NYC

Your One Stop Essential NYC Travel Guide | New York Like A Local

NYC Travel Guide


One of the most populous megacities in the world, New York City offers something (if not more) for everyone. Situated on one of the world's largest natural harbors the NYC is made up with 5 distinctive boroughs, Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. Touted as the financial, cultural and media capital of the world, it stands tall as a symbol of freedom and cultural diversity. The city that never sleeps is always hustling and bustling, so much so that it has inspired the term New York Minute.

New York hosts an array of historical Landmarks that seamlessly blends in with the modern architecture to lend the city its infamous skyline. To satiate every wanderlust’s checklist, the city offers incredible art galleries, museums, theatre, cultural events, festivals, green-spaces and culinary delights from some of world’s best restaurants to street food that will get you drooling.

NYC Travel Guide Jumplinks


Why Visit NYC


While the Statue of Liberty is enough to add New York to your travel itinerary, the real charm of the city lies in its diversity and it pace. Nicknamed the 'Big Apple’, NYC houses various cultures that built a characteristically diversified yet united ecosystem. Notably around 800 languages are spoken here, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. These cultures play a massive role in NYC’s culinary scene as well, from Chinatown to Greenwich to Harlem to the world famous Bagels or the New York Style Cheesecake.

The diversity extends to infrastructure as well, from concrete landmarks such as Times Square, the Empire State Building, the Rockefeller Centre among others to green-spaces like Central Park, Washington Square Park, Bronx Zoo. In terms of art, fashion, creativity and entertainment New York emerges a global node that goes from Street art, Street performers all the way to art galleries and museum like the Metropolitan museum of art and the Broadways.

This fast pace state of the United States of America is always brimming with something new that offers never-ending possibilities for every taste, every traveler first timer or not.

NYC Essentials


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LanguageEnglish

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Time zoneGMT-4

☎

Country Code+917

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Socket Type A & B

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CurrencyDollar ($)

Best time to visit NYC


NYC Weather

One can chose to visit New York anytime of the year as the city is beautiful and bustling throughout the year. Notably, New York is known for its unpredictable weather, which could switch not just from day to day but even hour to hour. Below is a generic season pattern to help you plan your trip and wardrobe accordingly. You can check the weather here.

Flower
New York in Spring

A glorious time to visit as the mild weather makes it easier to explore the city on the foot. The mesmerizing backdrop of blooms accompanies the open air markets, which even make the locals to hit the street. Do pack some rain boots and an umbrella as showers are often expected.

Paradis Latin
NYC in Summer - Sun

A hugely popular time to visit New York as soaring temperature and school break inspires free activities such as kayaking on the Hudson to outdoor movie screenings to Shakespeare in the Park. Expect the hotel prices to be high and availability to be low, we suggest to get bookings done in advance.

NYC in Autumn - leaf
NYC in Autumn

The steep hotel rates continue as the winds starts blowing the summer away and fall sets in. Early fall offer crisp breezes and bright sun while late fall observes lower temperature, so carry a coat for sure.

Winter
NYC in Winter

There is nothing quite like the holiday season in New York; from dressed-up Fifth Avenue windows to the massive tree at the Rockefeller Center. While the holiday causes the prices to hike, as the temperature become harsher the hotel prices steps down a few notches.

In terms of weather, the best time to visit the New York City is between May to October. To avoid the tourist crowds you can choose April to June and September to early November. For an amazing nightlife experience in New York every season or shall we say every night is a good-good night.

NYC Borough Map


The Bronx

Home of the New York Yankees, the birthplace of hip-hop and host to dozens of cultural marvels, the Bronx is often, mistakenly, overlooked. Head to City Island for a bite to eat at one of the gorgeous waterfront restaurants, roam around the ‘real Little Italy’, visit the famous Bronx Zoo and much more.

Manhattan

The heart and soul of NYC, Manhattan is a thriving epicenter for business, art, fashion and entertainment. Visit iconic sites such as the Empire State Building and Central Park. Catch a Broadway show at the city’s prolific theater district, and experience the energy of Time Square.

Queens

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Queens is considered to be the most diverse place on the planet. Eat food from around the world, hang out at one of NYC’s best parks and explore incredibly unique art exhibits and museums.

Brooklyn

From flea markets to microbreweries, live music spots to trendy eateries, Brooklyn rivals Manhattan as the city’s hot spot. Bike ride across Brooklyn Bridge, relax at Prospect Park, or hop over to Coney Island - there’s plenty to do and see in this favorite NYC borough.

