It’s hard to think of a better spring break destination than New York City. It’s got practically everything, from art and architecture to concerts and cruises.
Pretty much any type of visitor will love the opportunity to see everything this fantastic city has to offer.
Planning to experience New York City Spring Break 2019, but aren’t sure how to fill your time with the right balance of activities?
Check our our favorite things to do in New York City during February and March, including top attractions like:
- The Empire State Building Observatory
- Top of the Rock Observatory
- The Statue of Liberty
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- 9/11 Memorial & Museum
- And more!
For those of you traveling on a budget this year, snag a New York City Explorer Pass® to help save on admission to your favorite attractions like museums, tours, cruises, and more. It’s a great way to save money for those perfect souvenirs!
Choose as you go from dozens of top New York City attractions and save up to 50% off combined admission vs. paying at the gate.
See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.
See the City From Above
Even if you’ve been to NYC before, it’s best to start off your trip by getting oriented in the city. Visit a few hotspots to get a sense of how it all connects, and make the most of your time with some carefully-selected attractions.
Start off with a ride to the top of the Empire State Building or the Top of the Rock. They provide different views of the city (most people say the Top of the Rock has clearer views, but the Empire State Building is more iconic) and either is a great choice to get a sense of midtown and the surrounding areas.
Insider Tip: Whichever you choose, it’s best to make this your first stop of the day as it will get quite busy during the late morning and afternoon.
Get Inspired at Art Museums
You can’t leave New York without having spent at least a little time in one or two of the city’s famed museums. After all, they are counted among the best and most prestigious in the world!
If you’re an art lover, there is so much to choose from you could spend days just looking at paintings and sculpture. We recommend starting with the Metropolitan Museum of Art (for a real classic that has just about everything) or the Museum of Modern Art (if you’re not into Ancient Egypt or the Dutch Old Masters).
Of course, don’t forget about the popular Met Breuer, which features some of the finest collections of contemporary and modern art in the world.
Getting In: Admission to MoMA and many others are available with the New York City Explorer Pass®.
Explore Your Science-y Side
Kids of all ages will love a visit to the American Museum of Natural History. It’s chock full of astonishing and exciting exhibits, including everything from gemstones to dinosaur fossils.
It’s actually one of the largest museums of its kind in the world, too, and there’s more to see and do than you could possibly manage in one day. Hit up a few of the highlights, like the Rose Center for Earth and Space, and the Environmental and Biodiversity Halls, to see their more famed collections.
A visit here is also a great complement to spending time at the Met, because they’re located across from one another on either side of the north end of Central Park.
Getting In: Admission to the American Museum of Natural History is available with the New York City Explorer Pass®.
See Lady Liberty
And of course, you can’t miss a chance to visit (or at least snap photos of) Lady Liberty.
One popular option is to hop aboard the ferry and explore both Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Families love this opportunity to explore a significant time in American history, and the educational exhibits are perfect for teaching your children about early immigration.
Another excellent choice is to take a sightseeing cruise with fantastic views of the Statue itself, which provides opportunities for that postcard perfect distance shot. The cruise is also fully-narrated, so you’ll learn all about the statue and her history.
Insider Tip: if you are planning on visiting the Statue itself, wait times will be longest in the afternoons, so go early to avoid the rush.
Hop on a Bus Tour
You’ve probably had enough walking by this point, so why not give yourself a break and hop aboard a bus tour of the city? There are several different options to choose from, depending on whether you want to stay in Manhattan or roam further abroad.
There are even tours that specifically cover Brooklyn, Uptown & Harlem, or that run at night. Some offer hop on and off capabilities, so if you want to use the bus for short transit hops around one neighborhood, that can sometimes work, too.
However, be aware that bad NYC traffic means you shouldn’t rely on any buses to serve as your sole means of transportation.
Bus tours are also a great option if you really want to explore more of the city than just midtown and Times Square – get out to places you haven’t seen and spend some time wandering.
