New York Neighbourhood Guide for Tourists: Find Your Perfect Spot in the Big Apple!

New York Neighbourhood Guide for Tourists: Find Your Perfect Spot in the Big Apple!

New York, the city that never sleeps, is a canvas of culture, history, and diversity. With a myriad of boroughs, each with its own unique charm, it might seem daunting to decide where to start. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a selection of five New York City neighborhoods to visit or stay in that appeal to all sorts of travellers.

Be it the shopaholics, the culture buffs, or the excitement seekers, New York holidays have something for everyone, so let’s dive in.

The Ideal Neighbourhood for Excitement Seekers: Manhattan

New york easter city break 2024


If you’re seeking the quintessential New York experience, Manhattan is the neighbourhood for you. Located at the city’s core, midtown Manhattan is famous for its energetic vibe and bustling atmosphere. It offers direct access to iconic attractions such as Central Park, Times Square, and the Empire State Building. Plus, there’s no shortage of dining options, from food trucks, and iconic Dollar Pizza to fine dining establishments such as Blue Hill and ABC Kitchen.

Top 5 things to do in Manhattan:

  1. Get a bird’s eye view of the city from the Empire State Building:

This iconic, 102-story Art Deco skyscraper offers an unbeatable view of Manhattan and beyond. Buy your tickets online in advance to skip the ticket line.

For a less crowded experience and a romantic atmosphere, consider going late in the evening. 

  1. Catch a Broadway show in the Theatre District:

New York’s Broadway is synonymous with world-class theatre. Remember that popular shows can sell out fast, so book your tickets in advance.

For discounted tickets, check out the TKTS Discount Booths on the day of the show.

  1. Explore the vast green expanse of Central Park:

This sprawling urban park is a haven for relaxation and recreation. Don’t miss out on iconic sites like the Bethesda Fountain, Belvedere Castle, and Strawberry Fields.

For a unique experience, hire a rowboat from the Loeb Boathouse or join a free guided walking tour provided by the Central Park Conservancy.

  1. Marvel at the bright lights in Times Square:

Known as “The Crossroads of the World,” Times Square is a sensory overload of neon lights and giant digital billboards, which is a must for first-time visitors.

Try visiting early in the morning or late at night for a less crowded experience. 

  1. Discover world-class art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

The Met, as it’s affectionately known, is one of the world’s largest and finest art museums. With over two million works spread across seventeen departments, you’ll want to plan your visit.

Be sure to check out their website for current exhibitions. Remember, the ticket price is suggested, so pay what you wish if you buy at a ticket counter. And don’t forget to visit the rooftop garden for stunning views of Central Park and the Manhattan skyline.

The Perfect Neighbourhood for Shopaholics: Brooklyn



If retail therapy is your vacation priority, Brooklyn is your go-to neighbourhood. This area is home to several unique shopping districts, from the artisanal shops in DUMBO (an acronym for “down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass” located between the Brooklyn Bridge, Bridge Street, York Street and the East River) to the high-end boutiques in Williamsburg. Brooklyn also showcases impressive architecture, from charming brownstones to modern skyscrapers. Don’t miss landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge and the Brooklyn Museum on your next holiday to New York.

Top 5 things to do in Brooklyn:

  1. Shop unique finds in the boutiques of Williamsburg:

This hip neighbourhood is known for its trendy boutiques offering everything from vintage clothing to locally made jewellery.

Remember to venture off the main street, Bedford Avenue, to find hidden gems. For music lovers, don’t miss Rough Trade NYC, a massive record store that also hosts live concerts.

  1. Walk across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge:

The Brooklyn Bridge offers panoramic views of Manhattan and Brooklyn. For the best experience, start on the Brooklyn side and walk towards Manhattan so you can enjoy the stunning skyline views.

Try to go early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the crowds. And don’t forget to take a detour to Brooklyn Bridge Park for even more breathtaking views.

  1. Explore the food, art, and antiques at Brooklyn Flea:

This famous outdoor market runs on weekends and offers a wide variety of goods, from vintage furniture to artisanal food.

Remember to bring cash, as not all vendors accept cards. Also, come hungry, because the associated Smorgasburg food market is a must-visit for foodies.

  1. Relax in the lush Brooklyn Botanic Garden:

This 52-acre garden is home to over 14,000 types of plants. Don’t miss the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden and the Cherry Esplanade, especially during cherry blossom season. If you’re visiting on a Tuesday, admission is free, but do check their website for the most current information. 

  1. Learn about Brooklyn’s diverse history at the Brooklyn Museum:

As New York City’s third-largest museum, the Brooklyn Museum boasts a vast and varied collection. Be sure to check out their Egyptian artefacts and American art pieces.

Also, on the first Saturday of each month (February – August and October), the museum hosts a free art and entertainment event from 5 to 11 pm.

The Perfect Neighbourhood for Culture Buffs: Harlem


If culture is your thing, then Harlem is the neighbourhood for you. Known for its strong African American heritage, Harlem is home to a number of cultural institutions, live music venues, and soul food restaurants. The Apollo Theater, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the iconic Sylvia’s Restaurant are must-visit spots.

Top 5 things to do in Harlem:

  1. Catch a show at the legendary Apollo Theater:

This iconic venue has launched countless music careers, including those of Ella Fitzgerald and Michael Jackson. It’s a must-visit for any music lover.

Don’t miss Amateur Night on Wednesdays, a Harlem tradition since 1934, where you might just witness the rise of the next big star.

  1. Explore African American art at the Studio Museum in Harlem:

This museum is dedicated to artists of African descent locally, nationally, and internationally. Check out their website before you visit to see if there are any special exhibits or events happening. Don’t forget that admission is suggested, meaning you can pay what you wish.

