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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Diaz

The Ultimate Travel Guide to New York, New York

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

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As a seasoned traveler, I have had the pleasure of visiting various cities across the globe. However, no city has quite captivated me like New York City, the city that never sleeps. The hustle and bustle, the energy, the food, the people, and the architecture make it a city like no other. If you're planning to visit the Big Apple, this ultimate guide will help you make the most of your visit.


Getting Around in New York, New York

New York City is known for its efficient public transportation system, including subways and buses. Visitors can purchase MetroCards, which are valid on both the subway and buses. Taxis and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are also available. However, walking is the best way to explore the city, and it's a great way to take in the sights and sounds of the city.


Top Neighborhoods to Visit

New York City is a diverse and dynamic city, with each of its five boroughs offering something unique and exciting for visitors to explore. However, some neighborhoods stand out as must-visit destinations for first-time visitors. These neighborhoods offer a glimpse into the heart and soul of the city, with their distinctive charm, cultural landmarks, and vibrant atmospheres.


Times Square

One of the most famous neighborhoods in New York City is Times Square (although my least favorite because of the crowds). This iconic neighborhood is known for its bright lights, billboards, and endless entertainment options. Visitors can take in a Broadway show, dine at a restaurant, or shop for souvenirs. It's a lively and exciting destination that's a must-visit for any first-time visitor to New York.


Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village is another neighborhood that's a must-visit (and favorite!) for first-time visitors to New York. This charming neighborhood is known for its beautiful streets lined with brownstones, unique shops, and vibrant nightlife. It's also home to Washington Square Park, a beautiful public park that's a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.


Brooklyn

Brooklyn is another borough with diverse neighborhoods that are worth exploring. Visitors can head to Williamsburg for the hipster scene, trendy restaurants, and beautiful parks. They can also visit Brooklyn Heights for stunning views of the Manhattan skyline and charming brownstone-lined streets.


Chelsea

Chelsea is a trendy neighborhood known for its art galleries, high-end boutiques, and trendy restaurants. Visitors can explore the famous High Line, an elevated park built on an old railroad track, and take in the stunning views of the city. Chelsea Market, a food hall located in a historic building, is also a popular destination for foodies.


Korea Town

Korea Town, located in Midtown Manhattan, is a vibrant neighborhood with a large Korean community. Visitors can enjoy authentic Korean cuisine, visit Korean spas and karaoke bars, and shop at Korean supermarkets and beauty stores. It's a unique and lively neighborhood that offers a glimpse into Korea's vibrant culture and traditions.


Tribeca

Tribeca, short for "Triangle Below Canal Street," is known for its trendy and upscale atmosphere. This former industrial area has been transformed into a thriving neighborhood with a mix of beautifully restored loft buildings, high-end boutiques, and top-rated restaurants. Tribeca's cobblestone streets and historic architecture add to its unique character, creating a charming ambiance that attracts both locals and visitors alike. The neighborhood is also famous for hosting the annual Tribeca Film Festival, which brings together filmmakers, artists, and celebrities from around the world.


SoHo

SoHo, short for "South of Houston Street," is renowned for its artistic flair and fashionable scene. This neighborhood is a mecca for shoppers, featuring an array of trendy boutiques, designer stores, and art galleries. SoHo's cast-iron buildings and cobblestone streets create a distinct architectural aesthetic that adds to its allure. It's a great place to wander around, explore independent shops, admire street art, and people-watch from one of the many chic cafes. SoHo's vibrant atmosphere and lively street culture make it a favorite spot for both fashion enthusiasts and art lovers.


Upper East Side

Lastly, the Upper East Side is an upscale neighborhood known for its designer shops, museums, and high-end restaurants. Visitors can take a stroll along Fifth Avenue, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Guggenheim Museum, or dine at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants in the area.


Things to Do in New York, New York

As someone who loves exploring New York City, I can tell you that there are so many incredible things to see and do here. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, this city has it all. Here are some of the must-see attractions that I recommend checking out:


Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is truly a sight to behold, standing tall as a symbol of American freedom and democracy. Located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, visiting this iconic landmark is an unforgettable experience that you simply cannot miss during your trip to New York City. To get to the Statue of Liberty, you can hop on a ferry from Manhattan that will take you on a scenic journey through the harbor, providing stunning views of the city skyline along the way. Once you arrive on the island, you can explore the grounds, learn about the history and significance of the statue, and even climb to the top of the pedestal for breathtaking panoramic views of the city and harbor.


