New York City Travel Guide

Whether it is about excellent art galleries, fine dining,
extravagant luxuries, incredible museums, gorgeous tourist spots or simply a
pleasant walk in the park New York City never fails to impress. It should be
no surprise that the city is as diverse as the people that live in it and visit
it. While deciding how to best spend your time is all up to you, a little
advice can make a big difference and knowing a few basics can make you go from
a confused tourist to a complete local.

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE COMING TO NEW YORK

Power Outlets

If you are coming from abroad, New York City might be the
city you would be entering the US through. That being said, it might also be
the first place you’ll realize your very first mistake. You might be shocked
but the power outlets used in the United States would probably be different
than the ones used in your part of the world (and by that, we mean the REST
OF THE WORLD). Make sure you get a converter before arriving here, else you
might have to spend some time finding one here.

Beware of pickpockets and tourist scams

While New York is one the safest cities on the American
continents, you still might want to be careful about certain things. It would
be hard to find a big metropolis without petty crimes and scams like
pickpockets and fake sellers and New York is no exception. It would be a good
idea to bring along a money zipper you can hide under your pants’ belt and keep
all your valuables safely store in your hotel room or in a locker if you are
staying in a hostel. Also, never (yes, NEVER EVER) try to buy anything you are
offered on the street, especially in areas popular among visitors. It’s highly
unlikely it is not going to be fake.

Marco Polo App Your DIY tour planner

You might have already heard about Marco Polo, the tour guide
app used by many worldwide. What you might not have heard is that it works
specifically great in New York just because it has tons of insider tips you
might need in the city. It has an interactive pull out map with walking tours
of the city that you can just go on yourself. There are tons of them so no
matter where you are in the city you can find a specific tour for your area and
preference.

City Passes

There are many passes that traveler can choose while in New York, each of them
can help you save money on various attractions in New York City. Some of the
most well-known city passes include the New York City Pass, City Pass, New York
City Museum Pass, New York Explorer Pass, New York Land and Sea, and New York City
sightseeing pass.

The key subject here is whether these passes are really worth
the money. While the passes itself are way cheaper than buying all the tickets
separately, you might find out that most of what they offer do not coincide
with your interests. Make sure you browse the information very carefully while
buying a pass.

In addition, certain places, especially museums, offering free admission (or
free admission on certain days), might have different entry gates for
pass holders allowing quicker admission.

Where To Stay

There are tons of options from hotels, Airbnbs, apartment cleaning in nyc, hostels, bed
and breakfasts to stay in New York. Now the first thing you need to know about accommodation
in New York is that they are extremely expensive, especially if you’d like them
to be located in Midtown or Lower Manhattan. Moreover, there is no low season
for New York. There are more than 50 million people coming to New York each
year and cheaper hotels are always expected to be booked. So you really need to
make sure you book early.

Trust us, once you start looking for accommodation online
and you find something for $250, you might go like, h my God! No that’s a
steal!’

An advice most visitors find useful is finding accommodation
away from Manhattan. Now remember, New York City has 5 boroughs and Manhattan
is just one of them (believe it or not, it’s actually the smallest of them all).
Booking your dorm, apartment, or hotel away from Manhattan somewhere in Queens,
Brooklyn, or Bronx would surely save you tons of money. What you need to know is
that you’ll probably be visiting Manhattan more often than not. So make sure,
you stay at a place from where you can find convenient public transport,
preferably the subway.

The good news is that this probably is going to be your
biggest expense and even though New York is generally expensive that are
hundreds of things to do and places to visit that wouldn’t burn a hole in your
pocket.

Getting Around

First and foremost, nothing is as important as knowing how
to get around the city. Because, if you do not get this right, it might end up
paying a fortune.

Subway

So you want to ride the New York City Subway? Great idea! It’s
the preferred way for locals to get around. But with 468 subway stations and 24
separate lines you’ll need to know a few things first.

First, how do you find a subway station?

Easy! You look for the green lobe lamps’ that surround the entrances.

The New York City subway lines are organized by letter, number,
and color. Sometimes (no wait most of the times), you’ll need to know which
direction you’re going. While some stations like Union Square and Times Square
have an entrance that leads to all lines, smaller entrances are one way
uptown or downtown. Make sure you know you’re going in the right direction before
you board a train. A standard ride on the subway is $2.75 for a single ride MetroCard.
As long as you stay underground, you can ride numerous lines on the same card
and even transfer to a bus for no additional fee. If you’re in New York for a
week and plan to use the subway often, it might pay to buy the unlimited weekly
pass for $32 which will pay you back after just 12 trips.

