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As Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra famously sing in the classic movie "On the Town", New York is a "helluva town." The Big Apple has it all, from its awe-inspiring skyscrapers to world-class museums, shopping districts, sporting events, and historical sights.
Tour the artistic masterpieces at MoMa, take the ferry out to see the Statue of Liberty (the most iconic symbol of freedom in the U.S), book Broadway theater tickets, or just wander the floor of iconic stores like Bloomingdales or Macy's. Take a walk through Central Park, ascend to the top of the Empire State Building, or stay grounded with a shopping tour of 5th Avenue.
Whether you're heading there on a summer-sight-seeing break or want to share in festive magic by ice-skating at the Rockefeller Center; New York attracts crowds in every season; so book your ticket today.
New York is one of the world’s leading cultural centers. You can head to MoMa or the Metropolitan to see extraordinary art collections, watch shows like Cats or Hamilton at Broadway theaters, take a box at the Met (30 Lincoln Center Plaza) for an opera performance, or head to venues like the Bowery Ballroom (6 Delancey St) for live indie music.
Grab street food while you see the sights from take-out joints like Thelewala (112 Macdougal St), treat the family to burgers at the Spotted Pig (314 W 11th St), gorge on seafood at Lure (142 Mercer St), experiment with Asian and Pan-Latin cuisine at Zengo (622 3rd Ave), and finish off in decadent style with dessert at the Chocolate Room (269 Court St).
New York is packed with visually stunning buildings. Take a historical tour of skyscrapers like the Flatiron Building, the Woolworth Tower, the ornate Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building, head to Ground Zero and pay your respects at the WTC Pavilion, or see post-modern creations like Morphosis (41 Cooper Square) or the Bronx Museum of the Arts. If you love architecture, you’ll never be bored in New York.
Shoppers won’t be disappointed by New York. In fact, they’ll be in heaven. Window shop on 5th Avenue or Broadway, head to the department stores around Times Square, or visit iconic department stores like Bloomingdales (1000 Third Avenue). The kids will adore the seemingly limitless array of toys at FAO Schwartz (6th Avenue), while thanks to the film Breakfast at Tiffany's, Tiffany & Co. (727 Fifth Ave) is a site of pilgrimage for film lovers and jewelry fans alike.
New York is home to some classic American landmarks that all visitors will want to see. The most famous is probably Lady Liberty herself. Take a boat out to Liberty Island to get to know America’s symbol of freedom personally. But there's also Wall Street, the Empire State Building, and Ellis Island, along with historical sporting venues like Yankee Stadium (1 E 161st St, the Bronx).
Every American should grab the chance to meet Lady Liberty once in their lives. Ferries to Liberty Island cost $12 for adults and $5 for children and depart from both Battery Park and Liberty State Park in Jersey City. The trip also includes a stop on Ellis Island, which was the entry point for millions of immigrants from Europe, and a fascinating attraction in its own right.
Coney Island used to be the place New Yorkers went to unwind, thanks to its sandy beach and huge amusement park. The art deco amusement park is still there, and you can easily reach it in under an hour via the D, Q, N, or F trains. You can stroll along the boardwalk, try the rides at Luna Park (1000 Surf Avenue), and grab some of New York’s best street food at Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs (1310 Surf Ave).
New York is the capital of the art world, so there are always superb exhibitions for visitors to attend. MoMa (11 W 53rd St) and the Metropolitan Museum (1000 5th Ave) are must-sees, as are the Whitney Museum (99 Gansevoort St) and the Gagosian Gallery (555 W 24th St). You could also time your visit to coincide with art events like the Frieze Festival in May (held in Randall’s Island Park) or the New York ArtExpo (held at Pier 94, 711 12th Ave in April).
Sport is another New York obsession and every major sport is represented. Catch a baseball game featuring the Yankees or the Mets, watch the Giants or the Jets in the NFL, the Brooklyn Nets or the New York Knicks in the NBA, the New York Red Bulls in MLS or the Islanders or Rangers in the NHL. Then there’s the US Open at Flushing Meadows and the New York Marathon in November.
