5 neighborhoods to explore in New York's 5 boroughs
28 Aug 2021
Recently updated on November 24th, 2023 at 03:06 pm
In association with the New York City Tourist Board
Think you’ve got an eye for the best sights in New York? Think again. Whether you’re a newcomer to the delights of the city or an experienced traveler, we’re confident that we know exactly what makes a trip to the Big Apple truly unforgettable. Ready to get started? Here’s how to explore the 5 boroughs of NYC with Trafalgar.
A melting pot of diverse communities and the home to one of the US’s most storied sports teams, the New York Yankees. Welcome to the enigmatic borough of The Bronx.
Arthur Avenue neighborhood
For a slice of the Italian New Yorker life, head to The Bronx’s Little Italy. Only a few blocks away from Bronx Zoo lays a tight-knit community of Italians who immigrated to the area as early as the 1850s. Since then, the neighborhood has been transformed into a bustling institution of family-run delis, vibrant restaurants, and expert specialty stores.
With the pride of four generations of Italians at your side, you’d be hard-pressed to find better pizza & cold cuts than right here in Arthur Avenue. Our personal favourites? Zero Otto Nove for that perfect thin-crust slice, Arthur Avenue Retail Market for cured meats and cheeses, and DeLillo Café & Pastry Shop for possibly the best cannoli in the area (big statement, we know).
The New York Botanical Garden
The largest garden in the whole of the United States, the New York Botanical Garden is a utopia of lush forestry and rare flora. Across its 129-year-old-history, the garden has housed over a million plants in total, making it an unmissable adventure for any green-thumbed traveller.
Don’t miss a chance to wander through the 50 acres of old-growth forest, or admire the rare Native American species in the Native Plant Garden. Already ticked this off your NY bucket list? Experience the gardens in a whole new light with Yayoi Kusama’s new season of monumental sculptures and spectacular installations.
The borough’s popular hipster reputation originates from only good things. Incredible art showcases, a lively foodie scene, and some of the coolest drinking spots in New York. Not to mention a chance to see some of the neighborhoods where some of America’s most iconic films were filmed.
Coney Island Neighbourhood
The epicenter of all things weird and wacky, Coney Island is known for having some of the best amusement parks in the world, including the popular Luna Park. With over a hundred years experience of hosting fun-fuelled summers, you’ll find there’s something for everyone here.
First time visitor? Pay a trip to the legendary Nathan’s, where the ultimate funfair hotdog awaits. Then (with plenty of time to digest your hot dog, of course), jump aboard the infamous Cyclone, a rollercoaster that includes a heart-thumping 85-foot drop. Arguably the most iconic ride in all of Coney Island, the Cyclone boasts a listing in the National Register of Historic Places and has become somewhat of a rite of passage for any thrill-seeker in NYC.
Not so much of a daredevil? There’s lots to see by simply walking down the island’s sunny boardwalks, with plenty of time to sip cocktails at Margarita Island and indulge in some carnival games. Don’t forget the seasonal parades either – if watching bejeweled ‘mermaids’ tickle your fancy, we highly recommend grabbing a ticket to the coveted Mermaid Parade.
The Brooklyn Museum
Calling all art lovers – a date with the Brooklyn Museum is waiting. With over 1.5 million works of incredible pieces on show, this celebrated museum is the third largest in New York City. With collections spanning from ancient Egypt to African tribes, a journey through its decorated halls is arguably one of the best ways to learn about cultural histories from around the world.
Amongst the new exhibitions coming to Brooklyn Museum, the standouts include the hotly-anticipated Obama Portraits Tour from 08/27-10/24 and Andy Warhol: Revelationfrom 11/19-06/19/22. Whilst the first explores the famed portraits of the 44th US president and former First Lady Michelle Obama, the second tackles the lesser known biblical inspiration for Warhol’s artworks.
Perhaps the most famous of the boroughs, Manhattan’s iconic skyline is awash with towering skyscrapers and famous buildings. Included in its hall of fame are the Empire State Building, The United Nations Headquarters, and Wall Street.
The High Line
Imagine a green oasis high above the rooftops of New York, where you can enjoy imaginative art performances, international street food, and some of the best views of the Big Apple. That’s the beauty of the High Line. Once a rail line heading for demolition, this community-funded public park has quickly become an iconic space for locals and tourists alike.
With multimedia contemporary art programs available 365 days a year, there’s a strong sense that the High Line offers much more than a green space, but instead a community where art, music, and culture is welcome to all.
Seastreak Whale Watch
You heard us right – Whales in New York. As if your trip to the city couldn’t get more exhilarating, we’re hopping aboard the Seastreak Ferry to visit the nearby Whale Watching grounds. Here, you’ll find yourself mere moments away from being playfully sprayed by the world’s largest mammals.
With our partners proudly boasting a 96% successful viewing rate last season, you’re almost certain to see these magnificent creatures just off the coast of New Jersey. And should the whales be a little camera-shy, don’t forget about the bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, and pelagic birds just waiting to say hello too.
This often-overlooked borough is filled to the brim of hidden gems, largely in the form of boutique art venues, secret food spots, and musical talent befitting of the place that birthed The Ramones.
It’s time to reinvent art. Sister to the iconic museum in Manhattan sharing the same name, MoMa PS1 is one of the largest art institutes in the US, with a laser focus on contemporary art. Forget stuffy art galleries and long museum tours – instead, art, music and architecture come together in a fantastic multi-sensory experience.
With such a deliberate emphasis on young and emerging talent, who knows? You might also find yourself witnessing the birth of a new generation of creative geniuses – courtesy of the museum’s Young Architects Program.
Museum of the Moving Image
Tucked away in the historic building of the Astoria Studios is the largest collection of artefacts dedicated to film history, US television and the moving image. With 130,000 pieces to explore, the Museum of the Moving Image offers an Aladdin’s cave of props and inventions that span a timeframe as far back as the invention of film, and as recent as the age of internet culture.
And whilst their permanent collection is more than enough to entice thousands of film buffs each year, it’s their exhibitions and live events which bring in the record-breaking numbers.
Our personal highlight? The Jim Henson Exhibition, showcasing everything from the behind-the-scenes magic of “The Muppets”, to the original storyboards, scripts and costumes from the show.
Home to 12,300 acres of greenery and 170 parks, it’s no wonder Staten Island is nicknamed ‘the greenest borough’ with much of its charm rooted in the naturally lush landscapes found here.
The New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden
Ready to be whisked away to the Ancient Orient? Lovingly crafted by several Chinese artists, the Chinese Scholar’s Garden is a slice of heaven away from the hustle and bustle. With eight pavilions to explore, you’ll easily lose a day here ambling past the bamboo forests, Koi ponds, and gushing waterfalls of this tranquil green space.
St George’s Theatre
Painstakingly restored in 2004, the lavishly decorated interior of St George Theatre is an incredible statement to the beauty of Spanish and Italian Baroque Architecture.
Now a working performing arts venue, its grand halls welcome a huge variety of activities including film shoots, Broadway shows, and orchestral performances. Open to the public, a trip to St George’s Theatre is the perfect way to round off an evening in Staten Island.
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