The golden glow of sundown over New York

What’s left to say about The Big City? The famed sidewalks bellow smoke, and prisms of light scatter through the myriad towers and skyscrapers, casting long shadows over the millions of souls hurrying about below. New York is a global city with very few comparisons.

New York City can only truly be understood through its five historic boroughs, as each distinct area has a character and charm all its own. Central to them all is Manhattan, the island city with a population of more than 1.5 million. On weekdays, Manhattan sees an influx of workers and tourists that more than doubles that number to nearly 4 million people - that's over 170,000 per square mile.

When you can get a millimetre of pavement to yourself, treading New York’s sidewalks is an endlessly fascinating exercise. One minute you’re in a scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the next you’re Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver, or walking down Jones Street feeling like The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan darting for Greenwich Village.

Built by migrants, New York has always been a meeting place for world cultures, a port city welcoming arrivals to the shining beacon of the Statue of Liberty. It's a place where you can still experience the frenetic buzz of Chinatown, a wealth of black culture in Harlem and the aromatic flavours of Little Italy along Mulberry Street, all in the one afternoon.

Harlem, NYCHarlem, NYC
Ultima_Gaina / Thinkstock

Bewildered and wondering where to start? Our New York Travel Guide is the perfect companion for a trip to the city that famously never sleeps.

When it comes to travelling to New York City, it might be one of the best connected metropolises in the world, served by not one but three international airports: JFK, La Guardia and Newark Liberty. Getting around New York is a breeze too, with help from the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and its well-connected system of buses, trains, bridges, tunnels and 24-hour subway service which, all together, claim more than 11 million passenger journeys on an average weekday. Otherwise an iconic yellow taxi can whisk you downtown in a sea of horns and flashing lights - elbows out if you want to catch a ride at rush hour though.

New York's iconic subway system runs 24/7New York's iconic subway system runs 24/7
Starflamedia / Thinkstock

A hotbed of bohemianism that gave birth to the American folk music revival and built the legendary Café Society, New York City has been inspiration for everyone from The Sugarhill Gang to The Ramones, Paul Simon to Gloria Gaynor. New York’s legendary nightlife has recently ballooned beyond its old epicentres in Soho, East Village and Manhattan's Meatpacking District to trendy Brooklyn neighbourhoods Williamsburg and Greenpoint. The Bowery Ballroom is still the city’s most buzzworthy music venue, an art deco house of worship that delivers the faithful a stream of the latest artists emerging from the worlds of indie and alternative music. Pre-booking tickets is recommended.

New York City has contributed more than its fair share of dishes to our menus over the years - it even lays claim to being birthplace of eggs benedict, the humble hamburger and of course its eponymous classic, the New York cheesecake. For a traditional taste of Big Apple cuisine, try the hand-rolled bagels at Absolute Bagels (2788 Broadway), the homegrown hamburger phenomenon Shake Shack (Madison Ave) and the legendary deep pies at Bleecker Street Pizza (7th Ave South). If you still have an appetite after all of that, see our New York restaurant guide.

Snap a memory of a lifetime in New York CitySnap a memory of a lifetime in New York City
maximkabb / Thinkstock

New York is the city that never sleeps but you'll be out like a light when you check in to one of the city’s many exemplary hotels. Legendary names, like the Waldorf Astoria and Roosevelt Hotel, abound in Manhattan but a growing number of boutique establishments, aparthotels and homestay options have signalled a revolution in New York accomodation.

Part-owned by famous Manhattanite Robert de Niro, The Greenwich Hotel in the Tribeca neighbourhood is one the newer additions to the Lower West Side and offers a rich combination of exotic style and decadence. Just avoid the toxicity of Trump Towers and check out our top New York hotel recommendations for an unforgettable stay in the city.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.