Discover New York City

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New York City, tailored to you

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Everyone has an image of New York City in their minds. A cosmopolitan dreamland, world centre for gastronomy and the arts, a shopping heaven — however you picture the Big Apple, you’re more than likely to find something here that you like. It’s a city truly for everyone. The US is a melting pot of peoples and cultures, and NYC is at the epicentre of it all. By walking down a few avenues, you can cross continents, and explore culture and cuisine from all over the world.

For this article, we’ve partnered up with the official New York Tourist Board to give you some top inside info on what to do with your time in the big city. Yes, you know the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, but there is so much more to explore in the great city than the main tourist attractions. This article will focus more on the side of NYC you may not know about. If you want to see the classic sites — and why wouldn’t you? — there’s a wealth of information on the NYC Tourist Board. They have great guides to the world-renowned attractions, such as the One World Observatory and Times Square.

And to give you the best deals on hotels, flights and activities, we’ve included offers from online travel agent, Expedia. Don’t forget, if you’re planning a trip to NYC, follow the links from this site to Expedia’s Quidco page, so you can earn cashback on your purchases.

Whether you’re travelling by yourself, with your family or as a couple, this article will show you the locations, attractions and places to eat that suit you best. We’ve included guides for those on a budget, big spenders, hipsters, history buffs and culture vultures. Read on and plan a trip to NYC that’s tailored to you.

New York for families

The image of New York as a bustling (and slightly hectic) city that never sleeps can make the idea of bringing a young family along for a trip slightly daunting. But that’s not really the case. It’s a busy city, but the easy transport systems and wide selection of family-friendly activities make it great fun for both you and the kids. Here’s how to boss the big city with the young ones.

Where to stay

For a place to stay, check out the San Carlos hotel. This is one of the best family-friendly hotels in the city. Many of their rooms sleep two adults and up to two children and a baby. It’s located in the eastern half of the neighbourhood of Midtown, meaning that it’s only a hop, skip and a jump from the iconic New York sites you know and love, such as the Chrysler Building and the Rockefeller Center. It’s also home to Madison Avenue, so any Mad Men fans can go and see where the titans of the advertising industry go to work. You can book San Carlos hotel through Expedia. Be sure to follow Quidco’s cashback links in order to get money back on your booking.

What to see

As you know, New York boasts a world-class range of museums and galleries. But your kids don’t have to be little history or science lovers to enjoy them. For example, the American Museum of Natural History is a great place for the kids to have fun while they learn. Full of exhibitions and displays of weird and wonderful natural phenomenons such as dinosaur skeletons and ocean life, this can be an eye-opening treat for families of all ages.

Attached to the Museum for Natural History is the Rose Center for Earth & Space. This giant planetarium has a 67-foot dome screen and is a great way to while away a few hours with the young ones. Sit in the dark, look up and listen to none other than legendary scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson narrate the universe for you.

Center for Natural History

When you first arrive in the Big Apple, you’ll probably want to get an overview of where you’ll be exploring. As it’s a rather complex city, a really good idea is to get your bearings first, and see where everything is. One epic way to do this is with Expedia’s hop-on hop-off bus tour. There are several routes you can take with this. Drive through fifth avenue, under the shadow of towering skyscrapers, or take a breezie drive along Central Park. This is a great option for families, as tickets for kids and teenagers under 15 are considerably cheaper. Book it now with Expedia to reserve your seats.

Where to eat

If you’re visiting New York City, where better to eat than the most NYC-themed restaurant in town? Ellen’s Stardust Diner is situated smack bang in Times Squares and it shares the streets with some of the most notorious Broadway shows. This restaurant is staffed with working Broadway actors who sing to you while they deliver your food. With mega-sized milkshakes and multi-coloured bagels, it’s great fun for kids and parents alike.

Where to chill

After days of traipsing the streets and taking in the sites, it’s important to find some time to relax. For a bit of downtime, head to the High Line over Chelsea. Completed in 2014, this 1.45 mile long elevated park was created on a former New York Central Railroad. It’s littered with urban gardens, water features and nature-inspired art (what New Yorkers call ‘plantings’).

It provides a green escape from the metropolis, without you ever having to leave the city. Breeze down the line, check out some art and lie down on the High Line’s very own lawn, which is the size of a whole city block!

New York for couples

With scenic beauty that’s been the setting for romantic scenes in films for as long as anyone can remember, it’s no surprise that New York City is a perfect destination for a little romance.

