Things to know before visiting New York City


New York, New York, it’s a hell of a town! There are so many songs about NYC, it appears in a whole host of Hollywood movies and TV shows, and it has a reputation as the city that never sleeps. That said, as amazing as it is, it can also be quite overwhelming, especially if you come from somewhere much smaller and quieter. So to help you out, here are some things you need to know before you visit New York City.

Using the subway

The subway is cheap and can get you pretty close to most places of interest. Don’t try to make conversation or eye contact with anyone on the subway – New Yorkers are not into it. Also, if you see an entirely empty train car when several others are packed, don’t think you’ve gotten lucky, as soon as you get on you will be able to see (or smell!) why.

Things to know before visiting New York City

How to get around

Of course, subways are an essential part of the travel system, but for getting around above the ground, there are some pretty specific rules. Don’t be the tourists that everyone hates – stopping randomly to take a picture or check a map isn’t great, so try to pull over to the side if you have to do that. Keep to the right as if you are driving on a highway. For the classic yellow cab experience, you actually don’t have to shout ‘taxi!’, just sticking your hand out will work fine. If the numbers on the top are lit up, it’s empty and can be hailed.

There’s more than just Times Square

Although Times Square is often the iconic scene that comes to mind when most people think of New York, there is so much more to see. Sure, head over, take some photos, marvel at the enormous billboards, but then be sure to go elsewhere to see everything else that is on offer – you’ll find there are more interesting things than Times Square, especially if you venture outside of Manhattan!

Go local

Don’t just eat at busy chain restaurants because you know what you’re getting. You will find it more rewarding to go somewhere that locals eat and try something new. Look for places further away from Times Square or other tourist attractions, and you won’t have to pay too much either. Do some research on where the locals eat for the best options.

Things to know before visiting New York City

Watch for scams

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and be scammed as a tourist. If you see people in costumes (usually pretty awful bootleg costumes!) avoid them like the plague! It might seem cute to get a photo but they will demand money afterward and can be pretty rude if you don’t cough up. If someone offers to sell you their mix CD or demo, as much as you might want to support an artist, don’t do it! These are often just blank CDs.

So now you know some top tips for NYC, you can enjoy the “concrete jungle where dreams are made” just like a native!