New York City Break

Lonely Planet Travel Editor Tom Hall is on a mission to discover 52 of the most awe-inspiring places to visit across the world. This week he delights in the 'ultimate' city of New York.

New York City

Rivals come and go but New York effortlessly remains the ultimate city. No year is complete without a long weekend or longer in the Big Apple, discovering new neighbourhoods and revisiting old haunts.

So much of New York is already familiar from films and other cultural cues. Visitors often feel instantly at home and thrilled just to be on the streets surrounded by hot-dog vendors, yellow cabs and locals yelling at you for doing what you shouldn’t.

Further exploration reveals a complex mega-city of ethnic enclaves and quirky neighbourhoods. Energetic commerce is everywhere and even in familiar hauntsm new restaurants, shops and bars seem to open daily.

What to see and do in New York

For most visitors New York means Manhattan. And while you should definitely ride a bike in Central Park, view the city from a mighty skyscraper and check out boutique shops in Greenwich Village, there are also four further-afield boroughs you should check out.

Each offers a different side of NYC – Brooklyn has a youthful, hipster buzz and Queens is home to many multicultural neighbourhoods. You’re most likely to visit the Bronx to see the Yankees play while Staten Island has a less stressy island vibe that’s perfect for a Sunday outing. Catch the free ferry from Lower Manhattan’s Whitehall Ferry Terminal. As soon as you step out of Manhattan you’ll leave the tourist trail – and also be rewarded with superb views of the skyline on your way back to the city.

Planning your visit to the Big Apple

New York’s wide selection of hotels cover a multitude of budgets, but a three star room under £100 a night is a novelty. Happily, eating and drinking needn’t cost much. How much you spend in the world’s best shopping city is up to you.

Further information

NYC Go has insider tips on all aspects of the city as well as up-to-date listings. For a taste of the history of New York, check out Forgotten NY.

© 2009 Lonely Planet Publications Pty Ltd