City Guide to New York, USA

Author: | Last Updated: 18 Mar 2019

The big Apple. The city that never sleeps. New York is everything you imagine it to be and so much more. With a legendary reputation to live up to, New York City definitely delivers in so many ways. It’s hard not to be taken aback by the scale of the city when you first arrive, the iconic shooting location of so many films, the city creates a first impression that will stay with you for a long time. From countless gourmet delis and mouth-watering pizza joints, you won’t go hungry and certainly won’t be starved for entertainment either with everything from fun festivals to Broadway shows and rooftop bars at your disposal.

Best time of the year to visit New York:

Unless you like biting cold winds and the very real possibility of snow (43F on average in January), it is advisable to go in spring or fall. If you don’t mind the cold through, the Christmas holiday period in New York is alive with festive activities like ice-skating at Rockefeller center and fun Christmas markets where you can pick up the perfect gift. You might think summer is the best time to visit for hot weather, however the city is hit with a huge wave of tourism making getting around that much more difficult. An unusual time to travel perhaps, but fall provides pleasant days of around 70F and only dropping to low 60s during the evenings. There’s even fewer days of rain on average than in summer, 10 on average compared to 15. Another bonus of going in the fall is getting to see the crisp, autumnal colors of Central Park.

Grand central

Before you even arrive to New York there are some things you need to know to make sure you get the best first impression you could hope for. First, try and book flights flying in during the day and leaving in the evening if possible, since seeing the urban jungle from above is breathtaking and should be experienced at day and night. Next, take a bus from the airport to Grand Central with the NYC Airporter service, and prepare to be amazed as you drive through the city and arrive at one of the most famous train stations in the world. Aside from being an architectural marvel, Grand Central station is also home to a little known secret in the whispering gallery. This gallery, located in front of the Oyster bar provides perplexing acoustics to those who whisper there. By standing at different arches, you and your friend can whisper to each other and hear it echo around the gallery and into the other’s ear.

Empire State Building

Seeing New York from high up in one of the many colossal skyscrapers is a must for anyone visiting this city of giants. An obvious option, the world-famous Empire State Building offers the highest floor from which to see the city out in the open and will give you uninhibited views of all the iconic areas of New York from Times Square to Brooklyn Bridge. For a slightly more distant view of the city as a whole, including the Empire State Building, you’ll want to scale the One World observatory, where on a clear day you can even see out to the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll also want to see the city come alive at night, which you can do while enjoying a drink on one of New York’s many rooftop bars. Mr Purple in Brooklyn is one such bar, with an open lounge area offering spectacular panoramic views of the city so you can see why it’s called the city that never sleeps.

Gourmet snacks

Being the buzzing, at times chaotic city that it is, New York City residents are always looking for something tasty to eat on the go. From the legendary pizza, to every type of deli sandwich imaginable, to pastries and sweet treats, it’s definitely worth trying out the amazing street food on offer. Let’s get straight to the recommendations: first up one of the best spots to head for a delicious slice of the good stuff, Di Fara pizza in Brooklyn – proclaimed by many to be the best pizza around – is one not to miss out on.

If you’re in the mood for a breakfast (or lunch) bagel to give you the energy to explore the Big Apple, head over to Russ and daughters for their mouth-wateringly good salmon and cream cheese bagel, on orchard street. One of New York’s own creations, the chopped cheese deli sandwich has been said to be their version of the philly cheesesteak. To try this interesting take on a classic, head to Hajji’s bodega on 1st Avenue, and enjoy this satisfying sandwich. If you’ve got a sweet tooth and need that fix of sugar, try Levain bakery who serve outrageously good, freshly baked cookies that are guaranteed to satisfy your sweet craving.

Central Park

One of the best reasons to visit New York in the fall is for the incredibly photogenic Central Park, with its sublime shades of yellow, red and brown color bringing the park to life. One of the highlights of the city by far, Central Park seamlessly blends with its urban surroundings providing a welcome escape from the busyness of the city and a beautiful green space to explore on foot or via horse and carriage if you prefer. As well as being able to take a boat out onto the lake (find the Loeb boathouse to rent one out), there is a heavy presence of wildlife in the park and if you’re lucky you may even spot a rare species hanging out. There have been sightings of several rare species over the years in Central Park, most recently the strikingly beautiful mandarin duck has been spotted bathing in the water with its mosaic-like colors. If you just want to walk around and take in the stunning surroundings, why not grab a warming cup of coffee and a tasty pastry from Parliament bakery in Central Park West first to enjoy as you explore.

Festivals in the Fall season

If you do decide to come in the fall, you certainly won’t find yourself with a lack of things to do or see. Fall in New York is eventful; take the New York coffee festival for example that has been running for over 5 years now, the perfect exhibition for all you coffee-lovers out there takes place in October. One of the best times of the year to enjoy a hot cup of joe, this event will hit the spot and give you the jolt of energy you need to keep up with the fast-paced city. If you’d like an educational element to your trip in the fall, don’t miss out on Museum Day in September which allows you free access to over 18 museums in the city, meaning you won’t have to shell out so much money to get into amazing museums like the American Museum of Natural History full of dinosaurs and many interesting exhibits. Lastly, Halloween is a big deal in the Big Apple, so to take part in this fun holiday check out the magical Jack O’Lantern Blaze. Go to the Hudson Valley to see this brilliant interactive display of lights (over 7000 pumpkins) with the whole family and make it a Halloween to remember.

Times Square

The home of broadway and just a fantastic place to people-watch and take in the city in constant motion, a visit to Times Square is mandatory. Seeing all the big advertising boards and screens everywhere you look can be overwhelming at first, but when you adjust, really gives you an idea of how alive New York is. Come during the day for the highly interactive and hugely entertaining Ripley’s believe it or not! Or the astoundingly impressive Gulliver’s Gate, where you can see what the world would be like if we were giants; both are kid-friendly and highly recommended attractions. After experiencing the beating heart of the city during the day, you should come back at night to see one of the biggest theater shows around on Broadway like the Lion King or Wicked for an unforgettable evening of entertainment.

Statue of liberty

Given to the city of New York as a gift from France to the American people, this iconic statue stands tall on the liberty island and you’d be remiss not to see it in person. While it’s impossible to see all of New York in one trip, going to see the Statue of Liberty is well worth your time due to its legendary status as a symbol of the American people’s freedom. The statue can be seen from the area of Battery in Lower Manhattan, or if you want to get close up and personal with the UNESCO world heritage site monument then take the ferry from the Battery area out to liberty island so you can really contemplate this piece of history.

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