New York Holidays 2019 / 2020
New York… it’s one of the most dazzling and exciting cities on earth, with towering skyscrapers, world class entertainment, and a real ‘shop til' you drop’ atmosphere.
Situated on the east coast of the United States — a region that experiences hot summers and often snowy winters — New York is one of the best city breaks in the world.
New York attractions
Must see New York attractions include The Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building and Central Park; all instantly recognisable landmarks immortalised through film.
There’s also the world famous Museum of Modern Art, a must-see Broadway show, or eating at one of many Michelin-starred restaurants.
New York is great for:
- City breaks - whether you’re looking for a long weekend or you want to explore New York beyond Manhattan, New York is one of the most popular city breaks there is. Its East Coast location means the flight time is a lot more reasonable than its sunny sisters in the West.
- Last minute holidays - summer in New York gets pretty hot but it’s a great time to explore Central Park or go on boat trips around the islands. Christmas is great for shopping and there is a winter buzz in the air.
- Cheap holidays - if you’re looking for a cheap holiday to New York, don’t forget to consider Brooklyn, the arty, creative borough nearby Manhattan.
People also ask
Do you have to tip in New York?
Like most destinations in the United States, tipping is customary in New York. It's typical to tip $2 per day for hotel maid service, $1 - $2 for assistance with luggage, and 15 - 20% for taxi drivers and waiters.
Where in the UK flies direct to New York?
Direct flights from the UK to New York are offered by multiple global airlines, departing from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Edinburgh, Glasgow International, and Manchester airports.
How long is the flight from the UK to New York?
Flight times from the UK to New York vary from around 6 hours and 50 minutes to 7 hours and 45 minutes, depending on the airline and route. Flight times may be shorter or longer depending on the wind.
Do I need a visa to go to New York?
If you hold a valid British passport with more than 6 months remaining, you can enter the United States under the visa waiver programme. You will need to apply for an ESTA, which costs $14 per person.
Which NYC airport is closest to Manhattan?
LaGuardia is the closest airport to Manhattan, although this airport mostly handles domestic flights. Arriving from the UK, your flight will arrive at either JFK or Newark; both are a short drive from the city.
New York beaches
While New York city breaks don’t immediately conjure up images of sun, sea, and sand, there are actually a few fantastic New York beaches that can be reached in just a few hours from downtown NYC.
- Coney Island is a classic seaside experience for New Yorkers, offering sunbathing and swimming opportunities, along with the excitement and adrenaline of the Luna Park funfair – with its Cyclone rollercoaster known as the ‘Big Momma’ of Coney Island. It’s just an hour from Manhattan by metro.
- Manhattan Beach, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Brooklyn, is perhaps one of the quickest and easiest of New York beaches to reach from Midtown. You’ll find BBQ facilities on the beach in summer, and there are playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, baseball fields, and showers to cool off in.
- Rockaway Beach in Queens is the biggest urban beach in all of America. It’s easy to reach from Manhattan using the subway, ferry, or beach shuttle bus, and there’s no better time to visit than in the middle of New York’s summer season, when you’ll find this place to be a major hub of activity.
- Long Beach is easily accessible using the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), and you can be strolling along the beautiful beachfront in around an hour after leaving NYC. Long Beach is actually known as a top destination for surfing, so if you’re keen to try your hand at watersports, this is the place to be.
New York nightlife
They say New York is the city that never sleeps… and they’re right! Pulsing with energy 24/7, New York truly comes alive after sundown, with a huge choice of places to party in the heart of the Big Apple.
- There are many different things to do in New York at night. If you want to sample cocktails or relax with a beer, you’ll find everything from glitzy cocktail bars to basement dives; from jazz bars to tiki lounges; from microbreweries to burlesque shows… and some of the biggest and best nightclubs on the planet.
- But New York nightlife isn’t just about drinking and dancing. In the city, you’ll find all sorts of nightlife culture, such as open mic nights for poetry readings, comedy clubs showcasing the newest talents, and a whole host of exciting events held in stunning NYC venues including its top class museums and galleries.
- New York city breaks have it all, especially in the summer when the party moves outdoors. With an enviable oceanfront location, New York nightlife extends beyond the four walls to the city’s promenades and beaches, with barbecues, boat parties, and plenty of summer festivals for you to take part in.
New York family holidays
New York, for all its urban edge and frenetic pace, is actually a fantastic destination for family holidays. For younger kids, it’s Gotham in real life, while older ones will think it’s the coolest city on earth.
- New York family holidays give your kids (and you!) an amazing opportunity to see all the famous attractions from TV and film. Wander around Times Square gazing at the flashing lights and eye-popping street theatre, shop in the megastores, and take a trip on the ferry to visit the Statue of Liberty.
- One of the best things to do in New York with kids is to take them up to the top of the Empire State Building and show them just how jaw-droppingly big the city looks from above. While it’s no longer the world’s tallest skyscraper, it still soars above the surrounding buildings and the views are amazing.
- Eating out in New York isn’t just a way to satisfy hungry bellies… it’s an entertainment in itself! Kids will love the larger-than-life slices of New York ‘pies’ (pizzas), the theme restaurants, the massive variety of world cuisine... and, of course, there’s nothing better than grabbing a huge pretzel in Central Park.
- With kids, you’ll be surprised at just how easy it is to spend a whole day in Central Park. The Central Park Zoo makes for a great day out, and there’s always something going on in the grounds, whether it’s tango dancing or puppet shows. And best of all, there’s lots of space for little ones to let off some steam!
