Top tips for first-time travelers to New York

Top tips for first-time travelers to New York

04/28/2016
With so many things to see, and so little time, it’s difficult to know where to start exploring the city you have always been secretly in love with. Times Square is, of course, THE place to visit when you are in New York, but the city can give you so much more than just that! It can overwhelm you with its almost infinite number of museums, sights, restaurants and other exiting places and venues. Many first-timers make the mistake of spending their precious time on the wrong things, or they go about seeing the city in the wrong way. We're going to help you avoid making common mistakes – such as eating at the wrong places, and spending your hard-earned money on the wrong things. If you're only in town for a few days, here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your trip.

The Empire State vs. Rockefeller Center 

There are more than 6,000 high-rise buildings in New York, and the view from each of them is simply breathtaking. The Empire State building is probably the most famous skyscraper for sightseers to visit in NY, but if you want to save some queuing time, head straight to Rockefeller Center (a.k.a Top of the Rock). Same view, less people, better ticket prices!

Photos taken by @dainisn.

Madison Square Garden a.k.a The Garden 

Don’t miss out on the chance to enjoy the famous Madison Square Garden indoor arena, also commonly called The Garden or MSG. Throughout the year you can catch many sporting events here, since MSG is home to such renown teams as the New York Rangers (NHL) and the New York Knicks (NBA), and it also hosts a myriad of entertaining performances and concerts by world-famous artists. Don’t forget to buy tickets online in advance, as they tend to sell out quickly.

 

The Late Shows in NYC 

New York is the home base for many American television shows that are filmed in front of live audiences, so be sure to check out if you can get tickets for any of them. If you are more into games and celebrities, NBC's The Tonight Show, starring Jimmy Fallon is your best choice; however, if you are more into politics and current affairs, CBS’s The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, or a taping of HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver would be a perfect addition to your afternoon. All tapings are usually free, however, check for ticket availability beforehand, as they tend to be reserved pretty quickly. Some shows also offer so-called “standby” seats, which means that you can get them by standing in the queue the same day the show is being recorded.

 

Manhattan neighborhoods

Stroll through the downtown neighbourhoods of Manhattan by visiting Little Italy and Chinatown. Both offer the possibility of tasting good local food, as well as the chance to meet people with strong roots to these countries. The ethnic Chinese population of Chinatown is estimated to be 90 – 100 thousand people, making it one of the oldest ethnic Chinese enclaves outside of China.

 

A walk on the High Line 

Imagine a linear park which is almost 2.4 kilometres long and winds around Manhattan. Inspired by a similar project in Paris, The High Line, also called High Line Park, has been built on an elevated section of a disused railroad. Don’t miss the chance to take a walk here and enjoy New York’s cityscape, all while being 6-10 metres up above the ground. Dive in and discover new things!

Photo taken by KGSImaging.

The Staten Island Ferry

Take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry, which departs from Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan. It works around the clock (24 hours a day), it’s completely free, and it travels between Manhattan and Staten Island, passing right by the Statue of Liberty and providing great views of the Manhattan skyline. But before getting on board check ferry schedules to be sure you'll get on time! 

 

The Heart of the City

This city is also known for its iconic Central Park, which is the most visited urban park in the United States. Many events take place here throughout the year, but it’s also just a wonderful place to escape from the city’s concrete-jungle atmosphere, or even to enjoy a nice picnic with your friends on a sunny afternoon. This is the only place in New York that makes you feel like you're not in a city. There's always something to see and enjoy!

Photo taken by @danaconroy.

The good old Brooklyn Bridge

Yet another icon of New York, the Brooklyn Bridge, is an unmissable landmark. Completed at the end of 19th century, it connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. It’s almost 500 metres long, and it was the first steel-wire suspension bridge ever constructed. Reserve some time to take a walk across the bridge, as cyclists and pedestrians have their own road above all of the cars and motorised traffic. 

 

Guide to a night out

If you think that New York's nightlife is exactly as portrayed in the famous Sex & the City television show, then you are absolutely correct! Chic, classy and energizing – here's a guide to a perfect night out in New York:

1. After a long day of sightseeing, it's time to dress up and explore the city as darkness falls. Your first stop should be at one of the finest sushi places in the world – “Kura”. By saying “finest”, we don't mean extravagant prices and an ultra-modern interior; the most important thing here is that the sushi is to die for! This fact is well known by many, therefore make sure to book your table in advance of your trip.

2. The “Mezzrow" Jazz & Blues club should be your next stop for the night. This small underground piano room is a perfect place to experience the vibes of jazzy New York. It sometimes can get quite crowded, and be prepared to pay a $20 cover fee. Worth a visit, though!

3. The cherry-on-top of your night out in New York will be the King Cole Bar in the St. Regis Hotel. It may not have the hippest interior design, but the movie The Devil Wears Prada was filmed here, and according to legend, the Bloody Mary cocktail was invented at this bar. The drinks are definitely worth a try (starting at $25 per cocktail).

Photos taken by @brightdays.j and @kevindiaz317.

We are practicing codeshare flights! What does it mean? It means that airBaltic has an agreement with other airlines, where one airline operates the flight and others issue tickets for it as if it were their own flight. This special flight to New York is operated by Uzbekistan Airways, and one way prices start at 389 EUR within these travel periods: December 24-June 9 and September 16 - December 11. Choose the best option for you and see “The Big Apple”.

Fly to "The Big Apple"!

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