New York City Guide - New York Travel Tips
Reasons to visit
New York city is considered at the moment the capital of mass-media due to New Yorker, best known world wide news paper, the capital of culture, having the largest Departament of Education with the largest public school system in the United States and capital of finance with a major center of retailing.
New York Weather
Considering the fact that New York City has a humid subtropic climate, the weather becomes hot starting with April and gets a little bit colder to October.
Ironically, the wind that blows from the Atlantic Ocean keeps the city warmer in winters than it is supposed to be.
We recommend you to travel in NYC starting with the month of April if you enjoy the hot days when the temperature can reach up to 64 – 69 F (18 – 20 C), or you can travel in winter, starting with the month of November expecting a temperature of 41F (5C) going down to 27F(-3C).
New York receives a low amount of precipitation during the year and even lower amount of snowfall. If the hurricanes and tropical storms are frequent hitting other cities of United States, New York’s usually out of their direction.
New York Local Transport
New York City is the busiest State of United States of America, that’s why you can move to a place or another as you please by buses, ferries, underground railway, airplanes, and of course taxis.
If cities as Hong Kong, Paris, London, Seoul, and Tokyo, shut down their subway system over the night, in New York City you can enjoy exploring the city at any hour, night or day.
As well, New York host the largest bus fleet in North America. It serves 7000 buses and 200.000 commuters every single day, turning New York’s bus fleet into the busiest bus station in the world.
The best world known airport in New York is JFK (John F. Kennedy), followed by Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuardia Airport. JFK is the busiest airport used by international air passengers.
Over 130.5 millions of international passengers reach those three airports when they land in New York City. If you will ever need to travel by ferries, you have to know that everything is very busy and crowded in NYC. Their ferries system allows carrying over 23 millions people per year.
The population of New York is at the moment the most varied population of the world. Almost 29% of NYC’s population is consisting of Hispanics, 25% black population, 13% Asians and only almost 1% native Americans.
At the moment in NYC are 800 languages spoken due to the growing segment of the population who has been born outside the USA borders. But the main language spoke it’s English, as you can guess.
In the United States, they are using the plug B type for any item that needs to be charged or needs electricity to function. You can easily find an adaptor for this type of plugs at any stores that sell home items. We suggest having a travel adapter if you are not from around.
If you are going to travel in USA it’s not a surprise for anyone that they use the U.S dollar for paying everywhere and everything. I suggest you to search on various places before changing your money because the commission can make the difference. Don’t forget to calculate the tax wich is not included in most of the prices.
Must Try Food
As I already mentioned the population of New York is very varied, every culture that interfered with the American culture came with something new to reborn in a specific area.
Pizza seems to be the most loved among the people in NYC. On the 2nd place as you probably know they love burgers and the 3rd thing that Americans are dying for is barbecue.
The first drink that already has a culture and a meaning of manhood is the bourbon. If you are traveling in NYC consider this drink as a must have. Let’s not forget about the whiskey, gin and tequila. (one at a time, don’t mix them)
How to get there
From US is pretty easy to fly here. Plenty of low-cost airlines have flights here, so if you catch a promotion, a discount, just take it! A plane ticket with carry-on baggage could be really cheap, like 20 dollars. So, in our opinion it’s perfect for a city break here, perfect escape.
You don’t need to carry too many things, just enjoy your time here. If you want to check the best fly tickets you can trust kiwi.com. Kiwi can help to find also best fly on your way home. If you have more time to spend you can also take an international bus like Flixbus. Prices are pretty good and you don’t have limits on your baggage. You can spend good time in cars with locals and they can suggest you different places to visit which could be more useful then guides.
Where to stay
New York has multiple options for finding a cheap or expensive place to stay. As I said, could be expensive but you can fit also on a budget. If you don’t have worry about your budget can book plenty of hotels rooms and pensions where you like on www.booking.com or www.agoda.com.
