, which is the confluence of eight streets including Mott and Bowery — and walk from there. Free Tours by Foot offers a handy guide. Find out more at the Chinatown website.
10. Little Italy
Location: Lower Manhattan
The HBO series “The Sopranos” ended a decade ago, but merchants in the Little Italy district still post photos and promotions for the television show. Little Italy is a testament to classic Italian culture with authentic restaurants, festivals and Italian-themed stores. Don’t forget to look at the tenements throughout the area, most with the classic metal fire escapes seen in so many movies including “The Godfather” trilogy that began in 1972 and the 1997 film “Donnie Brasco.” Find out more on the district’s website.
11. Radio City Music Hall
Location: 1260 Sixth Ave.
Shows at Radio City Music Hall including those of the world-famous dance troupe the Rockettes, can be pricey. It’s a fun splurge, but even if you choose to skip the show, you’ll find a lot to love just walking around the art deco building in Rockefeller Center that opened in 1932. The venue has served as a movie theater, hosted musical acts ranging from Frank Sinatra to U2, and temporarily housed television shows including “Wheel of Fortune.” Find out more at the website.
12. Brooklyn Bridge
Location: Spans the East River, connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn
Like other sites on this list, the Brooklyn Bridge is familiar to most of us as a fixture of myriad movies and television shows. One of the oldest bridges in the U.S., the hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge opened in 1883 as the first steel suspension bridge in the world. The span has inspired artists from Georgia O’Keefe to Andy Warhol. But it’s not just a showpiece. Residents and visitors can walk the 1.3 miles across the bridge, which serves as a major thoroughfare for New York commuters and offers spectacular views. The walk is free, of course, but there are also pay-what-you-want guided tours that detail its history and other points. You might also want to spend some time at the lively waterfront Brooklyn Bridge Park.
13. New York Public Library
Location: Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets
Even if you don’t go inside, walk by the New York Public Library (formally known as the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building) and see the elegant white marble lion statues, dubbed “Patience” and “Fortitude” by former Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. If you’re there around a holiday, you might even see the lions dressed in some holiday-themed finery. If you have some time, go inside and take a free, docent-led tour of the 1911-founded library. You’ll learn about the architecture and the volumes housed there — about 3.5 million books, according to the New York Times. Find out more at the library’s website.
14. Statue of Liberty
Location: Liberty Island in New York Harbor
The good news is that you don’t have to pay to see the Statue of Liberty. You do need to pay for a ferry ride to the island though and to go inside the colossal copper statue. If you do visit the island, you can take in plenty of history from the plaques dotting the national monument and by talking to park rangers and guides of various free tours. If you don’t want to commit to visiting the statue, you can take a ride on the free Staten Island Ferry to see it from the water. Landlubbers can see national monument from many places in New York City, but prime viewing is at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. Find out more at the website.
15. Coney Island
Location: Surf Avenue, Brooklyn
Coney Island is a residential Brooklyn neighborhood, but it’s also a classic tourist destination that boasts amusement rides, boardwalk food (Nathan’s hot dogs are a true Coney Island treat!), an amphitheater, street performers, music, shopping and of course the famous beach and boardwalk. Find out more at the website.
16. Grand Central Terminal
Location: 89 E. 42nd St.
Grand Central Terminal was built in 1871 to provide transportation for commuters throughout the New York boroughs. The terminal has 44 platforms with 67 tracks, making it the largest train station in the world based on area and platforms, reports Railway Technology.com. It also has some 60 shops and 35 restaurants.
You can take an official tour of Grand Central, but there is a fee, even for self-guided audio tours. You can save some money by choosing free self-guided tour outlines that will point you to some of the must-see features including the ceiling that shows the constellations of the zodiac, the famous four-sided brass clock and the Grand Central market for gourmet foods. Find out more at the Grand Central Terminal website.
17. Carnegie Hall
Location: 881 Seventh Ave.
