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 want to ramble on too long, but I really want to share some of the best areas of New York you should consider visiting on your own trip to the Big Apple! 

Best Areas Of New York

Take a look below at the best areas of New York to explore. Have the best time in the city. 

1.) Wall Street & Tribeca

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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 Federal Hall in all its historic glory. Interestingly, this was actually the place where George Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States! It totally gives an insight into the birth of the American nation.

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Plus, always visit Battery Park if you’re already at the tip of Manhattan. It was vital in being the first immigrant depot for people arriving at the newly founded republic. It’s also a perfect place to jump on one of the ferries to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

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 have 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 you’re looking for lunch, pop into Bubby’s, which serves tasty treats and epic spiked lemonade. 

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. 

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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. 

Read more: Best secret spots in New York

2.) Brooklyn

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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 want to visit. 

Honestly, every night, there are a heap of venues, bars, and concerts that go on in Brooklyn (especially in Williamsburg), and 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 and 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 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. 

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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 many coffee spots, restaurants and cute independent stores. 

Eat at Henry’s End, which has some of the tastiest lunches on this side of New York. Their Spicy Andouille Sausage is literally mouth-watering.

Finally, if you want a classic American-style tavern, head to Jack The Horse Tavern. The tavern itself is a stylish throwback and fashionable restaurant where you can enjoy some North American seafood. They even have their own Oyster bar close by.

Read more: Best things to do in Brooklyn

3.) Lower East Side

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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 you see the best areas of New York.  

First, it’s well worth remembering that this area was traditionally the industrial trading heart of Manhattan, with many of its buildings still intact today. 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, which is something of an institution in New York. Here, you’ll grab one of the tastiest sandwiches in the city.

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After filling up at lunch, 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, head to Essex Market for shopping and foodie markets, where you’ll get a proper taste of this area. Plus, many of the shops around this area sell loads of vintage treasures. 

Read more: Best things to do on 1-day in NYC

4.) Hell’s Kitchen

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For some visitors, Hell’s Kitchen has (at least historically) been one of the forgotten areas of New York. That being said, it’s been completely revived 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 best bourbons and live music almost every night. Plus, it’s close to many Broadway theatres, so it’s a great stop for a post-theatre tipple. 

For a tasty lunch, head to Gotham West Market, a massive food hall with loads of different vendors. Here, you can grab any kind of food you can imagine—it’s delicious. 

If you’re after views and cocktails, pop into The Press Lounge at the Ink48 Hotel. It offers decent cocktails and an amazing view over the Hudson River. 

For treasures and trinkets, head to Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, which is in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen. Here, you can grab unique gifts and souvenirs that are great keepsakes. 

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.

5.) Midtown

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Okay, so home to Times Square, Midtown is probably one of the best areas in New York, and you’ll almost be guaranteed to see it when visiting Manhattan. 

Love it or hate it, Times 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.

They offer unsold tickets for today’s Broadway performances at about half the usual price. This is a great way to seal a bargain and extend your New York budget. 

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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. 

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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 for the sunset slot so you can see the city transform from day into night.

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Plus, if you want 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 want to see a stunning library in New York, head 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. 

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Finally, for some great cocktails, head towards the Monarch Rooftop for some great cocktails whilst overlooking one of the best areas in New York. 

Read more: Guide to visiting Broadway (and its shows)

6.) Upper East Side

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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 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 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. 

Read more: Best things to do on 1-day in NYC

7.) Upper West Side

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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 easy to explore when in the area. 

If you’re after food, head over to Red Farm (at 2170 Broadway) for some of the most delicious Chinese cuisine outside of China. Once here, try their super-charged Dim Sum, which 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 they can sell out fast. 

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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! 

Read more: Best free things to do in New York

8.) Staten Island

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Firstly, you don’t need to pay to get to Staten Island 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 to 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 York’s 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. Be warned, you might find this a little tedious if you’re not into marine history or lighthouses!

9.) The Bronx

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The Bronx has something of a checkered reputation to explore as a visitor. That being said, there are some gems 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) from the renowned restaurants that line East 187th Street and Arthur Avenue. Enzo’s is a totally yummy spot, especially for its pork braciola. Just be prepared to be so stuffed.

If you want a more relaxing day, you should try the New York Botanical Garden. It hosts special exhibitions, lessons, and seasonal programs, offering an ever-changing landscape to explore and marvel at nature’s beauty, all within the City. Oh, and make a trip on a Wednesday, when 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, it was a great experience!

10.) Queens

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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 wetland plants and swampy tales await you within their newly preserved natural landscapes.

Eat at The Queens Kickshaw, a unique eatery that is 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. 

Read more: Best free things to do in New York

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