The problem with visiting New York is knowing where to begin. But even if you don't immediately rush off to view the world-famous sights and landmarks of this most dynamic of cities, sometimes just being there is enough.
The wonder of New York is in the energy and diversity that emanates from its densely packed, multicultural population. It vibrates with colliding cultures and languages, as highlife and lowlife rubs together to produce a unique atmosphere, 24-hours a day.
Whether lolling on a bench in leafy Central Park, watching the world go by from a French bistro in Soho, or gazing up at Lady Liberty from the deck of the Staten Island Ferry, most visitors will feel they've done it all before.
Simply put, this is because New York is so familiar to anyone who has ever seen a movie or watched television. There is something special, however, in actually seeing the familiar landmarks and experiencing the pulse of The City That Never Sleeps.
Five boroughs make up New York City: Staten Island, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan. But many visitors never leave Manhattan, with loads of things to do and see packed into this small area relative to the other boroughs.
This includes the 24-hour pasta restaurants of Little Italy, and the bustling sidewalks of Chinatown, the jazz clubs of Greenwich Village, and the theatres of Broadway. Of course, iconic sights include the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Times Square.
New York has been described as the best three-day city in the world, and that's about right. After a frenzy of museums, galleries, bars, and clubs, many visitors are ready for a break. Fortunately, there's a lot of choice in excursions.
Outdoor attractions include the National Parks of upstate New York, to the beaches of Long Island, or simply the leafy oasis of Central Park. Whatever you're after, New York is ready and waiting to bewitch, enchant, and bewilder.
Forty miles (64km) north of New York City is Tarrytown, known to Washington Irving fans as Sleepy Hollow. The setting in his story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, the town is packed with historic homes and include both Irving's home and the impressive Rockefeller residence.
On the east side of the river is Hyde Park, where President Franklin D Roosevelt was born. The Franklin D Roosevelt Home and Library contains hundreds of photos and artefacts, including his specially-made car following his polio affliction in 1921.
It also houses the letter from Einstein which led to the development of the atomic bomb. Two miles (3km) outside Hyde Park is the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, a spectacular Beaux Arts mansion. A day in Tarrytown is a popular excursion from New York City.
The High Line, or High Line Park, is a verdant elevated strip hovering between the skyscrapers of Manhattan's West Side. Built on what was once a freight rail line, this unique public park brings a welcome splash of greenery into the district.
Construction of the park began in 2006 and finished in 2014. It now draws millions of visitors annually and has led to a real estate boom in the areas it passes through, with apartments overlooking the pretty strip rocketing in value.
The High Line features viewpoints, recreation areas, and public spaces for exhibitions and productions. The most popular spots for cultural diversions in the park are the 14th Street Passage and Chelsea Market Passage, semi-enclosed sections frequently used for public programs and art exhibitions.
Picnic spots on the 23rd Street Lawn are ideal for those who just want to find peaceful spots to read, rest, or admire the view. Alternatively, kids love features like the Pershing Square Beams west of 11th Avenue. There, the original framework of steel beams is exposed to create a garden playground.
The universal symbol of freedom, the Statue of Liberty was the first seen by 12 million immigrants passing through Ellis Island Immigration Center. Sculpted by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi and modelled on the Colossus of Rhodes, the French donated the statue in 1886.
The reason was to commemorate the alliance between the two countries during the American Revolution. The ferry calls at both Liberty and Ellis Islands, and tourists can visit the Ellis Island Museum documenting the experiences of the immigrants.
On Liberty Island, advance bookings allow visitors to access the crown of the famous statue, but these tickets must be booked something like six months in advance in the peak summer season.
The six hectare (16 acre) worksite that emerged from the rubble of the twin towers now symbolises the infamous events on September 11 2001 when almost 3,000 people lost their lives. The 1,350 foot (411m) World Trade Centre towers were the tallest in New York and proud symbols of the city.
Millions now come to pay tribute at the site and witness the devastation at viewing sites. In April 2003, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation launched a worldwide competition to design a memorial at the World Trade Center site to honour the victims of 9/11.
The LMDC received 5,201 memorial design submissions from 63 nations and 49 states making this the largest design competition in history. In January 2004, 'Reflecting Absence' by Michael Arad and Peter Walker was unveiled as the design for the World Trade Center Memorial.
The memorial features a landscaped civic plaza with two massive voids aligned with the footprints where the twin towers once stood. The memorial and museum are now open to the public, providing an accurate and moving account of what the community endured during the attacks.
Tourists should be mindful that this is a sombre memorial frequented by mourning family members, so loud chatter and smiling selfies are inappropriate.
