New York is the most populous, busiest, and culturally varied metropolis in the United States. Navigating the characterful neighborhoods within its five boroughs, visiting iconic attractions, and gaining a sense of the city are more accessible than you think, thanks to an efficient public transit network and many other appealing choices.
Best Time to Go
Summer is one of the finest times to visit New York since it always celebrates something. The outdoor concert season has begun. Complimentary films and theatrical events fill the city’s parks, street merchants flourish, and street festivals are plentiful. However, train stations may get sweltering, lines can become lengthy, and temperatures in the city’s high-rises can climb. If this sounds depressing, go between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, when temps are lower, and department store displays are decorated for the holidays. During this season, Manhattan’s three primary outdoor ice rinks are open, Rockefeller Centre is adorned with a massive Christmas tree, and holiday light shows are more extravagant than you could ever dream.
How to Get Around
After reaching NYC by private jet to New York, you could avail of trains because The New York City underground train system is one of the most extensive in the world. It runs on Staten Island and links Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. A bus network provides simple access to remote locations not served by adjacent railway stations, as well as to New York’s LaGuardia Airport.
A boat is one of the most excellent methods to travel between New York’s boroughs in good weather. Ferries connect Queens, Brooklyn’s western shore, Manhattan’s eastern side, and Staten Island. Each ride costs $2.75. Cabs are available throughout Manhattan but are more challenging to locate in portions of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Northern Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs are served by green taxis.
Uber and Lyft have similar prices and are available across New York. In some areas of Brooklyn and Queens, ridesharing may be the most convenient mode of transportation.
Here are the finest ways to visit New York City, whether you want to stroll, bike, sail, or see it from above.
1. By Walking
Walking is, without a doubt, the most immersive way to explore New York City. The city’s iconic streets are a spectacle in themselves, filled with an intoxicating mix of sights, sounds, and smells that capture the spirit of the Big Apple. Most importantly, a leisurely walk not just allows you to cover ground but also introduces you to the unique, vibrant culture of the city.
Start your journey in Manhattan, the heart of New York City. Wander around Times Square, a vibrant and bustling hub known as the ‘Crossroads of the World’. Next, stroll along the Broadway, the heart of the American theatre industry, and you might just catch a glimpse of a red-carpet premiere.
Head south to the Financial District and make a stop at the 9/11 Memorial, a poignant tribute to a day that changed the world. From here, it’s just a short walk to Battery Park, offering stunning views of the Statue of Liberty.
Cross the East River via the historic Brooklyn Bridge, an architectural marvel offering spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. Once you reach Brooklyn, explore the trendy neighbourhoods of DUMBO and Williamsburg, known for their vibrant arts scene, indie music venues, and a plethora of boutiques and eateries.
- Central Park
No walking tour of NYC would be complete without a visit to Central Park. This urban oasis, the ‘lungs of New York City’, offers a multitude of scenic trails, bridges, and monuments. Don’t forget to visit the Central Park Zoo and the iconic Bethesda Fountain while you’re there.
- Municipal Art Society
The Municipal Art Society of New York is a great resource for exploring the city’s cultural side. This non-profit organization offers guided walking tours and educational programs that bring to life the history, architecture, public art, and urban planning of NYC.
2. Set sail on a cruise.
Boat rides provide an idyllic way to experience the beauty of New York City from a unique perspective. From classic sightseeing cruises to luxury yacht charters, there are plenty of options available for visitors looking to explore the city from the water. Circle line, New York City’s premier sightseeing cruise, offers narrated tours of the city’s five boroughs and its skyline. Other popular cruises include the Statue of Liberty Express, a hop-on, hop-off tour that takes visitors to all three major sites in Manhattan: The Empire State Building, Central Park and World Trade Center Memorial.
Moreover, visitors can cruise around the New York Harbor on a harbour sailboat or luxury yacht. These cruises are ideal for special occasions, family celebrations and corporate events. Companies like Yacht Manhattan offer guests an unforgettable experience including gourmet food, fine wines and champagne. Last but not least, hop aboard the good old Staten Island Ferry for an iconic ride to Staten Island and back. This free service allows passengers to take in stunning views of the Lower Manhattan skyline.
3. View of the City from Above
Gain a unique perspective of the city from the top of its most famous skyscrapers. From the Empire State Building’s 86th floor observatory to the One World Observatory, you can take in unparalleled panoramic views of New York City at their own pace. For those looking for an even higher view, head over to Top of The Rock Observation Deck for a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city from 850 feet above.
Don’t forget to check out the High Line, an elevated park that winds through lower Manhattan on a former freight railway line, offering magnificent views and plenty of photo opportunities. Other great places for breathtaking views of the city from above include Brooklyn Bridge Park, Prospect Park, Belvedere Castle in Central Park, One World Observatory at the top of the One World Trade Centre, The Met’s Roof Garden, and Gantry Plaza State Park.
Additionally, the Roosevelt Island Tramway offers breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline and East River as it ascends to Roosevelt Island, while a helicopter tour is ideal for those looking to experience the city from an entirely new perspective.
4. Take a Movie Tour
A movie tour is a fantastic way to re-live some of your favorite cinematic moments and see a different side of the city through a filmmaker’s lens. NYC is often dubbed the world’s most filmed city, and numerous companies offer tours that take you to spots where some of the most iconic movies and TV shows were filmed.
On Location Tours, one of the most popular movie tour companies in NYC, offers a range of themed tours. Their NYC TV & Movie Tour visits over 40 locations from both the big and small screen. The tour includes locations from Friends, Gossip Girl, Spider-Man, and many more. Their Sex and The City Hotspots Tour is a big hit among fans of the show, taking you to over 40 locations from the series, including the famous Magnolia Bakery.
Beyond this, the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) Classic Film Tour is a must for classic movie buffs, visiting locations from iconic films such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and King Kong.
These guided tours not only take you to iconic locations but also share fun facts and trivia about the films and TV shows shot there, providing a unique perspective of the city. For film lovers, a movie tour is not just a sightseeing activity, but a unique journey into the magic of cinema.
5. Pedal Around
Biking around New York City is one of the best ways to take in its unique neighborhoods and iconic sights. Also, the city’s extensive network of bike lanes, pathways, and greenways make for a cyclist-friendly environment, allowing you to explore at your own pace.
Start your biking adventure with Citi Bike, the city’s bike-sharing program. With more than 12,000 bikes and 750 stations spread throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Jersey City, it’s a convenient and affordable option for both locals and tourists.
For a leisurely ride, head to Central Park’s 6.1-mile loop, free from traffic and filled with scenic views. Pedal along the Hudson River Greenway, a 13-mile route offering stunning river vistas and parks. Or bike across the Brooklyn Bridge and enjoy panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline.
If you’re looking for a guided tour, companies like Bike and Roll NYC and Blazing Saddles offer a variety of guided bike tours which not only allow you to see the sights but also learn about the city’s rich history and culture.
Remember, always follow bike safety rules while riding in the city. Wear a helmet, use bike lanes whenever possible, and be aware of your surroundings.
Look no further than Long Island and White Plains for a fantastic weekend escape. This location is home to some of New York’s most incredible beaches, which provide white sand, crystal blue seas, and various activities such as fishing, swimming, kayaking, and more!