A guide to the 5 boroughs of New York

NYC is one of the most famous cities in the world, and from Europe there are countless cheap flights to New York available,  I think a small group tour of the US’s east coast is a fantastic way to explore the Big Apple’s five boroughs. While the emphasis is often on Manhattan, there’s more to New York than just this.

Of course, a group holiday for solo travellers to New York wouldn’t be the same without exploring Manhattan, but it’s well worth checking out the other boroughs as well. Below is my brief guide to each one to help you seek out the highlights.



As mentioned, Manhattan is often top of the list when it comes to the areas of the city to explore. Spanning 23 sq miles and home to more than 1.5 million people, the borough boasts top tourist attractions such as Times Square and the Empire State Building.

Of course, these should be on your to-do list, along with Central Park. Whatever time of the year you visit, it’s beautiful to walk around, and you can easily find a quiet spot within its 843 acres to settle down and people-watch.

Manhattan itself is divided into various locations. The Meatpacking District is a trendy area filled with hip bars, while SoHo is where you can splash your cash at some of the best shops.


Queens is where both LaGuardia and John F Kennedy International Airports are, but it’s well worth exploring further afield to see what the borough has to offer. The culture here is diverse, and you’ll notice this as soon as you walk past the variety of shops and restaurants.

The US’s largest collection of digital, TV and film artefacts can be found in the Museum of the Moving Image, while you can also catch a performance at Queens Theatre. It’s a good idea to stop for lunch or dinner, with the area of Sunnyside featuring Romanian, Mexican and Irish eateries.


Brooklyn has a similar number of residents to Queens – around 2.5 million – although it’s actually New York City’s most populous borough. Here, you’ll find hip music venues and vintage shopping, while Coney Island’s famous boardwalk is a must-visit.

The Russian markets and nightlife at Brighton Beach are both famous and should certainly be experienced, while Williamsburg is often dubbed the trendiest neighbourhood in the whole of the Big Apple thanks to its new restaurants, shops and growing art scene.

The Bronx

Covering 42 sq miles and home to some 1.3 million residents, The Bronx takes around 30 minutes on the subway to reach from Times Square. The largest metropolitan wildlife sanctuary in the US is here – Bronx Zoo – as well as the 250-acre New York Botanical Gardens.

As in the rest of New York City, fantastic food can be enjoyed here, especially on Arthur Avenue. This stretch of road is known for its traditional Italian cuisine, such as speciality meats, fresh pastries and homemade mozzarella.

Staten Island

The fifth and final borough in the Big Apple is Staten Island. With a population of just under 500,000 and spanning 59 sq miles, the borough offers a lovely way to spend a few hours. You’ll need to board the Staten Island Ferry – which is free – but doing so means you can enjoy brilliant views of the Lower Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty.

Explore the some two million artefacts on show at the Staten Island Museum, before tucking into some spicy cuisine in Little Sri Lanka, an area of the borough that is home to exotic grocers selling all sorts of food.