Located in Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall is one of the most famous theatres in the world. The home of the famous Rockettes chorus line, the interior of the theatre was declared a New York landmark in 1978.
While not in regular use anymore, the Hall's beautiful cinema still hosts premieres, shows, and selected feature films. The most popular event is the annual Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, attracting more than a million people and running since 1933.
The Music Hall hosts various shows and events. So it's best to check the official website listings to see which potential productions and acts. Tours of Radio City Music Hall run daily and usually receive rave reviews.
The Empire State Building in New York is an iconic landmark in the sprawling Manhattan cityscape. Completed in 1931, it stretches 102 storeys into the sky and was for a time considered the tallest building in the between 1931 and 1970.
Today, it is only the 28th-tallest building in the world yet still retains much of its dramatic grandeur and presence. One of the most beloved activities is embarking on the journey to the top floor's observation deck, providing views across the entire city.
Aside from its magnificent vistas, there are also restaurants with delicious food as well as exhibits displaying the history of the Empire State Building. It is best to visit between 8am and 11am, avoiding the scores of daily visitors. It is open until 2am.
For those brave individuals, the annual Empire State Building Run-Up offers runners the chance to reach the top via the stairs. These stairs are otherwise closed to the public. Free multimedia tours are downloaded with every admission.
The Empire State Building has facilities for disabled visitors with service dogs and wheelchairs. The 86th floor is specifically designed with a lower wall for those visitors at a disadvantage.
With great foresight, the founders of New York set aside 340 hectares (840 acres) of central Manhattan as a public space. Central Park officially opened in 1873 and today provides an essential green lung within the concrete jungle that is New York.
Originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the park contains themed gardens, tennis courts, lakes, and even a small zoo. Much of the park is infused by the city's bustle and on nice days it swarms with joggers, skaters, buskers, and tourists,
But there are areas beyond the range of baseballs and frisbees where tranquillity can be found in this beautifully landscaped park. It also hosts performances of everything from rock music to Shakespeare.
During winter, two ice-skating rinks open up in Central Park. The Wollman Rink, found mid-Park at 62nd St, is one of the most picturesque in the world and set among the trees and rolling hills, against the backdrop of Manhattan's skyscrapers.
Founded in 1929, the Museum of Modern Art owns the most important collection of modern in the USA. Referred to as MoMA, artists with work on display include Monet, Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Max Beckman, Ansel Adams, and Kiki Smith.
What started as a gift of eight prints and a drawing has developed into a vast and varied collection of some 150,000 paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs, and other media. MoMA's Library and Archives boast an impressive collection of books, historical documents, and photographs.
Priding itself as an educational institution, the Museum of Modern Art offers various activities and programmes for the general public. In addition, special segments broaden the community knowledge of and approach towards the exciting and puzzling world of modern art.
Usually known simply as the Guggenheim, the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum was designed by US architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Completed in 1959, it's well worth a visit just to see this icon of Modernist architecture specifically created to showcase the modern art within.
Featuring a highly commended collection of late 19th and 20th-century artworks, as well as touring exhibitions. Beneath a glass dome, a quarter mile ramp spirals down the inside of the building, past a collection including pieces by Pissarro, Kandinsky, Klee, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cézanne, Mapplethorpe and Gober.
The Metropolitan Museum, affectionately known as the Met, possesses one of the greatest and largest art collections in the world. Banners above the Met's Fifth Avenue entrance herald the current attractions at this cherished New York institution.
There are always temporary exhibitions from around the world alongside the impressive permanent collection. Highlights are numerous, with American collectors having the foresight and cash to buy up a large number of Impressionist and Post-Impressions masterpieces from Europe at the end of the 19th century.
The art collection at the Met now contains more than two million works of art from across the planet, from ancient worlds through to modern times. Some notable works are present from such greats as Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet, and Cézanne, rivalling any art collection on earth.
Challenged only by its counterpart in London, the American Museum of Natural History is the largest and most important museum of its kind in the world. 45 exhibition halls hold more than 30 million artefacts, quite enough to keep anyone busy on a rainy afternoon.
The most popular exhibit is a 50ft (15m) tall skeleton of a barosaurus in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, and there are three more spectacular dinosaur halls on the fourth floor. Other halls include the Hall of Biodiversity, the Hall of Ocean Life, the Hall of Human Biology and Evolution.
The fabulous Hayden Planetarium is a 90ft (27m) wide aluminium sphere that seems to float inside a massive glass cube, which in turn is home to the Rose Center for Earth and Space. Those tired of walking can check out the Museum of Television and Radio.