New York’s Subway system isn’t the most modern and cleanest
in the world and there is high possibility you’ll notice something unusual at
least once during you visit in New York. A little local advice if you are
traveling during rush hour and see an empty car, there probably is a good reason
why it is like that. You might rather want to step in the next car.

Buses

The MetroCard can also be used to ride the MTA local buses. If
you decide not to use a MetroCard you can pay cash on most bus routes or buy a
ticket from a vending machine. If you decide, to pay by cash, make sure you
have the exact change. Bus stops are situated at street corners with tall,
round signs indicating the route numbers.

Next are the taxis. While you surely can book your ride on Uber
or Lyft, it might not always be the best idea, especially if you are in
Manhattan. See, this services have a think called the price hike which occurs
when the demand is high or number of available cars are low. In a busy borough
like Manhattan, your ride might end up costing you a lot more than expected. It
might just make more sense to grab a New York City Yellow taxis (most common in
Manhattan) or the Green Borough taxis. Besides, you weren’t really in New York
if you didn’t ride one of these!

Taxis

New York City taxis are quite comfortable. You get your own AC control and an
entertainment system while you are stuck in traffic (impossible not to find in
New York). But the hardest part of using the taxi is finding it! Yes, it can be
frustrating and sometimes infuriating! To hail a taxi, just stand at the side
of the street and throw your hand up when you see one. To know if the taxi is
available, look above it and see if the lights are on. If the lights are off,
someone is already in the cab. NYC taxis accept debit/credit cards.

If you do not mind some exercise, another great mode of
transport is the public bike sharing system by Citi Bike. Using it is easy. All
you need to do is find a Citi Bike station which are all around the city, gloss
over the directions at the payments machine and do everything as instructed.
Eventually, you’ll get a code to unlock your bicycle. What’s great about the
Citi Bikes a 24 hour pass costs just $9.95. What’s not so great you’ll
have to dock your bike at one of these stations every 30 minutes if you do not
want an extra fee, which can be a real pain in the neck.

Ferries

New York City has a good number of ferries and boat ride
services to offer even though you might not really require using them whilst in
New York. However, there are 2 services which you cannot miss while you are in
Big Apple The Staten Island Ferry and the boat ride by North River Lobster
Company. More on this as we proceed with the article.

Places To Stay

Times Square

If you’ve never been to New York City, Times Square would
probably be one of the first places you would want to go. However, you might
find it to be a little over rated and wouldn’t want to spend too much time
here. In fact, you ask a New Yorker, they would probably have a really bad
opinion about this place the same reason why it so hard to find them there!

One of the most admired things to do in Times Square is
going there at night to capture a picture. The neon signs and the lit up
billboards provide for a great photo opportunity.

Other than that, there are so many things to do in and around Times Square,
especially if you are traveling with kids. They can be entertained by Carousel
in Bryant Park. You can go and ride the Ferris wheel inside the oys are Us’
store and if you are going to New York in winters you visit the ice skating
rink outside the Rockefeller Center.

Bryant Park, New York Public Library, MOMA

One of the most beloved New York’s landmarks, Bryant Park is
located a few blocks away from Times Square. Amidst the hustle and bustle, you
may come across free movie screenings during the Summer Film Festival or do
some ice skating if you visit New York in the winters. Also, the reason to come
here is New York Public Library located nearby. On nearby 53rd Street is the Museum
of Modern Art’s, popularly known as MOMA, where you’ll find some of Picasso’s
best works. Also keep in mind that it is free on Fridays.

Hudson River Greenway

If you’re looking for an escape from the concrete jungle and
just want some nature in your life, head over to the Hudson River Greenway.
This has to be of the most desired places for people who like to bike, skate,
or run. The Hudson River Greenway has tons of stops along it, as well and has
restaurants, bars, bike rental places, gardens you can really find it all
here. It’s a lovely way to spend a beautiful sunny day whether its winter or
summer. As long as the temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius),
there tends to be a lot of activity here.

Central Park has so many things to do in it that it is
considered as the ackyard’ for all New Yorkers. Located right in the center
of Manhattan, it is such a contrast to the urban jungle around it. You’ll find
all kinds of people there people exercising, sportsmen training, musicians performing,
families having picnics, vendors selling all kinds of fast food, artists
creating their next masterpiece, and a lot more.

