new york city

A General Guide for a Visit to New York City

The Big Apple, the City That Never Sleeps and the Empire City are all the terms used to describe the city where the Hudson River meets the Atlantic Ocean.

The attraction is there, New York offers a number of sites, shops and general atmosphere for the tourists and eight million plus residents. Whether it is shopping down 5th Avenue, visiting the Statue of Liberty or just taking a walk down through Central Park, the city caters to the vast majority.

The concrete jungle wows with the enormity and the city holds many crowns to what it can offer and posses. Every neighbourhood, every borough offers something different, from the colours of Chinatown to the street life in the Bronx, every inch of New York is available and offers appeal through the world’s eyes.

The central point to view what New York has to offer is Manhattan. One of the city’s five boroughs, Manhattan, is recognised as the heartbeat of the city. The densely populated island is among the world’s leading major commercial, cultural and financial centres.

Manhattan is home to the wonder of Times Square, climbing the steps of many skyscrapers for the special view, the hustle and bustle of Grand Terminal Station and paying respects at the World Trade Centre.

manhattan bridge

Manhattan Bridge

Then there is Queens, Bronx, Staten Island and Brooklyn who make up the rest of the boroughs, which in themselves, have plenty to offer to visitors, each in their own right.

All will be explained in this travel guide, which will, hopefully, persuade you to include a visit to the city on your bucket list, or go one step forward, and immediately purchase your plane ticket.

Whether you have plenty of dollars in your pocket or you are operating on a budget, a full days itinerary can easily be achieved in New York.

The city is among the world’s top tourist destinations with 62.8 million people reportedly visiting New York City in 2017. 13.1 million of that figure comes from international destinations. So, you won’t be alone when visiting the city’s top landmarks.

Overcome Your Vertigo Fears

Manhattan offers the more commercial attractions to the tourist, with spectacular views from a number of skyscrapers that can be visited. The One World Observatory, Empire State Building and Top of the Rock on the Rockefeller Centre can offer scenery that takes your breath away as you gaze across New York, widening the eyes and offering opportunities to get acquainted with the vast scale of your mission – to see everything that America’s number one destination has to offer.

Be at Home with Nature

The first thing that you ask yourself is how can they fit an 843-acre plot of green nature into a landscape that is mostly dominated with the towers of commercial entity and the constant movement of people and traffic. The first landscaped public park in America offers much more than a zoo and a strenuous walk, and is actually a height of social activity, especially in the summer months. Shakespeare in the Park allows oneself to become engrossed in the English playwright’s most famous work in a calm and tranquil space of the outdoors. There is also the occasional music festival, a castle to view and a gondola ride to spark the romance to mention. Continuing the serene vibe, yoga, running and exercises classes are run within many of the spaces available.

Central Park allows your feet to be rested after pounding the pavement, a chance to escape the crowds and take in the naturistic beauty that Manhattan and New York can offer.

new york central park

New York Central Park

Bright Lights and Drama

From the Lady Liberty figurine to a Tony award, one of the most popular and high-demand tourist attractions within New York is Broadway. More than 13 million people take in one of the theatres at 40 locations, spread throughout 41st Street to 52nd Street and Sixth to Eighth Avenue. Whether it is Phantom of the Opera or the new Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, tickets will be in high demand and you should always go to the most reputable ticket booths or theatre itself, as there are many fakes and ticket touts available on the streets.

The iconic attraction is Times Square where ‘the city that never sleeps’ tag really comes to light. The major commercial intersection in midtown Manhattan, stretching from 42nd to West 47th Streets, is the heartbeat to the shopping districts, entertainment and bright lights. It allows you to see a naked cowboy or experience a gospel choir in the height of the city centre. The variety of things to experience really makes this location a must-see, with your friends and family questioning where is the Times Square selfie, if it doesn’t appear in your holiday album.

The Lady of the City

A trip to Liberty Island is a must should you want to visit the iconic Statue of Liberty. The site is crowded with sightseers, with many tourist-averse New Yorkers avoiding the site for that reason. It is advisable for you to prebook a combo cruise-and-tour ticket to skip the lines and minimise the amount of time wasted. Climb the steps to afford the panoramic landscape of New York Harbor and to get up close with the creation of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s Lady Liberty.

statue of liberty

Statue of Liberty

Bargain Hunt

Nearly every national and international shopping brand is anchored within New York, where anything can be bought or sold at any time of the day or night. Looking in the right places is the key to spot that bargain, designer outfit or that chic item. Shopping is key to the New York attraction, whether it is Macy’s on W. 34th St. or Bloomingdale’s, on the corner of E. 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. A gem could be found down a street or avenue in Lower East Side Or East Village, and can also be found in the shops in Brooklyn, Queens and even Staten Island.

There are also food and flea markets across the city. Chelsea Market, Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, Smorgasburg, Brooklyn Flea, Queens Night Market and Union Square Greenmarket all offer variety in terms of price, value for money and the products available. Should you wish to visit a specific market, it is best to gather more information as opening times and days vary.

