New York Airport to City Travel Options

By Stuart Bak

New York. So good they named it twice. So pretty it holds the Guinness world record for being the planet's most Instagrammed city. And so perennially popular with tourists and business travelers that it requires not one, not two, but *three* airports to keep up with demand. It’s not hard to understand why either: think household-name attractions like the Statue of Liberty and Empire State building, a vibrant nightlife and entertainment scene (looking at you, Broadway!), and some of the best shopping in the Western world. And that barely scratches the surface. Planning a trip to to the city never sleeps? Read on for our guide to the airport transportation options that will have you enjoying the bright lights of downtown Manhattan in no time at all.

New York Airports in Brief

Aeroplane descending over the brightly illuminated Manhattan skyline at night

The Big Apple has three international airports: John F. Kennedy (JFK), Newark Liberty (EWR) and LaGuardia (LGA). Here’s the lowdown…

JFK is the main entry point for all arrivals in the US, making it the biggest and busiest airport in New York by some considerable margin. It’s located in Queens, around 26km southeast of Midtown Manhattan.

Newark Liberty Airport is 14km southwest of Manhattan and runs JFK pretty close in terms of annual passenger numbers.

LaGuardia is the baby of the three main New York airports, processing around half the number of annual passengers of its Queens neighbor JFK. It’s around 17km by road from Midtown Manhattan.

But what’s the best way to get to Manhattan from each airport? Read on to find out…

JFK to the City


The AirTrain at JFK Airport, New York

The JFK AirTrain provides a quick, easy and (largely) free way to navigate the airport’s eight terminals. It operates 24/7 year-round and connects you, the eager new arrival, to hotel shuttle pick-up areas, airport parking lots, and the rental car center. There’s an $8.25 fee if your AirTrain journey starts or ends at Jamaica or Howard Beach stations, which connect to New York’s public transportation network via the NYC subway system, the Long Island Rail Road, and public buses.

By Subway

Traveling on a budget? The NYC subway is your friend. Take the AirTrain to Jamaica station for subway connections to Brooklyn, Queens, Midtown and Lower Manhattan, or to Howard Beach for connections to Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan and the Rockaways only. The subway takes around 50-60 minutes into Manhattan and costs only around $3 on top of your AirTrain fare.

By Train

The Long Island Rail Road is a commuter train that links Jamaica station with Midtown Manhattan, Grand Central Terminal, Brooklyn and Long Island. It’s considerably faster than the subway, taking around 30 minutes into Midtown Manhattan. But you’ll pay for the privilege: an extra $5-11 on top of the AirTrain fare, variable depending whether you’re traveling during peak times or not.

Times Square street sign and yellow NYC cab

By Bus

There are more regional bus services out of JFK than we could possibly list here, but the majority don’t go right to the heart of New York and require a connection to the subway anyway. There is one Express Bus service that operates from terminals 1, 4 and 8 and will take you all the way to downtown Manhattan. It costs $19 and runs every 30 minutes between 11AM and 7PM.

By Cab

JFK Airport cabs charge a fixed fare of $70 into Manhattan. That’s per car for up to four passengers. A bargain. Watch out for extra charges though, including the peak period surcharge ($5), the airport pick-up fee ($1.75), the state tax (50 cents), the variable congestion charge, and the 75-cent add-on to rides that pass through Manhattan or end south of 96th street. Oh, and don’t forget to tip, will ya?

By Rental Car

There are stacks of rental companies operating after arrivals in each terminal: Alamo, Avis, Hertz and Thrifty to name just a few. Book your vehicle then hop on the AirTrain to the Federal Circle Station to pick it up. Be wise to road tolls in and around NYC and be sure to check your individual rental company’s policy regarding how these should be handled to avoid picking up a hefty bill later.

Grand Central Terminal in New York

Newark Liberty to the City


Like JFK, Newark Liberty Airport operates an AirTrain network that serves all three terminals, providing free transport to rental cars, hotel shuttles and parking lots. You’ll pay an $8.25 fee for AirTrain journeys that connect to the city via the Newark Liberty International Airport Station. This is included in the price of NJ Transit and Amtrak tickets purchased in the terminal. AirTrain runs every 3-5 minutes between 5AM and 11PM and around every 15 minutes through the wee small hours.

By Train

Regular Amtrak and NJ Transit trains run direct from Newark Liberty International Airport Station to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan, and beyond to Philadelphia, D.C., and more. Journeys into Manhattan take around 25 minutes and cost from around $20 one way.

