Tips For Planning Your First Visit To Nyc
I am going to start off my list of NYC travel tips with some things to consider when you are planning your first visit to New York. If possible, I suggest that you start planning your trip at least a month in advance. It will make a big difference if you have time to get organized and do your research before you leave.
Best Bus Tour: The Ride New York City
There are a wide variety of sightseeing tours in New York by bus, but The Ride steps things up a notch for a fun and educational experience. The 75-minute tour blends a classic narrated sightseeing trip with live entertainment while traveling the city in style. As travelers are whisked around Midtown Manhattan in a luxurious bus with oversized windows, television monitors and unique lighting, theyll have a few surprise visitors like street performers while the hilarious hosts narrate the not-so-average bus ride. Theres quite a bit of improv as hosts and performers interact with passengers and pedestrians so no two trips are the same.
Best Private Tour: New York Underground Subway Private Tour
The NYC subway has a certain curious allure to it and this elaborate system of underground rails has a fascinating history. On the 2.5-hour, New York Underground Subway Private Tour, travelers can learn about the secrets of the subway with a personal tour guide. The guide will lead the way as you travel along the original 1904 route from Bowling Green to Grand Central Terminal, admiring underground art and learning about the subways engineering, construction and how it came to be. The guide will also tell of abandoned levels and fake houses to disguise escape routes. Be aware that because it is a private tour, the price is set for groups, so the more people in your group the more affordable it becomes per person.
Also Check: New York Toll Calculator
Best Bar Crawl: East Village Walking Tour
The City that Never Sleeps is known for its bars and bustling nightlife, and if you enjoy sipping on a premium adult beverage, the East Village has a wide array of craft cocktails and brews from expert bartenders and mixologists. On the 2.5-hour East Village Walking Tour, travelers experience some of the East Villages trendy watering holes tasting several craft cocktails. The small group tour has 12 people or less and offers a chance to discover locally produced spirits from micro distilleries while an informative guide explains how Prohibition-era speakeasies shaped New York City. On the tour, youll get to know New Yorks cocktail culture and visit one of the best wine and spirits shops for some optional liquid souvenirs.
Using The Subway To Get Around
The subway system is a very efficient way to get around the city. But it is a bit daunting to use if you are not familiar with it.
Be prepared for your first ride by reading our post with everything you need to know about riding the subway.
Although you will only need two subway rides on the above one-day itinerary, it’s good to plan in advance which NYC Subway MetroCard to buy because stations are crowded and deciding which card is best on the spot can be a bit hectic.
If you have a smartphone, you can download a free app that will make your day in NYC much more smooth.
Read our post on which NYC subway app is best.
TIP: Anytime you are riding the subway be on the look-out for great musicians, buskers, and performers.
Our post about Where to find New York City Street Performers and Subway Music will lead you right to them!
Also Check: Free Community College Ny
Days In New York: The Ultimate New York City Itinerary
With 5 days in New York City, you can visit the icons of New Yorkthe Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Times Square, and Central Parkand also have enough time to explore different neighborhoods, try new foods, and see a Broadway show. We put together this 5 day New York City itinerary to help you have the best experience here.
Firefighters Memorial Wall Street And Trinity Church
After seeing the Memorial, your guide will walk you past the Firefighters Memorial, to see Wall Street and Trinity Church. During that walk, you will learn the in-depth story of the 9/11 attacks and how New Yorkers dealt with the tragedy. Our New York native tour guides will educate you about the recovery effort, the way in which the attacks affected life in New York City, and the new One World Trade Center tower that is being constructed at the site.
Don’t Miss: Wax Museum Nyc Times Square
Safety In New York City
These days, New York is a relatively safe city to visit- a far cry from the seventies and eighties when crime was rife.
However, as with any major city in the world petty crime is an issue, and you should take precautions with your valuables so as to minimize opportunities for theft and pickpocketing.
Simple things like keeping purse and wallets out of sight in a zippable pocket, and not leaving valuables like phones lying out in plain sight will go a long way to ensuring a safe trip.
How To Get Around New York City
New York City is a big place. Even focusing solely on Manhattan, you are looking at an island which is 13.4 miles long and 2.3 miles wide.
So whilst obviously you can get around on foot, you are likely going to want some other options as well. Thankfully, NYC has a plethora of transit options to help you get around which include the metro, buses, taxis, and ferries.
First though, if you follow our itinerary, you should be able to do the majority of it on foot. We set it up that way so you can spend more time sightseeing and less time travelling. Obviously, depending on where you choose to stay, youll need to get to the start point each day. Also, if youre travelling from downtown to midtown, youre not likely going to want to walk.
Here are some of the options we suggest for you for this itinerary. We also have a detailed guide to getting around New York, which you might find helpful.
