Explore New York

New York Travel Guide

New York City is without doubt one of the top urban travel destinations in the world and the city's immortalisation in numerous movies, books and television series ensures that most people are familiar with the many attractions of this famous metropolis. Beyond New York City, however, New York offers prime natural assets like Niagara Falls, a number of beautiful lakes, and some pristine protected wilderness areas, as well as several charming, historic cities.<br /><br /> Until the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century, most of the area that is now New York was controlled by the Iroquois Confederacy, a group of Native American peoples. Henry Hudson named the Hudson River in 1609 and claimed the area for the Dutch, and 60 years later the British took control and named it New York. For the most part the Native Americans prospered during this time, controlling the lucrative fur trade. A century later, during the French and Indian Wars, the British defeated the French and took control of all of northeast America. The victory was largely thanks to the Iroquois allying themselves with the British and in 1763 all the new British Territory, extending as far as the Mississippi, was declared an Indian reserve. This was short-lived however, as the Iroquois again allied themselves with the British during the War of Independence, and in the reprisals entire communities were wiped out and much of their land was deeded to the revolutionary war veterans.<br /><br /> George Washington was sworn in as the republic's first president in 1789 in New York City. By 1830 the population had exploded to 250,000, but mass immigration didn't start until the 1840s, with the arrival of the Irish. By 1880 the population was 1.2 million. With this abundant labour, vast natural resources and unfettered capitalism New York, and the other Mid-Atlantic States, quickly became one of the most industrialised regions in the world and home to one of it's greatest modern centres, New York City.<br /><br /> Today, New York is a touristic powerhouse, attracting well over 200 million visitors a year and welcoming more international travellers than any other American state. In every way it is a place worth visiting.<br /><br />

Tarrytown

Forty miles (64km) north of New York City is Tarrytown, known to Washington Irving fans as Sleepy Hollow, setting for the . The town is packed with historic homes including the impressive Rockefeller residence and Irving's home. Over of the east bank of the river is Hyde Park, where President Franklin D Roosevelt was born and spent much of his adult life. The Franklin D Roosevelt Home and Library contains hundreds of photos and artefacts, including the specially made car he drove after being struck with polio in 1921, and the letter from Einstein that led to the development of the atomic bomb. Two miles (3km) outside Hyde Park is the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site - a spectacular Beaux Arts mansion. A day in Tarrytown is a popular excursion from New York City.<br /><br />

The High Line

Address: The High Line runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street and can be accessed at numerous points.

Admission: Admission is free and there are free public tours but donations are appreciated. December to March 7am - 7pm; April to May 7am - 10pm; June to September 7am - 11pm; October to November 7am - 10pm.

The High Line, or High Line Park, is a verdant elevated strip hovering between the skyscrapers of Manhattan's West Side. This unique public park is built on what was once a freight rail line and brings a welcome splash of greenery into the district. Construction of the park began in 2006 and was completed in 2014; it now draws millions of visitors annually and has led to a real estate boom in the areas it passes through, with apartments overlooking the pretty strip rocketing in value.<br /><br /> As well as being a picturesque and convenient way to get from A to B in the West Side, the High Line features viewpoints, recreation areas and public spaces for exhibitions and productions. The most popular spots for cultural diversions in the park are the 14th Street Passage and Chelsea Market Passage, semi-enclosed sections frequently used for public programs and art exhibitions. Kids will love features like the Pershing Square Beams, just west of 11th Avenue, where the original framework of steel beams has been exposed to create a garden playground. Those who just want to find peaceful spots to read, rest or admire the view can capitalise on the many viewpoints, benches and well-designed nooks, or even have a picnic on the 23rd Street Lawn.<br /><br />

The Statue of Liberty

Address: Liberty Island, New York Harbor

Admission: Ferry fee (which includes access to the grounds around the statue): $18. Tickets for access to the Pedestal and Crown must be booked in advance. Ferries depart between 9am and 3.30pm.

