New York is an incredible city! That being said, it’s so much more than just one place, it’s a huge mix of communities, neighbourhoods and the best areas of New York that are dotted all across the city.
Honestly, New York is a place that’s filled with a heap of free things to do, awesome viewpoints and a heap of secret spots. Though these are often all mixed across the best areas of New York and there will be lots of planning needed to see them all. This is exactly why I wanted to share some of the best areas of New York to visit on your trip to the city.
Over the years, I’ve visited New York countless times, with each time bringing about a whole new experience. To be honest, that’s the beauty of the city, it’s always changing and there’s always something new going on.
Anyway, I don’t wanna ramble on too long; but I really want to share some of the best areas of New York you should think of visiting on your own trip to the Big Apple!
Take a look, below, at the best areas of New York to explore. Have the best time in the city.
1.) Wall Street & Tribeca
Being the financial heart of New York City, it’s easy to assume that Wall Street is just stockbrokers and traders! That being said, mixing both the area around Wall Street and Tribeca, means you’ll get to experience one of the best areas of New York during your visit.
Once here, make sure to explore the Federal Hall in all its historic glory. Interestingly, this was actually the place that George Washington was sworn in as the very first president of the United States! It totally gives an insight into the birth of the American nation.
Plus, always make sure to visit Battery Park if you’re already at the tip of Manhattan. It played a vital role in being the first immigrant depot for people arriving at the newly founded republic. Also, it’s also a perfect place to jump on one of the ferries to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, too.
For a great place to stay, check into the Roxy. We stayed here on our last visit to New York and totally loved it. They’ve also got the coolest jazz club in their basement and it’s a great place to spend an evening.
If you’re hungry, check out Two Hands for brunch. We visited here a few times and the food is always so good! It’s a great place to start your day before exploring the rest of Tribeca and the area around Walla Street.
If it’s lunch you’re after, pop into Bubby’s who conjure up some tasty treats and some epic spiked lemonade, too.
Afterwards, by heading down to the Wall Street area, you can stop off at Trinity Church, see the Oculus and pay your respects at the site of the World Trade Center.
Finally, after seeing the Stock Exchange, head across to the National Museum of the American Indian that’s just a few minutes walk away.
It really is one of the best areas in New York to explore, especially if you want to see some of the city’s iconic spots.
One of my favourite things about Brooklyn is the multitude of live music venues that showcase everything from; traditional folk to things like American soul.
Now, it’s hard to whittle down just a few venues you might like but places like; the Music Hall of Williamsburg, Baby’s All Right and National Sawdust. It really just depends on the type of music you like and the size of the venue you’re wanting to visit.
Honestly, every night, there’s a heap of venues, bars and concerts that go on in Brooklyn (especially in Williamsburg) that it’s well worth a visit.
Plus, the whole area of Williamsburg has some cool cocktail bars and eateries that are amazing for a night out. For instance, Maison Premiere is totally stunning a lovely place to chill out with a few drinks. Their adonis cocktail is immense!
Now, I was told that New Yorkers seemed to fall out of love with Coney Island in the 1990s. That being said, thanks to its preservation, Coney Island has once again become a great place to visit. This is especially true as it’s so unique and easily one of the best areas in New York to see whilst enjoying some saltwater taffy and the bumper cars.
Oh, and pop over to Dumbo if you want to capture one of those iconic “New York” pics, too. It’s become a popular place over the last few years.
Plus, don’t forget about Brooklyn Heights, too. having some epic views of Manhattan, it’s one of the best areas in New York to explore if you’ve just walked over the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan itself.
For me, I loved taking a stroll through some of the quaint early 20th century streets that still line the waterfront. This is especially true as you’ll find loads of coffee spots, restaurants and cute independent stores, too.
Eat at Henry’s End which has some of the tastiest lunches this side of New York. Their Spicy Andouille Sausage is literally mouth-watering.