Staten Island

Hop aboard the Staten Island Ferry and take in up-close views of the Statue of Liberty before. Or opt for a more luxurious cruise and sip champagne while you take in the sweeping skyline and iconic sites from an incredible vantage point.

Top 10 Things To Do in NYC


Below are a compact list of 10 things to do in NYC, regardless of whether you're in the city for a day or a week. Tick these 10 things to do in New York off your list and consider it all done.

NYC Tourist Map


Below is a NYC Tourist Map with all the prime attractions around the city that will help you chart an itinerary for yourself. Download this on your phone and keep it handy while visiting New York City.

NYC on a Budget


New York can be really pleasing on your senses; from your eyes to your taste bud, but the same cannot be said for your wallet. Ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the United States, NYC can be more than a handful if not maneuvered correctly. While various online discounts can enable you to stick to your budget, here are some tips to save you some more.

NYC Travel Guide

Plan, Plan & Plan some more

New York has heaps to offer, so plan ahead if you don’t want to get daunted by where to go and where not to.

Apart from a smoother experience pre-planning can save you galore.Depending upon your desired destinations you can plan your stay, the inter-city travel and much more. Once you have a rough sketch for your visit, browse through a bunch of offers, discounts, passes, free tours that suits your itinerary. New York is usually bustling with offers both off-season and in-season, keep an eye for them to enjoy guilt free and pocket friendly trip to the Big Apple.

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NYC Travel Guide

Use public transportation

Public transport not just let you read the pulse of a city; it is mostly the cheapest and fastest to go about explorations.

NYC boasts one of the world’s most extensive and inexpensive mass transit systems. With a widespread, 24-7-365 network of buses and subways, you are sure to find a stop not far from your point of boarding or destination. Grab a MetroCard for more savings and hassle free travel. Take The Staten Island Ferry or the Hop On Hop Off tour bus or both for some breathtaking views along with an overview of the city.

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NYC Travel Guide

Buy the NYC Pass

Aimed at visiting the NYC’s most popular attractions - Empire State Building, Statue of liberty, 9/11 Memorial Museum

Top of the Rock and so on, The New York City Pass is your answer. The pass gives you free access to over 100 New York attractions and discounted entry at others. Alongside saving money, it cuts down the time spent in long-line on individual ticket windows at each attraction. Additionally, procuring the pass is a breeze; you can collect it from the collection desks or can opt for the handy mobile version. Further discounts can be availed while booking the pass online. .

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NYC Travel Guide

Attend the Free Events

While budget friendly, exploring the boulevard streets on foot is among the best ways to inhale some New York air.

Observe the locals at the central park, or take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge or saunter at the High Line or choose and enroll in various walking tours that explore different parts of city such as the Greenwich or the Chinatown. The city is infamous for free events and attractions including free museum days, free exhibits, pay as you wish tours, free comedy shows, free concerts to name a few. You can check the listings and in fact plan your trip around such events.

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NYC Travel Guide

Stay in the cheaper boroughs

While this is one area where your pocket definitely feels the pinch, there are ways to budget your stay in New York City.

To repeat ourselves, pre-planning can land you a great deal with the hotel and save much money to splurge on something else. Although the city doesn’t really get the term off-season, the hotel prices are comparably affordable during the months of January and March. Most budget travelers choose to stay in Hostels, B&Bs, Couchsurf or Airbnb over the regular hotel experience. New York offers tons of possibilities around the same, though one has to surf thoroughly through these offers to ensure safety and profitability.

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NYC Travel Guide

Eat pocket-friendly bites

Food in New York can be a friend or a foe to your budget depending upon where you choose to eat.

The City’s food cart/truck culture keeps pushing the gastronomical envelope and offers food that can make you weak at the knees. A secret tip to score some scrumptious food inexpensively is to opt for take-out like many locals to avoid high cost of restaurant service. And then there are happy hours, you can not only score a good deal on drink specials but on food as well. Some restaurants offer happy hour seven days a week, check online or the scan the local newspaper for such offer.

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NYC Travel Guide

Visit attractions on Free Days

Many of NYC's attractions, museums & galleries allow free entry or pay-what-you-wish options

on select days of the month or evening hours every week. Those traveling to NYC on budget can take advantage of these free or low-cost admittance and experience NYC's art without burning a hole in their pocket. You can check out the list of free days to visit here.

