Statue of Libtery, New York

Best Time to Visit New York City - Full Month by Month Guide

New York is one of the world's most iconic cities – with its instantly recognizable views, world-famous museums and galleries, colorful neighborhoods, countless events, and the beautiful open spaces of Central Park. With so many sights and things to do, it is important to know the best time to visit NYC.

The best time to visit New York is from April to May or September to November. The weather is perfect for exploring Manhattan on foot or walking through Central Park, and there are plenty of events and festivals. It's also not as expensive as the peak summer months.

Whether you want to deep-dive into the city's impressive museums, hit the fabulous foodie scene, or immerse yourself in an unforgettable Broadway experience, keep on reading to find out more about what makes each season in New York so special and to help decide when to take your trip.

When should you go to New York City?

New York is a popular destination all year round, and you'll find plenty to enjoy whatever time of year you visit. The major attractions remain accessible, with dozens of festivals and other events, meaning that you can look out for new experiences even if you've visited the city before.

The seasonal weather changes and the busy peak season can make for a very different experience throughout the year. The city is cheaper and less crowded in January and February, and you can take advantage of 2-for-1 tickets to some attractions and shows, too. Many visitors prefer to wait for warmer spring days, though, when you can spend more time outside.

Fall is a popular time to visit as the weather stays relatively warm through October, and you can combine visits to city attractions with walks through Central Park in its stunning seasonal foliage.

From Thanksgiving to New Year, visitors flock to NYC's festive parades and events. The city is packed full of festive decorations, and you might also get lucky and catch Central Park in the snow for the ultimate in seasonal charm.

It's also a really popular destination during the summer vacation – this is more because it's a convenient time to travel than anything else – unless you want to see a specific seasonal event, then there's no particular reason to visit in the hot, humid NYC summer.

New York City, USA with an aerial view of Manhattan skyline at sunset.

When to visit New York City - Summary

Best Time for Good Weather: Spring and fall see the best weather for exploring the city. Both seasons are mild, so it's no problem to spend time outdoors - although rain is possible throughout the year - and you can often enjoy bright spring blossoms or glorious fall colors under a beautiful blue sky. In contrast, the city can feel very hot in summer, amplified by the intense humidity New York is famous for. It often snows in NYC between December and February, and low temperatures mean you'll have to wrap up warm, so this won't be everyone's preferred time to visit.

Best Time for Saving Money: If you're willing to brave the wintery weather, you can save money on a January trip. Thanks to NYC Must-See Week and NYC Broadway Week, you can get 2-for-1 tickets to top attractions and shows. NYC Restaurant Week also takes place in January, so you can enjoy fixed-price menus at some of the city's top establishments. Hotels and flights are often at their cheapest in January, too. If the cold puts you off, Broadway Week returns for a second run in September!

Best Time for Restaurants: NYC Restaurant Week in January cuts the cost of touring some of the city's top establishments, so it's a great time to visit if you don't mind wrapping up warm. Later in the year, there's also the International Food Festival in May, which takes place on Ninth Street, the Big Apple BBQ Party at Madison Square Park in June, and a big Oktoberfest celebration. Don't worry if you can't make it to the city for any of the main foodie events - there's never really a bad time of year to indulge in New York's culinary scene, and any time between April and October, you can also head across to Brooklyn to visit Smorgasburg, the huge weekly open-air food market.

Beautiful colorful spring flowers with the famous Gapstow Bridge in the distance

Best Time for Families and Kids: If you're on spring break in April, then NYC is a great destination, as the weather should be good enough to spend time outside. The spring flowers in Central Park will be blooming, so head there to run off some energy and check out Central Park Zoo. The holiday season in November and December can also be a fabulous time for families to visit. Book a trip to Santaland at Macy's, where you might be lucky enough to get a slot to meet Santa himself. As we've mentioned, summer gets extremely hot, so it's not the ideal time to bring young children to New York, but you can enjoy the 4th of July fireworks or fit in a day trip to the beach at Coney Island or Jersey Shore - perfect if you need a break from quieter indoor attractions.

Best Time for Concerts and Live Music: In early summer, you can enjoy a huge range of outdoor concerts, including a free series by the New York Philharmonic in June, plus Shakespeare in the Park. There's a varied program of events at Summer at Lincoln Center in July, plus Broadway in Bryant Park performances. Highlights at other times of year include military bands and other live events at the Intrepid Museum during May's Fleet Week, with the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival taking place in August.

Best time to Avoid Crowds: January and February are the quietest times to visit the city. If you'd prefer to get the best combination of weather and crowds, then early May or November might be better. They're still popular times to visit the city, but just outside the main visitor peaks.

Best time to visit New York City

One of the great things about New York is that you can shape your visit to suit you and your travel companions. Whether you're in the city to shop, sightsee, or check out some of the world's coolest bars, there's something for everyone in NYC.

Best time to visit New York City for shopping

NYC is legendary for its department stores and boutiques, so whenever you visit, you can shop until you drop. On certain days in August, Summer Streets sees closures on Park Avenue, making it easier to enjoy this shopping mecca on foot.

For a different experience, seasonal farmers markets spring up across the city in October, including New York Botanical Gardens (Wednesdays) and the organic rooftop farm at Brooklyn Grange (Sundays).

Flagship store on busy crossroads in New York, with a big red and white sign that reads "The World's Largest Store"

Shopping in New York's huge department stores can be a spectacular experience in the run-up to Christmas. Macy's Herald Square puts on an unforgettable display, including beautifully dressed windows and the lavish Santaland.

Wrap up your day with a trip to Bryant Park Winter Village, where you'll find more than 100 kiosks showcasing small makers and boutique brands, followed by a spin on the iconic ice rink in Bryant Park.

Roll forward a few weeks, and many of the major department stores have huge sales as they head into the new year. Led by the big stores, big sales usually run at other points in the year, aligning with major holidays, including Memorial Day weekend (late May), Independence Day (4th July), Labor Day (early September), and of course Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Best time to visit New York City for museums

New York is home to some of the world's best museums, with extensive and varied collections that you can often explore on an informative guided tour if you want to learn a little more about what you're seeing.

The downside to this is that they can often be very crowded since New York residents, tourists, and school groups all visit in high numbers. With fewer people visiting the city in January and February, the museums are usually a little quieter, and they're a great way to escape the cold.

Several museums also participate in January's NYC Must See Week, including MoMA and the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum - check online for details of 2-for-1 tickets.

For another chance to visit for free, head to the Upper East Side Museums in June for the Museum Mile Festival. For one night only, Fifth Avenue museums, including the Met, the Jewish Museum, the Smithsonian Design Museum, and the Africa Center, open up for free.

It's only a short event, so you won't be able to see any of the museums in depth, but with live music and other entertainment in the surrounding streets, it's an interesting way to get a taste of some of the world's best museums.

Come September, when the summer vacation period ends, many museums, galleries, and theaters launch new exhibitions, events, and shows after Labor Day. If you want to be the first to see new displays or catch the informative events that often accompany the opening weeks of an exhibition, then this is a great time to schedule your trip.

The facade of the famous museum in New York City on a sunny day without people

Best time to visit New York City to explore its neighborhoods?

Manhattan is famous for its diverse neighborhoods, which include Midtown, the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Hell's Kitchen, Greenwich Village, the Meatpacking District, and Chelsea. Plus, there are some great places to explore in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.

NYC is a great place to explore on foot - you can really feel the differences between the neighborhoods this way - so we'd suggest visiting during spring and fall when the weather is best for spending time outdoors.

Throughout the year, events take place that let you experience a neighborhood at its best, and these are also great times to visit. In June, you can see the Coney Island Mermaid Parade - a really unique celebration - or catch the annual Pride March at the end of the month.

You'll also find a host of linked events taking place across Greenwich Village. Later in the summer, Harlem Week is a 10-day event in August that includes live music and varied events to celebrate the neighborhood's multicultural community.

Little Italy is a must-see in September, when San Gennaro Festival brings elaborate parades, live music, foodie celebrations and even a meatball eating contest.

Head back to Greenwich Village at Halloween for the biggest Halloween parade in the world. Come in costume, and you can join in – no registration is (currently) required.

Best time to visit New York City for events and festivals?

New York City is famous for its parades and multicultural events – with so many taking place throughout the year, you have a good chance of being able to see one during your trip.

The festival year kicks off in late January or February with Lunar New Year. Events take place across Chinatown and the spectacular parade runs between Mott Street and Manhattan Bridge.

You can also see colorful parades if you're visiting over St Patrick's Day in March or Easter, when a parade of beautiful bonnets heads along 5th Avenue towards Central Park.

The city's large Mexican population celebrates Cinco de Mayo in style in May. There are celebrations across the city, but one of the main events is the parade, which runs near the northern end of Central Park.

If you're in the city over the Memorial Day holiday at the end of the month, head to Flushing, Queens, for the largest Memorial Day celebrations.

Held in Brooklyn in September, there's a huge celebration of Caribbean culture to coincide with Labor Day, which includes the famous West Indian Day Parade. And, of course, to round up the year, you have the huge Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, which is always a major event in the city.

There are several arts festivals throughout the year for a culture fix during your trip. Some of the biggest are the Tribeca Film Festival in April, the Queens World Film Festival in June, and September's Brooklyn Book Festival.

Best time to visit New York City for sightseeing?

We've already mentioned the hot-and-cold New York climate, which can really impact your sightseeing experience. For most people, a trip to New York will be packed full of unforgettable experiences despite the season, so it's often a case of packing for the time of year.

Tourist boat near the Statue of Liberty on a sunny day with some clouds

Even so, you can enjoy some parts of the city more easily at certain times of the year. Central Park is stunning in the spring and fall, when you can enjoy long, relaxed walks, stop to watch a street performer in the sunshine, and enjoy iconic views of the city and its famous green space.

To appreciate the Manhattan skyline at its best, an evening boat trip is an amazing addition to a city break, but visit in late spring or early fall so that the temperatures stay pleasant even after sunset.

Worst time to visit New York City

As you've already discovered, July and August are hot, humid and crowded, plus you'll run the gauntlet of sudden summer rain storms.

Since it's such a popular destination for families during the school vacation, hotel rates, and flight prices are even higher than at other times of the year. You're likely to pay a premium if you opt to stay in one of the few hotels, especially if you are after one with a pool.

We'd recommend taking a trip at other times of the year if you have the option, but if you do find yourself heading to the Big Apple in the hot summer months, you'll still be able to enjoy all of the city's main attractions. Just make sure you add in extra stops to cool down and stay hydrated.

New York travel seasons

Yellow cabs driving through New York's Times Square with advertising billboards and bright lights all around.

High Season for Tourists

Summer is peak season in New York, but although there are plenty of festivals and events to enjoy, it's not necessarily the best time to visit the city if you have other options.

The heat and humidity can get in the way of enjoying the city at its best; many of the attractions are very crowded, and hotel prices are at their highest.

Shoulder Seasons

Shoulder seasons are spring and fall, which, in our view, are the best seasons to visit NYC. Temperatures in April and May, and from September to November, are perfect for exploring the city. Plus, crowds are lower, and there are sometimes better prices on hotels.

Low season is January and February, mainly due to the colder weather and the fact that all the fabulous holiday displays have just closed down for another year.

It's the cheapest time to visit the city, and you'll still have a great time, but you'll be able to enjoy more of the city's outdoor attractions at other times of year.

Weather in New York City across the year

Average monthly temperature and rainfall for new york, new york city weather by month.

  • New York City weather in January: January is the coldest month of the year, with temperatures dropping as low as 26 degrees Fahrenheit. There are an average of 4 snowy days throughout the month, with over 8 inches of snow expected. It's down to luck whether it's heavy enough to turn the city into an Insta-friendly winter wonderland. The average high temperature is a chilly 39 degrees Fahrenheit so pack accordingly.
  • New York City weather in February: February sees the least rainfall, on average, but makes up for that by being the snowiest month in NYC. Heavy snowstorms are possible, and if you're not used to these conditions, it's important to check for local advisories. Even if it doesn't snow, February is cold, with average lows of 29 degrees. In fact, it's possible for temperatures to drop much lower throughout the winter – so check the forecast before you travel in case you need to pack extra layers for a super-cold snap.
  • New York City weather in March: The temperature starts to rise in March, with average highs up to 52 degrees Fahrenheit and average lows now hovering just above freezing. There's still a small chance of snow, but you're much more likely to encounter rain. Between March and December, average rainfall sits consistently between 4.1 and 4.6 inches.
  • New York City weather in April: Although there's still a very slim chance of snow if you catch a late cold spell, April is usually a much warmer month. The average high temperature is 64 degrees, but if you're lucky, it can peak at around 10 degrees higher still. The nights will still feel much cooler, so pack accordingly.
  • New York City weather in May: May is usually one of the best times to visit NYC for the weather. The average temperature is a very pleasant 72 degrees, which you can often enjoy under a clear blue sky. It's still a little unpredictable – there are often cooler days and, as summer approaches, higher temperatures are possible too.
  • New York City weather in June: By June, the NYC summer will be starting to take hold. The temperature sits around 80 degrees Fahrenheit but can feel much warmer when you factor in the warming effect of being in such a built-up environment. Thunderstorms are possible, but so are cooler periods when the temperature drops.

People having picnics and sitting on the grass with the skyscrapers of NYC in the background on a summer day

  • New York City weather in July: July is hot and humid in NYC, with temperatures often exceeding 90 degrees. If a heatwave is going to hit, it's most likely to be in July, so be prepared for several days of non-stop sweltering weather. Across the month, there's an average total rainfall of 4.6 inches, but the daily rainfall is very small – it's the chance of a sudden and heavy thunderstorm, which increases the average!
  • New York City weather in August: The average August temperature remains around 84 degrees, which can still feel very uncomfortable. Fortunately, the chances of a heatwave are lower in August compared to July. Night-time temperatures stay high, which can make it difficult to sleep if you're staying in accommodation without air conditioning.
  • New York City weather in September: As fall approaches, temperatures decrease during September. The average daytime high is 76 degrees Fahrenheit, but this will be closer to 70 degrees by the end of the month, and summer thunderstorms evolve into a few days of persistent rain. Night time temperatures will be much more comfortable by the end of September.
  • New York City weather in October: With an average daytime temperature of 64 degrees, October can be a very pleasant time to visit New York. The evenings are cooler, as you might expect, but rarely fall below 50 degrees. There's a much higher chance of rain getting in the way of your plans, and with the falling temperatures, rainy days will feel much cooler at this time of year.
  • New York City weather in November: Daytime highs of 55 degrees Fahrenheit mean you can often enjoy time outdoors all through November. There's a very low chance of snow, although early wintery spells can make the temperatures drop much lower.
  • New York City weather in December: The weather in December is variable so it's best to plan for some indoor activities during your stay. Some days will be bright and mild, with temperatures occasionally reaching well beyond the average high of 44 degrees. There's also a chance that you'll end up visiting during an early cold spell - temperatures can fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, particularly later in the month, and there's the first significant chance of snow.

New York City events and things to do by month

January in new york city.