Brooklyn Bridge

By Bus

NJ Transit runs a regular Express Bus service between Newark Liberty International Airport and major NYC stations including Grand Central, Bryant Park and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. It’s $18 one way or $30 for a return ticket. You can catch the bus at regular intervals between 5AM and 1AM, 365 days a year.

By Cab

Newark Liberty Airport cabs charge fixed fares that range from $60-80 depending where in New York City you’re going. As with JFK, there are several additional charges to look for, and tipping for good service is expected. 

By Rental Car

You’ll find all the regular car rental companies at the rental center on levels 1-3 of the Parking A Access Road, which can be reached for free on the AirTrain. Be sure to check about road toll policies with your chosen rental company.

LaGuardia to the City

Woman having a coffee and checking her phone in the airport

Being the smallest of NYC’s ‘big three’ means transport options are slightly more limited from LaGuardia Airport. But getting to the heart of the Big Apple action is still very straightforward.

By Bus

There are multiple options available via the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus network. You can go all the way to downtown Manhattan, or hop off en route to connect to the subway and Long Island Rail Road. One-way trips on the MTA network cost a mere $2.90, making bus hands-down the most cost effective method of getting from LaGuardia to Manhattan.

By Cab

Cabs from LaGuardia to Manhattan range from $30-38 and again, fares are fixed by destination, but with various add-ons including state taxes, peak-time surcharges and airport access fees. Please, as ever, do tip for good service.

By Rental Car

Car rental agencies including Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Thrifty operate out of all three terminals at LaGuardia and there are free shuttles in front of each terminal to take you to your vehicle.

Save on attractions, tours and activities in New York

Save on admission to New York attractions with the New York Pass. Check out @NewYorkPass on Instagram for the latest top tips and attraction info.

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Places to Eat & Drink in New York

New York Restaurants & Dinner Cruises Known as one of the epicurean capitals of the world, New York City offers a tremendous diversity of restaurants. Nearly as famous are the NYC Dinner Cruises. Within the city of New York, one can find nearly every nationality's cuisine represented. If someone has cooked it up in style and with flair, you will find it in NYC. For dessert, New York City is home to Cold Stone Creamery. Want the best cheesecake you ever tasted? Then you have to visit Junior's Restaurant. If you enjoy movies and movie memorabilia, visit Planet Hollywood. And if you want to enjoy the incredible NY attractions from the water, Spirit Cruises offer both lunch and dinner cruises around the island of Manhattan. And for the ultimate in NYC Cuisine and elegant style, World Yacht Dining Cruises is the only option. Great places to eat with The New York Pass® Bond 45 At Bond 45, in the heart of Times Square, you’ll find yourself surrounded by New York City glamour and history. Buca di Beppo Buca di Beppo serves authentic Italian cuisine in an eclectic, vintage setting and is the perfect place for a great meal at a great value. Dave & Buster's Dave & Buster's is the ONLY place in Times Square to Eat, Drink, Play & Watch Sports! Eat the latest chef-crafted dishes. Drink with friends at one of our bars. Play the hottest interactive games. Hard Rock Café - Yankee Hard Rock International and the New York Yankees have joined to create the ultimate music and sports experience for fans – Hard Rock Cafe Yankee Stadium. Havana Central Havana Central presents a portal to Cuba’s golden era, when life on the island paradise was a continuous party. Hush Tours, Inc. Hush Tours are the world’s only hip hop experiences that use celebrity guides to show and tell the full story behind this 40 year ‘young’ music & cultural genre. John’s Pizzeria Located in a unique 19th-century church, the country’s largest pizzeria is the perfect budget-friendly location for small and large groups to enjoy NY’s mouth-watering, famous, thin-crust brick oven pizza. Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecote This French Steakhouse has a cult following around the world. Mangia Mangia is the original Italian farm-to-table eatery serving fresh foods, artfully presented. Planet Hollywood There’s no business like show business, and there’s no place like the Planet! Settepani Settepani, owned by Leah Abraham, is a full hospitality experience focusing on quality and over the past ten years, it has evolved into an eclectic and welcoming intersection for long-time residents, tourists and the new generation of Harlemites. Spirit Cruises Let the Spirit move you. Spirit Cruises offer lunch and dinner harbor cruises around Manhattan featuring the Statue of Liberty in addition to the dance revue, musical entertainment, and sumptuous buff
Shashia Mitchell

