New York City emits a magnetism unlike any other city in the world. Its busy-bodied inhabitants march to a collective beat, driven to inspire, create, and resolve. Whether you’re visiting Manhattan for vacation or catching up with local clients, we’re willing to wager that you’ll feel energized by this city, too.
Where to fly in
New York metro area is served by three major airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), and LaGuardia International Airport (LGA). When determining which airport is the best to fly into, you should consider two factors—flight price and ground transportation options. To start, know all of your options by searching for flights to all three airports at once. If you’re based in San Francisco, for example, you can enter ‘SFO, OAK’ in the From box and ‘JFK, LGA, EWR’ in the To box and Hipmunk will show you results that include combinations for each of those options. Alternatively, you can enter the city name itself (New York City) or the city code (NYC) and all nearby airports will be included in the search results.
If you’ve conducted your flight search and are still feeling stumped with where to fly in, consider this: Hipmunk analyzed domestic flights to metropolitan areas served by multiple airports from September 2017 to August 2018 and found that flying into LGA is the least expensive of the three, with a median booking price of $243, followed by EWR at $283, and JFK clocking in third with a median price of $305. That being said, when our friends at TripIt analyzed over one million flight ratings to determine which factors impacted traveler happiness in 2018, despite its most expensive ranking, JFK ranked the highest in traveler satisfaction.
As for your ground transportation options, cabs and ride shares are available upon arrival at all airports, but they also incur the highest cost—especially from JFK and EWR. As an alternative from JFK, you can take the AirTrain, which runs 24 hours a day, to the subway. Depending on your final destination, you can catch the A, E, J and Z trains. From EWR, you can take the AirTrain and transfer to New Jersey Transit’s Northeast Corridor or North Jersey Coast Line trains at Newark Penn Station. Visit NJ Transit’s site for more detailed information. Finally, from LGA, your public transportation options are limited to bus routes. Grabbing a cab or a ride share is your most convenient and time-saving option to the city.
Where to stay
Despite being dubbed “The City That Never Sleeps”, New York City offers about 450 hotels in Manhattan alone from which to choose. In 2018, we saw several new hotels open—a few with some already-familiar names. After finding success in Chicago, Miami, and LA, the Freehand New York opened in the Flatiron district in 2018. A new citizenM hotel, this one in the Bowery, started welcoming guests last year, as well. Upon opening, citizenM New York Bowery gained the title of tallest modular hotel in the world.
With new hotels arriving on the scene all the time, it can be both challenging and exciting to choose where to stay. Meanwhile, business travelers look for a different set of amenities, and unsurprisingly, many hotels in Manhattan meet those specific needs. Here are our picks for the best hotels to stay in during your next business trip:
- If a hotel in a prime Manhattan location is what you’re after, look no further than the Hotel Sofitel New York. Conveniently located in Midtown West, the Sofitel is easy walking distance to Rockefeller Center. After work, you’re just a block from the designer stores on Fifth Avenue and the Theater District.
- If you need to book a hotel based on a point-of-interest, you came to the right place. The Bentley Hotel is an ideal spot if you’re attending an event at Guastavino’s but want to avoid Manhattan’s busier neighborhoods. From the hotel, you’ll can easily walk to Midtown or hop in a cab to take the FDR elsewhere.
- Old New York meets the modern business traveler at The Roosevelt Hotel. Amenities like a 24-hour business center and a spacious lobby area for coffee meetings are ideal for getting work done. Plus, the on-site health and fitness center allows those biz travelers wanting to get a workout in to do so without leaving the hotel grounds.
How to get around
Getting around the city requires prioritizing two of the following: time, money, or convenience. Taking the subway, for example, is your least expensive option. You can pay one MetroCard swipe and traverse all five boroughs. While taking the subway is often faster than grabbing a cab to your destination (when traffic is considered), this is not always the case. Track fires, sick passengers, and other unforeseen events all delay train travel. But you’ll definitely spend the least amount of money, if that’s what is a priority to you.
Your MetroCard also gives you access to the city’s bus system. However, while buses sometimes run more frequently up and down the avenues, throw ‘time’ out the window. Even with dedicated lanes, buses are probably your slowest option for getting around.
