If you have never visited New York City, you don’t know know what you are missing! Our guide to New York City will hopefully give you an insight into why you should be adding this to your travel schedule sooner rather than later. For those of you that have visited the Big Apple, I am sure you will pick up a few useful tips that you will want to experience on your next trip.
From the best hotels in the heart of downtown Manhattan to some of the hidden gems we have uncovered, this post is a handy guide to exploring one of our favorite global cities. We are also delighted to feature some of our friends from the travel blogging world who have visited New York City and want to share their best insider tips.
How to Get There?
New York City is served by three main airports, all of which offer easy access to downtown Manhattan.
John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
Various methods of public transportation are available from JFK to Manhattan but the Airtrain offers connecting services through both Jamaica Station and Howard Beach Station. The most common method is to use the AirTrain and MTA Subway system.
Travel time from JFK to Manhattan is anywhere from 60 to 75 minutes.
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
The AirTrain Newark connects NJ Transit with Penn Station in Manhattan. Take the AirTrain from any terminal and then hop on the NJ Transit line.
Travel time from EWR to Manhattan is in the range of 35 to 50 minutes.
LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
New York City buses provide service between LaGuardia and Manhattan. The M60 bus is the most common option for visitors traveling between the two locations. The bus fare is $2.75.
Travel time from LGA to Manhattan is between 30 to 45 minutes.
The best alternative to reaching New York if you don’t fly is to use the Amtrak train service. Frequent train routes are available into New York’s Penn Station or Grand Central Station depending on where you arriving from.
Driving to New York City is obviously an option but not one that we would recommend. We have rented a car before at Newark and drove in and around NYC but with the volume of traffic and not to mention the cost of toll roads, it’s not our recommended form of transportation here. However, if you are planning on taking a road trip to nearby states or New York locations then perhaps this is a feasible option.
Where to Stay?
New York City visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodation. Whether you are looking for a luxury, boutique hotel or an Airbnb option, the Big Apple has plenty of options. Budget, location, and accommodation type are all factors you should consider before heading to New York City.
55 Church St,
New York, NY 10007
Tel: (212) 693-2001
Website: Millenium Hilton
The beauty of the Millenium Hilton is that it is located in the Financial District so it is away from the hustle and bustle of Times Square, yet at the same time offers easy access to anywhere in Manhattan.
Directly across from the One World Trade Center, this hotel offers epic views of this iconic area of NYC along with across the Hudson River.
The Paul Hotel
32 W 29th St,
New York, NY 10001
Tel: (212) 204-5750
Website: The Paul
“The Paul Hotel NYC is located at 32 W. 29th Street, and is ideally located to walk to many places, or if necessary to grab a subway or a taxi. It is located in the NoMad Neighborhood, nestled between Madison Square Park and the Flower District. The Terrace King rooms are bigger than a shoebox, with a large balcony. Unusual in New York, and a real find.” – Paula McInerney from Contented Traveller
Where to Eat?
When you visit New York City, the first thing you should avoid is chain restaurants! There are just too many great local options that you need to experience.
Location: To Be Determined
Gansevoort Market is a great spot to sample fine, local cuisine in a typical marketplace environment. The location was formerly at the High Line in the Meatpacking District of NYC but in early 2016, the decision was made to move this.
Although this is currently in a transition period, the majority of vendors have indicated they will move to the new location once this has been finalized.
This is certainly a gem in New York City and one that you have to experience. Whether you want to experience a ‘bruffin’ filled with ingredients typical of a country around the world or perhaps you would prefer some authentic Mexican at a taco van.
42 Mulberry St,
New York, NY 10013
Tel: (212) 349-0070
“In New York, if you want to eat cheap, get out of Midtown. We lived in New York City for years and always told visitors, if you want to experience the “real New York,” go south of 14th Street and visit Chinatown! The locals tip for good, cheap grub is Tasty Dumpling on Mulberry Street.
A small order of five fried dumplings will set you back $1.25 and you can get 10 big, boiled ones for $3.25. The best part…they are absolutely delicious and you get to watch the lady making them by hand!” – Lance and Laura Longwell from Travel Addicts
Where to Visit?
