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How to Avoid Crowds in New York City

How to Avoid Crowds in New York City

It’s no wonder so many tourists flock to New York City each year. With the best museums, dining, and entertainment in the country, it’s really a top destination. Unfortunately, having so many tops sights and attractions in one area draws a large crowd all year round, which can be bad news for people who don’t enjoy wading through crowds to enjoy their trip. While it’s impossible to avoid all the crowds in the Big Apple, there are some things you can do to make sure your trip to the big city is more pleasant and crowd-free. Here’s how to avoid crowds in NYC.

Avoid peak seasons in the city!

While you can’t always control when you’re able to take a trip to the city, if you have the option, it’s best to avoid the more crowded times of year. Winter can be a great time to visit New York because the weather scares off most tourists. However, avoid holiday weekends and the few weeks leading up to Christmas and New Year’s. Avoiding popular visiting times is also a great way to have your pick of the amazing hotels and restaurants the city has to offer.

Skip the crowds and take a bus tour

The best way to see the top landmarks without waiting in line or fighting through a crowd of photo-takers is to just skip the walking altogether. Double decker bus tours offer the perfect view of all the best sights in the city from above the other tourists. That means you won’t have to wait in line for photos or lean around someone’s head to see your favorite buildings or statues. Save yourself the headache and take a tour with TopView in Midtown, New York. Not only will you get to learn more about the city from an expert guide, but you’ll also be able to hop on and off as you please.

Avoid the tourist-trap attractions

While it’s hard to skip iconic attractions like the Chrysler Building and Grand Central Station, there are a lot of things you could probably do without. Instead of taking a crowded ferry to the Statue of Liberty, for instance, take the Governor’s Island Ferry or the Staten Island Ferry. These are generally filled with locals instead of tourists, and they offer the same stunning views of the NYC skyline and the Statue of Liberty, but without the crowds. If you must visit places like Grand Central Station and Times Square, try to go at off times, like late in the evening or during meal times.

Explore the world outside of Manhattan

New York City is made up of five boroughs, but most tourists only go around Manhattan on their visit. The outer boroughs, like Brooklyn and Queens, offer a lot of their own attractions, but without the hordes of tourists. In addition to having their own flavor, the boroughs are integral parts of the city, which gives you a more complete experience on your visit. These boroughs are still connected by the same metro system, so it’s easy to hop between Manhattan and the outer neighborhoods without losing much time. Some of the best restaurants, bars, parks, and museums are actually found in these other boroughs, so it’s definitely worth exploring the world outside of Manhattan!

Make the most of your trip to the Big Apple

Whether it’s your first time in the city or your tenth, you want to make sure you make every moment count. That means you don’t want to waste valuable time waiting in lines or fighting through crowds of tourists with iPads and selfie sticks! As long as you’re willing to be flexible with your itinerary in the city and you do the right research, you’ll be able to steer clear of most crowds in the city!

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About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

25 Comments

  1. Great tips that work for any big city.

    • Carmen Edelson

      I think so too, Amy 🙂

  2. I wish I’ve read this before I visited NYC. I went on Memorial Day and the queue to the ferry to the Statue of Liberty was incredibly long.
    Jing recently posted…Finding Serenity at Sanctuary Garden Resort, Sibuyan IslandMy Profile

    • Carmen Edelson

      Now you have a reason to return 😉

  3. Lovely tips! I’ve been in NYC for five times and I can relate to all of your tips. There is a huge difference in exploring Manhattan on New Years Eve versus exploring Brooklyn on low-season. I wish I could visit NYC again soon, it’s a wonderful city full of things to explore!

    • Carmen Edelson

      Oh definitely! I think it’s a wonderful city too.

  4. Rye Santiago
    Reply

    Carmen, you made me miss the US so much. I remember fondly the first time I stood before the Grand Central Station. It was surreal! Thanks for the tip on the Statue of Liberty. I’ll bookmark this to remind me to take the Governor’s Island Ferry, instead! 🙂

    • Carmen Edelson

      That’s great! I’m glad to hear it, Rye 🙂

  5. I visited New York back in high school on a band trip and we didn’t get to explore outside of Manhattan. Definitely a major regret of mine and you’re making me want to book a flight back!

    • Carmen Edelson

      Yes, you must go back for another visit!

  6. Great tips! I’m in the city a lot and I think it’s incredible how few people know about the Staten Island Ferry. It’s a gorgeous view and it’s free! Never would have thought to do a bus tour because I generally avoid street travel at all costs in Manhattan. I bet it does give a good angle for photos though! 🙂

    • Carmen Edelson

      Definitely good angles for photos! And yes, I wish more people knew about the Staten Island Ferry.

  7. i feel like i’m a weirdo as so far, i’m still not (yet) interested to visit new york. a lot of people that i’ve met always got new york in their bucket list. however, the big apple never really attracts me although i’m a big fan of hollywood movies. 😛

    but thanks for the reading, maybe one day i’ll start to take some interest in visiting new york and see if i can apply all your tips here! 😀
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    • Carmen Edelson

      There’s lots to see and do in NYC for a range of interests, hopefully you like it when you do eventually visit 🙂

  8. NYC is a short 6 hour flight to London so we go quite a bit for long weekend. Because we live in a city just as busy, we hardly notice the hordes of people in NYC lol. These are some great tips – after the first couple of times the tourist traps will be out of the way and the real NYC can be explored.

    • Carmen Edelson

      What a nice long weekend, Dom!

  9. I Love NY city but the only trouble i thought it has that it is overcrowded and you share awesome insight on how to avoid this.. Thanks for sharing. Very well written.

    • Carmen Edelson

      Thank you! So glad you found it useful.

  10. Hey dear Carmen, honestly, this article is fantastic! I am planning a New York trip and this informations are perfect for me. My passion is photography and so I always have to avoid the crowds…
    Thanks for sharing this ?
    Have a nice day
    Martina

    • Carmen Edelson

      You are very welcome, thanks for your lovely comment 🙂

  11. We were in NYC last September and we agree, while it’s not entirely possible to skip the crowds you can still work around them to avoid some!
    Danila Caputo recently posted…Valentine’s day: 20 Italian getawaysMy Profile

  12. Thankyou for this woderful tips. It helped me recently.

    • Carmen Edelson

      I’m so glad to hear that!

  13. Carmen, these are awesome tips. You absolutely nailed it when you said get beyond Manhattan. There’s a huge trend towards Long Island and Upstate New York now (proof on almost every New Yorker’s Instagram feed). Probably because they have arguably even more spectacular views, food and places to stay. In the next 10 years they’ll be as busy as Manhattan I say, so now is definitely the time to venture out 🙂

    I’ll also add – if anyone is going to do Grand Central (and wants to see more than the secret whisper columns), the best way to experience it is by actually catching a train. (Upstate or to Long Island maybe?? haha)

    Thank you for giving New York a chance at being more with these tips than what Hollywood has so far led the world to believe!

    – Edward

    • Carmen Edelson

      Thank YOU for your incredible comment, Edward! I really appreciate it. And I’m so curious to see how the trends unfold in the next 10 years.

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