a city with many buildings and a body of water

In New York City, there’s no such thing as coffee. Instead, you’ll find quafeeee, which tastes the same, but has a much more local feel. That’s all you need to know (drops mic). Just kidding. New York is a magical city, and arguably one of the best places for a quick mini break. Wherever you’re coming from, there are a few key things to know to maximize your enjoyment in NYC…

a blue sign with white textJFK And Newark Are The Best Airports To Get Into The City…

LaGuardia looks like a war zone, which is insulting to war zones. JFK and Newark both offer fast, convenient and reliable public transport, which can run as little as $7.50 one way via airport shuttle, trains and or subway. Uber is also great in New York, especially off peak.

Fear Not, Cabs Take Credit Card

A great panic for many travelers is cabs not accepting credit card, leaving them scrambling to find cash in a foreign city. All NYC cabs are equipped with (generally) reliable credit card machines and in a largely cashless city, drivers have come to expect people using card.

a city with many buildings and a body of waterYou Shouldn’t Get More Than One Block Lost…

With the exception of select, Soho, West Village and Lower East Side streets, most of manhattan is on a grid. Therefore you shouldn’t stress about getting lost. If you want to get from 56th and 8th to 47th and 7th. The worst you should be able to do is walk to 9th instead of 7th, or 57th instead of 55th. If you see you’ve gone the wrong way, just go the other way.

Tips are Expected… Just About Everywhere.

Standard tipping rate in Manhattan is between 15-18% minimum. So yes, your waiter, barman and other service industry person will likely expect a gratuity, and in their mind -hopefully one greater than the 10-12% in Europe.

There Are Increasing (Free) Wifi Hotspots…

Just about any Starbucks or better yet, local cafe will likely have wifi. The city is also in the process of installing a vast network of public street wifi access points all over the city and boroughs, so you should be able to regularly access data just on wifi.

a bridge over water with a city in the background

The Best Views Of The City Aren’t In The City…

If you love the NYC skyline, you’ll often do best to head across a bridge, which is great fun, by the way. Just across the Brooklyn, Williamsburg or Manhattan bridge, or even Hoboken, New Jersey – you’ll find incredible skyline views and a totally new perception of the city. You’ll also find more local, residential neighborhoods. Here are the best spots.

Subway Is Easier Than You Think, And It’s Cheapest…

Ok- walking is the actual cheapest, but you get the point. Back to the grid principle, almost all subways run “uptown” or “downtown”. Corresponding with numbers, that’s how you figure out which way to go. If you’re at 59th and want to get to 14th, you’re looking for a downtown train. Get it? Just think math.

The Best Food Is Not In Times Square…

New York pizza is a right of passage, but if you want the real stuff, head to neighborhoods like the East or West Village, Upper East or West Side, Soho, Lower East Side and Chinatown- Brooklyn too. You’ll find an incredible array of food, from ridiculous dumplings on the lowest east side, to pasta you’ll fly back for in the West Village. Times Square is for views and plays- not food. Here are our recommendations.

a crowd of people on a stage with a flagIt’s Easy To Get Last Minute Event Tickets…

In some countries ticket sales are heavily restricted to keep secondary resale markets at bay. Not here. Using sites like StubHub, RazorGator and TiqIq, you can get last minute tickets to just about any event, even after it’s started. If something you want to see is really expensive, you can save a fortune by waiting for the hours (or minutes) before the event starts, when people dump tickets that are unsold.

Central Park Is Very Safe During The Day…

Don’t let Home Alone II scare you. Generally the park is an incredibly safe and fun way to experience New York City. There’s just about nothing better than renting bikes and peddling through, without having to worry about cars. At night however, it can be a different beast. After sunset, don’t venture into the park alone and always be sure to carry a cellular phone. Incidents are rare, but it’s better to be safe.

People Are Happy To Help, They Just Don’t Look Like It…

New York is a friendlier place than it’s cracked up to be. Most of the people may look miserable, which is pretty fair if you’re commuting during summer in a suit in 97 degree weather, but they’re generally happy to help. If you’re lost- don’t be bashful. Just ask.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Couple more tips:
    1. Up to four people can share a MetroCard
    2. Cabs generally suck. Use uber, Lyft or Juno
    3. LGA is the easiest and closest airport if you use the Q70 express bus to/from Jackson Height transit hub. $2.75
    4. For Broadway tix, try TKTS booth or look online for discount codes. Buy your tickets at the box office to avoid steep Tickmaster fees.

  2. As one who visits New York frequently, and whose wife grew up there, I think these are excellent recommendations.

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