When looking at New York vs London what are the key differences?
You may be in the extremely fortunate position of choosing between living in New York and living in London. Or, it could be for a research trip or simply a vacation.
Either way, for reaching this point in your life, it’s definitely worth patting yourself on the back for the hard work you’ve done to get to this point.
This guide is designed to look closer at both the cost and expense of living in both cities as well as advice on what to do if you are visiting for a short break.
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New York vs London
It’s a big step moving into either one of these smart cities as they are notorious for being two of the world’s most expensive and competitive places to live.
Fear not! For we can guide you through the noise and give you the straight facts as to why London might top New York or the Big Apple has it nailed better than the Big Smoke? That way, you can then make the best decision for yourself.
The Big Apple! One of the most iconic cities on the planet. The Empire State Building and Flatiron in Manhattan, the iconic streets of Brooklyn, or the fashionable mansions of long island.
As far as urban planning goes though, when it comes to New York, there are so many different spots in this gargantuan city that the locals are almost ‘too’ proud.
Here is what to expect in New York:
Weather in New York
New York is in the prime spot for snowy winters and scorching summers.
Expect a merry Christmas with low temperatures enough to create snow and sleet, with Summers that sometimes get unbearably hot exactly like in the classic Spike Lee movie Do the Right Thing from 1989 (a must-see before visiting).
Highs of 29 degrees Celsius (84.2 F) hit the city streets in July and August, but the January blues makes New York hit lows of -3 degrees Celsius (26.6 F).
This makes the city one of the most moderate places in The USA, as it has everything you can expect similar temperatures to wherever you’re traveling or coming from. So remember to carry sunscreen if you’re visiting in the Summer.
February has on average over 9 inches of snowfall every year (233 mm) and average rainfall sits around 4 inches (100-120 mm) a month all year round.
For us, this is the perfect climate and weather for any new place to visit or stay!
Cost of Living in New York
Look closer at the cost of living in New York if you’re thinking of living in New York. Like millions of others, you may come across some financial setbacks because compared to the national average, the price of rent in New York is astronomical.
According to the 2019 report conducted by Apartment List, the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $2,499 per month.
When a two-bed apartment in the rest of the US is at a median of $1,175, you can bet that the rent price in New York City and house prices are through the roof.
This doesn’t even factor in the cost of living when it comes to the price of food, utilities and health insurance.
The average cost for someone without health insurance in New York State is $2,475 per day, and only 6% of residents of NYC don’t have insurance.
According to Numbeo.com data from May 2019, groceries in New York City usually cost about $471.34 a month, per person. For the U.S. as a whole, the average is almost $150 cheaper, at $324.20.
Cost of Living NYC vs London
These statistics from Numbeo.com that explain the major average and median differences in the cost of living between London and New York:
It may be hard for many to believe, but except for milk and cigarettes, New York has groceries at least 60% more expensive than in London. Read more on the cost of living in London to get a better understand of the cost of goods situation.
For someone living day to day depending on low-priced items at the supermarket, New York is not the place for you.
Most people who work in New York tend to find lodgings in neighboring New Jersey and queue at the Turnpike.
Neither of these two metropolis cities made it onto our list of sustainable travel destinations but they both have many sustainable projects going on.
Is New York Safe?
Yes, New York City is safe! In fact, in a recent study of the 15 safest large cities in the United States (with a population over 300,000), NYC came up in the top five.
If we were living in the 1970s, though, we would probably say definitely not.
Back in the golden era of the Studio 54 nightclub, Times Square prostitutes, arson on the streets, and oil slick in the Hudson river; New York was a different place.
Now, however, it’s one of the safest major cities to visit in the world. How did it get this way? Well, it’s all down to the gentrification of the city. House prices soaring and increased implementation of public services inherently makes areas safer.
There are some parts of Brooklyn and the Bronx that could be seen as less than safe, but most visitors to the city never venture outside of Manhattan.
If traveling soon, we highly recommend getting the New York City Explorer Pass so you can get instant access to a host of activities throughout the city.
Things to do in New York
New York has a ton of things to do that you can only experience in this city. Starting from the heart of Manhattan, you can’t miss a stroll around Times Square, the ideal place to feel the vibrant atmosphere of the Big Apple.
The Empire State Building has an observation deck and rooftop terrace, both with spectacular views of New York City and beyond. If it’s your first time in this city, get the ferry to Liberty Island and climb the Liberty Statue, a symbol of New York.
If it’s nice day, why not go for a walk around Central Park? Or, commemorate the victims of the 11/01 terrorist attack at the National September 11 Memorial.
From there you can stop by the Grand Central Terminal (the biggest railway station in the world). Then, go for some retail therapy on 5th Avenue, cross the Brooklyn Bridge, and visit iconic districts such as Harlem or Coney Island.
Food in New York
New York is packed with bars, restaurants, and cafes to suit all budgets. Like London, New York adopted various culinary traditions of the people who live in it. See this kick-ass food tour that reveals more about NYC’s food history and culture.
Of course, you can’t say you spent a vacation in New York without trying some of its iconic fast food like hamburgers and hot dogs or even some sweet treats like the New York cheesecake. Head over to Manhattan and go to Shake Shack, on 8th Avenue, where you can taste some of the best burgers and fast food dishes.
If you want to taste some lovely cupcakes, check out the Magnolia Bakery, try the velvet one which is considered the best one! Another iconic eatery in New York is Katz’s Delicatessen, 205 E Houston Street, which appeared on the movie ‘When Harry met Sally’ serving some delicious pastrami sandwiches.