Whether you're a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or just someone looking for a unique and memorable experience, the Statue of Liberty is a must-see attraction that you won't want to miss. From the moment you catch your first glimpse of the statue, you'll feel a sense of awe and wonder at its majestic beauty and the powerful message it represents. So be sure to add this iconic landmark to your New York City itinerary and get ready for an unforgettable adventure.



Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is one of the most recognizable and iconic structures in New York City, offering visitors a breathtaking view of the city from its observation deck. As you ascend to the top, you can feel the excitement building up, and once you reach the observation deck, you'll be rewarded with an unforgettable panoramic view of the bustling metropolis below. With its towering height and impressive Art Deco architecture, the Empire State Building is not only a testament to human ingenuity and engineering but also a symbol of the city's enduring spirit and determination. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a longtime resident, the Empire State Building should definitely be on your list of must-see attractions in New York City.



Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, also known as the Met, is an art lover's paradise that you simply cannot miss during your visit to New York City. As one of the world's largest and most well-known museums, the Met is home to an impressive collection of over two million works of art from various cultures and historical periods. The Met has something for everyone, from ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary art installations. The museum's vast collection can be overwhelming, but that's all part of the fun! You can easily spend hours exploring the museum's various galleries, taking in everything from Renaissance paintings to ancient Greek sculptures. And if you're a fan of fashion, don't miss the Met's Costume Institute, which features a rotating selection of stunning fashion exhibits.


In addition to the incredible artwork on display, the Met also offers a variety of educational programs and special events throughout the year. Whether you're interested in attending a lecture or taking a guided tour, the Met has something to offer visitors of all ages and interests. Overall, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a true gem of New York City and a must-visit destination for any art enthusiast or curious traveler.



Central Park

Central Park is a sprawling oasis nestled in the heart of the bustling metropolis of Manhattan. Spanning an impressive 843 acres, it offers a peaceful respite from the frenzied pace of the city. Whether you're looking to relax, take a leisurely stroll, or enjoy a picnic with your loved ones, Central Park is the perfect destination. This iconic green space is home to a variety of stunning landscapes, including lush lawns, tranquil ponds, and winding paths that beckon visitors to explore. With countless nooks and crannies to discover, it's easy to lose yourself in the park's beauty and forget that you're in one of the world's busiest cities. So, whether you're a nature lover or just looking to escape the urban jungle, Central Park is definitely worth a visit.


DUMBO

If you're looking to explore a neighborhood with a unique and artistic flair, you won't want to miss DUMBO. Short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, this Brooklyn gem is a must-visit destination for locals and visitors alike. Stroll down its charming cobblestone streets, and you'll discover a vibrant art scene with numerous galleries and exhibitions. And, of course, no trip to DUMBO would be complete without taking in the breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. You can snap some unforgettable photos from one of the many vantage points throughout the neighborhood, or simply take a leisurely walk along the waterfront and soak up the sights and sounds of the city. Whether you're an art lover, a history buff, or just someone who appreciates a good view, DUMBO is sure to impress.


Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal is an architectural marvel and a transportation hub that attracts visitors from all over the world. This historic train station boasts beautiful Beaux-Arts architecture, with grand chandeliers, intricate details, and a stunning astronomical ceiling that depicts the constellations. Whether you're taking a train or just passing through, Grand Central Terminal is definitely worth a visit. Take some time to stroll through the grand concourse and admire the architecture, or grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants and food stands. You might even catch a live performance or a public art installation while you're there.


Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden has been the go-to destination for sports enthusiasts and entertainment lovers alike since its inception in 1968. It has hosted a wide range of events, from high-profile sports games and championships to electrifying concerts and theatrical performances, making it a truly multifaceted venue that never fails to impress.



Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center is a vibrant and bustling complex of buildings in the heart of Midtown Manhattan that offers visitors a variety of experiences, from shopping and dining to art and culture. A visit to the Top of the Rock observation deck provides breathtaking panoramic views of the city, while the famous ice skating rink is a must-visit during winter.




Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building is an architectural gem that has become synonymous with the Art Deco movement. Its sleek and elegant design features striking details, such as the intricate eagles that adorn its facade. Visitors can take in the stunning views of the city from the observation deck, located on the 71st floor, and marvel at the building's timeless beauty.


Brooklyn Bridge

One of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States, the Brooklyn Bridge is a must-see landmark that connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Walking across the bridge offers stunning panoramic views of the New York City skyline, making it a great place to capture some amazing photos.


Carrie Bradshaw's House

Fans of the hit TV show Sex and the City will recognize the brownstone apartment building in Greenwich Village that served as the exterior shot of Carrie Bradshaw's apartment. Visiting this iconic location is a fun way to pay homage to the show and relive some of your favorite moments.


Friends Apartment Building

Fans of the beloved TV show Friends will definitely want to visit the apartment building in Greenwich Village that was used as the exterior shot of the main characters' apartment. Take a stroll through the quaint neighborhood and reminisce about all the hilarious and heartwarming moments from the show.


Washington Square Arch

This stunning arch in Greenwich Village was erected in 1892 to celebrate the centennial of George Washington's inauguration. The arch has since become a symbol of New York City and a popular spot for visitors to take photos and soak up the area's rich history.


Flatiron Building

This iconic triangular-shaped building in Midtown Manhattan is a testament to New York City's innovative spirit and has become an emblem of the city's skyline. With its unique architecture and prominent location, the Flatiron Building is a must-see attraction that attracts visitors from around the world.


Belvedere Castle

Located in Central Park, a whimsical castle-like structure provides some of the best views of the park and the city skyline. Whether you're a local or a first-time visitor, climbing to the top of this charming castle is a must-do activity in New York City.


Bryant Park

Located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, is a tranquil oasis amid the bustling city. This small park is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, providing a peaceful place to relax, read a book, or enjoy a cup of coffee. It is also great for people-watching and soaking up the city's vibrant energy.


Oculus

The Oculus, situated at the World Trade Center complex, is an architectural masterpiece designed by Santiago Calatrava. This transportation hub and shopping center features a grand, white ribbed structure reminiscent of wings or skeletal bones. The Oculus houses a variety of high-end retail stores, restaurants, and a transportation hub for easy access to other parts of the city. Besides its impressive architecture, the Oculus also serves as a poignant reminder of the resilience and renewal of New York City following the 9/11 attacks


Hudson Yards Vessel

Hudson Yards Vessel, located in the Hudson Yards neighborhood, is a unique and striking structure. Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, this honeycomb-like structure consists of interconnecting staircases and platforms, creating a visually captivating experience. As you ascend the Vessel, you'll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding cityscape. It's a great spot for photography enthusiasts and a place to enjoy a leisurely stroll and take in the urban landscape.


Where to Eat in New York, New York


Bleecker Street Pizza

Bleecker Street Pizza is the place to be for pizza lovers like me. Located right in the heart of Greenwich Village, this renowned pizzeria is known far and wide for serving some of the absolute best pizza in all of New York City. I can't wait to sink my teeth into their delicious pies! What sets Bleecker Street Pizza apart is their dedication to using fresh ingredients and crafting pizzas with a thin, crispy crust. They have an incredible variety of options, from the timeless classic Margherita to their own unique creations like the mouthwatering Nonna Maria and the tantalizingly spicy Spicy Spring. With such a range of flavors, there's something to please every taste bud. The atmosphere at Bleecker Street Pizza is casual and inviting, making it the perfect spot to grab a slice on the go or relax and enjoy a leisurely meal. I can already imagine myself sitting down, savoring every bite of their delectable pizza while soaking in the vibrant ambiance of Greenwich Village.


For anyone seeking the iconic New York pizza experience, I highly recommend stopping by Bleecker Street Pizza. Trust me, you won't want to miss out on this ultimate pizza haven!