Finally, if you want some classic American style tavern, head to Jack The Horse Tavern is your place to go. The tavern itself is a stylish throwback and fashionable restaurant to enjoy some North American sea-food. They even have their own Oyster bar close by.
3.) Lower East Side
Now, the renovated lofty warehouses and tenements of the Lower East Side look quite different from the high-rises of midtown that tower in the distance. That being said, don’t be fooled into thinking that size is everything in New York; the buildings might be smaller but the whole area is a buzzing spot to visit and explore when seeing the best areas of New York.
First off, it’s well worth remembering that this area was traditionally the industrial trading heart of Manhattan, with lots of its buildings still intact to this day. That being said, as times have moved on, this area has become synonymous with artists, foodie spots and a heap of history to explore.
If hunger beckons, make sure to pop over to Russ & Daughters where you can experience some tasty smoked and pickled fish. Inspired by the Lower East Side’s Polish heritage, this diner provides a historic insight into the melting-pot that is New York.
Also, make sure to visit the unpretentious Katz’s Delicatessen that’s something of an institution in New York. Here, you’ll grab one of the tastiest sandwiches in the city.
After filling up at lunch, make sure to visit the Tenement Museum to learn more about the area and pop into Vanessa’s Dumpling House for some no-frills (but totally yummy) dumplings.
Finally, for shopping and foodie markets, head to Essex Market where you’ll get a proper taste of this area. Plus, many of the shops are around this area sell loads of vintage treasures.
4.) Hell’s Kitchen
For some visitors, Hell’s Kitchen has (at least, historically) been one of the forgotten areas of New York to visit. That being said, it’s having a total revival over the last decade and it’s certainly a great place to head to for a different vibe.
One of the coolest cabarets to experience has to be at Don’t Tell Mama. Here, you can enjoy some of the very best bourbons and live music almost every night. Plus, it’s close to many of the broadways theatres, so it’s a great stop for a post-theatre tipple.
For a tasty lunch, head to Gotham West Market that’s like a massive food hall with loads of different vendors. Here, you can grab any kind of food you can imagine. it’s delicious.
If its views and cocktails you’re after, pop into The Press Lounge at the Ink48 Hotel. It’s got some pretty decent cocktails with an amazing view over the Hudson River.
For some treasures and trinkets, head to Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market that’s in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen. Here you can grab some unique gifts and something souvenirs that are a great keepsake.
Oh, and don’t forget, just on the very fringe of Hell’s Kitchen is the Vessel (in Hudson’s Yard). Here you can book free tickets (well in advance) and head up the Vessel to see one of the shiniest art installations in New York. Honestly, it’s one of the best areas in New York to explore.
Okay, so, home to Time Square, Midtown is probably one of the best areas in New York that you’ll almost be guaranteed to see when visiting Manhattan.
Love it or hate it, Time Square is a sight to be seen and pretty much unlike anywhere in the world. After taking in all the shiny lights and the bamboozling amount of people, head across to the TKTS booth right in the heart of Times Square.
Here, they offer unsold tickets for today’s Broadway performances at about half the usual price. It’s a great way to seal a bargain and make your New York budget last little longer.
Afterwards, make sure to pop into Grand Central Station to see the main concourse. It’s stunning and such an iconic piece of New York.
Oh, and make sure to take in the views at the Top Of The Rock, it’s always one of my favourite places to visit in New York.
Just make sure to book tickets in advance and for the sunset slot so you can see the city transform from day into night.
Plus, if you’re wanting to visit an iconic building, you can head up to the top of the Empire State Building, too. This is just a little further down from the Rockefeller Center and really easy to visit.
If you’re wanting to see a stunning library in New York, head across to the Morgan Library & Museum, too. We found this on our most recent trip and the rooms are stunning. It’s well worth seeing and a great little stop before lunch.
Finally, for some great cocktails head towards the Monarch Rooftop for some great cocktails whilst overlooking one of the best areas in New York.
6.) Upper East Side
One of the things that make the Upper East Side one of the best areas in New York has to be its incredible art.