Going to the theatre is one of the most popular tourist events in New York and the shows on Broadway are world famous, boasting some of the best productions in the world from blockbuster musicals to intense and intimate dramas.
There are ongoing shows that have been running for years, such as The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera, Chicago and A Chorus Line. Newer, edgier shows play off-Broadway, and may provide just as much entertainment at slightly lower prices.
This is one way to experience part of the American dream, even if only on vacation. There is something to entertain people of all ages.
Though it is ultimately just an intersection at the corner of Broadway and 42nd Street, Times Square has achieved iconic status. In a single frame, it successfully represents the hive of activity that is New York City.
Flashing advertisement and huge billboards produce a headache-inducing but memorable sight. Times Square is used in countless films, televisions, programmes, and literature. It is the base for ABC's Good Morning America programs and MTV's popular Total Request Live.
Thousands gather annually for New Year's Eve in the square to see the famous ball-dropping ceremony. Since 2009, Times Square closed to traffic and visitors can now enjoy strolling and sitting at their leisure, not worrying about the city's notorious taxis and bustling vehicles.
Named for the man who developed the space, the world's first dollar billionaire, John D Rockefeller, this 22 acre (8ha) land houses a plethora of iconic New York City attractions. Radio City Music Hall used to be the most popular tourist venue in the city and still ranks highly among visitors. Radio City has hosted multiple awards shows such as the Grammies, Emmies and MTV Music Awards. It is also a concert venue frequented by today's popular performers. The GE Building, the address for which the popular TV series is named, is the home to and the site from which the eerie 'Lunchtime atop a skyscraper' photograph was taken. At the base of the GE building is the Rockefeller Ice Rink with the golden statue of Prometheus at its head. Underneath Rockefeller Plaza is the Concourse, an underground pedestrian mall boasting designer brands and food outlets.
Best views of New York City? The Rockefeller Center's eight level viewing platform and the pinnacle of the Empire State building duke it out for top honours in this contest. The winner might be the Rock because it alone offers great views of the iconic Empire State building among its 360 degree vistas of the city below. There are both indoor and outdoor viewing areas, so it's suitable to visit in all weather. The best and most popular time to visit is half an hour before sunset when one can experience both the day and night time views. Book ahead online and skip the queue for your slot.
The sheer scope of New York City is hard to understand until you have traversed the Brooklyn Bridge, inaugurated in 1883, which crosses 5,989 feet (1,825 m) of the East River and connects two of New York's biggest metropoles, Manhattan, and Brooklyn.
The construction of the bridge was an impressive feat of engineering ingenuity and upon completion it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. Today, it is a treasured landmark of the city, colourfully illuminated at night to highlight the architectural towers and hangings.
There is a pedestrian walkway from which visitors can savour vistas of both Manhattan and Brooklyn. Photographers looking for quintessential New York cityscapes should be sure to walk the bridge.
St Patrick's Cathedral is a magnificent example of the geometric style of Gothic architecture that was popular in Europe in the 13th century. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York and the largest Catholic cathedral in the United States.
With its spires soaring 330 feet (100m) into the air, and the ornately detailed entrance, this is undoubtedly one of the city's most spectacular buildings. St Patrick's was built between 1850 and 1878 and its giant organ has over 7,300 pipes.
To most New Yorkers and harried tourists, St Patrick's is most valued for its peace and tranquillity. It's very much an active place of worship and although tourists are welcome they should show respect, especially during church services. Guided tours are available.
One of New York's most famous and best loved landmarks, Grand Central was opened in 1913 opposite Rockefeller Center. It is one of the world's largest train stations, with 44 platforms, but its true distinction is its magnificent architecture
Its striking ambiance, anchored by enormous windows and the refurbished ceiling, covered by a detailed astronomical fresco. The terminal houses a number of good restaurants, budget-friendly eateries, and speciality shops. The 12,000 sq ft Vanderbilt Hall regularly houses public events.
Don't miss the one-hour guided tour; book several weeks ahead in peak season to avoid disappointment. Grand Central sees about double the amount of visitors every day as it does commuters.
Home to some exotic and beautiful animals, the Central Park Zoo is a must for all children and animal lovers visiting the city. Residents at the zoo include the elusive red pandas, polar pears, snow leopards, and snow monkeys to name a few.
The Tisch Children's Zoo is a great place for young kids, with children able to pet the goats, sheep, alpacas, potbellied pigs, and other barnyard animals on display. Booking online may result in discounts and also allows visitors to skip the long summer queues.
The Wollman Rink, located in Central Park and made famous by many movies, is a fantastic place to take the kids for the day during the winter months in New York City. The setting of this ice rink is beautiful, surrounded by trees with the New York City skyline above them.
