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The must-read get ready guide to New York

New York City skyline

New York is one of the most famous cities on the planet. Everything – from the silhouette of its skyline to the signature yellow cabs – is immortalised in cinematic odes to the cultural capital of the USA.

If you’re planning on visiting New York, here are some key tips to help you prepare for a truly memorable experience.

What documents do you need?

UK citizens are eligible to visit the United States without a VISA as part of the VISA Waiver Programme*.

This means that tourists only require a digital document known as an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) in order to enter the country, as long as they are staying for 90 days or less.

You can apply for an ESTA online here. You’ll need your passport details to complete the form, and payments can be made by all major cards.

How should you get around?

The most important tip for visiting New York is to explore, explore, explore!

It’s a surprisingly walkable city, and the uniform square blocks and numbered streets make getting your bearings a breeze. No trip to NYC is complete without a walk through Central Park, which is just as beautiful in snow as it is in sun.

One lesser known, but equally impressive, New York walk is to cross the Williamsburg Bridge on foot. Starting in the fashionable bohemian Williamsburg neighbourhood on the Brooklyn coast, the bridge stretches across the East River into Manhattan’s Lower East Side. On a bright sunny day, it offers majestic views of the city and a truly unique way to get a little exercise. Just make sure you enter on the pedestrian walkway on Berry Street, rather than the cycle path at Washington Plaza. Full details are available here.

The subway is an essential part of New York’s character and provides a quick and easy way to get around. Buy an unlimited ride MetroCard to make full use of the subway during your holiday. Check this website or your local subway for prices and types of tickets.*

How can you fit it all in?

New York might be the city that never sleeps, but with so much to do you’ll likely be exhausted before night falls. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a plan for one big thing you’d like to see or do each day.

If you’re interested in one of the many museums in NYC, like MoMA, The Guggenheim, or The American Museum Of Natural History, then be sure to look at their websites in advance for exhibition schedules and the best days to visit.

For a breath of fresh air on Manhattan’s West Side, a stroll along The High Line elevated garden offers a peaceful oasis of calm among the hustle and bustle, and is open from 7am to 11pm daily.

If you’d like to sample a little of the glitz and glamour that New York is known for, then you’ll definitely want tickets to a Broadway show. These can sell out long in advance, so either book online from the relevant theatre website before your holiday, or try your luck at the TKTS Booth in Times Square.

This booth offers last-minute tickets for performances on the day, with up to 50% price reductions. Waiting times can be long for the most popular shows, so it’s a good idea to have a plan b in mind, just in case you don’t manage to secure tickets in time.

Helpful links

There are lots of useful online travel tools and apps to make NYC more accessible. Some that will come in handy during your visit are:

  • AccuWeather – for up-to-date local weather forecasts, wherever you find yourself.
  • Currency Calculator – for staying on top of exchange rates.
  • Subway Map – complete info on subway lines and route planning.
  • Airbnb – stay like a local, with these alternative places to stay.
  • TripAdvisor – reviews of local restaurants and business, written by visitors like you.
  • Google Maps – never get lost again!
  • Instagram and Twitter – check #NYC on these these social networks, for a close-up view of the local lifestyle.
  • Time Out New York – all the best shows, concerts, and restaurants in the city.

One top Twitter account to follow for regular updates on what’s new in the Big Apple is @NYC.

Don’t forget…

To make sure everything is really taken care of before your holiday, book your Heathrow airport parking with us.

With our Meet & Greet parking service all you have to do is drop your car off with us and we’ll do the hard work of parking for you. You can get on with enjoying your trip while we’ll look after your car, and have your keys ready for you when you get back.

Now you’re really Good To Go.

(Official government advice for British citizens visiting the USA is available here.)

*Information valid as of April 2017.

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