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.
CitizenM New York Times Square Hotel
Address: 218 W. 50th St., New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 461-3638
Located on the northern edge of Times Square in the heart of the Theater District, this hotel feels like an urban art gallery. Rooms are compact yet modern, functional, and clean. Plus, the hotel bar is as affordable as they come in NYC, and there’s a rooftop that’s perfect for sipping cocktails.
The Empire Hotel
Address: 44 W. 63rd St., New York, NY 10023
Phone: (212) 265-7400
This trendy boutique hotel is known for its rooftop bar whose red neon sign looms large over the Upper West Side. Rooms are small yet functional, comfortable, and well-equipped for business travelers. Besides, the rooftop is where you'll want to spend all of your free time.
DoubleTree by Hilton New York Downtown
Address: 8 Stone St., New York, NY 10004
Phone: (212) 480-9100
If you’re looking for a comfortable, spacious room at what’s going to feel like a bargain price, this is where you need to be. This hotel regularly offers some of the cheapest rooms at this level in the city, plus it provides easy access to the Financial District, Stone Street, and Brooklyn.
Address: Multiple Locations
This trendy hotel has two Manhattan outposts. The Hudson Street location is perfect for travelers looking for a party in the Meatpacking District, while the NoMad spot offers excellent proximity to shopping and rooftop bars, including the hotel’s own. The Arlo NoMad rooftop is a great place to gawk at the Empire State Building, cocktail in hand. Both hotels offer courtesy bikes for guests.
Soho Grand Hotel
Address: 310 W. Broadway, New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 965-3000
The luxury Soho Grand Hotel takes the guest experience to a whole other level. It has rooms that are small yet luxurious and functional, even for business travelers. Common areas are nothing short of opulent. This is a perfect home base for exploring Lower Manhattan and escaping the hustle and bustle of the city overnight.
Address: 768 5th Ave., New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 759-3000
If money is no object and you’ve always dreamed of sleeping in a castle, this is the hotel for you. It was built to resemble a French chateau and sits across the street from the southern edge of Central Park. A favorite of filmmakers, The Plaza is where Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand filmed “The Way We Were” and where MaCaulay Culkin spent Christmas in “Home Alone 2.” The Plaza underwent a $450 million restoration in 2008 and is known for its afternoon tea service.
The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park
Address: 50 Central Park S., New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 308-9100
The Ritz-Carlton is one of Central Park's most luxurious hotels. The high-end property is located steps from some of the best shopping in the world and the southern edge of Central Park. Rooms are plush and personal touches abound. This is a place to be pampered. Come for a spa day, stay for afternoon tea, and while away the hours in between at Bergdorf Goodman a few blocks away.
Yotel New York
Address: 570 10th Ave., New York, NY 10036
Phone: (646) 449-7700
Hotel rooms in New York City don’t come cheap, so if you're looking to travel on a budget, it's going to be a challenge. One solution? The Yotel in Midtown West, one of the original pod hotels. Its New York City “cabins” range in size from 114 to 275 square feet, and each has at least a double bed and private bathroom. All kinds of restaurants sit at your doorstep in this neighborhood, and the Yotel’s weekend brunches are the place to be seen on summer days.
Address: John F. Kennedy International Airport, JFK Access Road, One Idlewild Dr., 11430
Phone: (212) 806-9000
Designed by the architect behind St. Louis’ Gateway Arch and completed in 1962, TWA Hotel is a vintage aviation geek’s dream come true. Formerly an airline terminal, it has since been converted into a 512-room hotel. It’s also a convenient choice if you’re working a New York stop into a long layover. The hotel offers four- to six-hour bookings, as well as overnight stays, and the rooftop infinity pool is the perfect place to watch planes take off.
Address: 205 E. Houston St., New York, NY 10002
Phone: (212) 254-2246
Founded in 1888, this kosher-style deli sits underneath an iconic, old-school sign. The casual, bustling space is known for its pastrami on rye — considered to be one of the city's best — as well as for its corned beef. It’s likely to look familiar — Katz’s was the backdrop for Meg Ryan's fake orgasm scene in “When Harry Met Sally.”