It’s a huge city and must consider how much you will to walk, how close to the city center it is your place. If you like to hang out with a local you can book a room on www.airbnb.com and you can find a good price for your accommodation.
Also if you can stay with them for free using Couchsurfing app. You can use it also only if you want to meet with them. If you are traveling on a budget or not couch surfing seems to be a good idea.
First of all, it’s a chance for you to talk with a native and learn about day by day life in new york city. It’s a great opportunity for making new friends maybe for a week or maybe for a lifetime, you never know.
Hostels are less expensive than a hotel room. Why spend 300$/night for a hotel room when you can spend 30$/night for a hostel room?! The culture of making friends never fails to amaze people.
Americans are housesitting in exchange. That means you can live in a house and if the host ever travels to your country, it is welcome to stay at your place. Such a good method of making new friends and explore the big, big world.
Congrats! You’ve made it! Depending on which airport you’ve just landed you have some ways to reach the NYC’s center. TAKING A TAXI from JFK airport – can be expensive – around 50 dollars or more for a ride of 30 minutes that can increase to 60 minutes or more on rush hours.
TAKING THE SUBWAY from JFK airport – If you want to enjoy the vibe of this city always coming and going you can take the subway for a ride of one hour or so. You can take the subway from Jamaica station line. For the ride, you will need a MetroCard which cost 1$. Don’t throw away it is refillable.
A single subway ride costs around 2.75$ and gets you to Manhattan in 60-90 minutes. TAKING THE AIRTRAIN from JFK airport – The AirTrain can be double expensive than a normal subway ride. The AirTrain gets you to the city center of NY in 35-40 minutes for 15.50$
TAKING A SHUTTLE BUS from JFK airport – If you decide to take the shuttle bus from the JFK airport to the city center you can pay 20-25$ per person. You may have to wait for your ride until all the seats are taken.
TAKING THE BUS from JFK airport – Traveling by bus can be fun! A ride on the bus from JFK costs around 18$ and usually takes 90 minutes to reach Manhattan. But the traffic in NY can be a real pain. A normal ride can turn to a 2 hours ride on rush hours.
TAKING A TAXI, A BUS, A SHUTTLE BUS OR THE SUBWAY from LaGuardia airport – The prices for those ways are exactly as the above.
TAKING A BUS from LaGuardia airport – If you take the bus heading the city center of NY from LaGuardia airport the ride is 3$ cheaper than a ride from JFK airport – 15$.
TAKING THE AIRTRAIN from Newark Liberty International Airport – The AirTrain from NLIA costs only 13$ and gets you to the city center in around 30 minutes.
TAKING THE SHUTTLE BUS from NLIA – As I already mentioned a ride no matter from where you are taking it to head the city center it will always cost 20$-25$
TAKING THE EXPRESS BUS from NLIA – One ride with the Express bus costs 16$/ person to reach Manhattan in 60 minutes. If you are planning to get a taxi most of the taxi drivers barely speak English but it’s not difficult to understand each other.
Now we are getting to our top. Like everywhere, you must be prepared for the long line of waiting on major places to visit. My advice is to book your ticket online or from the previous day to avoid the queue at ticketing. In other words, let’s start!
Statue of Liberty
Located on Liberty Island the Statue of Liberty became over time a symbol of freedom not only for those living in the United States but for every human being who came from abroad. Most of the people were escaping from a slavery system.
The Statue measures 93 meters including the bottom part. You can visit the statue from the inside taking the elevator but the top (crown part) of the statue can be reached only on the staircase. Besides being a symbol of freedom, the statue is a memorial for President Grover Cleveland.
At the moment the Statue of Liberty is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List, since 1984. TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING If you want to visit the Statue of Liberty there are a few things you will need to know. You will get to the Statue only by taking the ferry. So if this kind of traveling makes you feel sick, please avoid it! You can take the ferry from Lower Manhattan.
The tickets are available at the Castel Clinton. Consider coming with at least a few hours early because you have to go through a security check almost identical with the procedure from the airport.
