New York Public Library

#12 in Best Things To Do in New York City
New York Public Library picture1 of 5
New York Public Library2 of 5
hibino/Flickr

Key Info

Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Sightseeing, Free Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
4.2scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 4.0Atmosphere

This main branch, officially called the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, attracts plenty of book lovers, history junkies and architecture aficionados. Most people swing by the Bryant Park landmark to say hello to Patience and Fortitude (the famous stone lions guarding the entrance) and to admire the lovely beaux-arts design.

If you're in the mood to read, you'll find an exhaustive collection of maps, in addition to special collections of English and American literature, English Romanticism and rare books. This library is also the site of several lecture programs and a children's section. Recent visitors were impressed with the library's beautiful architecture and say it's a great place to wander through if you have an hour or two to kill.

To get there, take the B, D, F or M subway train to the 42nd Street-Bryant Park stop or take the 7 train to the Fifth Avenue station. Different branches of the public library have different hours, but the main branch is open daily. You can visit from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and on Tuesdays and Wednesdays the branch stays open until 8 p.m. On Sundays, visitors are welcome from 1 to 5 p.m. Visit the official website for details.

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More Best Things To Do in New York City

Central Park1 of 31
American Museum of Natural History2 of 31
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Central Park

This part-park, part-museum, part-concert hall swallows central Manhattan, and many of the city's most notable attractions are situated next to it or within its limits (the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History, to name a few). But travelers insist that you shouldn't just pass through Central Park on your way to another place. This 843-acre green space is a favorite of New Yorkers and tourists; you can come here to exercise, dine, go to the zoo and more.

“Central Park is fantastic year-round, and is a must-see for anyone coming to New York," says Josephine Danielson, head concierge at the Four Seasons Hotel New York. "People may not realize Central Park has several hidden treasures. If you’re looking for something different, I tell guests to visit the Conservatory Garden." 

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