New York City, often referred to as the “Big Apple,” is a vibrant and bustling metropolis filled with endless possibilities. As one of the most populous cities in the world, it’s crucial to know the best ways to get around to make the most of your time in the city that never sleeps. In this article, we will explore various transportation options and uncover the secrets to navigating New York like a local. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, this guide will help you discover the most efficient and enjoyable ways to explore the city’s iconic landmarks, diverse neighborhoods, and hidden gems.

The Subway: A Fast and Convenient Option

New York City’s subway system is an integral part of the city’s identity. With its extensive network of underground trains, it offers a convenient and efficient way to navigate through the bustling streets. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Subway Basics: The subway operates 24/7, making it an accessible option at any time of the day. With over 400 stations and 27 subway lines, you can reach almost every corner of the city. The fare is affordable, and you can pay with a MetroCard, available for purchase at subway stations.
  2. Navigating the Subway: Familiarize yourself with the subway map to plan your routes effectively. Transfers between different lines are possible at designated stations. Be sure to check service updates and delays, as maintenance work may affect certain lines or stations.
  3. Peak and Off-Peak Hours: During peak hours, which are typically from 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM on weekdays, subway cars can get crowded. If possible, try to travel outside of these hours for a more comfortable ride.
  4. Express vs. Local Trains: Some subway lines have both express and local trains. Express trains make fewer stops, allowing for quicker travel between major hubs. Local trains, on the other hand, stop at every station along the route. Pay attention to the signage and announcements to ensure you’re boarding the correct train.
  5. Subway Etiquette: When using the subway, be mindful of other passengers. Avoid blocking doors, offer your seat to those in need, and keep your belongings close to you. It’s also important to refrain from eating or drinking on the subway.

Biking: Embrace the Two-Wheeled Adventure

Exploring New York City on a bike is a fantastic way to soak in the sights, get some exercise, and enjoy the city’s vibrant atmosphere. Here’s how to make the most of your biking experience:

  1. Bike-Sharing Programs: New York City offers various bike-sharing programs, such as Citi Bike. These programs provide a convenient and affordable way to rent a bike for a few hours or even a full day. Simply locate a docking station, rent a bike, and embark on your urban adventure.
  2. Cycling Infrastructure: The city has been actively improving its cycling infrastructure, including bike lanes and paths throughout the five boroughs. Stick to designated cycling areas for safety and follow traffic rules just as you would when driving a car.
  3. Recommended Routes: Several scenic routes are perfect for biking enthusiasts. Take a ride along the Hudson River Greenway, a picturesque path offering stunning views of the Manhattan skyline. Another popular route is the Central Park Loop, where you can cycle around the park’s perimeter and enjoy its beauty.
  4. Safety First: Always wear a helmet when biking in the city, regardless of your cycling experience. It’s also essential to be aware of pedestrians and vehicles while on the road. Use hand signals to indicate your turns, and remember to stay hydrated during your ride.

Walking: Discover the City at Your Own Pace

One of the simplest yet most rewarding ways to explore New York City is on foot. Lace up your walking shoes and immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant streets:

  1. Plan Your Routes: Before embarking on a walking adventure, plan your routes accordingly. Use maps or smartphone apps to ensure you’re on the right track. Consider grouping attractions by proximity to make the most efficient use of your time.
  2. Comfortable Attire: New York City streets can be quite busy, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes for walking long distances. Dress appropriately for the weather and carry a light backpack with essentials like water, sunscreen, and a city map.
  3. Exploring Neighborhoods: Each neighborhood in New York City has its own unique charm. Take a leisurely stroll through Greenwich Village, known for its historic brownstone buildings and bohemian vibe. Visit the trendy streets of SoHo for high-end shopping and captivating street art.
  4. Safety Tips: While New York City is generally safe for pedestrians, it’s important to remain vigilant. Stay aware of your surroundings, especially when crossing busy intersections. Use designated crosswalks and obey traffic signals.

