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Best Ways to Get Around New York City on Your First Visit 

It’s called the city that never sleeps for a reason. New York City is The United States’ largest city by population, home to an estimated 9 million residents as of 2021. And if that number doesn’t jump out at you as being rather large, this is more people than the combined populations of Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia.

With the vast amount of people all living and working in NYC, it can be quite overwhelming to walk around and experience this electric melting pot of culture for a first time visit. In fact, many first time visitors to NYC report being mesmerized by the sheer volume of people alone, aside from the mind-bending heights of its numerous skyscrapers that create the landscape of this concrete jungle. 

If you’re heading to the Big Apple for your first time, here we’ll detail a few ways to get around New York City.

1. Walk

Before you hop on the subway, hail a taxi, ride a bus, or travel the city by any other means, you’re going to want to walk a bit first to experience this icon of American culture firsthand. 

The first thing you’ll need to realize is that New York City is massive on many levels. While some cities sprawl and reach out for miles such as Houston and Dallas, New York City is fairly compact, but it’s also built upward instead of outward. 

That being said, each burrough of NYC is like a small city within a large city, and there’s easily a week’s worth of sites to take in when you visit any of the burroughs. 

Walking the city gives you a first hand experience of the sights, sounds, and pace of the most populous city in the United States, and you’ll soon learn that if you’re not in step with those around you, the crowd can easily leave you behind. 

2. Use Rideshares

Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are popular all over the United States. Instead of fighting the crowd to get on the bus or to hail a cab, you can simply order a ride with a touch of a button on your smartphone, all in the palm of your hand. 

Rideshare services are convenient because many drivers are local natives and know the city much better than a cabbie from overseas. And, the cost for a rideshare is usually less than it would cost to take a cab, and much more convenient.

But keep in mind that a note of caution must be considered when choosing rideshare services. Reports have shown that the rate of accidents involving Uber and Lyft drivers has increased in recent years, and many people injured in these vehicles are considering filing lawsuits for compensation. So before you step into a rideshare vehicle, be sure to assess the vehicle and the driver to help ensure that he or she is operating the vehicle legally and responsibly.

3. Subway

Many people will say that you haven’t experienced New York City properly until you’ve walked through Grand Central Station and hopped on a Subway car.

The subways are heavily traveled in NYC, and these are actually the preferred methods of travel for many New Yorkers who live outside of walking distance, and who want to avoid costly cab fare. You can even get a subway tour while at Grand Central Station, which will detail the history of the subway system, along with facts about several popular movies that have been filmed there over the years. 

Riding the subway is a cultural experience, and you’ll see people from all walks of life. But as with visiting any major city, while on the subway you want to use your best judgment and common sense when around other people. 


It’s nearly impossible to see all of New York City in a week, let alone in just a single day. So no matter how you choose to navigate around the city, ensure that you’ve allotted plenty of time to see all of the sights you want to see, so that you can make your first NYC experience one to remember. 

More New York City Travel Tips

New York City Travel Tips for First Time Visitors ~ A Beginner’s Guide

New York City’s Five Boroughs: The Famous Attractions of Each

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