Best Things to Do and See in New York on Foot

I still have great memories of my visit to New York, and I can’t wait to come back for more. But I do confess that spending only 10 days in the big apple was never enough to see and do everything we want in the city.

However, New York is a city to be explored on foot. We can check plenty of tourist attractions by walking through the city, leaving the long distant attraction to be visited by train, of course.

There are lots of itineraries specially tailored to see as much as possible in the big apple, without wasting time on public transport, avoiding traffic, or spending too much money. Plus, it’s only on foot that we can contemplate New York in detail.

The reality is that the Big Apple is a huge city, full of options and with new attractions every day; it won’t be in a week or even a month that you’ll know the city in full.

Even those who live in the city are surprised by its power to reinvent themselves, to offer more entertainment options and new restaurants. I remember talking to the owner of a restaurant in Queens about it, and he said that even after living in the city for nearly 40 years, he didn’t see “everything” yet.

Thinking this way, here is my guide to the best things you can do and see on foot in New York.

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge

It’s probably one of the most famous spots to visit on foot. Opened in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge or Brooklyn Bridge was once one of the largest suspension bridges in the world. It connects Manhattan to Brooklyn and sits above the East River. Besides being packed with people all the time, it was one of my favourite places in town.

It is about 1,800 meters long, which can be done either on foot, by bicycle (there is a cycle lane), or by car. It’s a beautiful place to watch the sunrise and sunset. It’s also a perfect excuse to visit Dumbo and enjoy a brunch while checking many other tourist attractions around.

Panoramic Views of Iconic Buildings

You can’t talk about NYC without mentioning the most iconic observatory buildings and skyscrapers. To get to know New York from above you can go to the traditional Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, and One World Observatory, among many others.

Include in the itinerary at least a visit to one of New York’s main observatories: the Empire State is the most classic of them, appears in the King Kong film, and draws attention for its architecture.

My favourite one is the Chrysler Building but visiting the One World Observatory is also a must-do attraction.

The number of buildings in Manhattan is extraordinary and a classic program when in the city is to admire the landscape from a panoramic point. I can’t wait to see new other observatories such as Edge, which was launched in 2020.

The Edge lookout, in the heart of the Hudson Yards district, will offer you unforgettable outdoor views. Once you reach the building, you will take the elevator up to the 100th floor in less than a minute. You’ll be 1,000 feet tall with New York at your feet!

Visit Ground Zero

For obvious reasons, the most emotional part of the trip, with no doubt, is visiting Ground Zero and the 9/11 Memorial.

Ground Zero was the name given to the area where the old twin towers hit by September 11, 2001, attack were. Today, a new World Trade Centre has been built on the site, as well as a memorial in honour of the victims. In 2014, the 9/11 Memorial Museum was also opened, a museum that depicts details of the attack on the buildings. I have written about this experience, and I would recommend visiting the September 11 Memorial & Museum too.

Spend an Afternoon at Highline Park

Another excellent option for a fun day, Highline is a perfect spot in NYC to spot arts, music, and exhibitions, and enjoy a walk in one of the quirkiest spaces in the city. I loved the idea of visiting the B&H Photo Video, going for a strong on this amazing publish-free space.

It’s one of the most unique of all New York parks. The new urban garden was built on an old, elevated railway line full of green, art, and leisure areas. It’s a quite good spot to check skyscrapers, nature, and street arts along the path.

Simone Ribeiro
Hi! I'm Simone, a citizen of Britain, where I live for over a decade, and of Brazil, where I was born. Midlands Traveller is where I combine my passion for travelling, business and an Eco-friendly lifestyle.