Where to stay

For a truly romantic break, book a room in the Soho Grand Hotel. This is a four-star hotel, but it’s been getting five-star reviews all over the shop. Stylishly combining the traditional and the contemporary, this hotel’s character and history is shown in its spiralling staircases, concrete floors and leather furniture. Spend some time with your special someone in one of its stunning and unique rooms.

Located in Soho, Manhattan, it’s a short walk away from hotspots such as City Winery and Osteria Morini. It’s close to the subway, but why not go on a romantic cycle? The Soho Grand Hotel has bicycles upon request. You can also request a pet goldfish for your room. What more could you possibly want? You can find great rates for rooms at the Soho Grand Hotel at Expedia. Plus, you can earn cashback on top if you follow Quidco’s cashback links to Expedia.

Lincoln Center metro stop

Where to stay

Get your romance on at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts. Made up of 11 campuses, this complex has been the cornerstone of NYC’s arts scene for many years. Stop by for a show of live music, dance or theatre. Or, just take a tour of the many beautiful theatres. The shows on offer range in price (with some even being free) so there’s stuff here to suit every taste and budget.

Where to eat

Blue Hill restaurant is a solid bet for a romantic dinner. Its speakeasy feel and subterranean design make it stylish yet intimate. With a set menu all locally sourced, Blue Hill is known for its fresh and delicious cuisine. What’s more, it’s where Barack took Michelle for their first date after his inauguration. Need we say more?

Where to drink

Picture this: an epic view overlooking Central Park, delicious cocktails, smooth jazz playing in the background. Can you get any more romantic? This is what you experience at Dizzy’s Jazz Club. This notorious venue hosts jazz musicians from the famous to the up-and-coming. It can be a little expensive, but for cheaper tickets grab a late-night gig. These are usually newer musicians starting at circa 11:30pm. The cocktails flow and occasionally a dance floor forms.

If romantic skyline views are your thing, and you want to see NYC from above, then consider taking a trip up the Rockefeller building. The top of this iconic building, 850 feet in the air, offers 360-degree views of both the city scrapers and Central Park. Head to the top either during the day or the evening — the view completely changes depending on what time you visit. With tickets from Expedia, you can grab some flexible date tickets for only £30 per adult ticket.

New York for lone travellers

If you’re preparing to take on NYC as a lone wolf, we’ve got you covered. Whether you want to spend some alone time in the big city or make friends with everyone in town, the Big Apple has everything you need to make it a great time.

Where to stay

Want to make some friends to explore the city with? Look no further than The Local NYC. This hostel is located on 44th Avenue, Queens. It’s in a great spot, just over the river from Manhattan and close to subway stations. It’s defining feature is its common space — a roof terrace where guests can relax and take in the sunset. There’s a bar, so you can sit back, have a drink and make some new friends to go out exploring with.

What to see

One of the best aspects of having some alone time is that you can do whatever you want. Take advantage of this and head to Brooklyn Flea Market, where you can browse what you want for how long you feel like. Here you can basically find anything, from vintage clothing to old-school vinyls. Depending on your luggage allowance, you can even stock up on items such as mid-century Dutch furniture.

The flea market is an ideal place to shop on your own or make some new friends. The high foot traffic and food and drink stalls mean there’s a lot of people there, eating and drinking in a social environment. Grab some sushi and chew the fat with a local New Yorker.

Where to drink

If you fancy sharing a beverage with someone new, head to a bar called The Spots. Located in the Lower East Side, this bar isn’t a club, but on weekends it might as well as be. With an upstairs lounge area and bar, and a downstairs disco area, it provides the perfect balance between party and chill. Relax with a drink upstairs, make some new friends and then when the time is right, make your way downstairs to dance the night away.

Where to chill

No awards for originality for this one. But a great way to spend some R&R time is to head to Central Park on a sunny day. Take a book and spend some quality alone time basking in the sun. However, if you want to chat to a local, you’re more than likely find an old-timer looking for an opponent at one of many chess tables that are dotted around the park. Chances are these chess veterans will beat you, but you’ll probably hear some good stories while you lose.

Central Park

New York on a tight budget

There’s no denying it: New York is an expensive city. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it on the cheap — you just need to know the right places. There are loads of activities and things to see that are budget-friendly or even free.

Where to stay

When you’re sticking to a tight budget, staying in a hostel is likely to be your best bet. Not only one of the most affordable hostels, but also one the highest rated, is the Freehand hostel. With dorms costing circa £23 per night and with a great location in Midtown, Manhattan, it’s difficult to go wrong with this accommodation. It boasts a unique design and is home to an award-winning restaurant. Not bad for a cheap stay.

