There is so much to see and do in the Big Apple, New York City. The bustling streets are constantly filled with activity, and there are dozens of famous sites on nearly every corner. From the iconic landmarks like the Empire State Building to the mouthwatering food scene, you could easily spend weeks exploring the beauty and chaos that is NYC. Here is my ultimate New York travel guide to help you plan an unforgettable trip to the city that will surely steal your heart!
Getting into New York City
If you choose to fly into New York there are a number of different airports to consider. John F. Kennedy (JFK), LaGuardia (LGA), or Newark Liberty International in New Jersey (EWR). All three of these airports are about a 30-40 minute cab ride, or Uber into the city.
There have been rumours in the past that LaGuardia is one of the worst airports in the United States, however having flown out of it myself this trip, I can honestly say the new construction is absolutely beautiful and clean. I had a super great experience flying out of there, so do not let the rumours deter you.
Both Uber and Lyft are easily accessible to visitors outside the airport. Generally, using these rideshare apps tend to be the cheaper alternative to the traditional yellow taxi. Depending on traffic and rush hour you can expect to spend between $50-$75 to get into the city.
Alternatively, if you feel up for it, you can easily take public transportation into the city. If you have a few bags and are travelling on a budget, this is likely the best way to get yourself into the city centre.
There is an AirTrain that costs $5 which will take you between terminals with ease. Get off at the A-Train Howard Beach station stop and follow the sign that says Manhattan. The ride will take about 45min-1hr.
Unfortunately, getting into NYC from LGA requires both a bus and train ride. For this reason, I would suggest sticking with rideshare, or taxi service. Although possible, you will have to purchase a MetroCard to take the Q70 bus. The bus should take you to 74th street Ave train station where you can then transfer and take the line that will bring you closest to where you’re staying.
From EWR: You can easily take the train from Newark to Penn Station! The ride is only 30 minutes!
Things To Do
Truth be told there is so much to see and do in NYC. This oftentimes can be overwhelming and you may feel pressure to check everything off on your list! I encourage you to try to stick to just a few things and do your best not to overbook yourself. New York will always be there and it is definitely one of those cities you should visit more than once in your lifetime.
Below are some of my personal favourite things to see and do!
Top of the Rock
If you are in search of one of the most sweeping views of the city you must book a ticket to the Top of the Rock. From the top, you will have a birds-eye view of the iconic Empire State Building and even Central Park.
Walk the High Line
The High Line is an elevated park built on an old railroad line that stretches from 14th street to 34th street. This walk is a great way for you to feel like you are escaping the bustle of the city. I always enjoy walking with friends and grabbing a cup of coffee on the way.
Central Park is a peaceful escape in the middle of the city. Hundreds of shows and movies have been filmed in the heart of Central Park and there is so much to see and do! On a sunny day, pack a picnic and enjoy some food and drinks with friends. Alternatively, you can book a boat ride, or eat the infamous street food.
There is nothing quite like getting dressed up for a night at the theatre! If you visit New York you must see a Broadway play. After seeing the Lion King, my life was changed. The drama of the show, scenery, costumes, and music are truly remarkable.
Times Square is another must-see if it is your first time in NYC. Although similar to Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, it is a very touristy location. In my opinion, it is a one and done kind of place! Despite the fact, it is really magical to see especially at night!
Shopping in Soho
Soho is one of the best neighbourhoods to visit if you are interested in shopping. There is a nice mixture of trendy boutiques, as well as designer stores.
A walk along the Brooklyn Bridge is also a must. As one of New York’s most iconic bridges, you have to experience it for yourself. I suggest you start from the Brooklyn side and walk over to Manhattan to get the best sweeping views of the city.
The MET museum is one of the most famous museums in New York, let alone the world. I simply cannot visit New York City without a trip to the MET. Each season there are fantastic rotations of exhibitions and one could easily spend several hours roaming around inside.
Where to Stay
Each neighborhood in NYC has its own vibe and uniqueness.
If you are looking for a young hip scene filled with loads of great restaurants, cafes and shopping I would try to stay in either East Village, West Village, Nolita/Soho or Williamsburg in Brooklyn.
If you are looking for something a bit quieter consider the Upper East Side or Upper West Side.
There are so many hotels around the city, so my suggestion would be to decide on which neighborhood you want to base yourself and look into hotels from there! You get what you pay for with accommodation in NYC, so in order to have a decent stay, you are likely to spend a bit of oney,
As budget travellers, we thankfully have many friends who live in the city always willing to open their doors to us. There truly is nothing like experiencing NYC through the eyes of someone who lives there, so if you have a friend to stay with do it!
New York City honestly is the city that never sleeps. With its infectious energy, incredible food scene, endless art galleries, museums, and iconic sites, it’s no wonder this city is one of the most famous destinations in the world.
Places to Eat
Before I hop into some of my top food locations, it is important to note that NYC is famous for its food scene. There are thousands of cuisines, cultures and mouth-watering places to add to your list. From a tiny hole in the wall favourites to three Michelin star dining experiences, this city has it all. In fact, if I lived in NYC I am sure I could eat somewhere new and equally good every day for a few years!
I have broken down some of my favourite places by style! Trust me any of these are guaranteed to be remarkable, but I will put a star next to the ones I highly highly suggest!
No New york City Travel Guide would be complete without a some amazing food!
Get ready to drool !
Jack’s Wife Freda
Good Thanks Cafe
Bleecker Street Pizza *
The Dumpling Shop
MILK Bar *
Russ and Daughters*
Tompkins Square Bagels
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