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Downtown New York City Skyline at Golden Hour

19 Things to Know About Living in New York City

Thinking about moving to New York City? The City That Never Sleeps offers a whirlwind of new experiences and encounters for those ready to take on the city. From world-class restaurants to world-famous museums, living in NYC means you’ll always have something to do. Here are 19 things to know about New York City!

Experience Life in the Big Apple

NYC Skyline with One World Trade Center Building in View from a Drone. Photo by Instagram user @killahwave

Photo via @killahwave

While living in the Big Apple is expensive—the cost of living is 62% higher than the national average and housing costs are 134% higher—there are few cities around the world that offer as much history, culture, job opportunities, shopping, dining, and nightlife as New York City. With a population of nearly 8.5 million people, NYC is the largest city in the U.S. And though it only takes up about 306 square miles, there’s so much packed into the city that it’s divided up into five major boroughs: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. And within those NYC boroughs are tons of neighborhoods, each with their own unique vibe!

You Won’t Find a More Diverse City

New York City is recognized as one of the most racially diverse cities in the U.S. The city’s multicultural population influences its art, music, food, and more, and festivals held all throughout the year celebrate a wide range of ethnicities, religions, identities, and cultures. Check out Brazilian Day New York in Little Brazil, which celebrates Brazil’s independence. Visit Little Italy, once home to immigrants in the late 1800s, to experience Italian customs, food, and language with events like The Feast of San Gennaro. Try authentic Asian cuisine and attend events like the Lunar New Year Parade & Festival in Chinatown. Or celebrate all kinds of cultures through music, dance, poetry, art, food, and fashion at NYC Multicultural Festival.

Public Transportation Is a Must

Photo Outside of the Fulton Street Subway Station in New York City. Photo by Instagram user @ios_shooter

Photo via @ios_shooter

Over half of New York City households don’t own a car and rely on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to get around. Operating 24/7, the NYC subway is often deemed the quickest and easiest way to travel throughout the city. Twenty-two trains serve 472 stations in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Staten Island. There are also hundreds of local bus routes that run every 15 minutes. Most buses run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. On top of all that, there are more than 70 express bus routes and 16 select service bus routes that you can take advantage of. Looking for a flight? The NYC metro has three major airports—John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA), and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)—which served 140.5 million domestic and international travelers in 2019.

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Pursue Your Career with Top Employers

Looking Up at the JPMorgan Chase & Co. World Headquarters in NYC. Photo by Instagram user @galenking

Photo via @galenking

Looking for a job in New York City? The Big Apple has many top employers and industries and a lower unemployment rate than the other top two-largest cities in the U.S., Los Angeles and Chicago. Financial services, healthcare, education, real estate, media and publishing, and information technology are all industries deeply rooted in the city. Residents looking for jobs in NYC can choose between established Fortune 500 companies and up-and-coming startups. When it comes to the best companies to work for in NYC, companies like Haven Life, Etsy, Peloton, Asana, and Noom are at the top of the list.

Earn a Degree in NYC

Aerial Photo of Columbia University in NYC. Photo by Instagram user @lenny_pridatko

Photo via @lenny_pridatko

With dozens of universities and colleges, New York City is a great place to further your education. Study at Columbia University in Morningside Heights, New York University in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Fordham University in The Bronx, or Yeshiva University in Upper Manhattan—all four are recognized as top 100 universities. New York City also has some of the world’s most famous fashion and art schools, including Fashion Institute of Technology, Parsons School of Design, LIM College, or Pratt Institute. In addition, NYC is recognized as one of the top cities in the U.S. for internships. Students looking for internships in NYC will find a variety of opportunities ranging from NBCUniversal to Google. Whether you’re interested in studying at a women’s liberal arts college or earning an advanced law degree, The Big Apple has the school for you!

