Despite it being the second dirtiest city in the world, according to locals, New York City is the No. 1 place people around the world want to visit and the No. 1 place the people most want to move to.
In our annual Time Out Index—a poll of 27,000 city-dwellers from Melbourne to Madrid, Chicago to Copenhagen and Tel Aviv to Tokyo—New York City was rated as the place people wanted to travel to most in 2022, followed by Tokyo, Japan and Paris, France.
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NYC tourism most certainly took a hit during the pandemic, but now that we’re nearing normalcy, it’s clear it wasn’t going to have a permanent effect. According to NYC & Co., the city welcomed 32.9 million visitors in 2021, up from 22.3 million in 2020. In 2022, visitation is expected to grow to more than 56.7 million and reach 63.7 million in 2023. In 2019, a record 66 million tourists visited the city.
According to The City, hotel occupancy for the week of June 25 was at 87% of pre-pandemic levels, the highest of any major market in the country, with room rates at an average of $309 per night, which is also higher than any other area outside of Hawaii and the Florida Keys. In Times Square, there’s an average of 300,000 visitors a day, only slightly down from 365,000 people a day in 2019.
And now, despite a two-year slowdown, there’s more for tourists to do now than ever before, from checking out brand new observatories that have higher heights like the Summit One Vanderbilt and Edge at Hudson Yards to new experiences such as RiseNY and the forthcoming Museum of Broadway.
It, of course, boasts some of the best cultural institutions in the world, from Lincoln Center to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and everything in between as well as an exciting dining scene with the best bars in the world.
Visiting NYC is one thing but living here is a totally different ball game. The average rent in Manhattan just hit $5,000 a month and StreetEasy says renters are facing the toughest market in a decade. Plus, the city is going through a lot lately with a reported uptick in crime and another in rat sightings (our readers did say NYC is the second dirtiest city in the world).
Despite all of that, NYC was also the No. 1 one globally when we asked people which one city they’d like to move to, followed by London, England and Paris. To anyone living outside the city, this might be a surprise. After all, who could forget how the mass exodus was covered during the pandemic and the crappy attitude some people had, claiming NYC was “dead.”
But those of us who live here know it’s where to be. Yes, it is expensive to live here but it’s worth paying more than half our monthly paychecks to call NYC home. Its best bars, its best restaurants and its always exciting atmosphere with tons of things to do are unmatched.
When hard times hit, there’s nowhere we’d rather be. That’s why NYC is also the most resilient city in the world. Its residents have made sure NYC comes back stronger than ever and we see its residents’ creativity and hard work in all there is to do across the boroughs.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.