Travel Tips | 7 minutes

Your Guide to the Boroughs of New York

When one thinks of Manhattan, what immediately comes to mind are the towering skyscrapers like the Empire State Building and One World Trade and the bright lights of Times Square. While Manhattan has plenty to offer, there are 4 other boroughs of New York waiting to be explored – Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Staten Island – that each have their own unique identities.

Manhattan is a great home base and via public transportation, the other boroughs are easily accessible from wherever you may be staying. All you need is a metro card and a game plan. So if you are looking to stretch your legs and venture outside of Manhattan, here are a few ideas.

Queens

If you are landing at John F Kennedy International Airport, you’re already in Queens, so why not make the most of it? Queens sits just east of Manhattan and is the largest of the five boroughs. It’s the most ethnically diverse county in the entire United States, with over 800 different languages spoken.

Simply…go for the food 

Its multicultural landscape directly reflects on its cuisine so you can’t go wrong with your food choices in this New York City borough. Astoria, Queens has some of the best Greek food you will find outside of Greece, the Chinatown in Flushing, Queens is unmatched and a bit more concentrated and vibrant than its Manhattan cousin when it comes to its various Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cuisine options, and Jackson Heights, Queens will offer you some of the best Indian, Nepalese, and Tibetan options.

Rockaway Beach

Queens loops down and around Brooklyn and this little oasis is one of the largest urban beaches in the United States. When you’re there, you will simply not believe that this is New York. This little slice of New York City paradise has a friendly vibe, a cool art scene, and you can grab some of the best tacos you will find in all of New York.

MoMA PS1

This is a sister museum of the famous Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) located in midtown Manhattan (which if you’ve never been, I would highly recommend checking it out).

MoMA PS1 is a huge exhibition space in Long Island City, Queens devoted solely to contemporary art. If you fancy a bit of unique and top-notch art, then this is surely a place to get to with 14 long-term installations (some that have been on display since the 1970s) and new and exciting exhibitions always rolling in. Like the MoMA, this is a non-profit art museum, but there is a suggested entry fee of $10 to support the space.

Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Bridge 

Honestly, one of the best things about Brooklyn is the way you can get there from Manhattan. Walking along the Brooklyn Bridge over the East River is a little over a 2km walk and the photo opportunities are unparalleled. Access is 24 hours, but the view at sunset is particularly magical because you can see Manhattan, Brooklyn, as well as the Statue of Liberty all at once, and watch as the lights of the city illuminate. After, head down to Brooklyn Bridge Park if you fancy a rest or a picnic or over to the famous Grimaldi’s for a pizza as a reward for your walk.

Smorgasburg

Have a bit of fun with your food choices and at this seasonal outdoor foodie market. Smorgasburg offers over 100 local food vendors and the best views of downtown Manhattan. It is open from 11:00 – 17:00 on Saturdays in Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s East River Park and on Sundays in Prospect Park, Brooklyn from April-October. Here, you can try some fan-favourites like a spaghetti doughnut, egg waffle ice-cream cone, or a ramen burger and experience the most unique menu items from various New York eateries. After, you can take a walk about Brooklyn, which offers some of the very best vintage shopping and flea markets in New York.

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

This 52 acre urban botanic landscape is located in Prospect Park, Brooklyn and provides a pleasant break from the hustle and bustle of the city. The entire complex boasts over 14,000 different plant classifications and an impressive domed glass conservatory. Admission is $15 for adults, but admission is free on Fridays mornings from 8AM – noon from March through November. After, you can head next door to the must-visit Brooklyn Museum, or continue your nice stroll into Prospect Park.

DUMBO, Brooklyn

DUMBO – meaning “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass” is a neighbourhood in Brooklyn, New York. Here, you can get one of the most iconic New York photo opportunities. At the end of Washington Street, you can see the Empire State Building framed in the supports of the Manhattan Bridge. Chances are high that here you will see some wedding photos being taken or maybe witness a proposal.