It’s a Haven for Fashion & Shopping

Man Standing Outside of an Event at New York Fashion Week in the Rain. Photo by Instagram user @cswongphoto

Photo via @cswongphoto

NYC is the top fashion city in the U.S. Around 900 fashion businesses have headquarters in New York City, marking it as a home to top designers, stylists, photographers, and fashion publishers like Vogue. Watch international designers’ collections modeled on the runway during New York Fashion Week. Lace up your comfiest fashion trainers before taking on Fifth Avenue—”one of the most luxurious stretches of retail in the country“—to shop at stores like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dolce&Gabbana, Armani, Valentino, and Saks Fifth Avenue. Head to SoHo to peruse boutiques like Totokaelo and Flying Solo or high-end designers like alexanderwang and Balenciaga. Visit the flagship Macy’s in Herald Square. Look through a variety of vintage shops like L Train Vintage in East Village. Get trendy home decor at stores like abc Carpet & Home, Herman Miller, and Fishs Eddy in The Flatiron District. Or browse bookstores, record stores, and knick-knack shops in Greenwich Village.

Find Pride with the LGBTQ Community

People Waving Rainbow Flags Walking in the NYC Pride Parade. Photo by Instagram user @nycpride

Photo via @nycpride

New York City has a long LGBTQ history and a thriving queer community. All throughout the city are historic locations that have been fundamental in the city’s fight for LGBTQ rights and recognition, including the Stonewall Inn, The Center, and Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art (the only museum in the world dedicated to LGBTQ art). In addition, over five million people gather in NYC each year during LGBTQ events like WorldPride, MarketFest, Youth Pride, and more to celebrate the community and those at various stages of coming out—and the New York City Pride March is one of the largest in the world!

Enjoy the Outdoors Within the City

Photo of Central Park in the Fall in NYC. Photo by Instagram user @nybucketlist

Photo via @nybucketlist

It might seem like a Concrete Jungle, but New York City actually has more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreation areas spread throughout the five boroughs. Visit the baseball and softball fields, basketball courts, carousel, and playgrounds at Central Park, the largest and most well-known park in Manhattan. Go fishing or horseback riding at Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Watch a free outdoor movie on Monday nights during the summer or skate on the outdoor ice rink during the winter at Bryant Park, located behind the New York Public Library. Play cricket, bike on the trails, or rent a kayak at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Or feel the peaceful and calming energy of the themed gardens along the High Line, an abandoned elevated train track turned park in The Bronx.

Become an NYC Sports Super Fan

Photo of the New York Rangers Playing Inside of Madison Square Garden. Photo by Instagram user @alstadener

Photo via @alstadener

NYC has more professional sports teams than any other metropolitan area in the country. Head to Citi Field in Queens to watch the New York Mets (MLB). See the 27-time World Series champion New York Yankees (MLB) at iconic Yankee Stadium. Snag tickets at Madison Square Garden to see the New York Knicks (NBA), or travel to Brooklyn to enjoy a Brooklyn Nets (NBA) game at Barclays Center, where the New York Liberty (WNBA) also play during the summer months. Get rowdy with the crowd at a New York Rangers (NHL) or New York Islanders (NHL) game. Root for the New York Giants (NFL) or New York Jets (NFL) who play just outside the city at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. Cheer on the New York Red Bulls (MLS) and Sky Blue FC (NWSL) at Red Bull Arena, and support the New York City FC (MLS) at Yankee Stadium. And don’t forget to go to the US Open Tennis Championship, played annually at Queens’ USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center!

There Are World-Class Museums

Inside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Photo by Instagram user @thenamestesa

Photo via @thenamestesa

You’ll find about 100 different museums to visit in NYC. Spend a day viewing some of the two million collections at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), the largest museum in the U.S. Explore the awe-inspiring pieces within Frank Lloyd Wright’s seashell-inspired museum, Guggenheim. (Both the MET and Guggenheim are part of the Museum Mile, a mile-and-three-blocks of land that offers the most diverse art-viewing opportunities in the country.) Learn about biodiversity and the factors that threaten it at American Museum of Natural History. Get a chance to see 200,000 works of modern art, as well as a film series covering a variety of societal and cultural topics at Museum of Modern Art, where admission is free for all New York City residents. Pay tribute to the fallen and hear survivors’ stories at the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum. See paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe and John Singer Sargent at Brooklyn Museum. Or take a ferry to Ellis Island for an audio-guided tour of The National Immigration Museum.