The universal symbol of freedom and democracy, the Statue of Liberty was the first sight to be seen by the 12 million immigrants who passed through the Ellis Island Immigration Centre. Sculpted by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi and modelled on the Colossus of Rhodes, the statue was donated by the people of France in 1886 to commemorate the alliance between the two countries during the American Revolution. The ferry calls at both Liberty and Ellis Islands, and tourists can visit Ellis Island Museum, which documents the experiences of the immigrants. On Liberty Island, advance bookings allow visitors to access the crown of the famous statue, but these tickets must be booked something like six months in advance in the peak summer season.<br /><br />

World Trade Center - Ground Zero

Address: Tribute WTC Visitor Center: 120 Liberty Street

Admission: Admission is free for the family of 9/11 victims; general admission is $24 for adults with concessions available. The memorial is open daily 7.30am - 9pm; the museum is open 9am to 8pm Sunday to Thursday, and 9am to 9pm Friday and Saturday.

The six-hectare (16-acre) work site that has emerged from the rubble of the twin towers has come to symbolise the dreadful events of September 11, 2001 when almost 3,000 people lost their lives. The 1,350ft (411m) World Trade Centre towers were the tallest buildings in New York and proud symbols of the city. Millions now come to pay tribute at the site and witness the devastation from one of the viewing sites. In April 2003, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation launched a worldwide competition to design a memorial at the World Trade Center site to honour the victims of September 11. The LMDC received 5,201 memorial design submissions from 63 nations and 49 states making this the largest design competition in history. In January 2004 'Reflecting Absence' by Michael Arad and Peter Walker was unveiled as the design for the World Trade Center Memorial. The memorial features a landscaped civic plaza with two massive voids aligned with the footprints where the twin towers once stood. The memorial and museum are now open to the public, providing an accurate and moving account of what the community endured during the attacks.<br /><br /> Tourists should be mindful that this is a sombre memorial frequented by mourning family members, making things like loud chatter and smiling selfies inappropriate.<br /><br />

Radio City Music Hall

Address: 1260 Sixth Avenue

Admission: Tours: $26.95 (adults), $19.95 (children under 12); concessions available. Event ticket prices vary. Tours daily between 9.30am and 5pm.

Located in Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall is one of the most famous theatres in the world. The home of the Rockettes chorus line, the theatre's interior was declared a New York landmark in 1978. The Hall's beautiful cinema, while not in regular use anymore, still hosts premieres and shows selected feature films. The Hall's most popular event is the annual Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, which attracts more than a million people and has been running since 1933. Various shows and events are hosted at the Music Hall - check the official website listed below to see what's showing. Tours of Radio City Music Hall run daily and receive rave reviews.<br /><br />

Empire State Building

Address: 350 Fifth Avenue, between 33rd and 34th Streets, Manhattan

Admission: Main Deck: $32 (adults), $26 (children 6-12). Concessions and special ticket deals available. Observatory: daily 8am-2am; last elevator at 1.15am.

One of the enduring symbols of New York, and once again the city's tallest structure, the Empire State Building stands 436 feet (145m) tall. Completed in 1931, this Art Deco behemoth remains one of the most impressive engineering feats of all time; it was built in just 410 days and remains the fastest rising major skyscraper ever built. The building has been immortalised in many films - most famously the classics King Kong and Sleepless in Seattle. The observation decks on the 86th and 102nd floors offer magnificent views of the city; it is ideal to visit on a clear day, as the views can be completely obscured when it is foggy.<br /><br />

Central Park

With great foresight, the founders of New York set aside 340 hectares (840 acres) of central Manhattan as a public space. Central Park was officially opened in 1873 and today provides an essential 'green lung' within the concrete jungle that is New York. Originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the park contains themed gardens, tennis courts, lakes and even a small zoo. Much of the park is infused by the city's bustle and on nice days swarms with joggers, skaters, buskers and tourists, but there are areas beyond the range of baseballs and frisbees where tranquillity can be found in this beautifully landscaped park. It also hosts performances of everything from rock music to Shakespeare. During winter, two ice-skating rinks open up in Central Park, the Wollman Rink (mid-Park at 62nd St) is one of the most picturesque in the world, set among the trees and rolling hills and against the backdrop of Manhattan's skyscrapers.<br /><br />

Museum of Modern Art

Address: 11 West 53rd Street, Manhattan

Admission: $25 (adults), free for children under 16 accompanied by an adult. Daily 10.30am - 5.30pm (until 8pm on Friday).

