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New York City saw its tenth consecutive year of tourism growth leading into 2020, and despite a slight hiccup thanks to the pandemic, it will no doubt be at the top of many travelers’ lists once travel returns to normal.

Although international travel is down across the globe, residents of the U.S. are still heading here and enjoying New York’s many attractions without the usually large tourist crowds.

On a normal year, there would be well over 60 million tourists visiting the city. Now, families are enjoying taking to New York City’s streets to enjoy this once and a lifetime calmer side of the city.

New York City has always been a leader when it comes to art, fashion, food, and theater. It makes a perfect romantic escape, family getaway, or business destination. It’s a city that activates all your senses and has something for everyone.

The city’s businesses and attractions are taking serious steps to ensure visitor safety, encouraging you to come and see for yourself why New York City is still one of the best cities to visit. Here are just some of the reasons why the Big Apple will always be the apple of travelers’ eyes.

Why New York City is Still One of the Best Cities to Visit

NYC Hotels

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New York City is filled with hundreds of hotels, offering up by some estimates around 120,000 hotel rooms. Many NYC hotels have become attractions in their own right, several even making it onto the National Register of Historic Places.

While some of the notable luxury hotels often get a lot of the media attention such as The St. Regis, Four Seasons, and The Roosevelt Hotel, it is the smaller boutique hotels which are starting to grab the attention of today’s travelers who are looking for something new and unique.

Boutique hotels such as the Condor offer up their own private little urban gardens, free breakfast to kick-start your daily adventures, and is just minutes from Manhattan.

Hotels are a part of New York City’s social fabric, many having been featured in TV and film. Hollywood movie stars, sporting legends, presidents, and even royalty have all passed through the doors of many New York City hotels.

The city’s hotels offer up some of the best restaurants, bars, and entertainment New York has to offer and each of New York City’s five boroughs have their own distinct culture and attractions.

NYC Transportation

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Simply getting around NYC is one of the highlights and its public transport system makes it easy to take in all the attractions.  New York’s main airports John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia are serviced by direct flights from countless cities across both the U.S. and the world.

Over five million people take NYC public transport every day. The New York City Subway is regarded as the world’s largest subway system, with nearly 500 stations in total where both trained musicians and buskers put on daily performances for passengers. The city’s commuter rail system is the most extensive in the country.

NYC is also serviced by popular ferries such as the Staten Island Ferry which is the busiest in the nation, carrying nearly 20 million passengers every year. This free-to-use ferry runs 24 hours a day every day of the year, many hopping onboard simply for the views of the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan skyline it provides.

There are also water taxi services such as those provided by New York Water Taxi and Liberty Water Taxi which together services areas like Red Hook with its quirky bars, Liberty State Park, Liberty Island, and Ellis Island.

And of course how can you come to New York City and not hail an iconic yellow NYC taxi. IT is said that over 80% of the city’s cab drivers were born internationally, a symbol of New York City being the melting pot of the nation. There are also dollar vans which pick up and drop off passengers along a set route or you can opt for a pedicab ride when traffic is at a standstill.

Don’t forget to check out The Roosevelt Island Aerial Tramway as well. North America’s first commuter aerial tramway, it connects Roosevelt Island to Manhattan’s Upper East Side, taking you over the East River along the journey.

NYC Entertainment

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There’s always something to see or do in New York. No better place to start than Broadway where you can catch legendary plays like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child or musicals such as Hamilton. There’s also plenty of Off-Broadway theater to enjoy.

There are music gigs playing throughout the city nightly, covering genres like rock, electronica, hip-hop, and R&B. Catch big name acts at Madison Square Garden or discover rising talent in a pub or ballroom. Carnegie Hall with its incredible acoustics hosts everything from jazz to opera.

You can laugh your ass off with some comedy or improv via venues like the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre or catch a live taping of popular talk shows like Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

New York also offers up a vast array of nightclubs and cabarets, and it’s always entertaining simply to get lost in the flashing neon lights of Times Square. Notable annual events include the Tribeca Film Festival and the New Year’s Eve ball drop at Times Square.

Christmas offers up the Rockefeller Tree Lighting Ceremony as well as the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.

Sport lovers flock to NYC all year long thanks to New York’s many professional teams. NBA’s Brooklyn Nets play out of Barclays Center while the New York Knicks take to Madison Square Garden.

Catching a baseball game at Yankee Stadium is another must when in New York during the summer, while the fall/winter season sees the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets huddle up at MetLife Stadium. And I almost forgot to mention the annual U.S Open Tennis Tournament!

NYC Museums

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Whether you’re into paintings, sculpture, photography, or dinosaur bones, NYC has a museum for you. One of the most notable has to be The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the largest art museum in America, displaying works from nearly every European master and masterpieces that date back to ancient Egypt and Rome.

The Museum of Modern Art, known more affectionately as MoMa, proudly exhibits modern and contemporary art from greats like Salvador Dalí, Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Monet, and Van Gogh.

Meanwhile, the Guggenheim Museum is housed in the futuristic looking building designed by architect legend Frank Lloyd Wright, housing even more modern and contemporary art.

Straying from art, The American Museum of Natural History is where you want to be if you like standing beneath colossal dinosaur skeletons. There are rooms and rooms full of animal specimens and exhibits that relate to human cultures. Meanwhile, the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum houses fighter planes and nuclear submarines.

Learn about the early immigrants who called NYC home at the Tenement Museum, let your child’s imagination run wild at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, or pay tribute to those that lost their lives in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

There’s even a museum dedicated to NYC’s skyscrapers and the Museum of Sex with its aphrodisiac-themed cafe which is sure to make you blush. Find even more wild action at the zoos in Central Park and the Bronx.

NYC Food

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New York’s melting pot culture equates to almost every ethnic cuisine under the sun being served up somewhere in the city. Each borough swears by their local favorite restaurants and street vendors, and the best time to sample a vast array of local dishes is during New York Restaurant Week which is held once each summer and winter.

Streets are always lined with food vendors and there’s a coffee shop on nearly every corner. Wake up with a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich (known locally as a BEC), and later watch the sunset as you drink a cocktail from a rooftop bar.

Most popular dishes people continually come to NYC for are Katz’s Delicatessen’s pastrami and rye sandwiches, New York style pizza and hot dogs, Middle Eastern falafel, and deliciously sweet New York-style cheesecake which is exceptional at Junior’s.

NYC Shopping

When it comes to working off all that food, you can easily burn some calories shopping. NYC is overflowing with malls and boutique stores; Fifth Avenue is of course the epicenter of New York’s luxury shopping.

Consistently regarded as one of the most expensive shopping streets in the world, Fifth Avenue is home to Tiffany & Co., Gucci, Rolex, De Beers, Lindt Chocolate Shop, and the gigantic luminous glass cube that is the Apple Store.

Meanwhile, over in SoHo, there’s something for everyone, making it one of the best spots in downtown Manhattan to shop. Unique shops can be found in the more contemporary

Meatpacking District, and Greenwich Village is another great spot to spend some hard earned cash. If you don’t mind a bit of chaos and shopping amongst hordes of tourists, Herald Square is another top spot to score some loot.

As you can see, there are countless reasons why travelers continue to make New York City their number one travel destinations. Whether you’re a foodie, shopaholic, history buff, or simply enjoy non-stop entertainment, the big apple will definitely soothe whatever craving you are having.

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 100+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



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