New York City Travel Guide
Whatever it is you're into, you'll find there's more to do in New York than you'll have time.
Check out the views from the top of the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, or One World Observatory. Take yourself on a museum crawl, starting at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on the northeastern edge of Central Park. Then, make your way north several blocks to the Guggenheim Museum and eventually to the Museum of the City of New York, one of the best places to learn about the Big Apple's history.
Go to Chinatown for dim sum and to Little Italy for cannoli. Head to a jazz club in Harlem, check out the independent artist galleries that dot Chelsea, shop along Fifth Avenue, and pay a visit to the Statue of Liberty.
You could spend an entire day in Central Park alone, checking out its zoo, carousel, lakes, and ice rink. A number of gardens and meadows make for excellent people-watching and host impromptu musical performances on nice days. Traveling in the summer? Make sure to check the schedule for Shakespeare in the Park.
Prefer sports, movies, and live music? See the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium, the New York Mets at Citi Field, or the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Track down sites from your favorite movies and TV shows. Seinfeld, Sex and the City, "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle," "Serendipity," and "Home Alone 2" are just a small fraction of what's been filmed here.
New York is a city filled with attractions, but some of its most interesting experiences are sure to be the ones you accidentally stumble upon on the way to somewhere else. Whatever it is you're looking for, you can find it in New York. Just don't try to do everything in one trip.
Eastern Standard Time
Best Time to Go
New York is a city that's always celebrating something, and summer is one of the best times to visit. Outdoor concert season is in full swing. Free movies and theatrical performances fill the city's parks, street vendors are everywhere, and street fairs abound. But subway platforms can get steamy, lines can get long, and temperatures can soar among the city's high-rises. If this sounds like misery, visit between Thanksgiving and the New Year, when temperatures are cooler and department store windows are decked out for the holidays. During this time, Manhattan's three major outdoor ice rinks are open, a giant Christmas tree marks Rockefeller Center, and holiday light shows are more elaborate than anything you could ever imagine.
Things to Know
New York is a city made up of five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Most tourist attractions are in Manhattan, with a few scattered across Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.
Driving in Manhattan is unnecessary. The city has an extensive public transit system, making it easy to get just about anywhere by subway, bus, cab, and foot. Uber and Lyft are plentiful, while parking can be both a miserable and expensive experience. Meanwhile, the subway is open 24/7.
New York is a city that moves fast. Step aside to look at your phone, and remember to stand on the right side of the escalator, so hurried commuters can walk on the left.
Times Square characters can be pushy. Tipping is at your discretion.
How to Get Around
Trains: The New York City subway is one of the most extensive public transit systems in the world. It connects Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, and runs on Staten Island. Each ride costs $2.75. A seven-day pass is available for $33 and covers both trains and buses.
Buses: A network of buses offers easy access to the rare spots not served by nearby train stations and to New York's LaGuardia Airport. Individual bus rides cost $2.75. Seven-day transit passes cost $33 and cover trains and buses. While buses can be convenient, traffic can sometimes make them easy to outwalk.
Ferries: One of the best ways to hop among New York's boroughs in good weather is a ferry. Ferries connect Queens, the western coast of Brooklyn, the eastern side of Manhattan, and Staten Island. Rides are $2.75 each. Subway and bus passes aren't accepted on New York ferries. The Staten Island Ferry is free.
Taxis: Cabs are all over Manhattan, but a little harder to find in parts of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Green cabs offer service in northern Manhattan and the outer boroughs. To hail a cab, look for one that has its light on and raise your arm. All New York cabs are metered and required to accept credit cards.
Rideshare: Uber and Lyft are all over New York and offer similar pricing. Rideshare can be the best way to travel in parts of Brooklyn and Queens.
Things to Do
Neighborhoods to Know
Financial District: This is where you'll find the New York Stock Exchange and the iconic Charging Bull statue that's become a symbol of Wall Street. Visitors can no longer enter the stock exchange, but they can take photos outside with the Fearless Girl, a controversial New York statue that once stared down the Charging Bull. Cruises to the Statue of Liberty leave from Battery Park City in this area.
Midtown: This is the heart of Manhattan. It's where you'll find Times Square, Broadway, Bryant Park, and the gargantuan Macy's store in Herald Square. It's also home to Radio City Music Hall, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the Museum of Modern Art. If you're looking to shop, head to Fifth Avenue, where you'll find Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and Bloomingdale's.
Chinatown: This neighborhood of narrow streets not far from City Hall is where you'll find some of the city's best Chinese restaurants and bargain prices on accessories, souvenirs, and more.
Little Italy: Little Italy sits in Lower Manhattan near Chinatown. It was once known for its large Italian-American population, but these days, it houses a small collection of Italian stores and restaurants. Don't miss Ferrara, a bakery that traces its New York City roots to 1892, or The Feast of San Gennaro, a one-of-a-kind food festival that takes place each September.
Williamsburg: Known for its independent shops, cute cafes, and abundant street art, this hipster paradise is especially popular among European tourists. Visit the Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn Brewery, and East River State Park, which offers some of the best Manhattan skyline views and an international food market on Saturdays.
Astoria: This former Greek enclave was America's original motion picture capital, and it still houses several film and TV production studios. It's home to the Museum of the Moving Image, Kaufman Astoria Studios, and some excellent views of the Manhattan skyline. Several scenes from Orange Is the New Black were filmed in this neighborhood.
Greenwich Village: This is where you'll find New York University, Washington Square Park, and some of the city's top comedy and jazz clubs. It's known for its intimate restaurants, hole-in-the-wall bars, and one-of-a-kind boutiques. It's also home to the historic Stonewall Inn.
Harlem: Harlem sits in northern Manhattan above Central Park. It was a hub for jazz musicians in the 1920s and the birthplace of the Harlem Renaissance, an outpouring of artistic work that stretched into the 1930s. Nowadays, it's a great place to catch a jazz show or have a decadent Southern meal. Harlem is also home to the iconic Apollo Theater.
Upper West Side: This largely residential area is home to the American Museum of Natural History and to Strawberry Fields, a tribute to former resident John Lennon. This neighborhood is also a great place to gawk at gorgeous townhouses and spot celebs.
Upper East Side: This posh residential area is home to a number of the city's top museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Jewish Museum, and the Museum of the City of New York. It's bordered by Central Park to the west and home to a number of foreign embassies.
Summer days are long and can be either beautiful or sticky and sweaty. Winters are relatively mild, with January and February offering the coldest temperatures.
The following are average Fahrenheit lows and highs by month.
January: 26°F to 39°F
February: 29°F to 42°F
March: 35°F to 50°F
April: 44°F to 60°F
May: 55°F to 71°F
June: 64°F to 79°F
July: 70°F to 85°F
August: 69°F to 83°F
September: 61°F to 76°F
October: 50°F to 65°F
November: 41°F to 54°F
December: 32°F to 44°F
Apps to Download
For the best hotels, restaurants, shops, and more in Brooklyn, visit our full Brooklyn travel guide.