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The Ultimate Travel Guide for New York City

Ah, the big apple. New York is one of the most impressive cities in the world and has so much to offer! Here we will give as many tips as possible to navigate the beautiful and chaotic city that never sleeps, and even show you how to do it on a budget!

As a native New Yorker/ Jersey girl, I have over 30 years of experience exploring the best that this city has to offer. From tourist hot spots, to unique bars, and Instagrammable spots, we bet you didn't know about some of these.

So let's jump right in, and share with you what to do in New York for every kind of traveler out there.

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Getting to New York

New York is one of the easiest and cheapest places to fly in the world! Luckily for me, I can travel pretty cheaply around the world compared to some of my friends who live in smaller cities like Myrtle Beach and Vegas.

When it comes to traveling within the US, its important to note that there aren't many options that are "budget friendly". We don't suggest doing long bus rides. While this is popular in South America, it is not something you want to experience in the US. They're dirty, uncomfortable, and full of sketchy people.

So pretty much the most important thing to know here is that you should always fly to New York.

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Getting to/from the Airport

There are actually three airports that belong to New York. Sometimes, in order to save money. it is advisable to book two one way flights, checking each airport, because it may be cheaper to fly to one, but leave out of another. Here are the different options of where you can fly in and out of.

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La Guardia

Located in Queens, this is the closest airport to Manhattan. To get here you can hop on the subway, or take the bus in just 20 minutes. Ubers are available as well, but are a bit more expensive.


It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to get to from the city. You can get there easily from Penn Station by taking the subway or the LIRR (Long Island Railroad). The train is a few dollars more and a little faster.

The station you get off at is Jamaica, where you will get the air tram. If you are taking the subway, you can of course go from anywhere in the city to connect. There is an additional $5 surcharge for using the air tram which takes you from the station to all of the air terminals.

We wouldn’t recommend an Uber, as it is very expensive.

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Many people book flights to Newark not knowing that it is in fact in New Jersey, not New York. That’s okay though! You can easily take the train (NJIT) straight into Penn Station. It is $15.25 for a one way ticket and they can be purchased on an app or at any of the machines in the station.

flight from Newark

Flying out of Newark gives you spectacular views of New York City

Local Adjustments

When you travel somewhere new, there are things that you may forget about. Some things may be different from where you are coming from, that's why we're here to help. Here are a few of the local adjustments to keep in mind while traveling to New York City.


The official language in the US is English. However, NYC is a huge melting pot, so you can really find a wide variety of languages spoken! Head to Little Italy and you'll find plenty of Italians, head to Queens and you'll find a lot of latinos, and head to China Town, and well- you get it.


The currency used in the US is the USD. This may seem a waste to write, but we include this on all of our guides, as we hope to have viewers from both near and far!

Credit card is accepted nearly everywhere, and even local vendors may have Venmo, so you really won't need much cash.


The US uses three types of plugs. One with two rectangular prongs, one with two rectangular prongs with a third round pin, and one with two rectangular prongs, one slightly larger than the other. The supply voltage is 120V and 60Hz. 

It is important to know that if you are coming from Europe, you won't only need to get an adapter, but a energy converter. This way your electronics will work properly.


As a local, I am so used to drinking water from the tap, that I seem to forget this as I travel. In addition, it is custom for restaurants to automatically bring water from the tap, or from a machine free of charge. Don't bother wasting your money on bottled water, as it's truly not necessary.

We suggest bringing a refillable water bottle to bring with you around the city, especially because there is a lot of walking to do!

Tipping Culture

The tipping culture in the US is very controversial, but very important for people to understand. Tipping is never forced. However, if you don't tip your server, they are actually losing money. It may sound crazy, but servers rely 100% on tips for their salaries.

They also have to tip out the bus boys, bartenders, and the kitchen on a percentage of their sales. So if the bill is $100, and you leave zero, the server will actually be losing around $5. We're not saying it's fair, but it is how it is unfortunately. The up side to this is you'll generally get outstanding service.

While people tend to tip much less in the south, an average tip in New York is 20%. Locals tend to tip much more than this is the service was exceptional. Tips can be added to a credit card, but are also more appreciated in cash.

