8 Things Every First-Time Visitor To New York City Should Know

By Leah Freeman-Haskin


There is no other city like it in the world. If you are planning your first visit to New York City, chances are you are excited and a bit overwhelmed. Here are some tips to boost your confidence and make you look, and feel, like a local. 

The Subway Or Walking Is Best

Traffic in New York is terrible and sometimes walking is faster than trying to get from point A to point B in a cab. It’s also cheaper. The subways are your next best bet and how most people get around. Be sure to read signs carefully (ie. uptown vs. downtown) or you will end up on a train heading in the wrong direction!

Keep It Moving

The sidewalks in midtown are constantly crowded with a river of people moving in both directions. Stopping in the middle of the sidewalk is a no-no and will ensure a few elbow jabs. Move to the side if you need to stop and send a text message or grab a quick pic for the Gram. Generally speaking, keep it moving on the sidewalks and try to keep up with the pace. 

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Ask For Directions

Although it may seem like everyone is in a rush, don’t be afraid to ask questions, especially directions. There are usually workers or street cops everywhere in the city, but locals are also surprisingly patient when it comes to offering quick directions. 

It’s Expensive

New York City is an expensive place to visit. From eating out to hotels, and of course, all the shopping, it’s easy to blow through your travel budget. Be sure to pace yourself and set a daily limit.

Visit Other Boroughs

Manhattan offers enough things to do to fill any vacation, but New York’s other boroughs have quite a lot to offer as well. Be sure to check out some of the other four boroughs throughout your trip to get a well rounded experience. 

Don’t Dine In Times Square

It’s no secret that Times Square is one big tourist trap. Dining anywhere else in the city is your best bet to avoid massive lines, overpriced meals, and sub-par food. Do a little research or ask the concierge at your hotel for some local recommendations. 

The Subways Are Overwhelming

Not only are the subways in New York overcrowded, but it’s not uncommon to end up on a subway car with no air conditioning, foul smells, or a homeless problem. Add in some lively street performers, and it can feel like a three ring circus. It’s all part of the cultural experience of the city, but it can certainly feel overwhelming at times. Take it all in stride, knowing that there is light and fresh air at the end of the tunnel. 

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Make Reservations

New York is overcrowded all year round. No matter when you are visiting, be sure to make reservations at restaurants well in advance as well as any shows you plan on attending. Museums are often closed one day a week, so be sure to double check the hours before heading out. 

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Leah Freeman-Haskin

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