NYC Tourism Tips: Here’s The Experts’ Guide This Holiday Season

Domestic and international tourists are heading to New York City to enjoy the sights and sounds during the holiday season. Here are a few tips and tricks from New York tourism experts on navigating the hustle and bustle.

Stacey Toussaint is the president and founder of Black-owned business Inside Out Tours, an NYC-based tour company that takes guests off the beaten path to explore the hidden history of the Big Apple.

“I tell people, New York is like its own country. If you’re really a country, you kind of have to narrow down what you want, and then you can make a plan based on that.”

Stacey Toussaint
President & founder, Inside Out Tours

Tip #1: Specialty museums & free events

If it is your first time visiting New York City, try to orient yourself around the city. However, if you have been to the city before, Toussaint suggests taking in the smaller neighborhood museums to get a sense of the different cultures.

Brooklyn Museum (Photo by Pablo Monsalve/VIEWpress via Getty Images)

Here are a few suggestions:
The Bronx Museum of the Arts
Brooklyn Museum
El Museo del Barrio
The Jewish Museum
The Met Cloisters
The Museum of the City of New York
New Museum
New York Transit Museum
Queens Museum
Whitney Museum of American Art

Free festivals and activities hosted by museums or local markets are fun ways to interact with New Yorkers.

“Tourists think about going to the iconic locations, which is a great thing to do, but some of my fondest memories have been at places like the Brooklyn Museum mingling with all the other Brooklynites and checking out what’s going on culturally,” Toussaint previously told NBC New York.

Tip #2: Take public transit, prepare to walk (a lot)

No need to rent a car, save the money. One of the most affordable ways to maneuver uptown to downtown streets is by traveling underground by subway.

“Uber prices change during the holiday season. There are surges depending on the time you’re going out and depending on the time of year,” Luke Miller, owner of Real New York Tours and NYC native, told News 4.

Wear comfortable shoes to avoid any blisters, and remember that NYC sidewalks can be jam-packed with two-sided traffic this time of year. Make sure you stay on the right side and be aware of your surroundings on crosswalks.

Tip #3: Utilize online resources

Online travel blogs and sites offer tons of information for building a more personalized itinerary.

Benji Sills is a tour guide for On Location Tours and suggests looking on, a site to find pop-up museums, restaurants and shops in the area.

When it comes to catching a Broadway performance, Sills recommends and searching “Broadway Rush” for a list of all available shows and how to get the cheapest tickets.

Tip #4: Observation decks

The gorgeous panoramic views are not to be missed by anyone, whether or not you are a tourist or a resident.


City Climb (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Locations to check out:
City Climb
Empire State Observatory
The High Line
Hudson Yards
One World Observatory
Top of the Rock

Tip #5: Holiday Markets

Browsing or shopping at the holiday fairs is an enjoyable way to get in the spirit and support small businesses.

Find anything from new jewelry to delicious sweets:
The Bryant Park Winter Village
BIPOC Holiday Marketplace
Dumbo Flea
Grand Holiday Bazaar
The Makers Show
The Urbanspace Union Square Holiday Market

Urban Space NYC

Tip #6: Eat Outside of Times Square

Times Square may be the heart of Manhattan, but there are numerous restaurants to explore when it comes to world-class dining.

NYC is a melting pot of cultures and tasting new cuisines is a great way to soak in all the flavor. Besides, you may want to avoid any over-priced subpar dishes at some populated city locations.

If you want a more out-of-the-box holiday experience, Sills recommends Serendipity 3 or Squish Marshmallows, while Miller says Panna II Garden Indian Restaurant in the East Village serves a festive occasion year-round.

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