No other metropolis in the world gives off as much energy and excitement as New York City. Whether you're visiting for the very first time or you're a frequent traveler, the streets and boroughs of NYC offer countless wonders to experience. But with so many incredible sights, sounds and tastes available to enjoy, deciding what to see and do can be a daunting task. To help you get the most out of your next trip to the Big Apple, here's a handy guide to some of the city's best and brightest attractions.

Grassy area in Central Park in the summer.

Great outdoors

When the sun is out, there's nothing better than exploring New York City's gorgeous natural outdoor spaces on foot. Start with a trip to lovely Central Park, and don't forget to bring your picnic basket. If you're searching for the perfect spot to enjoy a relaxing afternoon lunch on the grass, try the park's Cherry Hill area, which features a peaceful atmosphere and a terrific view of the lake.

When your muscles need some stretching, an outdoor yoga class in Midtown Manhattan's picturesque Bryant Park is the perfect solution. Classes are typically held on Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings, depending on the weather. Other popular outdoor activities in NYC include a boat trip on the historic Staten Island Ferry, an energizing jog across the Brooklyn Bridge and a leisurely stroll through the beautiful Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Art and design

Thanks to its size and ethnic diversity, New York City is widely considered to be one of the world's foremost centers for art and visual design. To indulge your love of creative expression, a visit to The Metropolitan Museum of Art is an absolute must. The largest art museum in the United States, the Met, is an essential attraction that every art lover needs to see for themselves. Upcoming exhibits in 2018 include a show devoted to the beautiful private gardens and public parks in Paris and a celebration of medieval fashion throughout Europe.

For something equally colorful but a bit more abstract, the Guggenheim Museum on 5th Avenue is hosting a stunning exhibition devoted to the work of pioneering Swedish artist and mystic Hilma af Klint later this year. If guerilla art is more your style, then a guided walking tour of the vibrant street murals in Brooklyn's Bushwick Collective will be just what you're looking for.

New York style cheese pizza

Food and drink

No matter what type of cuisine you're hungry for, you're guaranteed to find several delicious options everywhere you go. Be sure to make a reservation at the award-winning Gramercy Tavern in the Flatiron District if you're in the mood for a posh spot that serves incredible seasonal dishes like lamb loin and ravioli, and squash salad with lobster and farro.

For a classic slice of New York pizza that Anthony Bourdain calls “the best of the best," look no further than the beloved Di Fara Pizza in Brooklyn. And fans of HBO's “Sex and the City" will definitely want to order a mini cupcake and a cappuccino at Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker Street where Carrie and Miranda ordered their snacks in season 3 of the series. When you're ready for a perfectly prepared New York cocktail, the expert mixologists at Pegu Club have you covered. Their unique spin on the classic Pisco Punch, made with pineapple infused brandy, grapefruit and lime syrup, is just the drink you'll need to help kick off a night on the town.

Shopping

Whether you prefer cozy boutiques or glamorous department stores, shopping in New York City is a full-time activity. Considering how many world-famous authors hail from the city, it's no surprise that local bookstores continue to attract thousands of shoppers each day. Founded in 1927, the historic Strand Bookstore in the East Village is perhaps the most popular one of all. Featuring three and a half floors of books, both new and used, it's a must-visit destination for readers of all ages.

Treasure hunters looking to find one-of-a-kind gifts should make plans to explore the open-air Chelsea Flea Market on West 25th Street. One of the city's most beloved places to buy unique antiques, collectibles and vintage clothes, it's also a great spot for people watching.

If money is no object, a day spent shopping in luxury at the impeccable Tiffany & Co. on 5th Avenue is the ultimate way to experience the city. On the other hand, bargain minded consumers can stretch their travel dollar by searching the exquisite sale racks at Neiman Marcus Last Call in Brooklyn.

Time Square at night

Live entertainment

Though Los Angeles is correctly referred to as the movie capital of the world, New York City is the leader when it comes to virtually all other types of entertainment. Just for laughs, reserve a seat at the Gotham Comedy Club in the Chelsea neighborhood and prepare to witness some of the funniest stand up acts you've ever seen. Brilliant comics like John Witherspoon, Janeane Garofalo and Carlos Mencia take the stage during the week, while major headliners like Jerry Seinfeld and Dave Chappelle have been known to stop by unannounced to try out new material.

In a city with dozens of top notch live music venues, the Beacon Theater on Manhattan's Upper West Side is easily one of the best. Upcoming concerts in 2018 include K.D. Lang, indie rockers Lord Huron, and a special event featuring legendary comedians Steve Martin and Martin Short. What trip to New York is complete without a Broadway play? If you haven't planned ahead to get tickets to a theatrical show, don't worry. A quick stop at TKTS Times Square is a great way to find some last minute Broadway theater tickets at discounted prices.

If you go

Get the most from your next trip to New York City by booking your tickets at united.com or by using the convenient United app.