Ever since Carnegie Hall opened in 1881, it has hosted concerts by some of the finest musicians in the world. Although many associate Carnegie Hall with classical and jazz musicians (including Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald), it started hosting rock musicians in the mid-1950s. You need to pay to tour the hall but keep an eye on its website for various discounted and free events.
18. Apollo Theater
Location: 253 W. 125th St., Harlem
Ella Fitzgerald made her singing debut at age 17 at the Apollo Theater. And that 1934 debut was only one of many. The famous theater has launched and hosted an array of stars including the Jackson 5, B.B. King, Patti LaBelle, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and many other greats. There aren’t formal tours of the Apollo, but there are low-cost events. And, of course, snapping a photo of the famous sign is free. Find out more on the website.
19. Greenwich Village
Location: Houston Street to 14th Street and beyond, the west side of Lower Manhattan
In the 1960s, Greenwich Village was the place for hippies and counterculture artists to live and create, following in the footsteps of the Beat generation’s beatniks and the Bohemians before them. Now you’re more likely to see wealthy celebrities living there, including Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, Brooke Shields, Jon Bon Jovi and Julianne Moore. But the area is still filled with charm and boho shops and restaurants. Take a stroll around by yourself or join a free tour group. Find out more at the neighborhood’s website.
20. Lafayette Street
Location: Lower Manhattan
When you’re in Lower Manhattan, take a walk down Lafayette Street between SoHo and NoHo (south of Houston and north of Houston). It’s mainly residential, but there are art galleries, boutiques and high-end restaurants scattered throughout. Why go? Each of the New York City neighborhoods has a distinctive personality. It’s fun to try them on. Rock fans, take note: the late David Bowie and his wife, Iman, were among the celebrities living at 285 Lafayette St. Trip Advisor gives a rundown of some of the attractions.
Location: 151 W. 24th St.
The original Macy’s in Herald Square (the intersection of Broadway, Sixth Avenue and 34th Street) was built in 1902 and is still one of the most popular department stores and tourist sites in the world. Even if you are not a regular Macy’s shopper, you’ll be amazed by the displays, windows and merchandise in this landmark — the largest department store in the world, according to New York Magazine. You may know that the store hosts the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. They also set up elaborate Halloween displays, renowned holiday window displays, spring flower shows and more. Find out more on the store’s website.
22. United Nations
Location: 801 First Ave.
You need to pay to tour the United Nations — tickets range between $13 and $22 per individual, depending on age — but go to the site and look at the building where world history is debated. Just seeing the flags of the member nations flying outside is exciting. While you’re there, stop at the Visitors Center to see displays of public art and other exhibits and to shop for souvenirs.
23. Chelsea Market
Location: 75 Ninth Ave.
The Chelsea Market is an indoor gourmet food market with more than 35 vendors selling everything from wine and cheese to coffee and nuts. The market is a mecca for New York foodies, including many of the rich and famous. Find out more on its website.
24. The Plaza Hotel
Location: 768 Fifth Ave.
World leaders and the rich-and-famous have made the Plaza Hotel the place to stay in New York City. There are tours, but they aren’t free. And room rates generally cost over $500. But there’s no charge to go into the lobby, visit the shops and soak up the ambience. Find out more on the website.
25. Brooklyn Flea Market
Location: 80 Pearl St., Brooklyn
The Brooklyn Flea Market is just what you’d expect, except it’s super-sized. Go early because it’ll be crowded with bargain hunters looking for jewelry, artwork, vintage clothing, antiques and fresh food. It’s also a great place to do some people-watching. Find out more at the website.
26. 9/11 Memorial and Museum
Location: 180 Greenwich St.
Pay your respects to the 2,977 people who perished on Sept. 11, 2001, when you visit this moving memorial at the former site of the World Trade Center. The six people who died in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing also are honored here. You can visit the memorial and museum inside the complex, but you’ll have to pay to take a tour. Still, there’s plenty to see and areas to pay your respects outside, including twin 1-acre pools with the nation’s largest man-made waterfalls set in the footprints of the former landmark towers. Find out more on the website.
27. Metropolitan Museum of Art
Location: 1000 Fifth Ave.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art –“The Met” — houses some of the most noteworthy paintings, sculptures, photographs, and textiles produced over the past 5,000 years.
Even if you don’t want to pay (the suggested entrance fee for the museum is $25 for an adult) at least check out the exterior. The Met is the largest museum in the United States, and the grandeur of its main building is overwhelming. Its Fifth Avenue facade — “a majestic and apparently seamless classical composition” — is described as one of the “architectural glories” of New York City. Find out more on the website.
28. American Museum of Natural History
Location: 81st Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue
The American Museum of Natural History will bring you face-to-face with prehistoric dinosaur fossils and actual mummies. It offers world-class exhibits on just about any natural history topic you can imagine — from diamonds to whales and the first people of the Pacific Northwest. Go soon, though, because the museum just announced a major renovation that may close some areas temporarily. The museum has a pay-what-you-wish admission fee. Find out more on its website.
29. Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
Location: 301 Park Ave.
Just because the iconic Waldorf-Astoria Hotel is closed for renovation and restoration doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see. Simply passing by lets you take in the art deco style of the hotel, which began life as two separate hotels — the Waldorf and the Astoria. The hotel has hosted many world-renowned figures including Elizabeth Taylor, William Randolph Hearst Jr., and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Find out more on the website.
30. Tiffany & Co.
Location: 727 Fifth Ave.
The famous jeweler more famously known as Tiffany’s has many locations, but none quite like the flagship store in New York City — showcasing some of the world’s finest jewelry. Movie buffs know it’s the place Audrey Hepburn so admired in the 1961 film version of Truman Capote’s novel “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Go take a look and step inside, even if you can’t afford to take home a bauble in one of Tiffany’s iconic blue boxes. Find out more on the website.
31. Queensboro Bridge
Location: Between 59th and 60th Streets
Attention, Woody Allen fans: This is the bridge that Allen and Diane Keaton gazed at from a bench in Allen’s movie “Manhattan.” Formally named the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, this structure also is known as the 59th Street Bridge — a span that inspired songwriter Paul Simon (of Simon & Garfunkel fame) one day when he was feelin’ groovy (“The 59th Street Bridge Song”). You can walk the three-quarter-mile bridge with locals and get a great view of the New York City skyline. Find out more on its website.
32. P.J. Clarke’s
Location: 915 Third Ave.
You’ll find P.J. Clarke’s in various locations, but none can match the original site in New York City. It’s where Buddy Holly ate and proposed to a woman, Frank Sinatra drank, Ted Kennedy noshed and Johnny Mercer wrote the song “One for My Baby” — and that’s just for starters. Go soak up celebrity, old New York style. And enjoy the tempting food and drink, too. Find out more on its site.
33. Yankee Stadium
Location: 1 East 161st St., the Bronx
True, the new Yankee Stadium only opened in 2009, but it isn’t short on history. It’s very close to the original stadium, called “The House That Ruth Built” after famous slugger Babe Ruth. Ground for the new stadium was broken on Aug. 16, 2006, the 58th anniversary of the Babe’s death, with famous former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was on hand. Rumors swirl around the new stadium, including that a rabid Boston Red Sox fan, who was working on the stadium construction, buried a Red Sox jersey under the visitors’ dugout to put a curse on the Yankees. Fans know the “Curse of the Bambino” has plagued the Sox since 1919 when the team traded the Babe to the Yankees. If you want to splurge, there are paid tours of the stadium available. Find out more on the stadium website.
34. Tom’s Restaurant
Location: 2880 Broadway
Any “Seinfeld” fans in the house? The restaurant often featured in that classic television sitcom, which ended in 1998, really exists. It’s got the same neon sign but inside, well, it’s different. The food at this Greek-American-owned eatery’s pretty darned good, though. Stop in for a bite or just to take some photos of the exterior. And go when you’re not in a rush. The New York Times reports that the restaurant is still a hot spot tourist destination. Find out more on its website.
