Areas & Neighborhoods In New York
The neighborhoods in New York are difficult if not impossible to encapsulate in just a few sentences. Indeed, the vibrant, diverse areas of NYC could fill a book. And things to do in New York span across all of these neighborhoods. Whether you are interested in the arts, want to party the night away, or feel like strolling the streets aimlessly, New York City makes an excellent destination.
Midtown Midtown hosts the Empire State Building and Koreatown. Of course, the area is also spilling over with professionals who have somewhere to be, so prepare to elbow your way down the sidewalk as you navigate the neighborhood.
Chinatown Make your way to Chinatown for authentic dim sum and cultural flare. This part of NYC is also a magnet for adventurous foodies, and you will find vendors selling things like live eels and pork buns to the public. Dont let the name of the neighborhood deceive you: Chinatown also has Vietnamese food and more.
SoHo Take the fast track to SoHo for boutiques and other retailers in spades. Once youve spent your fair share on your credit card, make your way to some of the chic art galleries, if only for a window shop.
West Village West Village has trendy nightlife and serves as a good place for celebrity watching. Despite its high profile, the area manages to maintain a bit of a comfortable charm. This attitude is reflected in local brunch spots and beyond.
Take A Spin On The Beast
Hold on to your hats as you blast across New York Bay on the ride of your life. The Beast is a luxury jet boat and a fun thing to do in NYC for adrenaline junkies.
Take in the panoramic sights of midtown and lower Manhattan and bounce along to live music on this watery roller coaster journey. Keep your cameras handy for the Statue of Liberty!
Observation Decks: Empire State Top Of The Rock One World Observatory Edge
New York City has an amazing urban skyline, and weve got the observation decks to go with it. The Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, and the One World Observatory are three of the best. No matter which one you choose, youll be guaranteed an amazing view and an unforgettable experience.
However, doing all three isnt worth the time and money for most people, so I suggest choosing one and take lots of photos. Each has its own benefits. Here are some highlights at a glance, but Ive linked each one to an in-depth blog post about that attraction so you can read more and decide which one works for you.
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/11 Memorial And Museum
One of the most important places in all of NYC is the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, located on the site of the former World Trade Center. This moving attraction recounts the tragic history of one of the darkest days in recent US history in informative and moving exhibits.
The Museum has three separate sections, detailing the lead-up to, day of, and aftermath of the attacks, as well as the stories of the lives lost and the relics that remain from the rubble. The outside Memorial is also popular for photographs and is well-known for its signature water feature and lighting.
Best Things To Do In New York City
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New York is so big and so diverse a place that you could live here four lifetimes and not experience all the amazing things the city has to offer. Even figuring out where to start your NYC trip is a daunting task. But we want to help you cut down the impossibly long list of ways to spend your day. Whether you’re a local realizing you’ve yet to fully explore the city’s parks and history, or an out-of-towner who doesn’t know the Met from the MoMA, these quintessential stops will help you catch a glimpse of the city’s beating heart.
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Central Park Ny Hotels
These are NYC Insider hand picked hotels that are not just “near” Central Park, as most NYC hotels claim to be…but on the Park itself, either Central Park South, Central Park West or Fifth Ave. Many other hotels are nearby, or within a few blocks, but these are the closest, and all offer Park views from select rooms.
Some of our top value picks near Central Park include:
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Go On A Nyc Architecture Tour
The architecture in New York is truly something to write home about, with everything from designer skyscrapers to historic landmarks waiting to be discovered.
Your camera will be working hard as you visit sights like Grand Central Station, Times Square, and the Chrysler Building. Watch as the light enhances your perspective and listen as the guide shares insider secrets about this beguiling city.
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Walk Across The Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is without argument New Yorks most iconic bridge which makes it a must-visit attraction. At the time of construction, it was the worlds longest suspension bridge and an unbelievable feat of engineering.
It connects the Financial District/China Town to Downtown Brooklyn. It is always open and free to walk across which definitely can help out your budget! It is also a very romantic thing to do on a nice spring or fall day when the sun is out. The above photo was taken on a beautiful day in December.
Location Get off at Chamber St, Fulton St, or Brooklyn Bridge City Hall subway stops.
Sample The Best Of Brooklyn
Although Manhattan gets most of the attention, youd be remiss if you didnt spend at least one day exploring everything Brooklyn has to offer. Start your day by walking from Manhattan across the Insta-famous Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge will drop you at the industrial-chic neighborhood of DUMBO, where you will find all sorts of funky galleries, trendy shops, and popular rooftop bars overlooking the Manhattan skyline.
