Explore > New York > Welcome to New York
welcome header

Welcome to New York

The Empire State is loaded with natural attractions, idyllic weekend retreats and charming, out-of-the-way hotspots. Nevertheless, it’s hard for the rest of the state to compete with its biggest city. In fact, it’s hard for the rest of the world to compete with New York state’s biggest city, where the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building cast shadows deep into the imagination.

So prominent is New York City on the world stage and in popular culture that, even if you’ve never been here before, there’s something about the Big Apple that just feels familiar, like it’s your long-lost hometown. Strolling through Times Square, touring Wall Street, walking the High Line and nibbling your way through eateries in Little Italy or DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) are simple pleasures that just feel right—no matter where you’re from or where you call home.

Outside of the Big Apple, the rest of the state beckons with quieter—though no less alluring—fare. The Catskills make for a great quick retreat out of the city. Niagara Falls in upstate New York is an absolute must-visit. And Adirondack Park bursts with weekends worth of fun in the great outdoors.



If you’re trapped in New York City for a week or weekend, the infinitely explorable and enjoyable Central Park is a surefire way to escape from the hustle and bustle for a few hours. Within its 843 acres is a lush world of gardens, lakes, walking paths, fountains and historic monuments.

Outside of the Big Apple’s concrete jungle, the Empire State is loaded with natural attractions and opportunities for outdoor adventure. Look no further than Niagara Falls and Niagara Falls State Park. About 1.7 million years ago, retreating glaciers carved the Niagara River Corridor and Niagara Escarpment, over which the Niagara River flows at an astonishing rate of 3,160 tons per second. The Niagara Falls area is a must-visit and a truly unforgettable experience.

The largest publicly protected area in the Lower 48 can also be found in New York State. Adirondack Park is larger than Yellowstone National Park, Everglades National Park, Glacier National Park and Grand Canyon National Park combined. The public portion of this state park is split into 12 distinct regional destinations, each with its own distinct opportunities for outdoor adventure.

Another popular spot for locals and visitors alike is the Catskills, a mountainous region full of forest retreats (great for a romantic getaway), meandering creeks (perfect for fishing), raging rivers (whitewater rafting) and snow-covered peaks (skiing and snowboarding).

Lovers of outdoor adventure flock to the Finger Lakes region, a four-season playground that occupies 9,000 square miles. Named after the long, thin bodies of water found south of Lake Ontario’s shore, the Finger Lakes area is home to boating, hiking and quaint towns. Paddlers can enjoy the water trails found along many of the lakes, while hikers will discover trailers through rugged landscapes. To the north, Rochester offers rollicking festivals and great food on the shores of Lake Ontario.


The Big Apple bursts with events big and small. The major highlights are the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting and New Year’s Eve at Times Square.

Outside of New York City, the rest of the state offers an abundance of family-friendly events, festivals and yearly celebrations. In early February, Lake Placid hosts the Empire State Winter Games, a major event for Olympic athletes and hopefuls to test themselves against world-class competition. May brings the Tulip Festival to Albany in upstate New York, along with upwards of 200,000 budding flowers and a slew of tulip-themed events. In September, the Adirondack Balloon Festival in Glens Falls fills the air. And in October on Long Island, there’s the waterfront Oyster Festival to sink your teeth into.

One of the state’s biggest events is the Great New York State Fair, held over the course of 12 days every August in Syracuse. It attracts more than a million visitors and sprawls over 375 acres of exhibit space. There are rides, games, concerts and contests—all themed around showcasing the state’s best in agriculture, industry, technology, entertainment and education.


There’s no shortage of history and culture to explore in New York state, especially in the Big Apple itself. An all-star roster of museums and galleries are here to peruse as slowly or as quickly as you like.

If you’re a history buff you can waste entire weekends plumbing the depths of the American Museum of Natural History and the New York Public Library. If you’re an art lover, you’ll lose yourself in the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (more commonly known as “The Met”) and the Guggenheim Museum.

Those eager to explore New York City’s rich history can get as granular as they like as well, with niche museums and galleries galore. Two of the best are the New York Transit Museum and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. At the former, you’ll learn about the history of New York’s world-famous subway system. At the latter, visitors can learn about the city’s role as a main entry point to the United States for people all over the world.