Make sure you get your photo and then head to the East River to take a ride on Jane’s Carousel, a gorgeous century-old refurbished carousel. If you happen to go on a Sunday between April and October, make sure you check out Brooklyn Flea to find unique clothing, vintage memorabilia, and old records to feel like a true Brooklynite. DUMBO is also arguably one of the best places to get a pizza from places like Juliana’s or for something sweet when you head to Jacques Torres Chocolate store and factory – the very first location that the famous chocolatier opened in New York.

Brooklyn Brewery

If you fancy a pint, make sure that you have Brooklyn Brewery on your itinerary. Brooklyn Brewery is located on the north side of Brooklyn and is one of the most recognized craft beer brands in the United States and are the #1 craft beer brand in New York City. You can visit their Tasting Room or schedule a Small Batch Tour for $18.

The Bronx

Bronx Zoo

The Bronx Zoo is the largest urban zoo in the United States and home to over 6,000 animals. The Bronx River runs right through the 265-acre complex and there are various attractions such as the Himalayan Highlands, Congo Gorilla Forest, and the World of Reptiles among others. Tickets for adults are $36.95 each.

Arthur Avenue – The Little Italy of the Bronx 

When you ask where Little Italy is in New York City, you will most likely be directed to downtown Manhattan by Mulberry Street. But go north of Manhattan and you have found the true gem that is less of a tourist trap. Little Italy on Arthur Avenue in the Belmont neighbourhood in the Bronx may not be as well-known, but it sure is worth getting to know.

The entire neighbourhood artefacts with restaurants, markets, and bakeries. It is a food-lover and carboholic’s dream. Trust us, if you are looking for the best Italian food in any borough, head to the Bronx. I recommend Enzo’s for an old-school Italian eatery vibe. There are also of plenty of Arthur Avenue food tour options, where you can visit cheese shops, butcher shops, bakeries, and taste all that Little Italy in the Bronx has to offer.

Yankee Stadium

If you are looking to experience one of America’s most famous and celebrated pastimes, head to Yankee Stadium to watch a baseball game. Home to the New York Yankees, one of the most decorated Major League Baseball teams in history, Yankee Stadium is one of the most iconic places in New York. This is a local favourite, so booking tickets in advance through the box office might be your best bet. You can take the chance and buy them from the stadium upon arrival, but availability depends on who the Yankees are playing against that day.

Don’t fancy baseball? Head to Yankee Stadium to catch a football match! Major League Soccer’s New York City Football Club (NYCFC) play their home matches at Yankee Stadium. And if you’d like to learn a bit of history about the Yankees and the stadium, tours of the complex are offered as well. Prices vary based on your choice of tour. Some options are a 1 hour long Classic Tour for $20 per person where you may be able to step foot in some of the most famous parts of the stadium including the dugout and press box, or a “Hands on History” tour for $125 per person where you can hold famous Yankees artifacts like Babe Ruth’s bat, Derek Jeter’s jersey, and a World Series ring.

Staten Island

The Staten Island Ferry 

Staten Island may be the most underrated of New York City’s boroughs, but as the starting line of the famous New York City marathon, you know it has many things to offer! One of the best things about Staten Island is the way that you can get there. The Staten Island Ferry is essentially a free New York Harbour cruise! This is undoubtedly one of the best bargains you will find in New York City and it will surely be unforgettable. It leaves from the very tip of Manhattan from Whitehall Terminal every half hour. The 25-minute ferry ride will offer you stunning views of lower Manhattan, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, Governor’s Island, and Brooklyn.

North Shore Waterfront Esplanade and 9/11 Memorial

Here, you will experience sprawling views of the Manhattan skyline and can walk down to the 9/11 Memorial which pays homage to those Staten Islanders who lost their lives in the attacks. There is also a high-end retail outlet opening in the near future along the waterfront as well!

5 boroughs means 5 times as many things that you can fill your New York holiday itinerary with! Are you tempted to visit and explore all things New York? 

Click&Go Travel Podcast on New York


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