Last updated: 10:19 AM ET, Thu March 09 2023
New York City financial district on the Hudson River at dawn. (Sean Pavone / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

New York City

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Times Square in New York on a rainy night. (schalkm / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Times Square in New York City on a rainy night (Photo via schalkm / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

New York City, New York, is every city you’ve ever been to and then some, all rolled into one endless adventure. Whether it’s your first time visiting the Big Apple, or you’re an old friend, there are certain places that will excite, entice and elate any visitor. Today’s New York still grasps tightly to yesterday’s promise of the American Dream, which is why millions of people from all around the world come to the city in search of that palpable passion that can be found no where else. It’s also an incredibly fun place to visit.

New York City consists of five boroughs, each with their own distinct qualities and quirks. Manhattan, an elongated island divided into several districts, is the quintessential New York people tend to think of when they picture the city. Though chances are you’ve seen Hollywood’s version of Manhattan, there’s nothing like seeing it up close. For great shopping opportunities, check out trendy TriBeCa or bohemian SoHo. Lower Manhattan is home to Wall Street, the World Trade Center site and the departure point for the ferries to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Midtown is where to find the theater district (Broadway and beyond), glowing Times Square and the iconic Empire State Building. Attractions like Central Park and its zoo, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are located Uptown.

Central Park during autumn in New york City. (Sean Pavone / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Central Park during autumn in New york City. (Sean Pavone / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Brooklyn is the most populous borough and is known for its music venues, galleries and historic Coney Island. Once a separate city, this burgeoning area enjoys an eclectic mix of artists, immigrants and suburbanites. Besides having two of the region’s airports, Queens is home to the Mets’ Citi Field and Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, which hosts the U.S. Open. While in the Bronx, you’re probably doing one of two things: visiting the Bronx Zoo or a Yankees game. The most suburban of the boroughs, Staten Island is a predominantly residential area. The best way to get here is by ferry, which boasts some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline.

Many believe that New York City is the food capital of the world. Whether or not you buy this, just about every restaurant in town will try to prove it to you. For a culinary adventure, try one of the local joints on Restaurant Row, like B. Smith’s or Hour Glass Tavern, in gritty Little Korea at Si-RA, or in true New York City fashion at the original Ray’s Pizza on Prince Street. Katz’s Deli on Houston Street is the oldest in the city, and only one that still hand cuts their corned beef and pastrami. For an upscale treat, the River Café in Brooklyn is a romantic candle-lit floating barge serving American Nouveau cuisine. Room for dessert? Head to 3rd Avenue for a sweet treat at Dylan’s Candy Bar.

With flights coming and going to just about every corner of the world, New York is served by three large airports, as well as major airline carriers. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is the most widely used and located east of the city within the borough of Queens. Ninety airlines operate out of JFK, as it’s a major international hub for several carriers and the gateway for international travel to the U.S. Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), located just outside the city in Newark, New Jersey, has three terminals and caters to both domestic and international travel. Often times both JFK and Newark will offer similar flights, but because of the airport’s location, a flight out of or into Newark will usually be cheaper. LaGuardia Airport (LGA) is a smaller airport located on Long Island that provides a wide range of domestic flights, including some Canadian destinations.

Grand Central Terminal with traffic, New York City, USA (spyarm / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Grand Central Terminal with traffic, New York City. (photo via spyarm / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Getting around New York City can be an adventure in itself. Manhattan is laid out in a grid, with numbered streets running east and west and avenues running north and south. For short distances downtown, there’s no better way to see the city than to walk it. For everything else, there are taxis, buses and the subway. The New York subway is easily the best way to travel around the city. It runs 24 hours a day and is a flat rate of $2.25 each way, regardless of the distance traveled. MetroCards can be purchased in vending machines in every station, and is the only acceptable form of payment to ride the subway. Every line is identified by either letter or number (ignore the colors) and free maps are provided at manned token booths.

New York City has a humid-continental climate and experiences all four seasons, with hot summers, crisp and dry autumns, cold winters and mild and rainy springs. Being the insomniac city it is, there is always something going on, and therefore has no real “best” time to visit. Summertime is big on al fresco dining and entertainment. The performing arts season reaches it’s height in autumn. Springtime is beautiful in the city parks, and there’s no better place to enjoy the holiday season than NYC. From Rockefeller Center to Radio City, the city is a nonstop party in the winter months, and the hotel prices tend to skyrocket. Looking for a bargain? Mid-January to early April will have the best rates.