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), founded in 1929, owns the most important collection of modern art in the USA including works by Monet, Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Max Beckman, Ansel Adams, and Kiki Smith. What started as a gift of eight prints and one drawing has developed into a vast and varied collection of something like 150,000 paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs and other media, and the Museum's Library and Archives boast an impressive collection of books, historical documents and photographs. Priding itself as an educational institution, the Museum of Modern Art offers various activities and programmes for the general public, as well as special segments thereof, in order to broaden the community's knowledge of, and approach to, the exciting and puzzling world of modern art.<br /><br />

The Guggenheim Museum

Address: 1071 Fifth Avenue, at 89th Street

Admission: $25 for adults; concessions available. Rates differ for special exhibitions. Sunday to Friday 10am - 5.45pm; Saturday 10am - 7.45pm; closed Thursdays and Christmas Day.

The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum was designed by US architect Frank Lloyd Wright and was completed shortly after his death in 1959. It is well worth a visit just to see this icon of Modernist architecture, which was designed specifically to showcase the modern art within. Inside, it features a highly commended collection of late 19th and 20th-century art works, as well as touring exhibitions. From beneath the huge glass dome, a quarter-of-a-mile-long ramp spirals down the inside of the building, past the collection of art, including works by Pissarro, Kandinsky, Klee, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, Cézanne, Mapplethorpe and Gober. Lovers of modern art will be in heaven.<br /><br />

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Address: 1000 Fifth Avenue, at 82nd Street

Admission: Admission costs are voluntary and made as a donation. Recommended admission is about $25 for adults. Sunday to Thursday 10am - 5.30pm; Friday and Saturday 10am - 9pm.

The Metropolitan Museum possesses one of the greatest, and largest, collections of art in the world; it is a cherished New York institution and a must see for any visitor. Banners above the Met's Fifth Avenue entrance herald the current attractions; there are always a few temporary exhibitions displaying masterpieces from around the world alongside the Metropolitan's own impressive permanent collection. The highlights of the permanent collection are numerous, American collectors having had the foresight, and cash, to buy up a large number of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces from Europe at the end of the 19th century. The Metropolitan Museum's collection now contains more than two million works of art from all points of the compass, from ancient through modern times, including great works by Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet and Cézanne to rival any art collection in the world.<br /><br />

American Museum of Natural History

Address: Central Park West, at West 79th Street

Admission: General admission $22 (adults). Concessions and special ticket options available. Temporary exhibitions charge additional admission fees. Daily 10am to 5.45pm, except Christmas Day and Thanksgiving.

Challenged only by its counterpart in London, the American Museum of Natural History is the largest and most important museum of its kind in the world. More than 30 million artefacts are packed into 45 exhibition halls - quite enough to keep anyone busy on a rainy afternoon. The most popular exhibit is a 50ft (15m) tall skeleton of a barosaurus in the Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, and there are three more spectacular dinosaur halls on the fourth floor. Other halls include the Hall of Biodiversity, the Hall of Ocean Life, the Hall of Human Biology and Evolution and the fabulous Hayden Planetarium: a 90ft (27m) wide aluminium sphere that seems to float inside a massive glass cube, which in turn is home to the Rose Center for Earth and Space. Those tired of walking can check out the Museum of Television and Radio.<br /><br />

