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It probably comes as no surprise: New York City has the world’s best pizza. It’s one of the many things the Big Apple is famous for; a staple in the diet of every New Yorker. With so many variations (fresh mozz, grandma pies, and would you like some veggies on that?) there is surely a flavor to appease everyone in the family. Pizza is a relatively cheap meal, and an easy way to make your time in the city truly authentic. The streets are brimming with pizzerias to choose from; and though we swear, they’re all good, we’ve managed to pick ten favorites. Here is our list of the top pizza spots in NYC:

Lombardi’s Coal Oven Pizza

Picture of a fresh pie at Lombardi’s. Lombardi’s pizza pie.

Are copies ever as good as the original? No, and that’s why Lombardi’s pizza is still on top. Boasting the title of the first pizzeria in America, it has been on the same street for over 100 years and has more recently expanded the shop to fit its crowds of followers. You can’t miss this place – just look for the business with Mona Lisa eating a slice of pizza in the window! Each pie here is made in a coal brick oven and served with smoky thin-crusts that are crisped to perfection. Thanks to its now-larger interior, the long lines have been cut down, more tables are available for dining and a bar serves beer and cocktails. Lombardi’s is located on 32 Spring Street in Nolita and is accessible via the 4 and 6 trains at Spring Street. We love the White Pizza pie priced at $18.50 (small), served with mozzarella, ricotta, romano cheese, oregano, basil, black pepper and garlic infused oil and without sauce.

Hours: Mon-Thurs, Sun: 11:30am-11pm; Fri-Sat: 11:30am-12am.

Fun Fact: This establishment is cash only. Don’t have any dollar bills in your pocket? That’s okay; there is an ATM on the premise. Read the entire story here…»

 

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” This quote, by the illustrious 18th century writer Samuel Johnson, may seem like a hyperbole. But to the more than eight million people who call it home (not to mention the millions who make it their vacation destination each year), London is a life force – spanning thousands of years of culture, history, and architecture. Whether you’ve paid a visit to the city known as the Smoke many times or are eyeing your inaugural trip, here is our list of the Top 10 Must-See Sites in London: classic, modern, multicultural, and everything in between.

1. London Eye

Image of the London Eye The London Eye provides spectacular views of the city

Open to the public since March 2000, the London Eye – also known as the Millennium Wheel — is the UK’s most-frequented paid attraction. And it’s no wonder: with 360 degree views from each of the 32 capsules, the Eye provides what many consider to be the best panorama of London. Unlike most Ferris wheel structures, all of the glass pods are attached to the metal frame; in other words, you won’t feel the swinging sensation associated with most observation wheels. Additionally, each rotation lasts about 30 minutes, so you’ll have plenty of time to take in (and photograph) the scenery, which stretches up to 40 kilometers away.

The Eye is a hugely popular attraction, especially for tourists, so be prepared for a long queue. Each cabin (which can fit roughly two dozen people) has air conditioning, heating, and bench seating. Although the Eye maintains its slow pace for passengers boarding and disembarking, it will stop for elderly or disabled guests. General tickets are £20.95 for adults, £15 for children 4 to 15 years of age, and £17.50 for seniors (discounts are available if you book your tickets online) as of July 2014. We recommend you spend a little extra and spring for the day and night experience, which allows you to view the heart of the city in the midday and nighttime hours. The Eye is open from 10am to roughly 8:30pm year round (extended summer hours apply), with closings for Christmas Day and a week in January. Located on the South Bank of the River Thames, the attraction is accessible via bus, boat or Tube. Take the Bakerloo, Jubilee or Northern trains to the Waterloo Underground station for a short walk to the wheel. Interested in seeing the views from the London Eye before you go? Take a look at the London Eye! Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of a bagel and coffee New York is known for its bagels. Coffee? Not as much!

There are two types of foods New Yorkers take extra pride in: pizza and bagels. You’ll find lots of delis, cafes and even restaurants offering the latter across the city, but which should you put at the top of your list? Here at New York Habitat, we have a few suggestions – so when you’re searching for the perfect breakfast treat, this collection of our ten favorite bagel spots should give you plenty of food for thought.

1. Absolute Bagels

Image of an assortment of bagels Absolute Bagels takes pride in its authentic products

New Yorkers love Absolute Bagels for their authentic baked goods and delicious spreads. Another bonus? Its location on the northern end of Broadway keeps it hidden from tourist traffic. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s unpopular: between flocks of local Columbia University students and Manhattanites looking for quality food, Absolute Bagels is never short on crowds. Be mindful of overcapacity as you visit the shop – only a handful of tables sit inside the small interior, and lines can wrap around the sidewalk. Unique spreads – including the highly recommended lox – are reason enough to go, as are the main attraction themselves (we suggest ordering whichever bagel is fresh out of the oven).

