As an educational tour destination, New York is second to none; it’s a dazzling wonderland of museums, galleries and entertainment venues that represent some of the finest culture the world has to offer. In addition, it is home to some of the world’s most famous buildings and monuments – all of which have a story to tell.
The Empire State Building
Taking its name from the city’s official nickname, the striking Art Deco style Empire State Building has become almost synonymous with New York City, and is an essential port of call on any educational tour. Built in 1931 in a race to complete the tallest building in the world, it held the record for almost 40 years, until 1970. As well as having a fascinating history, it is the best place to get a sense of the sheer scale of the city with a trip to its 86-storey observation deck, which offers breathtaking panoramic views.
Grand Central Station
Famous for being the largest railroad terminal in the world, Grand Central Station has a grand total of 44 platforms, and covers 48 acres of space. Equally impressive is the station’s interior, in particular the vast Main Concourse, with its huge archways and sea-green ceiling painted with zodiac signs. A worthwhile place to visit in its own right, it is especially good for students studying design or geography.
One of its many monikers is ‘The City That Never Sleeps’, and exploring New York on an educational tour can be a frenetic experience – which is all the more reason to include Central Park in the itinerary. Not only is it one of New York’s most iconic locations, it is also the city’s favourite spot for winding down – or enjoying culture at a more relaxed pace, thanks to the park’s renowned theatrical and musical performances. School choirs or bands may have the opportunity to perform here, while aspiring artists will find plenty of inspiration.
The Statue of Liberty
A symbol of not just New York but America itself, the Statue of Liberty stands in pride of place in the heart of New York Harbour. Representing the Roman goddess of freedom, Libertas, it was gifted to the USA by France in 1886. The statue was intended both as a commemoration of the Declaration of Independence, and as a beacon to welcome immigrants from around the world. Today, river cruises to view it are one of the most popular activities for visitors to the city.
The bustle and brilliant lights of Times Square have made it another iconic New York scene, and a favourite subject for visitors to photograph. For students on an educational tour, it offers a chance to enjoy the famous dazzle of the city, with access to plenty of great shops and restaurants. It is also an important piece of the city’s history, becoming a major hub of culture and commerce following the establishment of the New York Times offices at the corner of the square.