What we love about this city is that every street and neighborhood has something unique to offer, and it is here in New York you can taste authentic dishes from every cuisine in the world that we can guarantee you, won’t be let down.
The Big Smoke! The largest and (in our opinion) best city in the U.K. What can you say about London that already hasn’t been said?
The iconic city has so much landmass that it honestly doesn’t feel like a city but a miniature country. The big question is though, is it better to live here or New York?
Weather in London
The weather in London has an obviously negative connotation. Everyone associates the weather of England with cold, wintery and rainy conditions conducive to warranting blankets and mugs of tea.
Why do you think so many people drink tea and coffee on the same day in this country? Because it’s bloody cold, they’ll say. However, London isn’t the blustering and rainy place you may think it is. Realhomes.com ranks Central London as the fourth nicest place to live in the UK for the weather.
The truth is, compared to the rest of the UK, especially some of the popular cities in Northern England London is pretty warm and has the least amount of rain.
That doesn’t mean it’s completely bad-weather free, but at least it’s better than other cities in the country.
The average climate in London for the month of July is a temperate 23 degrees Celsius (73 F) but still carry an umbrella as is can rain during the summer months.
London vs New York Population
8.4 million people live in New York, with 1.6 million people living in Manhattan alone. This means there is a population density of 27,000 people per square mile, the highest density in all of America.
Compare this to London, with a total population of 9 million. London has a higher population which to some people may seem sort of scary, but the population density is completely different.
Almost half the amount of people live per square mile in London than in New York, as London has a population density of 15,328 per square mile.
This makes London a more comfortable place to live, despite housing being perhaps quite minimal.
The London Boroughs reflect the pricey places to live, as the population decreases based on how expensive the housing is.
The City of London and Kensington & Chelsea are the least populated boroughs, whereas Barnet and Croydon are the highest populated despite being classed as ‘suburban’ boroughs.
The good news is that both cities invest in community garden, spaces and land designed for people who wish to grow their own plants, etc.
Is London bigger than New York?
The amount of ground that London covers is vast, so technically it is the bigger city. However, there are a lot more high-rise buildings in New York so the amount of man-made space is higher.
New York City has over 6,000 high-rise buildings in total, 274 of which are classified as ‘skyscrapers’, as they stand over 150m tall.
London only has 33 skyscrapers, which is still a lot compared to other European major cities, but New York has a lot of stacked space.
When you compare the streets of London to the streets of New York, there are visible differences that some visitors and natives cannot get past.
London has narrower streets with narrow pavements (sidewalks) and the Roman-era/Tudor-era/Edwardian-era road systems are both chaotic and confusing.
In Manhattan, on the other hand, the roads are numbered and the traffic system is easy to grasp. The roads and sidewalks are wide and the buildings are far apart.
We highly recommend that you get yourself a London City Pass which gives you access to over 80 attraction to be able to get a feel for moving around the city.
Is London safe?
Just like New York, the central areas of London are gentrified and are thus the safest for new and curious travelers who wish to explore their hearts out.
If you find yourself in places such as Marylebone, Fitzrovia, Seven Dials, Westminster or Hyde Park; expect some of the most beautiful architecture and safe spots for getting something to eat or chilling out.
Some of the more ‘unsafe’ spots can be found in south and east London.
However, London as a whole is becoming safer by the month as the police crackdown on knife crime between gangs and youngsters.
London has its fair share of petty crime, as do all major cities, but while in the tourist area you can count on London being safer than other European cities.
Things to do in London
London wins the heart of every traveler. Thanks to its rich historical and architectural heritage, charming markets, shopping streets and parks, the list of things to do in London could go on for days.
Start your day with a stroll around Hyde Park, then explore the market stalls of Covent Garden and go shopping in Oxford Road. Watch the Changing of the Guard in front of Buckingham Palace and have a quick lunch in Borough Market.
You can visit London’s most important museums for free: the British Museum. If you prefer art galleries, then explore every inch of the National Gallery.
Take pictures of one of the city’s symbols such as: Big Ben and walk by the Parliament. Go for a Thames river cruise and see the city from a different perspective and get your ticket to be able watch the sunset from the Shard.
Food in London
Even though most tourists keep choosing the main coffee and food chains like Costa, Wetherspoons, Pizza Express, and Wagamama, in London there’s a wide choice of independent cafes and small restaurants serving all sort of cuisines.
In London, you can find the best traditional and modern British cuisine eateries but more than anything, you’ll find an incredible ethnic food scene.
We’re not exaggerating when we say that all world cuisines are represented in London. Taste fresh and homemade cakes or savory snacks from the market stalls like Borough Market or Old Spitalfields Market.
Every neighborhood in London has a unique selection of restaurants worth trying. Check out Notting Hill, Soho, and Camden Town, it’s hard to be disappointed.
If you like the idea of immersing yourself in the most traditional British food scene, then try fish and chips from North Sea Fish at King’s Cross St. Pancras stations and the fish pies in Covent Garden at J Sheekey and Simpson’s in the Strand.
New York vs London: Which is Better?
This is a difficult decision. Both cities have some incredible opportunities and amazing landscapes. However, if we had to pick one city, it would be London.
It has expensive living arrangements, but it’s still a lot cheaper than New York.
It’s also a bit more spacious in London, even if the amount of space in your living quarters is small, even a bit of privacy is valuable.
Also, we enjoy London’s vast history and melting-pot status that rivals New York’s heritage of immigrants ‘making it.’
We love London and New York equally, but if we chose one spot to live, it has to be London. But when it comes to a city break, then we’d have to say New York.
If you are thinking of traveling to England for the first time, why not try visiting one of the major cities to make a well-rounded comparison?
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