What to see

Not everything in New York requires a pricey access fee. Many of the attractions are free. One of our favourites is the sacred African Burial Ground. Located in the Civic Center section of Manhattan, it’s the largest burial ground in North America. It honours the spirit of those buried there and respects the role slavery played in building Manhattan. A fascinating and humbling experience.

Where to drink

Drinking in the Big Apple doesn’t have to be too expensive either. Love beer? Make your way down to McSorley’s Old Ale House. Marked by its tagline, ‘We were here before you were born’, it’s an old-timey pub, which has had the big man himself, Abraham Lincoln, walk through its doors. You’ll have to like beer though, as you can only order two drinks: dark beer or light beer, both costing $5 each.

Where to eat

Luckily for those on a budget in NYC, grabbing some cheap eats doesn’t mean giving up on quality food. The city is bursting with delis and street food venues that make cheap (but great) eating very possible. For meateaters, head to a place called Miznon, an Israeli restaurant in Chelsea Marzon. It’s become famous over the years for its creative take on pita wraps, its affordable prices and its biggest star, the folded cheese burger.

For hungry veggies, how about some Indian cuisine? Govinda’s Vegetarian in Brooklyn offers delicious veggie and vegan friendly foods for really competitive prices. You can get a whole platter of vegan treats for under $15. Plus, it’s in a Hare Krishna temple, so you can learn something about the culture while you eat.

McSorely's Ale House

New York for big spenders

As much as it’s possible to do NYC on a budget, you may not be surprised to hear that it’s also very easy to spend a lot of money there. For those looking for a luxurious trip abroad, look no further than NYC for the best accommodation, cuisine and experiences money can buy.

Where to stay

For a really luxurious stay, book a night in the Baccarat Hotel through. Recognised as one of the best hotels in the world, this deluxe five-star hotel will give you the best of the best stays in the city. Offering classic double rooms to penthouse suites, the interior of this beautiful building has been created by famed designers, Gilles and Boissier. For all its fanciness, it’s also in a great Midtown location, across the street from the Museum of Modern Art.

Broadway

What to do

A trip to NYC a isn’t complete without a visit to the theatre. In 2019, there are some world-class shows on Broadway, such as Hamilton, a hip-hop inspired telling of the life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. The show shares the street with old classics such as Chicago and The Blue Man Group. Save a little and grab seats at the back or splash out and get up front and centre.

Where to eat

You’re on holiday. Go all out. And there is no better restaurant to go all out in than The Ainsworth. Why? Because the Ainsworth serves up 24 karat gold dusted chicken wings. You heard right. Also coated in gold coconut butter-chipotle honey, and coming with a gold bottle of champagne, these wings are famous among New Yorkers.

New York for history buffs

With impressive skyscrapers and great cultural scene, NYC has always been seen as the city of the new. But it’s also a town swathed in history. Visit the city that’s been the focal point for huge historical events for over two centuries.

Where to stay

To feel like you’ve travelled back in time to the roaring twenties, book yourself in for a couple of nights’ stay in The Roosevelt Hotel. With elegant, art-deco architecture and design, this hotel calls back to the Jazz Age. The look and feel of the hotel is old-school but the facilities are highly modern, making for a comfortable and luxurious stay. It’s also a great Midtown location, just five minutes from Grand Central Terminal, making getting around the city a breeze.

What to see

Of all the history museums in New York, one of the most phenomenal is the New York Historical Society Museum and Library. It’s the city’s oldest museum and has over 1.6 million pieces of art and artifacts archived. A progressive museum, with great exhibitions on black and women’s history, it’s a place to delve into stories of the past that have previously gone untold.

If the New York Historical Society Museum and Library doesn’t fill your history quota, then head to the One World Observatory. Located in the World Trade Centre campus, this skyscraper is the tallest in the Western Hemisphere. It also boasts one of the world’s fastest lifts, which blasts you up 102 floors in 42 seconds. On the journey up, LED technology surrounds you in 500 years of New York’s past. Pop into the See Forever Theatre, also, for a further history lesson on how NYC got to where it is. As it’s such a popular attraction, a hefty queue can form. Never fear, though — with Expedia’s skip-the-queue ticket, you can breeze in there without having to wait. Plus, it’s under £30 per person!

One World Observatory

Where to eat

Exploring the city’s vast history can be hungry work. For some lunch, head to Houston Street and pop into one of the oldest eateries in town — Yonah Schimmel Knish Bakery. Named after its creator, a Romanian immigrant who moved to New York in the 1890s, this bakery is the bedrock of New York food history. It’s survived for so long in spite of its changing surroundings due its delicious knishes.