Learn About the City’s History
Families shouldn’t leave New York City without some time spent exploring this amazing city’s rich heritage.
For those invested in their own history, many people value the opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. This moving museum features a number of different galleries that highlight the story of 9/11, from the immediate aftermath to the long road to recovery. Outside, the iconic twin reflecting pools are both inspiring and aesthetically attractive.
If you prefer something a little bit older and more expansive (and perfect for kids), then the New York Historical Society is a great place to pop in. It’s a small museum with well-curated content, and is conveniently located next to the American Museum of Natural History for easy access.
Enjoy Celebrity Culture
An especially fun attraction for kids and teens to explore is Madame Tussauds New York. This famed museum features gorgeously rendered wax replicas of many famous celebrities in a selection of themed settings.
You’ll get to see people who represent a wide definition of celebrity, from actors and musicians to athletes and famous New Yorkers. You name it, they probably have a wax figure in this fascinating museum!
It’s the perfect place for selfies with your favorite figures, and those photos definitely make for some hot Instagram posts.
Getting In: Madame Tussauds New York tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass.
Explore Midtown Culture
While you’re in the area, take a tour of Radio City Music Hall to indulge your cultural side. Go behind the scenes of one of NYC’s most famed theaters, and see where generations of stars have walked, danced, and sang.
Then, walk a few blocks west to Times Square – the heart of New York City.
It’s a great place to people watch, and despite the tourist infusion, is a really fun place to shop (or window shop, as you prefer).
Getting In: Radio City Music Hall tour tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass®.
Exercise your Stealthy Side
If you’ve ever wanted to be smooth like James Bond, or wish you had the moves like Sydney Bristow, then you’ll want to head to SPYSCAPE. It’s essentially a hands-on exercise in learning the techniques and tactics of modern spycraft.
For example, you can work on your ability to lie effectively (something we’re sure your parents will love), and test your agility in a training facility.
Then, you’ll get to see real artifacts from the history of global spycraft and learn about iconic, real-life spies from around the world.
Getting In: SPYSCAPE® tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass®.
Enjoy a Boozy Tour
For the over 21 crowd, this guided walking tour is a fun alternative to a self-guided pub crawl.
Instead of choosing random bars that look good from the outside, your expert local guide will escort you around to a few places with something unique, delicious, or out of this world on their drink menu.
You’ll stop at three different bars with multiple enticing drink options. Your tour may focus on beer, spirits, or wine.
This is the kind of tour that craft beer lovers or organic wine fans will get a lot out of.
Getting In: Spirits on Foot tour tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass®.
Showcase Your Artistic Side
We’ve all seen graffiti tags on the buildings and bridges that we pass on the train (or the highway, and so on). But have you ever wondered about the history of this modern art form?
This workshop features an artist and expert who will explain the development of street art and graffiti, then demonstrate how to recreate the essential shapes and figures.
Most excitingly, you’ll get to try your hand at graffiti and bring a sample of your own artwork home.
How many of your friends can say they know how to produce a unique tag?
Getting In: Graffiti and Street Art Workshop tickets are available with the New York City Explorer Pass®.
Take in a Show
Another popular option for enjoying NYC artistic and musical culture is to snag tickets to an event in the Theater District.
There are dozens of venues here ranging from the traditional mainstays to innovative indies, and the possibilities for great performances are endless.
Many shows are kid-friendly, but some are decidedly not, so be sure to read guidelines carefully before purchasing tickets.
Insider Tip: If you’re a student group on spring break, keep an eye out for student discounts while you’re planning your spring break trip – although they may often apply only to matinee showings, they’re worth the break in price.
Getting In: Theater tickets are not included with the New York City Explorer Pass®.
Save on Admission
As you can see, experiencing spring break in New York City makes for one heck of a good time.
Whether you’ve only got a long weekend, or plan on staying for five full days, we’re sure you’ll find something to love about the Big Apple.
Like this itinerary? Snag a New York City Explorer Pass® for a fun-filled (and affordable) spring break!