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Welcome to New York

The Empire State is home to bejeweled cities and lush rural retreats. Its calling card is New York City, the nation’s largest metropolis, which beckons travelers from all over the world with iconic sites and larger-than-life entertainment and culture. Beyond the concrete canyons of the Big Apple, the state’s wide-open spaces entice nature lovers with waterfalls, glacial lakes and vast mountainous landscapes.

Blue bird with orange chest

State Bird: Eastern Bluebird. Getty Images

Gotham and Beyond

From the spectacular observation deck of One World Trade Center to the gritty neighborhood streets in the Bowery, New York City is a feast for the senses. Study renowned artworks at the Museum of Modern Art and the Met, hear boisterous show tunes on Broadway, or sample tasty food on the go from a street vendor. In the middle of Manhattan, lush Central Park rolls out a welcoming green carpet. More big cities await on the western side of the state, including Buffalo and Rochester, which sit on the shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, respectively; these towns also serve as the gateways to the Finger Lakes region, Niagara Falls and Canada.

A Waterfall Wonderland

Marvel at the thundering power of Mother Nature with a visit to Niagara Falls, a 2,600-foot-wide curtain of water that plummets 167 into a misty pool. Niagara Falls State Park offers a number of vantage points to experience this iconic cascade from above and below. Ride on the Maid of the Mist at the foot of the falls, or walk the Cave of the Winds to feel the thunderous roar from behind the curtain. While Niagara Falls impresses with its sheer size and power, New York is actually home to over 2,000 waterfalls. Stroll through the fairytale landscape of Watkins Glen State Park, take a dip at Buttermilk Falls or leap into a gorge at Split Rock Hole.

Niagara falls with visitors overlooking the falls

Bruno Valenzano

Make an Empire State Splash

While not the largest lakes in the state, New York’s Finger Lakes are among the most renowned. These 11 long, slender glacial lakes cut through picturesque rolling hills, providing a scenic spot for angling, paddling and boating. Head to the Great Lakes for more great watersport opportunities, with fishing and boating counting as popular activities along the shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Across the state, anglers can choose from a number of epic waterways. Fly-fishing was born in the Catskill Mountains just 100 miles north of Manhattan, and anglers still wade into the streams to catch trophies in the current.