35. Wall Street
Location: Broadway to South Street and beyond
Don’t worry about taking a formal tour of Wall Street. Just walk up and down the eight-block stretch. You’ll find there’s much more to the area than finance, including trendy shops, superb restaurants (try the pizzerias) and even discount designer stores. Check out the iconic “Charging Bull” sculpture, now being stared down by the addition this year of the “Fearless Girl” (above). Want some ideas of what to see? Check out Free Tours by Foot’s site.
36. South Street Seaport
Location: 19 Fulton St.
Adjacent to Manhattan’s financial district, the South Street Seaport is a charming area to enjoy a meal, stop into some boutiques or enjoy one of the special events hosted there. The historic district, centered where Fulton Street meets the East River, is also a residential area with some kick. Check out the website.
37. The Dakota
Location: 1 W. 72nd St.
I love walking around the trendy, upscale Upper West Side of Manhattan, which is rich with funky stores and eateries. If you go, stroll by the Dakota, home to some of the city’s wealthiest residents. The building along Central Park opened in 1884 as a residence for upper middle-class New Yorkers and then quickly became home to many wealthy residents including Lauren Bacall, Leonard Bernstein and Judy Garland, according to Bloomberg. It was also home to John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono — and it was in front of this building that Lennon was shot to death on Dec. 8, 1980. Time Out New York published a good walking tour guide of the Upper West Side a few years ago that still holds up today.
38. Bergdorf Goodman
Location: Fifth Avenue, between 57th and 58th Streets
You may not want to splurge on Jimmy Choo shoes, Prada handbags or Valentino outfits, but that shouldn’t keep you out of Bergdorf Goodman’s flagship store. Celebrities are given the utmost privacy when they shop there — and many of them do — but you may still see them entering and exiting. Find out about the store on its website.
Location: 40th to 50th Streets
When you tell people you want to go to Broadway make sure you specify you mean the theater district. That’s where you’ll find the Shubert Theatre, the Helen Hayes Theatre, the Palace Theatre and all of the other famous landmarks on “The Great White Way,” one of the first streets fully illuminated by electric light. You can take a paid tour, but you really don’t need one. It’s just as fun to walk around, check out the theaters and watch for famous faces.
Hint: If you decide to go to a show, get discounted tickets at the large TKTS booth at West 47th Street and Broadway in Times Square. For more information and locations, check the website.
40. Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park
Location: Prospect Heights neighborhood, Brooklyn
The 585-acre Prospect Park has everything from a zoo and carousel to an array of one-off concerts and free special events like bird walks, food fairs and nature hikes. The park’s landscaping is considered by some as a work of art in itself, with its 90-acre “Long Meadow” and a watercourse of waterfalls and lakes. When you visit you’ll want to go to the main entrance via Flatbush Avenue at the north end so you don’t miss the ornate Grand Army Plaza. The elaborate artwork on the plaza’s arch is only part of the attraction. You’ll find other tributes to President John F. Kennedy, President Abraham Lincoln and others nearby. Find out more at the park’s website.
Location: Lower Manhattan just south of Canal Street and to the West of Broadway. (Tribeca — triangle below Canal Street — get it?)
Tribeca is one of those areas known by many influential people but not listed on many tourist maps. There you’ll find cobblestone streets, cast-iron buildings and some easily identifiable landmarks including Hook and Ladder 8 Fire Station at 14 N. Moore St., better known as the firehouse featured in the 1984 “Ghostbusters” movie. But the area is more class than kitsch. Tribeca resident Robert De Niro is one of the powerhouses behind the Tribeca Film Festival. Take a free walking tour of the area by following this guide.
42. Brooklyn Navy Yard
Location: 63 Flushing Ave., Brooklyn
The 1.7-mile Brooklyn Navy Yard was decommissioned in 1966. Now it’s a place to explore history. Visiting is a way to look at one of the most productive warship builders for World War II and take in exhibits on innovation spanning from the Revolutionary War to the present day. Admission is free to Building 92 where many of exhibits are housed. There are paid bike and bus tours of the rest of the Navy Yard. Find out more on its website.
