Ultimate New York Travel Guide (From a LOCAL)

Central Park New York City Travel Sunset

New York Travel Guide Tips

Welcome to the city that never sleeps and my home for over 12 years. Any New Yorker can tell you they have a love-hate with this city, but overall New York is one of the most bucket-list-worthy cities to visit in the USA!

This New York travel guide covers everything you need to know about traveling to New York City and beyond. From New York travel itineraries, the Subway, NYC photo locations, travel tips, Long Island, and beyond – I have you covered.

This comes with years of experience living in New York and my whole family being born and raised across the state!

Free things to do in New York

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What to Expect When Traveling to New York

New York Capital:

Albany – Nope, it is not Manhattan!

Manhattan Population: 

The population in Manhattan is around 1.629M people.

New York Population: 

New York State Population is around 8.38M.


English is the main language in New York, and unfortunately, you won’t run into many people who can speak a second language, so if you are rusty in English, Google Translate is your best bet! Stay up-to-date with some NYC Slang!


The Currency is in USD.


Credit Cards are widely accepted and ATMs can be found everywhere. Smaller shops might ask for a minimum dollar amount of purchase, so it’s good to keep cash on you.

Popular banks you will see around NYC include Chase, TD, Wells Fargo, Capital One, and Bank of America.

International travelers can also use the Revolut card. It offers 28 in-app currencies and acts like a debit card.

Tipping in New York: 

Tipping is expected if it is not added to your bill. 15-25% is the average tip for sitting down at a restaurant. Even when the service is not great, a tip is still expected since the servers work on tips.

 New York Safety: 

In general, New York is very safe. I went to college and lived in NYC and have always felt safe. That is not to say you shouldn’t practice general safety and precaution. 

New York Airports:

The most popular airports to get to New York include JFK, EWR, and LGA. All are close to Manhattan and have public transportation. Find New York flights here.  

Power outlets:

 New York and the USA use standards of voltage between 110 V to 120 V, and the standard frequency is 60 Hz. I recommend using a universal adaptor. 

Getting Around New York:

It is very easy to get around New York City by using the NYC subway system.

New York boroughs (Queens, Bronx, Staten Island, Brooklyn) are still fairly easy to get around with public transportation, but depending on your destination, you might have to rent an Uber or Lyft. 

Heading to Long Island, New York is also relatively easy on the LIRR, but getting around Long Island once you arrive is difficult without a car.

I would only recommend renting a car if you plan to go to Upstate New York, staying in one of NYC’s boroughs, or out on Long Island. 

Useful Apps in New York:

Google Maps, City Mapper, LIRR on time (for Long Island), HERE WeGo (downloadable map if you don’t have service). 

Cell Phone Reception: 

If you are visiting NYC from abroad, getting a sim card is not as easy as it is in other countries. Phone plans are quite expensive, but pre-paid plans are available. Use wifi when you can or what your current carrier can do for you.

Carriers in the USA include Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint. T-Mobile tends to have pre-paid plans. Make sure your cellphone is unlocked to accept another sim card.

Popular Food in New York

New York City (where most people visit) is known as a giant melting pot. Therefore, you can find just about any cuisine you like! However, some popular foods to try in NYC include:

  • Bagels
  • Pizza
  • Hot Dogs
  • Street Food

Find more must-try NYC food here!

Additionally, if this is your first time in New York, here are 25 tips to know before visiting New York City!

NYC Observation Decks - Views from Summit One Vanderbilt

Best Time to Travel to New York

New York is great all year round since you can experience all 4 seasons. The busiest time to visit New York City will be during the Summer and December. December in New York is when many come to see all the winter holiday displays or to spend Christmas day in New York.

New York City in the Spring (April- June): Visiting NYC in Spring is great because you will see fewer crowds, and the temperature can range between 45F – 80F. This means you can see some warm days, and the city will start blooming with tulips, magnolias, cherry blossoms, and more.

