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Exploring New York City Car-Free

Exploring New York City Car-Free

November 7th, 2023 | Travel Tips

Fall is fading away, and the festive winter season is upon us. During this time of the year, travelers from around the world flock to New York City to check off bucket list items and soak in the unmatched festive spirit that envelops the city. With iconic landmarks, world-class museums, Broadway shows, and a bustling urban atmosphere, there's no shortage of things to see and do in the “city that never sleeps”. However, many travelers are concerned about how they'll get to all the places they want to explore in the city without a car. The fact is, not having a car in New York is not only feasible but, in many cases, preferable. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) (a.k.a. New York City Transit) operates a vast network of subways, buses, and commuter trains that cover all five boroughs of the city.

Need a breakdown? Let’s explore how to make the most of ride-sharing, public transit, subways, and other fun methods to get around Manhattan and beyond.

The New York Transit System

The subway system alone is a marvel of urban transportation, making it easy to reach most of the city's attractions quickly and affordably. New York City boasts one of the most extensive and efficient public transportation systems in the world. With 472 stations serving 27 subway lines, you can reach virtually any part of the city with ease. This festive season, if you're planning to attend the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, see the Christmas lights at Times Square or the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting, or welcome the New Year’s Eve Times Square Ball Drop, the subway will be your best friend.

Travel Tips: For the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, take a subway to the nearest station along the route, which spans from Central Park West to Macy's Herald Square. This way, you can avoid the heavy traffic and street closures associated with the parade.

During the Christmas season, the subway is ideal for reaching Times Square and the Rockefeller Center. The annual Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting is a must-see event, and the subway can quickly take you to 47-50th Street/Rockefeller Center station.

On New Year's Eve, the subway is the best way to reach Times Square, where you can join the crowds to watch the iconic ball drop at midnight. Be sure to plan your route in advance, as certain subway stations near Times Square may be temporarily closed for security reasons during the event.

Ride-Sharing Services

While public transportation is the backbone of getting around New York City, there are instances where ride-sharing services can be very convenient. For example, if you're traveling with a group or have a lot of luggage, ride-sharing can provide a comfortable and efficient way to reach your destination. Additionally, if you want to explore neighborhoods or attractions that may not be directly accessible by subway, ride-sharing can fill the gap.

During special events like the Thanksgiving Parade, Christmas festivities, or New Year's Eve in Times Square, it's a good idea to have a ride-sharing app ready. Be aware that due to road closures and traffic congestion, your driver may not be able to get as close to the event location as you'd like, so be prepared for some walking.

Local City Bus Routes

The New York City bus system complements the subway network by providing additional transportation options throughout the city. Buses are especially handy for traveling to places that may not be directly served by subways. For instance, if you plan to visit the Cloisters in Upper Manhattan, taking a bus from the subway can be a convenient way to reach this beautiful museum in Fort Tryon Park.

If you're visiting during the holiday season, some bus routes may have special schedules or routes to accommodate the increased flow of visitors to popular holiday attractions. Be sure to check the MTA website for any holiday-specific information.

Biking and Walking

For those who prefer eco-friendly transportation or just want to enjoy the city at a leisurely pace, biking and walking are excellent and stay active options. New York City has become more bike-friendly in recent years, with dedicated bike lanes and bike-sharing programs available. Walking is a fantastic way to explore neighborhoods, historic districts, and iconic landmarks.

New York City offers numerous bike lanes and paths, and you can easily rent a bike from one of the many Citi Bike stations scattered throughout the city. Biking is a great way to explore the Hudson River Greenway, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Central Park. Just remember to follow the rules of the road and be aware of traffic.

NYC Walking Tours

In the Big Apple, you've got a ton of walking tours to choose from. Whether you're into food, history, architecture, neighborhoods, music, Broadway, TV shows, or movies, there's a tour for it. Plus, many of them won't break the bank. It's a fantastic way to uncover the city's hidden gems without worrying about a car.

Hop-On / Hop-Off Buses

Another swift and easy way to explore the city is via the hop-on / hop-off tour buses. These buses are perfect for travelers seeking an overview of the city's attractions, but they aren't designed for daily transportation. They're particularly enjoyable for first-time visitors, especially when the weather is favorable.

Enjoy Prime Accommodations at Manhattan at Times Square

To truly experience NYC sans car, secure a comfortable stay in a prime city location, much like The Manhattan at Times Square Hotel. Its unbeatable location places you within easy walking distance of top NYC attractions, events, and the bustling Broadway District. Take a look at our Special Offers page, and plan your NYC getaway today!

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