A Tourist’s Guide to Exploring the 5 Boroughs of NYC

August 16, 2016

New York City has five fantastic boroughs, each with its own vibe, culture, culinary scene, and entertainment. The next time you visit the Big Apple, take the time to discover all five boroughs of NYC.

I grew up on the New York and Connecticut border, which made visiting New York City a breeze. Having this convenience at my fingertips meant I had the privilege of exploring all five boroughs of NYC over the course of several years.

While I no longer live up north, one thing has always troubled me. Whenever I meet someone who has recently visited NYC for the first time, they return believing the entire city is exactly the same as Times Square and Midtown.

New York City sunset


When you arrive in NYC, there’s no doubt that your first stop will be Manhattan. Don’t become overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of Times Square — I promise the rest of NYC is not like that.

The bright lights and crowds of Times Square, the sheer talent lighting up the stages of Broadway, and the immaculate beauty of St. Patrick’s Cathedral only brush the surface of what Manhattan has to offer. This popular borough extends far beyond Times Square, Central Park, and Midtown.

view of Manhattan Skyline at sunset with lights and sailboat in NYC, New York, USA

Manhattan Skyline

Manhattan boasts intriguing neighborhoods such as:

  • Flatiron District — The architecturally rich home of Madison Square Park, the original Shake Shack restaurant, and unique art installations.
  • East Village – Known as the birthplace of Punk Rock and filled with music venues and quaint bars.
  • Harlem — As the backdrop for the Harlem Renaissance, this neighborhood boasts the Apollo Theater and renowned restaurants such as Red Rooster Harlem.
  • Roosevelt Island — A stunning residential community with awe-inspiring views of the city.
  • Washington Heights and Inwood — You’ll find the Met Cloisters and unforgettable Latin cuisine here.

Of course, that’s only a sampling of the neighborhoods Manhattan boasts.

While you have to see Broadway, Rockefeller Center, and other Manhattan staples, find time in to visit The Highline. The Highline is a gorgeous park built upon an abandoned railway high above the busy sidewalks. This hidden gem provides some of NYC’s best sightseeing opportunities.

Remember, Manhattan isn’t all that New York City has to offer. There are 4 more boroughs of NYC for you to discover — each just as outstanding as the next.

The Bronx

Serving as the backdrop of inspiration for popular musicians and artists, the Bronx is currently experiencing an explosion of culture and art. When you walk through the neighborhoods of Fordham, Arthur Avenue and Belmont, Woodlawn, and more, you’ll witness the works of art lining the streets and in the most unlikely of places.

Yankee Stadiun: Flickr/Ken Lund

The home of the New York Yankees also houses popular places including the Bronx Zoo, New York Botanical Garden, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and Wave Hill. The borough is full of hidden gems and hole-in-the-wall attractions.

Looking for somewhere to stay in the Bronx? Check out the Opera House Hotel. This historic hotel is close to Yankee stadium, the subway, and once served as the popular Bronx Opera House.

Now, we can’t forget about the Bronx’s culinary scene. From Italian food in Arthur Avenue to the seafood in City Island, the Bronx boasts its fair share of dining options. For exceptional Italian dining, try Tra Di Noi on East 187th St. After all, Arthur Avenue is the real Little Italy.


Once you’ve browsed through the Bronx, it’s time to move onto Queens. If you’re on the hunt for diverse neighborhoods flooded with the tantalizing aroma of international cuisine, you have to visit Queens during your boroughs of NYC tour.

Flushing Meadows Park – Queens: Flickr/The All-Nite Images

Queens is one of the most culturally diverse boroughs in NYC and is where Citi Field and the Mets, the Museum of Moving Image, and Kaufman Astoria Studios (where Orange is the New Black and Sesame Street are filmed) call home.

The extraordinary amount of diversity in Queens leads to a number of exciting cultural festivals and events such as Greek Festivals, Italian fairs, art shows, and more. Many of these festivals occur regularly at the parks throughout Queens including Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Gantry Park, and the beach in Rockaway, Queens.

Due to the location of the borough and the eclectic neighborhoods, Queens is becoming the “go-to” spot for young professionals and their families. This population rise has attracted creative restaurants, breweries, companies and more to put up roots in Queens. When you visit Astoria, Queens, make sure to visit the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden. The century-old beer garden is one of the largest outdoor drinking venues in NYC.

Whether you prefer a day at the beach or sipping craft beer with friends, Queens has it all.


There’s no time to stop for caffeine when exploring the boroughs of NYC — No sleep ‘till Brooklyn!

Or, if you’re more of a Jay-Z fan, you have plenty of Brooklyn references to fall back on.

You may have heard that Brooklyn is the up and coming area of NYC, which is completely true. This borough of NYC is gaining a resounding reputation thanks to the creative and caring young adults and families who call Brooklyn home. Neighborhoods such as Bushwick, Williamsburg, and more have quickly gained popularity for the trendy and welcoming vibe.

My favorite place in Brooklyn is Barcade. Lined with classic arcade games, this bar is packed with people looking to play a fun round of Frogger or Tetris, drink with friends, and have a great time.

Plus, those who love outdoorsy activities need to visit Prospect Park where you can do everything from pedal boats to horseback riding all in one of the boroughs of NYC. You can’t forget about a trip to Coney Island either. The legendary amusement parks in this section of Brooklyn are filled with rides, games, corndogs, and more.

Make sure you find time to stroll through this up and coming New York City borough — especially the Brooklyn Bridge. You won’t regret it.

Staten Island

Did you know that Staten Island is considered to be one of the most suburban areas of NYC? This borough has the potential to make you feel as though you have left the city entirely.

Staten Island

Similar to the other boroughs, there’s no shortage of things to do and places to see in Staten Island.

The Staten Island Greenbelt is the largest forest preserve in the entire city and boasts High Rock Park and Willowbrook Park. Don’t forget to visit the Nature Center or take a spin on the Carousel in Willowbrook Park for unforgettable NYC memories.

If you’re exploring NYC with kids, be sure to make time for the Staten Island Children’s Museum. History buffs should check out the Historic Richmond Town and immerse themselves in this 100-acre living history and museum complex. Sports fans who don’t have the opportunity to take in an MLB game while in NYC can check out the Staten Island Yankees for nine great innings.

Depending on your vacation accommodations, traveling to Staten Island can take quite some time. You’ll need to take the Staten Island Ferry, a bus, or drive a car over the Verrazano Bridge to access this borough.

Find Time to Explore the Boroughs of NYC

You won’t regret finding time to saunter through each New York City borough. All NYC visitors need to experience the sights and sounds of Manhattan, the art of the Bronx, the culture and diversity of Queens, the growth of Brooklyn, and the suburban charm of Staten Island. If you can fit all 5 boroughs of NYC into your next Big Apple vacation, you’ll have the city trip of a lifetime.

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