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City Breaks New York

With four distinct seasons and many parades and festivals throughout the year, New York City offers a holiday as diverse as its residents. In ‘the city that never sleeps’, tourists can have the best in food and entertainment at their fingertips. The largest city in the U.S. is also one of the world’s most energetic. From a night in a museum to a street-food festival, this metropolis has it all

31 °C

Best time to visit: Spring and Autumn

7 hours 40 minutes

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is located in Queens, 26km southeast of central Manhattan. Newark International Airport (EWR), in New Jersey, is also 26km from midtown Manhattan.

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With four distinct seasons and many parades and festivals throughout the year, New York City offers a holiday that’s as diverse as its residents. In The Big Apple, you’ll have the best in food and entertainment at your fingertips. The largest city in the U.S.A is also one of the worlds’  most energetic. From an evening spent wandering around a museum to savouring the aromas of a street-food festival, this bustling metropolis has it all. New York’s famous skyline isn’t just to be admired by the city’s residents; visitors here can gaze at the concrete jungle from many different observation decks. Down on the ground, hunt for bargains in Midtown or see Impressionist artworks at the Guggenheim Museum. In the evening, enjoy a mouth-watering Asian meal in Chinatown or take in a show in one of the theatres on Broadway.

Museum Mile is located on the city’s famous Fifth Avenue, and is lined with a whole host of museums and art galleries, including the iconic Guggenheim Museum. You’ll find all kinds of exhibitions here covering art, architecture, photography, natural history, television, radio and technology, so there’s something for everyone. Not only is Museum Mile a must-do, but it also makes a lovely tree-lined walk along the outskirts of Central Park, so you’ll be able to see the beautiful natural sights of the city while you’re there. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is by far the largest museum here. With nearly two million works of art, some dating back an incredible 5,000 years, it’s become one of the most popular places to visit in New York City. If you’re visiting New York in June, you may be there for the Museum Mile Festival; New York’s biggest block festival. As well as being able to access all of the museums along the Mile for free between 6pm and 9pm, you’ll also see street entertainers and live bands performing; it’s something you don’t want to miss.

The 'City That Never Sleeps’ has something for everyone once the sun goes down. Broadway is New York’s legendary home of musical theatre, and taking in a show here should be at the top of your list of things to do. Before you buy your tickets, a visit to the TKTS stand in Times Square is well worth it, as you can quite often make great savings on Broadway theatre tickets by buying them here. Broadway shows range from big budget musicals to smaller, lesser-known productions featuring Hollywood stars. For a different type of entertainment, head to Greenwich Village and the East Village for upscale cocktail lounges and small, intimate live-music venues. New York’s Meatpacking District is great for dance clubs. If you’re a fan of comedy, catch a show at one of New York’s comedy clubs. Many have open-mic sessions, so you never know who you may see on stage. In many of the comedy clubs, you can buy food as well as drinks, so you can sit back, have a giggle and make a night of it.

New York’s breathtaking skyline is made possible due to the city’s love for skyscrapers. For the most epic birds-eye views of New York City, you can’t beat the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock and the crown of the Statue of Liberty. The city’s tallest skyscraper, which is also the newest, is One World Trade Centre; it has a public observation deck on the 102nd floor, and the views are well worth making the trip for. While you’re there, visit the 9/11 memorial which is open to the public and is free of charge to see. To capture one of the best photos of New York’s most iconic buildings, the Top of the Rock is the place to go. Found at the top of the Rockefeller Center, you’ll be able to have uninterrupted, spectacular 360° views of the city. If you buy a ticket for the Top of the Rock, you’ll be given a specific time to visit, so it’s best to book and plan in advance. While you’re at the Rockefeller Center, visit the NBC Studios, Radio City Music Hall and, if you’re visiting in the winter, the famous ice rink. 

Manhattan is a shopper’s paradise and home to massive department stores like Macy’s and the upscale Barneys and Bloomingdales, where you’ll be able to find everything on your list. If you’re looking for designer goods, luxury stores line Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue. SoHo is one of the best shopping neighbourhoods in NYC; familiar brands include H&M, Prada and J.Crew. If you’re in the city in December, you’ll be able to see the grand window displays that entice Christmas shoppers in to spend. There are lots of pop-up market stalls that take place throughout the city during the Christmas period too, and they’re a great place to buy festive gifts for friends and family back home. If you want a shop that has everything under one roof, visit Saks Fifth Avenue; it takes up most of the block! While you’re on Fifth Avenue, you can’t leave without popping into Tiffany; the famous jewellers. Treat yourself to some luxurious jewellery or check out their gift department, where you can buy a range of Tiffany souvenirs.  