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NYC Daily Budget Planner

You can choose to explore NYC on a budget, or take the luxurious route; both offer a great travel experience. Depending on how you'd like to go about your NYC visit, you can budget your trip. Here's a summary of an approximate per day expense in NYC.

NYC on a Budget - $86 per day
Midrange spending in NYC - $236 per day
Luxury vacation in NYC - $693 per day

Use this tool to further Budget your NYC visit.

Best Tours in NYC


NYC is a city best explored by foot and there are many guided and bus tours to help you make the most of your visit. Here's a quick list of the Top tours in NYC that you could sign up for.

NYC Travel Guide - The Ride
The Tour - The Ride The Ride is a New York experience unlike any other. It uses New York City and its landmarks as the backdrop for a theatrical event that blurs the boundary between tour and performance.
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NYC Travel Guide - Brooklyn tour
The Original Brooklyn Pizza Tour Devour the best Pizza in Brooklyn and tour across some of Brooklyn’s iconic neighborhoods, parks, landmarks, as well as well-known movie locations.
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NYC Travel Guide-Central park TV
Central Park TV & Movie Sites Tour TV and Movie buffs will love this unique tour that walks you through over 30 film and television locations. From Breakfast at Tiffany’s to When Harry Met Sally and many more.
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NYC Travel Guide - Boroughs
New York City Boroughs Tour Explore the culturally diverse boroughs of New York and get to know the different sides of Brooklyn, the Bronx, Harlem, and Queens.
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Best Day Trips from NYC


While the list of things to see and do in NYC is never-ending, you must step out for a while and explore the neighbouring cities. If you're in NYC for over three days, you must definitely check out these Day Trips from New York and embark on the one that suits your liking.

New York to Niagara Falls Escape the hustle-bustle of the ‘Big Apple’ and discover one of the prettiest sight in all of USA, the Niagara Falls
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NYC Travel Guide - Niagara Falls
New York to Washington Enjoy a guided tour of Washington from New York with a professional guide, and experience the wonders of Washington in a single day tour.
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NYC Travel Guide - New York Washington

NYC Travel Tips


NYC Travel Guide - Tips

Currency & ATMs in NYC

The United States’ dollar, USD ($) is the standard currency adopted in New York. 100 cents make up a dollar. The currency notes come in the denominations of 1$, 2$, 5$, 10$, 20$, 50$, 100$ and the coins come in 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, and $1.00.

New York’s restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops widely accepts most credit and debit cards like Visa and Mastercard, though a overseas transaction fee is incurred. Check the fee beforehand with your card issuer as it varies from card to card. It is advisable to keep some local currency always handy for any emergencies.

Ample number of ATM’s is strewn across NYC, and it is likely you will cross one within than two or three blocks. In addition to bank locations, ATM’s are located at many hotel lobbies, at fast food restaurants, in delis called bodegas and pharmacies like Duane Reade and CVS. Notably a surcharge will be applied as per the ATM used and your bank regulations.

US Dollar exchange rate

Here’s a trusted exchange calculator you can use to check the current exchange rate of US Dollar to your home currency.

NYC Visa Guide

If you are planning to visit NYC, you will require a USA Visitor Visa usually known as a B2 Visa. Here are a few guidelines:

  • Getting a visitor visa to USA is subject to approval. Each applicant must have a valid passport, submit the application form, pay the fee, and appear for the visitor visa interview at the nearest applicable US consulate in their country.
  • Tourist visa is granted for a specific purpose only, like tourism, medical treatment, etc. Person entering the United States on visitor visa should not be involved in study, business, or work.

Tipping in NYC

New Yorkers in the Service industry expect some love and appreciation from you in the form of tip.

  • Note that these days many restaurants implement a no-tipping policy and apply add on service charge or administrative charge, so you need not pay tip in that case.
  • A tip of 15- 20 percent of total bill for Wait staff and Bartenders in the general norm in restaurants.
  • Hotel staff expects a tip for their services, depending upon the service rendered by the guest. The norm suggests $1 to the hotel doorman for hailing a cab, $1–$2 per bag to the Porters and bellhops, $1–$2 per day of your visit to $5 per day for the housekeeping staff.
  • The taxi drivers are usually paid a tip of 15–20 percent of total fare.
  • If you happen to visit the salon or avail similar services, a tip of 15–20 percent of total service cost is expected.

NYC Culture Tips


NYC Travel Guide - Culture

It is understandable that New York City can be a daunting destination with so much to absorb, so much to see and so little time. Barring that you also need to understand that while you are on a trip, New Yorkers are going about their strict daily schedule. So, it is important to follow some typical New York’ish etiquettes that will not hinder the local’s life.

