New York has Central Park, Times Square, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hong Kong has Disneyland, Ocean Park, and Victoria Peak. These count as the most popular attractions you’ll hear about or read about often for each destination.
But it doesn’t stop there.
New York has a massive Broadway scene. Not to mention, world-class museums, a diverse food scene, and it’s well connected to other great cities you can visit.
Hong Kong is less than an hour’s boat trip from Macau, one of the best gambling cities in the world. And it’s a hub for nightlife and shopping, along with stellar food options.
Can’t decide between New York and Hong Kong? Here, you’ll learn about the differences between the two. Most of all, you’ll be able to decide which destination fits your vacation preferences by the end of this guide.
There are a few obvious reasons why the Big Apple continues to stand out and appeal to so many. Surprisingly, there are also a couple of not-so-obvious reasons that make it a great place to visit a second time.
Starting with the obvious, Central Park and Times Square are attractions that give New York its lively energy. Times Square is practically the city’s heart of entertainment. A lot of the city’s major attractions can be found here.
Some of which include the Empire State Building, Bryant Park, The Museum of Modern Art, and about 20+ more. Central Park is also close by, so you could easily visit both in half a day.
Another obvious reason why New York is a must-visit? Museums. Dozens of them. And also, art galleries, a myriad of theater shows, world-class entertainment, and of course, its food scene.
New York has one of the best food scenes in the world. So diverse that there’s no denying you’ll find just about every cuisine here too. Say, for instance, Albanian food? It’s there.
But that’s not only what makes New York so gravitating. Because aside from how the Big City is seen mostly as an entertainment hub, it’s also rich in green spaces.
If you thought New York only had Central Park and a few other parks, it’s actually home to 1,700 parks. That includes playgrounds and recreation facilities spread throughout the five boroughs.
The five boroughs in New York City are Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. Think of each as a city within New York.
That also means you’ll have plenty to explore, and it allows you to see the many faces of New York. Apart from its vibrant and bustling streets.
Safe to say, New York really does have it all. The Big Apple has the quantity and the quality. After all, this is the city that never sleeps. So, it surely has more aces up its sleeve to impress you and make your trip worthwhile.
What Makes New York Unique?
There’s Always Something New to See and Do
Don’t believe anyone that tells you that you can experience New York in a week’s time. A week is great for making all the best stops at the city’s iconic attractions.
But when you factor in its 41 Broadway theaters, 1,700 parks, 25,000+ eateries, and 1,400 art galleries, well…
It’s a lot, right? And remember. There are still museums, zoos, historical landmarks, and so on.
Put simply, it’s never a dull moment in New York City. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you find there are a thousand different things you didn’t get to do.
Up for suggestions? There’s Little Island, which just recently opened in May 2021. This floating green space is one of the most popular and talked about attractions in New York. Plus, Little Island has something for everyone, from nature lovers to foodies.
Another great attraction to visit is the Vessel, also sometimes referred to as the Eiffel Tower of New York. The High Line is also another noteworthy attraction to add to your bucket list. During the spring and fall, it’s even more beautiful.
In fact, The High Line was once a railway line until the 1980s when it was renovated and transformed. Now, it’s one of New York’s most unique parks. You can also visit Macy’s Herald Square, which attracts 20 million shoppers every year.
These are all just a few attractions in New York, apart from the most popular ones. Central Park, The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, Times Square, and Rockefeller Center are all obvious picks.
But should you decide to add a few unique selections, there’s no doubt New York is full of hidden gems. That includes off-the-beaten-path attractions that are just as impressive and appealing.
Altogether, New York is the true definition of what it’s like to live in a big city. And with thousands to see, do, discover, and explore, you’re spoiled for what seems to be a never-ending itinerary.
You’ll Never Run Out of Excellent Food Options
From hole-in-the-wall eateries to doughnut shops and Michelin-rated restaurants, NYC’s food scene is epic. Or rather, world-class.
New York is famous for its food, without a doubt. Rest assured, you won’t be limited whether it’s breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, or midnight craving.
