Full New York travel guide


NEW YORK CITY

Travelling to the big Apple in any season can be fun and full of discoveries. New York City has 5 boroughs - Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.

While Manhattan and Staten Island are islands, and Brooklyn and Queens are geographically part of Long Island, and the Bronx is attached to the US mainland. When you are there, you will be facing by many tunnels, ferries and bridges as part of day to day commute in New York. You may also notice, that in Manhattan, the streets run nicely in parallel and diagonal, from East to West. Fifth Avenue divided the island into east and west side.

What to do and see

The list of what to see, what to do and where to go could be endless. New York or Manhattan itself is divided into several neighbourhoods, each with its own vibe and offers. Whether you are in Harlem, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Lolita, China Town, Little Italy or East Village. Here is a list of things not to be missed while in New York, for easier search and navigation, let me split them into 4 sections Tourist sights, Museums and Things to do in general and Where to go for views:

Tourist sights

A rail station located on 42nd street and Park Avenue in the midtown is a stunning terminal with beautiful ceiling facade and famous also for many movies features

The world famous art-deco skyscaper in the Midtown of New York is open for public to visit its observatory for stunning views of the city. This building is iconic and easily visible from almost every corner on Manhattan. 

Time's square is located not far away from the Boradway and is know for its many LED advertisement on building. It is a very busy square with traffic, shops, restaurants and entertainment around. Experience the vibe of Time's square during late afternoon or evening times.

4. Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a sculpture from France to US and it is located on Liberty Island near New York Harbor. The famous icon of NYC can be visited by numerous cruises and tour ferries. On an island you may visit the national immigration museum or visit inside the statue for views. The Statue of Liberty is a figure of a robed woman representing a Roman liberty goddess.

5. Central Park and Velvedere castle
Central Park is an urban large park running from Upper West Side to Upper East Side of Manhattan. Take your time to walk around the park and discover the beautiful fountains, statues or a castle hidden within the park. Strolling around the central park is a great way to get away from a rush Manhattan streets. 

6. Brooklyn bridge
Brooklyn Bridge is a suspension bridge and it is one of the oldest roadway bridges in the United States. The bridge connects Manhattan to Brooklyn or vice versa. The bridge itself is about 2 km long and is pedestrian and cyclist friendly. From the bridge you have stunning views of the city, hence it gets very packed by tourists. Try to avoid the crowd by going to the bridge early in the morning or in the evening times. 

7. Wall street
Wall street is a financial district of New York City located in the lower Manhattan. Passing by American stock exchange building, you may come across to the famous sculpture of charging bull and fearless girl. Apart from that, you may numerous memorials and museums around this district, Battery park, Trinity church or Stone Street - the historical district. 

Memorial and museum to memorize the September 11, 2001 attack and the World Trade Center bombing. 

Fan of Friend series? Then you should visit Friends apartment and other TV filming locations around New York City. 

10. Wander the streets of China town and Little Italy
Walk around the streets of China town and Little Italy to get the various atmosphere vibes from the cultural New York City. You will find yourself like in a different city totally. There are many great restaurants, coffee shops and places to stop for a bite. While in this area, go check the mural of Audrey Hepburn as well. 


Lincoln Center

DUMBO

Brooklyn promenande

Museums

New York city have many museum and galleries to visit, whether you are fan of modern art, classical art, history, science or any genres. The usual fee for museum entrance is $25. There are days where museums have free entrance, so definitely check their website to plan your visit. If you wish to visit more museums and attractions, consider purchasing New York Pass.

1. Morgan library - stunning private library and work place of JP Morgan founder. 
2. MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) - Large modern art gallery in Manhattan, they have another branch called MOMA PS1 in Brooklyn
3. MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art) - The world largest and finest art museum and a place where annual MET gala is hosted
4. Whitney museum - Art gallery of American art
5. Salmon Guggenheim museum - Another art gallery with stunning modern building 
6. FIT museum - A small museum dedicated to fashion within FIT university, free entrance
7. The Frick collection - Art museum
8. Lower East Side Tenement Museum - National historic museum dedicated to history and life of immigrants in East Side
9. National September 11 museum - History museum dedicated for memory of an attack in 2001
10. Brooklyn museum - Art museum in Brooklyn




September 11 memorial

Washington Square

High Line

Other things to do

Apart from main tourist attractions, New York City offers plenty of other activities to do, to see and to experience.  

A free ferry taking you to Staten Island, enjoy the ride with some great views on the Statue of Liberty or Manhattan skyline. The ferry departs from Whitehall terminal in lower Manhattan and runs frequently.

2. Roosevelt island
Technically, it is part of Manhattan, but very much lost. However, Roosevelt Island brings some great calm walks and views around. 

3. Broadway
Definitely check some amazing shows on Broadway, check the schedule and book in advance to get the best deals. 

4. Highline
The Highline is a linear park on the west side of Manhattan. Great for nice greenery walk surrounded by tall buildings. 

5. Williamsburg district
Williamsburg district can be referred to as a hipster area of Brooklyn, or similarly to Shoreditch in London. Stroll around the area for great brunch and coffee places, food markets and chic boutiques. Bars, dance clubs and music halls live up during the night scene over here. 

6. Washington square park
A small beautiful park in the lower Manhattan is located in the Greenwich area. Well known for its arch, honoring George Washington, for whom the park, the fountain and arch was named by. 

