Manhattan is only one part of New York City, but it contains so many things to do and places to eat that visiting Manhattan can be overwhelming for first timers.
We’ve put together this handy infographic travel guide to Manhattan so you know where to start when planning your New York City vacation. These are not only some of the top things to do, see, taste and drink in Manhattan, they are also some of my personal favorites.
If you do it right, each time you visit Manhattan you can explore a new area and get to know a new part of the city. Each neighborhood in New York City is unique and different, with plenty of things to keep you busy.
You’ll want to save time to see as much of the city as possible on your visit. Luckily, it’s very easy to get around the city, either on foot, on the subway, or by taxi.
For this reason, it isn’t recommended to drive a car into the city. The bridges into the city each have a large toll to pay, and parking can be both expensive and a nightmare to find. Instead, plan your itinerary with walking and subway as the plan.
What to Do in Manhattan
Whenever I visit New York City, I try to visit different neighborhoods to explore something new, but there are certain things I do every time. I always see a Broadway show, take a walk through Central Park, and eat bagels.
One of my favorite neighborhoods is Greenwich Village, with its tree-lined streets and plethora of great cafes, restaurants, and bars. Chelsea is also a favorite, not only because it’s home to the Highline and Chelsea Market.
If it’s your first time visiting New York, you also don’t want to miss the chance to visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Stroll around Rockefeller Center and go to the top of the Empire State Building.
You want to plan ahead and book some of the activities that we’ve mentioned in this guide, we’ll make it easy on you. Here are a few of our favorite Viator and GetYourGuide tours:
- Statue of Liberty and 9/11 Memorial with World Trade Center Area Walking Tour – book here
- Private New York Walking Tour with a Personal Photographer – book here
- Horse Drawn Carriage Ride in Central Park – book here
- TV and Movie Locations Tour with Official NBC Studios Tour – book here
- New York Three Neighborhood Food Tour – book here
And don’t forget your New York CityPASS
Tours to Book:
Where to Stay in New York City
If you don’t know the city well, I recommend staying in Midtown so you can easily get to all parts of the city. Stay near a subway stop so you can get around easily. Don’t be tempted to stay in Times Square, it doesn’t give you an accurate picture of how charming New York City can be and it can be really noisy and crowded.
If you haven’t tried Airbnb yet, there are some really great options from Superhosts that can offer a more comfortable, feel-at-home, experience than a hotel.
Here are a few of our recommended hotels. You can read reviews of book directly through any of these links (they are affiliate links, and help us keep the lights on around here):
- The Quin – luxury boutique hotel near Central Park with a bar/lounge, renovated rooms and nice bathrooms ⇒ Read reviews | Book here
- Kimpton Hotel Eventi – Luxury boutique spa hotel in Chelsea. The location and the hotel itself is very impressive ⇒Read reviews | Book here
- Intercontinental The Barclay – Located in midtown, near Grand Central, in a historic building, this is an impressive hotel with modern design ⇒ Read reviews | Book here
Need more options? Check out these Hotels in New York, New York
Travel Guide to New York City
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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.