Planning to visit the Big Apple this year? Here’s a list of 11 areas of NY that you definitely should put on your list. From incredible sight-seeing viewpoints to unmissable iconic landmarks, New York City should be at the top of everyone’s travel bucket lists. Especially if you love the hustle and bustle of a city break.
But what are the must-visit neighborhoods and communities you should explore? What distinct areas offer the very best of New York?
Well, dotted around the city there are countless neighborhoods that no NY tourist should miss during their visit. So let’s take a look at the 10 best areas of the city.
Cameras at the ready people! It’s time to make some memories.
Getting Around the City
First things first, let’s take a minute to think about transportation. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can get around the city for your whistle-stop tour – from riding the bright sights and sounds of the NY subway to hailing an iconic yellow taxi. But the transport options don’t stop there.
You can also opt for an automated car rental. Companies like Ridecell have transformed urban transportation for the better, meaning your tour around NY can be streamlined with a super convenient rental & management system.
1. Staten Island
A must for seeing the Statue of Liberty.
Probably one of the most iconic areas of NY. Jump on a free commuter ferry to Staten Island to get a closer look at the Statue of Liberty. It’s a much cheaper option than buying tickets for a tourist boat tour. Plus, once you’re on the island, there are plenty of delicious pizza options to choose from when you get peckish.
2. Lower East Side
A must for foodies.
The Lower East Side has a huge selection of must-try shops, bars, and restaurants on offer. It’s the perfect hotspot for grabbing a bite to eat at lunchtime, booking a table for dinner, or sipping on a refreshing cocktail to celebrate your trip. If you’re on a budget you can also try out the street food vendors on St Mark’s Place.
A must for LGBT travelers.
Chelsea/Greenwich Village has been an LGBT hub for a long time now. Today, you’ll find a plethora of gay bars and clubs which all welcome LBGT travelers and visitors looking to explore the city’s vibrant and colorful nightlife. A fun-filled NY drag show is a must too! There’s also plenty of local queer-owned boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries for you to check out.
4. Upper East Side
A must for museum-lovers.
Upper East Side is one of the most sophisticated areas of NY. The streets boast well-kept buildings, Michelin star restaurants, and upscale clothing stores. There’s also a variety of museums for tourists wanting to learn more about the city’s culture and history, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Asia Society and Museum (although it’s temporarily closed – check here before you go).
A must for seeing the city’s high-rise central hub.
Midtown Manhattan is an absolute must for NY tourists. Here you’ll walk busy streets and see the flashing screens of Times Square. Midtown is everything you expect New York to be. Make sure you check out the beautiful Grand Central Station too. If you’re lucky you can also catch a bargain deal for Broadway’s cheapest unsold tickets.
6. The Bronx
A must for trying Italian-American cuisine.
The Bronx isn’t a typical tourist stop-off location, but there are plenty of reasons why you should include it. Most importantly, The Bronx has a lovely selection of family-run Italian eateries found on Arthur Avenue (commonly known as the ‘Little Italy of New York’). You can also enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the New York Botanical Garden which always has some sort of special exhibition.
7. Wall Street
A must for standing below impressive skyscrapers.
It’s easy to think the Wall Street area is simply a corporate-ey place only for suited business people carrying briefcases. But as the financial heart of the city, here you’ll be in awe of New York’s biggest high-rise buildings. You can also visit the memorials of the World Trade Center Site.
A must for being immersed in New York’s black culture.
Definitely one of the coolest areas of NY. Harlem is often considered the epicenter of New York’s arts and music scene, offering the very best of the city’s spirited black culture. Here you can visit the National Jazz Museum or take a seat in Minton’s Playhouse, a bar and club where jazz greats once performed (Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and more).
A must for enjoying live music.
New Yorkers would describe Williamsburg as a hipster hub with its lively nightlife and bohemian boutiques. Best of all, Williamsburg is home to some of the city’s best music venues. The most popular venues include the Music Hall of Williamsburg (a whole variety of musical acts perform here including indie bands) and the Williamsburg Music Center (a jazz club that opened way back in 1981).
Check out this one-day itinerary for Williamsburg:
10. Jackson Heights
A must for appreciating New York’s diverse culture.
Nestled nicely in North Central Queen, you’ll find Jackson Heights, one of the most diversely populated areas in the entire city. In fact, it’s thought that over 167 languages are spoken by the residents and workers of Jackson Heights. As a result, it’s a friendly neighborhood of many races and cultures. You’ll find a whole host of family-owned sweet stores and boutiques full of unique souvenirs and trinkets. It’s also an LGBT neighborhood which hosts the annual Queen’s Pride Parade every summer.
11. Hells’ Kitchen
A must for being a typical New York tourist.
A few decades ago, Hell’s Kitchen was a neighborhood often avoided by tourists. However, nowadays it’s an area boasting modern renovations and must-visit tourist attractions, most notably including the Sea, Air, and Space Museum. If you’re hungry you can also browse and grab something tasty from the vendors of Gotham West Market. Once the sun goes down, there’s also a selection of fantastic nightlife entertainment venues including the cabaret bar and club, Don’t Tell Mama. Check out our review of this Indian restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen.