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Are you looking for the best New York tips? Then you’ve come to the right place, because I’ve been to New York more than 20 times and I’ll tell you my absolute insider tips around my favorite city!
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What awaits you? In addition to tips on trip planning and preparation, I’ll show you what you really need to see, what you should have eaten New York-typical (and especially WHERE!) and I’ll tell you how you can easily and quickly save money with some tricks, without sacrificing anything.
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New York Hotel Tips: Where should you stay in New York?
Especially for the first visits I would always book my hotel in Manhattan – so the distances are short and you can reach all the sights relaxed on foot. I really like Soho, Tribeca, Lower Manhattan, the West Village and Murray Hill – often the Times Square area is mentioned because you really have your finger on the pulse of the city.
Other great spots include the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, which are directly adjacent to Manhattan and the East River: Long Island City (Queens), Downtown Brooklyn, Williamsburg and DUMBO are high on the list.
Here you can find a special guide with more than 100 hotels.
New York for the first time: you must see it
Ok, that was relatively difficult, because New York has an incredibly large selection of great sights to offer. But: these are my tips for first-time visitors: if you are in New York for the first time, you should definitely visit one of the great observation decks! You have several to choose from: I recommend the Edge observation deck at the Hudson Yards or the One World Observatory. And then you should definitely take a boat tour to see New York from the water!
My TOP 3 Insider Tips
If you want some real insider tips, I have several spots for you: my number 1 favorite spot in New York is the Grand Banks at Pier 25 on the Hudson River. This is a moored two-master with views of the Statue of Liberty and One World Trade Center – just beautiful! Not many people will have heard of the Honorable William Wall – I discovered this spot two years ago and it went straight into my TOP 3. It’s the Manhattan Yacht Club’s floating boathouse right next to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, And then there’s Domino Park in Williamsburg. From all of them you have a sensational view of the city!
How much time should I plan for New York?
To explore New York in a relaxed way, you should plan 5 days to 1 week – so you can visit the most important spots and still have time to let the city work on you without being in the “sightseeing stress”. Be sure to check out my program for 1 week in New York – this plan also works wonderfully for 3, 4 or 5 days!
New York Shopping Tips
The best neighborhoods for shopping
New York and shopping simply belong together! Great areas are Soho, of course 5th Avenue or Macy’s and the lower part of Broadway. Definitely avoid the Times Square area for shopping, most stores are overpriced and real tourist traps!
A real highlight is Brooklyn Flea – this is the most famous market for vintage clothes with now several flea markets all over New York.
Outlets are very popular with shopping fans – there are several really good addresses in and around New York. One outlet that is actually in New York City is the Empire Outlets on Staten Island. You can easily get here with the free Staten Island Ferry and spend your saved money directly while shopping! The most famous and largest outlet nearby are they Woodbury Common Outlets. I’ve been here myself several times – the selection of brands and stores is mega, almost every well-known company can be found here!
New York Restaurant Tips
I am an absolute foodie – so New York is an absolute paradise for me! When I think of typical New York food, several things come to mind:
New York Pizza Slices
Already during my first visit in 2001 I loved them and until today nothing has changed: the typical Pizza Slices, which can be found in quite a few corners of the city. My favorite spot is the 2 Bros Pizza stores – they have them several times in town, they are super delicious and cheap!
Think pastrami and New York, and the first place guaranteed to come to mind is Katz’ Delicatessen on the Lower East Side. It became famous for the orgasm scene in the movie “When Harry Met Sally” (to this day, a sign hangs above the table where the scene was filmed) and attracts many visitors today. It’s really delicious here, but if you’re looking for a pastrami spot that mostly New Yorkers go to, visit Pastrami Queen near Central Park!
By the way, what you’ll notice in all the commercials is the brilliant ratio of pastrami to bread!
I love burgers and in New York you are really spoiled for choice – even in every pub you can get good burgers. My absolute favorite spots for burgers in New York is Shake Shack (even though it’s a chain), J.G. Melon in Upper East Side (74th St corner 3rd Ave) and the insider spot“Burger Joint” which is tucked away in the Parker Hotel (56th St between 6th and 7th Ave).
New York Cheesecake
I don’t really eat anything sweet, but a slice of cheesecake is always good! You’ll find the absolute best at Juniors – there are several of them in New York!
New York Bagel
The best bagels in my opinion are atRuss & Daughters very close to Katz Delicatessen. It has been serving bagels, smoked fish or even babka for over 100 years – and it is still family owned!
👉 Here you can find all New York restaurant tips.
Best time to visit New York
Clearly, New York is worth a visit at any time of year! In spring, the first greenery beckons (and the city is not yet so crowded), in summer the rooftop bars open and life takes place mostly outside, autumn is comparatively short and winter really crisp (with ice rinks and the skyline all around).
However, if I had to commit to individual months, I would recommend the beginning of summer (May/June) and the end of summer or beginning of fall (September/ October). Because then it is no longer as humid and hot in the city as in high summer, but still warm enough to be relaxed outside!
Here you will find everything you need to know in detail about the best time to travel to New York.
New York cheap: My tips
No question, New York is not cheap – but you can enjoy and experience the city with a few tricks without spending a lot of money! Here are my TOP tips:
New York cheap tip 1: Accommodation
As in many other metropolises, the rule of thumb is: the more central the accommodation (whether hotel or Airbnb), the more expensive it is. So if you are looking for an option to stay safe and cheap, I recommend Long Island City in Queens (only 1 stop by subway from Manhattan) or
New York cheap tip 2: Discount on 100+ attractions with the New York Passes
One of the easiest ways to save money in New York is to use the various sightseeing passes (also called discount passes or New York passes) for New York. There are now almost 10 different ones, but only a few New York passes are really worthwhile. I myself used it again during my last visit to New York and already with 3 sights you can save up to 30% on the entrance fee. Cool, isn’t it?
How exactly they work and which New York Pass is the best 👉 see my ultimate New York Pass comparison!
New York cheap? It works!
New York cheap tip 3: Out and about in the city
In New York, the best way to get around is on foot – or you can take the city bikes from Citi Bikes, which are super-cheap! We also like to use the NYC Ferries, which allow you to shuttle between Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens on the East River for the price of a one-way Subway ride. On Sunday, the IKEA Ferry that shuttles between Manhattan and Red Hook / Brooklyn is even free!
👉 There are so many things that are free but great in New York, you can find more than 20 of them in my New York on a budgetarticle.
My tips for New York with children
Exploring New York with the family is huge fun – I myself have been to our favorite city several times with my kids. A real highlight is
- the trip to the Statue of Liberty,
- the visit of the One World Observatory and
- Central Park with its lakes and playgrounds.
- Also really exciting is the Museum of Natural History, which will be familiar to many from the movie “Night at the Museum”.
Travel planning tips
You may have already noticed, there is a button “Add to myTravel” at all important spots and highlights. It allows you to quickly, easily and for free add your favorite spots to your itinerary, pack them on different days and move them back and forth until your itinerary is final.
You can do this directly via the website or use our free app – the login details are the same. Try it out right now!
More New York Tipps
By the way: you can find more than 1,000 articles about New York City on my blog loving-travel.com, where I am writing about NYC – from neighborhood guides to my favorite bars and shopping spots, you’re guaranteed to find something there.
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I am an absolute travel enthusiast with a great love for the USA, Spain and Italy. And England. And France. You can find lots of travel inspiration from me regularly on our YouTube-channel .