Children can even attend skating school while adults can host a party or event, guaranteeing an unforgettable experience. The rink is not just for children, however, and is a popular spot for dates in New York City, due to the romantic associations and stunning setting.
The Brooklyn Children's Museum is a great place to take the little ones while on holiday in New York City. It was founded in 1899 and is said to have been the first museum in the United States. Its collections and exhibits include hands-on activities, role-playing opportunities, and resident animals.
Thousands of artefacts are on display to teach children about science, the environment, culture, and the arts. There are no 'Do Not Touch' signs here! There is a cafe and a shop at the museum, and a special 'Totally Tots' section for kids under five. Adults must accompany children.
The Frick is quite possibly New York's most underrated art gallery, a collection of exceptional paintings featuring important works by Vermeer, Manet, Rembrandt, Whistler, Goya, and Van Dyk. A highlight is the renowned pair of Holbein paintings of Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell, and the group of small bronze sculptures, rated as some of the finest in the world.
This was the New York residence of Henry Clay Frick, who transformed a fortune made in the coal business into this sublime building facing onto Central Park. The interior courtyard is a tranquil retreat from the busy world outside.
The ferry from Battery Park to Staten Island and back is a great way to see the Lower Manhattan skyline and Hudson River life while resting your feet. It's a must-see New York attraction that doesn't cost a thing.
The ferry also skirts the Statue of Liberty affording decent views of this iconic structure. Most tourists stay onboard for the return leg, but it's worth hopping off and exploring a bit of Staten Island while you're there.
Staten Island is a borough of New York City and a fun neighbourhood to explore, but the ferry journey, mainly used by commuters, is actually the main attraction. The ferry leaves roughly every 30 minutes or every hour and takes 25 minutes each way.
Schedules are available on the official website.
Affectionately known as 'The Village', Greenwich Village began life as an industrial park. It is now been taken over by artists, poets, beatniks, radicals, and other bohemians that founded a vibrant arts community.
Because of gentrification, the rents in the area are sky high. People will see more yuppies than regular folk. Greenwich Village is home to New York University, the famous Washington Square Park, and is also the setting for the iconic sitcom Friends.
The district has retained a bit of artistic flair throughout, containing a number of great off-Broadway theatres as well as historic jazz and rock venues like Bitter End, Village Vanguard, Small's, and the Blue Note. Additionally, there's an eclectic mix of international restaurants and cafes.
Home to the New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street has attained near-mythical status as the financial heart of the USA. The narrow street runs from Broadway to the East River and is home to landmarks like Federal Hall, where George Washington was inaugurated as the first president.
23 Wall Street still has shrapnel holes in its limestone façade from the 1920 Wall Street Bombing. Perhaps the most iconic symbols of Wall Street is the Wall Street Bull. A 7,100 pound (3,200kg) bronze sculpture by Arturo Di Modica.
The sculpture is a popular photo opportunity in New York, symbolising financial optimism and prosperity. Referred to as the 'Charging Bull', it is set in Bowling Green Park. The installation of Fearless Girl, a small statue of a girl facing the beast adds another layer of artistic intrigue.
Coney Island has been a tourist attraction in New York City since the 1830s, when New Yorkers would flock to the beaches. Its movie theatres, amusement parks, museums, circus, aquarium, and restaurants still attract crowds each summer,
Claiming to be the birthplace of the hotdog, a visit to Coney Island isn't complete without sampling the yummy street food along the boardwalk. While filling one's stomach, they can gaze upon the fireworks which light up the sky each Friday around 9.30pm.
The activities and amusements at Coney Island are in full swing from May to September, but many attractions close outside these months. There is no accommodation on Coney Island, but it makes a great day out for the whole family.
From 1892 to 1924, more than 20 million immigrants moving to the USA funnelled through the crowded halls of Ellis Island. Just off the coast of New York, it today draws millions of people each year as one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City.
The Ellis Island Immigration Museum offers multimedia exhibits, showcasing the island's crucial role in the history of the USA through stories of various immigrants that passed through. An interesting exhibit is the American Family Immigration Center where visitors can access passenger records to find relatives.
Available in about nine languages, a 45-minute audio tour offers visitors the chance to experience the island as an immigrant might have and is a good option for those with limited time. Special children's tours are also available.
Getting to Ellis Island involves a crowded ferry ride from Battery Park, so be sure to bring a jacket. The ferry also stops at Liberty Island, home of the Statue of Liberty, making it a convenient way to see two of New York City's most popular attractions in a single morning. It's best to buy combined tickets ahead of time, as ferry queues can take several hours.