  • Holiday Train Show at New York Botanical Garden : This enchanting show features model trains navigating through a miniature landscape of over 175 New York landmarks, all made from natural materials like bark and leaves.
  • Winter Jazzfest : A musical extravaganza that showcases a wide array of jazz talents, this festival spans multiple venues and features both established jazz icons and emerging artists.

February in New York City

  • Broadway Week : Occurring twice a year, this event offers theater enthusiasts two-for-one ticket deals to some of the most famous Broadway shows, making high-quality theater more accessible.
  • New York Fashion Week : Also happening biannually, this prestigious event in the fashion world brings together designers, models, and fashion enthusiasts to showcase the latest trends and collections.

March in New York City

  • St Patrick's Day Parade : This vibrant parade celebrates Irish culture and heritage, featuring marching bands, dancers, and floats, and attracts millions of spectators each year.

St Patrick's Day Parade participants, dressed in green traditional clothes, man holding up a puppet

April in New York City

  • Tribeca Film Festival : Renowned for its diverse film programming, this festival celebrates independent filmmaking and features screenings, panel discussions, and artist talks.

May in New York City

  • Ninth Avenue International Food Festival : A culinary delight, this festival offers a taste of international cuisines from local restaurants along Ninth Avenue, along with music and entertainment.
  • Bronx Week : This week-long celebration highlights the culture, history, and community spirit of the Bronx, featuring concerts, parades, and various community events.

June in New York City

  • Museum Mile Festival : This cultural festival offers free access to some of the world's most prestigious museums along Fifth Avenue for an evening of art, music, and entertainment.
  • NYC Pride Month : A month-long celebration of LGBTQ+ pride, featuring parades, parties, and educational events, culminating in the famous Pride March.
  • Queens World Film Festival : Celebrating independent filmmaking, this festival showcases a diverse range of films and filmmakers from around the globe.

July in New York City

  • The Giglio Feast : A traditional Italian festival featuring religious processions, live music, and a variety of food, celebrated in honor of Saint Paulinus.
  • Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks : One of the nation's largest Independence Day fireworks displays, set against the backdrop of the New York City skyline.
  • US Open Tennis Championships : A major event in the tennis world, attracting top players from around the globe to compete in one of the sport's most prestigious tournaments.

Six fireworks in red, blue and white during Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks

August in New York City

  • Harlem Week : A celebration of Harlem's rich culture and history, featuring music performances, art exhibitions, and educational events.
  • Lincoln Center Summer Festival : An arts festival showcasing a variety of performances, including music, dance, and theater in the heart of New York City.

September in New York City

  • Feast of San Gennaro : An 11-day street fair celebrating Italian-American culture, featuring religious processions, food vendors, and live music.
  • New York Fashion Week : The second occurrence of this world-renowned fashion event, showcasing the latest collections from top designers.
  • Brooklyn Americana Music Festival : A festival dedicated to Americana music, featuring local and national artists performing folk, country, blues, and roots music.
  • Broadway Week : The second occurrence of this biannual event, offering two-for-one ticket deals for Broadway shows.

October in New York City

  • New York Comic Con : A major pop culture convention that draws fans of comics, movies, and TV shows, featuring panels, exhibits, and celebrity appearances.

Fans dress up as their favorite movie characters at New York Comic Con at the Javits Center in Manhattan.

November in New York City

  • Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting : A celebrated holiday tradition marking the start of the Christmas season with the lighting of a massive, beautifully decorated tree.
  • Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade : An iconic holiday event featuring giant balloons, floats, marching bands, and performances, celebrated on Thanksgiving Day.
  • New York Marathon : One of the world's largest marathons, this event takes runners through all five boroughs of New York City.

December in New York City

  • New Year's Eve Ball Drop Times Square : An iconic global celebration, this event features the famous ball drop, live entertainment, and a massive crowd counting down to the New Year.

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The Best & Worst Times to Visit New York City (Our Take)

Written by: Author Andrew Helling  |  Reviewed by: Sandy Mitchell

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Andrew Helling is a licensed pilot, travel enthusiast, and the founder of Travellers Worldwide whose travel expertise has been quoted in countless publications across the web. Armed with a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection, he loves exploring the world with his wife and son and is always on the hunt for cheap flights and new adventures... Learn More

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The Best & Worst Times to Visit New York City (Our Take)

What's the best time to visit New York City?

Autumn offers crisp weather, vibrant fall colors, and a packed cultural schedule. From warm September days to cooler November, it’s perfect for enjoying outdoor sights and city walks. Highlights include new Broadway openings, the iconic Village Halloween Parade, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. With fewer rainy days and events like the New York Marathon, fall provides a quintessential NYC experience.

New York City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and with good reason. There is so much to see and do that visitors could spend months exploring everything.

All visits to New York City should start by exploring the famous landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. NYC is a global capital of culture, from world-famous museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art to smaller galleries and music venues.

The city is also one of the biggest melting pots in the world with immigrants from all over. So make sure to visit enclaves such as Chinatown to taste delicious international dishes and see countless different cultures.

Planning a trip to New York City can be overwhelming since there is so much to see and do. But don’t worry — we’ll show you the best time to visit and why we love each season; let us be your guide!

Overall Best Time to Visit New York City

For a guide titled the Best Time to Visit New York City, a photo of Central Park and its amazing pond in autumn

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

The best time to visit New York City is in the fall, when you can see the city at its best thanks to fall foliage and excellent weather. New York City has a temperate climate with the usual four seasons most of North America enjoys.

Fall is a transitional period, so expect variation throughout the season. Early fall days can be quite warm, although without the sticky humidity of a NYC summer.

Average high temperatures in September are around 76 degrees, while October is a much cooler 65 degrees according to U.S. Climate Data .

November can get quite cold. Autumn has the best weather for spending time out and about, and since most New Yorkers walk everywhere, you’ll want to do the same. Temperatures are mild, not too hot or too cold. Plus, you have the highest chances of sunny weather.

Fall is the season with the fewest rainy days per month. Make sure you head to Central Park  or some of the other parks to enjoy the beautiful changing leaves.

There is always something to do in New York City, but the cultural calendar really kicks off in the fall. Many cultural institutions throughout the city start back up after a summer break. Fall is when a lot of new shows open on Broadway  after a summer lull.

Autumn also contains two quintessential New York City holidays—Halloween and Thanksgiving. Halloween in the city is frighteningly delightful, with costumed kids frolicking during the day and more adult-oriented events such as the world-famous Village Halloween Parade  at night.

Late November brings Thanksgiving, and another world-famous parade—the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade . Visitors should know that by mid-November, many Christmas decorations are already up.

Other popular autumnal events in New York City include:

  • West Indian Day Parade  (September)
  • Feast of San Gennaro  (September)
  • New York Film Festival  (October)
  • NYC Wine & Food Festival ( October)
  • New York Marathon  (November)

Cheapest Time to Visit New York City

Gapstow bridge pictured during the best time to visit New York with a slightly cloudy sky and no tourists in sight

Thiago Leite/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit New York City is in late winter (January-February), when you have the highest chance of snagging a hotel deal. Make no mistake, winter in New York can get cold.

Average high temperatures in January  are around 30-34 degrees Fahrenheit, so barely above freezing. Expect snow and slush, which can affect your travel plans.

However, the benefit is that once the madness of Christmas and New Year’s is over, then hotel prices drop along with lower demand. This is absolutely the slowest season in New York City, which means you can also score deals.

Even top hotels offer deals of 35-50% off, so you may even be able to sleep in the lap of luxury. January and February are the least expensive months for domestic flights within the United States, so traveling to NYC will cost less.

For international visitors, the most affordable time to fly into JFK International Airport is January. Flights always cost less mid-week.

Least Busy Time to Visit New York City

Empty street in urban Manhattan pictured during the least busy time to visit New York

Nick Starichenko/Shutterstock

The absolute least busy time to visit New York City is during the late winter, but you can also beat the crowds by visiting in spring. In January and February, New York City is the closest that it gets to emptying out.

According to this chart comparing pedestrian traffic in Times Square, the fewest visitors come in January and February.

Although you’ll need to bundle up, you’ll be able to enjoy many museums, attractions, and restaurants without waiting in long lines. If you want to visit New York City but avoid both the crowds and the snow, then spring is New York’s best-kept secret.

The visitors start coming back, but nowhere near summer’s peak levels. Temperatures are more manageable, with average highs in April at around 60 degrees .

The only downside is that spring is the most unpredictable season in New York City, with days of near-freezing temperatures coming right on the heels of a day of pleasant sunshine. It’s also the rainiest season.

If you’re willing to try your luck, you may experience some glorious spring days, perfect for exploring outdoor attractions such as the Statue of Liberty . New York is surprisingly green for such a big city, and its many parks and botanical gardens blossom in the spring.

You can even see cherry blossoms in bloom—the Brooklyn Botanical Garden even has its own Cherry Blossom Festival. Spring has fewer big events than other seasons in New York City, but there’s plenty to do for revelers.

Besides the standard repertoire of Broadway shows, Lincoln Center operas and concerts, and gallery openings, there is also a lively nightlife scene.

Things get particularly rowdy around St. Patrick’s Day, a celebration of the Irish community that built New York. The parade dates back to 1762,  making it one of the oldest in the world.

Worst Time to Visit New York City

Gapstow Bridge pictured in Central Park during the Winter, the worst tim to visit, with Trump Tower and the Plaza Hotel in the background

John A. Anderson/Shutterstock

While there are many of great times to go, many residents agree that the worst time to visit NYC is in the summer due to the humid weather and high crowds.

Many visitors are surprised to find out how hot New York City summers can actually get. Average temperatures in July are about 85 degrees , but there are many days that are hotter. Due to the high humidity, the heat feels even more oppressive.

Summer is rainy and humid, and NYC can also get hit by strong tropical storms , especially towards the end of the season. The summers are also getting worse. In 2020, New York was officially reclassified as a city with a humid subtropical climate as opposed to a continental climate.

Taking the subway is particularly unbearable, as some underground platforms register temperatures over 100 degrees .

To make things worse, summer is the most crowded season in New York City. Expect throngs of visitors wherever you go, crowds so thick in Times Square that you can barely move, and of course, sky-high hotel prices.

This being New York City, things aren’t all bad about visiting any time. To cool off, you can always head to one of the city beaches, such as Coney Island .

Summer is also the peak events season. Central Park puts on Shakespeare in the Park  and the SummerStage  concert series, while Bryant Park’s Picnic Performances series puts on free music and dance shows.

Summer is when the city’s top festivals take place, such as:

  • NYC Pride  (June)
  • Coney Island Mermaid Parade  (June)
  • Fourth of July Fireworks  (July)

New York City by Month: Climate & Activities

Amazing dusk view of the Brooklyn Bridge for a section on the best time to visit New York City by month


Still unsure about the best time to visit New York City? Take a look at our summary of the weather and climate by month below:

Winter sets in, and temperatures in January range from 26-38°F. The cityscape transforms into a winter wonderland, and visitors can enjoy holiday decorations, ice skating in Central Park, and Broadway shows.

Similar to January, February maintains cold temperatures ranging from 27-40°F. It’s an excellent time for indoor activities like exploring museums, attending cultural events, and taking advantage of winter sales.

As winter transitions to spring, temperatures vary from 34-48°F. March brings a sense of renewal, with budding trees in Central Park and outdoor events like the St. Patrick’s Day Parade .

Spring blooms with temperatures between 43-59°F. Cherry blossoms adorn the city, and outdoor activities, such as walking the High Line or exploring botanical gardens, become popular.

New York City in May sees temperatures ranging from 53-69°F, marking the onset of warmer weather. Outdoor markets, rooftop bars, and events like Fleet Week contribute to the lively atmosphere.

Summer arrives with temperatures between 63-78°F. The city comes alive with outdoor concerts, street festivals, and activities in parks, including picnics and kayaking on the Hudson River.

In July, NYC maintains warm temperatures from 68-83°F. Independence Day celebrations, open-air concerts, and the vibrant energy of Coney Island make it a quintessential summer experience.

Temperatures in August range from 67-82°F. It’s a great time to explore neighborhoods, attend outdoor film screenings, and take advantage of restaurant weeks showcasing the city’s diverse cuisine.

As summer transitions to fall in New York City, temperatures vary from 60-75°F. September offers pleasant weather for strolling through Central Park, attending fashion week events , and enjoying outdoor dining.

Fall foliage begins with temperatures ranging from 50-64°F. October is perfect for admiring the changing colors in city parks, attending Halloween events, and savoring seasonal treats.

Cool temperatures between 40-54°F mark the arrival of fall. Thanksgiving parades, holiday markets, and the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree kick off the festive season.

In the winter, temperatures ranging from 31-43°F. The city sparkles with holiday lights, window displays, and festivities, making December a magical time for visitors to experience the charm of New York City.

Frequently Asked Questions

Elevated subway cars pictured in front of a beautiful dusk skyline during the overall best time to visit New York City

William Perugnini/Shutterstock

Here are a few questions people commonly ask about visiting New York City:

What are the best months to visit New York City?

The best months to visit New York City are May and October, which have the mildest weather and plenty of events.

How many days do you need in New York?

You need to spend at least five days to see the major attractions in New York City, and far longer if you want to get a taste of how the city lives.

What time of year should I go to New York?

Autumn is the best time of year to go to New York thanks to the sunny weather and busy cultural calendar.

What are the most expensive months to visit New York?

December and June-August are the most expensive months to visit New York because there are the most visitors.

What is the least expensive month to go to New York City?

February is the least expensive month to visit NYC because it has no major holidays and the weather is cold, driving demand and prices down.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit New York City?

There is no bad time to visit New York City, but the best time to visit depends on what you’re looking for. Autumn is the best overall time to visit, but bargain hunters should come in January-February and festival lovers will enjoy summer.

So, with so much to see and do and plenty of amazing times to visit, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that NYC has to offer. Happy travels!

When to Go: Is New York City Safe to Visit in 2024? (& Safety Tips) Where to Stay: Where to Stay in New York City in 2024 | Best Areas What to Do: The 15 Best Day Trips From New York City (Updated for 2024) What It Costs: What a Trip to New York City Costs in 2024 | Average Prices
  • Travel Planning Guide

Travel Budget for New York City Visit New York City on a Budget or Travel in Style


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  • How much does it cost to travel to New York City? (Average Daily Cost)
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Is New York City expensive to visit?

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  • Accommodation, Food, Entertainment, and Transportation Costs
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How much does it cost to travel to New York City?

You should plan to spend around $326 per day on your vacation in New York City. This is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors.

Past travelers have spent, on average for one day:

  • $50 on meals
  • $49 on local transportation
  • $350 on hotels

A one week trip to New York City for two people costs, on average, $4,561 . This includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing.

All of these average travel prices have been collected from other travelers to help you plan your own travel budget.

  • Travel Style: All Budget (Cheap) Mid-Range Luxury (High-End)
  • Average Daily Cost Per person, per day $ 326
  • One Week Per person $ 2,281
  • 2 Weeks Per person $ 4,561
  • One Month Per person $ 9,774
  • One Week For a couple $ 4,561
  • 2 Weeks For a couple $ 9,123
  • One Month For a couple $ 19,548

How much does a one week, two week, or one month trip to New York City cost?