No trip to New York is complete until you’ve ascended the Empire State Building (350 5th Ave) to take in the view. Finished in 1931, the Empire State Building remains one of the most beautiful skyscrapers in the world and is the second tallest building in the city. The views from the 102nd floor are stunning, and the observation deck is open until 2:00 a.m., allowing you to enjoy the lights of New York in all their glory.
New York is a world-class destination any time of the year. At Christmas, you can tour the famous store windows, enjoy ice-skating, see the lights in Times Square and take the kids to see Santa at Macy's. Spring is the time to see Central Park in bloom, the St Patrick’s Day Parade, and the Macy's Flower Show. Summer brings crowds from across the world, and it’s the best time to enjoy the city’s outdoor attractions like the Bronx Zoo, Liberty Island cruises and Brighton Beach. Then there’s fall, when the crowds get thinner but the city hosts events like New York Fashion Week and Broadway’s new theater season kicks into gear. So whenever you visit, you’ll find something to do.
New York has three major airports. JFK is the largest and is situated in southern Queens, 12 miles from Manhattan. The best way to get to the city center is by taxi, which costs about $50. However, public transit is much cheaper. The quickest route is to take the AirTrain service from JFK to Jamaica Station and then to take the subway to Manhattan. The total cost is $7.75, and it takes about 50 minutes. A faster but slightly more expensive option is to take the LIRR from Jamaica Station, which takes 35 minutes and costs $15.
LaGuardia Airport is located in northern Queens, slightly closer to Manhattan. From there, the easiest way into town is to book a taxi (maximum $40). Alternatively, you can catch a direct bus from LaGuardia, which costs $3. Catch the M60, Q70, Q47, Q72, or Q48. They all stop at subway stations along the way, so to speed things up you can transfer to the subway if you desire.
Newark Airport is in New Jersey, 15 miles away from Manhattan. A taxi into town costs around $45. A cheaper option is to catch the AirTrain to Newark Liberty International Airport Station and then take an Amtrak or NJ Transit train into Penn Station, which costs $5.50.
New York’s busiest train station is Pennsylvania Station, located in the Midtown district of Manhattan. Penn is served by a wide variety of Amtrak routes, linking New York to major cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, New Orleans, Boston, and Miami. The Long Island Rail Road also provides commuter rail links to destinations on Long Island.
New York’s most famous train terminus is Grand Central, located at the junction of 42nd Street and Park Avenue on Manhattan. With 44 platforms, it's the largest station in the world. However, these days Grand Central is not the major transit hub it used to be. It’s a useful entry point for visitors from upstate New York as it is served by Metro North’s train network, which links New York to destinations like Newhaven and Poughkeepsie.
Coming from the south and west, most motorists approach New York via Interstate 95 and then take the New Jersey Turnpike, before using the Lincoln Tunnel to reach Manhattan. Interstate 87 links New York to northern cities like Albany and Montreal, as well as cities in the Mid-West via Interstate 90. Visitors from Boston can take Interstate 95.
New York has a huge variety of bus connections, including:
Greyhound – is based in the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Connects New York to cities like Boston, Chicago, Miami and Washington D.C.
Megabus – stops at 7th Avenue and W 28th Street and connects New York to cities like Pittsburgh, Washington D.C., Chicago and Boston.
Bolt Bus – is based at the Port Authority and runs buses to Mid-Western and Southern destinations.
Peter Pan Bus Lines – also based at the Port Authority, runs a limited network of routes in New England and New Jersey.
Adirondack Trailways – based in the Port Authority Terminal. Runs buses to destinations in upstate New York.
Everyone who visits New York has plenty of hotels and districts to choose from. For a solid family option near the major attractions in Manhattan, the Loews Regency (540 Park Ave) should be ideal. Boutique options in Manhattan include the Kimpton Muse Hotel (130 W 46th St) and the minimalist citizenM Hotel on Times Square (218 W 50th St). In Brooklyn, Hotel Indigo is a good affordable choice (229 Duffield St), In Queens The Box House (77 Box St) has a chic, industrial style, while on Staten Island, the Hilton Garden (1100 South Ave) provides comfort and excellent service.
