New York City Travel Guide
The city that never sleeps, the Big Apple, Empire City – the list goes on. New York City is one of the world’s most visited cities. It’s home to some of the most iconic landmarks in history and movies, and there’s something for everyone. Use this guide to get started planning your trip to New York City!
Currency: U.S. Dollar. Credit cards and debit cards are accepted most places.
How to long to Visit: 1-7 days. There’s a lot you can do with a day in New York City, but so much to do that you can easily spend a week here!
Travel Tip: New York City is a very busy place, and it can be a little bit overwhelming at first. It takes time to move through the city, so plan your days around zones where you can see multiple things without too much commuting. Check out my New York City itineraries, where this is done for you.
New York City Itinerary
Planning a trip to New York City can be overwhelming! All good – here’s a plan already made for you that incorporates the best of New York City sight seeing, museums, parks, and food.
This itinerary includes all of the highlights of New York City, money-saving suggestions, maps, all metro routes, and food on route.
New York City Attraction Passes
New York attraction passes are a great way to save on money and time. I’ve used passes whenever I visited:
The New York Pass: The New York Pass is purchased by day for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 or 10 days. Once active, use it for as many activities as you want per day. There are dozens to choose from. View price details.
CityPass New York: CityPass is a different format than the New York Pass, in that goes by number of attractions. Purchase a 6 attraction or 3 attraction CityPass. Once activated, you have 9 days to use your CityPass. View CityPass details. Tip: both providers off mobile tickets!
Only have one or two days? Consider a Hop-On Hop-Off ticket with Big Bus Tour or City Sightseeing. The 48 hour tickets with either provider include multiple bus routes, a night tour, and a boat tour. City Sightseeing also offers a New York Sightseeing Pass which combines Hop-On Hop-Off and unlimited attraction access.
Where to Eat in New York City
Here’s a little secret: everything is good. You’re hard pressed to find bad food in New York City. The worst you can do is eat at a chain – and it’s only because it’s a waste. New York City is brimming with independently owned restaurants and bakeries. Try one! That said, here are some of my favourite places + a few suggestions that readers sent in. Names are linked to Google Maps locations.
Hatsuhana Sushi: Fresh, delicious sushi near Rockefeller Centre
Johnny’s Luncheonette: Delicious, counter-served sandwiches in Chelsea. Great for a quick bit.
Porteño: Also in Chelsea, this intimate restaurant serves Argentinian classics.
Mel’s Burger Bar: you guessed it – great burgers. Open late, multiple locations in NYC.
Delfriscos: multiple locations in NYC, an upscale steakhouse with great cocktails.
Macao Trading Company: culinary blend of Chinese-Portugese plates in Tribeca.
One if by Land, Two if by Sea: date night? This restaurant in the West Village is perfect for romance.
Bluestone Lane Collective Café: Coffee shop with amazing brunch and outdoor seating in Greenwhich Village.
Refinery Rooftop: light food, a roof top, and great drinks in Midtown.
Jimmy at the James: an 18th story cocktail lounge in Soho.
While We Were Young: very trendy, with chic interior and awesome cocktails in the West Village, near Chelsea.
New York’s Best Pizza
Artichoke Basille: multiple locations. Get the… *drumroll* artichoke pizza.
2 Bros: mannnnny locations where you can get cheap pizza.
John’s Time Square: sit-down pizzeria near Time’s Square.
Joe’s Pizza: locations in Chelsea, Times Square, and more.
Juliana’s: modern pizzeria in Brooklyn. This one is well-known, long lines!
Dō, Cookie Dough Confections: edible cookie dough, decked out with toppings and only a couple blocks from Washington Square Park.
Baked by Melissa: delicious mini-cupcakes, with vegan options available (you would never know!) and multiple locations.
Chloe: dairy-free frozen desserts in SoHo.