A one week trip to New York City usually costs around $2,281 for one person and $4,561 for two people. This includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing.

A two week trip to New York City on average costs around $4,561 for one person and $9,123 for two people. This cost includes accommodation, food, local transportation, and sightseeing.

Please note, prices can vary based on your travel style, speed, and other variables. If you're traveling as a family of three or four people, the price per person often goes down because kid's tickets are cheaper and hotel rooms can be shared. If you travel slower over a longer period of time then your daily budget will also go down. Two people traveling together for one month in New York City will often have a lower daily budget per person than one person traveling alone for one week.

A one month trip to New York City on average costs around $9,774 for one person and $19,548 for two people. The more places you visit, the higher the daily price will become due to increased transportation costs.

Independent Travel

Traveling Independently to New York City has many benefits including affordabilty, freedom, flexibility, and the opportunity to control your own experiences.

All of the travel costs below are based on the experiences of other independent travelers.

New York City is a somewhat more expensive place to visit. Located in the United States of America, which is a moderately priced country, visitors will need to plan for the extra expenses of this destination. It is in the top 25% of cities in the country for its overall travel expenses. When visiting, expect to pay somewhat higher prices for accommodation, food, and activities.

Within North America, which is known to be an expensive region, New York City is a somewhat more expensive destination compared to other places. It is in the top 25% of cities in North America for its travel costs. While some cities in the region are more expensive, New York City is generally more expensive than most.

For more details, and to find out if it's within your travel budget, see Is New York City Expensive?

How much money do I need for a trip to New York City?

The average New York City trip cost is broken down by category here for independent travelers. All of these New York City travel prices are calculated from the budgets of real travelers.

Accommodation Budget in New York City

Average daily costs.

Calculated from travelers like you

The average price paid for one person for accommodation in New York City is $175. For two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room, the average price paid for a hotel room in New York City is $350. This cost is from the reported spending of actual travelers.

  • Accommodation 1 Hotel or hostel for one person $ 175
  • Accommodation 1 Typical double-occupancy room $ 350

Hotel Prices in New York City

Looking for a hotel in New York City? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options.


Find the best hotel for your travel style.

Actual Hotel Prices The average hotel room price in New York City based on data provided by Kayak for actual hotel rooms is $175. (Prices in U.S. Dollars, before taxes & fees.)

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world.

Recommended Properties

  • Opera House Hotel Budget Hotel - Kayak $ 114
  • The Towers at Lotte New York Palace Luxury Hotel - Kayak $ 639

Transportation Budget in New York City

The cost of a taxi ride in New York City is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $49 per person, per day, on local transportation in New York City.

  • Transportation 1 Taxis, local buses, subway, etc. $ 49

Recommended Services

  • Private Transfer from JFK Airport to Hotel in Manhattan Mas Tour Viator $ 195
  • JFK or LGA package only (Round trip transfer plus VIP Contrasts) Viator $ 165

Flights to New York City

Rental cars in new york city, what did other people spend on transportation in new york city.

Typical prices for Transportation in New York City are listed below. These actual costs are from real travelers and can give you an idea of the prices in New York City, but your costs will vary based on your travel style and the place where the purchase was made.

  • Subway $ 4.50
  • Taxi Ride $ 8.00
  • Subway $ 2.50

Food Budget in New York City

While meal prices in New York City can vary, the average cost of food in New York City is $50 per day. Based on the spending habits of previous travelers, when dining out an average meal in New York City should cost around $20 per person. Breakfast prices are usually a little cheaper than lunch or dinner. The price of food in sit-down restaurants in New York City is often higher than fast food prices or street food prices.

  • Food 2 Meals for one day $ 50


  • Nolita & Secrets of Little Italy Food Tour by Foods of NY… Viator $ 84
  • Greenwich Village Food Tour | Tasty Tours NYC Viator $ 79

What did other people spend on Food in New York City?

Typical prices for Food in New York City are listed below. These actual costs are from real travelers and can give you an idea of the prices in New York City, but your costs will vary based on your travel style and the place where the purchase was made.

  • Gelato $ 7.50
  • Snacks for Two at Yankees Game $ 34
  • Coffee $ 6.53
  • Smoothie $ 6.95

Entertainment Budget in New York City

Entertainment and activities in New York City typically cost an average of $180 per person, per day based on the spending of previous travelers. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

For more ideas for your next trip, check out The Best Things to do in New York City with Kids , Things to Do in Central Park in NYC , and The Best Museums in New York City .

  • Entertainment 1 Entrance tickets, shows, etc. $ 180

The Go City New York Pass offers great discounts on attractions in New York. With the Go City Explorer pass, you can choose to visit specific sights and attractions at a discount. Or, you can visit as many included attractions as you like with a multi-day All-Inclusive Pass. The average visitor saves 30% off of the regular admission prices.

Recommended Activities

  • Broadway Show Tickets Ticket Network View Price
  • Central Park PAW Pedicab Tour Viator $ 120

What did other people spend on Entertainment in New York City?

Typical prices for Entertainment in New York City are listed below. These actual costs are from real travelers and can give you an idea of the prices in New York City, but your costs will vary based on your travel style and the place where the purchase was made.

  • Comedy Show Tickets $ 56
  • City Map $ 8.00
  • Broadway Musical $ 111
  • Broadway Show Program $ 10
  • Magazine $ 6.99

Tips and Handouts Budget in New York City

The average cost for Tips and Handouts in New York City is $9.10 per day. The usual amount for a tip in New York City is 10% - 20% .

  • Tips and Handouts 1 For guides or service providers $ 9.10

Scams, Robberies, and Mishaps Budget in New York City

Unfortunately, bad things can happen on a trip. Well, you've just got to deal with it! The average price for a scam, robbery, or mishap in New York City is $39, as reported by travelers.

  • Scams, Robberies, and Mishaps 1 $ 39

Alcohol Budget in New York City

The average person spends about $29 on alcoholic beverages in New York City per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

  • Alcohol 2 Drinks for one day $ 29
  • Underground Brooklyn Walking Brewery Tour Viator $ 99
  • New York City Private Vintage Car Tour and Wine Tasting Viator $ 189

Water Budget in New York City

On average, people spend $3.56 on bottled water in New York City per day. The public water in New York City is considered safe to drink.

  • Water 2 Bottled water for one day $ 3.56

Expert Advice from Local Travelers

We're asking our community members and registered users to contribute their experiences about New York City.

Why would you recommend New York City to budget travelers? Or, why not?

It's an iconic city and, while it's expensive, it's still possible to find hostels and affdable things to do.

It's not cheap, but definitely one of those not-to-be-missed international cities. We stayed in Brooklyn at a reasonably priced hotel and ate at slightly cheaper restaurants.

What makes New York City a budget-friendly destination? Or not?

Most people think that New York is expensive to visit, but it's one of the few American cities with hostels. We loved staying in a hostel here. There's also public transit and plenty of free activities around town.

How can you save money during your time in New York City?

We stayed in a hotel outside of Manhattan in Long Island City to save money. There were also some cheaper restaurants in this area too, so we didn't eat every meal in the more expensive areas of the city. Taking the subway was by far the best decision, too.

Are you an experienced traveler? Help other travelers! Answer a quick question about your past travels. + Add Comment

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Daily costs to visit new york city | nyc price guide.

The daily costs to visit New York City on a budget. How much to budget for food, accommodation, attractions, & more

New York City

new york travel monthly

New York City is one of the most-loved and most-visited cities in the world, but it’s also one of the most expensive travel destinations—I should know, I’ve lived here for more than seven years.

So how much does it cost to visit NYC? Well, that truly depends on your travel style. That’s why I’ve created this NYC Price Guide to give you some ballpark travel costs tailored for the average budget-conscious traveler.

This article is part of our City Price Guide Series —  Click here to see all our city price guides .

Average Daily Costs To Visit New York City

new york travel monthly

These NYC travel prices are calculated based on what you’ll need to visit New York comfortably — so it includes things like food, accommodation, sightseeing, transportation, etc.

But I haven’t included “extra” things like big nights out at the bar, club entry fees, souvenir/clothing shopping, tours, random purchases, higher-end dining, etc.  Don’t forget to budget extra for those “non-essentials.”


  • Attractions : $25 (one paid attraction + any free sights)
  • Breakfast: $3-$7
  • Lunch: $8-$14
  • Dinner: $10-$20
  • Treat (dessert/beer/wine): $7
  • Transportation : $6
  • Accommodation  (average hostel): $65/night
  • Accommodation  (budget hotel): $150/night


  • Attractions : $10 (free walking tour + visit one of the free sights)
  • Breakfast: $3-$4
  • Lunch: $7 (ethnic street food, takeaway shop fare, deli sandwich, or similar)
  • Dinner: $12 (make your own meal in the hostel or grab something cheap)
  • Cheap Beer or treat: $4
  • Transportation : $0 (explore by foot)
  • Accommodation  (cheap hostel bed): $35

Don’t forget to buy a mobile data plan for your phone when you visit. Check out The Savvy Backpacker’s  Guide To The Best Prepaid Data Plans For the USA .

New York City Attraction and Museum Prices

new york travel monthly

Most of New York’s major paid attractions and museums are expensive so take that into consideration when you’re budgeting your trip. Here are a few of the most popular NYC attractions:

  • Museum of Modern Art: $25
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art: $30
  • Guggenheim Museum: $25
  • Natural History Museum: $28
  • Whitney Art Museum: $25
  • Top Of The Rock/Empire State Building Observatories: $40-$60
  • Broadway Tickets: Averages around $100/ticket but range from $60-$250+

Note: Many museums have free/pay-what-you-wish days but expect huge crowds so get there early. Here is a complete list at but here are a few highlights:

  • Museum of Modern Art: 4-8 pm every Friday
  • Whitney Museum of American Art: 7-9:30 pm every Friday
  • Frick Collection: 11 am-1 pm is pay-what-you-wish every Sunday

Budget Tip:  Consider picking up the New York Pass if you want to see a lot in a short amount of time. You can read our  New York Pass Review  to see if it’s right for your trip.

New York City Food Prices

new york travel monthly

NYC has some of the best dining options in the world but eating out can quickly bust your budget. That said, there are a few budget-friendly options but I highly suggest adding a little extra to your food budget so you can eat at a few of NYC’s restaurants.

Local Tip: I highly suggest doing some research when it comes to eating in NYC as there are plenty of overpriced/low-quality establishments. I’ll give you some of my favorite spots but you should do some research as well.

NYC Budget Breakfast Options & Prices

New York has just about every breakfast option under the sun. Here are some sample prices:

  • A bagel with cream cheese will cost between $3-$6. A bagel sandwich with eggs and cheese will run you around $5-$8. For a cheap, no-frills bagel with bacon, egg, and cheese , simply stop into just about any bodega.
  • Basic coffee and croissant will set you back about $4-$7.
  • A basic doughnut from a Dunkin is around $1.75-$2/each but a higher-end doughnut will cost between $3.75-$4.50/each.
  • A typical omelet from a diner will be anywhere from $6.50-$10.
  • You can buy affordable fruit from street vendors for cheaper than at the grocery store.

NYC Budget Lunch/Dinner Options & Prices

Most New Yorkers have very little time for lunch so they eat at their desks. That’s why you’ll find an abundance of takeaway restaurants serving soups, salads, and sandwiches — it’s pretty amazing how quickly these places crank this stuff out. Below are a few examples of typical food prices in NYC:

  • Street food carts sell a range of affordable options like tacos, chicken over rice, hot dogs, gyros, etc. Most things tend to cost between $5-$9. There are also specialty food carts that tend to cost a little more.
  • A premade sandwich or panini from a bodega/deli is usually $7-$10.
  • A make-your-own salad typically costs between $8-$14.
  • A slice of pizza will run you from $1.50 for a cheap slice to around $3.00-$5.50 for a quality slice.
  • A quality personal Neapolitan pizza will set you back around $14-$18. A sharable pizza costs $22-$30.
  • A good taco costs around $3-$5/each and a burrito will be $9-$10.
  • Chicken and waffles from a Harlem soul food joint tend to cost around $18.
  • Chinese food from Chinatown offers plenty of budget-friendly options. An order of soup dumplings cost around $8-$10 for eight dumplings. Other main dishes will range from $10-$18+ depending on what you get.
  • Tasty ramen from most quality ramen restaurants will be around $9-$14.
  • Two hotdogs and a drink from Gray’s Papaya is $8.
  • A double Shack Burger from Shake Shack is $8. Add another $3 for fries. A burger and fries at a sit-down restaurant will run you around $12-$19.

My favorite budget-friendly Lunch and Dinner Restaurants (aka Meals around $10)

Cost of food in NYC

Here’s a list of places I eat when I’m on a budget. This is by no means an exhaustive list of every budget restaurant in NYC (I’m working on a bigger list) but these are all solid places.

  • Joe’s Pizza: Old-school and no-frills takeaway pizza joint in Greenwich Village that’s been around since 1975. Cheese slices are $3 each. Joe’s now has multiple locations. See Locations on Google Maps
  • 2 Bros Pizza: New York has plenty of $1.50 slice pizza joints but 2 Bros. is your best bet. It’s not gourmet but it’s a solid option if you’re on a budget. See Locations on Google Maps
  • Halal Guys: This famous middle eastern restaurant started off as a food cart but got so popular it expanded to two other storefronts. A regular gyro platter is about $10. It’s plenty filling, delicious, and a local favorite. See Locations on Google Maps
  • Num Pang: This joint serves up delicious Cambodian sandwiches ($9-$12/each) and a few other things like soups and salads. This is a personal favorite of mine when I’m on the go. They have multiple locations. See Locations on Google Maps
  • Shake Shack: Ahh, yes. The famous Shake Shack. This is my favorite fast-food burger restaurant in NYC. A ShackBurger and an order of their famous fries will set you back about $10. There are 20+ locations in NYC so they’re easy to find (but always busy). See Locations on Google
  • Gray’s Papaya: You can get a famous “dirty water dog” from street vendors on just about every street but I prefer getting my cheap hotdogs from Gray’s Papaya (they’ve been around for years). It’s certainly no-frills but it’s cheap — around $7 for two hot dogs + a drink. See Locations on Google Maps
  • Charles Country Pan-Fried Chicken: Budget travelers should head up to Harlem for filling and authentic soul food for affordable prices. At the no-frills Charles County (which is also a James Beard Award finalist), you’ll get two pieces of chicken, two 2 sides, and cornbread for about $12. See on Google Maps
  • Vanessa’s Dumpling House: You can find excellent (and affordable) dumplings at multiple Chinese restaurants in Chinatown but Vanessa’s is a longtime local favorite. Vanessa’s is no-frills but you’ll walk out stuffed for under $15. See Location on Google Maps
  • Xi’an Famous Foods: Excellent northwestern Chinese hand-pulled noodles for around $10. Yes, please. I love this place. These guys started in a humble 200-square-foot basement stall in Flushing, NY but have exploded in popularity so they now have 15 locations in NYC. See Locations on Google Maps
  • Absolute Bagels : This is my favorite bagel joint in NYC (expect a line every weekend morning). The bagels are made fresh all day. Its Upper West Side location is a bit out of the way if you’re downtown but it’s worth checkout out if you’re in the hood. See on Google Maps
  • Mamoun’s: This local favorite Middle Eastern chain has been serving falafel, shawarma, kebabs & more for very affordable prices since 1971. Sandwiches are $6-$8 and a combo plate is around $10-12. They now have multiple locations. See On Google Maps
  • Malatesta Trattoria: Malatesta is a charming little cash-only Italian joint in the West Village that serves up tasty homemade pasta at fair prices. A main pasta dish costs $12-$15. They’re always bustling (plus they have outside seating in the summer) so reservations are recommended. See on Google Maps
  • Ramen: NYC has plenty of excellent ramen restaurants and you can expect to spend around $13-$15 for a bowl. My favorite ramen restaurants are Hide-Chan , Ipuudo , and Totto (but there are plenty of other options).
  • Bánh Mì Saigon: Bánh Mì Saigon is a tiny, bare-bones joint that serves up classic Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches priced around $6-$8. See on Google Maps
  • Superiority Burger: This small vegetarian restaurant is famous for its veggie burgers and plenty of other excellent vegetarian/vegan options. The Standard veggie burger is a bit small and costs $6 but they have a “normal” size burger for $9. See on Google Maps

NYC Drink & Dessert Prices

It’s easy to be tempted by all the desserts, coffee, and alcohol in NYC. In fact, it’s good to treat yourself but it doesn’t come cheap. In fact, alcohol is a real budget killer.

