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Visiting New York and getting out of Manhattan

For many people, visiting New York is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. This usually entails a crazy rush to see all the main sites. Statue of Liberty? Check! Empire State Building? Check! Yet if you are lucky enough to visit more than once, as I have been, you will have the luxury of visiting the state’s other hidden delights by getting out of Manhattan and into the city’s many other districts.  

Visiting New York and getting out of Manhattan


Despite getting out of Manhattan, you will find the rest of New York City can often be just as busy. Thus, you still need to plan, especially at busy times of the year, during festivals or holidays. Make sure you book accommodation and any NYC experiences way in advance through online vendors. This will also save you a lot of money and you may be able to wrangle some deals.  

Once I have decided to leave Manhattan, Brooklyn is usually the first place I visit. This is the place I have heard about and seen in so many movies, so it makes sense to see what all the fuss is about. So far, Brooklyn has never disappointed and while it still has the NYC vibe, it also has a feeling totally of its own.  

Part of its appeal is just its vibrant nature. Wander around and you will find vintage markets, superb street food, great cafes, and happening bars. Despite gentrification, certain places can still be scary so make sure you stick to the more upmarket and bohemian areas.  

A perfect area to begin is Dumbo. An acronym for the down under the Manhattan Bridge overpass, it is the area where you step off the famous walkway. Its architecture is lined with Belgian block streets, many overshadowed by the bridge itself. It is now an area thriving with tech startups and the young entrepreneurs that make them happen. However, it is also one of the premier arts districts and is dotted with parks and plenty of green areas.  

Williamsburg is a smaller district in Brooklyn and one that I was really surprised at when I first visited. It is unbelievably bereft of tourists. Home to the Jewish Quarter of New York it is also a trendy haven for the arts, with an unbelievable gastronomic scene.  

Long Island 

Long Island is a different New York experience from the one you will find in Manhattan. It is just an hour away over the Hudson River and includes Queens and Brooklyn. I like to visit it with a car rental, as once you drive out of these crowded areas you experience a part of North Eastern America that few tourists get to see. These include small coastal villages and towns, a million miles away from your idea of the US.  

Many people choose to get some downtime at Long Beach. While it is a city, I find it an extremely relaxed one. Stroll the white sandy beach itself and take in some refreshments at the beachside vendors. If you head into town, there is a great bar known as Nolan’s where many people choose to visit and it will give you a great taste of real American hospitality.  

The Hudson Valley 

The Hudson Valley is another one that I like to rent a car for. The main sites are some way out of New York City itself, yet if you want to experience nature at its finest you must go. It encompasses the area from Albany to Westchester which borders New York City.  

A highlight is Bear Mountain State Park. I love nothing more than a gruelling hike and this is perfect for anyone wanting to blow away the dust and dirt from the city. It also includes six long miles of the Appalachian Trail which winds through the famous mountains. The best view comes from Bald Mountain, which opens up the Hudson before you. It is a 1000ft climb though so is not for the faint-hearted.  

There is also a lot of history to experience in the Hudson Valley. The Franklin D Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum are held here. They were built under his guidance in 1941 and the purpose is to foster research and education on their life. It can be a little dry at times and I prefer the Home of the Roosevelts, also close by. This gives a much more human look into the life of the former President and his family.  

A final option is New Jersey. Just a short drive from Manhattan, this state in its own right houses Atlantic City and the famous boardwalk. Wherever you drive in the region you are sure to find some fantastic sites and have fun as you travel. Remember to book your NYC experiences and accommodation in advance, check the weather, and live in this fantastic country to the fullest.