Olio e Più

Olio e Più is calling my name! This popular Italian restaurant is nestled right in the vibrant neighborhood of Greenwich Village, making it a go-to spot for me when I'm craving some authentic Italian flavors. The moment I step inside, I'm greeted by a cozy and charming atmosphere, with rustic decor that adds to the warm ambiance. What I love most about Olio e Più is their dedication to serving up traditional Italian cuisine using only the finest ingredients and fresh produce. Their menu is a dream come true for any Italian food enthusiast like me. From mouthwatering pasta dishes to tantalizing wood-fired pizzas and a variety of delectable antipasti, there's no shortage of options to satisfy my cravings. To complement the culinary delights, Olio e Più also boasts an extensive wine list featuring a selection of delightful Italian wines. It's the perfect way to enhance the flavors of the meal and elevate the dining experience even further.


If you're a lover of Italian cuisine like me, I highly recommend paying a visit to Olio e Più. Trust me, you won't want to miss out on the chance to savor the flavors of Italy right in the heart of New York City!


Da Andrea Ristorante

Da Andrea Ristorante has captured my heart as an incredible Italian restaurant right in the heart of New York City. Whenever I walk through its doors, I'm immediately enveloped by a charming and cozy atmosphere that sets the stage for a memorable dining experience.

What truly sets Da Andrea Ristorante apart is its commitment to serving authentic Italian cuisine. Every dish is crafted with a focus on traditional flavors and made with the freshest ingredients available. Whether it's the irresistible homemade pasta, the flavorful sauces that dance on your taste buds, or the mouthwatering desserts that provide the perfect sweet ending, this restaurant has it all.


I can't help but recommend making a reservation in advance to secure your spot at this popular New York eatery. The demand speaks volumes about the quality of the food and the welcoming ambiance. So, if you're yearning for an exceptional Italian feast that satisfies all your cravings, Da Andrea Ristorante is the place to be!


Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao

Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao has been on my radar as a highly acclaimed restaurant nestled in the vibrant neighborhood of Korea Town, New York. As a lover of Chinese and Shanghainese cuisine, I can't help but be drawn to this place, especially for its famous signature dish, xiao long bao, which are those delightful soup dumplings that burst with flavor in every bite. I'm thrilled to know that Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao offers an authentic dining experience where I can indulge in these delicate and flavorful soup-filled dumplings. The thought of savoring their expertly crafted xiao long bao already has my taste buds dancing with anticipation.


Black Seed Bagels

Black Seed Bagels has captured the hearts of bagel lovers all over New York City, and I'm no exception! With multiple locations to choose from, this beloved bagel shop has made a name for itself with its hand-rolled, wood-fired bagels that offer a unique blend of Montreal and New York styles.


What sets Black Seed Bagels apart is their commitment to using high-quality ingredients in their bagel-making process. The result? A mouthwatering array of flavors to satisfy any bagel connoisseur. Whether you're a fan of the classic plain and sesame options or crave something more adventurous like their everything or cinnamon raisin variations, there's a bagel to suit every taste bud. But it doesn't stop there! Black Seed Bagels goes above and beyond by offering a delectable selection of spreads, deli sandwiches, and coffee to complement your bagel feast. Whether you're in the mood for a classic lox and cream cheese combo or an innovative flavor pairing, you'll find something to satisfy your cravings.


If you find yourself in New York City, don't miss out on the opportunity to experience the satisfying bagel offerings at Black Seed Bagels. Trust me, it's a popular spot for a reason, and you won't want to pass up the chance to indulge in their delicious bagels!


Liberty Bagels

Liberty Bagels on the Upper East Side is a cozy hidden gem for an unforgettable bagel experience. They serve up fresh, hand-rolled bagels with a perfect fluffy-chewy balance. With a wide variety of flavors and delectable spreads, it's a favorite spot among bagel enthusiasts. Visit this gem and indulge in their scrumptious bagels during your NYC adventure!


Coffee Shops in New York, New York

Are you a coffee or bakery enthusiast looking for a delightful experience in New York City? Then, you're in for a treat, as there are countless options to choose from. To help you narrow down your list, here are some top coffee shops and bakeries that offer quality drinks and baked goods:


Maman

This French-inspired café has several locations in the city, serving up delicious coffee, pastries, and brunch options in a cozy and charming atmosphere.


Cha Cha Matcha

A trendy spot known for its unique pink and green decor, Cha Cha Matcha serves up matcha lattes, pastries, and other drinks that are perfect for an Instagram-worthy snap.