  • Cocktails tend to start around $13 but can easily be $18-$22.
  • A typical domestic beer costs $6-$8 but nicer beers are $8-$12. You can find cheaper alcohol options during happy hour if you seek them out.
  • An espresso or simple black coffee will run you around $3-$3.50. Cappuccinos and similar coffee drinks will set you back around $5.00-$6.00.
  • Two scoops of quality ice cream will cost $5-$8.
  • Really good cookies are generally around $4,50-$6.
  • Specialty doughnuts cost $3-$5/each.

New York City Transportation Prices

new york travel monthly

NYC is a big city with multiple excellent neighborhoods so you’ll certainly want to use public transportation at least once or twice a day.

Subway and Bus

The best and most affordable way to get around NYC is the subway. A single ride costs $2.75 and a 7-Day Unlimited Ride pass is $33 . Unfortunately, there isn’t an unlimited day pass.

The bus uses the same ticket as the subway.

Taxis and Uber/Lyft

Taxis are plentiful in Manhattan (unless it’s raining) and you rarely have to wait for more than a few minutes for an Uber — but they’re both a lot more expensive than taking the subway. Expect to pay $15-$35 for a ride within Manhattan.

NYC Accommodation Prices

Best Hostels NYC

Staying in Manhattan is expensive — even shoebox-sized hotel rooms are far from cheap. Options get a little cheaper in Brooklyn, Queens, or New Jersey. But, if you can afford it, I recommend trying to stay in Manhattan to get the true New York City experience.

Average NYC Hotel Prices

If you have the cash, I recommend staying in Manhattan. Specifically, I recommend staying in downtown Manhattan but most visitors end up staying in Midtown (i.e. around Times Square).

Here are average hotel prices for Manhattan (based on a mid-June stay):

  • Average Two-Star Hotel Prices: The average price per night is $175 (ranges from $150-$250).
  • Average Three-Star Hotel Prices: The average price per night is $225 (ranges from $175-$330).
  • Average Four-Star Hotel Prices: The average price per night is $270 (ranges from $215-$380).

Average NYC Hostel Prices

While NYC does have a handful of hostels, it doesn’t have many when you compare it to European cities — therefore prices tend to be comparatively high. Check out our guide to the best hostels in NYC to learn more about my top-hostel picks but below are the average hostel prices for NYC:

A bed in a good hostel will cost anywhere from about  $40-$80/night  with an  average of around $55/night . The cheapest hostel you’ll find will cost around $35/night but the quality most likely won’t be great.

Also, many NYC hostels only have private rooms so they’re more like “budget hotels” — which also means the prices are higher at these hostels since you have privacy.

NYC’s Top-Rated Hostels:

  • Prices start around $100 for a single, $134 for a double, and $140 for a triple (via  Hostelworld ):
  • Prices start around $55/night (via  Hostelworld ):
  • Prices start around $120/night for a single, $280 for a double, & $335 for a 4-bed room (via  Hostelworld ):
  • Prices start around $45/night (via  Hostelworld ):

NOTE: These are “high-season” prices for the cheapest bed option — off-season prices will be 20%-30% cheaper. Also, prices are often a little more expensive on Friday and Saturday nights than on weeknights. 

Check  Hostelworld  to get exact prices for your dates.

More NYC Travel Tips

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I’m constantly adding new NYC travel tips to The Savvy Backpacker. Check them out!

  • New York City Travel Guide
  • The Best Things to Do in NYC
  • The Best Hotels in NYC
  • New York Pass Review
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  • There are loads of types of vacations in New York and the cost will depend on what type of trip you’re taking and for how long you’d like to stay. Here are the latest prices for a 3 night trip for 2 travelers: Top vacation $538; Family vacation $473; Romantic vacation $595; Luxury vacation $650; Budget vacation $309.

Why should you book a vacation package to New York City?

When should you book a vacation package to new york city.

The best time to visit New York City is in the fall, when the weather is cooler and there are several big American traditions which see floats and parades taking to the streets. Some of the most popular events include Thanksgiving Day Parade in June, ice skating at Rockefeller Plaza, and the infamous New Years Eve Countdown in Times Square.

Where should you stay in New York City during your vacation?

For any vacation type in new york city:.

The Knickerbocker Hotel is a NYC landmark in the heart of Times Square with bespoke furniture, sweeping midtown views, and an electric rooftop bar. Take the Jamaica Train and connect via NYC Subway for the most authentic transport between JFK Airport and the Knickerbocker Hotel.

Conrad New York is an unpretentious 5-star hotel near Battery Park which offers daily connections to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. A taxi ride to this east side NYC hotel will cost you approximately 60 dollars and take up to 30 minutes.

For family vacations in New York City:

Novotel New York Times Square is a great central choice to match your the high-paced energy of your kids. Consider pre-booking your airport shuttle through the hotel's reception for a smooth transition from JFK, La Guardia, or Newark airports.

Adjacent to Central Park, the Quin Hotel commissions local graffiti artists to decorate the interior of the building for a truly one-of-a-kind experience in the Big Apple. Take a combination of the Jamaica Train and NYC Subway to show the kids a more authentic angle on New Yorkers.

For romantic vacations in New York City:

Gramercy Park Hotel shoulders one of the most secluded parks in all New York City and also boasts famous iconic artworks from Andy Warhol and Keith Haring in an ever-changing selection. A taxi ride from JFK to Gramercy Park will cost you approximately $60.

The Langham New York on 5th Avenue encompasses all your needs with comfortably intimate rooms, a fitness center, and comprehensive spa treatments. For even more freedom while you travel, consider renting a car at JFK, La Guardia, or Newark airports.

For luxury vacations in New York City:

The London NYC will have you feeling like you've visited two cities in just one trip! It features all-suites accommodation. You can travel in comfort to your midtown hotel like the locals do in an iconic NYC taxi from JFK Airport.

Refinery Hotel puts other accommodation options to shame with a 360 degree rooftop lounge and minimalist modern décor. Just a few blocks from Grand Central Station, it boasts a swanky bar and stunning downtown views. Consider taking the train for a classic experience when traveling in and out of New York City.

For budget vacations in New York City:

The Redbury New York is a 4-star hotel in the NoMad district which features a café, bar, and restaurant onsite so you don't get overwhelmed with choices on your next trip to the Big Apple. The Jamaica Airtrain is the fastest and least expensive way to transfer from midtown to JFK Airport.

Ameritania Times Square's location sets you in the heart of New York City's famous district, also within easy walking distance of the spacious Central Park. The most straightforward way to Times Square is via taxi from JFK Airport, which will cost approximately $60.

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How Much it Cost to Travel to New York City: Detailed Prices

New York City is probably the only required stop for anyone visiting the United States for the first time. Unlike most other major US cities, the majority of the famous attractions in New York City are quite clustered together so you can actually see a lot each day.  The place has a reputation for being expensive and that is definitely true when looking for accommodation, but many other things can actually be surprisingly affordable.

New York City City Featured Image

Travel Costs to New York City

What is the average price of a hotel in new york city.

New York City has a reputation for being very expensive, and especially as a place to sleep it deserves that reputation. But once you have that handled you can actually get by on a fairly low budget, especially if you spend time away from the cheesy Times Square area. Do yourself a favor and choose from our recommended New York City hotels and hostels, where you’ll have a few great choices instead of a huge list of uncertain ones.

Especially if you’ve only got a few days in the city, it’s best to pay a bit more and stay in one of the nicer and more convenient neighborhoods in Manhattan itself. You can save a bit of money by staying in Queens, Brooklyn, or even New Jersey, but you’ll also spend hours each day going back and forth. Again, avoid the Times Square area if you can and you’ll probably have a better time.

New York City Hotel Seasons

Hotels in New York City are cheapest from mid January through March, but relative bargains are possible almost any time of year. Booking as far as possible in advance is usually the best strategy, though sometimes prices do come down as the dates approach if rooms are not booked and demand is weak.

Hotels outside of Manhattan are cheaper than ones on the main island, but for most people it’s worth paying for the convenience of staying near all the action, since commuting back and forth can drain lots of time and energy.

Star ratings in New York City can seem arbitrary in many systems so don’t assume that a cheap 4-star hotel is nicer than a more expensive 2-star hotel on the same block. Rooms tend to be surprisingly small, and street noise can be a problem, so it’s a good idea to read reviews you can trust before you lock in a place.

New York City Hotel Prices

New york city hostels prices, how much does it cost to visit top attractions in new york city.

The famous attractions are expensive but a few of them are not well suited to most visitors and the city is jammed with free and cheap things to do. If your time is short you should consider doing one of the Circle Line cruises, which are the fastest way to see most of the famous buildings as well as the best close-up view of the Statue of Liberty on every cruise. For those who want to see all the most famous sights in a short time, we break down if the New York Pass is a good deal .

Best tours in New York City

Strange as it may sound, the best tour of New York City is probably the famous Circle Line Tour, which is a boat ride that circles part or all of Manhattan in just a few hours. The city is so densely packed that you can actually see much more of it from the water than you can from between the huge buildings themselves. Each Circle Line boat also takes you up close to the Statue of Liberty for the best views and photos.

The double-decker hop-on, hop-off bus tours of Manhattan are another great way of seeing many of the top attractions in just a few hours. You’ll have to deal with street traffic, which can be a bit frustrating, but being able to hop off in key parts of the city can easily make it worthwhile.

What’s the average price of food and drink in New York City?

Drinking in NYC is expensive but if you self-cater with some beer or wine before you go out it keeps things from getting out of hand. Great and cheap meals are quite easy to find as long as you get out of the main hotel districts. Check out our cheap New York City tips for information on keeping costs down.

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What are the costs of transportation in new york city, getting to new york city.

Unless you are coming from very nearby, you’ll almost certainly be flying into New York City. There are three major airports that are each within an hour or so of Midtown Manhattan by public transportation. The largest is JFK Airport and it handles most of the long-haul international flights.

LaGuardia Airport is a little closer to Manhattan, but not necessarily more convenient for transportation. Newark Airport in neighboring New Jersey is the farthest of the three, but the transportation options are pretty efficient and it often has the cheapest fares of the three.

Getting around New York City

One of the greatest things about New York City is that you can walk between so many of the famous attractions and neighborhoods. It’s also safer than many people realize. The famous Subway system is the fastest way to go longer distances, although the equally famous yellow cabs are a thrill that can be worthwhile if the traffic isn’t too bad.

When to visit New York City

Temperature and rainfall, new york city weather advice.

New York City weather follows the classic seasons pretty closely. Summers are almost always hot and often humid, but pleasant days are usually mixed in every week or two. Winter can be quite cold but even when it snows it’s usually cleared away quickly in Manhattan. Spring and fall are most people’s favorite seasons to visit since temperatures are usually pleasant and free of extremes.

It sometimes rains buckets in NYC but whenever rain starts you’ll suddenly see vendors selling $5-or-less umbrellas out of nowhere. Finding fast shelter is always easy as well, so you shouldn’t need to pack for heavy rain.

Sunrise and sunset

Where to go before and after.

15 of the best things to do in New York City in 2024

Mar 23, 2024 • 9 min read

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A trip to Central Park is a classic stop on any NYC itinerary © Marco Rubino / Shutterstock

Three life-changing words: New York City .

Millions are drawn to it; some never shake it. Monumental, artistic, cultural, commercial, cosmopolitan – the City That Never Sleeps is everything you've imagined. You'll never be bored here – the only problem is narrowing down what to do from the endless list of possibilities.

To help you get started, here's a list of my favorite inspirational highlights – all perfect experiences for your next trip. However, the big sights lure big crowds, so brace yourself. If you're after a calmer NYC experience, sights in the "outer borough" (beyond Manhattan) will generally be less crowded. 

Ticket costs can also be substantial, so consider purchasing a New York CityPASS , which offers good discounts on top attractions.

Where Locals Go: NYC locals share their favorite nearby vacation spots

A red kayak in the water in front of the Statue of Liberty

1. Visit the iconic Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

The iconic copper-green  Statue of Liberty dominates a small island in New York Harbor, casting a protective shadow over neighboring Ellis Island , the site of a stirring Immigration Museum . Still symbolic today, these two landmarks served as an uplifting gateway through which over 12 million soon-to-be-Americans passed from 1892 to 1924.

Planning tip: Boats to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island leave from The Battery in Manhattan and Liberty State Park in New Jersey. The monuments are often visited on a combined ticket – book well ahead, especially if you hope to spend time in Liberty's pedestal or crown.

2. Soak up the views from the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings

The tallest building in the world when it opened in 1931, the 1454ft  Empire State Building remains a much-loved character on the NYC skyline, although somewhat controversially, street-level views of this New York City skyline icon are about to be obscured by a luxury condo apartment. Vistas from the outdoor, 360-degree view, 86th-floor deck and the indoor 102nd-floor observatory are breathtaking, though – particularly at sunset. Look northeast at the art deco Chrysler Building , also once the world's tallest before being dethroned by the Empire State.

Planning tip:  Buy tickets in advance and devote a few moments to the second-floor Story of an Icon museum.

Interior of the 9/11 National Memorial Museum, New york City

3. Pay tribute to lost lives at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum

The National 9/11 Memorial is located where the World Trade Center Twin Towers once stood. It features sobering tributes to the lives lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, most poignantly two sunken pools with cascades of water pouring into the fallen towers' footprints. Adjacent to the memorial is a profoundly moving museum with remnants and reminders of the tragic day.

Planning tip:  The memorial is free; museum tickets are best bought online in advance.

