Cultural expression comes in many forms. For instance, people use art, literature, and music to explain their values. Museums, international institutions, and universities are physical representations of what a society holds dear. And the fluidity within residential neighborhoods reminds us that cultures are ever-changing, mixing, and growing. New York City is a microcosm of this planet, and it is brimming with cultural manifestations of every kind. Go for the food, the shopping, the architecture… just go! You're sure to learn something new along the way.
Treat yourself to one of New York's many wonderful museums whenever you need to take a break from the noise outside. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is massive and will keep you occupied for hours. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is a real treat for enthusiasts of more contemporary work, and it has its own theater for film screenings. The Frick Collection, Whitney Museum, and Guggenheim also top the list in popularity. My personal suggestion is The Museum of Natural History for its Giant Squid display.
Plays and musicals run continuously in New York on Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. Find a TKTS booth to buy discounted tickets or splurge and get primo seats for the best show in town. In summer you can catch performances of Shakespeare in the Park (Central Park). And if you head down to Greenwich Village, you are certain to find a club with live jazz. Brought your fancy dress clothes? Then why not go to Lincoln Center to see a performance at the Metropolitan Opera.
New York is home to several prestigious schools: Columbia University/Barnard College, Fordham University, New York University, Cooper Union, The Juilliard School, and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Universities bring students from all over the globe together to learn and share ideas. College campuses also provide a way to attend stage performances or lectures inexpensively - and campuses tend to have a high concentration of bars nearby!