Manhattan
Travel Guide

Manhattan, New York City 

Introduction 

 
 

Manhattan is situated at the mouth of the Hudson River, and is the smallest yet most densely populated of New York City's five boroughs - 1.6 million people (2012) living in an area measuring just 34 sq. miles (88 sq. km). The borough comprises of a group of islands with Manhattan Island (often referred as Manhattan) being the largest and nearby are the smaller islands of Liberty Island, Ellis Island, and Roosevelt Island. Manhattan Island itself comprises of three districts namely the Downtown, Midtown, and Uptown areas.

 
 

Manhattan is seat of the city's government, where the office of New York City's mayor and council at City Hall is located. The borough is also a major financial center, not only in the United States but also globally. The Financial District in Manhattan is the home of Wall Street, and where several stock and commodity exchanges are based. Therefore, it is not surprising that Manhattan is one of the wealthiest counties in the United States.

Empire State Building, New York City

Empire State Building by Daniel Schwen

See & Do
Manhattan is the main destination
for many visitors to New York City, and therefore not surprising that many areas of the borough are very touristy. Major attractions and landmarks in Manhattan include the Empire State Building, Times Square, Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, and the UN Headquarters. There are also the museums and art galleries that are worth visiting including the famous American Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and Guggenheim Museum.

New York's Times Square, New York City

Times Square by Laslovarga

Neighborhoods
Beyond the city's tourist attractions, there are several interesting and colorful neighborhoods in Manhattan. These neighborhoods are worth visiting and if not for a day trip, at least a passing through.
Greenwich Village and East Village once attracted residents from the counterculture movement but now a middle class neighborhood, though still retaining distinctive charms of their own. Chinatown takes on a lively and oriental atmosphere, and you would probably think you are in a city in the Far East than in the United States.

Shopping
Manhattan is a shopping paradise offering a wide range or merchandise from electronic gadgets to the latest design in fashion. For many shoppers including visitors, Manhattan's Fifth Avenue is the center point and premier destinations for shopping in New York City. Madison Avenue is an upscale shopping destination well-known for its luxury stores ranging from fine jewelry to luxury clothes. Major department stores and discount stores in the borough include Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Century 21, and Syms.

Eats & Restaurants
There are plenty of places when it comes to eating out in Manhattan, ranging from the humble street food vendors to the upscale fine dinning restaurants. Also available are the varieties of ethnic eateries besides American including Italian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, Caribbean, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian to name a few. Those on dietary restrictions for religious reasons, there are eateries serving kosher (Jewish) and halal (Muslims) meals. When it comes to cheap eats, street foods offer the cheapest option and you can get a decent meal with soft drink for $5-10.

Getting Around Manhattan
The roads in Manhattan are arranged in a grid-like manner and it is easy to find your way if you know the avenue and street numbers.

  • Avenues (e.g. Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue) run in a north-south direction.
  • Streets (e.g. 13th Street and 14th Street) run in a east-west direction.
Driving in Manhattan may not be ideal with its congested and slow moving traffic. Furthermore, finding a parking space is difficult and if found, the parking charges are steep. Better get around the borough by taking the cab or the city's efficient public transport system of subway trains and buses. 
Orchard Street, New York City

Orchard Street in Manhattan by Gryffindor

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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