New York is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and for good reason. The city has something for everyone, whether you’re interested in art, history, culture, food, or just want to experience the hustle and bustle of a big city.
The Five Boroughs in New York
New York is divided into five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island. Each borough has its own unique personality and attractions.
- Manhattan is the business and financial center of New York City, and is home to some of the most famous landmarks in the world including the Empire State Building and Central Park.
- Brooklyn is known for its hipster vibe and trendy neighborhoods like Williamsburg.
- Queens is home to a diverse population and boasts attractions like Citi Field, home of the New York Mets baseball team.
- The Bronx is best known for Yankee Stadium, but also has a number of parks and cultural institutions worth visiting.
- Staten Island is more residential than the other boroughs, but still has some great sights like the Staten Island Ferry and Snug Harbor Cultural Center.
No matter which borough you’re visiting, there’s plenty to see and do in New York City. Be sure to check out our individual guides to each borough for more detailed information on what to see and do in each area.
New York Travel Tips
New York is a bustling metropolis with something to offer everyone. If you’re planning a trip to the Big Apple, check out these New York travel tips to help you make the most of your visit. These tips are mostly for first timers, but if you haven’t been to NYC in years, they are also a good reminder!
- Plan ahead: New York is a big city and there’s a lot to see and do. To make the most of your trip, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and decide what sights and attractions you want to see. That way, you can make sure you hit all the highlights during your stay.
- Choose your accommodation wisely: There are countless hotels and Airbnbs in New York, but not all of them are created equal. Do some research before booking so you end up somewhere that’s well located and comfortable for your needs. If you want to focus the trip on NYC itself you might want to stay in a central location so you can walk out your hotel and not have to worry about grabbing a cab to start the day.
- Dress appropriately: New York is known for its fashionable inhabitants. While you don’t need to break out your best designer duds, it’s worth noting that casual clothing like shorts and flip-flops may not be appropriate in some of the more upscale areas of the city.
- Be prepared for crowds: New York is a crowded place, especially in popular tourist areas like Times Square and Central Park. If you’re not used to crowds, it might be worth avoiding some of the more popular attractions during peak times (like weekends and holidays).
- Watch your belongings: With so many people in such close quarters, pickpocketing is unfortunately common in New York. Be sure to keep an eye on your belongings when you’re out and about, especially in busy areas like subways and street fairs.
- Have cash on hand: While credit cards are widely accepted in New York (including mobile payments) it is also good to have some cash on hand for street vendor purchases, tips, or other things that you may encounter.
- Get familiar with the subway system: The subway is the best way to get around New York City, but it can be daunting and even scary if you’ve never used it before. Spend a few minutes reading up on the basics so you know how it works before jumping in headfirst.
- `Be prepared to walk… a lot: Make sure you have a great pair of walking shoes during the day. And stretching out a bit in the evening will help you feel better the next day when you wake up!
How to Get Around New York
There are a few different ways to get around New York City. You can either take the subway, a bus, or a cab/Uber.
The subway is probably the most efficient way to get around. It’s fast and relatively cheap. You can purchase a MetroCard at any station. A single ride costs $2.75, but you can get a discount if you buy multiple rides at once. If you’re planning on taking the subway a lot, it might be worth it to get an unlimited ride MetroCard, which costs $33/week or $127/month.
You can also take the bus in NYC. Buses are generally slower than subways, but they can be handy if you’re going somewhere that isn’t close to a subway station. A single ride on the bus costs $2.75 (just like the subway). You can also use your MetroCard on the bus.
If you don’t want to deal with public transportation, you can always take a cab or Uber. This is probably the most expensive option, but it’s also the most convenient.
Keep in mind that traffic in NYC can be pretty bad, so your cab/Uber might end up being just as slow as public transportation (if not slower), which is why people often take the subway!
What to See and Do in New York
There is no shortage of things to see and do in New York, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler.
To start, make a list of the top sights and attractions you want to see during your stay. Then, do some research on how to best navigate the city – whether that means getting a MetroCard for public transportation or downloading a ride-sharing app like Uber or Lyft. Once you have your game plan mapped out, it’s time to start exploring!
Things to Explore During the Day
If you’re looking for things to do during the day, there are plenty of options for sightseeing, shopping, and more. Visit world-famous landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, explore Central Park or one of the city’s many other green spaces, shop til you drop on Fifth Avenue or in Soho, or take in some art at one of the many museums or galleries. And don’t forget about all the great food New York has to offer – from street vendors selling hot dogs and pretzels to Michelin-starred restaurants, there’s something for everyone’s taste and budget.
