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Off The Beaten Track: New York Travel Tips

close up of the statue of liberty against a vibrant blue sky background
What is in this blog? Table of contents:

Our latest instalment of Off The Beaten Track, The Alternative Travel Guide sees us head to one of the most famous cities anywhere in the world, the city that never sleeps, we are of course talking about, New York!

New York, The Big Apple, is known for many things, from being a major financial hub, to Times Square, The Empire State Building and Central Park. It has a certain energy that few other cities around the world can match, with impressive buildings, famous landmarks and iconic museums making it a city most people want to visit at least once in their lifetime!

So, join us, as we run you through our top New York travel tips and give you the best things to do in New York.

night time view of assorted billboards and yellow taxi's in a busy Times Square, New York

Why is New York called the city that never sleeps?

If you’ve had your head buried in the sand forever, you could be forgiven for asking why New York is called the city that never sleeps…

Although most of us, either from cinematic references, first hand experiences, or even just social media, will know that New York is called the city that never sleeps because it quite literally never shuts down.

There is always something to do in New York, or somewhere to go. There is a bustling nightlife scene bordering on hectic, but more on that later, and a subway system that is running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!

And while the term, ‘the city that never sleeps’, has been applied to more and more cities in the modern era, in the eyes of many, New York is the original holder of this title!

A view of the walkway across Brooklyn Bridge in New York

Cheap things to do in New York

New York is another city often associated with costs as high as its skyline, but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. If you are looking to do New York on a budget, then our top tips on the best cheap and affordable things to do in New York could be for you!

Let's start with a walk across the famous Brooklyn Bridge that offers stunning views over Manhattan, an ideal photo opportunity for any avid ‘Instragrammers’.

Central Park, an oasis in the urban centre, is the perfect spot to unwind with green spaces for picnics, quiet walks, and free entertainments during the summer months. Or take a walk-through diverse neighbourhoods, from the lively streets of Chinatown to charming alleyways around Greenwich Village each with its own unique cultural experience.

Finally, for those wishing to go sightseeing in New York on a budget, there is the ferry service on Staten Island is a free way for visitors to see Liberty's statue and the harbour. There is also the High Line, an elevated park which offers a unique view of the town's architecture and its green spaces built from historic railroad tracks.

Manhattan cityline at dusk as the sun sets

What to do in New York at night?

If you are wondering what you could do in New York at night or in the evening, then fear not, as the city that never sleeps has got you covered, no matter what your preferences are!

The classic experiences – visit a rooftop bar and sip on classy cocktails as you admire the world’s most famous skyline, or head down to Broadway and catch one of the many world class performances.

Something for the music lovers – from the Brooklyn Indie venues to the contemporary jazz clubs in Greenwich, and everything in between, there is something for every musical taste.

Something for the foodies – New York truly has a diverse culinary landscape, with upmarket eateries aplenty, late night eateries and the world’s most famous food truck scene.

Are you an art aficionado? – keep an eye out for special, after-hours events at any one of the city’s famous museums or art galleries.

Peace and tranquillity more your thing? – if you fancy escaping from the hustle and bustle, take a stroll through Central Park in the evening or at night. A real respite from the city, you’d never know that you were in central New York!

A small United States flag sitting on the 9 11 memorial plaques

The best museums in New York

There is a Museum in New York City for every taste, budget, and creative inspiration. It is only fitting that a city as iconic as the Big Apple has a museum scene to match, right?

Well, in this section, we’re running you through the top 4 museums in New York that, in our opinion, you really should try to squeeze into your New York itinerary.

  1. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum
    The most famous museum in New York City is the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, and it is simply a must visit for heart-breaking, sombre reasons. The museum is next to the place where the twin towers fell, and there are two huge pools that mark their foundations. Undoubtedly, the 2001 (and earlier 1993) terrorist attack is one of history’s most catastrophic events.

    Open from 8am to 8pm, tickets cost $33.

  2. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    One of the grandest art galleries anywhere in the world, with a mix of contemporary, modern, and ancient art, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art is undoubtably a big deal!

    Closed on Wednesday, open from 10am to 5pm Sunday – Thursday & 10am to 9pm Friday – Saturday. Tickets start at $30.

  3. The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)
    No matter where you go in the world, every major city has a Museum of Natural History, and they’re all well worth a visit! Tickets here start at $25.

  4. The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
    Undoubtably one of the most exciting of the destinations in the New York Museum scene, it covers three major topics, space, sea, and air. While it is captivating for all, this is one that young children will find especially captivating.

    Open from 10am to 5pm daily. Tickets from $26.


We think that these cover the bases as the best museums to be found in New York, but there are countless others for you to discover and enjoy as well!

The statue of Liberty in New York holding the golden flame high in the air

The top 10 things to do in New York with Family

Going anywhere in the world with your family gives you the chance to make lasting memories, and New York is no different!

So, here are our top 10 things to do in New York next time you visit with your family!

  1. Central Park – a real icon with plenty of activities for all
  2. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island – a fun and educational trip, with insights into the immigration history on the US
  3. The Staten Island Ferry – a truly iconic route
  4. The American Museum of Natural History – a hit with all ages
  5. A Family Friendly Broadway Show – introduce your children to the magic of the theatre
  6. The Bronx Zoo – one of the largest zoos in the US
  7. Coney Island (probably better when the weather is warmer!) – enjoy the beach, the boardwalk, and the rides at the amusement park
  8. Times Square – bright lights and a bustling atmosphere, one not to be missed
  9. The Brooklyn Bridge – take a walk and see the stunning New York skyline
  10. Interactive Museums – there are plenty of hands-on learning experiences available

Central Perk cafe window from the show Friends

What is the name of the coffee shop from Friends, and can you visit it?

If you are a fan of the show ‘Friends’, you may be wondering if you can visit the famous café so often frequented by the gang. Even if you are not a fan of the show, the chances are you are aware of the reference, but you might be forgiven for asking what the name of the coffee shop from ‘Friends’ is…

n the show, the coffee shop is called "Central Perk", and unfortunately it is fictional and cannot be visited.

But there is good news… Due to the immense popularity and cult following of the show, several pop-up replicas of Central Perk have been created around the world, allowing fans to get a feel for what it was like to be in the iconic venue.

This includes one location in New York. At 199 Lafayette St. at the corner of Broome Street, you will find a museum dedicate to all thing’s friends, as well as being able to enjoy a signature cup of coffee!

If you want even more authenticity, why not visit the Little Owl, a charming restaurant that occupies the that would house the corner-side café below the building where Monica, Rachel, Chandler, and Joey lived.

Our New York Travel Tips

We hope you’ve found New York travel tips and the information on cheap things to do in New York, as well as things what to do at night, what to do with your family and must-see museums interesting, informative, and helpful.

You may even end up using some of this information on your next trip to the city that never sleeps,
Our latest instalment of Off The Beaten Track, The Alternative Travel Guide sees us head to one of the most famous cities anywhere in the world, the city that never sleeps, we are of course talking about, New York!

New York, The Big Apple, is known for many things, from being a major financial hub, to Times Square, The Empire State Building and Central Park. It has a certain energy that few other cities around the world can match, with impressive buildings, famous landmarks and iconic museums making it a city most people want to visit at least once in their lifetime!

So, join us, as we run you through our top New York travel tips and give you the best things to do in New York.

Take a look at the other destinations in our Alternate Travel Guide:

Things to do in Dubai
Things to do in Phuket
Things to do in Bangkok
Things to do in Paris

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