The complete guide to: New York City travel

May 24, 2018
Urban Adventures

New York City is an experience unlike any other. Whether you’re here for a few nights or a couple weeks, we want you to have the Best. Trip. Ever. in the city! But with hundreds of options to choose from in terms of cafés, restaurants, bars, shopping, museums, art galleries, concerts, events, sports games — you name it — you’ll need a couple tips (courtesy of our local NYC tour guides) to help cultivate that “New York State of Mind”!

Getting to and from JFK, LaGuardia, or Newark

New York City is known for its efficient public transportation system, therefore making it a great option for getting to and from the airport. From LaGuardia, it costs $2.75. Take the M60 Bus into Manhattan. It will drop you off in Harlem on 125th Street, and you can take the subway from there using a free transfer.

From John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK), it costs $7.75 ($5 for the Skytrain from the airport that will take you to the subway, which is $2.75 for a single ride). An alternative route is taking the Skytrain to the Long Island Rail Road and then taking that to Penn Station. This route will cost you $15 but it can be faster.

Another famous city landmark: Grand Central Station

From Newark Airport, it’ll cost you about $12.50 to get into the city. Take the Air Train from the airport to the New Jersey Transit station. From there, take the train to Penn Station in Manhattan.

Transit in NYC is definitely a safe, reliable option. However, if you are in a hurry, you may want to consider taking a taxi, particularly from LaGuardia because it isn’t too expensive. Do not take a taxi from Newark as it is extremely expensive and doesn’t get you into the city any faster.

Taking a taxi into the city is a viable option as well. For trips between JFK and Manhattan there is a flat fee of $52.00 plus tip, a $.50 State Tax surcharge, and any tolls. LaGuardia is a metered fare so it depends on where you are going. Take a look at this website for estimates.

Taxis from Newark Airport are also metred but can run you in excess of $80 including tip. While taxis are safe, taxi drivers are infamous for driving quickly — so be prepared for a bumpy ride! Always remember to wear a seat belt.

There is a “Taxi Stand” at the airport where all of the yellow taxis line up. “Gypsy cabs” (private cabs that have non-regulated prices that you are informed of at the beginning of your trip) are black cars that can be a little aggressive in trying to convince you to take their car. Stick with yellow or green cabs to play it safe. Rate breakdowns and regular taxi fares can be found here.

There are also various shuttle services available from the airports, such as the: NYC Airport ShuttleSupershuttle and the NYC Airporter.

Getting around NYC

Public transit is great for getting around the city. It costs $2.75 per ride (for the subway or bus), but there is a $1 surcharge for a new MetroCard (after that you can continue refilling the same metro card). It costs $31 for a 7-day, unlimited pass (this is only meant for one person — you will not be able to swipe two people through on the same card; there is about a 15-20 minute time frame after you swipe the pass before you’re allowed to swipe again). Unlimited monthly passes are $116.50.

MetroCards are necessary in order to use the subway system, and buses accept MetroCards and exact change only (no bills). Machines to purchase these cards are located in the subway stations, and all of them accept cash and credit cards. The machines will only give you back $6 total in change so you cannot use big bills when paying with cash. You can pay in cash at the ticket booths, but be aware that not every station has a ticket booth.

A great feature of NYC’s subway system is that it is fully operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many buses also operate 24/7, but be sure to check in advance that a particular bus route offers overnight service. Also, before getting on the subway, it’s always a good idea to check the “Service Status”. Construction on certain lines can cause delays, detours, or even cancelled service.

Taxis are widely available in the city, and operate 24/7. Most New Yorkers (or at least the ones who aren’t super rich), don’t take a cab unless the subway isn’t working that day, or if they’re running late, because they can be quite expensive. Yellow taxis are metred, and a breakdown of the prices is available here. If you’re in one of the boroughs (Queens, Brooklyn, or the Bronx), taxis will be green.

Walking is a great option too! You can take in all of the city sights at your own pace, and stop whenever you feel like it! However, be conscious of what neighbourhoods you are walking through at night. If a neighbourhood is empty, or if it feels or just looks unsafe, it’s probably a good idea to turn around). Neighbourhoods can change within a block or two so if you find yourself in an area that doesn’t look too good, you can always turn around. That said, most of Manhattan is now considered very safe, even late at night. Walking is definitely the best way to see the city, as you get to be a little spontaneous and take in the great street art, street performers, markets and even giveaways!

If you want a scenic tour of the city, but perhaps, something a little faster, consider biking around the city! Citi Bikes are still a fairly new concept for getting around the city, and are a good option if you want to get around quickly. A day pass can be purchased for $12, or a three-day pass for $24 (which gives you unlimited access but you have to check in the bike every 30 minutes at one of the stations throughout Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn and Queens).

If you’re not used to riding a bike in the city it’s probably in your best interest to restrict your biking to Central Park, or along the Hudson River Park. NYC drivers are still not completely used to sharing the roads with cyclists, so it might best to avoid busy streets. A bike map of the city (marked with bicycle lanes) can be found here.

Where to stay in NYC

Our friends at Hostelling International are offering a 25% discount off Urban Adventures tours when you’re a HI member. If you need a place to stay while you’re in town, check out their NYC Upper West Side location, located two blocks from Central Park and a 10-minute train ride away from Times Square — an ideal base for exploring all the best the Big Apple has to offer. Guests can take advantage of the largest private outdoor patio in NYC, 24-hour reception (a necessity in the city that never sleeps), and enjoy comedy shows in the in-house theatre several nights a week.

lounge inside a NYC hostel

The best location for experiencing NYC | Photo by Hostelling International

Things to do in NYC

There are plenty of events happening in the city, from sports, to music and art, to food festivals, and fashion shows. New York has got it all!