What to See in New York

New York has an unbelievable amount of places to see! You could spend days sightseeing in this giant city, and you will just never get bored. Here are some of the best places to see while visiting New York City.

Times Square

No one can go to NYC without going to Times Square. Famed for its busy and colorful lights and billboards, you will find plenty of street performers, shops, and unique souvenirs being sold.

Statue of Liberty

This gift from the French is a must see if you are in New York. The statue itself is free to visit, but you will need to take the ferry to Ellis island for $12. To visit the crown there is an additional $3 charge.

Another great way to see the statue (if you want to skip Ellis island) is by boat tour, which usually gets pretty close to the statue itself.

Statue of Liberty- what to do in New York

There are plenty of different boat trips that sail to the Statue of Liberty.

Flatiron Building

This is a triangular 22 story building located at 175 fifth avenue in the Flatiron district, and is just a great landmark to see and snap some insta photos.

Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center is located right in the heart of midtown, and has so much to offer in the area. The best time to visit is during Christmas time, as it is home to the famous Christmas tree and ice rink. There is also a light show with music outside projected on the buildings a few times per hour.

Rockefeller Center NYC

Rockefeller Center is one of the best spots to check out around the holidays.

Top of the Rock

Located inside Rockefeller center, is one of the best views of the city. The entrance is $36 plus tax, and an additional $10 during sunset hours.

What to do in New York- Top of the Rock

If you're looking for what to do in New York you can't go wrong with one of the viewpoints.

Empire State Building

The Empire State Building, with 102 floors, is an absolute icon for Manhattan. It is famous for many reasons, but particularly for its height and great views of the city. Tickets cost $30 plus tax to enter. It is also beautiful to see at night, as the top changes to different colors for different occasions.

View of the Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is one of the most iconic buildings in NYC, and can be seen from the Edge and Summit OV.

The Edge

This brand new building just opened in March 2020 and is located in Hudson Yards. It is the highest outdoor skydeck in the western hemisphere with 360 degree views of the city! Tickets are available online for $36 with a chosen date and time, or $56 if you would like to purchase a ticket for flexible visiting times.

Hudson yards is a large complex consisting of 19 commercial buildings covering 22 acres between 48th Street and 51st Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Not only does it feature the Edge, but a mall, hotel with a rooftop pool, and the Vessel 

what to do in New York

One World Trade Center

In our opinion, this is the most important landmark in NYC. 9/11 was one of the most tragic things to ever happen to the United States, with almost 3,000 deaths. The memorial that was built is truly a beautiful and an emotional experience.

Take a ticket up to the top and you will have a video timeline shown in the elevator on your way up, and 360 degree views at the top. Tickets are $32/ adult and $26/child.

World Trade Center, what to do in New York

One World Trade Center is one of most significant spots to check out in NYC.

The Oculus

Located right outside the World Trade Center, is a large modern building. Inside is a mall and a subway station. Check out the shops, or just admire its beautiful architecture.

Oculus, Instagrammable spots in NYC

The High Line

The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail created on a former New York Central Railroad on the west side on Manhattan. Here is a great place to stroll and just take in the surroundings. There is always new art, and beautiful spots to take some photos.

The High Line, what to do in New York

The High Line is one of the best free things to do in NYC.

Grand Central

Welcome to most stunning and iconic transportation hubs in the world. This may be a train station, but its gorgeous interior is enough to make you want to visit. Sometimes they also have some great markets inside as well.

Penn Station

Along with Grand Central, Penn Station is one of the two most important transportation hubs in the city. Penn Station connects to New Jersey, Long Island, and other spots within Manhattan. There is also a new entrance which is truly breathtaking to check out.

Penn Station entrance

Brooklyn Bridge

This is one of the most beautiful and iconic bridges in the world! The bridge connects downtown Manhattan with Brooklyn. Walk across and admire the skyline as well as the bridges architecture. Make sure to stay in Brooklyn and visit underneath the bridge to have some even better views of this famous landmark.

What to do in New York- visit the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most iconic bridges in the world.

Be aware of where you walk! The bridge is seperated for both pedestrians and bikers to enjoy.

Bryant Park

Bryant Park is a small park in Midtown located inside a square that is surrounded by skyscrapers. There is always something going on here!

