manhattan

Overview

Manhattan New York, It’s probably the greatest city in the world, and we’re not just saying that. For proof, check out the 100 best restaurants serving the trendiest delicacies and comforting classics (like cacio e pepe, which deliciously combines both into one) or the latest best Broadway shows (Hamilton really is that good). There are so many New York attractions in Manhattan that even if you live here, you’ve definitely skipped some of them (sometimes on a daily basis, like walking by the top art museums every day without ever peeking at the paintings). We love this city, and we want you to feel the same way—so here’s our comprehensive guide to Manhattan.

When people think of New York City, Manhattan is often the first place they picture. It’s no wonder: the borough is home to big-name attractions, such as Central Park, the Empire State Building, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the High Line and One World Observatory; world-class museums, restaurants and concert halls; and the bright lights of Times Square and Broadway. But there’s more to the borough than the obvious sights. Manhattan contains charming neighborhoods and hidden green spaces, trendy boutiques and classic bars. Read on and explore. Manhattan is home to some of the finest hotels in the world. The best NYC attractions reside in Manhattan, and this famous NY borough also features some of the best restaurants in NYC. Manhattan is the premier destination for NYC tourists, and with so much to do and see in this famous borough in New York City, you’ll want to reserve plenty of time to explore the island of Manhattan. There are a number of different districts that make up Manhattan, each with its own character and history. Some districts in Manhattan – such as Chelsea and Tribeca – are famous for their forward-thinking contemporary art galleries.

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Things to Do in Manhattan

When you live in the greatest city in the world it’s hard to choose the absolute best restaurants, free museums or NYC parks, but it’s easy to see where most of these institutions call home: Manhattan.

Central Park

We laugh in the face anyone who suggests that another urban park is quite as perfect at this 843-acre oasis. The bucolic beauty of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux’s gorgeous 19th century design—the lake, the trees, the gardens, the winding paths that give way to bridges—deserves days of exploration. But while you might only be in it for the nature, you’re going to be tempted by all the great cultural ways the park gives back: Shakespeare in the Park, Summerstage concerts, ice skating, Central Park Zoo, puppet shows at the Swedish Cottage, movie screenings, and the list goes on. You can’t go more than a few steps before finding another treasure, whether it’s a piece of public art, or a hidden plaque that reveals the history of the park, or the spirit of its visitors.

Citi Bikes are everywhere

We know Brooklyn is starting to catch up with access to this amenity, but during warmer weather in Manhattan, there is really no reason to buy a MetroCard—or worse, hail a cab—if you have a Citi Bike subscription. With hundreds of stations carrying thousands of bikes you can zip from the East Village to the West Village and across five avenues and several streets in a few minutes, or travel uptown along River Side Park without worrying about locking up the bike when you decide you need to stop for a on-foot adventure. Don’t want to commit to Citi Bike? There’s day passes ($12) and three-day passes ($24), too.

Manhattan Rooftops

It can be swell sitting on rooftops in other boroughs, spotting Manhattan’s skyline in the distance, but the exhilaration of actually being part of Manhattan’s skyline? Now that’s a good high. Manhattan has some of the tallest rooftops in the country and from the pricey observation decks you can see for dozens of miles in each direction. If you’re more of a “relax and appreciate the views” kind of person, then hop on over to the likes of Pod 39, St. Cloud at the Knickerbocker Hotel, or the Strand Hotel for drinks with amazing views of the midtown scene, right in the thick of the center of the world.

Getting Around

Getting around New York City can be very easy or you can make it quite adventuresome. Here are the various ways of getting around,their prices, and their advantages and disadvantages. These are general guidelines for Manhattan but you can use these suggestions to explore Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island, too!

If you have a smart phone, you can use apps to plan your trip. There are many good free ones, such as Moove It and TripGo. The latter provides multi-modal transport options, combining public and private modes to give you the most suitable plans depending on your priorities (budget or convenience).