Niagara Falls

Straddling the United States and Canadian border, 340 miles (547km) northwest of New York City, the Niagara Falls are one of the most popular natural attractions in the country, attracting more than 20 million tourists a year. The Niagara River has been flowing for about 12,000 years but the eroded escarpment over which the falls flow today is much older, having been formed during the ice age. The river plunges over a cliff of dolostone and shale to form the second largest waterfall on earth, after the Victoria Falls in southern Africa. The mighty torrent is best appreciated from a spray-filled 'Maid of the Mist' boat tour, but there are many different tours and tickets available.<br /><br /> The falls have attracted daredevils over the years, who have gone down them in various contraptions. The most famous stunt was done by the Frenchman Jean François Gravelot, who crossed the Niagara Falls on a tightrope in 1859, and inspired other tightropers to follow in his footsteps. Traditionally a honeymoon destination, the area around the Falls has been built up into a major tourist area, with attractions like Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum, and plentiful cheap eateries and chain restaurants.<br /><br />

Finger Lakes

The 11 narrow lakes that stretch north to south below Lake Ontario are known as the Finger Lakes. The lakes are popular for boating and fishing, and the rolling hills in-between are interspersed with waterfalls, gorges and parks ideal for hiking, cycling and cross-country skiing. The Native Americans believed the Finger Lakes were formed when one of their Gods reached out to bless their region and left behind an imprint of his hand; but it is more likely that they were formed by glaciers during the Ice Age. The Finger Lakes are one of the most important wine growing regions in the United States; most of the vineyards are located on the rolling hills of the Cayuga Wine Trail, overlooking the Cayuga Lake, and many offer tours and tastings. A variety of tourist accommodation is available in the region, from luxury lodges to campsites.<br /><br />

Buffalo

Dubbed 'the biggest small town in America', Buffalo is situated on the eastern shore of Lake Erie, and is a good base for visiting the Niagara Falls and for exploring the Finger Lakes region. New York's second largest city, the town was established by the French in 1758 (it is believed that the name derives from beautiful river), and became an important port for trade with the eastern US.<br /><br /> Buffalo has some noteworthy Victorian architecture and some good museums. The Albright-Knox Art Gallery contains an impressive collection of works by American artists and hosts many great touring exhibitions. The Buffalo Zoo is home to an exotic assortment of animals from all over the world. The nearby Letchworth State Park is popular with hikers and offers wonderful views over the Genesee River Gorge, promoted as the 'Grand Canyon of the East'. Buffalo is also a popular stopover destination for travellers on their way to nearby Niagara Falls, as it is the nearest major airport.<br /><br />

Broadway

Going to the theatre is one of the most popular tourist events in New York and the shows on Broadway are world famous, boasting some of the best productions in the world from blockbuster musicals to intense and intimate dramas. There are ongoing shows that have been running for years, such as The , , and . Newer, edgier shows play off-Broadway, and may provide just as much entertainment at slightly lower prices. This is one way to experience part of the American dream, even if only on vacation. There is something to entertain people of all ages!<br /><br />

Times Square

Address: Corner of 42nd Street and Broadway

Though it's ultimately just an intersection at the corner of Broadway and 42nd Street, Times Square has achieved iconic status, representing, in a single frame, the hive of activity that is New York City. Flashing advertisements and huge billboards produce a headache-inducing but memorable sight. Times Square has been used in countless films, television programs and literature. It is the base for ABC's Good Morning America programs and MTV's popular Total Request Live. Annually hundreds of thousands gather on New Year's Eve in the square to revel and see the famous ball-dropping ceremony. In 2009 Times Square was closed to traffic, and visitors can now enjoy strolling and sitting at their leisure, without worrying about getting hit by New York City's notorious taxis.<br /><br />

Rockefeller Centre

Address: Between 48th and 51st Streets; and 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue, Manhattan

Named for the man who developed the space, the world's first dollar billionaire, John D Rockefeller, this 22 acre (8ha) land houses a plethora of iconic New York City attractions. Radio City Music Hall used to be the most popular tourist venue in the city and still ranks highly among visitors. Radio City has hosted multiple awards shows such as the Grammies, Emmies and MTV Music Awards. It is also a concert venue frequented by today's popular performers. The GE Building, the address for which the popular TV series is named, is the home to and the site from which the eerie 'Lunchtime atop a skyscraper' photograph was taken. At the base of the GE building is the Rockefeller Ice Rink with the golden statue of Prometheus at its head. Underneath Rockefeller Plaza is the Concourse, an underground pedestrian mall boasting designer brands and food outlets.<br /><br /> Best views of New York City? The Rockefeller Center's eight level viewing platform and the pinnacle of the Empire State building duke it out for top honours in this contest. The winner might be the Rock because it alone offers great views of the iconic Empire State building among its 360 degree vistas of the city below. There are both indoor and outdoor viewing areas, so it's suitable to visit in all weather. The best and most popular time to visit is half an hour before sunset when one can experience both the day and night time views. Book ahead online and skip the queue for your slot.<br /><br />