You are not allowed on the ferry if you have any gun or heavy luggage, so please consider having just as many things as you need. If you want to reach the crown of the statue you need to know you will be required to pay around 22$ with months in advance. Also if you bring a child with you there’s an age restriction. The child must be over 4 years older.
In addition, if you buy a ticket for the crown part of the statue you have included a visit to the Liberty Island Museum.
The Central Park located in Manhattan is one of the most visited parks of United States. Almost 40 million people visit Central Park every year. At the moment Central Park is the 5th largest parks in NY covering 341 ha.
In the beginning, the park measured only 314 ha. in 1857. At the end of 1873, the Central Park measured – it’s the actual size of 341 ha. The police of New York City has it’s own department when it comes to the Central Park.
A lot of crimes and other major accidents happened in the early `80s. The police managed to keep a lower rate of criminality making Central Park a safer place. If you bring your kids to see Manhattan, don’t pass through Central Park without throwing a look.
Your child will miss a lot of fun. The Central Park has 21 huge playgrounds, a zoo, a theatre, and an aquarium. If you are starving after you spent some fun hours at the playgrounds you can chill and serve a delicious meal in Central Park because there are 2 restaurants.
The first one named Tavern on the Green and The Loeb Boathouse. If you travel during the summer, again don’t miss a walk in Central Park. With a kid or not, maybe with your partner you can enjoy a lot of concerts and theater plays in the open-air.
Empire State Building
The 5th tallest skyscraper in the United States it’s located on Fifth Avenue, between 33rd and 34th streets in Manhattan. The building process of the Empire State Building took less than 2 years, considering that the skyscraper measure 443 m. having 103 floors.
It was opened for the public on May 1931. From the observatories on the 86th and 102nd floor, you can see in the distance almost 129 km into New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.
Empire State Building became step by step a symbol for the United States. After dealing with suicide attempts from the building, shootings, and several crimes, today the Empire State Building it is a quiet place to work in.
Due to its fame, we can spot the Empire State Building in today’s films, tv shows, video games and even find its name in literature books. TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING You can visit the Empire State Building every day starting from 8 am until 2 am.
To visit the building you will get to get your ticket. As I mentioned above for the Statue of Liberty, you will be required to go through a security check which can last over 60 minutes. Pack yourself with a lot of patience. You are allowed a 2 hours visit on the observation decks.
If you want to skip the normal waiting line you can buy a much expensive ticket – Express Ticket which limits your waiting time to 10-15 minutes to reach the observation decks.
We also recommend you to be there before the opening hour to avoid the crowd. You are not allowed inside if you have any kind of weapons, big luggage, big cameras, alcoholic drinks, bottles, any glass items or any item that can damage the building.
A ticket for Empire State Building costs 37$ for adults, 35$ for elders, 31$ for children over 6 years and for children under 6 years the entrance is free.
Time Square became over the years a top for tourist destinations when it comes to traveling in NYC. If you want you could spend an entire day in Time Square and not get bored even for a second.
You can explore the stores, you can stop for taking a meal, watch various performance or hug your favorite animation character. Every night the last 3 minutes until midnight turns Time Square into a big „museum” of digital art.
If you are tired after a long day or just want to feel the NYC vibe, take a seat on pedestrian zone and enjoy looking at people passing by. Everyone is rushing and almost 460.000 people pass by on busy days.
That may sound crazy but New York will never fail to amaze you. All of us have moments when we get sentimental and think back at childhood memories. Well, in Time Square your childhood can come back to life. Minnie, Mickey Mouse, Mario and other cartoon characters are walking on the streets ready to give you a hug.
Old or new, fictional or historical, prepare yourself to meet those characters on the street. I guarantee your day will be brighter. After such a fun time spent on Time Square you can enjoy a meal on a budget.
A 5$ meal or a 50$ meal it’s one of your choice. Time Square Diner is opened 24 hours and a meal starts from 10$ plus they have hundreds of meals you can choose between.
Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest bridge turned into a roadway in United States. The construction of the bridge took 14 years. Brooklyn Bridge was opened for the public in May 1883.
On the first day 150.000 people crossed the bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn and other 1.800 cars went from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Brooklyn Bridge became rapidly a symbol of optimism.
A must do for every tourist in NYC is to walk on Brooklyn Bridge. At any hours you will be amazed by the NY’s skyline. If you crossed the bridge and reached Brooklyn you will be surprised by the „street museum”.
Street art like graffiti or murals with pop out on almost every wall. If you walk down the streets don’t miss the Brooklyn Museum and Botanic Garden. There are several fun free activities child friendly.
You can head to Coney Island, enjoy the beach or have your head spinning on roller coasters as well as you can see a movie outdoor for free.
On land or water Brooklyn seems a fun destination to travel when you want to escape day by day stress or thinks that keeps you awake at night.
Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central Terminal is another spot tourists are interested in. Grand Central Terminal serves as a commuter railroad terminal. Between 2 a.m and 5 a.m the terminal it is closed. It has been opened for the first time in February 1913.
Once entered in the Grand Central Terminal the ceiling will catch your eyes. An amazing art representing the constellations of the zodiac. In Grand Central Terminal you can feel NY’s taste.
Don’t miss Grand Central Market opened Monday to Friday from 7 am – 9 pm. After a well deserved walk into Grand central terminal you can enjoy a meal at Dining Concourse or have a drink at Campbell Apartment or Oyster Bar.
Broadway is the place where a ton of stars is born. It has always been like that. Broadway, it always had been the heart of the American films. The first mention of Broadway is dated from 1776. Until 1953 the Broadway Boulevard had two walking sides. Starting with 1954 until 1966 Broadway Boulevard changed into a one-way street.
Over the time bike lanes were added, as well a new subway entrance, few public parks, and public plazas. Broadway is also known as the Theater District being as well a top touristic destination in NYC. Broadway turned New York City into a cultural capital of the world and influenced so much the American culture over the time.
The theatre came to light in early 1850. The first play host on Broadway was named the Black Crook. It was a very long play ( almost 6 hours) but it was considered a record with 474 other performances. If you want a tour of Broadway Theatre District to be ready to spend almost 2 hours discovering a major historical point for today’s art.
You can get the tickets for Broadway shows at the lower price from Time Square. Today our 6th big theatre heading the newspapers when it comes to Broadway shows.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Musem of Art as we are already expecting is the largest and biggest museum of art in United States. In 2016 Metropolitan Museum of Art was declared the 3rd most visited art museum in the world with over 7 millions of people.
This museum host over 2 millions works of art selected in 17 departamens. Metropolitan Museum of Art had the main purpose to bring art culture amoung americans starting with 1870 but the museum opened its doors 2 years later in 1872.
Located on Fifth Avenue, Rockefeller Center includes 19 commercial buildings. The building process took 8 years. The first building was constructed in 1931 and finished in 1933.
The Radio City building is also integrated into the Rockefeller Center, is a high point of interest for tourists. Also, it has been the first opened building of Rockefeller Center.
Today the Radio City Building has been turned into a big theater hosting giant stars concerts and important social events. The Center also has a two-sided Plaza you can walk on.
One amazing thing added to this center is the fact that on the roof of each building is a garden. Besides the rooftop gardens, the architecture of the entire complex will catch your breath. If you want to discover the Rockefeller Center and learn about its meaning along the history and find out more about its meaning you can choose a tour guide. A ticket costs 25$.
You can explore the commercial complex from 10 am to 7:30 pm and the full tour last about 90 minutes. To benefit from this tour you will be required to make a reservation.
One World Trade Center
This is an iconic new tower located just to the north of the former Twin Towers. Built to the same height and octagonal in shape to represent its 2 four-sided processors, there is a fantastic view from the top, and it is, of course, close to the memorial site and museum for 9/11.