New York is a great place for vacations with children. Parents can take the family out to Ellis Island to see the Statue of Liberty or trek up the Empire State Building to stand on its observation deck, the panoramic views of the metropolis a joy at any age.
For active children, a stroll through Central Park will give them plenty of space to stretch their legs and in winter months don't miss ice skating at the Trump Wollman Rink or Rockefeller Plaza. The amazing shops around New York City are also perfect for those rainy days.
Options include Toys 'R Us in Times Square, NIKETOWN, or the decadent Dylan's Candy Bar, where kids will go wild at the amount of sugary candies and chocolates available. The Brooklyn Children's Museum is also worth a visit, as are the New York Aquarium and Central Park Zoo.
For warm summer nights, nothing beats a baseball game at Yankee Stadium, complete with hot dogs and popcorn. With so much to see, children visiting New York City will be sure to have a memorable and unforgettable experience.
New York City has a humid subtropical climate, with cold winters and hot, moist summers. The city's coastal location ensures that winters (December to February) are not as cold as inland cities on the same latitude, and daytime temperatures generally stay above freezing point but average lows drop to 27°F (-3°C). Snow is common in winter, but the amount varies, and winter rain is common. Spring in New York is pleasantly warm, and the weather heats up to high temperatures of around 77°F (25°C) by mid-May. Summers (June to August) are generally swelteringly hot and humid, with average highs hitting 84°F (29°C). The best time to travel to New York is in autumn, when temperatures are mild, days are sunny and humidity not too high.
New York City is famous for roadside vendors selling all-American goodness, like hotdogs, corndogs, bagels, and donuts. But it's an international affair when dining out, with offerings of cuisine from all over the world meaning it would take a lifetime to sample them all.
With more than eight thousand restaurants to choose from, it is difficult to know where to begin. Chinatown has restaurants serving Cantonese, Sichuan, and Shanghai cuisine, while there are also a few Chinese restaurants where dim sum is available throughout the day.
The popular Times Square is plagued with mediocre chain restaurants. But there are a few wonderful eateries beyond the tourist traps. New York's steakhouses offer a variety of delicious steak options from porterhouse steak to New York strip steak.
Everything is big in the United States and the pizzas and pizza pies are no different. With plenty of fantastic pizza and Italian restaurants around the city, it's a pizza lover's paradise. Many small pizzerias sell the iconic New York-style pizza.
Ukrainian, Indian, and Japanese cuisine can be found in the East Village, while Harlem is synonymous with African and Soul food. Queens offers the most variety with Greek, Irish, Latin American, Russian, Indian, and Kosher fare to tantalise the taste buds.
This aptly named restaurant, with gorgeous patio seating, produces wonderful home-style cooking and is a favourite with locals. The cuisine takes comfort food to an entirely new level, while steak, pork chops, quail and seafood preparations excel. Signature dishes include a rich, creamy blue cheese fondue and the wine list gathers a number of bottles from Long Island vineyards. Open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday, lunch Monday to Friday, and dinner nightly.
Located in Tribeca's Washington Market area, Tribeca Grill radiates excitement and energy. Co-owned by Robert DeNiro, 'The Grill' is a classic New York social venue. It's a massive restaurant with high ceilings and exposed brick walls, and it's great for celebrity spotting. The menu includes enticing grilled and sautéed selections, with cross-cultural creative influences of many different cuisines. Favourites on the menu include short ribs braised in red wine, the grilled duck, and the pan-roasted cod. Open for dinner every night, lunch during the week, and brunch on Sundays.
New York's internationally acclaimed seafood restaurant, Le Bernardin opened in New York in 1986 and in no time became a four-star restaurant that is renowned for setting standards in the cooking of seafood in America. The sliced conch in a Peruvian marinade is delicious, and the crispy black bass with Masala spice is also very good. Open for lunch, Monday to Friday, and dinner, Monday to Saturday. Closed Sundays. Reservations are essential.
This attractive Wall Street landmark, Delmonico's first opened its doors in the 1830s as the first fine dining restaurant in the country. It has an impressive history, even providing the setting for Mark Twain's birthday party. Serving up delicious steaks in a leather and mahogany setting, it attracts a loyal crowd of businesspeople who feel at home setting at the low-key bar. Signature dishes include the 'Delmonico Steak' and 'Lobster Newberg'. Reservations recommended, open Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner.
Since its 1997 opening, this SoHo bistro has retained its buzz and irresistible allure. It exudes the look and atmosphere an aged Parisian brasserie with pastel colours, oversized mirrors, and powdery homemade bread. Nightly specials focus around classic French dishes, such as duck confit with wild mushrooms. Open for breakfast and dinner all week, lunch Monday to Friday, and brunch on weekends. Reservations recommended.