From iconic landmarks like the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty to world-renowned museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim, or just exploring Central Park, or Times Square, there’s something for everyone in the City That Never Sleeps.
Personally the Guggenheim has always been one of my favorite museums. You can walk through it in an hour if you are pressed for time with its simple layout as you walk in a circular path.
Things to Explore During the Evening
When night falls, the city really comes alive and feels quite different than it is during the day. This is one of the things that makes NYC stand out as the “city that never sleeps.”
New York is known for its fun nightlife and there are always cool clubs or bars to explore.
Check out a Broadway show or catch a concert at one of the many iconic music venues. Grab a drink at a rooftop bar with views of the skyline
Plus, don’t forget to check out some of the city’s best neighborhoods, like Greenwich Village, SoHo, Chinatown, and Brooklyn.
Where to Eat in New York
If you’re looking for a good meal while in New York, you won’t have to look far. The city is full of great restaurants, from casual cafes to fine dining establishments. No matter what your budget or taste, you’ll be able to find something to suit your needs.
For a quick bite, try one of the many pizzerias or hot dog stands dotted around the city. If you’re looking for something more substantial, there are plenty of great places to eat, ranging from cheap and cheerful diners to Michelin-starred eateries.
Whether you want to sample the local cuisine or try something from further afield, New York has it all. So get exploring and enjoy!
Where to Stay in New York
There are countless lodging options in New York City, from budget-friendly hostels to high-end hotels. It can be tough to decide where to stay, but luckily we’re here to help. Lodging in New York City is typically quite expensive and more than the other boroughs. So if you are on a tight budget, keep that in mind.
If you’re looking for a cheap place to crash, there are plenty of hostels in NYC that won’t break the bank.
- The Jane Hotel is a great option, located in the trendy West Village neighborhood.
- If you want to be in the heart of the action, check out the Pod 51 Hotel near Times Square.
For those who want a little more luxury, there are plenty of upscale hotels to choose from.
- The Mandarin Oriental is a luxurious option located on Columbus Circle with amazing views of Central Park.
- The Baccarat Hotel is another great choice, located steps away from Fifth Avenue shopping.
No matter what your budget is, there’s sure to be a perfect place for you to stay in New York City.
Shopping in New York
If you’re looking for a great shopping experience, New York is the place to be. There are so many different options, from high-end designer stores to small local boutiques. No matter what your budget is, you’ll be able to find something to suit your needs.
If you’re looking for high-end designer labels, Manhattan is the place to go.
Fifth Avenue is home to stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and Tiffany & Co.
Outlet Malls near NYC
Or if you’re looking for more affordable options, head to one of the many outlet malls in the city.
My two favorite ones are the Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets. It has 220 stores and is one of the largest outlet malls in the world, with all the famous luxury brings including Gucci, Ralph Lauren and Saint Laurent.
Mills at Jersey Gardens – this is about 30 minutes from Manhattan in Elizabeth New Jersey. It also contains more than 200 stores and is the largest outlet mall in New Jersey. Some of the stores include Coach, Bloomingdale’s, Saks 5th Avenue and Victoria’s Secret.
Other Unique NYC Shopping
For a more unique shopping experience, check out some of the local boutiques in Brooklyn or Queens. You’ll be able to find items that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
And if you’re looking for souvenirs to take home with you, there are plenty of shops that specialize in selling New York-themed items. My personal favorite item to get is usually a keychain or a magnet for the fridge – a nice simple reminder of the trip for when you are back home!
Video: TOP 10 Things to do in NEW YORK CITY
Other Places to Visit in New York State
There are endless possibilities for places to visit in New York State. Aside from the obvious choice of New York City, there are many other great cities and towns to explore. Niagara Falls is a must-see, as is the Finger Lakes region. For outdoor enthusiasts, the Adirondacks offer unbeatable hiking and camping opportunities.
New York is one of the most exciting and vibrant cities in the world, and there’s so much to see and do.
I hope this guide has helped you plan your trip and given you some ideas about what to do while you’re here visiting the Big Apple!
Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s history, checking out the latest restaurants, or simply taking in the sights, New York has something for everyone. Thanks for reading and enjoy your trip!
Hi I’m Jay. I grew up in Seattle, Washington and live in Los Angeles, California. I have travelled to 23 countries so far and planning to go explore more countries soon! My Favorite trips so far have been to Israel, Japan, Rome, Iceland and Australia. I started this site to share my love of travel with everyone and build a community of like-minded, free thinking, free exploring people.