After that, have a picnic lunch in Prospect Park, spend the afternoon exploring the hipster haven of Williamsburg, or escape the hustle and bustle of the city at the lush Brooklyn Botanic Garden. If street art is your thing, youll love exploring the colorful warehouse walls of Bushwick, or for a more formal art-viewing experience, make your way to the Brooklyn Museum.
When it comes to food and drink, youll be spoiled for choice. You can sample some of the best pizza in the US at Grimaldis, wine and dine at the iconic Peter Luger Steakhouse, or snack on the most famous hot dogs in the world at Nathans Famous at Coney Island.
If youve still got room, be sure to try a bagel with lox and cream cheese at Shelskys of Brooklyn or dig into a Cuban sandwich at Habana Outpost. After that, take some time to sample food from a few of the seriously innovative food stalls in Time Out Market.
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Spend Hours At The Met Metropolitan Museum Of Art
Out of all the museums in the world, and in New York City, the MET is among the ones we hold most dear. This place is absolutely packed with all sorts of amazing exhibits. From Modern Art including luminaries such as Monet, Picasso, and Dali, to Ancient Greek monuments, Medieval arms and armor, and even an entire chunk of an Egyptian temple. In fact, the Metropolitan Museum of Art holds over two million works of art, spanning over 5,000 years. Wowzers.
The selection here is huge, and its impossible to see it all in one day, which is why we suggest you buy a pass to the MET that is valid for three whole days. Thats a great deal, dont you think?
There may be many to visit, but the MET is definitely one of the best museums in NYC. We highly recommend spending AT LEAST a few hours getting lost among the corridors of this massive and fascinating museum. You dont have to be a museum geek or art nerd to appreciate this place, trust us.
The MET is but one of dozens of awesome museums in New York. Also in the neighborhood and worth noting The Museum of Natural History , the Guggenheim, and the MoMA.
Check out our article on the best museums in New York City for more great choices.
Visit The Intrepid Sea Air And Space Museum
Have you ever been on a submarine? You can do just that at this museum, which proudly charts Americas military and maritime history from Word War II to the space race.
Explore the Space Shuttle Pavilion and be amazed at original artifacts from the Marine Corps and NASA. There is an aircraft carrier and a supersonic reconnaissance plane to check out too.
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Tour Frank Lloyd Wrights Darwin D Martin House Complex
Architecture enthusiasts will want to add a tour of The Martin House to their New York bucket list. The home was designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1902 and is hailed as the finest work from Wrights Prairie-style period.
The home was commissioned by Buffalo-based executive Darwin D. Martin, one of the wealthiest executives in the country. Rumor has it that Wright had an unlimited budget to design and build the home, which ultimately cost around $300,000!
The house boasts eight bedrooms and an incredible living room, which connects to the dining room and the outdoor patio. Explore the home, and youll find hundreds of Wrights intricately designed art glass windows. Youll even see his famous Tree of Life windows in the reception room and second-story bedrooms!
The Martin House was placed on the National Historic Landmark in 1986. Today its possible to take a variety of tours of the house, including the Architectural Photography Tour & Workshop, the Candlelight Behind-the-Scenes Tour, and the exclusive Private Tour.
What To Wear What To Bring New York City In December
Bundle up December in New York City ranges from cold to freezing cold, with some occasional unseasonably warm days. Layers are always a good idea when traveling to NYC, this is a year-round rule. But make sure to pack hats, scarves, gloves, waterproof shoes/boots, sweaters, coats, umbrellas and so on. It is always advisable to bring a small knapsack for warm winter accessories, as temperatures can change quite a bit while youre walking around.
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Where To Stay In New York City For Sightseeing
The best way to truly experience New York is to stay in Manhattan, rather than trying to commute from the suburbs, which can be time consuming and a little tiring. The hotels mentioned below are all centrally located in Manhattan and close to many of the major attractions.
- is located in a great position near the Empire State Building.
- Hotel rates vary considerably depending on the season, but it’s usually possible to find a few quality budget hotels offering reasonable rates. Some popular, modestly-priced hotel options include the Econo Lodge Times Square, just north of Times Square.
- A little removed from the main attractions but still within walking distance of Bryant Park, Grand Central Terminal, and subway stops, Seton Hotel is a quaint boutique hotel.
- Near Seaton Hotel is the more modern and affordable Pod 39 Hotel, with funky, compact rooms featuring en-suite bathrooms, and sociable common areas.
Things To Do In New York Head Down To Chinatown
Located right next to Little Italy, New York Citys Chinatown is a crowded congested delight. If you are craving authentic Chinese cuisine dont even bother going to any Chinese restaurants anywhere else in the city.
