New York Travel Guide

New York City inspirational guide 

Introduction to New York

Made up of five boroughs with distinct characters; Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan, New York City is one of the most influential cities in the world with a seemingly endless choice of things to do.

Brooklyn considered the hip borough has a buzzing indie arts and music scene, home to the Brooklyn Bridge and lots of family friendly parks and activities. The Bronx, often overlooked is worth visiting to enjoy the Bronx Zoo, Yankees Stadium and the New York Botanical Gardens whilst exploring 'Little Italy's' gourmet cuisine and coffee houses. Queens to the west of the city is a hive of activity thanks to its diverse culinary scene, arts attractions and fun museums such as the Museum of Moving Arts and The Queens Museum. The nearby Staten Island, which you can reach by a free ferry ride offers some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline, lots of unspoiled green space and history. Finally, Manhattan, the focus of many trips to New York is home to many of New York City's landmarks and the most popular things to do, from climbing the Empire State Building to strolling through Central Park.

Manhattan is made up of many neighbourhoods each with their own unique offering, Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side are brimming with culture, hip hotels and have a less hectic, artistic appeal, while Canal Street in Chinatown is a great spot to find a bargain and truly delicious cuisine. Post 9/11 Ground Zero is a sobering yet inspiring visit for tourists, or head further uptown and you will find Harlem, a heady maze of street markets and soul food.

Other things to do in New York

The city full of iconic landmarks is jam packed with things to do, must visit New York sights to see for first time visitors to the city include Times Square, Central Park, a Broadway show, Grand Central Terminal, and the Rockefellar Center.

There's a huge variety of museums in New York, from the major museums that appeal to all; The American Museum of Natural History, Museum of the City of New York and New York Hall of Science to the quirky and niche. The Conjuring Arts Research Center, Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Museum of Maths and the Skyscraper Museum are just a few of the many you have to choose from.

The choice of arts in New York is equally comprehensive, as well as art museums there's countless galleries, exhibitions, art shows and installations throughout the city. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Guggenheim New York Museum and the Museum of Modern Art all have world famous collections of art. Dream House, the Dia Art Foundation's art installations, the Morrison Hotel Gallery (a collection of rock music photographs), and the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art amongst others offers collections catering to specific interests.

If you're visiting New York for the shopping opportunities you will not be disappointed. You will find the famous department stores of Bloomingdales and Macy's, one of the largest stores in the world and if you head to Fifth Avenue there's a number of designer boutiques and Saks Fifth Avenue. For small independent boutiques and vintage stores head to West Village which is full of speciality stores and markets.

New York has set the scene for a number of fan favourite television shows and movies, including Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Sex and the City, Ghostbusters, and Spiderman. If you want to discover some of the popular locations you've seen on screen you can take a guided bus and walking tours around the city. There's also a number of movie spots you can find yourself such as the Ghostbusters Firehouse, and Central Park – one of the most filmed locations in the world.

For something a little different New York certainly delivers, with lots of quirky attractions or just those off the beaten track. These include the Lightship Frying Pan – a formerly sunken ship which can now be explored at Pier 66, Holographic Studios Inc - a museum dedicated to dedicated to holography, the New York Federal Gold Vault – the world's largest gold vault 50ft below sea level, the Troll Museum and The New York Earth Room – a room of earth worth one million dollars.

Eating and drinking in New York

One thing you can be sure of in New York City is that you won’t go hungry! With over 20,000 eateries you may feel overwhelmed with the choices available. As well as Zagat rated restaurants New York offers unique dining experiences, from dining in the dark at Camaje to dining in a dungeon with ninjas at Ninja New York in Tribeca. The signature dish of the city is of course the New York style pizza – a thing crust with crispy edges. Head to Lombardi's Pizza in Lower Manhattan, where you will find the first pizzeria to be opened in New York. When it comes to dessert the city is famous for its cheesecake with many bakeries offering their own take, head to Junior's in Brooklyn, Two Little Red Hens on the Upper East Side or La Cheesecake in Queens.

Street food from food trucks and hot dog stands dotted around the city is a great option for snacks or lunch on the go. With the famous New York hot dogs, burritos, rice bowls, pretzels, bagels, honey roasted peanuts and waffles you have plenty of choice available.

Read more: 10 best things to eat in New York

New York climate

New York has a humid subtropical climate which results in hot and humid summers with average daily temperatures of 25°c, and highs of 35°c in July, the hottest month of the year. Winters are cold and snowfall is regular, January is the coldest month with average temperatures of –3°c, lows of -12°c and 18cm of snow. Rainfall is consistent throughout the year, with around 10 days of rain each month.

When to go to New York

New York is a year round city break destination with each season offering something different. Spring and Autumn are ideal for those who would prefer to avoid the extreme summer and winter temperatures.

Flying to New York

Flights to New York are available from most major airports in the UK, the typical flight duration is between 7.5 and 8 hours. There are two international airports serving New York: John F. Kennedy Airport and Newark Airport. Both airports offer convenient onward travel options into Manhattan, including car rental, taxi, and trains.

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Hotels in New York

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