New York city is one of those destinations that is on most people’s bucket list. The city, home to over 8.5 million people, contains so much to see and do, that you will need a couple of visits and even then you will barely scratch the surface.
This city is home to thousands of restaurants, hundreds of incredible museums, attractions, Broadway shows, and cool quirky things to do.
As a first time traveler, how do you visit a city as fast as this? What are the best things to see and do here? How do you make the most of your time here? I have therefore made this post that includes where to eat, where to stay, what to see and when to go. We have tried to make it as all comprising as possible and ended up with a post with more than 3000 words. So, I hope you will enjoy this guide and leave a quick comment underneath if you found it helpful or when you are going to use it for your trip to New York.
Some of the best Things to see and do
Most people who travel to NYC will go to see the sights. Underneath are just a couple of cool stops that you should consider.
Firstly, the Freedom Tower and 9/11 Memorial is a very impressive stop that you should definitely see. The Freedom Tower is a tribute to all those who lost their lives in 9/11. While it’s a sobering experience, it’s a chance to pay your respects to an incident that we all still remember. The memorial features two twin reflecting pools and the largest human-made waterfalls in North America. The names of the 2,983 people killed are inscribed in gold panels that edge the pools.
Perched just across from the 9/11 Memorial is the Oculus. The Oculus is actually a train terminal that has an incredible design! You’ll likely only spend 10-15 minutes here, so it’s easy to partner it with a trip to the Statue of Liberty, for instance.
The Statue of Liberty is obviously a must see when in New York! You can go on the free Staten Island ferry and see the statue from the ferry. However, I advise that you actually pay for a ticket and to go on the island and even go up to the crown. When there make sure to also go to Ellis Island and see the immigration center and museum, it is super interesting!
The Rock Observation Deck is a 3-tiered observation deck on the 67th, 69th and 70th floors of 30 Rockefeller Plaza offers some of the best views in the city. From the deck, you can even see the Empire State building.
The world-famous Empire State Building offers unobstructed panoramic views of Central Park, the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Access is not cheap however, costing $40,- per person.
If you love art, then New York is a city that you’re bound to fall in love with! The city is filled with hundreds of art galleries and museums, with one of my favorite being the Guggenheim. Check out their incredible permanent and temporary exhibits, wander through the halls and see some of the world’s most iconic pieces of art. Another one of my favorites is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is actually New York City’s most visited museum and attraction! This place is huge and has the best collection of art and sculptures. there is always a new exhibition coming and going, so you can keep coming back. You can spend the whole day here and not really see everything that there is to offer.
The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long park that was built on an old elevated railway. Over the last ten years, or so, the High Line has become one of the best things to do in New York, especially on a lovely sunny day! The park features food vendors, art, and an incredible view of the Hudson River and NYC skyline. Take a wander across a section, or walk the whole route. Just make sure to wear some comfy shoes.
The Grand Central Terminal is a historic train terminal and is a world-famous landmark in Midtown It’s a place to shop, dine, and experience everything that New York has to offer. The station is inside a beautiful Beaux-Arts building and has been open to the public since 1913. Don’t forget to look up – the restored ceiling features an incredible!
You can not go to New York without a visit to Broadway! It is the top destination for great entertainment! From the Lion King to Phantom of the Opera and Pretty Woman are just some of the shows that can be seen here. Make sure to book tickets in advance. They sell out super fast.
A national historic landmark in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, the Rockefeller Center. Home to Top of the Rock Observation Deck, NBC Studios, Radio City Music Hall and much more. I always have to think about Home Alone when I think about Rockefeller Centre.
One of the best things to do in NYC is to visit Times Square. It’s a staple on any New York itinerary, with its massive billboards and screens lighting up the night.
When most people think of the Big Apple, they think of Central Park, which is a World-Class Urban Park. From strolling through the park to renting a boat to taking a horse and carriage ride, it all can be done here. Additionally, within Central Park, you can find Conservatory Garden. A beautiful Six-acre formal garden divided into three smaller gardens, each with a distinct style: Italian, French, and English. definitely worth a stop.
Coney Island is a place you come to for nostalgia of easier times combined with whimsical fun. Home to famous rides like the Cyclone Roller Coaster, the Wonder Wheel and the Parachute Jump, this historic seaside section of Brooklyn is about an hour by train from Manhattan. It allows the kid inside of you to come out again for a bit. Just be in the moment. Well worth it.
Perched in Hudson’s Yard, visiting the Vessel, newest attraction in the city, and immediately became one of the best things to do in New York! It’s a really great place to explore and proper easy to include after a stroll up the Highline, too. Try to book your ticket in advance though, it might be crowded. Tickets are for free, just go on the main website.
Dumbo has become increasingly popular for those that want an iconic Instagram photo opportunity whilst visiting New York. Over the river, in Brooklyn, it’s a great little area to visit after taking a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. When here, also head to the fun Brooklyn Flea! You can browse around for some cool bargains!
Located in Midtown, you can find The Morgan Library. It’s an incredible place to see one of the most incredible (once private) libraries in all of New York. Tickets are relatively cheap and you can easily spend an hour wandering around the rooms and learning more all about this grand library. It is simply stunning.
Chelsea Market is an amazing open market with loads of shops, stalls and food. Afterwards, pop over to Doughnuttery for some of the best doughnuts in New York! Mouthwateringly good! Underneath, I have listed some restaurants that are worth checking out!
WHERE TO EAT?
There are so many amazing foods and iconic restaurants that are must tries when visiting New York! There is truly something for everyone to try in this incredibly vast multicultural city.