  • Sidewalk etiquettes – Whether to ogle at the sites or to refer a map, shift on the pavement. The citizens are rushing towards their respective destinations and definitely would appreciate running into you in the middle of the sidewalk
  • Subway/public transport etiquettes – While you are getting accustomed to the pace of the place, do observe how speedily New Yorkers like to cross through. Keep the metro card handy for smooth swipe through the turnstile. Do not crowd the subway door, way before your stop, letting others pass and board with ease.
  • Quick help – New Yorkers while stern don’t mind helping out, though they might not have time for a chit-chat. So ask your prompt questions.
  • Place your order quick – Do not keep the line waiting while you decide your order. Try and sort it before you reach the counter.

NYC Festivals


NYC Travel Guide - Festivals

The spirit of New York in and around festivals is as wonderful as the main event. Several festivals are planned throughout the year; here is a list of some of the most notable one’s.

  • The Tribeca Film Festival - Created by Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro in 2002, the Tribeca Film Festival showcases a diverse selection of independent films to a broad audience. The festival garners an estimated three million attendees including celebrities from the worlds of art, film, and music.
  • The Museum Mile Festival - A 40 year old festival, that knits together art lovers from New York and beyond. Museums open their doors to the public at no charge; the streets are flooded with live music and entertainment converting the Fifth Avenue into the city’s largest block party.
  • Fleet Week NYC - The members of the United States Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps are honored and celebrated in a week long affair. It starts with the Parade of Ships cruising along the Hudson River, leads into military demonstrations and concludes with a Memorial Day ceremony
  • Five Boro Craft Beer Fest - Live music with over 100 event-exclusive small-batch beers by 50 local and out-of-state breweries, what more can a beer lover ask for. The all-you-can-drink fest offers you to chat up with the brewers while you sip their two-ounce pour.
  • Lunar New Year Parade & Festival - A cultural celebration to ring in Lunar new years, that takes place in Manhattan’s Chinatown, as well as in Flushing, Queens, and Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Crowds of hundreds of thousands gather to witness elaborate floats, marching bands, martial artists, Asian musicians, magicians, acrobats and processions by local organizations.

There are plenty more Events & Festivals in NYC and a quick cursory glance across the internet will expose you to many more.

NYC Festivals in Spring

NYC Festivals in Summer

NYC Festivals in Autumn

NYC Festivals in Winter

Where to stay in NYC


NYC Travel Guide - Stay

Questions about which neighborhood to prefer while planning for a stay in NYC, is amongst the most puzzling one. To put it simply, there is no ‘best place,’ it all depends upon your budget and itinerary which neighborhood might suit you better than the other.

  • Midtown : This has the city’s largest concentration of hotels. Neighboring landmarks like the Empire State Building, the Museum of Modern Art the bright lights of Broadway have attributed it as the best neighborhood in regards of sightseeing. It offers shopping at the 57 Street and Madison Avenue boutiques to dining spaces that span across everyone’s budget.
  • Lower Manhattan and the Financial District : The southern tip of the island is also one of New York’s most flourishing neighborhoods with new shops, hotels and restaurants. Many hotels of the financial district offer good rates during the weekend, when the business travelers go home.
  • Tribeca and SoHo : The triangle below Canal(Tribeca) and South of Houston (SoHo) are two reformed neighborhoods from former warehouses. Known for their spacious and pricey loft apartments, both Tribeca and Soho are home for fine dining and trendy shopping. It is among the best Neighborhood for foodies.
  • Upper West Side : Lined with playgrounds and parks it is amongst the best NYC neighborhood for Families. Served by two subway lines and several buses the area’s hotels offer affordable family accommodations

Midtown

Top 5 Headout Picks

  • Library Hotel
  • Row NYC at Times Square
  • Hilton Garden Inn Times Square Central
  • Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott North Bergen
  • The French Quarters Guest Apartments

Lower Manhattan

Top 5 Headout Picks

  • Ritz-Carlton Battery Park
  • Courtyard by Marriott Downtown/WTC
  • Hampton Inn Downtown-Financial District
  • Chelsea International Hostel
  • American Dream Bed and Breakfast

Tribeca and SoHo

Top 5 Headout Picks

  • The Crosby Street Hotel
  • Duane Street Hotel Tribeca
  • Soho Grand Hotel
  • The James New York
  • The Local NYC

Upper West Side

Top 5 Headout Picks

  • Mandarin Oriental
  • Empire Hotel
  • TLa Quinta Inn & Suites
  • Paramount Hotel
  • Holiday Inn New York City

What to Eat in NYC


NYC is a foodie's paradise. You'll never get tired to eating in this city and exploring them all is a distant dream. However, here are a list of delicious delights which you simply cannot miss enjoying!

