Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.

New York City travel guide

Concrete jungle where dreams are made of.

Last updated:

Statue of Liberty with NYC in the background.

From the Statue of Liberty to Radio City Music Hall, New York City’s landmarks are renowned the world over. But the soul of the Big Apple lies in its rich cultural flavor.

Unlike many popular destinations, New York City’s main industry isn’t tourism. Explore the nation’s largest metropolis with a mix of respect and adventure — your next delight is just around the corner.


Find a cheap flight to New York City

Tips for first time visitors to the Big Apple

1. Embrace public transportation.

The most efficient way to see the city is by subway, bus, ferry or train. Most rides cost $2.75 one way, regardless of how far you’re traveling. Just head to a Metropolitan Transportation Authority kiosk, purchase a MetroCard, swipe at a turnstile and hop aboard.

2. Plan routes in advance …

While some subway stations offer Wi-Fi, coverage is spotty throughout the ride and not guaranteed. So it’s best to plot your travels ahead of time. Google Maps is a sturdy aid, as are the MTA’s app and Citymapper.

3. … and pack for the day.

To make the most of your trip, avoid stopping back at your hotel room or rental. Consider packing daily essentials in a backpack, and grab a slice of $2 pizza for lunch if cash is tight. In true New Yorker style, embrace the shade at a nearby park or coffee shop.

4. Stay alert (and don’t stop in the middle of the sidewalk).

On the streets of New York, energy swirls from every direction. Keeping your eyes up is key — not only to prevent theft, but also out of courtesy for others. Stepping off the sidewalk could put you directly in the path of a fast-moving biker.

Sometimes New Yorkers get a bad rep for being rude. The reality is that most are quite friendly. But understand that though you’re on vacation, you’ll likely cross paths with someone’s daily commute. Staying mindful ensures everyone is able to travel smoothly.

5. Make time to laugh.

The comedy scene in New York is legendary, and there’s something for every taste. Whether you’re looking for an intimate indie hideout or bright lights and big names, you’ll laugh along with some of the greats at a comedy show in the city.

6. Wear comfortable shoes.

Nothing sabotages a trip faster than blisters and bloody heels. Prioritize comfort over style when visiting the Big Apple, even if it means leaving your fabulous stilettos behind.

7. Explore beyond Times Square.

Think of Times Square as the midway of a state fair: It’s bright, crowded, loud and stuffed with expensive spots. Sure, it’s worthwhile to see — and home to Broadway theaters — but it’s just one note in New York’s glorious symphony.

Ignite your senses in Harlem’s rush of jazz, soul food and street art. Wander through Greenwich Village’s romantic, zig-zagged streets and take a break in Washington Square Park. Soak in the riches of immigrant history at the Lower East Side’s Tenement Museum, then head north to admire the art deco magic of Grand Central Terminal and couturiers on the Upper East Side.

And don’t forget about the Upper West Side, Washington Heights, Hell’s Kitchen, the Flatiron District, Union Square, Chelsea, East Village, Little Italy, SoHo, Tribeca, Chinatown and the Financial District.

8. Check out the outer boroughs.

True, you could spend years exploring Manhattan alone. But Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island are add to the city’s overall flavor.

Whether picnicking in Prospect Park or admiring art at MoMA’s PS1, you’ll get a clearer picture of local life by venturing off the island.

What’s a bodega?

Bodegas are corner shops that are part supermarket, part convenience store and wholly neighborhood landmarks. The word bodega comes from a Spanish word that means “warehouse” or “wine cellar.” In the 1940s and ’50s, bodegas were typically operated by Puerto Rican immigrants. Stop in to grab last-minute munchies, snag a bottle of wine or pet a mascot cat.

Bottom line

Home to millions of hardworking people, New York City is transformative, entertaining, inspiring and slightly bewildering for visitors. The key is to plan ahead and stay curious about what each of the city’s dynamic neighborhoods has to offer.

New York travel deals

Jetblue Vacations Jetblue Vacations

$100 off New York City, NY when you book a flights plus hotel package to New York City (LGA, JFK or EWR)

Last verified

Coupon code ends

Travelocity Travelocity

Vacation packages now under $400

Flight and hotel included for getaways to: Miami, Orlando, Las Vegas, NYC, Honolulu, Los Cabos, and more. T&Cs apply

Last verified

Deal ends

Get Your Guide Get Your Guide

New York City tickets, attractions and tours form $7.50

Book Broadway tickets, skip-the-line and pre-purchase entry to the 9/11 Museum, Top of the Tock, Statue of Liberty, MoMA, Museum of Natural History, Guggenheim and cheap airport transfers.

Last verified

New York Pass New York Pass

Save up to 63% on attractions and experiences in New York City

Access 100+ attractions included for the duration of your pass. Skip the ticket lines at top attractions including Top of the Rock, MoMA, The MET, Circle Line Cruises & more.

Last verified

CityPASS CityPASS

44% off New York's 6 best attractions from $108

T&Cs apply

Last verified

Deal ends

Adrenaline Adrenaline

NYC adventure tours: helicopter, hot air balloon, cruises and more

Last verified

The Sightseeing Pass The Sightseeing Pass

Save up to 70% on entry fees to attractions in top cities

Over 300 attractions in 13 top US destinations: New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Miami, New Orleans, Orlando, Los Angeles, Key West, Smoky Mountains, Nashville, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Puerto Rico. Valid for 30 days.

Last verified


Read more on this topic

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site