Brooklyn Bridge

Admission: Free Daily 24 hours

The sheer scope of New York City is hard to understand until you have traversed the Brooklyn Bridge, inaugurated in 1883, which crosses 5,989 feet (1,825 m) of the East River and connects two of New York's biggest metropoles, Manhattan and Brooklyn. The construction of the bridge was an impressive feat of engineering ingenuity and upon completion it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. Today it is a treasured landmark of the city, colourfully illuminated at night to highlight the architectural towers and hangings. There is a pedestrian walkway from which visitors can savour vistas of both Manhattan and Brooklyn. Photographers looking for quintessential New York cityscapes should be sure to walk the bridge.<br /><br />

St Patricks Cathedral

Address: Fifth Avenue, between 50th and 51st Streets

Admission: Free The Cathedral is open daily from 6.30am to 8.45pm.

St Patrick's Cathedral is a magnificent example of the geometric style of Gothic architecture that was popular in Europe in the 13th century. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York and the largest Catholic cathedral in the United States. With its spires soaring 330 feet (100m) into the air, and the ornately detailed entrance, this is undoubtedly one of the city's most spectacular buildings. St Patrick's was built between 1850 and 1878; its giant organ has over 7,300 pipes. To most New Yorkers and harried tourists, St Patrick's is most valued for its peace and tranquillity - rare qualities indeed in this most frenetic of cities. The cathedral is very much an active place of worship and although tourists are welcome they should show respect, especially during church services. For a list of service times consult the official website listed below. Guided tours are available.<br /><br />

Grand Central Station

Address: 110 E. 42nd St.

One of New York's most famous and best loved landmarks, Grand Central was opened in 1913 opposite Rockefeller Center. It is one of the world's largest train stations, with 44 platforms, but its true distinction is its magnificent architecture and striking ambiance, anchored by enormous windows and the refurbished ceiling, covered by a detailed astronomical fresco. The terminal houses a number of good restaurants, budget-friendly eateries, and speciality shops. The 12,000 sq ft Vanderbilt Hall regularly houses public events. Don't miss the one-hour guided tour; book several weeks ahead in peak season to avoid disappointment. Grand Central sees about double the amount of visitors every day as it does commuters!<br /><br />

Central Park Zoo

Address: 64th St. and Fifth Ave, Central Park

Admission: General Admission is $12 for adults, and $7 for children. Combination deals, concessions and family specials are available. Open daily 10am - 5pm on weekdays and 10am - 5.30pm on weekends and holidays. Hours are slightly reduced between November and March.

Home to some exotic and beautiful animals the Central Park Zoo is a must for all children and animal lovers visiting the city. Residents at the zoo include the elusive red pandas, polar pears, snow leopards and snow monkeys to name a few. The Tisch Children's Zoo is a great place for young kids, where goats and peacocks can be viewed and children can even pet the goats, sheep, alpacas, potbellied pigs and other barnyard animals on display. There are discounts available for booking online, and purchasing the tickets online also allows visitors to skip the queues which can get quite long in the peak summer months.<br /><br />

Trump-Wollman Rink

Address: Central Park

Admission: Monday to Thursday: $11.25 (adults), $6 (children under 11). Friday to Sunday: $18 (adults); $6 (children under 11). Public Skating hours can vary throughout the year, and the rink is only open seasonally.