4. Have family-friendly seaside fun at Coney Island

Jutting like a Brooklyn thumb out into New York Harbor's Lower Bay, Coney Island boasts a wide beach, a popular seaside boardwalk and a lively amusement park, all reachable by subway in about an hour from Midtown Manhattan. Popular attractions include the family-friendly New York Aquarium , Nathan's Famous hot dogs , Deno's Wonder Wheel and thrill-filled Luna Park , featuring the wooden Cyclone rollercoaster – a city and national historic landmark.

Planning tip:  Walk to nearby Brighton Beach for classic Russian and Ukrainian eats.

A shot of the backs of a crowd of people inspecting a painting

5. Tour the vast collections at NYC's major museums

The Met  is NYC's most visited museum for very good reasons. With 5000 years of art from all over the world, two million individual objects and 17 acres of exhibition space, it's massive, astounding and seemingly inexhaustible.

An inside tip – the Met's often bypassed uptown Cloisters were cobbled together from authentic sections of European medieval monasteries. Tickets cover three-day admission to both Met branches.

Directly across Central Park from the Met is another significant museum with a broad scope: the American Museum of Natural History , where your ticket grants you access to more than 50 exhibits and 34 million artifacts!

Art lovers will find modern masterpieces from Warhol, Pollock and more in the Museum of Modern Art ; book ahead to skip the line, particularly at weekends. Somewhat smaller and less crowded, though definitely still comprehensive, is the Brooklyn Museum .

Detour: For something much more contemporary and free of hordes, try Brooklyn's Bushwick Collective Street Art .

Use this guide to plan the ultimate museum tour of New York City

A person sits in front of a lake gazing towards a two-towered apartment block

6. Hang out in Central Park

Hemmed in by buildings, Central Park serves up 843 acres of green space – meadows, groves, gardens and lakes, as well as restaurants, theaters, concert venues, fountains, skating rinks, ballfields, playgrounds and much more. Park Drive, although often crowded, is a favorite route for runners, skaters and cyclists.

Seeking some green space with fewer people? Brooklyn's Prospect Park , created by the same landscapers as Central Park, has all the same charm with far less throng.

Detour: For a leafy overview of Manhattan, consider cycling along sections of the 31-mile Manhattan Waterfront Greenway , especially the Hudson River Greenway segment.

Can't get enough of Central Park? Our local tells you where to find Central Park's best corners

7. Walk across Brooklyn Bridge to Brooklyn Bridge Park

Undoubtedly NYC's most beautiful river crossing, the 1596ft-long, stone-towered Brooklyn Bridge was one of the world's first steel suspension bridges when it opened in 1883. Today, a walk along its pedestrian passageway delivers delightful Manhattan and Brooklyn skyline views.

Brooklyn Bridge Park , the 1.3-mile, 85-acre green space on Brooklyn's East River shoreline, prolongs the pleasure (and the Manhattan views). Check out the waterfront, glass-enclosed Jane's Carousel and multiple revitalized pier-based leisure and activity areas.

Save these restaurants to your Brooklyn itinerary

Couple with bicycles looking at New York skyline

8. Gaze upon the Manhattan skyline  

Manhattan's tumble of buildings is a mesmerizing spectacle, changing in natural and artificial light, particularly at dusk and night. Harbor cruises are a fantastic way to enjoy it, but there are also numerous land-based vantage points along the East River.

In Brooklyn, head for Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn Heights Promenade, East River State Park in Williamsburg and Transmitter Park in Greenpoint. Over in Queens, go to Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City and Astoria Park.

Planning tip:  For a once-in-a-lifetime splurge and unbeatable views, take a helicopter tour over NYC; yes, it's pricey, but it's worth it.

9. See art and architecture on the High Line and at Hudson Yards 

The 1.5-mile-long High Line is one of New York's great surprises. This art-filled, community green space – featuring gardens, events, and amazing city outlooks – was crafted from an abandoned elevated railway. It can be packed on warm evenings when the unique modern architecture on all sides is illuminated.

The northern terminus of the High Line is at the Hudson Yards , Manhattan's newest luxury development, with gourmet restaurants, upscale shops and singular attractions like Vessel , a multilevel public landmark, and The Edge , the city's highest (101st-floor) open-air observatory.

10. Visit the landmark Rockefeller Center

Perhaps best known for its winter backdrop – a world-famous ice-skating rink and New York's giant ceremoniously-lit Christmas tree – the art deco Rockefeller Center is a busy, art-filled national historic landmark all year round.

Named for its entrepreneurial developer – John D Rockefeller Jr, America's first billionaire – it claims highlights such as the 70th-floor Top of the Rock observation deck, the Radio City Music Hall and NBC Studios Tours , as well as plenty of Midtown shopping and dining.

Crowds of people crossing a busy city street lined with theater signs and other entertainment in New York City

11. Be dazzled by the lights of Times Square and the Theater District

The neon lights really do shine bright on Broadway, especially in Times Square at the heart of the world's most celebrated theater district. Day and night, it provides billboarded sensory overload. In the area are dozens of marquee-fronted playhouses hosting box-office hits, alongside Madame Tussauds and National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey . Bryant Park, Midtown's small but activity-filled green oasis, and the lion-flanked entrance of the New York Public Library , a national historic landmark, are also nearby.

12. Ride the New York City Subway and Staten Island Ferry

The wheels never stop turning in NYC, aided by its sleepless subway , one of the world's biggest mass transit systems. Another iconic part of the New York transport network is the free, orange Staten Island Ferry , the cheapest way to grab pics of Lady Liberty.

For NYC urban transport history, the kid-friendly Transit Museum has climb-aboard subway cars from all eras. There's a museum annex and shop in Grand Central Terminal , a Midtown beaux-arts wonder with an unforgettably grand main concourse.

A close up of pink lily pads in the New York Botanical Garden

13. Support conservation at the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Gardens

Who'd have thought the US's biggest and oldest zoo is in NYC? The conservation-minded Bronx Zoo hosts 6000-plus animals in 265 acres of specially designed habitats. Adjacent to it is the New York Botanical Garden , a 250-acre, year-round nature showcase with dozens of indoor and outdoor gardens included in your ticket.

Planning tip: Smaller but impressive alternative zoos can be found at Central Park, Prospect Park and Flushing Meadows Corona Park (Queens). The 50-acre Brooklyn Botanic Garden is famous for its seasonally blossoming cherry trees.

14. Find art and entrepreneurs in Brooklyn

In a city that places a high premium on space, Brooklyn now claims three hip, rehabilitated industrial areas commandeered by entrepreneurs, artisanal makers, retailers, artists, start-ups and nonprofits. Industry City occupies six large warehouses on the Sunset Park waterfront.

Further south, 100-plus companies fill the vast and storied Brooklyn Army Terminal . And east of Downtown Brooklyn, the expansive, historic Brooklyn Navy Yard is a modern made-in-Brooklyn manufacturing hub.

15. Go to a game at a New York stadium

New Yorkers take outsize pride in their sports teams, so how better to absorb the city's energy than at a game? The Bronx's Yankee Stadium and Mets' Citi Field in Queens are grand open-air stadiums, while Manhattan's Madison Square Garden , home of Knicks and Liberty basketball and Rangers hockey, and Brooklyn's futuristic Barclays Center , where the Nets basketball and Islanders hockey teams play, are enclosed, so good for rainy days.

Planning tip:  If you'd prefer to see the Giants and Jets compete in the National Football League, their arenas are in nearby New Jersey .

And now for the hard part: should you go to a Mets or Yankees game? Two local experts weigh in

Keep planning your trip to NYC:

  • Find out which NYC neighborhood fits your vibe
  • Find the best time of year to visit
  • Getting around NYC is fairly straightforward –  find out how in our full transportation guide
  • Even better, read on for top tips to see New York on two wheels

This article was first published May 25, 2021 and updated Mar 23, 2024.

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  • Living in NYC

Laura Peruchi | NYC

NYC Travel Cost: How much money do you need to visit New York City?

new york travel monthly

How much money do you need to visit New York City? And how much does a tourist spend a day in New York? In more than 8 years of creating content about the city, this is one of the most frequently asked questions. It is good to remember that the Big Apple is not famous for being the cheapest city in the world – quite the opposite – and, of course, it is also very important to remember that travel expenses vary according to each traveler’s style and budget. To help give you an idea, I prepared an infographic with some prices for food, transport, and tourist attractions.

  • REMEMBER: most prices listed are AVERAGE – see the tips, helpful links, and info after the infographic for more details!
  • This post was inspired by a similar post from Conexão Paris.

new york travel monthly

  • The price of coffee refers to black coffee. You can simply order a “black coffee” at any coffee shop in the city and add milk (it’s like this at all Starbucks locations, but remember that a quick Google search will show you the closest coffee shop).
  • The McDonald’s meal considered in the infographic is the Big Mac.
  • Obviously, there are $1 pizzas – but I think it’s interesting to include the price of the slice from other more famous places – and with better pizzas.
  • Salad places chains are common in the city, and make no mistake: they offer a great meal. Some are Just Salad, Sweet Green, Chop’t and Fresh & Co.
  • These same salad chains – as well as other fast-casual chains like Chipotle – offer complete meals in “bowls” or “plates.” You choose the base, protein, and sides.
  • At table service restaurants, a dinner including an entree and a drink costs around $50 – you can find cheaper places too. However, remember that at these places you have to tip the server – from 15 to 20%. Tips are also required in bars, so if you drink, keep that in mind.


  • The taxi fare was consulted on the airport’s website – I checked the fare to Manhattan and the tip is also included.
  • To book the airport shuttle, click here (I used a hotel in Midtown to quote the price).
  • I didn’t include Uber and Lyft pricing because it can vary depending on traffic and demand. To get an idea, open the app and simulate a ride to get a quote.

Touristic attractions

  • I only considered the most classic and famous paid tourist attractions. Click here for tickets to other attractions.
  • The price of observatories and museums is average. To learn more about the observatories, click here and check out a full post.
  • For tips on how to buy cheap Broadway tickets, click here.clique aqui.
  • I hope you enjoyed the post and that it helped to give you an idea of how much money is spent in New York!

As a reminder: this post contains affiliate links – it costs you nothing extra to buy through them and you support my work.

  • Coming to NYC? Check hotels on
  • See my favorite products on Amazon

new york travel monthly

Content creator and journalist in New York City. Here, I share lifestyle, beauty, NYC tips, thoughts, and the struggles about living in the most amazing city in the world! I’m not gonna pretend to be another person: I’m a Brazilian immigrant and I think this is my soul, it is part of who I am. I hope you enjoy my content! Follow me on Instagram!

Further Reading...

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New York on a Budget: 5 Money Saving Tips (Ft. Sarah Funk)

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MetroCard in New York City

MetroCard in New York City

All you need to know about the nyc metrocard.

Image of author Steffen

The MetroCard is a pre-paid card that conveniently allows you to pay for subway and bus transit in New York City. It is necessary to purchase one to gain access to the subway trains. It can be purchased at virtually every subway station.

The card offers various advantages: you don’t have to carry a lot of cash in the City, it fits into any pocket, and depending on your length of stay, transit costs are covered by a flat rate!

The New York subway can be overwhelming at times. Find out about the different ticket options you have, how to not get lost in the New Yorker Subway system and most importantly which trains are running local and express.

Table of Contents

The most important info’s about the New Yorker Subway

Things you need to know:.

  • The MetroCard is also valid for Busses in New York.
  • Subway Day Pass Does not exist anymore.
  • There are no zones within the New Yorker Subway System. Every ride costs the same. No matter how far you go Zones .

When does it make sense to buy a monthly or weekly pass?

  • Up to 3 rides: Single Ride Tickets
  • 4 to12 rides: Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard
  • Starting at 12 rides: 7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard

Which MetroCard ticket is the best for 3, 5, or 7 days in New York City?

  • 1 Day: Single Ride Tickets
  • 2-3 Days: Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard
  • 3-7 Days: 7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard
  • 7-10 Days: 7-Day Unlimited Ride & Pay-Per Ride MetroCard Kombi

We are going to explain the different tickets in a little bit and of course we share how to buy NYC subway tickets. You’ll see that buying a MetroCard in New York City is super easy. Note that without purchasing a ticket you won’t be able to access the platforms.

While buying a NYC subway ticket you have different options. You can either buy a single ride ticket or a MetroCard ($1) which you can fill with money. For every ticket option except the Single Ride Ticket you’ll need a MetroCard.

With the famous yellow New Yorker MetroCard you are able to ride the Subway, the bus or even the Rosevelt Island Tramway. You can refill your MetroCard at every train station.

MetroCard New York Pricing and where to buy a New York MetroCard

New York MetroCard: Pride Edition

If you’re not staying in New York City for longer than one month consider the following ticket options.

  • Single Ride Ticket: 3 $
  • Pay-Per-Ride: ab 5,50 $
  • 7-Day Unlimited Ride: 32 $

Are you staying longer than one month? Then this may work for you:

  • 30-Day Unlimited Ride: 127.00 $
  • Express Bus Einzelfahrt: 6.75 $
  • Express Bus Plus 7-Day: 62.00 $

Additionally, there are a few more options regarding the JFK Airtrain

  • JFK AirTrain 10-Trip MetroCard: 25 $
  • JFK AirTrain 30-Day Unlimited Ride: 40 $

How much is a senior MetroCard?

This option is called  Reduced Fare . Seniors pay the base subway or local bus fare which is $2.75. Reduced fare is half the base fare, $1.35 or less with Reduced-Fare MetroCard discounts. Customers who are 65 years of age or older or have a qualifying disability.

What age do you have to pay for NYC subway?

If you take the subway you can take up to three children 44 inches tall and under with you who will ride for free on subways and local buses.

Now you know the MetroCard New York prices. Let’s dive deeper into the pro’s and con’s of each ticket option:

Single Ride Ticket – 3 $

The Single Ride Ticket is a ticket that is only valid for one ride for 2 hours You can only buy it at a MetroCard New York vending machine and is valid for one person.

You cannot transfer from the subway to the bus with the single ride ticket. wiederverwendbar.

  • A Single Ride Ticket only makes sense when you won’t ride more than three times in total during your stay.

Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard – 5,50 $

Use the Pay-Per-Ride option when you want to refill your MetroCard with a certain amount of money. Before you enter the platform you swipe the MetroCard and are being charged $2.75

Using the Pay-Per-Ride ticket option you have to pay $2,75 per ride which is being charged from your MetroCard credit on your card. Single rides are cheaper using this option.

Buy your MetroCard at any MetroCard vending machine or at a kiosk paying $1 and then add an amount of at least $5.50 to your card. The maximum amount you can add to your card is $80.

Using the Pay-Per-Ride option you will have to pay at least $6,50

After swiping at the turnstile you can ride the subway for 2 hours and are allowed to transfer once from subway to bus or from one bus to the other.

With the credit on your MetroCard you may also use the PATH, AirTrain and Express busses. The price for each transportation option will be charged from the credit on your MetroCard.

It is also possible to combine the Pay-Per-Ride option with an unlimited MetroCard option such as the 7-Day unlimited pass, or the monthly pass.

7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard – 32 $

With the 7-Day Unlimited Ride option you can ride the subway and the bus for 7 days as often as you want.