…And Even More for Kids!

Believe it or not, New York City has plenty to offer for families. If you’re looking for kids activities in New York City, visit one of several museums guaranteed to be fun for the whole family! Learn, climb, and explore the indoor and outdoor play areas at Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Enroll the kiddos in an after-school or art camp program at Manhattan’s Children’s Museum of the Arts, which features rotating art displays and sculpture classes geared toward young audiences. Experience the art exhibits, storytelling series, workshops, performances, and more at Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Arts & Storytelling. Or explore outer space, play with robots, use a 3D printer, and more to bring science, technology, and math to life at New York Hall of Science.

This Place Is A Zoo

Photo of a Sea Lion at the Central Park Zoo. Photo by Instagram user @centralparkzoo

Photo via @centralparkzoo

The five zoos and one aquarium spread throughout the city provide entertainment in NYC for all ages! Spend the day at Bronx Zoo, one of the largest zoos in the U.S., which spans 265 acres and has over 700 different species. Get some hands-on learning at the Discovery Center at Prospect Park Zoo. See monkeys, grizzly bears, ruffed lemurs, and great views of the city at Central Park Zoo, managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society. Check out the aviary dome from the 1964 Worlds Fair at Queens Zoo. Get a glimpse into underwater habitats at the renovated aquarium with floor-to-ceiling windows at Staten Island Zoo. Or watch penguins at Sea Cliffs, spot the sharks in the Ocean Wonders tunnel, enjoy the beauty of tropical fish and eels in the Conservation Hall, or attend a live sea lion show in the Aquatheater all at New York Aquarium!

Spend a Night On (or Off) Broadway

The Theatre District, often referred to simply as Broadway, is one of the most well-known areas of New York City. There are 41 Broadway theaters with 500 seats or more. Catch the longest-running show The Phantom of the Opera at Majestic Theatre, or see the revolutionary Hamilton at Richard Rodgers Theatre. There are a number of Off-Broadway theaters to keep in mind as well. Off-Broadway includes theaters with fewer than 500 seats or outside of the geographically defined Broadway area. Rewind to high school in the ’80s with Trevor, or lose yourself in Stomp, a high-energy show with non-traditional instruments and dance. No matter what shows you choose, if there’s one thing you can’t miss while living in NYC, it’s the incredible theatre!

Attend Events at Madison Square Garden

Outside of Madison Square Garden at Night. Photo by Instagram user @thegarden

Photo via @thegarden

Residing in the heart of Manhattan, Madison Square Garden (MSG) is known as “The World’s Most Famous Arena.” The venue is home to the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, St John’s Red Storm men’s basketball team (NCAA), and the BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Tournament. But that’s not all you can find at MSG! This event center has hosted all kinds of bands and musicians, as well as events like boxing matches, circuses, and graduation ceremonies for years. But the longest tenant of Madison Square Garden is Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which has held the Best in Show competitions at the Garden since 1877.

Discover the Spectacular Music Scene

The Empire City is known for many things, and its music scene is one of them. Get tickets to see DJs, indie bands, and electronic music artists at Elsewhere, a 24,000-square-foot warehouse nightclub in East Williamsburg. Attend a show at Forrest Hills Stadium, the original home of the U.S. Open and Davis Cup and where The Beatles were helicoptered in for two sold-out shows. Listen to heavy metal and rock bands seven nights a week at Saint Vitus Bar, a venue with black walls and dead roses hanging from the ceiling. Find live music at basement jazz club, Village Vanguard, which has been around since the 1940s. Catch a show at Blue Note in Greenwich Village, where it’s not uncommon for a legend to make a guest appearance onstage. Or support small venues like Mercury Lounge in the Lower East Side that feature up-and-coming artists!

