New York City will please lovers of music and film, comedy and art, and everything in between. Shoppers can splurge on Fifth Avenue, or bargain at thrift stores in Greenwich Village. You're in one of the most culturally diverse, exciting cities in the world, so see a live performance, eat at a world-class restaurant, or seek out a quirky, off-the-beaten-path activity. If it exists, New York has it.
Must see in New York City
Every first time visitor should witness the buzz of Times Square, appropriately nicknamed the Crossroads of the World. The Statue of Liberty is not only a majestic work of art; she's an essential history lesson on American immigration. Rockefeller Center is where the city of your imagination becomes a reality—ice skate on the famous rink, take a television studio tour, see the giant Christmas tree, and take in one of the best city views at the Top of the Rock.
Where to stay in New York City
The proximity to major city sights like the Empire State Building and Central Park makes Midtown Manhattan convenient for families. Kid-friendly restaurants such as Junior's and John's Pizzeria are an added bonus. For young travelers looking to party the night away, Chelsea has a trendy nightclub scene with plenty of hotels to stumble home to afterwards. Slip on your dark sunglasses in the morning and head to brunch at Cookshop, whose chefs pride themselves on their seasonal menu, or Cafeteria, serving an eclectic menu 24 hours per day. For budget minded travelers, prices ease up considerably once outside of Manhattan, so consider staying in Long Island City, Queens. It's convenient to Manhattan, but also up-and-coming in its own right, with the contemporary exhibition space of MoMA PS1, the intimate Noguchi Museum, and the fresh meals at Sage General Store.
Best and worst time to go to New York City
The weather is the most temperate in May, September and October. Crowds will be a little thinner in the early autumn months. January and February bring howling winds and the occasional massive snowstorm, which can make air travel unpredictable.
Where to get lost in New York City
Wander the narrow streets of the Lower East Side, which was a thriving immigrant community in the early 1900s. To hear some of those immigrant stories, go to the Tenement Museum. When you get hungry, order a pastrami on rye at Katz's Deli, a New York institution since 1888.
The best deal in New York City
Central Park offers solitude and relaxation, but visitors can also toss a Frisbee at Sheep Meadow, jog around the Onassis Reservoir, go to the zoo, or catch a free concert, movie, or play.
Transportation in New York City
The New York subway will take you almost anywhere you need to go. For the few pockets not covered by the subway, taxis or Uber can fill in the gaps. Subway service can be confusing on weekends due to track maintenance. Check mta.info for delays or reroutes.
Getting in from JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark
The AirTrain at JFK connects to the subway. From LaGuardia, New York City buses depart frequently and provide service to Manhattan. Taxis are plentiful, but don't accept solicitations from drivers inside the terminal; go to the taxi stand. Bridge tolls will be added to your total fare. From Newark, the AirTrain connects to NJ Transit, which provides service to Manhattan.
Local tip for visitors to New York City
New Yorkers are generally friendly, but direct. They want to help you navigate the city as efficiently as possible. Don't be afraid to ask a local for directions, and don't mistake abruptness for rudeness. We're trying to get you on your way as quickly as possible.
Author's bio: Michele DeBella is a freelance writer based in New York City. She loves the city for making tourists and residents feel like we're all part of one big experience in diversity. Follow her on Twitter.