The 7-Day Unlimited Ride option is valid from the first use of the card until Midnight on the 7th day.

Note: : PATH-, AirTrain- or Expressbusse do not accept 7-Day or 30-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCards. You can fill the MetroCard with additional money and use the Pay-per-Ride option instead.

Be flexible and combine Pay-Per-Ride and Unlimited Ride

Save time and money and combin the Pay-Per-Ride and Unlimited Ride options. You can add a 7-Day Unlimited pass plus $5 (or more) to your card to be able to use one card for multiple transportations such as the AirTrain or the PATH to NJ.

Of course you can also use your Pay-Per-Ride Card for unlimited passes later on.

JFK AirTrain 10-Trip MetroCard – 25 $

Can you buy a MetroCard at JFK? Yes you can! This card is actually special and you can buy at JFK Airport right before you enter the NYC subway station. Yes, you pay the AirTrain after you’ve used it. If you’re not flying into JFK you can skip this part of the article.

Buying the JFK AirTrain 10-Trip MetroCard you’ll get 10 Single Rides with the NYC Subway plus the AirTrain ticket. The ticket is valid for 1 year after purchase and you can purchase it only at the vending machines at JFK airport.

Using this option you’ll save 50% !

For every ride, you’ll pay $2.75 and may use this ticket with up to 4 people at the same time.

Which MetroCard option is the best?

To find out which MetroCard option you may need in New York City you should do the math and calculate how many rides you might take per day, or in total during your stay.

  • 1 to 3 rides: Single Ride Tickets
  • 4 to 12 rides: Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard
  • 12 rides and up: 7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard New York

Most of the times we buy the 7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard and add extra money to it, if needed.

Tip: Take advantage of the Unlimited Ride und Pay-per-Ride options.

Let’s do the math : 4 Single Ride Tickets cost $12. 4 rides using the Pay-Per-Ride option cost $11 plus $1 for the actual MetroCard, which adds up to $12 as well. Starting at 4 rides you may want to take into consideration if you stick to Pay-Per-Ride or become more flexible.

Let’s do the math again : Using Pay-Per-Ride 12 rides cost $33 plus $1 $ per card. For $33 you can purchase the 7-Day Unlimited

  • With the MetroCard Calculator you can find out how many trips you will have avaible depending on the credit on your card.

On top of that the JFK AirTrain 10-Trip MetroCard makes sense starting at 4 trips and you only pay $25 instead of $31.

Now you know what kind of ticket options you have when it comes to the MetroCard New York. In the following chapter, you’ll get to know how to actually purchase a MetroCard in New York City and how to use the card.

How to buy a NYC subway ticket

MetroCard in New York City

1. Select Language

Select your preferred language

2. Select your MetroCard type

You have the choice between Single Ride , MetroCard and Fast $9 MetroCard .

Select Single Ride if you only need one ticket for one trip and pay $3. To purchase a Pay-Per-Ride Card or a 7-Days-Unlimited Card press  MetroCard .

  • Select $9 MetroCard , if you want to buy a Pay-Per-Ride Card and you want to get done quick. During the following step you’ll pay for the fee and receive the MetroCard. You’re good to go.

3. Refill your card or Get new card

In case you already own a MetroCard you can either select  new MetroCard (Get new card) or refill your card

  • In case you do not have a card yet select  Get new card .

4. Regular MetroCard or Unlimited Ride

If you want to purchase a 7-Days-Unlimited Card select  Unlimited Ride and then  7-Day-Unlimited .

If you want to get Pay-Per-Ride credit on your MetroCard select Regular MetroCard .

5. Cash or Credit Card

Most machines take Cash, ATM Cards and Credit Cards. Not every machine excepts Cash. Always have your credit card handy.

Paying with your credit card (Credit Card) works most of the times. Insert your credit card and remove the card as soon as r emove your Credit Card is shown on the display.

6. Enter your ZIP-Code

Follow the instructions to please enter your ZIP code and press ENTER on the keypad below.

  • You don’t know the ZIP-Code for the card? Enter  00000 (5x Zero)

That’s it. In the end you have the option to have your receipt printed out for you.

How to refill your New York MetroCard

MetroCard in New York City

You want to refill your Metro Card or add more money to the card? Follow the steps 1-3 and press  Refill your card .

Now your New York MetroCard is ready to use.

Add value to your MetroCard Select if you want to Add value and choose your desired amount.

Add time to your Metro Card: Select during the next step Add time and then 7-Day-Unlimited .

At the end you will pay and then receive your MetroCard, which can be used until the pass has expired or the credit is been used.

New York Subway Map

Ask for a free subway map at the main subway stations.

  • Or simply download a free PDF right here .

Is the NYC subway 24 hours?

The New Yorker Subway runs 24/7. During rush hour runs every 2-10 minutes. In between the subway runs every 5-10 minutes. At night until Midnight every 5-12 minutes. From Midnight to 6:30 AM the subway runs every 20 minutes.

How to get around in NYC

MetroCard in New York City

You can simply read the subway map and create your own route but if you like it a little bit more convenient, download one of the many apps for the Subway in New York City that helps you to navigate around.

In case you are wondering which NYC subway app is the best: The official app of the NYC Subway is  myMTA . They also show you delays. Other than that we mostly use  Google Maps , because the app not only shows you the subway but also the busses, bike lanes and routes if you want to walk the distance to your final destination.

Roosevelt Island Tram

MetroCard in New York City

Enjoy the views from Roosevelt Island Tramway

The Roosevelt Island Tramway Station is located on 59th Street / 2nd Ave. Take the R to Lexington Av / 59 St or 4 5 6 to 59 Street . Then it’s only one block walking distance.

Ride the Subway like a local

MTA Express Map

Which NYC subway lines are express?

The subway map also shows which stations are serviced by what type of train. Stations serviced by express trains are indicated by a white dot with a black rim. Regular stations are designated by only a black dot.

From the example on the left, you can see that the 125th Street Station and 86th Street Station are serviced by express trains.

You can also see that underneath every station, there are numbers or letters – these indicate which lines stop at that particular station. In our example, Line 6 stops at the following stations: 86 St., 96 St., 103 St., 116 St., and 125 St. Lines 4 and 5 only stop at 86 St. and 125 St. stations.

Uptown and Downtown

Upon entering a subway station, you will notice clearly marked signs for “uptown” and “downtown.” If you wish to travel north, i.e., the street numbers get higher, then you need to choose “uptown” (you are traveling upwards – at least geographically). If you would like to head south, follow the “downtown” signs.

New York Subway performances

There is a whole new world of artists and performers mostly handpicked by the Music Under New York (MUNY) committee of the MTA. It is totally legal to perform on platforms and subway stations. If you are looking for the best subway stops to catch a great show, check these out:

• Times Square – 42nd Street (Midtown) • Grand Central – 42nd Street (Midtown) • Fulton Street ( Lower Manhattan ) • Atlantic Avenue – Barclays Center (Downtown Brooklyn) • 14th Street – Union Square • 34th Street – Herald Square • 59th Street – Columbus Circle • Delancey/Essex Street ( Lower East Side ) • Lorimer Street ( Williamsburg Brooklyn)

How much is a 7-day MetroCard in NYC?

The 7-day-unlimited Metrocard in NYC is 33 Dollars per person. This means you pay $33 and can ride the subways and most busses in New York City as often as you want for seven consecutive days. You can also buy a 30-day-unlimited Metrocard for $127.

How much is MetroCard fare NYC?

The Metrocard itself costs $1. If you have a Metrocard, you can easily ride the subways and most buses in NYC (no express busses). A one-way trip without a Metrocard costs $3, with the card it’s only $2.75 per person. A 7-day-unlimited card is $33. You can definitely save money by buying a Metrocard.

How do I get a senior citizen Metrocard in NYC?

To get a senior citizen Metrocard in New York City you have three options: The first option is an online application on the official MTA website. The second option is an e-mail application. If you prefer to apply for it in person you can also do that. Therefore you have to visit the costumer service center which is located at 3 Stone Street in NYC.

Is there Wifi on NYC Subway?

There is Public Wi-Fi at every Subway Station in NYC. Transit Wireless has launched FREE Transit Wireless WiFi™ in all New York City underground subway stations. Enter a station and connect for one hour of free service as you travel from station-to-station.

How many NYC subway stations have elevators?

Only a quarter out of 472 subway stations have elevators which is a problem for people in wheelchairs or Mom’s with their strollers. Taking the subway in NYC can be a workout itself with all the stairs you have to climb to get to your final destination. Here you can check the accessible subway stations in New York City.

Can dogs ride the NYC subway?

Unfortunately not. Dogs are not allowed on the NYC subway.

Profilbild Steffen Kneist

I'm a true New York fan! Not only have I visited the city over 25 times but also have I spent several months here at a time. On my blog I show you the best and most beautiful spots of the city, so that you have a really good time! You can also find lots of insider tips in our New York travel guide . Also check out my hotel finder for New York !

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How much money should you budget for a week trip to New York City?

new york travel monthly

Mis à jour le 04/04/2022. 204 commentaires

new york travel monthly

Determining a budget for a trip to New York is quite complicated. It would help if you considered various expenses, and some are more important than others. Anyhow, I’ll try to give you some clues. First, I will define three types of budgets (tight, average, and large) for a couple who decides to stay a week in New York (7 nights).

For each budget, I will consider the following elements: Flight + accommodation + food + departures + visits + shopping + extras

It is an estimate based on my own experience. At least I will try to give you an idea of how much your budget should be.

Factors to think about as you prepare your budget for a trip to New York City

Firstly, you must consider when you want to go to New York City. The flights and accommodation rates vary depending on the season. The cheapest season is from January to March. The seasons that attract more tourists are when there are school holidays (Easter, summer, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year).

The accommodation is another factor to care about. The place where you will stay and the comfort and services you want. You can start at around $90 a night up to $250-300 or a few thousand dollars for high-end hotels.

The lifestyle you want in New York also matters. You may don’t mind eating sandwiches, going out at night, or shopping; your budget may be more limited than a couple who wants to dine in restaurants, see a show on Broadway, and visit many places.

The 7 factors that seem most important to me are: – the flight (round trip) – accommodation (hostels, hotels, apartment…) – transportation (from the airport, taxis, metro…) – meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) – visits, attractions and shows – shopping – extra expenses (bars, cakes…).

new york travel monthly

How much does a flight cost to New York?

I know you read me from different countries, and I cannot easily compare the cost of a flight ticket from London, Sydney, or Berlin. For those who read me from the United States, the price categories that I will give below do not apply because domestic flights are usually much cheaper than international flights.

However, if you go on vacation outside school holidays, you will get cheaper rates. But still, you can review the fares of some airlines which propose offers throughout the year. The key is to check rates often. Sometimes it can be helpful to register for an airline’s newsletter and receive special offers notifications.

I prepared a list of airlines in this article . Do not hesitate to review it and compare the rates 😉

If you notice a promotion, you can also inform me, and I’ll publish it in this post .

I determine three types of budget:

How much does it cost to stay in New York?

Again, it is a bit difficult to give you a very precise cost.

New York City attracts a lot of tourists, the rates vary from month to month.

You can find a room at $150 off-season, and pay $250- $300 for the same room during the high season!

In addition, you have to take into account where you would like to stay, the number of travelers, comfort, and services.

How much does transportation cost in New York?

The first expense you will have in New York is the transfer between the airport and your accommodation ( JFK , Newark , La Guardia ). The cheapest way is public transportation with the Airtrain and subway because it is equivalent to $15.75person round trip, or $31 for a couple.

You can also book a taxi shuttle, about $ 23/person, or about $90 per couple, the round trip.

Another option is the taxi or a limousine. It can cost from $50 to $170 for a one-way trip.

Once in New York, if you stay a week, it is best to buy an Unlimited Metrocard . It costs $32 per person.

Yellow cabs can be very practical … and they are so mythical! They are available 24 hours a day in Manhattan. A trip can cost between $8 and $10, it obviously depends on the distance. There are also green taxis, I give you more information in this article . They cost the same, the difference is that they go to areas where yellow taxis do not.

I want to draw attention to those who decide to stay in New Jersey. They must add the price of the PATH (train from New Jersey to NYC), it costs $29 /person, unlimited travel for 7 days. If you don’t stay close to a PATH station, you can take a bus, rates vary depending on the distance.

How much money could you spend for meals?

It is another difficult point to determine. Some may be satisfied with a $3 hot dog, and others prefer $200 meals at a good restaurant. Breakfast at a Starbucks costs $5 to $6 per person (a simple coffee and pastry). You can spend less at a 7 Eleven, Dunkin Donuts, Prêt-à-Manger…

Eating at a fast-food restaurant varies from $8 to $10 for a main dish + drink + dessert. There are small restaurants or Deli’s, in which the main course (pizza, pasta, meat, …) costs from $10 to $12 per person. A full meal costs $20 – $26 per person.

As for restaurants, likewise any big city, some can be very expensive. But there are many with complete menus (entrees + main dish + dessert) between $50 and $60 per person.

Note: some hotels have breakfast included in the room rate, with a large selection of food.

For three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner). dinner), my estimate is:

How much do visits, attractions and shows cost in New York?

First of all, I think that for a first visit of New York, the purchase of a Pass is very useful, like the New York CityPASS since it offers the main visits and attractions in NYC.

Then, if you want to see an NBA game, whether it’s the New York Knicks or the Brooklyn Nets, you could find tickets at $26-40. For a baseball game, it’s starting at $20-25, a football game is starting at $40-50. You can read more information here .

If you like shows and plays , you can go see a musical on Broadway, starting at $ 65-90 per person.

One of the must-see activities in New York is a helicopter flight , starting at $215 per person. It is impressive and allows you to see the whole city from an extraordinary point of view.

In short, there are thousands of things that can be done in New York , not to mention concerts, museums, bus tours, boats, guided tours…

How much does a shopping session in New York cost?

It is one of the most difficult budgets to anticipate. Even if your not a regular shopper, the prices in New York are so attractive that one quickly falls into the shopping fever.

Most tourists buy souvenirs from $ 1 to $ 10 (key chains, I Love NY t-shirt …) but they also buy at least a pair of sneakers (Converse, New balance, Nike) from $40 to $50, a pair of jeans from $40 to $50, 2-3 t-shirts at $10 each…

You can save money going to one of the outlet stores near NYC . For nice souvenirs at “wallet friendly” prices, you can go to Cocoblues .

What are the other expenses that can be spent in New York?

Within these expenses I include going to a bar at the end of the day, passing by a bakery during the afternoon… expenses that are not necessary but are part of the vacations.

A cupcake, muffin or cookie, can cost at least 3 to 4 dollars, a beer costs $6-10, a cocktail is from 9 to 13 dollars, if it is on a rooftop (on the terrace of a building) it is at least $ 13…

In this category you can count the administrative expenses ( ESTA -$14 person- or visa, it depends on the countries in terms of price), the passport (the price depends on the countries), and are required to enter the American territory.

I prepared a table so you can better read the budgets calculated above.

As you can see, you can go to New York with your partner with a little over $2000, reserving the flight and accommodation as soon as possible and limiting your expenses in the city. However, I recommend that you go with a budget of minimum $2200 per couple, to truly enjoy your stay. I would say a minimum of $3500-$4000.