Greenwich Village – One of the most famous bohemian areas in the world, Greenwich Village is known for being a haven for poets, painters, novelists, eccentrics, and folk singers. Nowadays, it is home to attractions like the Blue Note Jazz Club (131 W 3rd St), the Whitney Museum of American Art (99 Gansevoort St), and the Bitter End music, poetry, and comedy club (147 Bleecker St). It’s also a great place to walk around and absorb the atmosphere.
Brooklyn – Brooklyn is where it’s at for youth culture in modern New York, and it’s cheaper than Manhattan as well. There are green spaces like Prospect Park to relax in and landmarks like the gorgeous Brooklyn Bridge to see, as well as rainy-day attractions like the Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Pkwy) and the Barclays Center (home to the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA and the New York Islanders in the NHL).
Queens – Queens is a more residential part of New York, which makes it ideal for families who want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city center. It’s also home to the New York Mets, who play at Citi Field and Flushing Meadows, the venue for the US Tennis Open, and full of fascinating locations from the World’s Fairs of 1939 and 1964. Queens is also packed with wonderful Italian restaurants, and no-one should miss the pizza at places like Milkflower (34-12 31st Ave) or Gaby’s Pizza (20423 Hillside Ave).
New York is a massive place, but getting around by public transportation is quite straightforward. For starters, get hold of a 7-day or 30-day unlimited ride MetroCard, which costs $31 and $116 respectively. As subway rides cost $2.75 per journey, this should save you money. Your card can be used with any buses or subways, and should be the first thing you buy when you arrive.
Yellow taxis are a sight most tourist want to see in New York, so everyone should find time to hail at least one ride. However, you probably won’t want to make every journey by cab. The base charge is $2.50, then $0.50 for every fifth of a mile, while a $0.50 surcharge applies between 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Uber is an alternative, but it isn’t much cheaper in New York. The basic charge is $2.55, then $1.75 per mile after that.
Renting a car or driving your own is a great option if you intend to venture further afield than central New York, but it’s not recommended for navigating the city. If you need to have a vehicle of your own, be aware that parking in New York is more expensive than any other US city, with an average daily charge of $41 in Manhattan.
Shopping is one of New York’s great obsessions, and there are some fantastic shopping districts to explore. 5th Avenue is probably the most famous and is home to brands like Abercrombie & Fitch (no. 720), Gucci (no. 725), Saks (no. 611), and Hugo Boss (no. 717). Broadway is another street that is full of boutiques, such as All Saints (no. 512) and Madewell (no. 486). There are also malls like the Time Warner Center, while discount shopping is on offer at the Staten Island Mall (2655 Richmond Ave). If you want to check out craft products and antiques, the Green Flea Market is the place to head on Sundays (100 W 77th St).
Shopping at supermarkets and delis is one way to keep the cost of living in New York down. Chain supermarkets are thin on the ground in Manhattan, but there are independent stores like D'Agostino in Greenwich Village (341 3rd Ave). There are a number of Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Fairway outlets as well as Duane Reed supermarkets on Broadway and Wall Street. Another good option for grocery shopping is to visit Chelsea Market (75 9th Ave) for fresh produce and prepared meals. Expect to pay around $2.30 for a gallon of milk or $4.30 for 12 eggs. New York isn’t cheap, so budget accordingly.
Dining out is something that New Yorkers do all the time. They aren’t famous for their home cooking skills. Instead, they frequent restaurants of every type, and visitors can do the same. There’s a stellar array of options, but some of the best include the unpretentious pies from Rubirosa Pizza (235 Mulberry S), the curries served by Spice Symphony (182 Lexington Ave), and the Mexican dishes on offer at Fonda in the East Village (40 Avenue B). Great up-market eateries abound, including Eleven Madison Park in the Flatiron Building (11 Madison Ave) and the Lambs Club (W 44th St) where you can savor New York classics like aged Delmonico steaks and Cobb salads. If you want to find a classic Waldorf salad, you can’t do better than the restaurant at Lord and Taylor (424 5th Ave) while seafood fans should head to the Cull & Pistol Oyster Bar (Chelsea Market) to check out another New York specialty. Expect a meal to cost upwards of $40 at medium-range restaurants.