You will hear them say New York City is the place that never sleeps, and this is so true. I’ll be honest with you, NYC is big, beautiful and overwhelming. Yes, overwhelming, as there is so much going on.
There is so much to do, so much to see, to eat and so many places that you can just sit, relax and do nothing. I could not possibly give you a complete city guide on how you should see the ‘Big Apple’, simple because NYC has so much to offer in which you can simply discover on your own just by freely walking around or getting a quick subway ride.
I figured it would be better to suggest a few places that you cannot afford to miss when you visit. Here is a guide to New York City about some of the key places and things you cannot afford to miss.“
When is the best time to visit New York City?”
First, let me start off by answering the question: “When is the best time to visit New York City?” To be honest, my sister and I who currently lives in the city had this conversation and I was giggling and saying it would be nice to visit NYC in the off-season, just so I can roam more freely and be able to take photos with fewer people in it.
However, my sister quickly mentioned that there is no off-season, NYC is always full of vibrant people, the sound of music from instruments, singers, beat-boxes, the sight of colourful food carts and some selfie-takers. So, if you are already thinking to visit New York in the off-season then that might not come through so well for you.
Let me rather explain the seasons and then you can choose which time would be best for you.
Note: These time frames are not the official start dates for the different seasons, but rather when the temperature is actually cold/warm, hot/freezing and when these activities are prominent in NYC.
Fall- (September- November) This is probably the season that people feel most comfortable touring the city and ticking activities off their bucket list. Primarily, because the blazing hot temperatures are long past gone and the cooler temperatures are sweeping in, thus, creating a balance between not too hot, not too cold. During the fall season, most NYC activities are still open, but there might be some chances of rain/thunderstorms.
Winter- (November- March)- Winters are a bit harsh but this doesn’t keep travellers from roaming the streets of the vibrant city and stopping by food carts. If you have interests in modern art, contemporary art, artwork shows, then the winter time is perfect. NYC has dozens have recommended museums.
Here is a bonus, if you fly into NYC during the winter season you might have a chance to brush a few bucks off the airfare. For days leading up to the Christmas season, NYC lights up and winter activities are showing up. You can ice-skate at the Rockefeller Centre, book an eagle-eye helicopter tour to see what NYC looks like under snow, or even venture out on New Years even to see/hear the countdown of the clock in Times Square. It will be just like what you saw on tv during the Christmas time as a child. Temperatures are low though, (38°c-45°C).
Spring- (March-May) – Everything becomes vibrant and bright again during these months. Showers of rain are frequent but the temperatures aren’t so harsh. It is starting to warm up and the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens is spring it up. Most, if not all usual activities can be done in New York City during this time too, you just have to plan around the rainy days.
Summer- (May-September)– Temperatures are blazing hot, but everywhere is nice and sunny. The streets of the city are busy and there are fewer chances of rain. During this time you can roam the city’s outdoor parks; Battery Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Central Park and so much more.
Battery Park is located at the very bottom tip of Manhattan alongside the Hudson River. Since it is on the lakefront the temperature will drop a bit, which makes summertime the perfect time to visit and hang out in a park with a lakefront view. The views are stunning, the park is beautiful and with it being located at the very bottom tip of Manhattan you can easily hop on a tour boat to see the Statue of Liberty up close and personal. If you are a fan, the summertime might also be your best chance to get Broadway Show tickets at a discounted price.
“How can I get around?”
I have visited a few other states here in the US and so far New York City’s public transportation has been most convenient mainly because the subway and bus lines operate 24/7 even on the weekends. I high-five NYC for this as most travellers in the city and New Yorkers depend highly on this system to get around.
In NYC, most people walk or hop on a train to get where they need to be. During the weekend, trains can switch up mainly because of construction work or because of fewer workers working so pay close attention to this. However, there are usually signs placed inside the metro stations about the chances and the alternatives.
With a city of over 3 million people, renting a car to drive around can be complicated and car parking prices do add up. Though not recommended, this is still an option.
Yellow cabs are prominent in the city and a guide to New York City becomes so real well when someone mentions the Yellow Cabs. You can easily get around anywhere in a yellow cab, but remember this is New York so the prices will show.
“What are some places I cannot afford to miss when visiting New York City”?
My sister currently lives in New York City, so we both decided to tour these places over the course of 3-4 days. Here are some of the Key places we visited.
Rockefeller Centre- Top of the Rock
This is a good place to view the city from above. Tickets can be booked online and the spots fill up fast, so plan ahead and remember to check the weather just to make sure. You can enjoy the sunset from the top or the view of the late night city lights. A clear view over the city is also a great view. The picture below was from a 3 pm tour in May.
Central Park is really nice for a stroll, a run, for a picnic or for daytime activities. It’s ideally well-known and worth a visit.
The Bridge that connects Manhattan to Brooklyn is a famous spot for travellers and photographers because of the way it is being constructed and also because of how popular it is. Many people take evening strolls here and just to watch the city slow down just a bit.
It’s not very common you get to see a building shaped like this with such a unique structure. So, head to 5th Avenue and see it in person. You can get a good view of the Empire State Building from here.
Times Square -42nd Street
Take a stroll down 42nd. If you are visiting NYC for the first time, you are going to want to see the street that is filled with colours, lights, singers, actors, performers and just pure magic. You will now see why they New York city is the place that never sleeps.
Manhattan Bridge & Brooklyn Park Williamsburg
Walking distance from the Brooklyn Bridge locates the Manhattan Bridge and the Park. Some of the best Brooklyn pizzas are located within this area.
“What are some tips for visiting New York City?”
1. Always have cash when exploring the city. New York works completely fine with debit/credit cards but, if you want to quickly get something from, let’s say a food cart, then only cash is accepted.
2. New York is a fast going city, you got to keep with the pace.
3. If you want to do scheduled activities, make sure to check and book in advance. Spots fill up quickly.
4. Now, go explore and enjoy the city that never sleeps.