Visit in December for the winter market and to go ice skating. or enjoy Movie Monday in the summertime, where everyone can set up on the grass and enjoy a free movie and popcorn!

Iceskating in Bryant pary NYC

Bryant Park is truly magical in the winter, and you can enjoy ice skating in the middle of the skyscrapers.

Central Park

This park is iconic and a must see. No matter the season, you will always find something to do here. Go for a boat ride in the summer,  ice skating in the winter, or have a picnic in the spring or fall. The park is 1.3 square miles, so you can really spend a full day here! It is free of charge, so enjoy that as well!

winter in Central Park, what to do in New York
Fall in Central Park, what to do in New York
Central Park, what to do in new york

Central Park is great to visit year round.

Liberty State Park

One of our favorite recommendations of what to do in New York is to actually get out of the city. Sounds strange right? Well actually the best views of Manhattan are from New Jersey. 

Liberty State Park NJ

Liberty State Park is actually located in New Jersey, but has some of the best views of NYC.

Located in Jersey City, Liberty State Park has some of the best views you will find of the skyline! This is also the closest you can get to the statue of liberty without actually visiting Ellis Island. In addition, there is also a beautiful memorial for all of the victims of 9/11.

Liberty State Park, best views of NYC
Liberty State Park, New Jersey
Best views of NYC

The best views of the skyline are from New Jersey.

Wall Street

This is where the real money is made in Manhattan. See the statue of the golden bull and touch its balls for good luck! Also go check out the fearless girl statue facing the New York stock exchange.

Wall Street is the heart of the financial district, and is also home to plenty of great bars and restaurants. Our personal favorite is Route 66 Steakhouse.

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The Vessel

Built just a couple years ago, the vessel is a structure that was designed for the Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project. The stunning bronze honeycomb structure is a sight to see inside and out, and is super fun for the photographer in you.

The Vessel- what to do in New York

Update: Originally the Vessel was free of charge to enter. After a few unfortunate events the Vessel was closed for a while. Once reopened this was changed, and it is now only free for the first hour, and $10 after that. The Vessel is open from 10 am to 8 pm daily.

Tickets are given on a time slot basis, and the time must be abided by. There is no time limit once inside, but most spend around a half hour.

The Vessel NYC, what to do in New York
Instagrammable spots in NYC
The Vessel NYC, what to do in New York

The Vessel is one of our favorite Instagrammable spots in NYC.

Neither tripods or drones are allowed into the Vessel. For pictures we suggest bringing a wide lens and asking a friend to shoot for you.

Don't have time to read the whole article and want to save it for later? Just pin it!

What to do in New York Pin
What to do in New York Pin
What to do in New York Pin

Governor's Island

Governor's Island is a great island to check out connected to Manhattan and Queens. The island has a ton of historical significance, and is also beautiful to walk around to escape the crowds. It has great views of the city, with several nature paths to enjoy. Want to learn more? Check out our friend's Governor's Island travel guide.

What to Do in New York City

Not only are there so many things to see in New York, but there are so many activities, that you could seriously never get bored in this great city! Check out what to do in New York with these fun activities to try while in the city.

Go to a Sporting Event

New York is home to so many sports teams, and some of the most exciting games you’ll ever see. See a basketball or hockey match at Madison Square Garden, go to a Giants or Jets football game at Metlife stadium (located in East Rutherford, NJ), or watch a Mets or Yankees baseball game.

If you’re not particularly a fan of a specific team we would suggest going to see the Jets or Mets, as these games are much cheaper. Yankee stadium is located in the Bronx, and the Mets in Queens, both reachable by subway.

What to do in New York- sports game

MetLife Stadium is located in New Jersey just outside New York, and is home to the Giants and Jets Football teams.

Museum of Ice cream

This is one of the most fun museums you will ever go to! With multi-sensory installations, and a three floor slide, you’ll feel like a kid again (and get the best insta pics).

Play Around at the Color Factory

Similar to the Museum of Ice Cream, this is another interactive museum fulls of fun and colorful exhibits. Tickets are $38 and it's open from Thursday to Monday. The hours are 10 am to 4 pm Thursdays and Mondays, 9 am- 8pm Fridays and Saturdays, and  9 am to 6 pm on Sundays.