  1. Savour soul food at Sylvia’s Restaurant:

Known as the “Queen of Soul Food,” Sylvia’s offers classics like fried chicken and collard greens.

Try to go for Sunday brunch when there’s live gospel music for an authentic Harlem experience. Don’t forget to try the restaurant’s famous sweet tea. 

  1. Walk along the historic Striver’s Row:

This collection of stately townhouses on 138th and 139th Streets is a stunning example of late 19th-century architecture.

The best time to visit is during the annual Striver’s Row Home Tour when some residents open their homes to the public.

  1. Visit the iconic Abyssinian Baptist Church:

As one of the oldest African American Baptist churches in the United States, the Abyssinian Baptist Church has played a crucial role in the history of Harlem.

Check the church’s schedule for a chance to attend a Sunday service, but remember to dress respectfully and arrive early, as it can get crowded.

Their gospel choir is phenomenal and a key highlight of the service.

The Perfect Neighbourhood for Scenic Beauty: Queens


If you seek an escape from the city’s hustle and bustle, Queens is your idyllic neighbourhood. Known for its cultural diversity, Queens offers scenic parks, unique museums, and a fantastic culinary scene. Don’t miss Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the Museum of the Moving Image, and the Queens Night Market.

Top 5 things to do in Queens:

  1. Explore the vast Flushing Meadows Corona Park:

This is the city’s second-largest park and was the site of the 1939 and 1964 World Fairs. Don’t miss the Unisphere, a 12-story high globe that’s become a symbol of Queens.

If you’re a sports fan, consider timing your visit to coincide with the US Open tennis tournament, which takes place in the park.

  1. Visit the Museum of the Moving Image:

This museum is dedicated to the art, history, and technology of film, television, and digital media.

Be sure to check out the “Behind the Screen” exhibit, which offers a fascinating look at the production process. On Thursdays between 2:00–6:00 p.m., admission is free, but check their website for the most current information.

  1. Sample global cuisines at the Queens Night Market:

Held on Saturday nights in warmer months, this outdoor food festival showcases cuisines from around the world.

Come with an empty stomach and be ready to try everything from Trinidadian roti to Filipino balut. It can get crowded, so try to arrive early.

  1. Walk through the scenic Gantry Plaza State Park:

This 12-acre riverside park offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. It’s the perfect spot for a picnic or a leisurely stroll along the East River. For a unique photo opportunity, look for the restored gantries which were used to load and unload rail car floats and barges. 

  1. Discover contemporary art at MoMA PS1:

An affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art, PS1 is one of the largest art institutions in America devoted solely to contemporary art.

Don’t miss the annual summer Warm Up series, which features live music, DJs, and art in the museum’s courtyard. Also, note that your ticket is valid for a visit to MoMA in Manhattan within 14 days, so be sure to plan your itinerary accordingly.

The Perfect Neighbourhood for a Blend of Nature and Culture: The Bronx


The Bronx

If you’re looking for a balance of natural beauty and cultural experiences, the Bronx is the neighbourhood for you. Home to the world-renowned Bronx Zoo and the lush New York Botanical Garden, the area also boasts rich cultural institutions like the Bronx Museum of the Arts.

Top 5 things to do in the Bronx:

  1. Arthur Avenue Retail Market:

Known as the real Little Italy of New York, Arthur Avenue Retail Market in the Bronx offers a range of Italian foods that would make any foodie’s heart flutter.

From fresh pasta and cheeses to cured meats and pastries, this market is a culinary delight. An insider tip: don’t miss the chance to try a cannoli from Cannoli King—they’re legendary!

  1. Wave Hill:

If you’re looking for an alternative to the New York Botanical Garden, consider visiting Wave Hill. This 28-acre public garden and cultural centre overlooks the Hudson River and Palisades, offering spectacular views. It’s an excellent spot for relaxing and even offers art workshops and concerts. Remember to check their event calendar before you visit.

  1. Discover contemporary art at the Bronx Museum of the Arts:

This museum focuses on contemporary and 20th-century works, many from artists of African, Asian, and Latin American ancestry. Admission is always free, and the museum offers guided tours on weekends that can give you a deeper understanding of the exhibits.

  1. Stroll around the historic Grand Concourse:

Known as the “Park Avenue of the Bronx,” this boulevard is lined with art deco buildings. The area is best explored on foot, so you can take in the architectural details.

Don’t miss the Bronx County Courthouse and the Andrew Freedman Home.

  1. Catch a game at Yankee Stadium:

Whether you’re a baseball fan or not, experiencing a game at this iconic stadium is a quintessential New York experience. For a behind-the-scenes look, consider taking a stadium tour. Also, try to get there early to enjoy Monument Park, which honours the great Yankees of the past.

Discover More

New York City is an incredibly vibrant city with each neighbourhood offering a distinct and unique experience. We hope you can use this guide to help choose the perfect neighbourhood for your trip to New York and experience the city in all its glory. We imagine you are itching to experience it for yourself so be sure to speak to one of our travel experts today to start planning your dream trip to the Big Apple!

By Paula McMullan

Personal Travel Planner

Favourite Destination: New York City

I love a trip to New York City, the big apple never disappoints. A must see destination with incredible diversity, vibrancy and entertainment, There’s truly something for everyone in New York. Personally I love to eat in Little Italy or just spend the evening watching the world go by in Greenwich Village while sipping a glass of red in one of their many bistros. The energy and pace of this fantastic city that will capture you heart immediately, the shopping is not bad either!