Skip to Content

The Dos And Dont’s When Visiting New York City

The Dos And Dont’s When Visiting New York City

Last Updated on June 8, 2024

Visiting the Big Apple is a bucket-list destination for so many people around the world. Consequently, New York attracts millions of tourists every year with its fast-paced atmosphere, mesmerizing lights, skyscrapers and various activities. The Concrete Jungle definitely has a way of swallowing people up and taking all their cash if they don’t have street smarts. Knowing what to do in New York City, and what to avoid definitely pays off.

I want you to love NYC as much as I do, which is why I want to help you avoid getting scammed, or simply have a terrible time, so I’ve put together a list of the dos and dont’s that you should keep in mind when visiting The Big Apple.

I am going to be blunt here: New York City is an expensive place to visit, so you want to ensure that you get enough dollars for your dollars. Going through Crown Currency Exchange can help you get the best exchange rates when traveling abroad. Check them out before you head overseas.

The Dos And Don’t When Visiting New York City

1. Don’t Plan Too Much

Trying to cram as many activities into your schedule as possible will clutter your time in NY, make it feel rushed, and give you too little time to really enjoy the Big Apple. Try to keep it to a maximum of three activities in a day so you can pace yourself.

Downloading the Questo, or other apps like it, will give you suggestions for so many fun things to do during the day in New York. We’d suggest at least having a basic plan, especially if you’re indecisive, but piling things on the itinerary is not advised.

2. Do book the things you really want to do

If you have your eyes set on certain things that you really want to do, I recommend booking them in advance. Popular observation decks such as SUMMIT ONE do book up, top-rated restaurants also fill up quickly, and to ensure you get to visit the museum of your choice on the day of your choice, I also suggest booking a time slot.

Making reservations in advance doesn’t just ensure you’ll get to experience the places you’ve been dreaming of visiting, but it’ll also save you a lot of time. Long lines are a thing you’ll often encounter in NYC – this is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the entire world after all, and there are thousands of other people visiting the city at the same time as you, and many of them dream of visiting the exact same places.NYC the edge view2

3. Don’t pay for boat tours

New York City has various boat cruise tours and sightseeing cruises that allow you to get a beautiful view of the city from different angles from the water. These tours are not cheap, often costing more than $40. Instead, look for the Staten Island Ferry, a free ferry that goes past both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, offering fantastic views completely free of charge. And in addition to the iconic Statue Of Liberty, you’ll get to marvel at the Manhattan skyline from the water, showing you a completely different perspective of the island.

Another more affordable option to experience New York City from the water is the NYC Ferry. New York’s ferry system is quite expansive, ranging from South Brooklyn all the way up to the Bronx. In the summer months, you can take the ferry from Wall Street all the way down to the popular beaches of Queens: the Rockaways. My favorite ferry ride is the Astoria Ferry from 90th Street all the way down to Wall Street or vice versa, which lets you take in almost the entire length of Manhattan for only $4. Check out the ferry network map here to familiarize yourself with the various routes. staten island ferry

4. Do start a conversation with your taxi driver

The likelihood of you using a taxi in New York is high, and if movies have shown you anything, NY traffic is a whole other ball game. Expect moments of being stuck bumper-to-bumper. It would be pretty awkward to sit in a car of silence while you wait for traffic to pass, so instead, start a conversation with your taxi driver.

There’s a good chance they’ll initiate the conversation first; in that case, go along with the flow. Taxi drivers know where all the best deals and places to eat are – and they’re authentic local eateries, not overpriced tourist traps. Getting advice from them is a great way to get some fantastic recommendations for your trip.

4. Don’t get Ubers in rush hours

Catching an Uber is like second nature to us all now, but unless you plan on paying through-the-roof prices, don’t even think about touching that app during rush hours in New York. Trust me, sitting in traffic gets old really fast. Just think about the time you’re wasting and what you could be doing instead! Try doing things like a real New Yorker and take the subway – or even walking if your destination isn’t too far. The subway is easy to navigate, and GoogleMaps will be your best friend – so make sure to download the app before you head to NYC.

5.  Do visit visit Times Square

Going to New York and not visiting Times Square would be like going to London and not seeing Buckingham Palace or visiting Paris and not seeing the Louvre. It’s one of the most iconic New York things you can do. There’s just nothing that compares to the buzzing streets around Times Square, the lights, the billboards and the overall atmosphere. Be warned, it’s always jam-packed, which is why many people avoid going there (especially New Yorkers!), but it’s a place that you have to experience at least once. The flashing lights are especially impressive if you visit after dark, but if you want to avoid the crowds, visit in the early morning instead, when the city is just starting to wake up.

6. Don’t get scammed in Times Square

Even though I think that Times Square is a place that every visitor to NYC needs to see, I need to warn you: there are a lot of scammers in Times Square that try to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists. There are the people wearing costumes – you’ll see Minnie Mouse and Micky Mouse, the Incredible Hulk, King Kong, and all sorts of Marvel characters: but don’t even try to take their picture or you’ll be scammed out of $20 quicker than you can say “I Love New York”.

Then there are the fake monks who hand out friendship bracelets and then want a donation afterwards. People will chat you up and try to sell you tickets for comedy shows and all sorts of things, just be warned. My tip: Don’t talk to anyone, ignore all the hustlers, and just take in your surroundings. Since Times Square is packed with people most of the time, I also recommend having an eye on your belongings.

yellow cab on times square broadway

7. Do take the subway

The famous New York subway! Getting an Uber or even a taxi in NY can be very pricey, depending on the distance you’re going. Taking the subway is, in my opinion, so much better. It is a lot faster than taking a car (compare routes for cars and for public transportation on GoogleMaps if you don’t believe me!) since you’ll be going below all the clogged streets. It’s also a more cost-effective means of transportation, costing only $2.90 per ride. If you are worried about safety, let me assure you that I’ve always felt safe taking the subway in NYC, and I’ve lived here for ten years now. Along with me, over 4 million people take the subway every day!

8. Don’t just stay in Manhattan

New York City consists of five boroughs, but most visitors only get to know one: Manhattan. Let me tell you that there’s so much more to NYC than just Manhattan! I love Queens for its diverse food scene (take a food tour in Queens!), I adore Brooklyn for its many diverse neighborhoods, street art, waterfront parks with breathtaking Manhattan skyline views, and there are also places worth checking out on Staten Island and the Bronx, believe it or not! Look into the other neighborhoods as well, and add some spots outside of Manhattan to your itinerary.brooklyn bridge park

9. Do see a Broadway Show

Whether you’re a theater kid at heart or not, visiting New York is only complete with a visit to Broadway! There’s nothing quite like Broadway show – the productions are all spectacular! It can be difficult to decide which show to see – there are so many! Lion King, Wicked, Chicago, Moulin Rouge, Harry Potter and so many more … Do some research before you visit New York City and see which shows are playing while you’re in town.

Often, famous actors do stints on Broadway and you may be able to catch a show with your favorite actor! You can find an overview of all the musicals and plays currently playing on Broadway on the TodayTix website or app. And what’s even more awesome: You can also find great deals for theater tickets on TodayTix. Book your seats in advance, since popular shows often get fully booked, or you’ll end up with subpar seats.

Final Thoughts

New York is a giant city and has so much to offer. From visiting Central Park to touring the Empire State Building, you can spend weeks in The Big Apple and still not see everything there is to see! So before you go, plan your trip, do your research, and map out your visit, so that you’ll have a rough idea what you want to do each day. Do not over-plan though, and don’t try to cram in too much in your days – leave room for some spontaneity and also to just wander the streets and to sit in one of the many parks and people watch.