Where to drink

After dining in one of the city’s oldest eateries, wash it all down with a drink in one of the city’s oldest saloons. P.J. Clarke’s, situated on Third Avenue, has been serving happy customers (including the likes of jazz legend Nat King Cole) since 1884. The staff are clued up on the history of the establishment, so pull up a stool, order a cold one and ask for a personal history lesson.

New York for culture vultures

NYC is near enough unbeaten when it comes to culture. A mecca for artists, writers and creatives of all sorts, New York has loads to offer in terms of culture, both old and new. It’s not just in the museums, either. The creativity of the people runs through the streets and can be seen in the form of graffiti and street art.

Where to stay

For real culture-enthusiasts, how about a hotel that doubles up as an art gallery? The Conrad New York hotel is a five-star, deluxe hotel with an avant-garde design and feel. With interiors designed by Jill Greaves, this modern accommodation offers breathtaking views of the Hudson River from comfortable and stylish rooms. It’s the perfect starting off point to explore the city’s cultural delights.

What to do

Unsurprisingly, a great place for culture lovers to visit is the esteemed New York Museum of Modern Art. Abbreviated to MoMA, this astounding museum contains almost 200,000 works of art. Among ever-changing new and exciting works, the museums exhibits some of history’s most famous paintings. Browse the fresh work of hot young artists, then go and feel inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night and Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory.

Where to eat

If you’re a music lover, a trip to New York is not complete without dinner in Legacy Records Restaurant. A restaurant in the headquarters of the record studio Legacy Records, which has signed artists from Adele to Bowie, this eatery is great for music-inspired food and decor. With great music and understated elegance, it’s the ideal place to learn about the culture while you eat.

MoMA

Where to chill

For some quiet time, take a wander through the New York Public Library. With nearly 53 million items including books, movies and music among beautiful architecture, this is the third largest library in the world (Library of Congress being second and the British Library being first). It’s a really great place to spend a few hours, browse some classics and unwind.

New York for hipsters

Like most other major cities, New York has had an invasion of trendy bars, coffee shops and tattoo parlors. Like London, it’s now a hipster paradise, with every street having a new quirky spot where millennials can stay, dine in or go for a night out.

Where to stay

For those looking to inject some edginess into their trip, The Box House Hotel is the best hipster hotel in town. Situated in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Brooklyn, home to numerous trendy restaurant and bars, this hotel is a renovated factory with a colourful and chic interior. The rooms have an apartment-like feel, so you can feel at home while you’re away.

What to do

If you find yourself stuck for things to do between seeing the sites, head down to Chelsea Market to pick up some groovy garms. One particularly popular establishment is a shop called Anthropologie. Known for its light and flowery designs, this shop brings back the feel of 60’s New York. Don’t know where to start? You can take a behind-the-scenes tour of the market, where you’ll learn some insider info about the shops, eateries and art galleries that make up the complex.

Chelsea Market

Where to eat

One of the edgiest restaurants to grace NYC is the simply-named Diner. Opening up 20 years ago and operating out of a renovated train car, this place is a favourite of Yankee hipsters. Serving food until late in the night and playing old-school hip hop, this is a truly unique experience. Yet it’s not all style over substance, as it also serves up some of the best burgers in town.

Where to drink

For a drinking experience that’s very hush-hush, consider going to Please Don’t Tell. PDT for short, this bar in the East Village is only accessible through a vintage phone box. The feel is half speakeasy, half pub as it serves both delicious cocktails and hearty beers. Try to get there early though, and definitely book ahead, as quite a hefty queue can form.

Once a couple of drinks and some food at Please Don’t Tell has tickled your fancy for a more hidden NYC, head to the New York Tourist Board’s ‘Secret NYC’ section. This is where you can find information on the attractions of the city that few tourists, or indeed New Yorkers, even know about.

The Empire State Building is great, but how many people do you know have been on a secret tour of the New York subway? Or, if you’re into the weird and wonderful, how about an evening viewing of ‘Sleep No More’, an intimate, unusual and almost wordless retelling of Hamlet, where the audience all wear masks? This is the stuff you’re really going to impress your friends with. All of this and more can be found on the New York Tourist Board site.

There we have it. Whether you’re looking to spend some time in NYC with a loved one, your kids, or just in your own company, there’s tons on offer to ensure that you have the best time. Full of culture, mind-blowing eateries and tucked-away hipster hotspot, there’s accommodation and activities for everyone in this city. If you want to book the complete package, hassle free, then you can save up to 17% with Expedia when you book your flight, accommodation and activities together. Don’t forget — when you’re booking your flights, accommodation and things to do, follow the links from the Quidco website to the retailer’s in order to earn some cashback on your trip.

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