New York City
The "Capital of the World"
Discover the US’ Multicultural Roots
Home to the United Nations HQ
The Big Apple is often called the “Capital of the World”, and justly so as not only is it home to Wall Street, Broadway, 5th Avenue, the Statue of Liberty, and the United Nations, but its magnitude as an immigration portal means you’ll rub shoulders with an amazing melting pot of humanity.
The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
Freedom Tower and One World Observatory
The United Nations
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Information About Your Destination
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What to Expect
We customize each expedition to create a unique educational experience for your group.
Our trips include premium transportation, centrally located hotels, and generous, healthy meals.
Our professional expedition leaders seamlessly integrate practical logistics into the content-rich educational program.
See our Standard Tour Features for more details.
Things To Do
The sites of New York City are too numerous to list, and for many visitors, their most memorable experience might be a celebrity sighting, a hotdog stand, or a flamboyant street performer. But below is a list of the highlights most visitors come to see.
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island:
A short ferry ride takes you to these two great symbols of America as the land of opportunity and freedom. The best views of the Statue of Liberty are from the ferry and the island itself, but reserved tickets (limited availability) allow visitors to climb up to the pedestal platform. Nearby, Ellis Island served as the primary US Immigration processing center during peak years, but is now restored as the US Immigration Museum. There’s a good chance that some of your own blood flowed through here, as an estimated 1/3 of Americans can claim ancestry through Ellis Island.
A walking tour of Lower Manhattan takes in NYC’s earliest and most recent history. This is where the first European settlers began colonizing at the mouth of the Hudson River, but it is also where some of NYC’s most modern buildings and corporate giants are located. Battery Park and Bowling Green both make for natural retreats from the surrounding hub-bub, as Trinity Church and Saint Paul’s Church offer historical and spiritual sanctuary. Stand on Wall Street in front of Federal Hall where George Washington became the first President of a struggling nation, and look upon the New York Stock Exchange where that nation now struggles with volatile prosperity. A reverent stop at the September 11th Memorial is a must. Here you can walk around the memorial fountain footprints of the World Trade Center. The underground museum takes people back to the tragic day that changed our history. The new One World Trade Center “Freedom Tower” is the tallest building in the US at appropriately 1776 feet tall, and visitors can go up to the One World Observatory.
Midtown Manhattan is a region famous for shopping and entertainment, with the Garment District, Macy’s famous department store, Madison Square Garden, and the Empire State Building all within a few blocks of each other. The elevator trip and view from the Empire State Building’s viewing platform is justifiably romanticized and is a must-see while in NYC. At Times Square, stand in the middle of the crossing created by Broadway and 7th Ave and you’ll know this is the spot where “the city never sleeps”. This is the neon, marquis-lit theater district filled with megastores, theme restaurants, and mostly comical street peddlers. It’s also where the nation celebrates the New Year.
Rockefeller Center is another hub of “as seen on TV” activity. One can take the NBC Studio Tour, or come early and try to get five minutes of fame in the background shots of NBC’s Today Show. The view from Top of the Rock is perhaps the best in the city, day or night, allowing you a full view of central park. Tours are also available of the nearby Radio City Music Hall. 5th Avenue is home to some of the most prestigious stores in America, but also to many other theme stores within reach of the common folk. This stretch of “shopping on steroids” is invigorating to some, but to those whom it merely overwhelms, there are peaceful retreats to be found in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest gothic Catholic cathedral in the US, and in tranquil Central Park. Right in the heart of Manhattan, Central Park is an oasis of winding paths, rolling lawns, gardens, ponds, and playgrounds. While tourists may hire a horse carriage, pedi-cab, or rowboat, New Yorkers love walking, and running, in this recreation retreat. Warmer weather brings out many entertaining street musicians. Grand Central Station is NYC’s busiest commuter hub but is also lined with shops and a food court. Choose a spot in the main hall and feel like you’re sitting on a rock in the middle of a cascading river. The United Nations, though within Manhattan on the East River, is actually international territory. Tours are available of this headquarters, founded in the aftermath of WWII to establish global cooperation in dealing with conflicts and disasters. South Street Seaport has a long history as a shipping port, but today is renovated as a historic landmark and shopping / dining mall with great views of the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge. Brooklyn Bridge: walk across the pedestrian and bike path provides great views over the East River, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.
Chinatown and Little Italy are overlapping neighborhoods. Chinatown’s expanding shops, exotic food stands, and cafes have started to dominate the area in recent decades, but Little Italy maintains its character along restaurant-lined Mulberry Street.
Greenwich Village and Washington Square are surrounded by many cafes and the buildings of New York University. It has been a breeding ground for artists, musicians, writers, and reformers, and remains a popular neighborhood for people with a contagious creative vibe.
Harlem is a neighborhood in Uptown Manhattan that went through various ethnic transitions to become an epicenter for African-American culture in the 20th Century, and today is experiencing another economic and multi-ethnic renaissance.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or “The Met”, is a massive museum in Central Park containing paintings, sculptures, and archeology from around the world.
The American Museum of Natural History is the largest natural history museum in the world and is bustling with artifacts and displays on wildlife, ecology, environment, and human culture.
Baseball Stadiums: Depending the season and whether the Yankees or Mets are in town, your group may be able to attend a game at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx or Shea Stadium in Queens.
If you’re still looking for more to explore, consider some of these other less visited and off-the-beaten path sites:
Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art, MOMA, New York City Museum, Riverside Park/Grant’s Tomb, Riverside Church, St. John the Divine Church, Chrysler Building, The Flat Iron Building, City Hall, Union Square, Columbus Circle, Bryant Park & New York City Library, The Dakota luxury apartments & Strawberry Fields, Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace, USS Intrepid, El Museo del Barrio, Bronx Zoo, Staten Island Ferry, Chelsea Piers, Circle Line cruise around Manhattan.
West Point is up-river a few hours from NYC and one can tour the US Army’s elite training academy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why travel with Academic Expeditions?
Because we care. It’s as simple as that. Our commitment to quality, integrity, and value is the heart of who we are and what we stand for. The level of personalized attention we provide for our groups sets us apart in this industry and is the number one reason why our schools return year after year. Read more on our Why Travel With Us page.
How do you provide security & safety on your trips?
Safety is our highest priority. We work only with the highest quality vendors and will not run a trip if we feel the safety of our clients and guides is compromised. From full-time staff & logistical support, to 24-hr emergency phone access for all travelers, we’ve got you covered. Read more on our Standard Tour Features page.
Are your trips more expensive because of everything you offer?
Actually, no. We are a privately owned company that doesn’t need to answer to stockholders’ bottom lines, and with the advantages of mobile technology, our family-oriented team of versatile professionals avoids corporate overhead costs. This allows us to offer better quality tours at a more reasonable price and value than many of our competitors. We never have, nor ever will skimp on the quality of the goods or services we offer and will strive to keep our prices competitive and affordable.
How serious are you about the educational aspects of your expeditions?
Education is our primary goal. Our unique model learning through travel truly opens our participants’ eyes and minds to new ideas, cultures, and understandings. All of our customized educational content complies with school-based curriculum guidelines and is designed to meet teacher expectations and student learning objectives. Our curriculum is based on national and/or state standards and employs higher order critical thinking and develops real life connections for students.