The Quintessential New York City Trip: A Brief but Crucial Guide

Want to make the most of your visit to New York City? Check out this comprehensive guide that breaks down essential steps and best practices for planning a memorable trip!

Many people visit New York every day. If you walk around or ride the subway, you can hear English, but also Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and many more. Some people live there and speak different languages, but you’ll find just as many tourists.

If you’re visiting New York this year and joining the massive crowds, you might feel intimidated. Maybe you’ll check out the rich history of the Upper West Side, from grand mansions to iconic institutions. Perhaps your travels will take you to Brooklyn, Queens, or the Bronx.

Wherever you’re visiting in this iconic city, we have some tips that should help you. Keep reading as we explain how tourists can enjoy themselves when they visit the Big Apple.

New York City Guide

How Will You Get There?

First, you must consider your travel. If you fly, you can land at JFK or LaGuardia Airport. You can also land in Newark, though that’s farther away and might give you more headaches.

LaGuardia recently underwent a massive facelift. It took years and cost untold millions. Now that the contractors have concluded all the work, though, the airport looks modern and pleasant.

If you land at LaGuardia, you might take a bus, but you’re probably better off grabbing a taxi. You can get one at the taxi stand outside. It costs more, but you might find the bus system overwhelming, and this move probably makes more sense.

If you fly into JFK, you can catch a train that has an eventual subway line connection. The train doesn’t cost very much, and when you reach the subway, you can ride that through Queens and eventually into Manhattan via an easy transfer.

You can always grab a taxi at JFK as well, but the air tram and subway connections aren’t too difficult, even for someone who doesn’t know the area. If you need further assistance, you can also find kiosks in the airport with helpful individuals inside. If you tell them where you’re going, they can give you more explicit instructions.

Finding Your Hotel

Usually, assuming you booked your hotel before you came, you’ll find it first so you can drop off your luggage. If you have a large suitcase, you probably won’t like hauling it around New York. Also, luggage sends a strong signal that you’re a tourist. That can attract some attention, and not necessarily the good kind.

You can check into the hotel and drop off your luggage, and you can also see whether your room matches the description and picture that you saw online. If you’re staying somewhere like The Plaza, it likely won’t disappoint you. If you booked a room at the Best Western in Long Island City, you’re not getting anything so luxurious.

Finding Some Food

Next, you’ll likely want a meal. In the old days, you could wander around the city and find diners or fancy restaurants on any block. Now, you have your smartphone. That makes getting anywhere so much 


You can check out what’s nearby from your hotel room by using your smartphone. When you use Google Maps, you can immediately see what’s nearby.

If you find a restaurant that has some good reviews, you might walk there. You can also catch a cab if it’s a longer walk and you’re feeling tired.

You can also catch a train and find more restaurants, or you can get an Uber. Maybe you already picked out a place and made a reservation before you arrived. If so, getting a taxi or Uber and leaving early makes it more likely you’ll arrive on time.

If you don’t have a reservation and don’t see anywhere nearby on Google Maps that appeals, you might walk outside and see someone selling hot dogs or pretzels on the nearest street corner. That might seem tempting, but it’s usually a mistake.

A pretzel might not be too bad, but if you brave a New York hot dog, you may regret it later. New Yorkers call them “dirty water dogs,” and you better have a strong stomach if you tackle one.

What Should You Do Next?

After you’ve eaten and you’re feeling refreshed, you should decide what you’ll do next. If you feel jet lagged because you’ve come from a different country, your bed at the hotel might beckon at this point.

If you decide your afternoon or night is just getting started, you should plan out your next move before hitting the streets. You can always wander aimlessly around, and sometimes, when you do that, you’ll find some hidden New York treasure. You might end up in a dive bar or spot a celebrity.

Usually, though, planning your next move works better. You can pick some spots you’ll visit. Maybe you think you should check out Times Square or the Empire State Building next. Perhaps you’ll visit Madison Square Garden or Yankee Stadium.

Wherever you think you should visit next, you should understand that taxis will get you there faster. Subways often encounter train traffic. Sometimes they can run smoothly, or they might ruin your whole night and make you miss an event’s start time if you’re catching a ballgame or seeing a Broadway show.

Also, if you take the trains, it’s cheaper, but they can get a little dangerous late at night. If you keep your head down, you might have no problems. If you keep looking at the map, that indicates you’re a tourist, and a mugger might think you’re a tempting target.

Stay in well-lit areas if you go exploring. Don’t go wandering down dark alleys. If you stay in tourist areas with people around and cops nearby, you likely won’t have any crime-related issues. It’s when you wander off into the outer boroughs late at night that you might encounter some trouble.

Planning what you’ll do next and sticking together as a group should yield the best results. Hopefully, you will love your New York vacation and make some happy memories you’ll cherish always.

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