This public ice rink, located in Central Park and made famous by many movies, is a fantastic place to take the kids for the day during the winter months in New York City. The setting is beautiful, surrounded by trees with the New York City skyline above them. Children can even attend skating school or host a party or event here, guaranteeing an unforgettable experience. The rink is not just for children, however, and is a popular spot for dates in New York City due to the romantic associations and stunning setting. The whole family is bound to enjoy a few hours at this rink - there may be others in the city, but the Trump-Wollman Rink is the most spectacularly scenic.<br /><br />

Brooklyn Childrens Museum

Address: 145 Brooklyn Avenue

Admission: $11 per person. Children under the age of 12 months get in for free. Tuesday to Sunday 10am - 5pm (open till 6pm on Thursdays). Closed Mondays.

The Brooklyn Children's Museum is a great place to take the little ones while on holiday in New York City. It was founded in 1899 and is said to have been the first museum in the United States. Its collections and exhibits include hands-on activities, role-playing opportunities, resident animals and thousands of artefacts to teach children about science, the environment, culture, and the arts. There are no 'Do Not Touch' signs here! There is a cafe and a shop at the museum, and a special 'Totally Tots' section for kids under five. Children must be accompanied by an adult (somebody over 16).<br /><br />

The Frick Collection

Address: E 70th Street at 5th Ave

Admission: $20 adults, concessions available. Children under 10 are not admitted. Admission price includes audio guide. Tuesday to Saturday 10am - 6pm, Sundays 11am - 5pm.

The Frick is quite possibly New York's most underrated art gallery, a collection of exceptional paintings featuring important works by Vermeer, Manet, Rembrandt, Whistler, Goya and Van Dyk. A highlight of the collection is the renowned pair of Holbein paintings of Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell, and the group of small bronze sculptures, rated the finest in the world. This was the New York residence of Henry Clay Frick who transformed a fortune made in the coal business into this sublime building, facing onto Central Park. The interior courtyard is a tranquil retreat from the busy world outside.<br /><br />

Staten Island Ferry

Admission: Runs 24 hours, see website for schedule.

A must-see New York attraction that doesn't cost a dime? The ferry from Battery Park to Staten Island and back is a great way to see the Lower Manhattan skyline and Hudson river life while resting your feet. The ferry also skirts the Statue of Liberty affording decent views of this iconic structure. Most tourists stay onboard for the return leg, but it's worth hopping off and exploring a bit of Staten Island while you're there. Staten Island is a borough of New York City and a fun neighbourhood to explore, but the ferry journey, mainly used by commuters, is actually the main attraction. The ferry leaves roughly every 30 minutes or every hour and takes 25 minutes each way. Schedules are available on the official website listed below.<br /><br />

Greenwich Village

Address: Lower Manhattan

Greenwich Village (affectionately referred to as 'The Village') started out as an industrial park, but was taken over by artists, poets, beatniks, radicals, and other bohemians that founded a vibrant arts community. These days the area has been gentrified and rents are sky-high; you'll see more yuppies than squatters. The area was also the setting for the popular sitcom Friends. Greenwich Village is home to New York University, and the famous Washington Square Park. The area has retained a bit of artistic flair though, and contains a number of great off-Broadway theatres and historic jazz and rock venues like Bitter End, Village Vanguard, Small's, and the Blue Note. You'll also find an eclectic mixture of international restaurants and cafes to visit.<br /><br />

Wall Street

Home to the New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street has attained near-mythical status as the financial heart of the US, and indeed the world. The narrow street runs from Broadway to the East River, and is home to landmarks like Federal Hall, where George Washington was inaugurated as the first US President; and 23 Wall Street, which still has shrapnel holes in its limestone facade from the 1920 Wall Street Bombing. One of the iconic symbols of Wall Street is the Wall Street Bull (or Charging Bull) a 7,100 pound (3,200kg) bronze sculpture by Arturo Di Modica in Bowling Green Park. The sculpture is a popular photo opportunity in New York, symbolising financial optimism and prosperity.<br /><br />