You May Like: Nyc To Dc Tolls
Dont Just Settle For Any Pizza
NYC is famous for its pizza, but not all pizza in New York is created equal. Please avoid those places that sell a slice for $1. You get what you pay for! My favorite NYC pizza places are Adriennes on Stone Street, Lombardis, Don Antonio, and . Pizza lovers may also enjoy taking a half day NYC pizza tour.
A trip to New York is not complete without some pizza!
Where To Stay In New York
Which neighborhood is best for you depends on several things: your interests, how close you want to be to the attractions and what your travel budget is. In the image below, Ive drawn you my favorite neighborhoods of New York including the main attractions nearby.
And, on the subject of safety: In all of Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and large parts of Queens, you dont have to worry about being out and about in the evening. New York City is one of the safest cities in the world!
Recommended Reading: Nyc Car Registration
Stop #: Whitney Museum Of Art
Another one for the art lovers is the beautiful Whitney Museum of American Art. This innovative museum has long been important to New York Citys arts scene for its dedication to living artists, both established and up-and-coming, and for their groundbreaking exhibitions of never-before-seen American art. Visitors to this Lower Manhattan mainstay will get to enjoy their full range of exhibits and programming, which includes everything from twentieth-century painting to works of art made just last year!
Getting In: Whitney Museum of Art tickets are included as an option with the Go New York Pass.
World Trade Center Station
Ok, I appreciate including a train station might seem a bit odd. In fact, Ive included two on this itinerary!
The World Trade Center Station is a pretty epic building, and I think youll agree, well worth a visit. The centerpiece is the Oculus, a magnificent white ribbed construction that gave me the impression of being inside a giant futuristic whale.
Its a great spot for some photos, and I think worth a few minutes of your time at least. Its also only a short walk from the 9/11 Memorial Museum, on the way to the next stop on this itinerary.
Read Also: How Much To Register A Car In Nys
What To Do In Nyc: Day 3
Stroll around Central ParkThe perfect way to relax in the city and leave the crowds behind is to spend the day in Central Park. Its free, there are lots of paths to walk , bike lanes, lakes to row in, and a zoo. Since the park covers over 150 square blocks, its easy to spend hours wandering around. During the summer months, there are often free concerts and theater productions . From the late spring to the early fall, there are free guided walks run by the parks service on Saturdays at 11am. Im a big fan of laying out in Sheeps Meadow on a hot, sunny day with a book, some food, and a bottle of wine.
Several excellent museums can be found in or on the edges of Central Park too .
Visit the The Metropolitan Museum of ArtThe Met is one of the biggest museums in the world, and if you only see one museum in New York, I recommend this one. It has a wide array of art, historical artifacts, photographs, and other exhibits. I like its expansive Impressionist and Greek exhibits. Its chaotic and filled with people, especially on the weekend, but since it is so big, you can usually find some quiet spots away from the crowds. Budget at least a half-day here as a few hours wont do this place justice.
1000 5th Avenue, Central Park, Upper East Side, +1 212 535 7710, metmuseum.org. Open SundayThursday from 10am5pm. Admission is $25 USD .
Central Park W. at 79th Street, Upper West Side, +1 212 769 5100, amnh.org. Open Wednesday-Sunday from 10am-5:30pm. Admission is $23 USD .
Get Insider Recommendations From A New York Local
When it comes to things to do in New York, you could rely on Google articles from three years agoor you could ask a trip planner who actually *lives* in New York for recommendations. They know all the best stuff to do, see, and experience at any budgetbecause New York is their city! Plus, since your local creates a custom itinerary just for you, youll get to see all the stuff you want without a bunch of boring filler activities. No fiddling with annoying logistics! And who knowsyou might even become best friends.
Youre totally prepared to enjoy the best of New York Citywithout emptying your savings for the trip! For even more budget tips, be sure to talk with a local NYC travel expert. Theyll help design a custom itinerary that hits everything you want to see, plus all the insider secrets you could ever need. Even better, theyll be around with 24/7 phone support to help if you run into any issues. Any questions? Feel free to send us a message! And dont forget to check out:
Recommended Reading: How Much Are Tolls To New York
One Day In New York Itinerary
This one-day itinerary takes you to many of the locations and attractions that make New York City the exciting place that it is.
You will see historic buildings, beautiful parks, all while getting views of the amazing New York skyline from different vantage points.
We’ve included time for lunch, a snack, and dinner.
There is a section for night activities if you have enough energy to keep going!
If you are waiting for a flight or train later in the day, learn where you can store your bags for just $5.99/day.
Stop #: Guggenheim Museum
Welcome to the work of art filled with works of art!
The fabulous, swirling white helix of a building it totally unique in it surroundings of townhouses on the Upper East Side, and within its walls you’ll discover even more treasures. Home to the works of Cézanne, Gauguin, Manet, Monet, Picasso, Pissarro, Renoir, and more, its an impressionist-enthusiast’s dream and hosts the finest temporary exhibitions too.
