Explore New York City

NYC Traveler’s Itinerary

We created three traveler “profiles:” So, whether you are looking for hip and trendy, family-friendly venues with an eye towards budget, or a super-luxurious experience, we've got it all!

New York visitors, just like its residents, come in all types, including budget-conscious families to couples with limitless funds to paint the town—well, any color they want. Just for the fun of it, we created three traveler “profiles,” with recommendations for each on how to best maximize their stay. Mix and match our suggestions below: The bottom line is to create, for yourself, a whopping good time in the city of endless possibilities.

Cool Cats

Twenty- or thirty-something visitors looking for some cutting-edge fun? Whether it’s chic shopping or stylish barhopping, we’ve got ideas mapped out for you.

McCarren Hotel
The saltwater pool at the McCarren Hotel. (©Todd Eberle)

ACTIVITIES

The High Line (Gansevoort St. to W. 34th St., 212.500.6035)—a park built on the abandoned tracks of an elevated railroad—is a definitive “must-see,” with its great views, striking landscaping and artistic spirit. The park offers guided tours, lectures, art exhibits, dance and music performances and telescope-powered stargazing sessions—all free.Bonus: It’s right near the new Whitney Museum of American Art, which, for serious foodies, also houses Danny Meyer’s newest restaurant, Untitled. Plus, you’ll be close to Chelsea and its wide variety of art galleries.

Out in the other trendy borough, Queens, at Socrates Sculpture Park (32-01 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City, Queens, 718.956.1819) enjoy one of the city’s outdoor foreign film series, in addition to compelling outdoor-sculpture exhibits. You can actually get there via a kayak, available from several city piers. Participants must know how to swim; and pants might get splashed, so bring a spare pair. Don't worry, there are lockers and changing rooms available. You’ll love this chance to glide over the waves while taking in stunning views.Kayaks are available at various locations, including ManhattanBrooklyn (with access to Brooklyn Bridge Park); and Queens (with access to the aforementioned Socrates Sculpture Park).

If your groovy inner-adventurer hopes to fly through the air, try a two-hour outdoor trapeze class at Trapeze School. 353 West St., 917.797.1872

Finally, the McCarren Hotel’s saltwater pool in trendy Williamsburg offers all the relaxation of swimming without the chlorine. Day passes for nonhotel guests are available. 160 N. 12th St., Brooklyn, 718.218.7500

Butter
Butter restaurant in Midtown, located in a refurbished movie theater. (Courtesy Butter)

DRINKING AND/OR DINING

Cool comes in all flavors in this town. A cocktail with fashionable Midtown professionals? Try The Campbell Apartment in Grand Central Terminal, located in the salon of 1920s mogul John W. Campbell. 15 Vanderbilt Ave., 212.953.0409

For an arty Chelsea experience, check out the speakeasy-style Raines Law Room located at 48 W. 17th St., and so hip it doesn’t have a phone.

Mealwise, hot spot Butter (70 W. 45th St., 212.253.2828) boasts a new garden space; and the Midtown Tao (42 E. 58th St., 212.888.2288), located in a refurbished movie theater, offers Asian-fusion cuisine, a trendy crowd and a dim sum brunch on Sundays.

Darling, Steven Alan
The Steven Alan shop at 229 Franklin St. (Courtesy Steven Alan)

SHOPPING

The West Village’s Darling (1 Horatio St., 646.336.6966) is, truly, a darling spot for what might best be described as women’s “party clothes” (and it includes a fabulous back garden).

 Steven Alan (several locations, including 229 Franklin St., 212.226.7482) features well-curated and beautifully structured unique apparel for men, women and children, in addition to jewelry and home decor.

Diamond Horseshoe
Queen of the Night, playing at the Diamond Horseshoe nightclub at the Paramount Hotel. (Courtesy Diamond Horseshoe)

ENTERTAINMENT

The Paramount Hotel’s Diamond Horseshoe (235 W. 46th St., 212.706.7448) first opened in 1938 and recently relaunched as a performance space. Cool jazz cats love Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola (Broadway & W. 60th St., 212.258.9595) and the legendary Village Vanguard (178 Seventh Ave. So., 212.255.4037).

For the hottest of dance clubs, check out the sceney Le Bain (848 Washington St., 212.645.7600), in the Standard hotel; Space Ibiza New York (637 W. 50th St., 212.247.2447) has a huge dance floor and top deejays and is open on Fridays and Saturdays.

Kids at Heart

You’re eager to explore but would rather not break the bank. With children in tow, costs—souvenirs! post-meltdown cab rides!—can add up. Don’t worry:, there are lots of affordable options.

Bronx Zoo, Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The stately greenhouse at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. (Courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden)

ACTIVITIES

With 265 wildlife-filled acres and exhibits such as Tiger Mountain and the Congo Gorilla Forest, the Bronx Zoo (2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx, 718.220.1500) is a good deal any day, but it’s by donation on Wednesdays.

Of course you’ll visit world-famous Central Park. A stroll on its paths is among New York’s priceless freebies.Activity-wise, a vintage carousel ($3) wows kids at the south end, while the Conservatory Water off E. 72nd Street is a spot for model sailboats (bring your own, or rent for $11 per half hour; check out the statues of Hans Christian Anderson and Alice in Wonderland while you’re there).

A little bit north at the Central Park Lake, rent a rowboat at the Loeb Boathouse ($12 per hour) for beautiful park views. Explore the gorgeous blooms in season at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (990 Washington Ave., 718.623.7200). There, gardens offer kids’ activities, and Tuesdays are free. Similarly, Wednesdays and Saturday mornings are free at The New York Botanical Garden (2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx, 718.817.8700).

