Climb up onto the High Line or travel all the way down the Jersey (yes, really) to find the best neighbourhoods in New York City for urban exploration. *
The best route for spotting famous NYC landmarks
The East River Greenway is one of NYC’s most picturesque walks and international travellers have endorsed the Kips Bay section as the best place in the city for exploring on foot. In addition to the wonderful views, this stretch of river includes Waterside Plaza – a residential, hospitality and business complex that hosts free events through the summer and Movie Mondays in August.
The home of some of the city's best hidden museums
The neighbourhood of Harlem is home to some of NYC’s best hidden museums but it’s been one of the city’s cultural highlights since the 1910s. This was when the Harlem Renaissance introduced the world to the genius of artists and activists like Josephine Baker, Zora Neale Hurston, Paul Robeson and Louis Armstrong. Stay within walking distance of all of the neighbourhood’s cultural institutions at the stylish Aloft Harlem.
Park Avenue in Murrary Hill
While Harlem has jazz greats like Armstrong, Murray Hill has the award-winning Jazz Standard. As one of the biggest jazz clubs in NYC, the Jazz Standard juggles an ever-changing programme of established artists and future stars while also serving up juicy barbeque and refreshing locally-brewed craft beers. After an unforgettable night, sleep it off surrounded by elegant design at The William.
An aerial view of the High Line
Chelsea’s High Line Park is rapidly becoming a vital component of even the most fleeting visit to NYC. A refurbished railway line that winds its way through rooftops on the west side of Manhattan, this long green corridor gives you an elevated view of the city and information boards offer updates on the ever-changing urban landscape. The best time to walk the High Line is early morning and late-sleepers can give themselves a better chance of catching the sunrise by staying at the High Line Hotel.
With gems like The Museum of the American Gangster, Modern Pinball (an arcade and a pinball museum) and the National Museum of Mathematics the neighbourhood of Gramercy is full of alternative culture and history. It also has plenty for traditionalist travellers with many local buildings like the Gramercy Park Hotel showcasing in-house collections of 20th and 21st century artwork.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
In contrast to the way Gramercy institutions tend to specialise in the specialist, the Upper West Side is home to some of the best known museums in the city. The American Folk Art Museum and the Met Breuer can all be found here, and checking into The Hotel Lucerne puts you less than 5-minutes walk from the American Museum of Natural History.
Go in search of history in Hell's Kitchen
Start your sightseeing tour of Hell’s Kitchen on Restaurant Row, a stretch of West 46th street that was crammed with Prohibition-era speakeasies. Today the street is made up of enticing restaurants and hotels that happily pay tribute to the area’s illicit history and, hidden behind an anonymous brownstone, you’ll find a still operational speakeasy – Bar Centrale.
The view from Liberty State Park
Manhattan has two distinct clusters of skyscrapers that make up NYC’s iconic skyline. For an up-close view, many of the hotels in the city’s Financial District include viewing platforms or (in the case of AKA Wall Street) rooftop bars. If you’re in search of an unusual perspective, pay a visit to Liberty State Park in New Jersey and look back across the Hudson River to watch the sunset over Manhattan.
** The data scientists at Booking.com looked at the top endorsement for each of New York City's neighbourhoods. It turns out most of them were endorsed for food and the rest were endorsed for various forms of urban exploration.