7. Union square
The Union square is adjacent to neigborhoods nearby as Flatiron district, Chelsea to the west, Greenwich village or East village walking distance nearby. The bustling park offers great spot to relax or walk around local produce and artisanal food markets. 

Coney Island is Brooklyn neighbourhood known for a summer entertainment destination. Locals and tourists visit Coney Island for the Wonder Wheel, Luna Park and other amusement park activities. A great place to go away from city center rush and have some fun!

9. Flat iron building
The beautiful and famous building is a triangular landmark with 22 floors located at 175th Avenue. The beautiful building is a great spot for pictures. It is also nearby Madison park, numerous coffee and restaurant places.

Visit big Apple can be too distracted by the skyline views and skyscapers. However, you may visit many churches and cathedrals also around the city. One of them is St Patrick's Cathedral. A decorated Neo-gothic Roman Catholic church is a prominent landmarks close to Rockefeller Center. 

Flat Iron building

Morgan library

Central Station

Central Park

China Town

Where to go for views
The best things on NYC were the skyline views on Manhattan. You will find many opportunities to get to rooftop, whether it is a restaurant/bar or a hotel, ferry journeys or simple from other district like Queens or Brooklyn. Here is a list of few places where you may go for stunning views:

1. Brooklyn heights promenade & DUMBO
2. Williamsburg waterfront
3. MET
4. Rooftop bars
5. New Jersey City
6. Rosevelt island
7. Ferry views
8. Top of the rock
9. Empire state building
10. Rockefeller center

China Town

Broadway


Brooklyn Bridge

Where to shop in NYC?

Even though, New York is an expensive city by itself, there are always hidden places and boutiques where you can shop local staff or products on bargain. However, New York is one of the 4 fashion cities and famous for its American brands, if you are there for shopping, make sure to stop by to one of their known department stores. Moreover, some of their American brands can be cheaper to purchase there then in Europe for example. 

  • Strand book store - if you are lover of books, of any genres, of any education, whether it's new or old, you should visit this massive book store near Union square
  • 5th Avenue - the street for retailers, you may find large flagship stores and iconic stores from high street brands as well as luxurious brands
  • Macy's - it is a largest American department store where you will find range of products spread across 10 floors
  • Barney's - if you are looking to shop luxurious products in one place, then Barney's would be a choice for you
  • 21 century department store - hunting for a bargain designer prices? Then deffinitely visit this department store where you will find discounted staff in various rang of products
  • Brookfield place - another shopping mall within an office complex located near the World Trade Center
  • Target - Target is second largest discounted store behind Walmart and will offer you again range of products to choose from. From food to clothing to home decorations
  • Bloomingdale - Another shopping department in New York owned by Macy's
  • Williamsburg - stroll around this hipster area to find vintage and quirky boutiques
  • Soho - Unlike Williamsburg, Soho offers you some chic and independent boutiques
  • Flea markets - There are many of them and check online before you go 


Where to go for food and drinks?

New York is very international city and have been influenced by Latin immigration. Thus, I would recommend to try out some Mexican food while out. Other than that, try some of their $1 pizzas, New York bagels or New York cheescakes. Wherever you will walk, you will always find some great spot to dine in or have a bite. Note, that New York is divided into district, such as Korea Town, China Town or Litte Italy. 

FOOD
  • Cheslea market
  • Pietro Nolita
  • Stonefruit espresso and kitchen
  • Maman
  • Happy blowls
  • Roberta's pizza
  • Bitch coffee
  • Egghead
  • The butcher's daughter
  • Eataly
  • Prince street pizza
  • Tanner Smiths


ROOFTOP BARS
  • Jimmy
  • Bar Hugo
  • Press lounge
  • PHD Terrace at Dream
  • The Crown
  • Mr. Purple
  • Pod 39 rooftop








How to get around New York?

The easiest way to get around NYC is either on foot (for my duration of 5 days in NYC, I have walked about 120km) or using subway or other rail connections (e.g.: to New Jersey). On this website, there is a good guidance on using subways in New York, because, I have to warn you that it is pretty confusing at the first place, especially sometimes it is not easy to change direction or there is no maps and staff in the stations or platforms.

I would advice checking your way prior or download subway map on your phone to stay on track of your journey. As I have noticed, New York subways are not really friendly for tourists.



How to get there from the airport

We flew by Norwegian Airlines directly into JFK Airport from London Gatwick. Once passing the boarders, there is a shuttle train called AirTrain which you can get to transfer to subways to reach your final destination. The AirTrain doesn't go directly to Manhattan neither Brooklyn. However, the subway card purchased is applicable to both subways and AirTrains. The AirTrain cost $5 and one-way subway ticket is about $2.75

To travel to USA, you usually need visa or at least ESTA if you are from one of the waiver country. Make sure to check if you need any paper working done prior packing for a trip. It may take few days or weeks to get your visa sorted. 

Accommodation

During our stay in New York, we have stayed in Mondrian Park Avenue in the Midtown. Easily reachable to the subway station, Empire State building, to 34th street and other key areas. If you are looking for accommodations on Airbnb, sign up using my Airbnb link and get £13 of travel credits! Additionally, if you prefer hotels, book your stay through my Booking.com link to get travel credits too! 


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