One of the most memorable ways of experiencing it is by horseback riding
through it. This is an experience that many locals don’t even know exists. You
can do it through Central Park Sightseeing. You truly sit on a horse and ride
along paths and lakes. If you are against this practice, bike riding is a
beautiful thing to do there, which is very popular among locals.

Observation Decks Empire State or Top of the Rock (Rockefeller
Plaza) or One World Observatory

So one of the first things on your list of things to do in
New York City might be getting an epic view of the skyline from above. The
Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, and One World Observatory are three
locations that will let you fulfill this desire of yours. While choosing the
favorite might be a highly individualized opinion, one thing that is guaranteed
is that none of them would disappoint. Before proceeding any further, we would
like to let you know no matter where you decide to go, the best time of going
up there is right before sunset. Let’s discuss all 3 of the observation decks
one at a time.

A little tip before you visit the observatory deck! You will
go through a security check. They won’t allow bags any bigger than a carry on
size. So it is suggestible to carry nothing more than a small backpack.

Getting to the top will set you back $21 for adults and

The High Line

A mile long park located 25 feet above ground in Manhattan’s
lower west side, the High Line was originally railroad tracks that were in
operation from 1934 to 1980 when it was abandoned and stood out like a sore
thumb in Western Manhattan. It wasn’t until a group of activists that saw
potential in the High Line put their efforts to make it the beautiful park it
is today.

If you happen to be an artist, the High Line offers a
platform for you to showcase your work. One of which you might stumble across
is a sound installation that uses the names of animals to create meaning and
experience. Sounds strange right? Well, do understand what that means, you’ll
probably have to experience it yourself! And off course, it wouldn’t be New
York City if you do not find pictures painted on the sides of big buildings.
You are sure to come across many of these while you are there.

1. Observation Deck at the Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is arguably the most famous building
in the world and one of New York’s most recognizable icons. It was built in
1931 and was the tallest tower in the world until the World Trade Center towers
(that came down on September 11, 2001) took the crown in 1974.

The observation decks on the 86th and 102nd
floors are a popular hit with tourists. So, if you are going to visit, be
prepared for long lines. But once you get to the top, the view you’ll get will
definitely be worth the effort. You’ll be able to see most of Manhattan, Central
Park, and even New Jersey. On days when the visibility is really clear, you’ll
be able to see even as far as Massachusetts.

If you are visiting New York in February, you may catch a
glimpse of one of the city’s great traditions the annual fleet Empire State
Building run up, where competitors race up a total of 1,576 steps all the way
to the 86th observatory floor.

The 86th floor main deck tickets will set you
back $37 for each adult and $31 for each kid. If you wish to visit both the 85th floor
main deck and the 102nd floor top deck, be ready to shell an
additional $20 for each ticket.

2. Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Plaza

Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Plaza is the best place to get a 360 degree view
of the Midtown Manhattan and Central Park. From the 70th floor, you
can take breathtaking views of landmarks such as Times Square, the Chrysler
building, Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and off course Central Park.
Top of the Rock is open from 8 a.m. till midnight every day of the year.
Tickets cost $39.20 for an adult and $32.66 for kids. Kids under 5 are free.

3. One World Observatory

The newest among the three, the One World Trade Center has
gained tremendous popularity as New York’s new landmark and the highest
building in the States since its opening in 2014. Built in place of the
precious World Trade Center towers which were targets in the infamous September
11 attacks, One World Trade Center provides one of the best views of Downtown
New York.

The observatory is an enclosed 3 story deck situated 1,250 feet
(381 meters) above street level. The sky pod elevators exhibit the changes in
the skyline since the 1500s using floor to ceiling LED technology. The main observatory is located on the 100th
floor. The sky portal displays a high definition view of the streets below.

The tickets will cost you $32 for an adult, $30 for a senior
citizen, and $26 for kids.

Chinatown

This area is a unique, chaotic, and fascinating mix of
restaurants, small stores, and Asian groceries. It is also the place to go for
those must haves Love New York’ t shirts. There are so many here to choose
from. Some will be like your average Chinese takeout that you can find in your
local neighborhood, while some are more authentic and traditional and might not
even have an English menu. There’s also an unbelievable amount of small shops
selling a range of electronic goods. Be sure to bring your bargaining skills as
it is one of the most required practices in Chinatown. You could possibly get
the best price here on many things in New York City if done right.

WHAT TO DO

Party at Mckittrick Hotel

If you’re looking for some of New York City’s best
nightlife, head over to Mckittrick Hotel. This place has the most amazing
parties one can ever experience. The immersive theatrical visuals, live performances
on stage, professional dancers, and confetti falling from the ceiling make it a
spot which has a lot more to offer than just the usual dancing and drinking.
They also are home to Sleep No More, which is one of the award winning shows
that they put on here. Check out their events calendar before visiting.