Take Fun Pictures at Summit OV

Welcome to the brand new experience in Midtown NYC! Summit OV has taken a step above the rest by including interactive exhibitions, epic viewpoints, and even a glass elevator. This place is definitely for the Instagrammer in you. Just be prepared for it to be packed as it's the newest and most Instagrammable spot in NYC.

We're excited to say this is one of the only places we've ever seen that gives local rates, so if you live in New York then there is discounted entry. Yay!

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Have a Sunday Funday

Americans don’t play around on Sundays! Depending the time of year will depend on the best places to go. In the summer, the best place to go is down to the Jersey Shore if you want to party all day and night. 

During football season (fall and winter) the best thing is to go to a sports bar and watch the games all day with some beers. Our personal favorite is in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Wicked Wolf in Hoboken

Wicked Wolf is located in Hoboken, and has one of the best Sunday Fundays for football.

Just take the PATH shuttle from Penn Station in Hoboken and you will find a really big party atmosphere each Sunday. But remember to get there early! (The first games start at 1 pm), because places fill up before game time.

If you’re looking for the wildest bar head to Wicked Wolf. Here you will find all of the people who party down the shore in the summer. In the spring, we suggest staying local and doing brunch.

There are plenty of places that will serve breakfast and lunch options, also with an option to got “bottomless” which means unlimited drinks. You can find all types of brunch places there- whether it’s a relaxed upscale brunch, or a wild party brunch.

Most bottomless brunches can be found in Queens.

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Enjoy a Drag Brunch

Speaking of brunch, what could make it more fun than having mimosas, eggs, and having a drag show at the same time? Our personal favorite is called LIPS! They even cater to large parties for special events.

Sail Around the Harbor

From the spring to fall there are so many great options to get out on the water. If you’re looking for a short and cheap option, head to Groupon for some great deals. 

There are $12 cruises that have awesome skyline views, and take you to the statue of liberty. You can find anything including yacht parties, sunset cruises, beer tasting cruises, you name it!

boat ride, what to do in New York

Taking a boat tour in New York is a great way to see the city.

See New York from Above

Now this is no cheap option, but a helicopter ride over the city is that splurge moment that you will be sure to never forget! Check out HeliNY for some of the best options around. Remember, no drones in the city, so this is your only chance for a Birds eye view!

Helicopter New York Danni

Taking a helicopter is one of the coolest experiences you can do in New York.

Watch a Broadway Play

Broadway is a must in New York. Some of the best theaters in the world is located here, and the options are endless. There are classics like The Lion King, or fun ones that are limited time only such as the FRIENDS musical!

Go Kayaking

New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world! But you can do it on a budget, and still have a great time. We were so pleased to find out that kayaking is one of the few things to do in New York for free.

Just head to pier 96 boathouse and they will provide you with a kayak, paddle, and life jacket for you to enjoy this fun water activity with the skyscraper as your backdrop. Pretty cool right?

Free Kayaking in NYC

Kayaking is one of the few free activities in NYC.

Take a Cooking Class

This city has a crazy variety of different fun classes that you can take that are available all over the city! Learn how to make Gelato, gourmet pizzas, handmade pasta, sushi, you name it! Check out Groupon for all the different offers.

Try an Escape Room

Seen all the major attractions and want to find other options for what to do in New York? Escape rooms are challenging and fun, as  you and your friends will need to try to solve your way out of the room. There are plenty of options as there are several scattered through Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs.

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Paint & Sip

This is another thing that you can find all over New York. Grab a partner for some painting and drinking wine. What could be more fun or relaxing?

Sojo Spa Club

The city is a pretty chaotic place to be. Want to know what to do in New York to relax? Well Sojo doesn’t only have all different spa treatments, but tons of different thermals pools on several different floors. Famed for its roof with an infinity pool this is where you can also get great views of the skyline.

Sojo Spa Club is located in Edgewater, NJ, which is just outside NYC. Day passes must be purchased in advance, and there are no professional cameras or tripods allowed.

Sojo Spa Club

Sojo Spa Club has a ton of different pools. This one is the most popular because of its epic view of Manhattan.

What to Do in New York: Nightlife 

Now of course nightlife in New York is great. We don’t want to sit here and write a list of different bars and clubs to go to, but here are some places that are a little different. (If you want some clubs you can check out Pacha, LAVO, 1 Oak, or Marquee)


Remember those old school arcade games? Well New York has an arcade that is also a bar. Cool right?!

