This website uses cookies

We use cookies to ensure you have an easy, quick and reliable experience whilst using the Virgin Holidays website. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more details, see our cookie policy.

Skip to main content Virgin holidays logo
  • Mon to Fri 9:00am - 5:00pm
  • Saturday 9:00am - 5:00pm
  • Sunday 10:00am - 6:00pm

Cultural guide to New York City

Header

New York has long established itself as a retreat for starving artists, a promised land for struggling actors, and a wonder-city for aspiring musicians. The stunning architecture, historical monuments and treasure-trove galleries have inspired creativity for generations, amongst visitors and natives alike.

Get your sketchbook, camera, or Instagram ready and prepare to be captivated by the cultural centres of NYC. After all, it’s the place where dreams are realised and broken, and where magic is made along the way.

 

Architectural wonders

If the streets are a gallery, then NYC features some of the most incredible architectural artwork in the world. From the ultra-modern to the traditional, there are structural gems dotted in each and every neighbourhood, with a rich history to support their beams.

These are the ones you don’t want to miss:

Empire State Building 
Perhaps the most famous member of New York’s skyline, this art-deco giant embodies the true character of the city. Soak in the majesty of the newly-restored lobby, educate yourself in the exhibits, and watch the pulse of the city from the observation deck.
 

Rockefeller Centre

It’s been said that this mega-centre is a “city within a city,” and considering the number of NYC attractions it houses, it’s a hard point to argue.

Spanning 22 acres in Midtown Manhattan, Rockefeller Centre is home to shops, restaurants, and a list of famous hotspots; including NBC Studios, Radio City Music Hall, and the Ice Rink. New York’s heart truly beats here.
 

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, New York Public Library
Often referred to as the ‘Main Branch,’ this flagship building is the city’s soul of knowledge.

Having served as a retreat for great minds for over 100 years, you can indulge your own literary ambitions: visit the exhibitions, tour the magnificent rooms, and meet the marble lions who guard the entrance. 

 

Legendary landmarks

New York is a place of firsts, where designers and artists have taken risks and achieved the unthinkable in order to make a loud statement. These are the must-see landmarks that are key chords in the city’s voice:
 

The Statue of Liberty

The most famous woman in New York stands proudly in the harbour: a symbol of hope and independence and an embodiment of the American dream. Take a ferry to Liberty Island and tour the facilities to learn about the history and continuing role that Lady Liberty serves for the people of NYC.
 

Brooklyn Bridge
One of the oldest bridges in America, and the first steel-wire suspension bridge ever built, this monument connects Manhattan and Brooklyn. Its iconic command over the East River has inspired artists and designers since it was opened in 1883. Drive, cycle or walk over, and don’t miss the chance to see it lit up at night.
 

Grand Central Terminal
Though it has more platforms than any other railroad terminal in the world, Grand Central is far more than just a station. Since 1871, it has grown and changed in harmony with the city, and reflects New York’s unique timeline in its design. Shop, dine, visit the market or merely watch passers-by and dream about the stories that have passed beneath its iconic archways.

 

Galleries and Museums

New York is home to hundreds of galleries and museums that feature unique history and artwork, highlighting creativity that ranges from unknown names to the most famous artists of all time. You’ll find boutique-like places dotted throughout the city, showcasing local talent and niche specialities, but these are some of the essential stops for the complete cultural package:
 

Museum Mile
This section of Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side hosts the most comprehensive collection of art history in the world. With nine museums in a 1.6 km stretch, it promises to be one of the most enlightening walks you’ll ever take.

The line-up includes the Metropolitan Museum of Art: the largest art museum in America, with 17 curatorial departments showcasing works spanning from Ancient Egyptian artefacts to Leonardo Da Vinci’s sketches.

Also on this stretch is The Guggenheim, which hosts a range of contemporary and modern art and, with its unique construction, is an artistic wonder in itself.
 

The Museum of Natural History
From dinosaurs to butterflies, distant planets to the depths of the ocean, this world centre of knowledge and study is home to millions of fossils and specimens that promise visitors both education and wonder.

Join in on a tour or follow one of the self-guided routes to learn the story of the world, written for you under one (massive) ceiling.


 

The Brooklyn Museum
For a special glimpse of New York, visit this beautiful mammoth of a museum (the third largest in the country), located in the centre of Brooklyn. A highlight is the Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden, which displays works salvaged from demolition sites around NYC in a unique and authentic arrangement of the city’s history.
 

Whitney Museum of American Art
Known locally as “Whitney,” this Manhattan art museum just relocated to the trendy Meatpacking District and reopened in May 2015. The nine-storey Renzo Piano building is home to 600 works by 400 different artists from across the USA.
 