Buy tickets in advance to avoid waiting time but you can buy online when you get there too. An absolute must on any visit to New York.
You cannot come to New York City and not spend a while in one of its more colorful sections in downtown Manhattan – Chinatown. Let’s be frank: you will not be visiting an elegant neighborhood with fine dining venues and fashionable stores; you will experience a hustle-bustle community, filled with cheap to moderately-priced restaurants, and stores that spill out onto the sidewalk with trinkets, souvenirs, t-shirts, etc.
Trust me: you will want to buy stuff, but be prepared to haggle. Indeed, it’s expected and you might find it fun. definitely, you will save money; e.g., a 16″ high statue of liberty that sells for $30 can be bought for half that price.
Parking could be a problem, so I suggest that you take the subway to the Canal Street area. Re: dining – be adventurous; no matter what venue you choose, you will have had a good meal and perhaps a memorable one.
I recommend that you walk down Mott Street, off Canal St., the heart of Chinatown. Another recommendation: go down a few blocks to Mulberry Street and you’ll be in Little Italy. Perhaps come back the next day and eat great Italian food.
Places to Visit Around New York
George Washington Bridge
After the Brooklyn Bridge, this is the of the famous spots in New York. It was considered the border of New York City and Upstate New York by locals ( joke), this bridge is purely marvelous, especially when viewed from the southbound Henry Hudson Parkway.
Driving over it is not for the faint of heart though. The Manhattan side approaches are old and the lane configurations are a real challenge, whether you’re taking the upper or lower level.
The tolls are on the Jersey side, inbound only, but it’s nothing short of a nightmare most of the day and night. Merging, jockeying for EZ pass lanes, rude drivers, clueless drivers, etc… be prepared!
There is a nice walking lane, so if that’s your thing, it is a nice walk on a nice day, with incredible views of Manhattan.
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is not far from the JFK airport. You can get there on the D train and walk for a mile. There is a parking lot just outside the visitor center. To our surprise, the entrance to the refuge is free.
The refuge consists of two parts, the west pond trail which is behind the visitor centre and the east pond trail which is across the street. Most people would walk around the west pond trail since it is just behind the visitor centre. It used to be a closed loop trail which took 40 minutes to complete.
After Super Storm Sandy, a small portion of the trail (less than 100 feet) was damaged and has not been repaired. As a result, it took us 90 minutes to complete the trail.
There is an Osprey nest in the shorter portion of the trail. To see the Manhattan skylines from afar, one needs to walk along the longer trail. I would strongly recommend walking the east pond trail because there is a look out into the Big John pond where you can get a close up with the waterfalls.
The trail from the entrance of the east pond trail to the big John pond is about 10-minute walk. There is a small exhibition in the visitor centre. and the ranger stationed there was friendly and knowledgeable.
Palisades Interstate Park
This place is unique, the views are unimaginable and it is great for hikers. The cliffs of the Alpine Lookout offer numerous trails, some easy others truly challenging. When you go to the edge of the cliffs the view of New York is spectacular.
From some points, you can see the George Washington Bridge and Manhattan. At the parking area, there is an inn where you can get a beverage or a burger, or pack a basket and have a picnic. Just don’t get too close to the edge and watch the children, it could be dangerous for inexperienced hikers.
Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
At 300 feet wide and 77 feet high, these were powerful falls to visit right after heavy rains most of the week. The Passaic River was full and the water was gushing everywhere creating such a grand effect.
Paterson Falls became part of the National Park Systems in 2013. You can stop at the Visitor Center first to collect stamps and cancellations for our Parks Passports.
The Rangers there were extremely friendly and helpful. They were about to close but waited to give us some brochures and directions to the fall two blocks away. As you approach the fall, you can stop at several vantage points to take pictures.
The photos from the Bridge and the Overlook were amazing. Luckily, there were not too many people there when we visited, so we were able to take in that beauty without too many obstructions.