To list every attraction worth visiting in New York City would be a little overwhelming, so here is a list of the top spots that we think you can’t afford to miss.
Empire State Building
Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island
High Line/Meatpacking District
One World Trade Center/National September 11 Memorial
Grand Central Station
If you visit all of the above attractions in one trip, not only will you be exhausted but you will likely realize why New York City is a city you will want to return to time and time again!
New York Pass
Take advantage of the New York Pass if you are visiting either for the first time or on a return visit. Admission price hikes are common around NYC simply because of the volume of visitors every day, but the New York Pass offers visitors the opportunity to have great savings plus fast-track access to many attractions around the city.
New York City Walking Tours
Participate in a walking tour (either paid or free tours are available) around a neighborhood like SoHo, Chinatown, and Little Italy. This is a great way to meet a native New Yorker and find out some real insider tips on the best local restaurants, shops etc.
Alternative to Broadway Shows
“If you want to see a show, that’s different from the typical Broadway musical I definitely recommend seeing the interactive show Sleep No More” – Alouise Dittrick from Take Me To The World
“Enter Central Park from W 72nd Street (Subway lines 1,2,3 and B,C). Check out Strawberry Fields, The Lake to see the rowboats and continue down The Mall to see the street performers, street artists, and the scene of many romantic comedy movies. As you exit Central Park, hit The Plaza for some afternoon tea.” – Chris Dolce Castillo from Dolce Does Travel
5th Avenue and Beyond
“Follow 5th Ave past St Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, and the Empire State Building, on my way to the Flatiron Building at 23rd and 5th Ave. It’s a lengthy walk, but at the end is Eataly, where I highly recommend lunch or mid-afternoon stop at their rooftop spot La Birreria!” – Chris Dolce Castillo from Dolce Does Travel
Manhattan Bridge vs Brooklyn Bridge
“Consider visiting the Manhattan Bridge rather than the crowded Brooklyn Bridge. Riding a bike here is definitely more fun as it provides maximum shade and cyclists have their own bike path which is segregated from the walking path, so you won’t have pedestrians wandering into your path every few seconds (this is what happens on the Brooklyn Bridge)!” – Vivian Lee from Miss Happy Feet
The Cloisters Museum
“The Cloisters: A hidden museum in New York. This branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is devoted to medieval art from Europe. Wander around the stunning gardens, take in the view over the Hudson River and see the fabulously reconstructed cloisters which are filled with priceless medieval art, tapestries, and statues.” – Jenny Freedman from A Taste of Travel
The Highline and Chelsea Market
“Check out the Highline Park to see a renovated park built on old subway tracks a story above ground and get a different view of New York City. Stop by Chelsea Market for a snack before you head up there.” – Sarah Kim Chetrit from Tales From a Fork
Best Hidden Views in New York City
“For the best views I recommend going to Press Lounge, Le Bain at the Standard Hotel, The Skylark, The Jane Rooftop, Jimmy at the James Hotel, SixtyFive is one of my favorites as it’s the bar at Rockefeller Center (Tip: no need to pay to go to Top of the Rock when you can go to the SixtyFive bar for free with the same views)” – Christine Tran from Tour de Lust
Radegast Hall and Biergarten
“The Radegast Hall & Biergarten in Brooklyn will shatter your preconceived notions about the cost of eating in NYC. A bratwurst with fries is only $11 from the grill and there’s live music with no cover charge seven nights a week!” – Cherri Littleton Megasko from Bucket List Travel Club
New York City can never be described in just a few words but the ‘ultimate 24-hour city in the world’ is a pretty good summary! There is so much to do, so much to see, so much to experience that spending just a few days here will only touch the surface of what New York City has to offer.
We hope that this guide that we have put together in collaboration with many of our travel blogging experts who either live in NYC or frequently visit will help you the next time you plan on visiting the Big Apple!
What would you add to this guide as a ‘must see’ or ‘must do’ experience in New York City? Feel free to share your recommendations on attractions, hotels, restaurants etc. below.