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A Traveller’s Guide to New York City

Posted on August 10, 2019 by Gretta Schifano
new york skyline at twilight

If you’re looking for a perfect city break, New York City has it all.

From the iconic Statue of Liberty to the oasis of Central Park, this cosmopolitan city is a fascinating and vibrant place to explore.

Here are five of the top things to see and do in the Big Apple…

1. Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island

You can visit the Statue of Liberty on a boat tour from Battery Park. Get off at Liberty Island to see the colossal statue up close, and climb the 354 stairs to the crown (remember to book ahead – access is limited!)

The boat’s next stop is Ellis Island, where millions of immigrants arrived between 1892 and 1954. The fascinating Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration shows the story of how immigrants entered America.

2. Empire State Building

The famous art deco skyscraper was the tallest building in the world when it opened in 1931.

Today, you can see for up to 80 miles from its observation decks on a clear day, and it’s well worth a visit. To avoid the crowds it’s best to arrive when the building opens in the morning.

3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met is vast – it’s the largest museum in the USA and it contains more than two million works of art. There’s no way to see everything in one visit, so it’s best to choose one aspect to explore. The museum is right next to 843-acre Central Park, so you can enjoy a wander through there on your way.

4. National September 11 Memorial & Museum

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum commemorates those who died in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in 2001 and in 1998, and also remembers those who survived, in a very respectful way.

5. Theater District

There are dozens of Broadway and off-Broadway Theaters in the city offering musicals and drama. You need to book months in advance for the top shows. For discounted tickets on the day of a performance, queue at the TKTS Booth on Broadway.


  • UK citizens can travel to the US without a visa, but need an ESTA. It’s easy to apply for an ESTA via the official website, and you need to do it at least 72 hours before your flight.
  • It’s simple to find your way around the city, as it’s built on a grid system. If you’re in Manhattan, you can walk to many of the main attractions, otherwise the MTA New York City Transit bus and rail service is inexpensive and runs all day, every day.
  • To save time, it’s worth getting a sightseeing pass which gives free entry and allows you to skip the queues at the city’s most popular attractions.
  • Tips are expected in the USA. As a guide, in New York you should tip waiters, bar staff and taxi drivers 18% to 20% of the bill. If you’re staying in a hotel, tip housekeeping staff $5 per night of your stay and porters $2 per bag.

Travelling to New York

When travelling to New York, it’s important to make sure you have USA travel insurance. The US is one of the most expensive places to have a medical emergency, so if you don’t have the right cover, you could find yourself out of pocket.

Gretta Schifano

by Gretta Schifano

Gretta Schifano is an award-winning travel blogger and journalist. Gretta writes about luxury, cultural and active family travel with teenagers, and 50+ travel, on her blog Mums do travel. She travels regularly to Europe, the USA and beyond and lives with her husband and kids in the Surrey countryside, near to London. Gretta previously worked as a BBC radio producer, has lived and worked in Italy and Spain and loves chocolate, kindness and exploring new places.