If you’re a sports fanatic, NYC doesn’t disappoint. Baseball is a classic NYC sport, and the food at the stadiums can be great. A baseball ticket at Citi Field (the New York Mets) can cost you as little as $25 depending on who they’re playing. A baseball ticket at Yankee Stadium (the New York Yankees) can technically start at $25, but it can be difficult to find tickets under $40 because of their popularity. You can also see a “farm team” game (a lower league) for $10–16 like the Brooklyn Cyclones or the Staten Island Yankees. These games tend to be more family-friendly with lots of games and activities to keep you entertained. Baseball season starts in the spring, goes on through the summer, and extends into early fall.

If you’re a basketball fan, tickets to see the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, or the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclay’s Centre, can average $50 or higher because of their popularity. Tickets can be bought at the stadium or online. Basketball starts in the fall, goes through the winter, and extends into the late spring.

If you’re a fan of music, art, and cultural events, New York is your new paradise! Boasting the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, the Museum of Modern Art, the Moving Image Museum, the Met, the New Museum, and so many more, New York will not disappoint! Ticket prices for art installations, exhibitions, concerts, and other events vary depending on who’s performing. A good thing to note is that many of the city’s museums have a free admission evening once a week. Also, in the summer, there tend to be a lot of free events held in public parks, so if you’re in the city in the summertime, those are probably worth checking out! Some other useful websites for checking out what’s happening in the city are NYCGo, Timeout NYC, and NYC Parks. We also try to post the best events of each month on our Urban Adventures website.

New York City Day Tours

Looking for more things to do? Urban Adventures offers several day tours in NYC, all led by local experts that will give you a taste for local life in the city:

Tenements, Tales, and Tastes
Tacos, dumplings, knishes, bagels; America would be a food wasteland without immigration. Join this New York tour to sample the side effects of mass immigration while learning about those that dared to live the American Dream.

Midtown Sights & Bites Food Tour
Midtown can be madness! Most New Yorkers won’t go anywhere near it, avoiding the crowds, the high prices, the chain fast food — everything that’s not authentically NYC. But believe it or not, hidden amongst the tourists, Starbucks, and costumed characters, there is an authentic NYC neighbourhood to discover.

New York Craft Cocktail Tour
This happy hour tour is taking you to the centre of New York’s booming cocktail culture as we visit some of the best bars in the city. Along the way, we’ll sample delicious libations, swap tales of speakeasies and gangsters, shop for new locally produced spirits, learn how to make craft cocktails, and discover some of the best places to grab a drink in the Big Apple.

Arthur Avenue Food Tour: NY’s Real Little Italy
Discover the true Little Italy of New York City. Arthur Avenue in the Bronx remains a close-knit neighborhood of Italian food shops, most of which have been in business for over 100 years. Join us for a walking tour of Arthur Avenue and 187th Street as we visit butchers, bakers, and cheese shops, as well as the famous Arthur Avenue Retail Market.

Made In NY: Industry City Brooklyn
NYC is experiencing a boom in small-scale manufacturing and this tour of one of New York City’s largest and most amazing creative hubs will give you an insider’s look into NYC’s contemporary manufacturing and design industries. Learn how Industry City has been a revolutionary part of making goods in NYC, both past and present, all while meeting some of the passionate designers and artisans.

High Line & Chelsea Tour
This fun walking tour will take you over the High Line and through the Meatpacking and Chelsea neighborhoods to explore history, art, food… and, of course, beautiful views. You’ll leave with an understanding of how the past has shaped the present, and how modern New York has re-purposed this history to create something unique that has transformed the city both for the better and for the worse.

NYC Brewery Tour
Join the craft beer crowd as we explore the great taprooms of New York City’s new breweries. This tour puts the average pub crawl to shame. With a focus on the unique brews of the Big Apple, you’ll try the freshest beers straight from the brewery, enjoy local New York pizza and learn all about the craft beer industry in NYC and the USA. Because drinking beer is even more fun when it’s unique and educational!


New York City on the big screen

New York City has been featured in hundreds, if not thousands, of movies — and not just English-language movies! From romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got Mail, to action-packed films like Ghostbusters and the Men in Black series, to family favourites like Stuart Little and King Kong, to classics like the Godfather Part 2, we’re sure you’ve seen NYC on the big screen at some point!

New York City on record

In the world of music, the city has been known to inspire several singers and musicians. Aside from the well-known Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, the city inspired Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side, and various other artists like Bob Dylan, Beastie Boys, The Ramones, Nas, Billy Joel, Grandmaster Flash, Frank Sinatra and so many more!

New York City in books

If you’re looking for some reading about the city, pick up NYC Basic Tips & Etiquette by Nathan Pyle, I Never Knew that About New York by Christopher Winn, and New York by Edward Rutherfurd.

Some NYC-based literary classics worth reading include Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote, Bright Lights Big City by Jay McInerney, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, or even Bret Easton Ellis’ satirical American Psycho.

Contact us

If you have any questions about any of our tours, or anything on our website, feel free to contact us at (347) 878-8444 or You’ll also find us on Instagram, Twitter, and on Facebook.