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New York Beyond Broadway

Madison Square Garden remains a “must see” when visiting New York City. The arena’s “All Access Tour” gives groups a look at this famous spot that hosts an average of 260 events and 4 million patrons annually. The arena’s top-to-bottom $1 billion renovation was completed in October 2013, and groups can see it all in the 75-minute tour.

Several exhibits throughout the arena commemorate The Garden’s 130-year history. “Garden 366” pays homage to one moment in Garden history for every day of the year. “Defining Moments” features the 20 most iconic happenings in the venue’s history through commemorative photos, memorabilia and artifacts. Two spectacular Chase Bridges seating sections, access to VIP suites and the opportunity to see the Knicks’ and Rangers’ locker rooms when not in use are all part of the experience.

In Lower Manhattan, the three-story One World Observatory, located on the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, is projected to open in late spring. While there, groups can watch a movie celebrating New York, explore the exhibits and pick from a bevy of dining choices. Tour ambassadors will be available to answer questions and point out the sights.

For lovers of historic and contemporary design, the Cooper Hewitt museum reopened this past December. With 60 percent more gallery space and interactive, immersive technologies, visitors can “play designer” on the world’s first 4K resolution touchscreen tables. The Whitney Museum of American Art will also open its new building in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District this spring. The Whitney’s collection includes works in all mediums from the 20th and 21st centuries.

For a quintessential city jaunt, groups can explore the High Line — a literal park in the sky. This elevated freight rail line was transformed into a free public park on Manhattan’s West Side in 2009. The park starts in the Meatpacking District and was recently expanded from 30th to 34th Street. The garden’s plantings were inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew on the defunct rail tracks during the 25 years after trains stopped running. Docent-led tours give an insider’s perspective on the park’s history, design and landscape.

“The High Line is a perfect place to experience the city’s vibrancy and interact with visitors from all over the globe,” said NYC & Company spokesperson Christopher Heywood. “Adjacent to the park at 34th Street and 11th Avenue, a new No. 7 line subway station will connect the Far West Side with Times Square and Queens.”

Elizabeth Hey

Elizabeth Hey is a member of Midwest Travel Journalists Association and has received numerous awards for her writing and photography. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @travelbyfork.