Using Taxis and Rideshares: Convenient and On-Demand

When you need a quick and convenient way to get around the city, taxis and rideshare services are readily available. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Traditional Taxis: Yellow taxis are an iconic sight in New York City. You can hail a taxi from the street by raising your hand when the rooftop light is illuminated. Make sure the taxi is licensed and displays the driver’s identification information.
  2. Rideshare Services: Services like Uber and Lyft have become increasingly popular in New York City. Simply download the app, request a ride, and wait for a driver to pick you up. Rideshares offer the convenience of cashless payments and often provide estimated fares upfront.
  3. Traffic Considerations: Keep in mind that New York City traffic can be notoriously congested, especially during rush hours. If you’re in a hurry or traveling long distances, it may be more efficient to use alternative transportation methods.
  4. Safety Measures: When using taxis or rideshares, verify the license plate number and driver’s name before getting into the vehicle. Share your trip details with a friend or family member for added security. If you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe during a ride, don’t hesitate to ask the driver to pull over.

Ferry Rides: Explore the Waterways

New York City’s waterways offer a unique perspective of the city’s skyline and iconic landmarks. Embark on a ferry ride to enjoy breathtaking views and discover hidden gems:

  1. Statue of Liberty Ferry: A visit to the Statue of Liberty is a must for any New York City itinerary. Take the ferry from Battery Park or Liberty State Park and enjoy panoramic views of the statue and the city’s skyline.
  2. Staten Island Ferry: The Staten Island Ferry is a popular choice for both locals and tourists. Best of all, it’s free! Hop on the ferry at Whitehall Terminal and enjoy a scenic ride past the Statue of Liberty on your way to Staten Island.
  3. East River Ferry: The East River Ferry connects several neighborhoods along the East River, including Williamsburg, DUMBO, and Wall Street. Enjoy stunning views of the Manhattan skyline as you cruise between stops.
  4. Water Taxi: The New York Water Taxi offers hop-on, hop-off service with stops at various points of interest, such as Midtown, South Street Seaport, and Brooklyn Bridge Park. This flexible option allows you to explore at your own pace.


Q: Are there any apps or websites to help me navigate the subway system?

A: Yes, several apps and websites provide real-time subway updates, route planning, and other helpful features. Some popular options include Citymapper, Google Maps, and the official MTA Subway Time app.

Q: Can I use my contactless credit or debit card to pay for the subway fare?

A: Yes, New York City’s subway system accepts contactless payment methods, such as credit or debit cards with the contactless symbol. Just tap your card at the turnstile, and you’re good to go.

Q: Are there any bike tours available in New York City?

A: Absolutely! New York City offers a variety of bike tours, ranging from leisurely rides through Central Park to in-depth explorations of specific neighborhoods. Look for guided tours that cater to your interests.

Q: Can I walk across the Brooklyn Bridge?

A: Yes, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is a popular activity for both locals and tourists. The pedestrian path offers stunning views of the Manhattan skyline and the East River.

Q: Are taxis readily available in all parts of New York City?

A: Taxis are generally easy to find in busy areas, such as Manhattan and tourist hotspots. In less crowded neighborhoods, you may need to call a taxi or use a rideshare app to request a pickup.

Q: Can I bring my bike on the ferry?

A: Yes, you can bring your bike on certain ferry services, such as the Staten Island Ferry and the East River Ferry. However, be sure to check the specific guidelines and restrictions for each ferry service.


Navigating New York City can be an exciting adventure filled with a multitude of transportation options. Whether you prefer the speed and convenience of the subway, the freedom of biking, the leisurely pace of walking, the on-demand service of taxis and rideshares, or the scenic charm of ferry rides, there’s a mode of transportation that suits your preferences. By leveraging these best ways to get around New York, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the city’s energy, explore its diverse neighborhoods, and create unforgettable memories. So, hop on the subway, grab a bike, or take a leisurely stroll—the city awaits!

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