Entering Chinatown is like being transported to a totally different continent. It is one of the most unique neighborhoods in the city, so if you want to experience something slightly different, definitely head down to Chinatown.
While you are at it explore Little Italy, which is right next door. This shrinking neighborhood still offers some of the best Italian food in the entire city, so if you are craving a taste of Italy, make sure to visit.
Want to explore Chinatown, SOHO, and Little Italy in just a few hours? Then check out this guided tour!
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Best Accommodations In Town
We personally stayed in two different neighbourhoods TriBeCa and Midtown West and both are great options. TriBeCa feels a little more local, and has good access to the southern tip of Manhattan, while Midtown West is more central located on the west side of the island.
Best Hostel in Manhattan Jazz on Columbus Circle
Staying downtown in Manhattan is always going to be expensive, but if youre in a budget and still want to be in the heart of everything, then the absolute best hostel in town is Jazz on Columbus Circle.
Its a small, boutique hostel and has been renovated to have modern amenities throughout. It has a funky vibe with some awesome decor, and the dorms are small with between 3-6 beds.
Best Mid-Range Hotel Pod 51 Hotel
High-quality accommodation in New York City is not cheap, but the closest balance you can get between affordability and quality is at Pod 51 Hotel.
The rooms are no-frills, but clean, bright and more spacious than you might expect. The location is great, theres fast wifi and an amazing rooftop garden to enjoy.
Best Luxury Hotel in Manhattan Hotel Giraffe by Library Collection
This is it the top of the cream for hotels in New York that you can still get for well under $1000 a night.
The Library Collection has some of the best hotels all around the city, but our favourite is Hotel Giraffe. Youll be treated like a king or queen here!
Our Tips For Visiting The Top New York Attractions On A Budget
If you are on a family holiday, or visiting the city with a group of friends and need to book 4 tickets for each attraction, or are alone but just have a tight budget set for your trip, we have something really special for you. NYC sells discount attraction passes which allow you to visit all of the must-see NYC attractions for less while giving you the flexibility of deciding what you want to see once you get there!
Offering discounts of up to 70% on many sights, tours, and attractions New York City sightseeing passes are the ultimate way to save money. Find out which one will save you the most based on the attractions you want to see here:
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Experience Lake Placid Olympic Sites
Kim Knox Beckius
Lake Placid, New York, has hosted the Winter Olympic Games twice: in 1932 and 1980. Both Olympics were filled with pinnacle moments, but none was more captivating than the U.S. hockey team’s 1980 victory over the Soviet Union in what became known as the “Miracle on Ice.” Lake Placid remains a winter sports lover’s paradise and a year-round place to unleash your inner Olympian. Ski Whiteface Mountain, experience the thrill of a bobsled ride, tour the Olympic ski jumping complex, ice skate on the Olympic Skating Oval where Eric Heiden won five gold medals in 1980 and more.
South Street Ferry Statue Of Liberty Ferry
The Staten Island, or South Street, ferry is a great way to get a sweet look at Downtown Manhattan, and even a nice peak at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The ferry takes about 25 minutes each way, and costs you the price of a Metro Card swipe. So, basically, the South Street Ferry is the most budget friendly way to watch great views of southern Manhattan. As such we think its one of the main attractions in New York City for those traveling on a budget.
If you want to do a full on tour of Liberty Island and Ellis Island you will have to commit to taking a much longer trip on the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Ferry. Tickets for this amazing trip costs around $24.50 for adults, and is totally worth it, especially if you have the time and the weather is nice.
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Check Out The Top New York’s Museums
Those who visit the city should make time for the Big Apple’s cerebral side. In fact, the top museums in New York are arguably some of the city’s finest attractions for young and old. Wherever your interests lie, you can find a New York City museum to suit your tastes. With a wide spectrum of available exhibits, special events, unique programming, and more, there’s never a dull moment on the NYC museum scene.
Admire The Spectacular View On Manhattan Over The Hudson
The observation deck of the One World Observatory offers dramatic city views that turn magical at sundown. The visit to this observation deck offers a unique 360-degree view of the city. One World Observatory is also the tallest of the three most famous observation decks, which includes the Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building.
If you plan to visit multiple attractions in the city, compare New York City passes to find the most convenient solution.
The One World Observatory offers the most impressive technological features for its visitors, with a mix of virtual reality, video guides, and theater shows. Thanks to its location in Lower Manhattan near the 9/11 Memorial, the One World Observatory also offers fantastic views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the harbor.
Because the One World Observatory is the newest, crowds can get a bit larger at this location, but the timed tickets ensure that you will probably never experience an unreasonable crowd size
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