The Halal Guys
Address: Multiple Locations
The Halal Guys is a popular New York street-food vendor. It started at the corner of West 53rd Street and 6th Avenue in 1990, when a trio of cab drivers started whipping up platters of halal chicken, gyro, and falafel over rice. Twenty-five years and a few additional locations later, crowds still line up for wraps and platters from this New York city icon.
Address: 72 W. 36th St., New York, NY 10018
Phone: (212) 947-3636
Keens is the rare restaurant that has survived more than a century in the Herald Square section of Midtown Manhattan. It opened in 1885 and was a favorite among stage actors in the early days. Now, it's a carnivore’s paradise known around the world for its whiskey and gigantic mutton chop. The restaurant previously allowed patrons to store their clay pipes, allowing it to build a collection from legends such as Babe Ruth, Theodore Roosevelt, J.P. Morgan, and Albert Einstein.
Address: 46 Bowery, New York, NY 10013
Phone: (212) 233-8888
The original Joe's Shanghai opened in Flushing, Queens, paving the way for future locations in Chinatown and Midtown Manhattan. The restaurant is known for its authentic Shanghainese food, specifically its pork and crab xiao long bao. This variety of Chinese steamed bun is cooked with soup inside the dumpling, creating a simple culinary experience like none other.
Address: 204 W. 55th St., New York, NY 10019
Phone: (646) 590-2034
Located just south of Central Park, Tanner Smith’s is the perfect place to go for a classy tea that doubles as a tipsy brunch. It’s part speakeasy, part cocktail bar, part restaurant, and 100% authentic New York. This is a place whose roots stretch back to the 1800s and whose Tipsy Tea Brunch will make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time.
Address: 225 E 60th St., New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 838-3531
This is a place guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth. The legendary sweet shop and general store opened in 1954 and has since become a go-to for celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, Cher, and Beyonce. It’s known for its Frozen Hot Chocolate, creative savory dishes such as shrimp-stuffed avocado, and for creating both the world’s most expensive dessert and most expensive burger. The restaurant has made appearances in the movies “Serendipity,” “One Fine Day,” and “Trust the Man.”
Eleven Madison Park
Address: 11 Madison Ave,, New York, NY 10010
Phone: (212) 889-0905
Regularly on lists of the world's top fine-dining establishments, Eleven Madison Park is best known for its multicourse tasting menu. The three-Michelin-star restaurant also serves up beautiful views, given its location overlooking Madison Square Park.
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer
Address: 529 Broome St., New York, NY 10013
Phone: (917) 639-3089
If you’re looking for over-the-top shakes with which to fill your Instagram feed, get to your closest Black Tap Burgers & Beer. This restaurant started in 2015 with 15 seats in Soho, and has made a name for itself with solid burgers and towering milkshakes topped with everything from ice cream sandwiches to slices of cake to gigantic lollipops.
Address: Multiple Locations
Ramen is everywhere these days and Totto Ramen doles out some of the best in New York City. Its restaurants are small, lines can be long, and reservations aren’t an option. But don’t worry — this ramen is worth the wait. Totto is known for using a rich, chicken-based broth instead of a more traditional pork-based version, and for serving up some of the best noodles in Manhattan. There are now three Totto Ramen locations in Midtown Manhattan. The 52nd Street location is the original.
Address: 240 Central Park S., New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 582-5100
Marea is one of the city's top seafood restaurants. This high-end spot at the edge of Central Park has earned two Michelin stars and the 2010 James Beard Award for best new restaurant. Chef Michael White gets his inspiration from coastal Italy — don't miss the branzino, Adriatic seafood soup, or the stuffed calamari. Can’t decide? Opt for a multicourse prix-fixe menu or a chef’s tasting menu.
Address: Multiple Locations
You can’t visit New York and not eat an iconic NYC bagel. But why not eat that bagel where Seinfeld’s Kramer used to work? H&H was once the largest bagel maker in New York and one of the largest bagel manufacturers in the world, making an estimated 80,000 rounds per day. Nowadays, its two locations feed New Yorkers on the Upper East and Upper West Sides of Manhattan.
Xi‘an Famous Foods
Address: Multiple Locations
With several locations across New York, this chain of family-run restaurants specializes in authentic western Chinese food. The company’s CEO was born in Xi’an, one of China’s oldest cities. Fun fact: Its dishes were a favorite of Anthony Bourdain’s.
