GMT -4 hours
Bright lights, big city – it’s waiting for you
GMT -4 hours
Flight time from London
Taking a holiday to New York is a treat for all the senses, with its diverse jigsaw of boroughs and neighbourhoods waiting to be explored, from the moment you touch down in the city. Manhattan sits at the heart of it all, with an iconic skyline and a famous sight at every turn. First-time visitors will revel in ticking off those classic New York attractions made famous in films, while the island’s charming, culture-rich neighbourhoods provide a glimpse into New York experiences that locals love. But don’t miss out on the city’s other boroughs: cross the East River to Brooklyn for hyped-about restaurants and bars, head out to Queens to discover cutting-edge art, catch a Yankees game in the Bronx, or jump on the ferry to Staten Island and embrace lush parks, wetlands and hiking trails.
At the weekend, do as New Yorkers do and head out for brunch – or you could hire a car and zip up the Long Island Expressway to the celeb-studded beaches of the Hamptons, or for something more low-key, head to North Fork’s Greenport or Shelter Island. The Catskill Mountains are perfect for outdoorsy types, with rugged mountains, rivers filled with brown trout, and impressive waterfalls. The only question you have to ask yourself is: when are you going to visit New York?
New York Insiders: Seasonal Tips
Summer weekends are the time to visit if you want to avoid the crowds, as most New Yorkers take off on weekend breaks, so you can see the city at a more leisurely pace without being caught in the fray. The down side is that many of the art galleries are not open in August – so do check before you come if there’s one you particularly want to visit.
- Lyn Slater, New York based fashion and beauty blogger
My favourite part of the year is fall (autumn). Central Park looks especially stunning from above, if you are able to take a helicopter tour over New York. And if you can get out of the city and to head to the Catskills in upstate New York, peak ‘leaf-peeping season’ is late October.
– Dan Rookwood, US Editor of Mr Porter
It sounds so cliché, but ice-skating in Bryant Park is an unmissable winter experience in NYC. It’s a little less touristy than Rockefeller Center, and the seasonal market surrounding the rink is superb.
– Jess Parr, British Airways Cabin Crew and Travel Blogger
There’s no better time to catch the High Line in full bloom. The blossoms in Madison Square Park are not to be missed. It’s also the perfect time to eat outside, even when it’s a little nippy. People are so desperate for summer to arrive that they usually start al fresco dining earlier than you’d expect. The Pavilion in Union Square Park and Shake Shack in Madison Square Park are two of my favorite casual outdoor spring spots.
- Vishaan Chakrabarti, New York based architect
Our best foodie tips
Absolute Bagels Food
Voted the best bagels in New York by Time Out, we tend to agree. These chewy, delicious, hand-rolled boiled delicacies come with a great selection of schmears (creamy cheese spreads). Our recommendation is the scallion schmear with lox (smoked salmon) and cucumber, a true New Yorker’s bagel. Journey up to the Upper West Side on Broadway to sample these bagels, close to Columbia University. A student-staple, you will not be disappointed. As there is no seating inside, maybe sit in the nearby Riverside Park for a mini-picnic.
Supposedly secret – but often with queues – this quirky, 70s-inspired hole in the wall is inside the exclusive Le Parker Meridien. Behind a red curtain, down a corridor with a lively neon-burger, diners sit in a small room strewn with graffiti eating some of the best burgers in Manhattan. Juicy, char-grilled beef patties with a liberal amount of cheese, salad, and pickles all in a grilled bun. Crispy fries and thick milkshakes complete the experience. This is a cash-only joint, in keeping with the grungy theme, so visit a cash point before you arrive.
Friend of a Farmer
Brunch in New York can be the most important meal of the weekend. With that in mind, head over to local favourite Friend of a Farmer in Gramercy Park for a superb hangover cure. Choose from farm-fresh, home-made dishes that will remind you of your grandmother’s cooking. From superb omelettes with spinach and mushrooms to crab eggs benedict, you will find something you want. The griddle specialities are especially appealing, as are the Bloody Marys. A small warning – get there early as it gets busy, which is always a good sign.
Known as the first pizzeria in the US, Lombardi’s first opened its doors in 1905. Gennaro Lombardi, a Neapolitan immigrant, reinvented a humble staple dish into the massive worldwide phenomenon it is today. Smoky-based dough baked in a stone-baked oven, with his famous tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella await the eager diner. Signature toppings include Italian meatballs and pepperoni – a traditional treat. In the family since 1897, you know you are going to be well looked after when you walk through the doors.
Best time to go
All year round
15-20% of your bill