- The wonderfully old fashioned Luna Park funfair at Coney Island is a true delight that has to be seen to be believed. There are all sorts of adrenaline-pumping rides here, and a relaxing boardwalk to stroll along. Coney Island is also the birthplace of Nathan’s; a classic NY fast food joint serving up huge hot dogs.
- And if you’re looking for even more to do, there’s always something happening in NYC! Why not take a look at some of the events that are taking place during your trip, such as circus skills workshops or cooking classes. You could even visit some of the city’s bowling alleys, skateparks, or laser tag arenas.
Things to do in New York
Whether you’re looking for culture, history, scenery, entertainment, excitement, or total relaxation, there are so many different things to do in New York that there are plenty of top attractions to suit everyone.
- One of the best free things to do in New York is simply to take a wander around the neon-lit craziness that is Times Square. Sitting in the heart of New York’s Midtown neighbourhood, Times Square is one of the most visited places on earth, with larger-than-life adverts, street entertainers, and flagship stores.
- The ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty provides the perfect opportunity to soak up the amazing views of Manhattan’s cinematic Midtown skyline. It’s still possible to visit both the pedestal and the crown, although reservations should be made in advance to avoid disappointment (3-4 months is advised).
- New York’s architecture is unique, so make sure to stop by some of the city’s most fascinating buildings, such as the Empire State Building with its iconic rooftop viewing platform; the Rockefeller Center, which is home to the NBC studios; the art deco-inspired Chrysler Building, and the unusual Flatiron Building.
- One of the more unusual things to do in New York is to venture north of the park to the Harlem neighbourhood, where you can visit the legendary 1914 performance hall where stars like Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye enjoyed early success. Harlem is a true entertainment hotspot in NYC.
- NYC is famous for its museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is one of the largest art museums in the world; the American Museum of Natural History (which is free to visit), and MOMA. There are even a few unusual options, too, like the Houdini Museum and the ‘Mmuseumm’.
- For a little time out from the hustle and bustle of the city, head to Central Park which is a haven for relaxation. This gorgeous, expansive green space right in the heart of Manhattan lets you ramble through woods, stroll around a reservoir, row on the boating lake, explore a castle, or simply sit and unwind.
- You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to theatre and the performing arts in Manhattan. Home to the world famous Broadway theatre district, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and Madison Square Gardens which is a popular concert venue, New York really is the city that never sleeps.
Best food in New York
As a true cultural melting pot, New York is a fabulous destination for foodies, and there are many amazing places to eat in New York City. You can pretty much eat your way around the world in NYC!
- If you’re looking for a famous place to eat in New York, you won’t have a hard time finding somewhere that fits the bill. New York’s finest kitchens, with a roster of celebrity chefs at the helm, turn out stunning, award-winning, and highly inventive cuisine that couldn’t be more Insta-worthy if it tried.
- There are also loads of cheap places to eat in New York. From traditional American diners to cheap and cheerful delis and bagel shops, you won’t have any trouble finding simple, no fuss options that provide delicious, great value meals, leaving you with more money to spend in NYC’s famous stores.
- New York has invented and popularised some of today’s best-loved dishes, such as the thin crust New York pizza pie, and the Waldorf Salad which was first whipped up in the kitchens of the Waldorf Astoria. The origins of the Manhattan cocktail are a little murkier, but could possibly have come from NYC.
New York for couples
There are lots of romantic things to do in New York. From intimate meals out to exciting activities for couples, NYC is a fantastic destination for lovebirds.
- Couples holidays in New York are a great chance to replicate some of the most romantic scenes in your favourite films. How about recreating the love scene from When Harry Met Sally at the Empire State Building observation deck, or reliving the ice skating scene from Serendipity in Central Park in winter?
- If you’re visiting with your loved one, be sure to book one of the best New York hotels for couples. Look for hotels with intimate rooftop bars where you can sip cocktails and soak up the famous views, as well as those with guest rooms with incredible views over the city, where you can order room service and totally unwind.
- If you’d prefer to dine out, consider heading to one of the fashionable oyster bars, or pack up a picnic and take a trip to the Williamsburg Waterfront in Brooklyn. NYC is also known for its amazing farmers' markets and gourmet markets, where you can pick up some delicious treats to help set the mood.
- New York is bursting with activities that are perfectly suited to couples, such as sunset harbour cruises, or garden strolls enjoyed hand-in-hand – and you can even go stargazing! Believe it or not, you CAN see the stars from NYC, and if it’s a little overcast simply head to one of the city’s fantastic planetariums.
New York culture
With world class art collections, iconic architecture, and some of the best known performing arts companies in the world, New York really is stuffed to the brim with culture and cultural activities.
- New York museums are well worth visiting. Don’t miss the Guggenheim Museum, the Smithsonian Design Museum, and the Natural History Museum which was made even more famous by the popular Night at the Museum movies. There’s a museum for everyone in New York… there’s even a mathematics museum!
- The Metropolitan Museum, set on the edge of Central Park on a section of Fifth Avenue known as ‘Museum Mile’, boasts an enormous collection of art spanning two millennia, and is the most famous of New York art galleries. Coming in a close second is New York’s MOMA; the Museum of Modern Art.
- New York architecture has to be seen to be believed. Structures to add to your ‘not to miss’ list include the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and the Flatiron Building, although there are plenty more, such as the 1883 Brooklyn Bridge which connects Manhattan with the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.
- You’ll be dazzled by choice when it comes to NYC entertainment. The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is home to the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Ballet, and the New York Philharmonic, to name just a few. And let’s not forget about the most famous theatre district on earth: Broadway!