Take the Staten Island Ferry

If you’re looking for an easy way to cruise the NY Harbor,
this is your best bet! Great view, no security, a quick turnaround, and most
importantly it’s FREE! The Staten Island ferries leave Whitehall Terminal,
located at the very edge of downtown Manhattan, every 30 minutes. You do not
need to buy any ticket and can just hop on as soon as the doors are open. This service
is known mostly for the views it has to offer and visitors usually do not spend
a lot of time on Staten Island once they reach there.

Boat ride by North River Lobster Company

A great way to see the city by boat is through the North
River Lobster Company. It’s only $10 to get on this boat, and they serve great
drinks, cocktails, beer and wine, and also some really incredible seafood. This
boat circles Manhattan every 45 minutes and if you miss it, it’s not a big deal
as they have a bar right on the pier. A lot of locals (let alone tourists)
don’t even know this place exists which makes it one of those hidden gems away
from the crowd you are always at the lookout for.

Fly above New York by a helicopter

One of the most breathtaking ways to see New York is from
above by a helicopter or a plane. It’s truly a one of a kind experience, and
although it is expensive, if you can afford it, you shouldn’t miss it. You can
do helicopter rides for even as short as 15 minutes. Expect to spend at least
$200 (+ a fee for every person) for a good experience.

Take part in one of the New York Tours

You might have already realized some local advice can make a
huge difference to your visit. Even better would be having a local to show you
around. The free walking tours offered by volunteers who are residents of New
York City might be the best way to make some local friends. The idea of these
free tours is giving you the information about what there is to explore in the
city. The most popular of the free walking tours are the ones offered by ree
Tours by Foot’. Make sure you leave a nice tip once your tour gets over.

While the free walking tours are a great start to exploring
New York, you might want signing up for a more comprehensive tour to learn a
lot more. Our favorite tours have always been the ones provided by Urban
Adventures. They provide tours in small or private groups, and therefore, let
you get more one on one with the tour guide. Some of their tours you might want
to consider are the New York City craft cocktail tour, the Brooklyn tour, the
Brewed in Brooklyn tour, and the Sights and Bites Tour.

Have a Brunch

Brunching here in New York is practically a religion. It’s
something that the locals do almost every weekend. In fact, most weekends are even
planned around brunches. Now if you don’t know what brunch is, it’s the meal
between breakfast and lunch. Often in New York you get these boozy brunches
which are so much fun. They often include unlimited alcohol (which you might need
to be a little careful with) and just mounds of breakfast food that’s covered
in sugar.

One of the best brunches is at La Sirena at the Maritime
Hotel. While it is on the more expensive side, the classy atmosphere and
outdoor patio is worth the visit.

If you’re looking for a cheaper brunch, try visiting
BitchesWhoBrunch.com and it wouldn’t take you too long to find one that is near
you. But definitely try brunching as that is such a local thing to do here in
New York.

Broadway Shows

If you are looking for a great artistic or cultural experience
in New York, it is highly recommended going to see a Broadway Show. Buying
tickets to the show can be a daunting experience as some seats can go as high
as 100 dollars. However, there are ways of attending theater shows without
breaking the bank. One of the fastest ways of getting tickets to a Broadway
show is by searching for them online on broadway.com. It is highly advised to
book the tickets way before the date of the show to ensure the best seats and
prices. If you are looking to save a little money, you can actually get
half priced tickets to most Broadway shows. All you have to do is go to the
TKTS Booth located on Times Square between Broadway Street and 47th
Street. Keep in mind though that the lines are long and you might have to wait for
at least an hour. However, the most expensive tickets shouldn’t cost you more
than $35, so it’s well worth the wait. Also, the tickets are only for that day
of a particular show.

Another recommendation we have is buying the tickets for midweek shows. For
instance, Tuesday evening or Wednesday evening shows are likely to cost less
than Friday evening or Saturday evening shows. Also, if you’re here in January
that is when the tickets are at the cheapest.

The shows we recommend the most are The Lion King, Book of Mormon, Hamilton,
Beautiful, and The Cursed Child.

You should have already realized how some basic valuable
local information can make your holiday into a highly memorable one. Most
important of all, whatever you do STAY HAPPY, BLESSED, AND ENJOY!

Last Updated: November 28, 2018

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