Also available above ground—the iconic Yellow Cab. Hail one, call out your cross-streets to the driver, and away you go. Grabbing a cab is typically convenient, but cost can greatly fluctuate based on your destination—especially if you’re heading to or from the airport, or incurring tolls by traveling over bridges or through tunnels. Ride shares like Uber, Lyft, and Via—known for its flat $5 (plus tax) rides—are available throughout the five boroughs and to all the major airports. While ordering an Uber is already more convenient (read: predictable) than the traditional curb-hail, if you manage your travel and expenses with Concur or Concur Hipmunk, you can up the convenience ante as your trip receipt will automatically populate into your expense report.
Pro tip: Use TripIt’s Navigator feature to search transportation options available to you. It will show you the estimated costs and travel times for each option, so you can decide which works best. You can find Navigator within your flight, hotel and rental car details screens. Plus, if you add a restaurant reservation to your itinerary (more on where to eat later), Navigator also helps you find the best transportation options for getting to your table.
Convenience aside, let’s talk about the cost of riding in a cab versus a ride share. Considering factors such as your starting location and final destination, time of day, traffic, demand for rides (hello, surge pricing), and other factors—Uber is typically cheaper when traveling long distances, like from your Manhattan hotel to JFK airport. Meanwhile, on shorter trips through congested streets, a taxi is likely the more economical choice in New York City.
Where to eat
From street carts to Michelin stars, Manhattan has it all. For a quick bite, head to Urbanspace—a food hall with rotating concepts and a variety of cuisine options to choose from. There are two permanent locations: Urbanspace @ 570 Lex in Midtown East and Urbanspace @ Vanderbilt, located just north of Grand Central Station. Other seasonal locations pop up throughout the year as well, so check out their website to see if any coincide with your travel dates.
Craving Italian? Maybe some wine and cheese? Head to perennial favorite Eataly—now with two NYC locations, Eataly Flatiron and Eataly Downtown.
If you’re after a ramen fix, you’ve come to the right city—this side of the Pacific, that is. Take your pick from authentic to fusion at popular spots like Ivan Ramen, Ippudo, Nakamura, Totto Ramen and more.
And finally, let’s talk pizza. Keeping with a home base of Manhattan, here are some of the best places to grab a New York slice: Joe’s Pizza, Prince Street Pizza, Rubirosa, and Patsy’s Pizzeria. Of course if you want to venture further afield to say, Brooklyn for Di Fara, or to Staten Island for Joe & Pat’s, we would not blame you. (Also, can you bring us back a slice?)
What to do
After last night’s pizza-crawl, you may want to start your work day with a workout. Good news—you have plenty of options in Manhattan. Runners, head to Central Park for a six-mile loop of car-free running.
Pro tip: Make sure to stay in the pedestrian lane and keep a careful eye out for those tourists biking out of their dedicated lane, too. Runners can also head to the West Side Highway for an uninterrupted trail along the Hudson River. If you prefer a studio workout, an app like ClassPass can orient you to all of the indoor running, spin, yoga, HIIT, Crossfit, etc. classes available in your neighborhood and across the city.
Speaking of parks, the city’s green spaces offer an ideal place to escape the office, host a walk-and-talk meeting, people-watch, or catch a free class or performance. Many of Manhattan’s parks, like Bryant Park, Madison Square Park, Union Square Park, and Washington Square Park, host free events throughout the year. Plus, you’ll almost always be treated to an unorganized event, too, like a busking musician or a friendly game of chess. If you have some downtime, pass through a park in your neighborhood and soak in the essence of everyday New Yorkers just doing their thing.
If you catch a rainy day, head to one of the city’s world-class museums. The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim are located on the Upper East Side—just a few minutes’ walk away from one another, too. There’s also the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown, the Whitney in the Meatpacking district, and the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side. Lesser known museums worth a visit include the Tenement Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, and El Museo del Barrio—just to name a few.
Rain or shine, be sure to also pay a visit to the iconic (and independent) Strand Bookstore—the last of the surviving bookstores in what was formerly known as “Book Row” along Fourth Avenue. The Strand boasts 18 miles of new, used, and rare books, plus a robust calendar of literary events. Pop in to pick up that personal development book you’ve been meaning to read or grab a leisure read—both for a fraction of the price of a last-minute purchase at the airport.