A good place to start? Lower Manhattan area. Grab a bagel for breakfast, you won’t regret it. In Lower Manhattan, you have tons of options. Russ & Daughters is the best if you’re around the Lower East Side area. Zabar’s for the win if you’re touring Upper West Side. Upper East Side? There’s Orwashers Bakery and H&H Bagels.
That said, you seriously can’t go wrong with Russ & Daughters. Plus, there’s a café just nearby. Looking for breakfast steals under $10? Head to B&H Dairy in East Village. Order their two eggs (any style), challah, home fries, and coffee.
Lunch & Snacks
Prefer to head straight to lunch? Or brunch? There’s an endless selection of restaurants to choose from. So rather than give you specific places to eat, head to these two areas: Little Italy and Chinatown. Alternatively, there’s also Flushing, located in Queens, and Arthur Avenue, located in the Bronx.
And if you’re still hungry, you can always stop by a food truck, which has equally amazing food. For burger fanatics, Hard Times Sundaes has everything you could ask for in a cheeseburger. Juicy, greasy, moist, and extra stacked with beefy patties.
Their single-stacked burgers are more than enough. But, their double-stacked and triple-stacked burgers are equivalent to a generous dinner meal. Hard Times Sundaes is located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Another one of the finest food truck options is King Souvlaki. And as the name says, it truly is the most authentic Mediterranean cuisine you can grab on the go. Take note. Their portions are huge. If you want to grab a bite, head to Astoria located in Queens.
Also in Astoria is King of Falafel, so if you love shawarma this is the place to go. For sweet tooths, don’t miss Wafels & Dinges, located in East Village. Wafels & Dinges counts as one of the best desserts you’ll ever have in New York.
And if you’re here early, feel free to pair it with a good ol’ cup of joe from Brooklyn Roasting Company. Or, for an even sweeter pair, order a Belgian hot chocolate. Other great food truck choices include:
- Gorilla Cheese
- El Rey del Taco
- Cousins Maine Lobster
Finally, when it comes to dinner, it really depends on what you’re craving. Nolita is the best pizza neighborhood in NYC. And it’s the best place to go if you want countless pizza options.
Some might say Chinatown is better if you want Asian cuisine. But a born and bred NYC local will tell you Flushing is 2x better. At Flushing (Queens), your choices are more diverse and the cuisine is an 11/10… consistently.
Want soul food for dinner? Go to Harlem. SoHo (Manhattan) is also a great area, full of lavish restaurants and above-average price tags. That said, it’s perfect for date night.
If you’re thinking of dinner in a cozy, cute, and quiet place, West Village (Lower Manhattan) says it all. This area is full of restaurants that meet your charming, quiet, and cozy dinner standards. For the family, Prospect Heights is an excellent option too.
Craving steak? How about BBQ? Williamsburg (Brooklyn) ranks number one in that category. St. Anselm and Peter Luger are by far your best choices for steak. As for BBQ, head to Fette Sau, a classic.
Finally, there’s East Village, Chelsea, Lower East Side, and Arthur Avenue. All of these places are located in Manhattan with Arthur Avenue being the exception, located in the Bronx.
But among all four, Arthur Avenue stands as the best for Italian cuisine. And East Village is perhaps the best choice against its Manhattan siblings. Diversity, food excellence, and memorable dinner nights all make up East Village.
New York Has Plenty of Quiet Escapes
Far from the city’s bustling streets, there are several escapes perfect for some me-time. Or if you’d rather spend time with your partner in peace.
Of course, Central Park is one of them. Among all the list of peaceful reprieves around New York, Central Park is a first choice for many.
But it doesn’t stop there. If you want ultimate privacy and nature, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden offers the solitary dose you’re craving for. Here, you’ll also find over 12,000 species of plants and flowers, so it’s an excellent choice for nature lovers too.
If a quiet escape for you means being able to self-reflect without distractions, hit the museums. Not just any museum though. Some are downright packed, and lively with tons of people every day.
Fortunately, the Hayden Planetarium is one of the quiet ones. Nearby Hayden Planetarium is also St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Both these places offer your much-needed escapism any day.
There’s also Wolfe’s Pond, Orchard Beach, Snug Harbor, Bronx River, and Staten Island Greenbelt. All are fantastic options if you want a secluded spot to chill, unwind, and spend an entire day free of any noise.