Thanks to the city’s diversity, you’ll find whatever type of food you fancy on your city break in New York. From traditional, all-American diners for delicious burgers and buttermilk pancakes, to ice cream and cupcake shops to satisfy your sweet tooth. Manhattan is home to Chinatown, Little Italy and Korea Town, as well as numerous steakhouses, so there are a huge variety of options to choose from in just one area. The best restaurants get booked up quickly, so if there’s a particular one you’d like to try, be sure to make a reservation. For an authentic New York eating experience, have a meal or two in one of the old-fashioned diners that are scattered across the city. A particular highlight of the food scene in New York is the different types of sweet treats on offer. From cupcake bakeries and ice cream parlours to cheesecake shops, you’re bound to find something to make your mouth water. Now, being in the USA, you can probably imagine that portion sizes are pretty large. A normal main meal can easily feed two people, so why not save yourself some money and share a meal? If you still have room for more, you can always fill up with a delicious slice of New York Cheesecake. If you’re just after a drink, you’ll find coffee shops and bars dotted all over the city, remember that you have to be 21 to drink alcohol in New York though, and even if you look older, chances are you’ll be asked to show ID before you’ll be served.    

Head to this restored elevated railway and discover the hidden charm and beauty of Manhattan’s West Side. The High Line stretches over 2 kilometres, running from Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood. This beautiful public space features unique artworks, community programming and enchanting horticulture. Enjoy stunning views of the New York City skyline and the Hudson River before filling your stomach at the nearby seasonal food vendors and gourmet market stalls. You can also slip into the famous Chelsea Market for a bit of shopping, which is right next to the High Line. 

The Elevated Acre is a beautifully designed garden that’ll make you feel like you’ve stumbled into a magical realm. Hidden above the bustle of the city, this secret urban oasis overlooks the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge. As you’re roaming around the Financial District in Lower Manhattan, take an escalator at 55 Water Street and let it lift you above the busy city streets until it opens to reveal the wonders of the Elevated Acre. Not many people know about this little slice of heaven, which means you’ll find peaceful solitude away from the chaos of everyday life. Explore the one acre and follow its Brazilian hardwood paths to find a quiet spot in the summer beer garden, where you can relax uninterrupted for hours.

Hop on a peaceful ferry ride to Staten Island and explore one of the most suburban boroughs of New York City. Head to the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden and follow the bamboo forest path that’ll take you past glistening waterfalls, Ghongshi scholar’s rocks, koi-filled ponds and beautiful Chinese calligraphy. Based on the original Ming Dynasty Gardens that date back to 1368, the New York Scholar’s garden is a definite must-see if you want to soak up some authentic Chinese culture. Spend the rest of your day exploring the fascinating Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art and step back in time with a tour of the Historic Richmond Town that brings colonial New York back to life.

New York is best for

Shoppers: Buy your Christmas gifts along Fifth Avenue.

Art enthusiasts: Marvel at the Metropolitan Museum’s Roman antiquities and Egyptian mummies.

Theatre fans: Catch a Hollywood celebrity in a Broadway musical.


Fast facts

Language: The language spoken in New York City is English

Currency: The currency used in New York City is the US Dollar ($)

Local time: New York City is 5 hours behind GMT/UK time

Fly: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is located in Queens, 26km southeast of central Manhattan. Newark International Airport (EWR), in New Jersey, is also 26km from midtown Manhattan.

Flight time: 7 hours 40 minutes

Tourist information: Further New York City tourist information can be found at www.nycgo.com

Visa & Health: Before your holiday to New York City, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa for recommendations and advice on visas and health.


Weather and climate

Temperature: Average highs of 29-31 (°C) in summer, 4-6 (°C) in winter

Best time to visit: spring and autumn

NYC has four distinct seasons, so summers are hot and humid whilst winters will have snow. Spring and autumn are more comfortable, but summer has many free activities and December is full of festive cheer.


Getting around

By foot: The attractions, restaurants and shops of Midtown and Lower Manhattan are best reached on foot.

By tourist bus: Open-top, hop-on/hop-off buses are a great way for visitors to see the sights.

By bus and metro: Metrocards for busses and Subway can be purchased for pay-per-ride or unlimited travel. All journeys are the same price no matter how far you travel. Buses require exact change or a Metrocard.

By bicycle: A bicycle-sharing scheme (Citibike) offers thousands of bicycles at hundreds of docking stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

By taxi: You can hail a taxi from the street. Cab drivers accept cash or credit cards, and 10-15% tip is expected.


Events

Independence Day: Several fireworks extravaganzas take place on July Fourth. Crowds line the riverbanks for the largest show, which includes fireworks launched from barges in the Hudson and East rivers.
 
New Year’s Eve Ball Drop: Be prepared for below-freezing temperatures, huge crowds and hours of standing in one place. But it’s worth it for the live entertainment and festive atmosphere of Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
 
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: On the fourth Thursday of November, New Yorkers begin Thanksgiving Day celebrations with a parade of marching bands and huge hot-air balloons that ends at Macy’s department store.


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