Getting Around in New York City
Metro: My favourite way to get around in New York City is the metro. It’s the fastest way around the city, because it’s underground and not subject to any traffic delays or detours in the city. Get your pass at one of the machines in any metro stay. The far is $2.75 for a local ride. If you’re staying for 4 + days, consider getting an Unlimited Pass for 7 days. These passes cost $32 and you won’t have to think about reloading or keeping track of the value on your card.
Walk: New York City is very walkable! I love that most of the streets are numbered, so it’s easy to navigate.
Hop-On Hop-Off: If you’re sightseeing, a Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour is a great way to quickly move from one attraction to another. My favourite sight seeing route is the Big Bus Tour: Downtown. The classic ticket gives you access to this route + the Uptown route. Note: I like Big Bus because they also post about route disruptions on their site. If there’s a parade or major event, use your ticket outside of the event hours to avoid long delays on the bus. This usually happens on weekends.
Where to Stay in New York City
Pennsylvania Hotel: Taking the train to New York City? This hotel is directly across the street from the train station, and walking distance from Times Square, Broadway, and more. There’s a big range of room price points available in this hotel.
New York Hilton Midtown: Enjoy the familiarity of the Hilton in a great location, just minutes from Top of the Rock, Times Square, and other major attractions.
Pod 39: One of New York’s trendiest budget hotels, Pod 39 is a great place to stay if you’re travelling with friends. There’s a rooftop patio and spaces to hang out, and you’re just a few minutes from the Empire State Building and Grand Central Station.
MADE Hotel: This beautiful hotel has everything you need, including a rooftop patio, restaurant, and café. The location in Lower Manhattan makes it the perfect base while you’re in New York.
Things to do in New York City
Central Park is massive, and there’s lots to see and do. Walk around or rent a bike to cover more ground. Watch for famous bridges, statues, and hidden waterfalls. You’re guaranteed to recognize many of the places in Central Park from movies, but there are also a lot of places you haven’t seen before like Belvedere Castle.
The High Line
The High Line is a non-profit park that was created from an old rail road. It’s elevated above the city, beginning near Penn Station and ending near Chelsea Market. Walking the High Line takes about an hour, giving yourself time to stop and admire the gardens and murals.
There are dozens of amazing stores in New York! Make your way along Lafayette Street from SoHo to NoHo, though the Financial District, or Greenwhich Village. Shop brand names on 5th or Madison Avenue, or visit Hudson Yard’s for a four-storey tall shopping mall experience.
Top of the Rock
The best view of the Empire State Building is from Top of the Rock. Bring your camera and take in the skylines of downtown and uptown Manhattan.
If you only pay for one thing in New York, make it a Broadway ticket. Musicals and plays of the highest caliber are performed on Broadway, and it’s a live performance experience unlike any other.
There are all kinds of little, unique dessert places in New York City. They’re local owned, and very cute. Greenwhich Village, Chelsea, and the Meatpacking District in particular have great spots. Just pop in, everything is good.
Statue of Liberty
Hop on a ferry to Ellis Island and take in the Statue of Liberty. New in 2019, the Liberty Museum is now located on the same island as the Statue of Liberty. It’s a small but fascinating museum about how the Statue of Liberty was built, and includes original molds and pieces.
Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and spend time exploring down under the Manhattan bridge and the neighbourhoods of Brooklyn on the other side. Walk along the waterfront for awesome views of New York City.
There aren’t many museums that I visit multiple times, but the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of them. The exceptional collection spans from ancient Egyptian runes to Greek sculptures, and 1800’s impressionism all the way up to modern day American art.
Take a moment to pay respects to those lost in 9/11. The 9/11 Memorial is a beautiful tribute to the lives lost, and the 9/11 Museum gives interesting insights in to the day’s events. There are some remarkable items inside, such as the only window from the twin towers that wasn’t broken when the buildings fell.
Empire State Building
The classic Empire State Building is worth a visit. The views from the top let you look out over Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, and you can even see the Statue of Liberty.
Get some fresh air and a view of the Hudson River by walking through Battery Park. There are some really beautiful small gardens and fountains scattered within the park.