Viewing priceless art always stirs up an appetite, and happily there is the fabulous Café 3 within the museum that has stunning views over central park to enjoy while you break for coffee and cake.
Getting in:Guggenheim Museum tickets are included with the Go New York pass.
Read Also: Cheap Ways To New York
Take Advantage Of The Amazing Museums
I know some people dont like museums, but in NYC you should give them another chance. Its the best thing to do when the weather is bad too. There are so many different museums I feel like there is something for everyone.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the best museums in the world.
There are a few museums that are free and most museums have a day when you can get in free check the details here.
Getting To New York City
You can find cheap flights to New York City if you know the tricks on when to book, what days to travel and where you can find discount discounts.
Before you arrive, take a look at our post on transportation to and from New York City’s airports.
It’s important to look in advance because you are likely to need to buy a subway card to get into the city.
Also Check: New Registration Ny
What To Do In Nyc: Day 4
Visit the Museum of Modern Art Head over to the MoMA for lots of beautiful modern art and some vivid impressionist art. I dislike modern art. I just dont get it. How is shovel on a wall art? While Im not a fan, this museum does have Van Goghs Starry Night as well as other post-impressionist art so I cant hate it completely. If you love modern and contemporary art, this is one of the best in the world.
18 W. 54th Street, Midtown, +1 212 708 9400, moma.org. Open daily from 10:30am-5:30pm . Admission is $25 USD. The MoMAs Sculpture Garden is free of charge to the public daily from 9:30am10:15am.
See the Frick CollectionThis collection features paintings by major European artists as well as 18th-century French furniture and Oriental rugs. You have to really love Dutch artists to want to spend time here but be sure to visit their website because they host a lot of wonderful temporary exhibits featuring famous works of art.
1 East 70th Street, +1 212-288-0700, frick.org. Open Thursday-Sunday from 10am-6pm. Admission is $22 USD. The museum is currently closed, however, you can still see many of its items at the temporary Frick Madison .
Wander the Guggenheim MuseumThis museum is home to a renowned collection of impressionist, post-impressionist, early modern, and contemporary art. The cylindrical museum is considered one of the 20th centurys most important architectural designs. Its one of my favorite buildings in the city.
Arrival Into New York City
New York City has 3 airports nearby, JFK, Laguardia, and Newark Liberty in New Jersey. If your flight arrives into JFK or Newark, it is possible to take commuter trains and/or the subway to get into NYC.
Visitors arriving into Laguardia, on the other hand, have fewer public transportation options. If taking a taxi or car service from Laguardia, brace yourself for at least an hour ride into Manhattan as the traffic can be horrendous in this area depending on the time of day your flight arrives.
New York City taxis are available at JFK and Laguardia. Its a flat $52 fare from JFK plus tolls and tip. The fare is calculated by the meter for rides from Laguardia. You will pay to sit in traffic. To save money, book a ride with the most trusted shuttle from the New York Airports. Theyre comfortable, reliable, and far cheaper than a taxi.
If you live in the northeast and are coming for your first visit to New York City, youre better off taking a commuter train like Metro-North, NJ Transit, or Amtrak into the city. Or, for an even cheaper option, take a bus directly to New Yorks Port Authority Bus Terminal, just 1 block from Times Square.
Read Also: Registering A Car In New York
Food Options Inside Grand Central
1. Head downstairs to the Dining Concourse, which features an impressive variety of casual lunch options, including great ethnic foods, as well as the popular burger chain, Shake Shack, and the iconic Oyster Bar circa 1913. You can also treat yourself to a slice of cake from Magnolia Bakery!
2. Or stay on the Main Concourse level and head towards the 42nd street exit. Youll see the popular Great Northern Food Hall inside the splendid Vanderbilt Hall. Take a seat by the Grain Bar for a delicious Nordic lunch prepared in front of you. Or get a beer or glass of wine at the adjacent bar.
3. The creators of the Great Northern Food Hall also opened a high-end restaurant inside Grand Central called Agern , which serves delicious lunches and dinners using New York State ingredients and Nordic-inspired flavors. They also offer tasting menus, including vegetarian. Call ahead for reservations: 646-568-4018.
4. For a fancy cocktail and small bites in a 1920s-inspired speakeasy bar setting, head up to the Campbell Bar .
5. You can also dine in style removed from the fray, while overlooking the Main Concourse from the West Balcony. Just head up the grand staircase to Cipriani Dolci for a high-end Italian meal and a cocktail above the foot traffic and below the celestial ceiling. The restaurant is open until 11pm 7 nights a week.
OK, meals aside, lets get back to our self-guided tour!
Next: Walk 5 minutes