You can actually see some amazing art installations and galleries that seem to be around every corner in the Upper East Side. These, often independent galleries, have some of the very best local and international works.
For instance, head to the galleries of the; Skarstedt Gallery, Guggenheim Museum, Gagosian Gallery, The Met Breuer and the Alexandra Gallery to see the seasonal exhibitions that change every few months.
Afterwards, head to Alice’s Tea Cup, Chapter 2 for some of the tastiest pastries and desserts in all of Manhattan. Their tea and scones are just amazing.
7.) Upper West Side
The Upper West Side is easily one of the best areas in New York to visit after exploring Central Park. You see, it’s right on your doorstep and totally easy to explore when in the area.
If it’s some food you’re after, head over to Red Farm (at 2170 Broadway) for some of the most delicious Chinese cuisines outside of China. once here, try their super-Charged Dim Sum that is so yummy.
Afterwards, head to the Metropolitan Opera house if you fancy seeing one of the performances that make this venue so famous. Just make sure to book your tickets well in advance as tickets can sell out fast.
If you’re something of an astrologist, then the Hayden Planetarium is a great space to discover the more galactic side to the city. That being said, if you prefer something a little more ‘down to earth’, pop into the American Museum of Natural History that’s right on the cusp of Central Park, too.
Finally, pop in for dinner at The Milling Room which has some tasty Italian dishes that are so good. Plus, they have a long wine selection, too!
8.) Staten Island
Firstly, you don’t need to pay to get to Staten Island; like, at all! You see, you can visit Staten Island on the free Staten Island commuter ferry, which departs every half hour from Whitehall Terminal.
Now, the ferry itself is also a great way to get up close with the Statue of Liberty without paying the fees for the tourist boats that depart from the Battery Park area of Manhattan. This alone is a great way to see the Statue of Liberty, especially if you’re trying to keep costs down.
For lunch, head straight to Pier 76 for a tasty bite to eat. Home to some of New Yorks most famous, piping hot and delicious Pizzas, you’ll leave stuffed.
Also, you can pop over to the pretty quaint National Lighthouse Museum whilst you’re here. Though be warned, you might find this a little tedious if you’re not into marine history or lighthouses! 😉
9.) The Bronx
The Bronx has something of a checkered reputation to explore as a visitor. That being said, there are some gems to be found in this area of New York.
You see, Arthur Avenue is said to be the genuine real Little Italy of New York, with quite a few Italian eateries to visit. Buy some typical Italian cuisine (With a NY twist of course) from the renowned restaurants that line East 187th Street and Arthur Avenue. Enzo’s is a totally yummy spot, especially for their pork braciola. Just be prepared to be so stuffed.
If you want a more relaxing day, you should try out the New York Botanical Garden. It hosts special exhibitions, lessons and seasonal programs offer an ever-changing landscape to explore and marvel at the beauty of nature, all within the City. Oh, and make a trip on a Wednesday, when the entry is free.
Just like in Queens, the Bronx is home to an amazing baseball team; The Yankees. Head here to see some baseball stars make history! If you are a super Yankees geek, head to their museum and leave feeling like a baseball pro! Though, be warned, the games last for a long time! I ended up leaving after a few hours watching. Still, a great experience!
Head to Queens for a perfect opportunity to watch the New York Mets at their new home at Citi Fields. We don’t get to see much baseball in the UK, or Europe for that matter, so it’s great to try some American sporting culture.
Head to the second biggest park in the city (after, Central Park) and witness Corona Park, created for the 1964 world fair. This park is not often visited by visitors but offers a splendorous opportunity to get into the true nature of what Queens would be like before it was developed. Thousands of wet-land plants and swampy tales await you within their newly preserved natural landscapes.
Eat at The Queens Kickshaw, a unique eatery that well worth a visit. The eatery is perfect for brunch where you can try amazingly delicious foods, such as Gruyère on rye or a cronut, that will leave you wanting more.