There’s also one place worth mentioning. And it’s a top pick for solitude seekers that want to dine in peace while still getting that much-needed escapism.
Ichiran, one of the most popular ramen chains in Japan, is the perfect place to enjoy a quiet meal. In fact, the restaurant encourages guests to make sure their phones are silent.
Lastly, be sure to visit these parks in case Central Park seems a tad bit noisy for you:
- Greenacre Park
- Inwood Hill Park
- Gantry Plaza State Park
- Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park
One of the Best Nightlife in the World
The perfect bar can easily be found in NYC. Ice-frost beer, cocktails you dream of, and vibes that send you soaring on cloud nine.
So just how lively is New York’s nightlife? Head out on a Monday night, and there’s a party happening at several bars. Safe to say, there’s a party every night. And the Big Apple’s nightlife scene can truly be whatever you want it to be.
That’s how diverse your options are. But where would you go for killer cocktails? A beer you’ll never forget? Or a martini that speaks to you on a soul level?
There are countless places you can choose from in each borough. Sitting at the top of having one of the best frozen drinks is Mace, located in Greenwich Village. The bar is popular for its cocktails and has been a local favorite since its opening.
Beer lovers should definitely check out Sunny’s, a dive bar located in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Not only is the music great at Sunny’s, but the drinks are affordable too. Sidney’s Five also serves great beer and more. The restaurant, located in East Village, offers more than just a generous beer selection.
You can order cocktails, martinis, or wine if you want a good pregame session. Don’t miss out on their food either. The charbroiled oysters, fish and chips, and andouille hot dogs are some of the best in the city.
If you don’t mind the splurge, visit The Bar Room at the Beekman. The lavish bar serves some of the best martinis and most creative cocktails you’ll find.
For those looking for a chill place to hang out starting early afternoon, you can’t go wrong with Old Town Bar. Affordable drinks, great food, and chill vibes. What more could you ask for, right?
New York scores high when it comes to nightlife. And there’s no shortage of places to have a drink, party, or simply enjoy each other’s company.
Like New York, Hong Kong also offers a wide variety of entertainment for tourists. Food, nightlife, tourist attractions, and the most raved about them all: Disneyland. Safe to say, this is one edge that Hong Kong has over New York. Because although New York has plenty of entertainment to offer, it doesn’t have a theme park.
And here’s the real prize to visiting Hong Kong: shopping. In a recent poll, over 85% of its respondents cited shopping as the primary reason for visiting Hong Kong.
But theme parks and shopping aside, Hong Kong also offers several nature paradises for outdoor lovers. Even families traveling with the little ones will enjoy their time at these nature getaways.
What else does Hong Kong have to offer? The next sections provide all the details.
What Makes Hong Kong Unique?
Disneyland and Ocean Park
Of course, Disneyland and Ocean Park deserve to be one of the best reasons for visiting Hong Kong. A place where dreams come true? It’s more than that.
Families, kids, teenagers, adults, couples, and even seniors will all enjoy Disneyland. Not to mention Ocean Park for splashing adventure. In fact, Hong Kong Disneyland ranks 2nd on the list of most visited attractions in Asia. And why shouldn’t it, right?
Even if you’ve already visited Disneyland elsewhere, Hong Kong Disneyland has its own spin to it—
Asian-dressed Disney characters, its own theme, style, and overall atmosphere. All of these are different in Hong Kong Disneyland. And the best part of it all is that it’s a quick MTR ride away from wherever you’re staying in Hong Kong.
Should you decide to make that trip even shorter, you can also book a stay at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. Which, by the way, is affordable.
Every year, Hong Kong Disneyland sees a total of six to seven million guests. That pretty much tells you a lot – how it’s definitely worth seeing and not missing out on in Hong Kong.
Tons of Nature Reserves and Landmarks
Hong Kong might surprise you. Because behind its urban façade rests several nature reserves, parks, and landmarks. All of which are free to visit.
Hiking, nature walking, meditating, self-reflection, or just a quick city escape. Anything you want to do that doesn’t involve crowds and noise, Hong Kong has it.