43. The New York Times Building
Location: 242 W. 14th St.
No tours are given of the iconic New York Times building, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least see the outside of the 52-story building that is the workplace of some of the best journalists in the world. The public is invited to enjoy the lush lobby garden, too. Find out more here.
44. Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration
Location: Upper New York Bay, across from Lower Manhattan
More than 12 million immigrants entered the United States through Ellis Island between 1892 and its closing in 1954. Visitors to the island, not far from the Statue of Liberty, can take paid tours and scan records of those who passed through on their way to America. The Ellis Island museum is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, cared for by the National Parks Service. You can buy a ticket at Battery Park for a ferry ride to the island and a tour, or you can get a good view of it from the riverside there. Find out more here.
45. New York Stock Exchange
Location: 11 Wall St.
Sadly, the public is no longer allowed to tour the New York Stock Exchange — tours were halted after Sept. 11, 2001, for security reasons. But it’s worth a trip by the building, which opened in 1903, to see its famous facade. Don’t miss a sculpture of Mercury, the Roman god of commerce, above the massive marble columns. Next to Mercury you’ll spot symbols representing industry, science and more. Check this site for walking tour ideas.
46. Socrates Sculpture Park
Location: 32-01 Vernon Blvd., in Long Island City, Queens
Socrates Sculpture Park was an abandoned landfill until 1986, when the riverside area was transformed into a studio and exhibition space for artists. You can also run, throw a Frisbee or otherwise enjoy the recreation areas, too. When you visit, check to see if there are free films, concerts, festivals, performances and other events scheduled. Find out more at its website.
47. Diamond District
Location: 47th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
Even if you’re not shopping for diamonds, you owe it to yourself to make a trip to the Diamond District. The merchants stock diamonds of every size, shape and quality — including some rare gems. Expect crowds. Wholesalers and retail customers jostle along the one-block area through which passes about 95 percent of the diamonds that enter the U.S., according to NYC Official Guide. Find out more on the district’s website.
48. The Village Voice
Original location: 36 Cooper Square, Greenwich Village
Even if you’re not a news junkie, the Village Voice building is a must-see in New York. The first alternative weekly newspaper in the U.S., which was co-founded by author Norman Mailer, announced this year it had printed its last newspaper, though it will live on digitally. The paper launched the careers of many top journalists including music critic Lester Bangs and Pulitzer Prize-winning theater critic Hilton Als. Make sure you look for the paper’s former headquarters at 36 Cooper Square when you’re in Greenwich Village.
49. The 21 Club
Location: 21 West 52nd St.
On the first day of January 1930, the 21 Club opened as a speakeasy and quickly became one of New York City’s favorite escapes during Prohibition. When the U.S. ban on alcohol ended, the 21 Club morphed into a popular destination for celebrities and captains of industry. The building now houses two restaurants and a lounge. Entering the main restaurant, the Bar Room, you’ll see hundreds of toys hanging from the ceiling, each a gift from a patron whose household names include former President Bill Clinton, Willie Mays and John McEnroe. On its website you can find a map of tables preferred by celebrity customers. If you do venture in, the food is great — but not cheap. For a less expensive visit, you could instead head to Bar ’21’ & Lounge for a drink and an appetizer. Find out more about the 21 Club on its website.
Here’s a tip: No sneakers allowed.
50. Park Avenue
Location: The Upper East Side
Ayn Rand, Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis, Denzel Washington and Sting are just four of the famous past and present residents of the iconic Park Avenue area on the Upper East Side. Again, you can take tours, but there’s no need. Just walk up and down the tree-lined street and enjoy window shopping at the top-end stores and boutiques. An old walking tour guide published by the New York Times is one of the best I’ve seen — with lots of tidbits about buildings and the celebrities and titans of industry who have owned and inhabited them.
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