New York

Skyscrapers dwarf the avenues below, and the sidewalks thrum with life day and night.

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The clichés about New York are true – but that's just the surface. Alongside the iconic buildings, the city’s neighbourhoods are home to people and influences from around the globe; it's the diversity in everything that makes the Big Apple so uniquely exciting.

Arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is New York’s largest international airport and the main entry point to the city. Public transport options are plentiful, and you can reach the heart of Manhattan just a couple of hours after your plane touches down.

The 24-hour AirTrain JFK links to the subway system and has stations in all six of the airport’s terminals. Once you change onto the subway it’s a 35-minute ride into Penn Station in Manhattan. Alternatively, express buses, which also stop at all of JFK’s terminals, run every 20 to 30 minutes and stop at Grand Central Station and Penn Station. The journey takes around an hour and a quarter.

New York taxis are also available from outside the airport, and, unlike cabs hailed from the street, are not metered. There's a set fare, which can include a rush-hour surcharge. The journey duration varies depending on the time of the day, and can be as short as 40 minutes or up to 90 minutes.

Essential sights

Statue of Liberty

The towering copper statue rises from Liberty Island and stands as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. It was gifted to the USA in 1886 by France and is probably rivalled only by the Eiffel Tower for its iconic status. Tour boats cross to the island for an up-close encounter, and the Staten Island Ferry passes by too.

Central Park

New York’s most famous park occupies 843 acres (341 hectares) of prime Manhattan real estate. It's the heart of the city’s recreation, where some 25 million a year people run, cycle, walk, row, skate and picnic through the changing seasons. It is filled with fountains, monuments, sculptures and bridges, including the impressive Belvedere Castle and Strawberry Fields Memorial.

Rockefeller Center

In winter, the gargantuan Rockefeller Christmas tree twinkles next to its legendary ice rink. Come summer and the plaza is filled with outdoor restaurants. Shops abound, and the views from the observation decks at Top of the Rock are truly memorable.

Empire State Building

The inner city's most iconic building, this enormous landmark stands at well over 1,000ft (or several hundred metres) high. The magnificent Art Deco lobby makes for an impressive stop before you head to the 86th floor for a 360-degree view of the city below (don't worry – there's a lift).

9/11 Memorial and Museum

The sombre yet beautiful 9/11 Memorial and Museum honours those who died in one of the worst terrorist attacks the world has ever seen. Two large pools and waterfalls stand in front of the museum, surrounded by the names of the victims. The museum's collection includes more than 11,000 artefacts from the Twin Towers.