New York City may not be our nation’s capital, but it is definitely a cultural capital, housing more travelers than any other city in the United States each year.
Even though culture has evolved pretty drastically since New York City was founded in 1624, it is still a major point for everything from Broadway plays and art museums to innovative foods, unbelievable group events and mini festivals.
These five cultural experiences are the best of the best.
Exploring New York’s famous theater district is one of the greatest ways to experience all the culture the city has to offer.
Theater has played a huge rule in entertainment and nightlife in NYC for an extremely long time. Its popularity hasn’t wavered in the slightest; it remains one of the biggest attractions for travelers visiting the city at any time of year.
Many of Broadway’s theaters are filled with wide wooden stages, red velvet seats and stunning interior architecture. Simply walking to your seat is magical. But it’s nothing compared to the flashy costumes, massive voices and intricate sets that fill these theaters.
Never pay full price for tickets when you can buy them at a discounted rate. Find deals on 2017 shows like “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Kinky Boots,” “Aladdin,” Cirque de Soleil’s “Paramour,” “The Lion King” and “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.”
Massive museums displaying some of the finest art in the world are based in NYC. Probably the most popular is MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art. In addition to the modern pieces, enjoy a walk through the museum’s sculpture garden.
Another impressive collection is that of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You'll find stunning architecture before you even enter the museum doors, with wide steps and giant columns out front. But once you get inside, you’ll be floored by the incredible artwork housed within.
Their collection includes pieces dating back as far as 8000 B.C. with new, modern artwork included as well. Whether you’re looking for photography, Egyptian art or medieval paintings, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
One other unique spot is the Cloisters, where visitors can find a medieval collection of art. There are also impressive views of the river here.
The food scene in New York City is pretty intense, with restaurants and bakeries all over the city scrambling to come up with the hottest cuisine, cocktails and desserts.
While New York’s culinary scene doesn’t focus on one specific culture, the varied options and creations throughout the city shows its diverse nature and offers visitors a chance to experience many different cultures within one travel destination.
Aska, located in a restored warehouse in Brooklyn, is one of the year's hottest restaurants. With a menu crafted by Swedish chef Fredrik Berselius, expect to find Scandinavian flavors and innovative multi-course dinners featuring ingredients from local sources including a nearby urban farm.
Visitors should also check out the upscale French restaurant Le Bernardin, Eleven Madison Park and Italian restaurant La Sirena.
Though New York is always bustling with activity, it’s often people passing one another in the streets. The city is so massive, and filled with so many people, that it only makes sense that there wouldn’t be a major connection forming between most of those wandering around.
But what is truly spectacular about New York culture is that groups can come together. When they do, they can create something pretty amazing.
In recent years, flash mobs have become huge in cities like New York. Groups like Flash Mob America and Dancing Flash Mobs NYC help organize dance-filled events, which show a form of unity within the city.
Other large-scale group events take place as well. These include Solstice in Times Square, a massive event with all-day yoga classes happening in the middle of a popular tourist destination. There is also an annual Shakespeare in the Park, which often incorporates plenty of big-name actors and actresses.
Because NYC is so massive, there is an endless stream of festivals, highlighting nearly everything you can image.
From the New York Hot Jazz Festival, the Chocolate Expo and the Queens World Film Fest to the St. George Ukrainian Festival and the Queens Book Festival, there is something for literally every interest.
Whether you’re exploring a foreign culture or celebrating the arts, New York has an impressive festival scene. It's sure to be one of the highlights of any cultural trip to the city.