Whilst New York City is jam-packed with attractions, culture and history, it is also the unique vibration of this effervescent city that makes it so special and so attractive to the both visitors and the people that call it home. Here’s our guide to how you can best experience the atmosphere of the city and become a part of the action.

Cruise the Hudson

Sightseeing Cruises in New York City are one of the most popular and nicest things to do in the city, and they serve to provide visitors with a great overview of the city, as well as the chance to get their bearings. It’s possible to see most of the major sights along the Manhattan Skyline from the Hudson River, including the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Brooklyn Bridge, The Empire State Building and the Yankee Stadium – and you can learn more about these fascinating landmarks at the same time. One of the most established tour operators are Circle Line, who offer a variety of cruises lasting from 30 minutes to 3 hours.

Get on Your Bike

This is the best way to get to know the ‘real’ New York City. With the freedom of two wheels you can delve into the diverse neighbourhoods with ease and gain a deeper understanding of their culture and what life in the city is really like and just how this diversity contributes to the vibrant ambience of the city as a whole. For a breath of fresh air bike along the length of the Hudson River from Battery Park to the George Washington Bridge and stop at the myriad sites along the way.

Little Italy

Visit Little Italy in Manhattan for old-fashioned Italian charm, food, and ambience – and it’s all too easy to imagine yourself on the set of some gangster epic starring Al Pacino. There’s some great architecture here, as well as a wealth of shops selling fine Italian foods and fashions. Take the chance to eat here as the cuisine is about as authentically Italian as you can get outside of Italy itself. The best restaurants are situated along Mulberry Street where you can dine outside in good weather, and there are some excellent bakeries too. However if you find it a little too touristy for your tastes go off the beaten track to Little Italy in The Bronx which has a large genuine Italian population and is a little more gritty.

Central Park

Central Park may keep coming up as a place to visit, but as a way to rub shoulders with the locals it is an absolute must. It’s filled with free events, statues, flowers, lakes and sculptures – and it’s the perfect place to see how New Yorkers enjoy spending their leisure time. Why not take a picnic and make some new friends NY style?

Staten Island Ferry

The free Staten Island ferry may exist mainly for commuter convenience, but it’s also an iconic New York experience. The ferries are clean, regular and well organised with enough seating available that everyone can clearly observe the sights on this fantastic free ferry trip with excellent views. Take a ride from new Whitehall Terminal to Staten Island and enjoy the panoramic views of beautiful New York Harbour and Lower Manhattan. The ride takes about 25 minutes in either direction and ferries run as frequently as every 15 minutes – but do check the schedule.

Broadway

Trip the light fantastic on Broadway. Long synonymous with Theatres, Shows, Musicals, and Entertainment, this street has seen more stars tread the boards than almost anywhere else in the world. Attending a Broadway show is a quintessential New York City experience. The shows encompass everything – brash, glamorous, sensational, magical, emotional and much more. It’s an unbeatable evening’s entertainment.

Dine Like a Local

Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, New Yorkers know what they like and how they like it. Grab coffee and a bagel for a deli breakfast on the go to start your day of sightseeing. When lunchtime comes around nothing beats a slice of authentic NY pizza, but locals are also fond of food-trucks for quick bites like tacos and apple pie. For dinner it’s the done thing to dine late – most New York restaurants don’t fill up until around 8pm. If you can’t get a table don’t stress, eat at the bar for the same good food but better opportunities for people watching.