In this article, I am not talking about the agencies that offer flight-hotel packages. You can get a good deal on websites like Expedia .

To prepare your budget, you can also calculate how much money you spend per week when you are at home: meals, transportation to work, shopping, gas and electricity for example.

In conclusion, I hope I have helped you a little with this article, so you can prepare your trip to New York with ease.

new york travel monthly

My fist trip to New York was in 2007 when I was working for an airline company. I was born in the US, I lived in Mexico, in Europe in between Belgium, Spain and France… Well, let’s say I know about travelling! I bring my experience of NYC to the blog, to provide the best travel tips you could imagine!

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Airport Shuttle

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New York in September

Visiting New York in

What to expect, getting around.

  • Things to do

New York City in September is a time of transition. It's still technically summer until around the 21st, but the city takes on an autumn frame of mind after Labor Day. Most New Yorkers are home from vacation, and the number of tourists in town is dwindling. NYC weather in September is pleasant and brings a bit of autumn color to Central Park and other green spaces, and a certain excitement is in the air as everyone looks forward to fall and September events in the city.

  • Average Daytime Temperatures: 77F (25C)
  • Average Overnight Temperatures: 60F (16C)
  • Sunny or partly sunny days: 21
  • Rainy days: 7-9, 2 with significant rainfall

What to wear

  • Pack sweaters or a light jacket for the evenings
  • Short sleeves will work during the first part of the month
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes, closed toe shoes and water resistant, so you can enjoy your walking tours, as well as something a bit more fanciful for the nightlife.
  • If you love the beach, throw in a swimsuit, water is particularly warm in early September

New York Prices in September

Hotel prices begin to inch up slightly as the peak visitor season starts, but with so many free things to do in New York in September, you'll barely feel the blow.

Book your flights and accommodation in advance for best prices, midtown & times square are the most popular choices, but there are plenty of other options, especially in Brooklyn with convenient transport options to Manhattan attractions.

Planning your trip is a key to a balanced budget, use free online resources like our maps & guide or the itinerary tool, if you are going to visit some iconic attractions, get a sightseeing pass, it will easily save you 50% on regular admission prices – see more

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New York is easy to navigate, but if you can't walk to your destination there are plenty of options

The quickest way to travel around, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from as low as $2.75 per ride, with stops usually every 8-10 blocks.

If the top taxi number is illuminated it's available, minimum metered fare is $2.50, which increases 50 cents every fifth of a mile or every minute.

Hop on, Hop off Buses

These buses connect major attractions all over the city and provide many photo opportunities, it's also a good way to catch a break or eat your sandwich while still sightseeing.

nyc transport

New York Travel Tips

New York Travel Tips

  • New York City Subway Map

NYC subway map

New York Tourist Map

Sightseeing Pass leaflet

Things to do in September

Check out the following list of ideas for fun things to do in new york in september:, 1. new york city parks.

One of the most beloved Labor Day events in New York is the annual Carnival held in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The main event is the West Indian Day parade with around three million participants. Held on the Eastern Parkway, the day-long march is one big colorful party with crazy costumes, nonstop music, and Caribbean eats. Since Labor Day weekend of 2009, the Electric Zoo has been one of NYC's largest music festival. Some top names in electronic music that have performed at the 3-day festival include Above & Beyond, Armin Van Buuren, and Zedd. The festival is held at Randall Island Park centrally located in New York City along the East River. Amenities at the festival include an open bar, shaded seating area, and locked cell phone charging stations.

2. Rockaway Beach

September is a good time to squeeze in a beach trip before the end of the season, and the perfect place is Rockaway Beach. Located on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, this is one of the quieter beaches and known for good waves and surfing. Play along the surf, walk the boardwalk and relax during the last warm days of summer.

3. Governors Island

This former military quarters in New York Harbor has been turned into a park, and September is the last month of the season you can go there. It's a pleasant place to spend a day in September, a good place to gaze on Lady Liberty in the distance. Rent a bike and explore old military sites, and check out the hammocks to loll around in at Hammock Grove. You will find lots of food and drink options on the island. Catch the ferry to the island from 10 South Street.

4. San Gennaro Festivals

This is a lively festival that takes place on the streets of Little Italy for 10 days around mid-September. It's a very old festival, and the crowds are loyal. Play carnival games and sample delicacies like deep fried Oreos, sausage and pepper sandwiches, and tasty Italian treats. Look for the Gennaro Festival on Mulberry Street between Canal and Houston Streets.

5. 9/11 Museum and Memorial Sites

Take some time to pay tribute to the strength and resilience of New Yorkers. Visit the 9/11 Museum and Memorial site. The atmosphere here is sad yet special. Keep in mind that the purpose of the museum is to recognize and honor triumph over human corruption. On September 11th, the Tribute in Light is lit after the sun goes down. The illumination takes place near where the Twin Towers once stood. Many people around the neighborhood light candles. It is a touching, solemn sight.

6. Oktoberfests

This popular event is so beloved New Yorkers can't wait to get started. Hence the official beginning of Octoberfest is near the end of September. The idea is, well maybe to make the most of September weather, but it could be people just can't wait to sample all the best beers in NYC along with plenty of traditional German dishes. Look for celebrations all around the city from the best beer gardens to the parks with trees tinged in autumn color.

NYC Labor Day

Rainy Day Options in New York

Broadway shows.

Taking a Broadway show will chase away any rainy day blues during your visit to New York City. It might not be possible to get last minute tickets to every show, but you can find something a couple of hours before the show starts by visiting the box office of the theatre.


NYC Museums

Your weather app says it’s going to be raining the whole day? Head over to one of the best NYC Museums. Whether your interest is in art, science or city history, there’s something for everyone in just about every neighbourhood. Pick from MoMA, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, American Museum of Natural History, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of the City of New YorkorEl Museo del Barrio.



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NYC Subway Pass

Which metrocard to buy.

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How to pay for your NYC subway ride can be confusing if you are visiting NYC.

Should you get a pay-per-ride or an unlimited MetroCard, or maybe you just pay with OMNY using a contactless credit card?

new york travel monthly

But, once you understand the basics, the choices aren't so daunting.

As local tour guides who not only use the subway for personal transport but also for our tours, this is definitely one of the topics we get asked about the most.

And, it's our hope, that this post will help you determine which form NYC subway MetroCard is best for you.

And, if you would like to have someone show you how to use the subway in NYC, then consider taking our subway tutorial.

Like most of our tours, it's free to book and runs on the pay-what-you-wish model.

NYC Subway Tutorial Tour

Let's get going!

  • Unlimited vs. Pay-Per-Ride Card vs. OMNY
  • How to Purchase a MetroCard
  • Tips on Using the Subway
  • Which Subway App is Best?
  • Subway or Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus?
  • Things to Do in NYC

Is There a New York Subway Pass for Tourists?

New York City does not currently offer a subway pass intended only for tourists. However, you don't have to worry!

We'll show you where and how to purchase a card, and how much to spend, with special tips for tourists and visitors.


There are two types of cards to choose from: a Pay-Per-Ride card and an Unlimited Ride card.

With a Pay-Per-Ride card, your card will deduct $2.90 every time you take the subway/bus.

An Unlimited Card costs a flat fee and you can use the subway/bus as many times as you want within a set number of days.

When deciding which card is best , think about how long your trip is and how many times you think you might be taking the subway.

Also, consider the number of people in your party. 

*Before buying a MetroCard, read below about NYC's OMNY program which began its rollout in 2019.

Pay-Per-Ride MetroCards

  • Add money to your card and each time you 'swipe' your card to enter the subway, $2.90 will be deducted from your card balance.
  • There is a one-time $1 fee when you purchase a card. Don't throw your card away when it runs out of money, or you will have to pay $1 again when you buy a new card.
  • You can buy a single-ride card for $3, but it is unlikely you will need this type of card.
  • See below for what deals are available.
  • Up to 4 people can use the same MetroCard. It will still cost $2.90 per person per ride but you do not need to pay the $1 fee for multiple cards.
  • Each ride includes a free transfer (within two hours) between subway lines, bus, and subway, or between buses.
  • This card can be used on the JFK AirTrain connecting the airport to the subway system (additional cost applies). See our  Manhattan to/from JFK Airport .
  • See below for other transportation systems that accept the Metrocard.

Before we continue, we are running this poll in our  NYC Travel Tips  Facebook group.

Would you like the option of a 1-hour subway tutorial tour? Click the link to vote or  email us .

new york travel monthly

Unlimited MetroCards

This card is valid for unlimited subway and bus rides until midnight from the day of first use. You can choose a 7-day unlimited card or a 30-day unlimited.

There is a $1 fee when you purchase a card. *Do not throw away your card when it expires, or you will have to pay $1 again for a new card.

An unlimited 7-Day MetroCard costs $33 and allows unlimited swipes. See below for what deals are available.

While a single ride costs $2.90, the Unlimited card saves you money because the more you use it, the cheaper each ride is.

  • for 13 trips = $2.53/ride
  • for 15 trips = $2.20/ride
  • for 20 trips = $1.65/ride

If your stay is 30 days or longer, consider a 30-day unlimited card for $127 ($63.50 reduced fare).

Important rules that apply to Unlimited MetroCards:

  • It can only be used by 1 person.
  • Once you have swiped the card to enter the subway, it cannot be used again for 18 minutes. 
  • Unlimited Ride MetroCards are not accepted by the JFK AirTrain , Express buses or PATH trains.
  • See below for other transportation systems that accept this card.

As an alternative to using a MetroCard, riders can now tap to pay at the turnstile!

Metrocard machines were scheduled to be phased out in 2023, but this date is now 2025.

With the new OMNY system, you can tap a credit or debit card onto the OMNY reader, smartphone, or wearable device.

You also have the option of buying an OMNY card, a durable hard card ( see more below ).

The OMNY tap-to-pay method is available at all subway stations in NYC and all MTA-operated buses. 

A great feature of the OMNY system is the weekly fare cap .

Starting on a Monday, once you pay for 12 rides, with the same device or card, you can ride for free for the rest of the week through Sunday.

A few important things to know: 

  • OMNY only offers the “pay-per-ride” option so you will pay full price every time you tap to pay. Unlimited passes and other concessionary prices will be added to the system later.
  • You get most of the same features of a MetroCard such as free transfers and the ability to pay for yourself and up to 3 other people on the same card. 
  • OMNY accepts Visa®, Mastercard®, American Express®, Discover®, and JCB networks. But debit cards requiring a pin cannot be used at this time. Be sure to check the MTA website to see if your card is accepted by OMNY.

If you want to switch to the OMNY tap system but do not have a credit card or contactless form of payment, you can purchase an OMNY card.

OMNY cards are not sold in subway stations yet. You can buy them and reload them at stores like Walgreens, CVS and 7-Eleven.

Since MetroCards are still available until the end of 2024, so until then, it may not be worth buying an OMNY card, which costs $4 more than a MetroCard.

On the other hand, if you use a pay-per-ride MetroCard, you do not get to take advantage of the OMNY fare cap mentioned above .

Find out more about the OMNY card here .

You could also listen to our NYC Travel Tips podcast episode on the NYC subway. You can get our podcast wherever you get your podcasts.

What other transportation systems accept the MetroCard?

In addition to the New York City subway and bus system, both unlimited and pay-per-ride cards can be used on:

  • Staten Island Railway (stay and explore Staten Island after taking the free  Staten Island Ferry )
  • Roosevelt Island Tram (to get one of the best  skyline views of NYC . Learn more by reading our post on riding the tram and visiting Roosevelt Island . 
  • New Jersey PATH trains between Manhattan and certain locations in New Jersey (an extra fee applies for the pay-per-ride MetroCard). 

See the official MTA website  for:

  • subway and bus maps
  • service status and delays
  • planned service changes
  • the MTA TripPlanner to figure out your route.


When deciding what card to get, ask yourself how many times you think you will be taking the subway within the number of days you will be here.

Also, take into account the number of people in your group and their ages as there are offers for seniors and toddlers. (See  below ).

If you think you will be taking the subway  at least 12 times,  the Unlimited Card will likely save you money.

If you think you will take the subway just a few times, go for the Pay-Per-Ride card. 

Remember that an Unlimited Card can be used only by one person, and you would each have to buy your own Unlimited card.

But if you are traveling with several people, it makes sense to buy a Pay-Per-Ride card since up to 4 people can enter the subway with the same card.

The card will deduct $2.90 for each person when you enter.  

new york travel monthly

Deals to take into account:

For families, up to 3 children can ride for free with one fare-paying adult, provided all the children are under 44 inches (112 cm) tall.

This policy is good for subways and local buses, no matter which type of MetroCard you choose.

Seniors 65 years+ and also individuals with qualifying disabilities may qualify for reduced fares.

See  below  to learn how Reduced Fare cards work. 

Reduced-Fare Customers - Deals to take into account:

Seniors 65 years and over and those with qualifying disabilities can get a reduced fare.

  • Bring your valid ID, such as your passport or driver's license that shows your age
  • Go to the station agent in the booth where you will show your ID and pay $2.90 for a non-refillable MetroCard good for TWO rides.
  • You do not have to pay the $1.00 new card fee.
  • Not all stations have agent booths.
  • This 2-trip MetroCard will be accepted at all subway stations, local buses, and Staten Island Railway.
  • This card is not accepted  for any other bus lines or the Roosevelt Island Tram.
  • For more information, click here .

Student MetroCards

Student MetroCards are distributed by NYC schools and allow eligible students 3 free rides per school day to and from school and school-related activities and events.

Note: To receive a refillable reduced-fare MetroCard, you must apply and wait a few weeks to receive it. So unless you plan on staying in NYC for a very long stay, stick with the non-refillable card.

Taxis and Uber

If you like to take taxis, then having a pay-per-ride MetroCard may be your best choice. 

You might find that taking a taxi makes more financial sense, especially if you are going short distances.

Not only does a taxi save you time (if there is no traffic), but in some cases, a taxi can be cheaper for most trips under 2 miles (3.2 km), especially if you have 3 or 4 people in your group.

 See our posts on  how to take a taxi in NYC and use Uber in NYC .


MetroCards can be purchased from the vending machines at subway stations and some shops and newsstands around the city.

Check here to see what merchants near you sell MetroCards nearest you.

The easiest way is to purchase your card at a station from the vending machines.

There are two types of machines pictured here: the larger machines on the right let you pay with cash, credit cards, or ATM/debit cards.

The smaller machines are for credit or debit cards only.

NYC Subway Pass Machines

Paying with a credit or debit card:

If you pay with your credit card, you will be asked to enter your zip code after you dip your card.

If you do not have an American zip code, you can use 99999 for a zip code. 

Paying with cash:

If you pay with cash and pay with a large bill and not the exact amount, you will receive the difference back but in $1 coins, not bills. 

The machine can only return up to $9 in change.

Tip:  Always get a receipt in case you lose your card or it does not work. 

Here is a step-by-step instructional video.

TIP:  A good way to have fun and get an in-person lesson about the subway is to take our  Manhattan in One Day Tour . 