Get Down with the Festivals

NYC entertainment doesn’t end at sports and concerts—there are plenty of other New York City events to fill your social calendar! See indie rock, classic soul, funk, and hip-hop artists at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! at the amphitheater in Prospect Park. Jam out with the biggest names in rap, rock, and electronic dance music at The Governors Ball Music Festival. Mark your calendar for Tribeca Film Festival, featuring a red carpet event, discussions with filmmakers, and a collection of short films. Explore the Metaverse, connect with fellow fans, and debate fan theories at New York Comic Con. Or sample foods from around the world at Ninth Avenue International Food Festival, one of New York City’s longest traditions that celebrates cultural diversity through food.

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Embrace Your Inner Foodie

Plates of Food from Veselka Restaurant in the East Village in NYC. Photo by Instagram user @enerianna

Photo via @enerianna

With over 23,000 restaurants, New York City is one of the most restaurant-dense cities in the U.S. So what are some of the best food spots in NYC? Enjoy no-frills Ukrainian food 24 hours a day at Veselka. Order the Legendary Mutton Chop or the King’s Cut of Prime Rib of Beef at Keens Steakhouse. Feast on a lobster roll at The City Island Lobster House, a low-key joint in The Bronx that features waterfront dining. Grab some Carne Asada or Pollo Street tacos at Los Tacos No. 1 while you walk around the Chelsea Market. Savor authentic Indian food like Bheja Fry, Tandoori Poussin, or Chacha’s Lamb Chops at Adda Indian Canteen. Or finish your meal with old-school Italian ice cream flavors like Rainbow Spumoni at L&B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn.

Become a New York-Style Connoisseur

Person Holding a Piece of New York-Style from NY Pizza Suprema. Photo by Instagram user @catcybul

Photo via @catcybul

It won’t be long after you move to New York City that you’ll find your go-to place for New York bagels, your favorite New York deli, and the best slice of New York pizza. But until then, here are a few places to check out! Get mile-high corned beef and pastrami sandwiches at Katz’s Delicatessen. Visit Liebman’s Deli, a neighborhood landmark and one of the last remaining Jewish delis in The Bronx. Order a White Pizza, Buddy’s “Cake Boss” Pizza, or Original Margherita Pizza fresh out of the coal oven at Lombardi’s. Dine on delicious over-the-counter slices of the award-winning cheese pizza or specialty burrata pizza at NY Pizza Suprema. Chow down on delicious specialty sandwiches like The Chittle, Avenue B, or Mac & Cheese Bagel at Tompkins Square Bagels. Or savor freshly baked bagels with a variety of spreads ranging from chives and garlic to bacon and cheddar at Absolute Bagels.

Explore The City That Never Sleeps

Photo via @lyss

Whether you’re looking for a low-key night with friends or you’re ready to dance the night away, you’ll find no shortage of nightlife options in NYC. Sit down and watch standup at the Comedy Cellar. Sip on a glass of wine while you take in the night sky at 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar. Grab a local craft beer with friends in Nowadays‘ minimalist taproom, which has a big backyard and late-night DJs. Order Prosecco on tap while you hit the dance floor at Rumpus Room. Slip through a phone booth to enjoy cocktails at speakeasy Please Don’t Tell. Order a mini-bathtub Rub-A-Duck punch bowl at The Honey Well. Head to Grimm Artisanal Ales, where limited-edition brews push the style and boundary of typical flavors. Revel in the exclusivity of the beaded curtains at Dear Irving Gramercy cocktail lounge, as you sip on one of their time-honored drinks like Grove Groove, Tropic Tilt, or Pearl Collins. Or try your hand at vintage arcade games at Barcade.

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Moving to New York City? Extra Space Storage has self storage facilities throughout the NYC metro—including The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island—that can help your moving process go smoothly. Find a storage unit near you!

Downtown New York City Skyline at Golden Hour
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