New York City in the Summer (July-August): Summer in NYC is when the temperatures are usually very hot and humid around the 70’s-90’s. However, because of summer break, this is when you will see the most crowds at popular tourist attractions. On the weekends, many local New Yorkers actually leave the city to go to the beaches on Long Island and other surrounding places.

New York City in the Fall (September – November): The Fall in NYC is another great time to visit if you are looking to avoid some of the crowds and see beautiful foliage. The temperatures tend to be around 70F- 42F towards the end of Fall. If you love all things Fall/Autumn, New York really goes all out with pumpkin-flavored everything and lovely decor.

New York City in the Winter (December – March): Besides December, Winter in NYC is when you will see the fewest crowds. The winter temperatures can be brutally cold, and even a handful of Nor’easterns. Temperatures generally see a high of 42F and a low of 28F, although you can expect lower than 28F degrees. Winter can still be magical in New York City, especially if it has snowed! Towards March, you can start to possibly see some spring blooms and even warm days in the 50’s and 60’s.

NYC at night black and white photo from across the water

Getting to New York

New York is fairly easy to get to since it’s a major city. Common airports to fly into are JFK (John F Kennedy), LGA (Laguardia), and EWR (Newark, NJ).

I have flown from all 3 airports and usually pick whichever airport has the best pricing and more direct routes. To find the best flights, check with Skyscanner!

If you plan to stay in New York City, there is no need for a car. From the Airport, you can schedule an Uber, Lyft or Car Service pick-up. 

Additionally, you can also take public transportation. All 3 airports have air-trams, subways, and buses going into NYC.

Google Maps or City Mapper will be able to give you the exact directions and trains you need to take.

NYC view of the Empire State Building Street
Brooklyn Bridge Park

Popular Things to Do in New York City

New York City has so much to see and do! Even locals haven’t done everything this city has to offer. If this is your first time visiting New York, some of the top attractions to check out include:

  • Central Park
  • A Broadway Show
  • Times Square
  • Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Seeing the Empire State Building
  • One of the Observation Decks
Brooklyn Bridge Park is one of the best things to do in NYC
View from Brooklyn Bridge Park

New York Travel Guides and Itineraries

Believe it or not, New York is a huge State! While most people come to visit Manhattan, there are tons of things to do in the surrounding boroughs and cities. 

Below, find New York blog itineraries, travel tips, and guides for the best experiences in New York!

 Additional New York resources include tours, and New York passes, which allow you to receive a discount for the major NYC tourist attractions like the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, etc. The best passes and tours can be found at:

Each pass offers a handful of attractions at a discounted price. They are all good, but they come with different attractions. The best one will be whichever pass includes the most attractions you want to see!

If this is your first time in NYC, I’d recommend checking out: 

Can’t find the New York travel information you’re looking for? Send me an email, and I will try to help you out!

New York Travel Planning – Visiting New York

When planning a trip to visit New York, the most important thing to decide is how many days to spend in the city that never sleeps. If you really want to make the most out of your trip to NYC, you should plan on spending at least 4 days in New York.

While you can technically do a lot in NYC in One Day, anything under 4 days will cut your time short. If you can’t spend 4 days, I plan to revisit New York!

The Hudson Yards in NYC
The Hudson Yards in NYC

Where to Stay in New York

You can find tons of accommodations across New York City. I use Booking. com for almost all my stays.

If you plan on staying in Manhattan, I’d recommend staying in Midtown, Chelsea, or Soho, personally.

I know most people want to stay in Times Square, however, it is not for everyone.

Here is my detailed guide on where to stay in NYC, including the best Neighborhoods and hotels for all budgets.

Times Square NYC at night

Best Places to Visit in New York State

Aside from New York City, there are tons of other places you can visit in New York. Some of the most popular places to visit include:

  • Long Island (You will find tons of Long Island Guides)
  • The Catskills
  • Thousand Islands
  • Hudson Valley
  • Watkins Glen
  • Lake Placid
Sands Point Preserve Castle in Long Island, New York

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