Bagels

New York is home to some of the world’s finest bagels, so much so that many people claim that it is the water here that makes it so yummy. It is amongst the favorite breakfast for the locals and the travelers alike.

NYC Travel Guide - Bagels

Pastrami on Rye

A Jewish delicacy that is omnipresent and amalgamated in New York City’s culture since the 19th century. As popular as ever, the classic beef pastrami smeared with yellow mustard between two slices of rye bread holds the heart of most locals.

NYC Travel Guide- Pastrami on Rye

BEC

The bacon, scrambled egg, and cheese sandwich or the “BEC” is power house breakfast that fuels the pace of New York. Available at almost every deli in the city this delicacy is what a diet conscious New Yorker will surely cheat for. The best one comes from Bodega.

NYC travel Guide - BEC

Dollar slice

A piece of pizza priced at $1 or less, “dollar slice,” is locals pick for the best cheap meal in the city. While the economic crises have forced this trend to slow down a lot of local chains like 2 Bros. Pizza or 99¢ Fresh Pizza, still serve a consistent dollar slice.

NYC travel Guide - Dollar Slice

New York Cheesecake

As the cheesecake lover will put it, there’s Cheesecake and then there is New York Cheesecake. Restaurant owner Arnold Reuben claims his family invented the cheesecake in 1929. Fair warning - you won’t be able to go back to your local cheesecake after you tasted this one.

NYC travel Guide - New york cheesecake

Where to Eat in NYC


Now that you know what all you should eat in NYC, here's where you can find the best of these delicasies.

Absolute Bagels

NYC travel Guide - Absolute Bagels

While on the pricier side in terms of hamburgers, a Balthazar hamburgers undoubtedly is your money’s worth. One of the bestsellers ‘Balthazar Cheeseburger’ is priced at $21, and comes perfectly grilled with a thick slab of melted cheese and a side of crunchy fries. Read more here.

Crif Dogs

NYC travel Guide - Crif Dogs

Invented by German butcher Charles Feltman in Coney Island in 1871, hotdogs have been everyone’s favorite since. Crif Dogs envelopes the traditional dish with a twist of flavors. For instance the Spicy Red Neck has a bacon wrapped dog with coleslaw, chilli and jalapeños. Read more here.

Balthazar Restaurant

NYC travel Guide - Balthazar

While on the pricier side in terms of hamburgers, a Balthazar hamburgers undoubtedly is your money’s worth. One of the bestsellers ‘Balthazar Cheeseburger’ is priced at $21, and comes perfectly grilled with a thick slab of melted cheese and a side of crunchy fries. Read more here.

Dominique Ansel Bakery

NYC travel Guide - bakery

If you haven’t heard about the cronut than visit this place, if you have heard or eaten one, taste this one to know what the real deal is about. The bakery introduces a new exotic flavor every month and offers flavor profile from strawberry balsamic to mascarpone with basil sugar. Read more here.

The Halal Guys

NYC travel Guide - Halal Guys

What started as a single food cart in Midtown in 1990 has now evolved into a nationwide chain that serves a big pile of tender, heavily seasoned chicken accompanied by lamb over rice and a healthy serving of a lip-smacking white sauce. Read more here.

Grand Central Oyster Bar

NYC travel Guide - Oyster bar

This 104-year-old restaurant in Grand Central, is as iconic to New York as the train station’s starry ceiling over the cavernous main concourse. Their platter of raw oysters or the iconic, creamy oyster pan roast is sure to steal your heart Read more here.

Getting Around NYC


NYC travel Guide - Transport

New York’s public transport is the city's heart beat and best way for locals and travelers to go about the city. While taxis gets pretty expensive for everyday travel, buses and subway offer a much better alternative.

On the surface, deciphering the map of trains and busses network looks quite a laborious process. But the well connected system that lends the fast pace city its real pace is not that difficult. We suggest that you download a map and keep it handy while traveling around NYC.

Additionally, to make your travel smoother choose travel cards that suits your itinerary. This way, you can avoid the long lines at the ticket windows and travel like a local.

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