If you want to move to New York, or are already in the process of going, there are so many things you should know before departing.

Check out our guide to moving to NYC with lots of information and helpful tips to make the whole process easier.


1. NYC Is Really Expensive

You've probably heard NYC is expensive, and it really is. What you pay for accommodation, bills, transport, food and entertainment is a lot more than most other cities in the USA.

If you are lucky enough to have a job which pays for accommodation you will save a lot of money as the average cost of rent or buying a property in Manhattan is really expensive.


2. It's Busy

There are around 28,000 people per square mile in New York and so many cars and noise. Don't expect a quiet and relaxing place to live especially if you are based in Manhattan. If you like busy cities, you will love New York.


3. You'll Need to Decide Where to Live

New York City comprises 5 boroughs including Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.

Where you live comes down to personal preference for example where a job is located and also what your budget is. Manhattan is the most popular/famous borough but it is also the most costly.

Cheaper places to live include Queens and Staten Island.


4. Housing is Expensive

New York’s rental market is challenging and finding somewhere to live is difficult. To buy a flat or house prices are sky-high whilst rents are also astronomical even for shared accommodation.

There are ways to get affordable accommodation in New York including staying outside of the main hotpots and also sharing.

If you are moving to New York alone and either don't have a job, or many savings you are best renting a room in a flatshare. This might sound a bit weird to share with a stranger but it is very common in NYC.

If you are moving to NYC with your partner or family then renting your own place is probably the best option. If you are on budget you will find cheaper places to stay further outside of Manhattan in the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.

Be aware, to rent an apartment you will need a good income and you might be required to pay a “broker’s fee,” sometimes 10% – 15% of the annual rental. It is possible to find no-fee apartments but competition is high.

If you want to live in Manhattan, the Upper West Side, is generally the quietest place to live whilst if you are young and wanting to be close to the action consider areas like Grenwich Village, East Village, Murray Hill, Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea.


5. Apartments are Small

Unless you have a huge budget, apartments in New York are usually very small.


6. The Job Market is Competitive

New York is one of the most popular cities in the world and attracts talent from all over the world. There are lots of companies based here both local and international but competition for positions can be tough with hundreds of applicants for one role. 

The best industries to gain employment in New York include financial services, healthcare, professional and business services, retail trade, manufacturing, and education. Some of the best paying jobs include working in banks or for finance firms.


7. There is So Much to Do

There are so many things to do in NYC, this really is a 24 hour city with world famous sites like the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and Broadway.

When being more than just a tourist and actually living in New York you will be able to discover all the hidden gems in New York State and less touristy locations. You could spend months exploring the city and still not see everything.


8. Don’t Expect To Cook

There are very few supermarkets in New York and food is really expensive compared to other places in the USA.

But one of the benefits of living in New York is having so many restaurants nearby and with apps like Just Eat and Uber Eats, getting food from around the world has never been easier. You can get ready-made meals delivered 24/7 with so much choice of international cuisine available.


9. Tipping is Expected Everywhere

Like most places in the USA, you will be expected to tip for almost everything. Generally expect to tip 15 to 20% of your bill. 


10. It's Hard to Live on a Budget

There are ways to keep your costs down when living in NYC, but come on, you are living in one of the greatest most lively cities in the world so not going out and spending money is tough.

You can save money by getting a job with benefits, walking/cycling to work, using cheap New York broadband providers, avoiding expensive restaurants and making food at home and also being cautious about going out drinking.


11. Buy a Monthly MetroCard

A monthly metro card costs $121, which might seem a lot at first but this is actually good value if you use it daily. It is also a lot cheaper than other worldwide cities like London. 


12. Summer is Intense

Both the heat and crowds can make the humidity and summer in New York tough especially if you have to commute via bus or metro. Expect temperatures of around 68°F (20°C) and maximum of 86°F (30°C).

Investing in an air conditioning and it might be one of the best things you buy here if your accommodation doesn't already have it. Central Park offers a great escape to escape the heat. 


13. Winter is Cold

Expect minus temperatures, snow and freezing temperatures. New York doesn't get as cold as more northern cities like Boston or Chicago but it isn't warm. The average winter temperatures are around 25°F to 40°F (-4°C to 4°C). 


14. There Are Beaches

New York has beaches, no really! Popular beaches include Rockaway Beach and Coney Island which can get fairly busy in summer. Or if you don't mind travelled a bit further, New Jersey is not far away with lots less crowded beaches.


Plan Your Move to New York

Our list has hopefully given you some ideas for what to expect when living in NYC. Although some points can be seen as negative, especially the cost, the experience of actually living in NYC is well worth it and something you won't regret.