Address: 189 Spring St., New York, NY 10012
Phone: (212) 219-2773
This Soho bakery is perhaps best known for creating the cronut, a magical blend of croissant and donut in new flavors revealed each month. But Dominique Ansel offers so much more. Among the treats not to miss: torched-to-order frozen s’mores with a vanilla ice cream center covered in chocolate wafer crisps and honey marshmallows.
Things to Do
Times Square is the pulsing heart of the city that never sleeps, but it isn’t actually a square. In fact, it looks more like a bow tie and covers an area from West 42nd to West 47th Streets along Broadway and Seventh Avenues. This commercial intersection is where the city's world-famous New Year's Eve celebration is held. Hundreds of thousands of people pass through it even on a slow day, and visitors should not be surprised to catch impromptu concerts, yoga classes, and street performances here.
New York’s Theater District is home to Broadway, the collection of Midtown Manhattan theaters that comprise one of the world’s top live performance hubs. This area between West 40th and West 54th Streets, and between Sixth and Eighth Avenues, is where most of the city's Broadway theaters are located. Some offer discount tickets through lotteries, and even walking through the area provides ample opportunity to spot celebrities. Performers often take the time to sign autographs and snap photos with audiences outside of stage doors after shows. For discounted same- and next-day tickets, check out the TKTS booth in Times Square.
Central Park is an 840-acre urban oasis separating the Upper East and Upper West Sides of Manhattan. The park draws more than 35 million visitors a year and is one of the most filmed locations in the world. It is home to the Central Park Zoo, the expansive Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, the John Lenon tribute Strawberry Fields, and Delacorte Theater, home of Shakespeare in the Park. Spend some time soaking in the sun at Sheep Meadow and wandering through the Conservatory Garden, and be sure to check the schedule for special events.
Empire State Building
Address: 20 W, 34th St., New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 736-3100
This 102-story Art Deco skyscraper is a cultural icon in Midtown Manhattan that’s appeared in more than 250 movies and TV shows. The Empire State Building is the second-tallest building in New York City and the 45th tallest building in the world. It’s an office building with public observation decks offering some of the best views in Manhattan. Tip: Splurge for the skip-the-line tickets, especially during the spring and summer.
Top of the Rock
Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112
Phone: (212) 698-2000
Sitting at the top of Rockefeller Center, Top of the Rock is home to three of the best observation decks in the city, which offer unobstructed views of Central Park and the towering skyscrapers of Midtown Manhattan. Observation decks are located on the 67th, 69th, and 70th floors of the building, which also happens to be the iconic 30 Rock.
One World Observatory
Address: One World Trade Center, 117 West St., New York, NY 10006
Phone: (844) 696-1776
One World Trade Center’s elevators whisk visitors up 102 stories in just 47 seconds, delivering them to an expansive observation deck that offers a bird's-eye view of Lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty. This observatory is located farther south than the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock, making for a completely different way of experiencing New York City from above.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Address: 1000 5th Ave., New York, NY 10028
Phone: (212) 535-7710
The Met, as it’s known to most, is the largest art museum in the U.S. and was the third most-visited art museum in the world in 2018. The Met's collection includes more than two million pieces spread across three Manhattan venues, the largest of which sits on Fifth Avenue and overlooks Central Park. Don't miss the Temple of Dendur, an ancient Egyptian temple that dates back to the first century B.C. or the rooftop.
American Museum of Natural History
Address: 200 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 769-5100
The American Museum of Natural History is the largest natural history museum in the world. The Upper West Side space has 28 interconnected buildings and 45 permanent exhibition halls, as well as a planetarium, library, and the largest collection of dinosaur fossils in the world. If dinosaurs are your thing, plan to spend most of your time in Dinosaur Hall, home to a massive T-Rex made almost entirely of real fossil bones from the museum’s collection.
Address: 1 E 161 St., Bronx, NY 10451
Yankee Stadium is the home to the world-famous New York Yankees. The stadium is located in the Bronx and easily accessible by the New York subway. This is an iconic place to catch a baseball game while on vacation. Not traveling in season? Try a tour. Yankee Stadium tours include stops at the on-site New York Yankees Museum and in the 27-time World Series champions’ locker room. Some pregame tours during baseball season include opportunities to sit in on batting practice.
