Guide to Getting Around New York City
Upon arriving in New York City, one of the first things you'll have to do is arrange for transportation. Since most people don't rent cars here, you'll need to take a Yellow Cab, use the coach buses, or call a car service. Transportation info may be found at the airport exits, near baggage claim.
Here are some street smart tips on getting around the Big Apple that'll allow you to confidently and easily traverse the city by yourself.
New York City is served by three outlying airports: JFK International Airport (JFK), the most popular airport in NYC; LaGuardia International Airport (LGA), the closest airport to Manhattan; and Newark International Airport (EWR), a cheaper, quieter alternative, located in New Jersey.
To learn more about airports in New York City, check out our NYC Airport Info page. Don't forget to look for cheap flights to New York City!
Taxis are the most convenient means of public transportation in New York City.
Taxis are the most convenient (and most expensive) means of public transportation in New York City. As of 2010, there are over 13,000 taxis operating in the Big Apple, not including the other 40,000 for-hire vehicles. For trips between Manhattan and JFK International Airport, the flat fare is $45 plus the cost of tolls.
- Don't know how to hail a cab in NYC? It's easy! Just look for the light on the roof, raise your arm, yell "Taxi!" and it's yours.
- Taxis are only allowed to carry a maximum of four passengers at one time: three in back and one up front. A small child can sit on the lap of a grown-up, if need be.
- Once you've hailed a cab, all you have to do is tell the driver where to go. It's a good idea to find out beforehand what cross streets are near your destination address (for example, the Guggenheim Museum's address is 1071 Fifth Avenue. That's between 88th and 89th Streets). See the Manhattan Address Locator.
- Your fare will be determined by the meter up front. Currently, fares begin at $2.50 and increase $0.40 every 1/5 mile. A $1 "peak hour" weekday surcharge applies on weekdays from 4pm to 8pm, and a $0.50 nighttime surcharge applies between 8pm and 6am. A 10 to 20% tip is customary.
If you're looking for an inexpensive way to get around New York City, consider riding the bus. It's cheap, and MetroCard passes may be used to transfer to the subway.
- Buses in NYC accept tokens, exact change, or MetroCards. They do not accept bills.
- MetroCard offers a one-day pass for $2.50 and a seven-day unlimited ride pass for $29. Passes can only be used by one person at a time.
- Ask for a free transfer to continue your travel on a connecting bus line from Uptown/Downtown to Crosstown and vice versa.
- In order to use the free transfer onto the subway, you must use the MetroCard.
- Confirm the number of your bus when it arrives, as several lines can run on the same street.
- Watch out for "Limited" lines - these are like express trains.
The New York City Subway System is one of the largest and most extensive rapid transit systems in the world.
The New York City Subway System is the second-oldest subway system in the United States and one of the largest and most extensive rapid transit systems in the world, with 468 stations in operation. If you're hoping to beat midtown traffic, you can't do better than the NYC Subway. Here are a few tips on riding the subway in NYC:
- Purchase a MetroCard in the subway station.
- Plan your route ahead of time. See our New York City Subway Map.
- Make sure you're standing on the correct side of the platform. Look for signs over the platform entrance steps.
- Don't get on an express line unless you know where it will stop.
Going Out in New York City
No doubt you're eager to begin exploring the city and visiting popular Manhattan attractions. Before you begin, though, take note of the following:
- After a day or two in New York City, you'll find that walking is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get around. If you plan on sightseeing in NY, wear comfortable shoes.
- Decide where you want to go beforehand. Find out where the popular NYC attractions are and group them by location. That way you'll spend less time traveling and more time exploring.
- To calculate distances in New York City, bear in mind that 20 avenue (north-south) or 10 street blocks (east-west) are equal to one mile. Note that this rule does not apply to parts of Greenwich Village and all of lower Manhattan. Even native New Yorkers are confused by these random street layouts!
Also, before you go exploring New York on foot, be sure to read our "street smart" safety tips!