A Sports Travel Guide to New York City
Updated: Jul 4
The city that never sleeps- trust me, this becomes believable if you have the chance to stay in the centre of New York City.
New York, one of the most highly populated, and linguistically diverse cities in the world. Over 800 different languages are spoken in the Big Apple. The city’s busy, but exciting atmosphere, along with enough attractions to excite everyone, is the reason why it sees over 66 million tourists visit this remarkable place, every year.
Not only is New York City a tourist hub, but it is also one of the largest sporting cities in the world, hosting 13 major sports teams across 8 different venues.
I was lucky enough to travel to New York in April 2022 and I made the most of touring some amazing attractions that the city has to offer, as well as attending several sporting events.
Sport in New York City
Tennis to Dragon Boat Racing, Soccer/Football to Ice Hockey. New York accommodates some of the biggest teams in the world, across many elite sports. As a spectator, you experience a performance from the moment you step into the doors of any venue till the moment the final whistle, or buzzer is sound.
The entertainment factor is incredibly, but slightly bizarrely, the most important part of attracting the sports’ broad demographic spectatorship. It’s an experience that is unique to this wonderful city, but sadly, it distracts many from the technical aspects of the elite sport that they have gone to watch.
The Barclays Center:
The Barclays Center is ranked one of the top 10 best venues in New York by Tripadvisor, with 19,000 seats available for concerts and 17,732 for basketball games, it's always competitive to get your hands on a ticket.
Located in Brooklyn, an 8-minute taxi ride from Brooklyn Bridge, and with the surrounding area full of shops and restaurants, it is a perfect spot for tourists.
The Barclays Center is home to two American professional basketball teams, the NBA's Brooklyn Nets and the WNBA's New York Liberty.
The Brooklyn Nets play in the National Basketball Association, and with global superstar Kevin Durant amongst their squad, they are an extremely popular team to watch throughout the world.
This was my favourite stadium that I visited on my travels, as it clearly showed you the cultural differences between American and European sports. Not only that, but NBA is amazing to watch. It’s intense, thrilling, fun, loud, and entertaining.
The entertainment part of the sport is fascinating, with dance troops performing during all timeout periods, continuous games for spectators, and presenters interviewing fans throughout the match, it becomes a sensory overload.
The Yankees Stadium is by far one of the best venues to visit when travelling to New York because it’s home to two of New York’s largest sports teams, 27-time world champions the New York Yankees, and the New York City Football Club.
Not only is it the sixth biggest stadium in Major League Baseball, but it is also the most expensive stadium in the world, costing $2.3 billion to build.
The ballpark is in the Bronx, a 25-minute subway journey from mid-Manhattan, which for many tourists isn’t the most appealing destination, but with the streets so overly crowded on game day, it is a buzz from the moment you step off the subway.
If you have the pleasure of visiting this humungous stadium you must take away some of their worldwide merchandise, whether that’s a jersey or baseball cap, it’s key to camouflaging into the crowds.
Of course, the downside to baseball is that it can be a slow and repetitive game, but with the true American aspects of the game, along with the thrilling atmosphere that is shone from the thousands of spectators, it is something you cannot miss out on.
Red Bull Arena:
The Red Bull Arena is a 25,000-seater soccer/football stadium located in Harrison, New Jersey. It is the sixth-largest soccer-specific venue in the US, and it has welcomed many incredible teams from around the world, including Juventus, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, and Arsenal.
It is home to both the Major League Soccer team New York Red Bulls, along with professional women’s soccer team NJ/NY Gotham Football Club. It is also very common for New York City Football Club to hold their home games here, as the Yankees stadium calendar can become very congested with the New York Yankees’ games.
The most interesting part of attending this stadium was the pure excitement and roar as you walk up to the entrance. Within hours of the first whistle, hundreds of supporters hold congregations in the car park, with bonfires, music, and masses of barbequed food. This is then reflected inside the stadium, where passionate supporters lie in their specific stands, drumming and chorusing together, continuously, throughout the match, trying their hardest to shine their energy on to their favourite team.
There is still a very clear indication that shows American soccer has a long way to go if it’s to rise to the level of European Football, however, it’s interesting to watch such a difference in the strategy of the game compared to how it’s played in the UK.
Madison Square Garden:
Madison Square Garden is one of the most worldwide known venues inside of the Big Apple. It is known for accommodating hundreds of global events all year round, especially in the boxing industry. For decades it has held some of the biggest fights in history, and it still accommodates many now.
The most fascinating prospect of this venue is that the MSG team can turn, a space of this size, from a concert into an ice hockey rink, within 4 hours to keep up with the competitiveness of its calendar.
MSG is the oldest major sporting facility in New York, with two professional teams using it as their home turf throughout the year; the New York Rangers and the New York Knicks. It is situated in Midtown Manhattan, within walking distance of the Empire State Building and Madame Tussauds.
I watched the New York Rangers play here and wow, what a mesmerizing sport to watch. The brutality, mixed with the sheer precision in the player’s skating, and the puck, is unbelievable. My tip before watching an ice hockey game is to research and know the rules well.
The game is played at such a high speed, and with players constantly subbing on and off, it can get confusing for amateur spectators. However, a new American sport to experience brings new entertainment, and new cultural differences, which never gets boring.
Other Sporting Venues:
These are only a handful of venues that I was lucky enough to attend during my time in New York, but there are so many more stadiums, and sports, that can be seen if you were to visit.
There’s the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center that holds the US Open from August into September every year.
There is also the MetLife Stadium, home to two NFL teams, the New York Giants and New York Jets. This venue would be top of my list to watch, if I was lucky enough to visit New York, again.
For more information on sporting events in New York City, head over to the official NYC Guide website using the following link: https://www.nycgo.com/sports
A perfect day in New York would consist of breakfast at Ellen’s Stardust Diner, a tour around the 9/11 Memorial Museum, then a walk around some iconic landmarks such as Grand Central, the Rockefeller Center, and a walk through Radio City. For dinner, I would dine at one of the famous restaurants that surround Times Square. As dark sets in, make a trip up the Empire State Building and finish the day off with a late-night ride on the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty.
There are so many more attractions you can see, including the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, the MET, Little Italy, Chinatown, and many others, not forgetting the hundreds of sports events that take place throughout the city year-round.
Whilst touring New York City I became most accustomed to three modes of transport: the subway, PATH train, and walking.
During my travels, I stayed in a hotel in Harrison, New Jersey, which is a 30-minute PATH train from New York, and more precisely from the World Trade Center. The PATH train is a rapid form of transport that takes you in and out of the city, so longer distances.
However, as a tourist that wants to see all the attractions within mid-Manhattan, walking from attraction to attraction would be my suggestion. This will allow you can take in as much of your surroundings as possible, and if you get tired at all there is always a subway nearby.
If you are staying in the city, the subway is the most ideal form of transport to get you around Manhattan and through short distances. You can easily hop on, and off, using contactless to pay at each destination.
The USA is one of our country destinations at Sporting Holiday Group, with New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, and Denver being our five locations. To view our US destinations, click here.