The ultimate guide to visiting New York City

New York is one of the iconic cities to explore, it is a buzzing metropolis scenic avenues, iconic skyscrapers and boasts an unrivalled food scene. Really, what’s not to love?

With that being said, the ‘big apple’ is a complex geographic area with five distinct boroughs to adventure through and could take a lifetime to fully explore everything this city has to offer. That makes it difficult to know where to begin, hence this carefully curated post; here is your ultimate city guide to help!

When to visit New York City

There isn’t a bad time to visit NYC as each season offers an abundance of events and festivities. Whether it be skating around the ice rink in Central Park and gazing upon the brightly lit Rockefeller tree at Christmas or ticking off some world famous sites from your bucket and capturing some amazing shots from the Empire State Building in summer. There’s something for every age to fall in love with. If you’re travelling on a budget, then I’d suggest opting for flights from mid January through February.

Boroughs of New York City

Manhattan: The smallest of the boroughs yet the most compact and populous, Manhattan is the famous cultural heart of New York we all see in the movies. It is home to the iconic skyline, Broadway, Central Park and Times Square (just to name a few). This is the most visited area of the city and where it’s best to spend most of your time.

Brooklyn: Located east of Manhattan on Long Island this borough is known for its terraced housing, pizza and art scene. Due to its scenic high line and unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline, it often acts as an ideal location for those wanting to appreciate the heart of New York without as much hustle and bustle in addition to watching sunset over the Statue of Liberty.

Queens: Also located on Long Island, Queens is the second most populous borough of NYC. This borough is predominantly residential in addition to playing host to the islanders hockey team and the JFK airport.

The Bronx: Located to the north of Manhattan, the Bronx is on mainland USA unlike the rest of NYC. The borough plays home to the Yankees baseball team, New York zoo and world famous botanical gardens. This neighbourhood is perfect to enjoy in the warmer months and to escape the concrete jungle that is Manhattan. The Bronx has a large hispanic population which brings a brilliantly diverse selection of authentic latin cuisine to indulge in once you have had your share of $1 Manhattan pizza.

Staten Island: As the name suggests, Staten island is adrift south of Manhattan and is connected by a free public commuter ferry which runs 24 hours of the day directly to and from Manhattan. You will find Staten Island zoo, an artsy cultural centre and varied architecture.

Getting around New York City

New York City boasts so many different neighbourhoods that are all begging to be explored. There are various modes of transport to allow you to explore across all boroughs of the City, or even into suburban New York State!

Subway: The subway runs 24 hours of the day reliable and very affordable to use, each journey will cost you the same amount regardless of distance travelled. It’s also a great way to avoid the chaotic traffic on the street which can be overwhelming at certain times. I’d definitely recommend downloading the subway app for tickets, routes and journey information.

Walking: Thankfully a lot of world famous tourist destinations are relatively close together and within walkable distance if you’re willing to rack up a few kms per day. Although you will still be walking a lot, you can take in the cities’ atmosphere and stumble upon unexpected gems in-between pit stops.

Uber/ Taxi: Just like in the movies you can hail down a yellow cab or order an Uber. This is handy if you are carrying luggage or just simply not up to walking around the city. Whilst the yellow taxis are iconic, I recommend ordering an Uber as the cost is more affordable and they offer better quality service; there is no such thing as ‘the knowledge’ like you will find in London.

Where to eat and drink

NYC offers the most diverse melting pot of cuisines you will ever find that come from all corners of the globe; this makes it a foodies paradise! From Italian-American pizza to Mexican-Indian fusion tacos, there’s so much to choose from which makes it hard to recommend exactly where to go. Here are some of my favourite places to eat whilst I journeyed in New York City!

Where to stay

I’m an Australian blogger based in Central West NSW who has spent the last few years exploring the four corners of the globe, living as an expat and falling in love with the world just a little bit more everyday. Here you can find my tips, guides and experiences to help inspire you for your next trip!

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