Rooftop 230 5th Ave

This trendy rooftop bar is located right near the Empire State building so it has great views. If it’s cold, they even give out large comfy robes for people. Ever since Covid-19 they have even gotten creative and built outdoor igloos as well!

House of Yes

One of the most interactive, exciting nightclubs you can go to! Circus acts, burlesque shows, you name it. There is no way to get bored in a place like this.


This is what appears to be an ice cream shop, but is actually a really cool speakeasy themed bar! Not only that, but they have the coolest cocktails you will ever find. Order the Sex & the City one for a condom and cigarette paired with your drink!

ice cream speakeasy in NYC

What to Do in New York (and around it): Day Trips from NYC

Spending some time in New York, but want to venture out of the city? We have some places you can take a trip to for a day or maybe the weekend.

Atlantic City

Welcome to mini Las Vegas. Located a little over 2 hours from New York you can play slots, shop in the discounted outlets, hit the beach, and enjoy some great nightlife. Atlantic City is a great option if you are looking for some fun in a very relaxed, fun orientated place.

AC is definitely a place to add to your bucket list if you are planning a trip to New York.

Jersey Shore

Want to know what to do in New York in the summer? Head South! 

Once the heat hits the majority of the locals actually leave the city and head down to the beach. One of the most popular is the Jersey Shore. Now the shore runs the length of the whole state, but we suggest checking out Belmar for a local party feel- a small beach town full of young people enjoying the beach and bars.

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Long Island

Don't want to venture all the way down to Jersey? Well you can head east bound to Long Island and you’ll see some of the most famous beaches of New York, like Montauk, and the Hamptons.

Long Island is also home to some great wineries to check out as well!

The area of Long Island (especially out further east) is very expensive, so keep that in mind for budgeting for you New York trip.

Hampton winery- what to do in New York

Long Island is home to some of New York's best wineries.

Upstate New York

Did you know that New York has tons of nature? Head an hour or two outside of the city and you can find some great hiking trails, waterfalls, and greenery. Check Thrillist’s article “10 secret hikes you need to take from NYC” for inspiration!

Seasonal Events

When it comes to finding out what to do in New York, each time of year offers different experiences. Here we’ll let you know some cool things going on in each of the different seasons.


Summer is the quietest time in New York (which it’s even still pretty busy), as many locals head to the beach on the weekends, but that’s not to say you can’t enjoy your time!

Monday Movies

Netflix hosts Movies playing at Bryant Park every Monday throughout the summer- and even better, its free!

Monday Movies at Bryant Park

Each Monday in the summer Netflix hosts free movies in Bryant Park.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, the last weekend in May, unofficially marks the start of summer in the US. Locals celebrate by barbequing with family and friends. If you’re around, we suggest heading to the beach in New Jersey or Long Island. If you want to stay local there are a lot of fun boat parties that you can attend.

Independence Day

The 4th of July is also celebrated the same way as Memorial day, but with fireworks, which you definitely shouldn’t miss!

Labor Day

Labor Day, usually the first weekend in September, unofficially marks the end of summer. This weekend is similar to Memorial Day. This is generally the last weekend that corporate New Yorkers go crazy partying before they decide to go back to “normal life”.

Autumn Activities

The Fall is so beautiful in New York! This is actually one of our favorite seasons to enjoy the city, as the temperatures cool down, and all of the leaves are beginning to change. Here are a few things to take advantage of in the fall in New York:

Fall Foliage

Want to know what to do in New York when the fall hits? Well enjoying the colors is definitely one of the highlights! Central Park is simply stunning to walk around, and great for those Instagrammable shots. 

But want to know the best spots? Head upstate a little outside of the city and you will find amazing hikes boasting the most vibrant fall colors in the entire world!

Fall in New York

New York has some of the best fall colors in the world! Head upstate and check out the stunning fall foliage.


The third Thursday in November is Thanksgiving, and New York is the best place to be! Check out the Macy’s Day parade in the morning, watch American Football in the afternoon, and finish it off by stuffing yourself with Turkey.