This iconic Union Square eatery's spacious, rustic-looking interior includes a casual street-facing tavern, a lively bar and a series of formal dining areas. The dining room menu offers inventive American cuisine such as lobster salad, and venison with onion marmalade, while the tavern is good for seafood chowder or pork sandwiches. The tavern is open for lunch and dinner daily, and the dining room is open for lunch Monday to Friday and dinner all week. Reservations recommended.
Nobu opened in 1995, bringing innovative and fresh styles of Japanese cooking to New York City. The restaurant is a visual and culinary treat, with tall birch tree columns rising towards a ceiling painted copper with stylish patches of open brickwork showing through. Nobu's new style Japanese cuisine weds South American sensibility with Japanese traditions. Try the mussels with the signature Nobu salsa, or the yellowtail with jalapeño. Open Monday to Friday for lunch and all week for dinner, reservations essential.
One of best venues for classical French cuisine in New York, Daniel reflects its original 1920s Renaissance splendour. Using the freshest ingredients, seasonal masterpieces include squab with Swiss chard barbajuan, and a radish and artichoke barigoule. Customers should always leave room for the huckleberry sorbet. Jacket and tie is required for gentlemen. Open for dinner Monday to Saturday, closed on Sundays. Reservations recommended.
For a thick cut of New York steak, one of the best places to go is Keen's Steakhouse. The buzzing dining room has an old-fashioned charm with classic elegance, and though it can be loud, there's always a great atmosphere. Don't expect a variety of vegetarian options on this menu, as it focuses on meat and seafood. Reservations recommended.
With its exposed brick interior and the world's largest collection of hot sauce, catfish, and hickory chips delivered fresh from Mississippi, Acme Bar & Grill is as far south as you have to go to enjoy the cuisine of the Deep South. Creole delights are in abundance, such as Louisiana seafood gumbo, Creole jambalaya, and Catfish po' boys, a traditional submarine sandwich originating from Louisiana. An extra thing to note: the mashed potato is pretty famous. Open daily for lunch and dinner, and brunch on weekends.
Regardless of whether you're looking to eat on the run or ease into a delicious lunch, there's nothing like a big fresh bagel to sink your teeth into. Ess-a-Bagel is one of the most popular bagel spots in town, serving freshly baked bagels with any filling one can think of. These include orders such as honey-glazed turkey, chipotle chicken, lake sturgeon, or the traditional salmon and cream cheese, called 'lox and schmear' by native New Yorkers. They even have a selection of tofu bagels for vegetarians. Great for breakfast, lunch, or a cheap dinner in New York.
Sometimes in life and in New York, it's essential to eat a truly great burger and satisfy this urge in the most complete and delicious way possible. Described as being vintage New York, Paul's Da Burger Joint is an East Village classic famous for its huge variety of perfectly prepared burgers. The diner décor is wonderfully kitsch and the joint is staffed by a team of eccentric and wacky waiters. Open daily from 11am till late.
Everybody knows about New York pizza, world-famous for being thin, crispy, and gigantic. John's Pizzeria is rated consistently as one of the best in New York City, with their coal-fired brick-oven pizzas sure to fill the stomach. The restaurant is unassuming, but the food is divine. They don't take reservations nor serve slices, so people must expect to wait at peak times. A genuine slice of New York.
New York City's Chinatown is the biggest in the United States and the site of the largest concentration of Chinese people in the western hemisphere. A visit to this part of New York feels as if one is actually in the country itself.
It's a must-see on the opening day of the Chinese New Year celebrations, with performers dancing in the streets in colourful costumes which precede a parade of dragon floats. Traditionally, the New Year marks the beginning of the spring and the rebirth of the earth.
It is a time for family togetherness, beginning with the 'sweeping of the grounds'. This is a spring clean meant to rid the old and the evil, followed by festivities and feasts. Chinatown has over 200 restaurants, representing cuisine from all regions of China.
At New Year, the suspicious should eat a whole fish. To the Chinese, this represents togetherness and abundance. Also, don't chop one's noodles, as their length represents long life. Colour is important at New Year, the luckiest being red, orange, yellow, gold, and pink. Black and white are unlucky.
Summer Stage is one of New York's greatest institutions, Central Park filling up every summer with music, theatre, opera, and dance. There's a different performance every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, and usually Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings. Most are free.
Some famous performers and musicians grace the stage in Central Park and the atmosphere at the concerts is one of the great joys of a New York City summer. Bring a picnic if you don't want to pay for overpriced beer and food and get in early for a good spot. Visit the official website for a list of events.
