New York Travel Tips & Visitor Information

The following information and New York travel tips may help you maximize your visit and prepare for the adventure ahead.

Why should you visit NYC?

New York City has the best to offer of so many things. From the arts to food to awe-inspiring attractions, the city has something for everyone.

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then New York City is the place for you!

The answers to the following Frequently Asked Questions offer New York travel tips and advice to help you plan for your visit.

When is best time to go?

Every season is a great time to visit New York. Each time of the year is unique and offers a completely different New York experience. Summer and Christmas are the most popular tourist seasons and will have the biggest crowds.

nyc summer events

Know that you will be spending A LOT of time outside. So if you absolutely hate cold weather, you’ll probably want to avoid the cold months and if the heat of summer makes you miserable, steer clear of the hottest times of year.

New York Travel Tips on Packing:

What should I bring?

  • This is one of the biggest New York travel tips. Comfortable shoes are a must. New York City is a walking city so expect to spend quite a bit of time on foot.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather because it is hard to avoid spending a lot of time outside.
  • A nice outfit if you plan to go to an evening show. Generally business casual is dressy enough but feel free to have fun and get as fancy as you want.
  • Camera
  • New York City travel book for late night plotting and New York Travel tips on the run.
  • Umbrella (Although you can always just chance it and buy one here if necessary. Vendors sell low-quality umbrellas on the street corners when it rains.)

Should I bring a lot of cash with me?

There’s no reason to bring large amounts of cash with you or carry a lot on you at one time because there are banks and ATM machines literally everywhere.

With that said, you should have some cash on-hand. Many places in New York City (most notably delis, pizza restaurants, and other low-key food establishments) are cash-only. This can take tourists by surprise in this card-carrying day in age. Often, cash-only establishments will have an ATM on-site although you will probably be charged a hefty fee to use it.

New York Travel Tips on Transportation

Which airport should I fly into?

The New York City area has three busy airports. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and LaGuardia International Airport (LGA) are both located in Queens and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) is located in New Jersey.

Arriving-at-New-York-Airports

You can get from any of the three airports to Manhattan by using public transportation, taxis, and express buses.

If you are staying in Manhattan, it really doesn’t matter which airport you fly into so go for the best airfare over the airport.

How do I get from the airport to Manhattan?

All three airports in the area (JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark) have public transportation options, taxis, and express buses to get to Manhattan. For more instructions and prices click here.

What is the best way to get around New York City?

New York City has an excellent public transportation system and we strongly recommend using it. It’s not only the cheapest form of transportation, but also the best way to feel like a real New Yorker since this is how most locals travel every day.

The New York City Subway System is very extensive and can most likely get you anywhere you want to go.

New York City Subway System

To use the subways, you have to buy a MetroCard. Your choices are to either buy an unlimited pass for a certain period of time (day, week, etc.) or purchase a card with a set amount and add money as you go.

At $2.25 per ride, many tourists will find it worthwhile to purchase the unlimited card depending on the length of stay and the amount of anticipated travel within the city.

Subway maps can be picked up in most stations (ask the attendant in the booth) and are displayed in the subway cars. It’s best to try to pick up a subway map to carry with you.

Many tourists prefer taxis because it’s easier than figuring out the subways. While this is a simpler option since taxis are practically everywhere, it can be more expensive and isn’t necessarily faster than the subway.

New York City is a great walking city. You can see a lot and get a feel for different areas by walking around. With so much going on around you to look at, you’ll probably walk 2 miles without even noticing!

Should I rent a car?

We don’t recommend it. You can access everything in Manhattan and many places beyond with public transportation or taxis. Driving is a headache and parking is very expensive.

Is New York City safe?

In the 1990s, Mayor Rudy Giuliani famously cracked down on crime in NYC. While the topic of whether it’s due to Giuliani’s policies or other factors is still up for debate, crime in New York City has dropped dramatically in the past 15 years.

Lower East Side

New York City is now one of the safest large cities in the United States. Basically, exercise the same cautions you would in any other city by being alert and keeping an eye on your stuff at all times. Here our safety tips for New York visitors.

Helpful New York City Tips and Reviews

Yelp is a great resource for opinions on places in New York City. Read extensive reviews by people who have “been there, done that” for restaurants, stores, hotels, entertainment, and more. Browse through the thousands of entries or type the name of a specific place into the search bar.

New York City Deals

New York is an expensive city, but if you look in the right places, there are some nice New York City deals to be found. Below are two “deal finders” that may help make your trip cheaper.

Groupon

Groupon offers great deals from local businesses that can save you a lot of money. Find deals on New York City restaurants, shows, spas, and more. Each day there is a new deal!

What is today’s New York City deal? Click “See Today’s Deal” above to find out! You might find a deal that is just right for you.

Examples of past NYC deals offered through Groupon:

  • $25 All day bike rental from Central Park Bike Tours ($40 savings)
  • $39 for a ticket to “The 39 Steps” ($53 savings)
  • $20 for $10 worth of Food at John’s Pizzeria of Bleeker Street

How It Works

A Groupon is like a coupon that has a minimum participation requirement. Think of it as a community discount. As long as enough people sign up, the deal is on! Each daily offer ends at midnight. If the deal goes through, you will be charged and sent a link where you can print out your groupon.

What happens if the deal doesn’t go through? If not enough people sign up for the deal, the deal will be canceled and you will not be charged.

How Much Can You Save?

Groupon offers a different deal each day, but the savings are usually around 50%. Sometimes the deals are much better than that.

What We Like About Groupon

Groupon has a discussion board where you can ask any questions you might have about the Groupon and how it works. Individuals from either Groupon or the business offering the deal give you answers.

What To Watch Out For

Groupon offers great deals that can save you a lot of money. But do read the fine print (conveniently labeled “The Fine Print”), especially noting expiration dates, to make sure the deal is right for you.

Ready to try it? Find Today’s Daily Deal on the Best in New York!

Restaurant.com

This website is great for saving money on eating out in New York City. Restaurant.com offers gift certificates that act as coupons. You purchase a gift certificate for a specified amount and then redeem it at restaurant for a larger amount that is also specified.

How It Works

Search for a restaurant you like on the restaurant.com website. The site provides links for restaurant menus and descriptions. You can also sort by type of cuisine or area of town to help narrow your search.

Then you choose your gift certificate, for example, “$25 Gift Certificate for $10”. This means you purchase the gift certificate for $10 but it is worth $25 at the restaurant.

The gift certificate is sent to your email account and you can either use it immediately or save it for a later date.

How Much Can You Save?

Usually there are multiple gift certificates available for each restaurant. Savings are typically $6 to $60.What We Like About Restaurant.com

We started using Restaurant.com years ago on a friend’s recommendation. Since then, we have bought several restaurant gift certificates. Using Restaurant.com has allowed us to eat out at restaurants we normally wouldn’t choose because of the prices. We’ve found the website easy to use and we’ve never had a problem using the gift certificates. This website is a great way to make expensive NYC restaurants a little more affordable!

What to Watch Out For

There is usually a minimum purchase required so check for that and other conditions below the gift certificate selection box.

Read to try it? Buy Restaurant.com Gift Certificates!