The United Nations children’s tour (799 United Nations Plaza, 212.415.4000), for kids ages 5-12, addresses the organization’s work via quizzes, puzzles and games. The 45-minute tour is offered every Thursday, and the visitors’ café has child-friendly offerings, including flat-bread pizza.

Cevich
Some delectable choices at Cevich restaurant. (Courtesy Cevich)

DINING

Cevich (21 E. 15th St., 212.242.4976) will please all palates with its fresh, locally sourced and thoroughly yummy meals, starting about $9. The kids might not have had ceviche before, but its unfussy ingredients won’t be “too weird” to explore. 

The Grey Dog, with several locations, has breakfast, sandwiches, soups, salads and the kid staples of burgers and nachos. And over at Ellen’s Stardust Diner (1650 Broadway, 212.956.5151), there's a traditional diner menu and a less-traditional singing waitstaff belting out pop songs and show tunes, something that will tickle the whole crowd.

Toys ’R’ Us
Go for a ride on the famed Toys ’R’ Us Ferris wheel in Midtown. (Courtesy Toys ’R’ Us)

SHOPPING

The department store Century 21 (1972 Broadway, 212.518.2121, plus two other locations) is known for discounted designer clothes for adults and kids, and also has a decent selection of toys.

The LEGO flagship store in the Flatiron District (200 Fifth Ave., 212.255.3217) will dazzle the younger set with its 3-D murals and lounge area with children’s books and a building carpet. Similarly, the 110,000-square-foot Toys ‘R’ Us in Times Square (1514 Broadway, 646.366.8800) has a life-size Barbie dollhouse and the added attraction of a 60-foot Ferris wheel ($5 per person).

 

Discovery Times Square
Jennifer Lawrence fans will love the new Hunger Games Exhibition at Discovery Times Square. (©Murray Close)

ENTERTAINMENT

Visit Central Park’s SummerStage (E. 72nd St. and Fifth Ave., 212.360.2777) for free family-friendly shows like the Ebony Hillbillies. Midtown’s Bryant Park offers juggling, story times and other fun stuff for kids, also free.

"The Hunger Games" at Discovery Times Square is a must for your ’tweens and teens (226 W. 44th St., 866.987.9692). Of course you will want to see a Broadway show, and, yes, prices can be steep, but options for inexpensive tickets include TKTS booths around the city and rush and standing-room-only (SRO) tickets, sold at the box office on the day of performance.

High Rollers

For this trip, you’ve decided that money is no object. You’re interested in experiences that are custom-tailored to your taste and as specialized as possible.

Gotham Dream Cars
Take a Lamborghini Huracán for a spin around town with Gotham Cars. (Courtesy Gotham Dream Cars)

ACTIVITIES

Travel and tour the town in high style. A helicopter ride, offered by newyorkhelicopter.com or heliny.com, shows off the city from a brand-new perspective at approximately $180 for 15 minutes. Zip around town in a luxury car—a Bentley coupe? Ferrari Spider?—with rentals are available from Gotham Dream Cars and Carefree Lifestyle, starting at about $395 per day. 

VIP Tours works with you to personalize a tour according to your interests. See the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum with a private guide (1071 Fifth Ave., 212.423.3636), starting at $150 for a one-hour tour. Tours accommodate individuals or groups and are led by professionals in the art world. They can be customized for specific art interests.

The Plaza Hotel
Enjoy High Tea at the Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel. (Courtesy The Plaza Hotel)

DINING

Often described as the finest steak in the city, the rustic and legendary—since 1887—Peter Luger Steak House should not be missed. 178 Broadway, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 718.387.7400

Specialized chef’s tables, at which the chef discusses the meal and its preparation with diners, are available at acclaimed restaurants, including Aldea (31 W. 17th St., 212.675.7223) and Daniel (60 E. 65th St., 212.288.0033). And nothing beats The Plaza (768 Fifth Ave., 212.759.3000) for classic elegance; enjoy afternoon tea at the Palm Court or the European-inspired Todd English Food Hall.

Tiffany Salon, Michael Andrews Bespoke
Custom-tailored clothing for gentlemen at Michael Andrews Bespoke. (Courtesy Michael Andrews Bespoke)

SHOPPING

At Bergdorf Goodman (745 Fifth Ave., 212.753.7300), connect with a personal stylist, who will help find the offerings that are best for you. Looking for a truly personal creation? The Tiffany Salon (727 Fifth Ave., 212.605.4447, by appointment) allows patrons to work with a jewelry designer to create a custom piece.

Also custom-made, Michael Andrews Bespoke (2 Great Jones Alley, 212.677.1755) generates rave reviews for men’s suits; and Dara Lamb (37 W. 57th St., 212.935.2344) is celebrated for her custom couture for women (from business suits to formal gowns and cocktail dresses).

Rainbow Room
There isn’t anything more retro, elegant and romantic than an evening of dinner and dancing at New York’s legendary Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center. (Courtesy Rainbow Room)

ENTERTAINMENT

54 Below (254 W. 54th St., 646.476.3551), the supper club built below the original Studio 54 disco, offers cabaret entertainment and dining; if you are a regular visitor to NYC, consider becoming a gold member ($300 annual fee), which includes access to exclusive performances. On select evenings, the Rainbow Room (30 Rockefeller Plaza, 212.632.5000) is open for live music, dinner and dancing. And on Thursday nights, the Museum of Modern Art (11 W. 53rd St., 212.708.9400) holds concerts in the Sculpture Garden and offers light refreshments in this beautiful outdoor space.