As the world's largest marathon, only London ranks alongside New York in terms of running prestige. The New York City Marathon hosts more than 35,000 runners from around the world, with a route passing through all five of New York City's five boroughs before finishing in Central Park.
Spectators line the way, famous celebrities take part, and there's usually some athletes in fancy dress, all creating a festive atmosphere. As so many people are keen to run, the general participants are usually selected in a lucky draw. Check the official website for details.
Originally a harvest festival, Thanksgiving is celebrated across the United States as families get together and feast on huge helpings of roast turkey. Macy's Thanksgiving Parade is one of the Big Apple's most dynamic and colourful events, taking celebrations one stage further.
With origins dating back to the 1920s, the city's European immigrants decided to celebrate the American Thanksgiving Day holiday with the sort of festivities they knew in their homelands. Hundreds of people marched from 145th Street to 34th Street in costume, accompanied by floats, live animals, and musicians.
The parade attracted over 250,000 spectators and quickly became an institution. Today, it features clowns, marching bands, and the Floats and Falloons, by far the day's biggest attraction. Towering over crowds, they are a Macy's hybrid of cold air balloons and floats. Famous characters include Angelina Ballerina, the Statue of Liberty, and Santa Claus.
Starting on 77th Street, it proceeds down Central Park West to Columbus Circle, then down Broadway to Macy's at 34th Street, and finally finishing on Seventh Avenue. Good places to watch it include Times Square and Columbus Circle.
Independence Day is celebrated throughout the States, but nowhere more than in New York City. Although many locals leave to spend the holiday on Long Island or in Upstate New York, thousands of others stay behind to watch Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular.
This is probably the biggest and best firework extravaganza in the country, culminating in a massive party. More than 10,000 fireworks explode from barges along the west side of Manhattan, synchronized and choreographed to music. It starts at sunset and the best place to watch is from the banks of the East River.
The Commerce Bank Five Boro Bike Tour is the biggest cycling event in the USA, seeing 30,000 cyclists pedalling through the five boroughs of New York City on 42 miles (68km) of traffic-free avenues, highways, and bridges. This includes the world's longest single-span suspension bridge, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
The route travels through Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. The day ends with a festival at Fort Wadsworth, featuring live music, food, and exhibitions. Spectators make a festival out of the event and line the route to cheer the cyclists on. For more details, and information on how to enter, check out the official website.
Rainbow flags flutter in Greenwich Village and crowds of people dress up in outrageous costumes during New York's Lesbian and Gay Pride Week, with numerous events arranged to commemorate the Stonewall Riot and to show support for the LGBT community of New York City.
Highlights of the week's festivities include a massive rally, the dance on the pier, and the culminating march. Some huge sponsors get involved in Pride Week and people travel from all over the world to participate.
New York City has a vibrant gay community year-round and many locals come out in support of the community during the many events. For more information and a full programme of events, check out the official website listed below.
Times Square boasts one of the largest New Year's Eve celebrations in the world and the biggest party in New York. The famous lowering of the New Year's Eve Ball signifies the 60-second countdown to midnight and the tradition has become a worldwide symbol of welcoming in the New Year, viewed by millions across the globe.
The festivities include the raising and lighting of the Ball, music, an hourly big screen video countdown, the lowering of the ball, and a spectacular burst of fireworks. Revellers are showered with colourful confetti and are given celebratory hats, pom-poms, and balloons to welcome in the New Year.
The top names and seeds in international tennis vie for victory in the final Grand Slam event of the season in New York each year. Singles, doubles, mens and ladies and mixed doubles, make up the five separate tournaments within the championship.
First played back in 1881 in the State of Rhode Island as a men's singles event only, the tournament occurs annually at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens. It wasn't until 1968 that the US Open took the shape and structure it has today.
Those wanting tickets for big games are advised to book as far in advance as possible. For more details, check out the official website listed below.
The fashion gurus, gorgeous models, and Hollywood top brass attend the New York Fashion Week to check out the latest on the catwalk for next year's Spring Collection. Sadly, it's almost impossible for the general public to gain access to the event.
Even so, budding fashionistas flock to New York at this time to enjoy the many associated events and spend some time celebrity-spotting and strutting their designer threads. For more information of this prestigious fashion extravaganza check out the official website listed below.
The nightlife in New York City encompasses jazz bars, nightclubs, lounges, comedy clubs, and live shows, with something happening around every corner. The Village, Broadway, Bowery, and Madison Square Garden are just a few destinations for evening entertainment in New York.