New York Tours & Walks

NEW YORK TOURS – GET BEHIND THE SCENES Have you ever wondered how all those TV shows, Concerts and Sporting Events become reality? Would you like to visit the Radio City Music Hall, the world-famous Madison Square Garden or even the NBC Studio? Now you can with our New York City tours & walks! New York Pass City Tours will take you behind the scenes for free. You will hear the insider stories and learn how the magic happens, you will meet one of the world-famous Rockettes, you might even catch a glimpse of a pre-production show and cross paths with a famous NBC personality. So why not to take a New York City tour to all of those places? You just go, enjoy the magic and take some great photos, the New York Pass will get you in & will make sure you won’t spend too much time in the ticket lines Places where you can benefit with The New York Pass® Big Bus Tours - Hop-on Hop-off Tours The open-top Big Bus sightseeing tour is the most enjoyable and convenient way to see New York! You’ll see famous landmarks such as the iconic Empire State Building to the new One World Trade Center. Tickets are valid for 1 day with your New York Pass. Brooklyn Bridge Sightseeing Walking Tour Come see the beauty and history of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge at an easy pace with one of New York’s best tour guides. Carnegie Hall Tours Share the magic of this world-famous concert hall and discover the century-old musical legacy left by the world's greatest artists Central Park Sightseeing Walking Tour Our tours, depart daily for a two-hour excursion through the rich foliage, historic buildings, landmarks and cultural history of Central Park. Grand Central Terminal Audio Tour In 1913, Cornelius Vanderbilt created a colossal, 49-acre “city within a city” of concrete, steel, and limestone called Grand Central Terminal Madison Square Garden, All Access Tour Celebrate Madison Square Garden’s Transformation and be a part of New York’s Next Defining Moment. On Location Tours When Harry Met Seinfeld Bus Tour Take a unique bus tour past the doorsteps of your favorite TV and movie characters on our popular When Harry Met Seinfeld Bus Tour. Radio City Music Hall Stage Door Tour GET AN INSIDERS VIEW of New York’s premier entertainment venue, where the biggest names in show business perform. Rockefeller Center Tour Discover the brilliant history behind the art, design and architecture of Rockefeller Center with the Rockefeller Center Tour! The Ride THE RIDE is the hit interactive entertainment experience that has taken New York City by storm! Yankee Stadium ToursExperience the legendary Yankee Stadium by taking the ultimate behind-the-scenes tour.
Shashia Mitchell

Legoland Discovery Center Westchester Holiday Bricktacular

It’s always fun to check out the classic holiday happenings in and around the city. But it’s almost more fun to discover new ones that you can make part of your holiday tradition. And we’ve got a great new one for you--and we don't use the word "great” lightly. Imagine combining one of the world’s most popular (and truthfully, most fun) toys with an interactive experience and a holiday twist. Happily, someone has done that, and the result is the Legoland Discovery Center Westchester's Holiday Bricktacular. Huzzah! Why attend a holiday event where you have to stay seated? At the Legoland Discovery Center Westchester Holiday Bricktacular, you become part of the experience! The Bricktacular has a number of different elements: A Miniland scavenger hunt; a Creative Workshop where visitors can build holiday projects using mosaics; and minifigure trading with staff members. (Start collecting now, people, if you haven’t already.) Plus, visitors can see Miniland New York all gussied up as a winter wonderland, and also meet a Master Builder (just like The Lego Movie!) and help him create holiday-themed creations like snowmen and snowflakes. The experience is there through December 29, and, perhaps most important, dressing up in ugly Christmas sweaters is highly encouraged (you know you want to). Families love all the interactive activities, with one young visitor stating: “The most fun Christmas place. A hundred stars. You get to play with Legos!” Lego Facts Lego is one of the most popular toy brands in the world. The name comes from the Danish words “leg godt,” which means “play well.” The company started in the workshop of a carpenter named Ole Kirk Christiansen. He started making wooden toys in 1932; in 1947, Lego started making plastic toys. An early version of the interlocking bricks was introduced in 1949. They were originally called “automatic binding bricks.” (Not quite as catchy.) In May 2013, the largest model ever made—5 million bricks!—was displayed in New York City. Any guesses as to what it was? (If you said a Lego X-Wing fighter, you’d be correct.) The Lego Movie made more than 469 million dollars worldwide. Still looking for ways to get into the holiday spirit? Check out our tips for holiday shopping here.
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