Travel, USA

Going to NYC? Top 10 Things To Know Before You Go!

The Big Apple! There’s so much appeal to this lovely city and it’s easy to see why. With a city that never sleeps, a variety of activities, not to mention the diversity of people, it draws everyone to its center.

New York City is on everyone’s bucket list. I can see why! However, there’s so much in the big apple, it can be a bit overwhelming for those who are visiting for the first time. Being a native New Yorker, I’ve seen so many tourists who looked confused, who were lost, and didn’t know how to navigate their way around this city.

To help those who wish to travel to the city that never sleeps, here are my top 10 things you should know before you go to NYC.

1. Take note of preferred activities and their locations

There’s lots of places to visit, things to see and do in the city. It’s a lot and it’s easy to get carried away making a 5 page list. My tip to you is to make a short list of your top or preferred activities to do or places to visit. I’d also recommend writing down their location.

A lot of times, people don’t realize that certain activities or places where T.V. shows/movies were filmed aren’t in Manhattan. They were filmed in the other boroughs of New York City or upstate New York. So, you don’t want to make a huge list and not be able to get to that location.

If you’re visiting for a short period of time, do your research for things to see and do with their location to ensure you’re able to travel there. For example, if you want to see the staircase they used for the movie Joker, but you don’t want to leave Manhattan, maybe save those staircases for another time. (the staircase they used in the movie was filmed in the Bronx which is further away from Manhattan)

2. Get a Metro Card

I recommend you get a Metro card when you get to New York. It’s a card you load money onto and use to pay for the subway and buses. You can get a day pass, a regular card, or an unlimited card.

If you’re just visiting for a day or two, I’d recommend the day pass. When you’re visiting for about a week or more, I’d recommend getting a normal card you can easily refill. For longer stays, if you have about $100 or so to spend, the unlimited pass is the way to go. Most people have the regular metro card but having an unlimited (unlimited swipes to get in and out of buses/trains) is amazing to have if you’re traveling a lot.

3. Download the Transit app

I used this app all the time when I used to live in New York and I recommend you use it as well. It’s a transit app that shows you the nearest lines to you. You can also use it to map out your route or commute to a location.

It tells you what bus lines are near you, trains, and even when the ferry departs. The app also shows you when those modes of transportation arrive in minutes and I’ve found it to be very accurate. In a big city like New York, this app will be your best friend when it comes to navigating the subway and bus system.

4. Wear comfy shoes and clothing

When in NYC, walking is the way to go. Sure, you can take the bus or train to your destination. Unless you’re traveling from Brooklyn to Manhattan (some far distance basically), 9 times out of 10 you just walk. Almost everything in NYC is within walking distance.

If you walk, you’re getting great exercise and saving yourself some money when you’re not using your metro card! In addition, you get to experience more of New York by walking. With that being said, wear comfy shoes or sneakers and clothing. When you’re walking around all day, you’ll be thankful you had those memory foam sneakers and comfy pants to keep you going.

5. Don’t talk to strangers

You’re going to encounter a few characters in the city trying to hustle you or get you to give something. Don’t give them attention. Keep looking forward, don’t stop, keep walking.

6. Know what Uptown and Downtown means

This is something that confuses people visiting New York. When telling a tourist they have to go up or downtown to get to their location, it throws them off. Basically, when we say “uptown” or “downtown”, we mean you have to go either upwards or downwards in Manhattan.

Uptown is the upper part of Manhattan and downtown is the lower part. To give you a picture, think of like 14th St. to the Times Square area (42nd St.) or 59th St. as the midtown area. From there, if you go downtown that means you’re heading to places below 59th street. You’ll find the Whitehall South Ferry entrance in the downtown area near Bowling Green. If you go uptown, you’re going above 59th St. towards Harlem and beyond.

7. Support small or local businesses

There’s tons of small corner stores or bodegas, cafes, restaurants, and so on. Some of the best food and drinks you’ll ever have come from these local or small businesses. Instead of going to a chain restaurant or store, why not stop in one of these little shops and experience the true taste of New York while supporting local businesses.

8. Keep your things by your side

Although the crime rate overall has declined in NYC, you still have to be cautious of your surroundings and belongings. Take a crossbody bag, fanny pack, or something else that you can keep close to your body to avoid being pickpocketed or theft.

Even when you’re on the train, bus, or ferry you always need to have your things by you. Hold them in your lap, across your arms, or put them in between your legs in plain sight. Don’t put them off the the side, where you can’t see it, and chance someone stealing your things.

9. Most transportation runs 24/7

For the most part, buses, trains, and the Staten Island Ferry run 24/7. You’ll only find that a few lines stop running at particular times. This is convenient for your activities anytime of day.

10. Keep up with the crowd

New York is a pretty fast paced city. Its notorious for people walking very fast, weaving in and out of the crowds, to get to their destination.

I’ve seen this happen a lot with tourists, and my friends who’ve visited New York, where they walk real slow. Please keep up with the crowd so you don’t get stepped on.

Here are some of my other blog posts on New York! – New York City Farm Colony5 Fall Activities in New York