Coney Island

Coney Island has been a tourist attraction in New York City since the 1830s, when New Yorkers would flock to the beaches. Its movie theatres, amusement parks, museums, circus, aquarium and restaurants still attract crowds each summer, and each Friday there is a fireworks show at about 9.30pm. Coney Island claims to be the birthplace of the hot dog, and no visit is complete without sampling the yummy street cart fare along the boardwalk. The activities and amusements at Coney Island are in full swing from May to September, but many attractions may be closed outside of these months. There is no accommodation on Coney Island, but it makes a great day out for the whole family.<br /><br />

Ellis Island

From 1892 to 1924, nearly every immigrant (totalling more than 20 million) moving to the US was funnelled through the crowded halls of Ellis Island, just off the coast of New York. No longer in use as an immigration port, today the island draws millions of people each year as one of the most popular tourist attractions in New York City.<br /><br /> The Ellis Island Immigration Museum offers multimedia exhibits showcasing the island's crucial role in the history of the US through the stories of various immigrants that passed through. An interesting exhibit is the American Family Immigration Center, which allows visitors to access passenger records to find relatives. A 45-minute audio tour (available in about nine languages) offers visitors the chance to experience the island as an immigrant might have, and is a good option for those with limited time. Special children's tours are also available.<br /><br /> Getting to Ellis Island involves a crowded ferry ride (be sure to bring a jacket) from Battery Park. The ferry also stops at Liberty Island (home of the Statue of Liberty), making it a convenient way to see two of New York City's most popular attractions in a single morning. It is best to buy combined tickets ahead of time, as ferry queues can take several hours.<br /><br />

Home

Address: 20 Cornelia Street, between Bleecker and West 4th Street

Food Type: American

This aptly named restaurant, with gorgeous patio seating, produces wonderful home-style cooking and is a favourite with locals. The cuisine takes comfort food to an entirely new level, while steak, pork chops, quail and seafood preparations excel. Signature dishes include a rich, creamy blue cheese fondue and the wine list gathers a number of bottles from Long Island vineyards. Open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday, lunch Monday to Friday, and dinner nightly.<br /><br />

Tribeca Grill

Address: 375 Greenwich Street

Food Type: American

Located in Tribeca's Washington Market area, Tribeca Grill radiates excitement and energy. Co-owned by Robert DeNiro, 'The Grill' is a classic New York social venue. It is a massive restaurant with high ceilings and exposed brick walls - not the place for a romantic dinner, but great for celebrity spotting. The menu includes enticing grilled and sautéed selections with cross-cultural creative influences of many different cuisines. Favourites on the menu include short ribs braised in red wine, the grilled duck and the pan-roasted cod. Open for dinner nightly, lunch during the week and brunch on Sundays.<br /><br />

Le Bernardin

Address: 155 West 51st Street (Midtown West)

Food Type: Seafood

Le Bernardin, New York's internationally acclaimed seafood restaurant, opened in New York in 1986 and in no time became a four-star restaurant that is renowned for setting standards in the cooking of seafood in America. The sliced conch in a Peruvian marinade is delicious, and the crispy black bass with Masala spice is also very good. Open for lunch Monday to Friday and dinner Monday to Saturday, closed Sundays. Reservations are essential.<br /><br />

Delmonicos

Address: 56 Beaver Street, near Wall Street

Food Type: American

This attractive Wall Street landmark first opened its doors in the 1830s as the first restaurant in America and has an impressive history, even providing the setting for Mark Twain's birthday party. Serving up delicious steaks in a leather and mahogany setting, it attracts a loyal crowd of businessmen, who feel at home sitting at the low-key bar. Signature dishes include the 'Delmonico Steak' and 'Lobster Newberg'. Reservations recommended, open Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner.<br /><br />

Balthazar

Address: 80 Spring St, SoHo

Food Type: French

Since its 1997 opening, this SoHo bistro has retained its buzz and irresistible allure. It exudes the look and atmosphere of an aged Parisian brassiere with pastel colours, oversized mirrors and powdery homemade bread. Nightly specials are based on classic French dishes, such as duck confit with wild mushrooms. Open for breakfast and dinner all week, lunch Monday to Friday and brunch on weekends. Reservations recommended.<br /><br />

