NYC Travel Tips: 10 Things to Know Before You Go to New York City

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Published on December 16, 2017 by Chris

Things YOU need to know before you travel to New York City. NYC consists of 5 Boroughs, Manhattan, the most famous and dense is also the smallest. Brooklyn is the most populated, with 2.6 million residents (total of 8.5M in NYC). Queens is the largest, and “most ethnically diverse” county in the US. Bronx is the northenmost and the only one that is part of the US Mainland. Staten Island is the most suburban

Manhattan is BIG — don’t expect to walk the whole thing in a day
5 days is probably the sweet spot. No less than 3 days.

Wear comfortable shoes
Girls: Sex and the City says everybody walks in heels all the time — not so much.
Don’t try and walk everywhere, the subway is there for a reason.

NYC is Expensive! Everything costs more here.
The city runs on tips

New Yorkers aren’t really rude.. They are just efficient.

Expect to pay to use a bathroom, there really aren’t many good public toilets

Weather
For about 8 months out of the year it is chilly. And, for about 3 months it’s just plain miserable. Be prepared for really cold and windy, or really hot, humid, and muggy. Be prepared to rain always.

Summer: Highs 84F/29C Lows: 68F/20C (July)
Winter: Highs: 38F/3C – Lows 25F/-4C (January)

Winter Footwear — puddles the size of small lakes
Layers

Best months: September, October, May and June

Getting in

Airports
LaGuardia (M80 Bus)
JFK (Airtrain to Howard Beach then catch the subway)
Newark (30 mins on Amtrak or NJ Transit)
Beware of unnoficial cabs

Trains — to Penn Station or Grand Central. Grand Central is amazing.
Megabus if you’re on the east coast
Driving — if you do drive in… just plan to park and leave your car for the duration of your stay.

Transportation in NYC

The Subway mostly runs north south… east and west you’ll be walking it
If you’re in NYC for awhile, get a week or month long Subway pass
Avoid the empty subway car, it’s empty for a reason. Hot or smelly.
Don’t lean on the subway poles… more people can hold on to it
Pay attention to the local, or express trains.
Get in the subway at the correct entrance, going the right direction, and for the right line

There are tons of yellow taxis… but they are notoriously hard to hail in bad weather
Flagship city for Uber, Lyft. But traffic is slow.
If you’re running late, don’t take a taxi. You WILL get stuck in traffic.

Walking — don’t drop in the middle of the sidewalk

Ferrys for a different way to get around
NYC Ferry – East River route for some of the best views

Citi Bikes — 10,000 bikes and 600 stations — Download the citi bike app – $12/day
Bus Tours — skip it

Times Square

Crowded, chaotic, dazzling and overpriced
Is really small — and there’s not much to do once you get there.
Whatever you do, don’t eat here. The food is overpriced and mediocre due to high rent.

Broadway Shows
Book way ahead of time
There’s a vibrant “Off-Broadway” Scene
Book of Mormon and Avenue Q are my favorites
Check out the TKTs booth for cheap tickets or online now

Parks (Central Park & the High Line)
Central Park Is really big — and no subway across
Central Park is 800 Acres
Strawberry Fields, Sheep’s Meadow, ice skating rinks.
Visit the High Line on a weekday to avoid the crowds

Big Apple Attractions
Statue of Liberty — book ahead of time
Cant get tix for the Statue of Liberty, ride the Staten Island Ferry for free!
Empire State Building — Long Lines
Top of the Rock is really cool — great views of the Empire State
New WTC Observatory
9/11 Memorial ($2 Reservation Fee
Museum of Modern Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
American Museum of Natural History (Suggested Admission)
Chelsea Market
New York Public Library
Flatiron Building
Shopping along 5th Avenue

Hotels
Expensive!
Save some money by staying in Queens, Brooklyn, or Staten Island
If money is no object — the Park Hyatt is amazing
Marriott Marquis on Times Square in the middle of it all

Food
Food carts and trucks can be really good
The Halal Guys is a “must eat”
Grimaldi’s Pizza (In Brooklyn under the bridge) and Lomardis in Little Italy
Pastrami on Rye
Shake Shack started here
Chinatown Get noodles at Xi’an Famous Foods (location in Chinatown)
Bagels with Lox
New York Hotdogs from Gray’s Papaya
New York Cheesecake

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