As a hub of the jazz world, New York is home to venues such as 55 Bar and Arthur's Tavern. Jazz tours from Greenwich Village to Harlem are a fun option for enthusiasts, with a stop at the legendary Apollo Theatre a great attraction to tick off the bucketlist.
As the launching pad of big name comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld, New York also has many comedy shows, with some of the best happening at the New York Comedy Club or the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater (UCB).
Of course, there are always famous Broadway shows in New York. Try the Palace or Eugene O'Neill theatres for the latest productions. Broadway shows are expensive, hence the popularity of the three TKTS discount ticket booths, the most popular of which is in Times Square.
They open every day at 11am, but the queues form well before this. You can pick up last-minute tickets for half of the regular price, depending on what's available. There's seldom a queue at 5pm, with last minute prices dropping even further.
Nightclubs come and go quickly in New York City, as the fickle population becomes enamoured with the newest venues and trends. But you can always rest assured that whatever you want, the City of Dreams will have plenty of it.
Live music venues covering hip hop, rock, indie, and almost any other genre imaginable abound, and well-established venues offer events like poetry readings. At any given time, internationally-acclaimed DJs are usually heating up dancefloors in the New York darkness.
World-class performing arts venues are a dime a dozen in a city that boasts Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Centre, and Carnegie Hall, and you can take your pick of ballet, opera, symphony orchestras, and chamber music.
For up-to-date events information on New York City, pick up a copy of the Village Voice or Time Out New York, both of which are accessible online.
The amount and calibre of stores in the city will blow visitors away. Offering some of the best and most expensive shopping in the world, 5th Avenue is synonymous with classy high-end department stores such as Bergdorf's and Saks.
Madison Avenue is known as the trendy road, boasting 15 blocks of celebrity designer shops such as Chanel, Jimmy Choo, and Prada. Soho is one of New York's poshest outdoor malls, with cobblestone streets and loft-like spaces creating a pretty and unique shopping experience.
As cosmopolitan as New York may be, visitors on a tighter budget can still find plenty of bargains at the city's flea markets, which offer some top quality goods with stores touting designer knockoffs, antiques, jewellery, curios, thrift wear, home furnishings, and cosmetics.
Chinatown is a budget shopper's paradise with cheap knockoffs on offer, and haggling common practice. Century 21 is considered 'New York's best kept secret' for bargain hunters with more than 15 departments of quality and designer merchandise at 25 to 75 percent off retail prices.
Whether shopping in upscale Madison Avenue or the bargain-friendly Lower East Side, New York has something to offer everyone. Souvenirs can often be tacky, including miniature Statues of Liberty, I (heart) NY gear, New York Yankees merchandise and Broadway posters.
New York's public transport system is relatively good and cheap, including buses and the subway. There are also the iconic and ever-present yellow cabs, although they are more expensive. Visitors should avoid unlicensed cabs, sometimes called gypsy or pirate cabs.
One can use a combination of these or just get around on foot. Walking is often the best way to see the city. During rush hours, when buses and taxis are caught in gridlock and the subway is overcrowded, stretching the legs can be the quickest option.
Usually, the most efficient way to get around is the 24-hour underground system, especially as most of Manhattan's sights are near subway stations. Like other massive cities, however, this can be extremely confusing at first.
The bus system is simpler but slower, a good option for shorter distances or for travelling across town. Driving in New York is not recommended as traffic is heavy, drivers rude and aggressive, and parking both rare and exorbitant.
With New York's countless attractions, it would take months to see and do everything this vibrant city has on offer. The must-see New York attractions include iconic structures and buildings such as the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, Times Square, and the Chrysler Building. In among all the skyscrapers Central Park provides a green haven for relaxation and exercise. Many first-time visitors to New York don't leave Manhattan at all, but the four other boroughs of the city - Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island - all have their own appeal and are worth exploring for those wanting a broader experience of the metropolis. Taking a ride on the Staten Island Ferry is one of the best free activities NYC has to offer.
For culture vultures there are wonderful museums to explore, such as the American Museum of Natural History or the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There are also less high-brow museums: at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, for instance, visitors can play superhero on film.
An easy way to see the sights is to take a ride on one of New York's topless tour buses. It may not be as exciting as exploring the city on foot, but it's a great way to learn and see a lot quickly. Central Park also provides a great thoroughfare for sightseers exploring Manhattan on foot, and the grid-pattern layout of the streets makes finding your way fairly simple. The New York subway is a good, cheap option for those needing to cover greater distances.
Those planning a lot of sightseeing should consider purchasing the New York Pass, which covers about 80 NYC attractions and allows the holder to skip the often lengthy queues at popular sites.