Taxi
This is probably the best method to get around New York City if you are in a group of 2-4 people, but it’s not always the fastest. NYC is notorious for traffic, and you can get stuck in it in a taxi. You can easily get anywhere in Manhattan for no more than $10 – $15, split between a group, this is not much more than a subway ride ($2.25 per person), and it eliminates your chances of getting lost. When at your hotel, ask your concierge or a doorman for a taxi and they will get one for you. When on the street, simply look for taxis with their light on top lit but no “off duty” marked. If traveling solo or in a small group, a new online platform, “Cab With Me” allows New Yorkers to find other people nearby with whom they can share the taxi and save money.

Walking
New York City is the world’s greatest walking city. All five boroughs can be explored on foot, but Manhattan is probably the easiest and most popular for pedestrians. Manhattan is easiest for first-time visitors because all streets north of Houtson St. are laid out in a numbered grid pattern, with streets travelling east-west and avenues going north-south. Streets are numbered low to high going north, and avenues are numbered low to high going west. Twenty “street” blocks (e.g. 40th St to 60th St) equals one mile (1.6 km) and usually takes 20 – 30 minutes to walk. Fifth Avenue is the longitudinal meridian of Manhattan, and street numbers are prefaced with “East” and “West”. For example, at 7th Avenue, New Yorkers say “West 35th Street” but at 3rd Avenue, say “East 35th Street.”

Walking is best for people who want to see all the details – the architecture, people, businesses, and street life. If you walk around New York City, there is a good chance you will stroll past movie stars, television personalities, music icons, and models – whether you notice them or not. If you are going to walk, and you don’t want to get lost, ask locals for directions. Most New Yorkers love giving directions, but be prepared to be quick and specific! Just ask where you want to go. Anyone will gladly help you, but they’ll always be in a hurry! Don’t take it personally if someone curtly say, “3 blocks that way” and keep walking.

Walking tours. There are countless walking tours available in NYC. You can find walking tours focusing on food, history, architecture, neighborhood, music, Broadway, TV shows and films, and many other themes.Many are free, but most cost a nominal amount. Many tour companies post pages on Trip Advisor describing their services.The all-volunteer Big Apple Greeter service is free, but reservations way in advance are required.

Limousine and Car Service
To travel in ultimate luxury around New York City you will pay around $30-50 for a car service or up to $175 for a limousine. This allows you to travel door to door to any venue in the city. If you want to do this once or twice for a particularly stylish occasion, or every time, you can easily arrange it through your concierge. Services like Dia7 allow you to book and pay for your car in advance. Groundlink offers a smartphone app where you can request and pay for a car anywhere in the city.

Subway
Besides walking, this is the most economical way to travel, and the fastest. If you want to get a real sense of New York, the subway is a great way to go. MIllions of people use it every day, and it runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You will find it crowded at 2 AM , encounter random street performers/buskers, and observe real New Yorkers in their element. Don’t be intimidated by the subway! There is the “Idiot’s Guide to the Subway” written by DE GreenWhiteBlue, a former transit police officer, as well as the “Absolute Beginner’s Guide to the Subway”.

Despite popular movie lore, the subway is very safe. The one main drawback for subways is construction and re-routing over the weekends and overnight. As a result, many tourists can find themselves going the wrong way or overshooting their stop due to being unfamiliar with the system. If this happens, you might waste a little time finding your way back, but don’t worry about it. Just ask a local passenger for help. But some travelers enjoy the adventure, and actually enjoy getting lost . If you are going to use the transportationsystem, be sure to get a map and confirm your route with your concierge!

Bus
You can also use the bus system for cheap “un-narrated tours” of NYC! Buses, like taxis are subject to traffic jams, and they make frequent stops, but they are good for people who have trouble with stairs or walking, or if you have a chunk fo time to fill and want to see the city from the outside. All public buses “kneel” – i.e. they lower themselves to the ground or easier boarding – and are wheelchair accessible.

The Manhattan bus map is very useful because it is drawn to scale and shows both bus and subway routes. You can get one for free at the tourist centers, libraries and most hotel lobbies. This New York Times article provides great examples of how to use the public buses to see the city.