Explore New York City

New York City's Best Visitor Hacks

Learn some of the city’s best-kept secrets.

New York City can be a difficult place to navigate, thanks to its massive size and confusing streets. Finding affordable activities can also be a struggle. Luckily, there are ways you can make the most of the Big Apple while looking like a pro. Some of the city’s hidden tricks in understanding how it works are found right before you. Here are some simple NYC hacks that will make your visit to the Big Apple that much easier (and more affordable).

Our Favorite Tips For NYC

The City is a Grid

Manhattan’s streets run on a numbered grid system, meaning you just have to follow the numbers to know where you’re going. For example, if you walk along 46th Street and then find yourself at 47th, you’re heading north. If you’re heading from 46th to 45th, you’re heading south.

TKTS Booth

Want to see a Broadway show but didn’t get tickets beforehand? You might be in luck if you head to the TKTS Booth in Times Square. This booth sells tickets for same-day Broadway shows at a discounted rate. The TKTS Booth is a popular bargain option for a multitude of visitors, so be sure to head over at 5 p.m. for your chance to get a seat inside one of the hottest shows in town. 

TKTS One For MTA New York | WhereTraveler
TKTS One For MTA (©David LeShay/TDF)

Free Museum Days

If you want to stop into a museum but can’t afford the cost of admission, keep an eye on their schedules. Several museums like the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum offer exclusive days where admission is either free or pay-what-you-wish. Most of them occur during the weekends only a few hours, so that would be your best bet to stop by for a complimentary tour.

Central Park Lamp Posts

If you can’t find where you’re going in Central Park, follow the lamp posts! Each lamppost has a small, four-digit number printed on it with a particular significance. The first two numbers tell you what street you’re located near. If the last two digits are odd, you’re on the West Side. If they’re even, you’re on the East Side. 

Central Park Lamp Posts New York | WhereTraveler
Central Park Lamp Posts (©Gautam Krishnan)

City Apps

Many apps have been released over the years to make your city visit more convenient by telling you the latest information. A Curb can be used for hailing and paying a taxi to take you where you need to go. If you’re using the train, MTA eTix and LIRR TrainTime can show you train times and pay for a ticket. There are also apps for finding the most hygienic and open bathrooms in the city, like Flush Toilet Finder.

Citi Bike

If you’re in a hurry and can’t find a cab or train, try renting a Citi Bike! This bike rental service can be found on several different city corners. Once you find a bike, hop on and cycle through the city. Each velocipede even comes with a basket, so you don’t have to worry about your shopping bags while you ride. You can rent a bike for a 30-minute ride the whole day or become an annual member. 

Citi Bikes in New York | WhereTraveler
Citi Bikes in New York (©Daniel Adams)

Big Bus Tours

Sometimes all you need is a little orientation and a hop-on-hop-off ride with Big Bus Tours is a great way to get that. The top deck is always a great way to see the city and the bus has two routes with stops all over Uptown and Downtown. It’s a fantastic way to catch as many sights as you can at one time and plan out your walking route for later.

CityPASS

If you’re short on time or just want to see as much as possible as quickly as you can, consider purchasing a New York CityPASS. The passes provide tremendous discounts on some of the city’s most famous attractions in a nine-day period. Visitors can choose five spots from a selection of NYC places, and there’s also a “pick three” option for those who are truly short on time. 

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum New York | WhereTraveler
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (©Cody Martin)