How to get around New York City
So now that you’ve figured out where to stay, let’s talk about navigating the city. When it comes to getting around NYC, there’s no shortage of ways to get to your final destination. With so many options, here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind.
First and foremost, Manhattan is a grid. This makes it relatively easy to navigate. The streets are numbered numerically and go south to north. The avenues are a little different. They’re numerical with a few like Lexington, Park, and Madison thrown in the middle on the East side and Colombus, Amsterdam and Broadway on the West Side
There are parts of the city, East and West Village, I’m talking to you, where all of these rules are thrown out the window. So just pull up google maps and follow the directions.
For example, if you’re on 14th and Park and need to get to 28th and Park, that’s 14 blocks. Depending on how fast you walk, it will likely take you 15 minutes. They say it’s a minute per block. The avenues are different. They’re longer and therefore take a lot longer to walk down. If there’s anything to know when visiting Manhattan, getting across town takes a lot of time. If you’re going a few avenues, depending on your shoes, just walk. You’ll likely be stuck in traffic if you decide to jump in a cab.
Ways to Get around
This is the best way to work off the $1 pizza slice. There’s so much to see, do and eat while in NYC, I highly recommend walking whenever possible. Make sure you bring the appropriate shoes because if you’re not used to walking 1-2 miles a day, you’ll be sore. Like I said earlier, if you’re going 10 blocks, it will likely take you 10-15 minutes.
This is the fastest and easiest way to get around the city, but this is my least favorite way to get around. I’m not a fan of the overcrowded cars, smell or humidity underground. This is always my last pick.
Try and learn the subways before jumping on a line, because you can find yourself in New Jersey if you’re not careful. Download the NYC Subway app to understand the different lines. I’d recommend getting in the first or last car, these typically have more room to breathe. The most important thing I can tell you…PAY ATTENTION. They have speakers on the train, but you can barely hear what they’re saying.
When in doubt, ask a someone. The police officers are really friendly in NYC and they’ll always help you out.
Taxis are how New Yorkers get around. I prefer a taxi over uber, most times because taxi drivers know how to navigate the city, but they’re also incredibly ruthless when it comes to driving in the city. If you get car sick easily, this will likely happen when you jump in a taxi in the city.
When it comes to paying taxi drivers, this is such a stressful moment when getting out of a cab, even for New Yorkers. There is always so much going on, this is when people typically leave something in the cab, spill something on them or go the wrong the direction.
I’d highly recommend downloading an app, like Arro for this very reason. We only use Arro when riding in cabs. It makes for a less stressful cab ride. Download the app, put in your credit card info, assign a tip amount and you’re ready to start riding! When you get in the cab, there will be a six digit number, put that into the app and bam, you’re checked-in. After the cab stops, wait till the payment is processed and wait for your receipt. You’re ready to go. This is also great for tracking down cabs, just in case you leave something in a taxi.
Although I prefer taxis, Ubers are an amazing way for people to get around the city. You know the cost upfront and don’t have to worry about running into traffic and the cost of your ride going up.
- If you’re coming from the airport, I highly recommend taking an Uber.
- When you’re traveling with a baby they have Ubers with car seats. It’s a $10 surcharge, but worth it if you’re going a long distance. The car seats are for kids at least 18 months old. If you have a newborn, just bring your car seat and stroller on your trip to NYC. It’s worth it! For more information about traveling with a baby in NYC check out this post.
- Uber also offers Uber Pool.
There are a number of other car services in Manhattan, Lyft and VIA are the two most known. Both are great alternatives to Uber, especially when surge pricing takes place.
The ongoing joke, if you ever need to find me, I’ll be on the MTA. The bus has the coldest air conditioning, there is always a spot to sit and you can use wifi! When I have time, I take the bus. It’s relaxing. This takes a lot longer to get around, but if your stop is on the bus route, it’s convenient.
If you ride a bike in NYC, rent a helmet. It’s a lot safer. I see tourists not wearing helmets all the time and it’s really not safe, especially for newcomers to the city. It’s a hassle because it’s one more thing to carry around, but you can get seriously hurt riding a bike in the city. Matt and I always ride with helmets. The Citi Bikes are the most convenient way to get a bike, but they don’t have helmets readily available. Check out how to use the Citi bikes before arriving in NYC. These bikes are HEAVY, really heavy. If you just want to ride your bike in Central Park, I’d highly recommend renting from a location bike shop near the park. We recommend Cycle Central Park if you’re renting for the day. Biking in Central Park is a must in my book. You can see so much. Stop and get a pretzel and check out all the notable places in the park. It made our list of 5 things to do in the city in the Fall but it’s great most times of the year.
The NYC ferries were just recently upgraded. If you get a chance to take a ferry up to 34th street at night, do it! It’s a gorgeous view of the city. We always take the ferry when going to Long Island City, Dumbo or Williamsburg. Use the NYC Ferry app for schedule times and departures.
However, you decide to get around the city just remember to take in what the city has to offer. There’s so much to do and see. Some places are better suited for certain types of transportation. No Matter what you choose there’s something quintessentially New York about making your way through this concrete jungle we call home. Not visiting soon but know someone who is? Don’t forget to share this post with them.
I admit that I am like a monkey with a map ! I’ve gotten lost so many times in NY, sometimes walking the SAME block 3 times… usually my saviours are the handsome police men 😉