If you don’t have family or friends locally, try to find a restaurant that is doing a special Thanksgiving special so you can join in on the celebration. Also, the night before Thanksgiving is considered the biggest partying night of the year! So stay out all night and enjoy all the great nightlife that New York has to offer.


This holiday is celebrated more intensely in the US than anywhere else in the world, so get creative! People don’t just dress scary, but sexy, funny, and ironic. Put on your costume and join the festivities.

Football Season

The fall marks football season (American football) and even if you’re not a fan of the sport, it’s always fun to go out the sports bars on Sundays and have some drinks.

Going to a game is even more fun, and the best part is the tailgate! So if you decide to go to an NFL game, get there 3-4 hours before, and bring drinks and food to pregame in the parking lot with the rest of the fans.

What to do in New York- sports game

Attending a football game is one of most fun activities to experience in the US.


Yes, the real Oktoberfest is in Germany, but New Yorkers love to celebrate as well! Get your tickets online in advance and get ready to drink plenty of beer.

Winter Activities

Winter is the most magical of the seasons in New York. Christmas time everything is full of lights and decorations, you can see snow, and the overall atmosphere is just merry.


In December, a few weeks before Christmas is Santacon. Imagine thousands of people dressed as Santa going from bar to bar. It’s really a fun experience.

Santacon- what to do in New York

Santacon is one of the most fun events in New York, where everyone dresses as Santa and bar hops around the city.

New Year's Eve

New York is extremely busy for this holiday! Watch the ball drop in times square or get a ticket (in advance) for a club with an open bar.

Spring Events

Springtime is the best for weather in New York. Usually April-May the temperatures start rising and the flowers start blooming- a truly beautiful time to take advantage of walking around the city. Here are a couple of events to look forward to:

St. Patrick's Day

This may be an Irish holiday, but Americans take it as their own. There is a huge parade in New York, and people dress in green, drink beer, and there are parties all over the city!

Cinco de Mayo

Another holiday the Americans stole, but make even more fun. Actually, the funny thing is that in Mexico they don't even celebrate Cinco de Mayo! But for Americans, any chance to celebrate we do.  So head to a Mexican bar for some tacos and tequila!

What to Do in New York: Food & Drink

Now this is a fun topic! If you're wondering what to do in New York for food, then you're in luck, because there is seriously something for everyone. The best thing about New York is that it is a huge melting pot, so you can literally find ANY cuisine you’d like! Here are some of our favorite places:

Little Italy

A neighborhood with the best Italian-American restaurants around, all lined up one after another. We particularly love the pizza at Rubirosa. Expect to pay $25-30 for a large pie (which is pretty standard for New York).

No matter where you go though, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed. Every year in September Little Italy hosts the San Gennaro feast, when they set up rides, games, and outdoor dining for all of the restaurants. It truly is something not to miss!

San Gennaro feast in NYC

San Gennaro is a giant Italian feast located in Little Italy each year in September.


Although it’s known more for its shopping, Chinatown also has great restaurants, also offering plenty of family style options.

Food Halls

Food halls are great because you can find something for everyone! UrbanSpace, Time Out Market New York, Chelsea Market, and Pennsy are all great, just to name a few. We suggest trying something you maybe haven’t had before, such as a sushi burrito maybe!

What Food is Typical to New York?

Despite New York offering a melting pot of cuisines, we do have our own things worth digging into! Here are some of our favorite foods that New York specializes in.


This breakfast food is an absolute staple for New Yorkers, especially because due to the taste of the water in New York, they are literally the best bagels in the whole world. There are even bagel shops in New Jersey that transport the water down just so they can have them with the same great taste.

In almost each bagel shop, they offer dozens of flavors and are super creative. Some of our favorites include honey sriracha, bacon jalapeño, and walnut hazelnut. There are also so many types of bagels that you can’t get bored! For just a few dollars you will have a great breakfast.

DO NOT get bagels from chains such as Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, as this is just insulting! (and a downright terrible decision).

Breakfast Sandwiches

Breakfast sandwiches are a go to for New Yorkers. Ham, egg, & cheese, bacon, egg, & cheese, or a New Jersey favorite- pork roll, egg, & cheese. Get these sandwiches on a roll, hoagie, or better yet, a bagel!