And the biggest, most spacious nature reserve of them all is Tai Tam Country Park. Here, you’ll find several hiking trails so you can take a peaceful walk alongside nature without any disturbance.
For couples, Lantau South Country Park is the best place to go on a sunset or sunrise date. It’s also hailed as an adventurer’s paradise, offering biking, swimming, hiking, fishing, and camping activities.
Mai Po Nature Reserve is perfect for bird-watchers. It’s also home to a wide variety of wetland habitats, which add to its peaceful allure. If you want more bird-watching, don’t miss Tai Po Kau Special Area.
Those eager for a challenging but rewarding hike will definitely enjoy Tai Mo Shan Country Park. The area is home to Hong Kong’s tallest mountain and the tallest waterfall.
Lastly, be sure to check out these other parks spread throughout Hong Kong:
- Kiu Tsui Country Park
- Lion Rock Country Park
- Kam Shan Country Park
- Hong Kong Wetland Park
- East Dam of Highland Reservoir
If you’re the type that enjoys hopping from one city district to another during vacation, you’ll love Hong Kong.
From Tsim Sha Tsui to Mongkok to Causeway Bay and all the way to Hong Kong Disneyland on Lantau Island. You can easily hop from one district to the other in a day. Even better, it’s cheap to do too.
For getting around, taking the MTR is the best and most popular choice, both for locals and tourists. The base fare? It costs HK $4.50 (USD 0.58 at HK $0.13 a dollar).
If you plan to be traveling between districts a lot, get an Octopus card. It only costs HK $50 (USD 6.40). Plus, you can get a refund of HK $50 (USD 6.40) if you return the card in good condition. And as long as the remaining value of your Octopus card doesn’t exceed HK $500.
Taxis are a good option, too, but are relatively more expensive than other transport options. Taking the bus in Hong Kong, for example, only costs as little as HK $2 (USD 0.26). The farther your travel distance, the more costly of course. However, the most you might spend for a bus trip is around HK $20 (USD 2.58).
You can even take the ferry in Hong Kong to its neighboring islands, like the Kowloon Peninsula. Another popular island you can take the ferry to is Hong Kong Island.
Here, you’ll find Ocean Park, more hiking trails, beaches, and nature parks. The average base fare costs between HK $2 to HK $3 (around USD 0.45).
Altogether, one of the best reasons to visit Hong Kong is to be able to save a lot on transport fares. In most cases, this can easily eat your budget if you want to visit a lot of tourist attractions. However, in Hong Kong, that’s not the case.
One of the Best Places in the World to Shop
Hong Kong is often regarded as one of the best places in the world to shop. And for good reason. Jewelry, electronics, fashion, designer clothes, cosmetics, perfume, watches, you name it.
That said, every district in Hong Kong has its own shopping sprees to offer.
If you’re in Causeway Bay, make your way to Fashion Walk. This is where you’ll find a lot of familiar brands like H&M, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, and more. It’s also one of the most popular places to shop in all of Hong Kong.
In Causeway Bay, be on the lookout for the shopping malls Lee Garden, Times Square, and Hysan Place.
For those staying in Tsim Sha Tsui, you’re in luck. Because it’s where Hong Kong’s largest shopping mall is located, also known as Harbour City. It’s home to 400+ stores and more than 50 excellent restaurants.
If you’re looking for outlet shopping, go to the Tung Chung district. For electronics, Sham Shui Po is the best and most complete in the entire city.
And if you want luxury collections, head to the malls Landmark and IFC, which are both located in Central. Finally, for a mix of reasonably fashion-priced items and luxury goods, shop in Pacific Place. It’s located on Hong Kong Island.
Is Hong Kong Better Than New York?
Hong Kong is better than New York where affordability is a main concern for your vacation. In Hong Kong, it’s not just transportation that’s cheap. The same can be said for food, and even shopping.
A lot of Hong Kong shops don’t come with sales tax. What’s more, you can find several luxury branded items at huge discounts – above 70% off. There’s also the case of Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park, which New York doesn’t have.
And if you’re craving excellent Asian cuisine, Hong Kong is unmatched compared to New York.