Gramercy Tavern

Address: 42 East 20th Street (between Broadway and Park Avenue)

Food Type: American

This iconic Union Square eatery's spacious, rustic-looking interior includes a casual street-facing tavern, a lively bar and a series of formal dining areas. The dining room menu offers inventive American cuisine such as lobster salad, and venison with onion marmalade, while the tavern is good for seafood chowder or pork sandwiches. The tavern is open for lunch and dinner daily, and the dining room is open for lunch Monday to Friday and dinner all week. Reservations recommended.<br /><br />

Nobu New York

Address: 105 Hudson Street (Tribeca)

Food Type: Japanese

Nobu opened in 1995 bringing innovative 'new style Japanese cooking' to New York City. The restaurant is a visual and culinary delight - tall birch tree columns rise into the ceiling, which is painted copper with patches of open brickwork showing through, giving the effect of a Zen mountain retreat. Nobu's new style Japanese cuisine weds South American sensibility with Japanese traditions. Try the mussels with the signature Nobu salsa, or the yellowtail with jalapeño. Open Monday to Friday for lunch and all week for dinner, reservations essential.<br /><br />

Daniel

Address: 60 East 65th Street (between Madison Avenue and Park Avenue)

Food Type: French

One of the city's best venues for classical French fare, this restaurant has been restored to its original 1920s Renaissance splendour. Using the freshest ingredients, seasonal masterpieces include squab with swiss chard barbajuan, radish and artichoke barigoule. Leave room for the huckleberry sorbet... Jacket and tie are required for gentlemen. Open for dinner Monday to Saturday, closed on Sundays. Reservations recommended.<br /><br />

Keens Steakhouse

Address: 72 West 36th Street

Food Type: American

For a thick cut of New York steak, one of the best places to go is Keen's Steakhouse. The buzzing dining room has an old-fashioned charm with classic elegance, and though it can be loud, there's always a great atmosphere. Don't expect a variety of vegetarian options on this menu, as it focuses on meat and seafood. Reservations are recommended.<br /><br />

Acme Bar &amp; Grill

Address: 9 Great Jones Street

Food Type: Southern

With its exposed brick interior, the world's largest collection of hot sauce and catfish and hickory chips delivered fresh from Mississippi, Acme Bar &amp; Grill is as far south as you have to go to enjoy the cuisine of the Deep South. Creole delights, such as Louisiana seafood gumbo, Creole jambalaya and 'Catfish Po-Boys' (a traditional submarine sandwich originating from Louisiana) are in abundance - the mashed potato is famous! Open daily for lunch and dinner, and brunch on weekends.<br /><br />

Ess-a-Bagel

Address: 359 1st Avenue

Food Type: Delicatessen

When you're eating on the run in New York City, there's nothing like a big chewy bagel to sink your teeth into. One of the most popular bagel shops in town is Ess-a-Bagel, which serves fresh-boiled bagels with nearly any filling you can think of... far beyond the usual 'lox and schmear' (salmon and cream cheese). They even have a selection of tofu bagels for vegetarians. You can grab one on the go, or sit inside and relax. Great for breakfast and lunch, or a cheap dinner in New York.<br /><br />

Pauls Da Burger Joint

Address: 131 2nd Ave

Food Type: American

Sometimes in life, and frequently in New York, it is essential to eat a truly great burger. Satisfy this urge in the most complete and delicious way possible at Paul's Da Burger Joint, an East Village classic famous for its huge variety of perfectly prepared burgers. The decor is wonderfully kitsch, and the joint is staffed by eccentrics and wacky waiters. As one customer described sais, 'It's vintage New York!'. Open daily from 11am till late.<br /><br />

John’s Pizzeria in Bleeker Street

Address: 278 Bleecker Street,

Food Type: Pizzeria

New York-style pizza is world-famous for being thin, crispy, and humongous! John's Pizzeria is consistently rated one of the best in New York City, and their coal-fired brick-oven pizzas are sure to fill your stomach. The restaurant is unassuming, but the food is divine. They don't take reservations, so you can expect to wait at peak times. A real slice of New York!<br /><br />

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