Street Food

You can’t go to New York and miss out on the street food! Hot pretzels, hot dogs, sugar coated nuts, gyros, and Halal are lined all over street corners throughout the city. They are cheap, delicious, and quick so you can eat your meal and then keep exploring.

food trucks in New York

Food trucks are the cheapest and most convenient way to eat in NYC.

Dollar Slices

If you’re on a budget and want something quick, there is nothing better can grabbing some 99 cent pizza slices. There are plenty of places around the city, called 2 brothers and also 99 cent pizza. The pizza of course isn’t New York’s finest, but for $1 it’s pretty damn good, and great for your budget!

Gregorys (over Starbucks)

Now we know when people think American coffee they think starbucks, but Gregorys is a local chain and higher quality- so give it a try.


Remember when you were little and your mom would make cookies and you would eat the dough out of the bowl? Well this place has cookie dough (in several flavors) served just like ice cream and it is sinfully good. They’ve even created it without the raw eggs so you don’t have to worry about the Salmonella!

DO edible cookie dough NYC

DO serves edible cookie dough just like an ice cream cone.

Cold Stone

Speaking of ice cream, this place makes the best ice cream creations! Choose your toppings and they hand make your creation on a marble slab. They have signature ones as well as create your own. 

Located right outside Times Square, it might be the most expensive ice cream you’ll ever have, but we can promise you it’s worth it!

Getting Around New York

New York is NOT made for cars. The traffic is crazy, parking is difficult and expensive, and really not convenient. if it’s one thing we recommend for transportation, it’s to use public transportation. Unfortunately, there are no real deals here. Each ride on the train, subway, or bus, has a single fare.

Take the Subway

When going on the subway, you must get a subway card. They are just $1, so buy one from the machine and put as much money as you’d like on the card, which you can add money to at any time as well. Each ride on the subway is $2.75, and this is the easiest and cheapest way around the city.

Pay attention though! If you miss your stop, it may not be as easy as just crossing over to the other side and hopping on the subway in the opposite direction. As the subway system is very old, there are only certain stops where you can change over without having to go outside to cross over and pay again (no of course we don’t want to do that!).

subway in NYC

The subway is faster than grabbing an Uber or taxi to get around.

The subway is well connected throughout Manhattan, and also makes it very easy if you would like to stay in neighboring areas, such as Queens or Brooklyn.

Hop on the Bus

Just like the subway, the bus is also $2.75, but we would say that unless you are in Queens or Brooklyn, we wouldn’t take the bus if you are in any sort of rush, because as we said before, traffic gets pretty heavy, at ANY time of the day. 

However, if you are going between Brooklyn and Queens, it is easier to get the bus, as with the subway you would need to connect through Manhattan.

Take the Ferry

This is our new favorite way to get from one end of the city to another! There are only a few routes, and they usually only run once or twice an hour, but if you have time and want some nice views, than this is the best option!

The ferry is the same price as the subway or bus (just $2.75/ ride) and can be purchased with a credit card on the ferry app.

ferry views around NYC

The ferry gives you amazing views of the city, and is the same price as the subways and buses.

Explore on Foot

Our favorite way to see New York is to walk! Every block you can see something new, discover another beautiful building, or be entertained by the people you will see on the streets.

We think the best way to see the city is the break it up into different sections each day, such as doing a day in Downtown, a day in Midtown, a day in Brooklyn, etc. If you are limited on time, we like using the subway to get from one end to the other.

Travel on your own terms!

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Where to Stay in New York

We won’t get into any specific hotels as there are so many. Manhattan itself is very expensive, so we suggest staying in a neighboring borough such as Queens or Brooklyn. They are a little cheaper, and still well connected with the city!

Want to book a place to stay in NYC? Just check the map below for the different options.

New York is a beautiful city, packed with people from all over the world. You could spend weeks checking out all what it has to offer. We suggest choosing an area and a few places to visit for each day.

We will continue to update this as we discover new and exciting things to add. Are you planning a trip through the US or North America? Make sure to check out our complete Travel Guides by clicking here!

Need help planning your trip to New York or anywhere else? We specialize in saving people money on their travels, all while helping them explore more! Scratch Your Mapa Travel Services will help you stress less, and enjoy more for a fraction of the price of a normal travel agency.

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