Lower East Side Tenement Museum
This building on 97 Orchard Street was once home to thousands of people from more than twenty different nations between 1863 and 1935. It was abandoned for 50 years before being revived as a fascinating museum that paints a picture of immigrant life in New York City in the late 19th and early 20thcentury.

 

Revel in the view from legendary heights on the Empire State Building’s observation deck, pound the pavement down Museum Mile or watch the tempo of the city pulse past in Grand Central Terminal. Whether you choose to take advantage of the tours or wander on your own whim, New York is a cultural centre, brimming with creativity. Get ready to dive in. 

 

Tagged in:

  • Off the beaten track
  • USA
  • New York
  • City and shopping breaks
20 Jun 2016 | Virgin Holidays

Whatsapp

There has been an error

Please try again

Text Message

There has been an error

Please try again

Telephone

Thanks, we'll be in touch soon

How can we help?

Let’s get started. Please choose an option below.

Latest Foreign & Commonwealth Office repatriation travel advice


Over the past few weeks, we have repatriated our customers from overseas who wanted to come home.  

Please visit this page to keep up to date with the Government’s travel advice on returning to the UK, and to register for email alerts.
 

Your holiday may be affected by travel restrictions or cancellations

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the  Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know as least 21 days before travel.

You’ll be away before you know it

Your next holiday is only a click away - our website has thousands of options ready to book. But if you need more help, just give us a call on 0344 472 9499.

Looking for inspiration? Explore our destinations and holiday types and save your faves to your very own Wishlist. Or dive right in to our 2021 holiday offers.

For extra piece of mind, new bookings made before 30 September 2020 for travel up 30 April 2021 also have the flexibility to amend free of charge. If you need to change don’t worry, you can move your holiday as far out as 31 December 2021 subject to availability.

How would you like to talk to us?

With many customers needing our help, we are prioritising those customers due to travel before 31 December 2020. Log in to Manage my booking where you can message us about your options or you can give us a call. Bear in mind you may have to wait longer than expected. We continue to review this and working to open up these options to more customers. In the meantime check out our FAQs to see if this can help answer any immediate questions.

Stay tuned for the latest updates


Rest assured; we will notify you as soon as we know if your holiday has been affected.  

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know as least 21 days before travel.

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

Let’s talk


If you need to speak to us to change or cancel your booking you can call our team on 0344 472 9646.

For the latest information on Covid-19 you can check our FAQs here.

Payment flexibility


Don’t worry if you’ve missed a payment or just need a little more time to pay; we have options available to help you. If your holiday is going ahead as planned, you can continue to pay for your holiday in Manage my booking, even if travelling in less than 12 weeks. If you’re unsure, you can delay any additional payments by choosing a new time to travel by requesting a call back in Manage My booking for one of our team to look at options. If your holiday is more than 6 months away, you may wish to set up a Direct Debit to spread the cost. This can be arranged whilst rebooking or afterwards in Manage my booking.

We're flexible with your holiday plans


We understand that you may wish to change your holiday plans and we appreciate the need for flexibility. 

We'll be in touch by email letting you know how to register to change your holiday plans. You can also log into Manage my booking to find the details there. 

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

You're holiday is going ahead as planned


If we haven’t notified you of any changes, your holiday will be going ahead as planned but if you prefer to move your holiday to a later time we can help. You can call our team on 0344 472 9499 who can look at options for you.

Thank you for your patience and understanding


Payments are being prioritised based on when the request was made, working in order from March 2020 onwards. We will always try to process refunds at the earliest opportunity, for requests before August our maximum timeframe is 120 days. As we are steadily reducing the maximum processing time for each new request, for refund requests made in August, we expect the maximum processing time to be 80 days, from the date the refund is requested. For those requesting a refund in September, we expect it to be processed within a maximum of 60 days, and then reduce to 30 days for refunds requested in October, before returning to normal levels.

We'll be in touch soon


To finalise the amendment, one of our customer advisors will phone you. We need to work through amend requests in departure date order so we can prioritise those with the most imminent travel plans, so you may have a longer wait than usual until we’re able to ring you back. We will help everyone that wants to move their holiday.

I returned early from holiday and have further questions?


You can contact our team by emailing feedback.backhome@virginholidays.com to discuss options on unused portions of your holiday. If you need to contact our team about amending an existing holiday or requesting a refund please log in to manage my booking.

Need help?

Talk to an expert

Call us directly

Feel free to call us directly on
01234 567784
Our travel experts are on hand to help you book your next holiday.

Send us an email

Feel free to email us directly on
XXXX@virginholidays.com
We will try to respond to your email within 24 hours.