What New York has over Hong Kong is diversity in every department. Entertainment, museums, art galleries, food, shopping, and nature parks.
There’s also more to see around New York. Additionally, your choices are virtually unlimited when it comes to nightlife as well. Hong Kong’s nightlife is impressive no doubt, but New York’s is king if you want a wider selection.
So, between Hong Kong and New York which should you choose? It mostly depends on your vacation personality. New York leans towards those that want to have more in their itinerary. After all, you’ll never run out of things to explore and discover in The Big Apple.
Whereas Hong Kong specializes in Asian cuisine, affordability, theme parks, shopping, and nightlife. Compared to New York, Hong Kong offers much less but can be considered an all-around vacation.
A week might be enough for Hong Kong, but for New York? You’ll need more than that if you want to maximize your vacation’s worth.
Is Hong Kong More Expensive Than New York?
Hong Kong is cheaper than New York by a mile. Transportation alone in Hong Kong is much cheaper, along with the food and even when it comes to shopping.
Take the subway fare as an example. New York’s average fare is USD 2.75. That’s not as costly if you’re looking at it from a standalone perspective.
But compare it to Hong Kong’s, which costs about HK $4.50 (USD 0.58) for the base fare. That’s a big difference, especially if you plan to make several trips in a day.
Granted, New York is more diverse, meaning the variety is practically unlimited. So, you’re also getting more value for your money. Mainly because you have so many options to choose from be it food, entertainment, shopping, nightlife, etc.
However, this can also backfire easily. For instance, New York offers more tourist attractions and places to see. Not to mention, there’s a wider category of activities available to tourists in one borough alone. That said, and if you’re not careful, this can lead to higher costs.
Because there’s more to do and see, you’ll inevitably spend more. Even if prices in Hong Kong have risen over the past years, New York is still more expensive than Hong Kong overall.
New York to Hong Kong Distance
From New York to Hong Kong, the average distance is 8,045 miles (12,947 km). So, assuming you’re on a nonstop flight, the total travel duration would be around 16 hours and 10 minutes.
Is Hong Kong Bigger Than New York City?
Quite the opposite. Hong Kong is approximately 110 times smaller than New York City. Land-area-wise, New York City is 47,213.7 sq miles (122,283 sq km). Whereas Hong Kong is only 427.8 sq miles (1,108 sq km).
In other words, the size of Hong Kong doesn’t even reach 1% of New York’s total land area. To be more specific, Hong Kong is 0.91% the size of the entire New York.
Is Hong Kong 12 Hours Ahead of New York?
Yes, Hong Kong is 12 hours ahead of New York. Hong Kong’s time zone is Hong Kong Standard Time or GMT +8. Whereas New York’s time zone is Eastern Daylight Time or GMT -4.
It follows, then, that there is a 12-hour time difference between Hong Kong and New York. So if it’s 9 AM Saturday in Hong Kong right now, it follows that it’s 9 PM Friday in New York.
Hong Kong vs. New York Skyline
New York and Hong Kong both have impressive and iconic skylines. Without a doubt, New York is dominated by towering skyscrapers. The Empire State Building, Chrysler Tower, and One World Trade Center are some of the most popular.
Hong Kong also has several towering skyscrapers, such as the Victoria Harbour and the Bank of China Tower. The tallest building in Hong Kong is the International Commerce Centre, which is 484 meters (1,587.9 ft). It’s comparable to one of New York’s tallest buildings, Central Park Tower.
However, New York’s tallest building is the One World Trade Center, standing at 541 meters (1,774.9 ft). The differences between Hong Kong and New York skylines are noticeable too. Mainly in regard to the architecture and infrastructure.
Hong Kong’s architecture leans more towards a contemporary and modern style. New York, on the other hand, is incredibly diverse. You’ll see buildings associated with Neoclassicism, which feature arches and colonnades. A good example is St. Peter’s Church.
There are also NYC buildings that use styles related to Gothic Revival, Greek Revival, and Second Renaissance Revival. The setback style and Art-Deco styles are perhaps the most prominent in New York today.
Altogether, New York’s skyline boasts cultural, historic, and modern architecture. Either way, you’re getting a great skyline view no matter which destination you pick.