Once you have purchased your card, here are some tips on how to use it! 

Make the most of your metrocard and subway travel.

Foreign Language Speakers 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) website offers translations of their site.

Simply look in the lower left-hand corner of the page and you will see an option for Google Translate.

Ride the Subway with a Tour Group

Our New York Subway Art Tour , our  All-in-One Tour , and our Manhattan Night Tours use the subway.

This will help you familiarize yourself with the New York Subway System.  

You'll get an expert lesson on using your card, including how fast to swipe your card through the turnstile.

Swiping too fast or too slow won't work - you have to find just the right speed!

Free New York Tours

MetroCard Offers Offers and Deals

For certain attractions, theater tickets, and events. Most New Yorkers do not even know this!

Click  here for what concessions are being offered currently.

We can also tell you where to find cheaper tickets for major attractions and Broadway shows .

New York Tourist Discount Passes

Enjoy the ride!

Perhaps the best part of riding the subway is the great free musical performances you'll come across. 

Our post on  where to find NYC street performers and music in the subway will lead you straight to them!

Other means of traveling around NYC

  • Travel by various  ferries .
  • Take a  hop-on, hop-off bus tour .
  • Take a hop-on, hop-off boat tour, or cruise .

See which bus tours, cruises, and ferries are included in  NYC concessionary tourist passes .

Choose a Destination... I want them all PLUS general travel tips. Amsterdam Berlin Boston Charleston Chicago Dubai Lisbon London Los Angeles Miami Nashville New York City New Orleans Paris Philadelphia Prague Rome San Francisco Washington DC

About The Author

new york travel monthly

Courtney Shapiro

North america, united kingdom & ireland, middle east & india, asia & oceania.

More From Forbes

5 of new york city’s best-kept travel secrets.

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Governors Island is a world unto itself.

In New York City , summer is the season for festivals and festivities, rooftops and sidewalks, long lunches and longer weekends. The city’s pace may slow down, but the influx of tourists picks up. The New York City Tourism Bureau estimates that the five boroughs will welcome 64.5 million visitors in 2024. So, it’s safe to assume that many of the city’s most famous attractions will be packed.

If you want to see quintessential New York City sights but don’t feel like dealing with the crowds, here’s a local’s list of excellent alternatives to keep in your back pocket.

Instead of Ellis Island , Try Governors Island

A ferry ride to Ellis Island to visit Lady Liberty seems like an obvious must-see. And that is precisely why you’re guaranteed to find lines stretching around Battery Park and back whatever weekend you’re in town.

Instead, why not take the ferry in a different direction and spend the day at Governors Island? You’ll still enjoy Statue of Liberty views as you explore the 172-acre island, but on this stretch, you can rent a beach cruiser from Blazing Saddles and explore the impressive public artworks and myriad food trucks, which includes weekend appearances by Brooklyn’s Threes Brewing and the resident sheep living in Hammock Grove.

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Best 5% interest savings accounts of 2024.

Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s answer to Central Park.

Instead of Central Park , Try Prospect Park

If you can’t find a spot for a picnic blanket on Central Park’s Great Lawn, pack up your wicker basket and head to Brooklyn’s backyard, Prospect Park. Landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed both parks. But there is a difference: the Brooklyn green space offers more freedom. Long Meadow runs nearly a mile along Prospect Park’s west side, guaranteeing enough space for a picnic blanket and much more.

Should you be staying in Manhattan, it’s understandable that you’ll want to make a day of it at Prospect Park. The rolling 526 acres offer enough activities to fill a weekend. If you visit on Saturday, swing by the 30-plus vendors at the farmers market at the Grand Army Plaza entrance to stock up on picnic supplies. Stop by the park any day but Monday and you’ll also have a chance to catch some late-spring bloom brilliance at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Avoid the mayhem at MoMA here.

Instead of MoMA , Try the Cooper Hewitt

The MoMA boasts one of the world’s best collections of modern art. But on weekends, the cost of admission comes with hour-long lines and crowds elbowing one another for a glimpse of a Van Gogh. The Upper East Side’s Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum tends to fly under most tourists’ radar.

The landmark building, an ivy-covered, 64-room Carnegie mansion, is itself a work of art and a piece of Manhattan history. The museum’s historic and contemporary design specialty befits its elegant exterior. Design buffs will pore over the museum’s collection of more than 215,000 design objects and a gift shop that rivals MoMA’s. And if you’re not in the mood to spend a sunny day inside a museum, the Cooper Hewitt boasts a gorgeous outdoor garden across the street from Central Park.

Instead of J.G. Melon , Try EJ’s Luncheonette

J.G. Melon, the longtime Upper East Side pub standard, is notorious for its cash-only policy and a queue stretching down the street of diners in pursuit of one of the city’s best burgers. But there is no need to worry if you’re in the area with a growling stomach or forgot to stop at the ATM because there’s another Manhattan institution just a minute away.

For nearly four decades, EJ’s Luncheonette has proudly continued the quintessential New York City tradition of serving a straightforward menu from the counter. But don’t be fooled by its traditional setup. While Formica tables and turquoise booths create a nostalgic atmosphere, the menu surprises with its modern twists. In addition to traditional burgers and open-faced pastrami sandwiches, you’ll find delicious vegetarian-friendly alternatives. And credit cards are welcomed.

Instead of Bemelmans , Try Monkey Bar

Unless you are a guest of Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Carlyle Hotel , nabbing a seat at its Bemelmans Bar — famed for its red-suited staffers, art deco ambiance and Madeline author Ludwig Bemelmans’ whimsical murals — is nearly impossible.

Fortunately, Manhattan has no shortage of martinis. If you seek a spot with the same Mad Men -era style, look no further than Midtown’s Monkey Bar. Serving Vesper martinis to well-heeled guests in red leather banquettes since 1936, Monkey Bar features an eye-catching mural depicting some of the bar’s bygone regulars, like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker and Fred Astaire. And unlike Bemelmans, Monkey Bar accepts reservations.

Spencer Whaley

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‘Hit Man’ Says Contract Killers Aren’t Real. Here’s the Truth.

The romantic shenanigans are the stuff of Hollywood, but the film’s fake contract killer is based on a real man profiled in a Texas Monthly article.

In a film scene, Glen Powell, with sunglasses and slicked-back hair, sits in a booth and smiles at someone across the table.

By Sarah Bahr

“Hit men don’t really exist!” an exasperated undercover pretend assassin says in Netflix’s new romantic action comedy, “ Hit Man .” But the very existence of the film, which is loosely based on a seemingly strait-laced community college instructor who moonlighted as a fake assassin for the Houston police, proves just how much they fascinate us.

Though plenty of officers have worn wires and impersonated hit men in murder-for-hire investigations, the film’s inspiration, Gary Johnson, was the “Laurence Olivier of the field,” according to a 2001 Texas Monthly article by Skip Hollandsworth. Over a decades-long career, relying on a bevy of accents and a penchant for being a sympathetic listener, Johnson, who died in 2022, managed to ensnare more than 60 people who tried to hire him.

That’s just the kind of character that’s catnip for a leading-man-in-the-making like Glen Powell, who plays a version of Johnson in “Hit Man.” Of course, the actor and his director Richard Linklater, who wrote the script together, added a few Hollywood touches, including a rom-com plot involving the fictional Johnson and a woman (Adria Arjona) hoping to hire him to kill her husband.

But some of the movie’s most outlandish plot elements — like the teenager who tries to pay Johnson partly in Atari computer games — did really happen . Here’s the story behind the movie and a look at hit men in real life.

Who was Gary Johnson, whose life inspired the film?

To his neighbors, he was a mild-mannered, middle-aged man who lived alone with two cats and worked in human resources at a company downtown, as he told them . (The baggy jorts and love of birding are Hollywood inventions.)

In reality, Johnson, who spent a year as a military policeman in Vietnam, was an investigator for the district attorney’s office in Houston. On the side, he taught classes in human sexuality and general psychology two nights a week at a local community college. (The film switches it up, making Powell’s character a professor working for the police on the side and relocating the action to New Orleans.)

How did he land his pretend assassin gig?

He wasn’t drafted to fill in for a corrupt cop who had been suspended, as the film has it.

Johnson began working as an undercover agent in 1989 when the district attorney’s office received a tip about a woman looking for someone to kill her husband. Johnson’s bosses asked him to disguise himself as a hit man and wear a wire to meet her.

Posing as a tough-as-nails biker — and wearing a necklace with a miniature silver human skull — he agreed to meet her at a bowling alley.

It turned out he had a knack for being a sympathetic listener, as well as for getting people to clearly state the crimes they wanted him to commit — which is necessary for a conviction. The woman who tried to hire Johnson was sentenced to 80 years in prison, and he continued working as a fake hit man.

Did he really wear disguises and adopt accents?

Yes, though not to the degree Powell’s character does in the film.

“It was Glen who really ran with those false identities that Gary creates for each of his cases,” Linklater said in a Netflix interview . “I was like, ‘Should we really do a Russian accent?’ But Glen just pushed all of that to the max, and I love how it came out.”

According to Texas Monthly, Johnson’s acting skills were his real strength — he was equally believable as a mobster willing to kill for any amount of money, or as a sleek, skilled assassin who wouldn’t take on a job for less than six figures, depending on the client.

“It got to a point where I would be transcribing a tape of one of his murder-for-hire conversations, and I could not tell it was Gary on the tape,” Esmeralda Noyola, a secretary in the special-crimes division of the Houston district attorney’s office, told the magazine . “Gary was that good at changing accents and disguising his voice.”

Did he really strike up romance with a woman who tried to hire him?

No, though Johnson told Hollandsworth that on one — and only one — occasion in his decades-long career, he referred a woman who tried to hire him to kill her abusive boyfriend to social services rather than organize a sting operation.

Was his cover ever blown?

Just once, according to Texas Monthly, when an informant felt guilty about giving up a friend and told the potential client who Johnson really was. (The client, unsurprisingly, backed out.)

But even when The Houston Chronicle wrote about his cases in articles that contained Johnson’s real name, oblivious clients kept seeking him out.

Do real hit men exist?

Yes, but not in the way Hollywood would have you think of them. While history is certainly riddled with enforcers for gangs and organized crime families, the average person can’t just Google “how to hire a hit man” and pay someone to do the deed. (Dark-web murder commission sites like Slayers Hitmen and Azerbaijani Eagles, are, in fact, scams , with no known murder attributed to any of them.)

Earlier this year, Dennis Kenney, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told The New York Times that the average person’s idea of a slick, skilled hit man is “pretty much myth,” adding that a contract killer is usually “nothing more than a thug who offers or agrees to a one-off payday.”

“Which is why they get caught,” he said.

Who are some notable contract killers?

The actor Woody Harrelson’s father, Charles Voyde Harrelson, for one, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1973 after killing a grain dealer in Texas for $2,500. Then, once he was released after only five years (because of good behavior), he was convicted in 1982 of murdering a federal district judge, a job for which he charged a drug dealer $250,000. He was serving two life sentences when he died of a heart attack in prison in 2007 at age 68.

Jeanette Van Nessen, the Dutch assassin whose own death inspired Steven Spielberg’s 2005 movie, “Munich,” reportedly charged more than $80,000 per hit.

Also, mobsters.

How common are murder-for-hire plots?

According to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, there were just seven arrests statewide for contract killing or attempts in 2022. And that was an atypical year: The seven arrests matched the total for the five previous years combined.

Nationally, the Federal Bureau of Investigation works undercover on about 70 to 90 murder-for-hire cases each year.

How much does it cost to have someone killed?

Estimates vary depending on factors like the difficulty of the hit and the prominence of the target, but according to F.B.I. news releases, fees have ranged from $25,000 to kill a spouse to $600 for a girlfriend .

Do police departments really use fake hit men?

Yes, and thanks to a long line of hit-man movies like David Fincher’s “The Killer,” a substantial subset of the population believes that if they just search hard enough, they’ll be able to find someone willing to murder anyone for cold, hard cash.

Sarah Bahr writes about culture and style for The Times. More about Sarah Bahr

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Buying LIRR and Metro-North tickets

Options for buying tickets, mta's traintime app.

With the TrainTime app, you can plan a trip, purchase a ticket, get train status and track location, and chat with a customer service representative for LIRR and Metro-North. 

Download the app on your Apple or Android device to easily buy tickets, manage refunds and receipts, and more. 

At a ticket office

Ticket offices sell all LIRR and MNR ticket types and also offer certain MetroCards. You can pay with cash, credit or debit cards, and some transit benefit cards. For LIRR tickets, you can use a personal check for monthly, weekly, and 10-trip tickets, or five or more one-way tickets.

On board trains

Buying your ticket on the train will cost $5.75-$6.50 more than the regular price, and you can only buy one-way tickets onboard. This surcharge is waived if you are boarding at a station without ticket machines, or if you are a senior citizen, passenger with a disability, Medicare recipient, or active-duty military.

If you use an off-peak ticket on a peak train, or ride beyond the zones shown on your ticket, you will have to pay an additional fare onboard. This fare is not subject to the on-board surcharge, but will be rounded up to the nearest dollar.

Through your employer

If your company offers a tax-free transit benefit program, you can use it to buy LIRR or Metro-North tickets.

Note that transit benefit providers are independent of the MTA. If you refund tickets purchased through a pre-tax program, the money will be credited back to the benefit card you used to make the purchase.

At a ticket machine

You can buy different tickets at different machines. Unless otherwise noted, they accept cash (up to $50 bills and coins, returning up to $17.75 in coin change) and credit and debit cards.

  • Gray machines : Buy all ticket types*, $30 MetroCards ($29 value), and UniTickets.
  • Red machines : Buy most types of one-way and round-trip tickets and $30 MetroCards ($29 value). These machines do not sell monthly, weekly, 10-Trip, or package tickets.
  • Blue machines : Buy all ticket types*, $30 MetroCards ($29 value), and UniTickets. These machines accept only credit and debit cards. They do not accept cash.
  • Green machines (LIRR only): Buy all ticket types* and AirTrain MetroCards.

*Group tickets and monthly school tickets cannot be purchased at ticket machines.

Mail&Ride: Monthly ticket subscription

The Mail&Ride program automatically delivers your monthly ticket to the TrainTime app on your phone.

We also have a Mail&Ride program for students. Learn more .

See details and set up Mail&Ride for LIRR and Metro-North .

CityTicket for travel in NYC

If you’re traveling within New York City, you can get a CityTicket for $5 during off-peak hours or $7 during peak hours. You can buy a CityTicket at a ticket office, a ticket machine, or on the TrainTime app on your phone.

When purchasing your tickets at a ticket window or ticket machine, you will be asked for your starting point and destination. If your trip falls within the CityTicket area, you will have the option to purchase a CityTicket.

Far Rockaway Ticket can be purchased at Far Rockaway Station or in TrainTime if you share your location with the app to confirm you are near the station.

  • You cannot buy a CityTicket onboard a train unless you are boarding at Mets-Willets Point, which has no ticket office, or are a senior citizen or a person with a disability.
  • CityTickets must be used on the day of purchase.
  • You have a grace period that allows you to travel until 4 a.m. the next morning for tickets purchased the previous day.

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