First Time in New York City? Here's 5 Things You Should Know

The sights and sounds of New York City drew in 52 million tourists in 2012. The reasons why the Big Apple is such a popular destination city include the desire to see internationally known landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and Times Square, as well as Broadway, New York’s world-renowned theatre district. If you are one of the tens of millions of people who will visit New York City’s landmarks this year, and it will be your first trip to ‘the city that never sleeps’, there are five things you should know before your arrival.


New York City has a reputation for being a crime-ridden community, however, NYC is considered to be one of the United States’ safest big cities. Its per capita violent crime rate is significantly lower than Houston, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Indianapolis, among others. If you follow the New York City police department’s safety tips while exploring the city, you will even further reduce your chance of becoming a victim of a crime.


New York City has a phenomenal public transportation system, including the MTA subway system. Maps are available from booth attendants, so if you’re adventurous, give it a try!

On the other hand, taxis in New York City are plentiful, dependable, and relatively inexpensive. If you don’t have the time or desire to take public transit, hop in a cab and the driver will know exactly where to go. Review the credentials of any cab you take, though, because there are approximately 10 taxi accidents reported every day in New York City, and in roughly 70% of all taxi accidents, injury or death results.

It is not at all advisable, however, to rent a car if this will be your first trip to New York City. Driving the streets is overwhelming for even the city’s professional drivers, and you would be at high risk of being involved in one of the city’s nearly 69,000 annual car accidents.

Free Activities

Any vacation can be expensive, especially in a cosmopolitan city like New York City. However, it’s still possible to vacation on a budget, as NYC has many free activities to engage in, many of which may surprise you. Of course, Central Park and Times Square are always free to visit, but some of the city’s most popular attractions that typically charge entrance fees, also sponsor days where admission is free to the public. Additionally, there are free guided tours available, including Grand Central Station.

Times Square

Speaking of Times Square, if you plan on visiting the area, and will be taking your family, be aware ahead of time that, while there is a lot to see, much of the street entertainment in Times Square is not family friendly. This includes many unlicensed costumed individuals who actively and aggressively seek tips, as well as models who wear nothing except body paint (which is legal in NYC). However, don’t let that dissuade you from Times Square altogether, as it is a definite must-see, especially for those who visit New York City for the theatre and drama it offers.

Get the Pass

If your ideal New York City trip involves seeing as much of the city as possible, invest in the 72-hour pass. It is a guided tour that takes you on a double decker bus around town. In a hop on-hop off style, you will not only be able to see many attractions, but the tour guides who narrate the trip provide a lot of wonderful history and information about each stop. Additionally, you are able to choose tickets to three to five of the attractions, including the Empire State Building, the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, and the Madison Square Garden all access tour.

New York City is a nonstop destination city that offers just about everything one could want in a vacation. It has world renowned theatre companies and museums, internationally recognized landmarks, and, if that’s not enough, the vibrancy of the city alone makes it appealing to the young and old alike. If you, too, are drawn to NYC keep safety in mind first and plan well ahead for each day of your visit. A vacation in the Big Apple should be something you remember forever, for all the right reasons.



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