Where is New York City?
New York City is the largest city in the United States by population and one of the most densely populated. It is located at the southern tip of New York state on one of the largest natural harbors.
While many people think of the island of Manhattan when they picture New York City, the city is comprised of five boroughs. Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, The Bronx, and Staten Island have been consolidated into a single city known as New York City.
How to get to New York City?
There are several ways to arrive in New York City. By plane, you can fly into any of the nearby airports, including John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York and Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey.
Visitors coming from Long Island can reach the city by the commuter train, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). Those from New Jersey can enter via the NJ Transit Rail Operations with the primary destinations from New York City being Hoboken and Newark. Meanwhile, the Metro-North Commuter Railroad services the northern suburbs of New York and Connecticut.
Arriving by car is another possibility, as New York borders five states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. It also shares an international border with Canada to the north and west. Main highways merge into the New York City area primarily through Connecticut and New Jersey.
To reach Manhattan, you will have to travel through a tunnel or over a bridge. The main access points from New Jersey are through the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels. Popular bridges such as the Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge connect lower Manhattan with Brooklyn.
When is the best time to visit New York City?
New York City is a vibrant tourist destination year-round and can be enjoyed during any time of the year. However, the winter months of January and February are notoriously cold while summers are hot and humid.
For those who want to avoid temperature extremes, the best time to visit is in the spring between March and May. However, rain is quite common during this time, so make sure to pack a raincoat, boots, and umbrella.
Autumn is another great time to visit, but hotel rates are quite high. Because of the holiday season during December and January, lodging prices are sky-high, so it is not recommended to visit during the winter.
What to do in New York City?
New York City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, so there is no shortage of things to see, do, and enjoy. If anything, the real challenge will be trying to narrow down all the incredible options to fit your time there.
A few of the must-see destinations in the city include Times Square, the Empire State Building, New York Public Library, and Grand Central Station. Outside of the major landmarks, you can also find shopping for everyone and any budget, from the luxury stores on Fifth Avenue to flea markets and second-hand stores hidden throughout the city.
Central Park is so large, covering 843 acres, that it’s easy to spend an entire day there exploring and enjoying. Aside from the greenery and trees, there are also fountains, sculptures, plazas, ornamental bridges, ponds, and 21 playgrounds. You can also find many concerts, performances, and other events here while the park’s drives are popular among bikers, runners, and pedestrians.
There are many museums and art galleries which can be accessed on the East Side of Central Park known as Museum Mile. The world famous Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), and The Guggenheim Museum are all worth a visit and you can easily spend an entire day there. The American Museum of Natural History features numerous exhibition halls and is one of the largest museums in the world so you won’t run out of things to see.
No visit to New York is complete without trying some of the famous dishes the city is known for. From New York-style thin-crust slices of pizza to street vendors selling hotdogs and soft pretzels, there is so much to discover. Venture to some of the neighborhoods within the city for authentic ethnic foods, bagels, burgers, and cheesecake.
If you can’t decide what to do and would like to see as much as possible in a short amount of time, consider a bus tour. You can sit back, relax, and be guided around the city, stopping at multiple points of interest in a variety of neighborhoods.
Is New York City family-friendly?
Although New York is a large, noisy, and fast-paced city known as an entertainment and financial capital, it still has many things for families to enjoy.
One place sure to be loved by children is FAO Schwarz, the legendary toy store with incredible displays and numerous toys and games. Older children and teens will enjoy visiting Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, where they can pose and take pictures with their favorite actors, musicians, and other celebrities.
Two museums dedicated to children include the Children’s Museum of the Arts and Children’s Museum of Manhattan. The Central Park Zoo, Bronx Zoo, and New York Botanical Garden can be enjoyed by families with children of all ages.
While in the city, get tickets to see a Broadway show. There are many on offer, including those which will wow children such as Disney, Harry Potter, and more.
You can also take the Staten Island Ferry which provides a free, 25-minute ride and has great views of the Statue of Liberty. Another fun transport option is the Roosevelt Island Tramway, an aerial tramway across the East River with a peak elevation of 250 feet.
If you’re not opposed to traveling further afield, spend a day at the iconic Coney Island in Brooklyn where you can ride roller coasters, walk the boardwalk, or spend the day at the beach. There are also many parks nearby along with the New York Aquarium, the Ford Amphitheater, and many restaurants.