This iconic neo-Gothic bridge connects Manhattan to Brooklyn and offers visitors the chance to walk between boroughs on a piece of literal history. The Brooklyn Bridge was the world's first-ever steel-wire suspension bridge. It once carried horse-drawn carriages, but now serves as a way for cars, pedestrians, and bikes to cross the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn. The bridge is also known for its pointed arches and stone towers, and offers excellent views of the Financial District skyline and Brooklyn.
Washington Square Park
Address: Washington Square
This nearly 10-acre park in Greenwich Village is a hotbed of cultural activity. The park has a gateway reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and has long served as a place to celebrate nonconformity. Expect to find artists, musicians, and other types of performers here every day, and spend some time people-watching around the park’s iconic fountain.
Statue of Liberty
Phone: (212) 363-3200
Lady Liberty is an icon of freedom that sits in the harbor just off the coast of Manhattan. Visitors can either schedule a visit to the statue and Ellis Island from Battery Park City in Manhattan, or hop on the free Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty from the water. Visits to the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal and the top of her crown require visitors to pass through airport-like security. Tickets to the crown should be booked months in advance.
9/11 Memorial and Museum
Address: 180 Greenwich St., New York, NY 10007
Phone: (212) 312-8800
The World Trade Center museum and memorial site honor the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on New York City. Two memorial pools stand where the World Trade Center's iconic towers once did, inscribed with the names of those killed. Museum tickets can be purchased up to six months in advance.
Saks Fifth Avenue
Address: 611 Fifth Ave., New York, NY, 10022
Phone: (212) 753-4000
Saks Fifth Avenue is a luxury department store that anchors New York’s Fifth Avenue shopping strip, an area known for its designer names and sky high prices. The shopping experience at Saks is like none other, especially during the holidays, when the building’s facade becomes part of one of the best holiday light shows in the world.
Macy’s Herald Square
Address: 151 W 34th St., New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 695-4400
Anchoring the Herald Square section of Manhattan, this flagship Macy's store is among the largest in the world. It covers nine levels and has been in operation since 1902. It’s also known for its animated holiday window displays and for hosting the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But tucked into its sixth floor is Stella, a peaceful oasis of Italian food in a neighborhood where quiet restaurants are few and far between.
Address: 754 5th Ave., New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 753-7300
This is the kind of New York department store high-dollar dreams are made of. Bergdorf isn’t just a place to shop for designer bags, clothes, and beauty products — it’s also a great place for tea. Make time for tea at Bergdorf Goodman’s BG restaurant on the top floor, and watch the movie “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s” before you go. It’ll give you an idea of how this department store became the retail icon it is today.
Olde Good Things
Address: Multiple Locations
Olde Good Things is an architectural salvage shop that offers visitors the opportunity to quite literally take home a piece of old New York. Much of this store’s inventory won’t fit into an overhead compartment, but there is no more interesting place to browse for one-of-a-kind New York souvenirs. Olde Good Things sources from pre-Depression and late 19th-century buildings, including some with very famous names. Want to take home a piece of the Waldorf Astoria hotel or the J.P. Morgan empire? Olde Good Things has you covered with furniture, accessories, and more.
Take the N, R subway to Prince or Canal Street stations
This is where to find designer boutiques, sample sales, and the occasional bargain. This area in Lower Manhattan is also home to retail chains such as AllSaints, Madewell, Nike, and REI; resale shops; and a number of unique boutiques. While you’re here, take a stroll through Chinatown for affordable souvenirs and accessories.
Address: 245 Malcolm X Blvd., New York, NY 10027
Phone: (646) 707-0070
This Harlem boutique has been dressing American hip-hop royalty for years. It has outfitted celebrities like Will Smith, LeBron James, Kanye West, and Pharrell Williams, and is said to be a favorite of Jay Z’s. The store carries both men and women’s clothing, as well as household items.
Artists & Fleas
Address: Multiple Locations
Artists & Fleas operates a collection of sprawling indoor markets across New York City. New merchants selling arts, crafts, clothing, and more cycle out every couple of weeks, making each a spot to consistently find new things.
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
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For the best hotels, restaurants, shops, and more in Brooklyn, visit our full Brooklyn travel guide.