Ralph's Coffee

Located in the Ralph Lauren flagship store on Fifth Avenue, Ralph's Coffee provides a stylish and sophisticated ambiance where you can enjoy light bites, coffee, and tea.


Librae Bakery

This family-owned bakery in the West Village serves up scrumptious pastries, cakes, and bread made with high-quality ingredients.


Butler

A specialty coffee shop in Williamsburg, Butler offers high-quality coffee, friendly service, and a cozy atmosphere that's perfect for a relaxing break.


Magnolia Bakery

A beloved institution in New York City that's famous for its classic cupcakes, cakes, and other sweet treats that are perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth.


Café Kitsuné

A trendy café in the West Village that offers delicious coffee, pastries, and light bites in a chic and modern atmosphere.


REMI Flower & Coffee

A unique concept store in SoHo that combines a coffee shop with a florist, offering beautiful floral arrangements and excellent coffee drinks.


Felix Roasting Co.

A sleek and modern coffee shop in Midtown that serves up high-quality coffee and light bites in a stylish and sophisticated atmosphere.


Variety Coffee Roasters

This coffee shop has multiple locations throughout the city and offers delicious coffee and pastries in a cozy and inviting ambiance that's perfect for catching up with friends or enjoying some alone time.


Seven Grams Caffe

Located in the trendy Tribeca neighborhood of New York City, Seven Grams Caffe is a hidden gem for coffee enthusiasts. This charming coffee shop offers a cozy and inviting atmosphere, perfect for catching up with friends or enjoying a moment of solitude. The ambiance of Seven Grams Caffe is warm and welcoming, with comfortable seating and soft music playing in the background. It's an ideal spot to relax, read a book, or get some work done while sipping on a delicious cup of coffee.


Where to Stay in New York, New York


The Plaza Hotel

Located at the intersection of Central Park and Fifth Avenue, The Plaza Hotel is an iconic luxury hotel known for its elegance and timeless charm. It offers luxurious accommodations, exceptional service, and stunning views of the city.


The Standard High Line

Situated in the vibrant Meatpacking District, The Standard High Line offers stylish rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, many of which provide breathtaking views of the city and the High Line park. The hotel features a rooftop bar, a trendy restaurant, and a prime location near popular attractions.


The Pierre, A Taj Hotel

Nestled on Fifth Avenue, across from Central Park, The Pierre is a historic hotel renowned for its opulence and classic elegance. With luxurious rooms, impeccable service, and amenities like a spa and fine dining options, it offers a truly luxurious experience.


The Greenwich Hotel

Located in the trendy neighborhood of Tribeca, The Greenwich Hotel is a boutique hotel that exudes sophistication and charm. It features individually designed rooms, a Japanese-inspired spa, a tranquil courtyard, and a restaurant known for its farm-to-table cuisine.


The Ludlow Hotel

Situated in the vibrant Lower East Side, The Ludlow Hotel offers stylish and comfortable accommodations with a bohemian flair. The hotel features chic rooms, a trendy rooftop bar, and a prime location near art galleries, boutiques, and lively nightlife.


These are just a few examples of the many wonderful places to stay in New York City. The city offers a wide range of options to suit different budgets and preferences, ensuring you can find the perfect accommodation for your stay.


Best Time to Visit New York, New York

New York City is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit is in the spring (April to June) and fall (September to November). The weather is mild during these seasons, and the crowds are smaller than in the summer months. However, keep in mind that New York City can get quite cold during the winter months (December to February), so pack warm clothing if you plan to visit during this time.

New York City is a vibrant and exciting destination with a diverse range of activities and attractions to suit all tastes. From exploring the city's rich history and culture to indulging in its world-renowned culinary scene, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, New York City offers endless possibilities for adventure and discovery. So start planning your trip today and get ready to experience all that this iconic city has to offer!


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Hi, Thanks for stopping by!

I'm Samantha! A photographer and I believe that every picture has a story. As a blogger, I share my travel stories with everyone. I think it's important to document my travels and share my experiences with others. I've been to some amazing places and I've seen some incredible things. I want to share my stories and photos with the world.

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