Respect and Remember

In a location where the twin towers once stood, a memorial has been erected and the largest man-made waterfalls in North America have been designed in memory of the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks. The September 11 Memorial & Museum are a solemn tribute to those who were killed but also a reminder that the population must stay strong in face of any terrorist acts.

Steel Looking Good

Should architecture be your thing, the variation within New York City is all there to see. The peculiarity of the triangle form at the Flatiron Building, the fairytale appeal of the Gingerbread House, the splendour of the Grand Terminal Station and the gothic theme of St. Patrick’s Cathedral is all there to see, plus many, many more.

Brooklyn Bridge is often visited for the spectacular views across Lower Manhattan that can be marvelled at as you travel between Brooklyn and Manhattan. The river crossing is a gentle reminder of New York’s architectural historic innovation after it opened in the 19th century, with tourists allowing the sea breeze and the weaving of cyclists to add to their experience. The bridge is often walked across due to the access between the two boroughs, with Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges also suitable for journeys into Manhattan.

flatiron building

Flatiron Building

Finding the Right Source of Energy

You either arrive in the city or wake up in the morning spoilt for choice on where to go for breakfast. The morning meal often viewed as the champion dinner to set your day off right. Avoiding the hotel breakfast buffet, many people will opt for hot bagels or American pancakes at Daily Provisions at 103 East 19th Street, Absolute Bagels on Broadway and Russ & Daughters at 179 East Houston Street. Three perfect choices to set you up for the day.

Recommending a lunch spot is often difficult as you either eat on the go or eat at the nearest place to where you are visiting. However, it is recommended that you visit a street vendor within the city, with some fantastic food on offer and at good prices. Hot dogs, tacos, halal meat, shellfish and many different food cultures from the world can be experienced.

New York caters to many taste palettes, with well-recommended restaurants ranging from the al la carte to the greasy burger house.

The big tables of Jing Fong in Chinatown allow an added social aspect should you wish to enjoy the Chinese delights, with Hanoi House in East Village a must-visit if you are fond of the Asian cuisine. Tomoe Sushi on Lafayette Street and Somtum Der in East Village also endorsed by the critics.

You will be in the wrong place if you are unable to find a pizzeria due to New York’s Italian background and immigration population. Juliana’s Pizza, Sottocasa Pizzeria in Brooklyn, Joe & Pat’s Pizza, Totonno, Little Italy Gourmet Pizza, Speedy Romeo and Prince Street Pizza are the ones should you wish to get down and dirty with a base full of tomato, cheese and toppings.

Should you want your food to match the attractions, then the Jean-Georges, located within Trump International, The Grill, Peter Luger and Per Se are the ones for you. Be warned though, these restaurants are in high demand and a booking must be made in advance.

Too Many to Choose From

You may find it hard to shut your eyes in a city that never sleeps. However, after coming home from the city of the hustle and bustle, you will need to recuperate and put your head down ready for the next day of shopping, tourism or exploring.

There are many different categories to consider when choosing your hotel and the value for a room varies, particularly if you prefer to stay on the outskirts of the city rather in central Manhattan. Most of which are infamously expensive, however, there are alternatives and enough hotels offering the right prices for the services that can be offered.

If you are looking for a hotel in the densely populated borough in the city, you are looking to spend a minimum of $100 per night, and if you want 5-star luxury, then the prices range from $250-$1,000.

Should you opt for luxury, New York can certainly offer you that. There are thousands of hotels available in New York due to the city’s tourist numbers and business opportunities. Plaza Hotel, The Pierre New York, Trump International, The Whitby Hotel, The Mandarin Oriental and Crosby Street Hotel all feature among the recommendations by popular hotels comparisons, however, there are many more five-stars for you to choose from.

If there is a budget to keep too, there are many hotels and hostels that can offer an excellent location and at a good price.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Travelling through New York is relatively easy considering there are many options available to a tourist to travel from the hotel to each attraction.

By far the dominant mode of transportation in New York City is rail, with the subway system having an extensive network to allow you to get to your destination. The system works 24 hours a day, and passengers pay with a MetroCard, which is also valid on all other rapid transit systems and buses in the city.

The PATH rapid system links Manhattan to Jersey City, Hoboken, Harrison and Newark, in New Jersey and commuter rail system serves over 250 stations on 20 different routes, with New York Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal being the main terminals.

The iconic yellow taxi is internationally recognised with the authorities regulating over 130,000 vehicles to allow the transfer of tourists and New Yorkers. Be aware of the lighting rules; when no lights are lit or the off-duty light is lit, the cab is unavailable.

The emergence of Uber and other app-based taxi applications has been a major benefactor for the New Yorkers and tourists. Many people will choose this option from the airport to the hotels as it is often the cheapest and hassle-free option.

More than 200 local and 30 express bus routes extend the travel options to the public, with the authorities naming routes with a number and a prefix identifying the primary borough (B for Brooklyn, Bx for the Bronx, M for Manhattan, Q for Queens, and S for Staten Island).

Should a city break be for you then the Big Apple satisfies the masses, even New York doesn’t discriminate on an individual’s budget. The attraction is there for a perfect holiday.