P.J. CLARKES | Oh sigh all the food memories come rushing back to me from my 4-year-old self! If you want the quintessential burger and to have a taste of what the greats like Sinatra and Nat King Cole were eating back in the day then this is the place for you! I highly recommend P.J Clarkes as even though they are known for their ever so famous burgers.. there is also an array of items to choose from to meet every taste bud.
LOMBARDI’S | If you’re are going to New York then you’ve gotta have Pizza! it is just the one thing that everyone must try at least once in their lives. Trust me! no one quite does pizza like New York which is why I’ve chosen Lombardi’s. Number 1 – it recently had it’s 110 year anniversary – wowza’s that staying power and number 2. it’s quite commonly known amongst New Yorkers that this is where the famous New York pizza was created! YAAAAS get in 😉
GRAND CENTRAL OYSTER BAR | Literally like having a meal at the train station… which I guess is in the perfect position if you are starving and just about to get off or on the train? this place isn’t particularly for me but my Mom highly recommended it to anyone who is a seafood/mollusc lover – they apparently have some of the best seafood in town which I guess is to be expected… I mean they’ve been here for over a century!
KAT’Z DELICATESSEN | You know all those very American foods that you see in the movies, someone’s always holding a hot dog or talking about some legendary sandwich well then go to Kat’z Delicatessen because they will hook you up with the best of it all!
THE RAINBOW ROOM | Something a wee bit more fancy than the other choices I made as I think for travelers this would be a very cool place to have lunch or dinner. Situated 65 stories above the Rockefeller center (already a reason to go 😉 and serving a modern twist on the old classic foods that we’ve come to love and cherish. Not only is their dinner but you can also have a bit of a boogie after to burn of all that food hahaha! Enjoy
WHERE TO STAY
As you can imagine, New York is massive and therefore has lots and lots of amazing accommodation available for each budget. Underneath are just a few boroughs with a couple of cool hotels that you could stay at.
THE FINANCIAL DISTRICT
You are far away from the bustle of Midtown. Busy during the day, the Financial District empties out at night, creating an almost eerie calm to the neighborhood. It’s a fairly long cab/subway/bus ride to many attractions. Hotels are in general not the cheapest, but they are quite fancy and pretty.
- Andaz Wall Street-a concept by Hyatt
- Residence Inn by Marriott New York Downtown Manhattan/World Trade Center Area
- The Beekman, a Thompson Hotel
Tribeca is a hip area known for its old industrial buildings, many now turned into residential loft space. Cobblestone streets are lined with trendy boutiques and restaurants.
The energetic streets of Soho, in the West End, feature an eclectic mix of dining, nightlife and shopping options. A great place if you want to be in the mix of thing and like to go out and about in the evenings. Jazz clubs and theater can be found here in abundance.
GREENWICH VILLAGE AKA THE VILLAGE
The epicenter of the city’s 1960s counterculture movement, the tree-lined streets of Greenwich Village are now a hub of popular cafes, bars and restaurants. Jazz clubs and Off-Broadway Theaters can also be found amid the brownstones and New York University buildings.
Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, with an estimated 2,648,771 residents in 2017. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen ( I am Dutch and I never knew this, flipping cool). The area is definitely worth discovering for it is the home of iconic New York attractions like Coney Island, the Brooklyn Bridge and Prospect Park, plus some of the best New York pizza.
BEST TIME TO GO
The best time to visit New York City is from April to June and September to early November when the weather is warm but not too warm. I advise not to go in Summer, as it too hot, smelly and people are often too grumpy.
Winter in NYC can be magical if you catch it when it’s snowing. If you want to go pre-holidays, then I’ll warn you that the first week of December is especially expensive. Everything is open before and after X-mas and it will get very, VERY crowded. But if you don’t like crowds, then NYC might not be the place for you.
The easiest and quickest way to travel around NYC is by the subway. Riding the subway is also a fantastic way to feel like a local during your stay in New York. For only $2.75 (the cost of a single ride when using a pay-per-ride MetroCard), you can use the system citywide and transfer to other subway lines as many times as you need, as long as you don’t exit through a turnstile.
Public buses are a scenic way to see the City and reach destinations not convenient to a subway stop. There are stops pretty much everywhere and buses go every 5 -15 minutes (Depending on time and route)
Purchasing a MetroCard is your first step to getting around on subways and buses; you must put a minimum value of $5.50 on the card, not including the card fee ($1), when initially buying it. You can do so at subway stations, from either automated machines (large machines accept cash, ATM bank cards, and regular credit cards; the small machines do not accept cash) or booth attendants (cash only).
Hopping in a taxi is a more expensive but very convenient way of travelling around the city. The City’s fleet of yellow taxicabs and green Boro Taxis are licensed and regulated by the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission. Hail taxis whose numbers are illuminated on top—they’re on duty and are available for a ride. Minimum metered fare is $2.50, which increases 50 cents every fifth of a mile or every minute, depending on how fast you’re travelling.
BASIC INFORMATION | NEW YORK CITY
|Electricity||The US electric current is 110V to 115V, 60Hz AC. Outlets are made for flat two-prong plugs (which often have a third, rounded prong for grounding)|
|Currency||U.S. dollar or American dollar ($, USD, US$).|
The customary tipping rate is 15%-20% for taxi drivers and waiters; bellhops are usually given $2 per bag in luxury hotels, $1 per bag elsewhere. Hotel maids should be tipped $2 per day of your stay. A doorman who hails or helps you into a cab can be tipped $1-$2.
July is the hottest month in New York with an average temperature of 25°C (76°F) and the coldest is January at only 2°C (35°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 11 in July. The wettest month is May with an average of 114mm of rain.
I hope you have enjoyed this extensive travel guide to NYC. If you have any questions or you think I need to add something, please let me know in the comments below. If you found this guide handy, then please leave a comment or share it on your social media, so more people can enjoy this guide.
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