Prices start around $1 for a plain bagel and increase with added fillings and cream cheese. The cash only establishment is located at 2788 Broadway in a neighborhood now known as Manhattan Valley (or the northern section of the Upper West Side to some) and operates from 6am to 9pm. Take the 1 subway train to the Cathedral Parkway station or the A, B or C to the Cathedral Parkway at 110th Street station. Absolute Bagels is also accessible via public bus. While you’re there, tour the Upper Manhattan districts of Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights, and Washington Heights using our handy guide! Read the entire story here…»

 

Image of South Kensington row houses Brick row houses make South Kensington a picturesque neighborhood

Chic, educational, vibrant: these are just some of the ways you might describe London’s South Kensington district. The neighborhood – part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – has long been associated with culture and luxury, spurned by the extensive building of museums and real estate following the Great Exhibition of 1851. You’d be hard pressed to find another enclave of the city with such a dense cluster of cultural and academic institutions, from world-class galleries to prestigious universities. It’s also an elegant residential area, attracting the attentions of visitors and residents alike.

Welcome to South Kensington

Map of the points of interest and our selection of discounted Vacation Rentals in the neighborhood of South Kensington, London.

South Kensington is bordered by equally stylish neighborhoods; it lies north of Chelsea, south of Hyde Park, west of Knightsbridge, and east of Earls Court. Its positioning in London places it in a prime location and near the center of all the action! An abundance of shops, museums, parks, restaurants, and the theatre arts give the area its dynamic character – and make it one of the most popular visitor spots and real estate markets in London. Here abound upscale boutiques, art galleries, antique dealers, and designer furnishing retailers. Any Francophiles in your party? They’ll love South Kensington for its influence française. As well as the many French expats living here, you’ll find the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle secondary school, the French Institute, and the Consulate General of France in London. Needing a visual to picture the scenery? Our video guide of Kensington covers the region, as well as the bordering neighborhood of Chelsea. Read the entire story here…»

 

Picture of the Manhattan skyline New York City Skyline

Close your eyes and imagine you are waking up from a long, restful sleep in New York City. Not just in any borough, but in a central neighborhood of Manhattan itself. You rub your eyes and stand up, stretching to prepare for another exciting adventure in the Big Apple. When you look through your window, you see an amazing scene in front of you: perhaps it is of the famous towering skyscrapers of Midtown, the iconic Statue of Liberty and the glistening harbor surrounding it or even the Empire State Building! Open your eyes. This is a dream that can come true! There are all types of apartment options available in NYC that offer inspiring views of the city. This assures you the best experience possible – and the best photo ops!

We’d love to help you find the perfect accommodation with our long list of New York City apartments. Take a short break from the stress of daily life with our short-term vacation rentals, or get the full taste of the Big Apple by renting a furnished apartment! With a destination as exciting as Manhattan it’s important to ensure comfort and happiness by choosing the right home. What is more “right” than waking up to a bird’s eye view of famous high-rises, rivers and parks?

Studio Vacation Rental in Midtown West, Manhattan

of a studio with king bed in Midtown West Studio apartment in Midtown West, Manhattan

Live in the center of the city with this studio vacation rental in Midtown West, Manhattan! Located on broadway, a busy street filled with shops, restaurants and theaters, this charming home boasts floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows. From the spacious king-sized bed, tenants will awake to the picturesque view of Central Park and towering midtown buildings. Don’t worry about too much sunshine. The midday sun is sure to illuminate the apartment, while long blue curtains offer coverage and privacy for when you want a more restful atmosphere. The apartment sits in a luxury elevator building with 24-hour doorman, allowing tenants more perks than the usual traveler. A shared laundry facility, fitness center, bar with outdoor terrace and a café bistro are provided in the same building for your convenience. Personal amenities in the studio include a flat-screen cable television, desk with chair and a fully-equipped open kitchen featuring black tiled floors, cabinetry and a dishwasher. There are a wealth of must-see attractions within walking distance, including Rockefeller Center, the Museum of Modern Art and the always-bustling streets of Times Square. Don’t get overwhelmed by the high energy of Times Square. Instead, read our tips on how to make the most of your time at the Crossroads of the World! Read the entire story here…»

 

Most people travel to escape from the daily grind or to open their eyes to different cultures, geology and scenic views that will be remembered forever. According to search engine reports, searches involving the phrase “best things to do in ___” skyrockets during peak holiday seasons. With London standing at the forefront of the world’s best travel destinations, is it any wonder people want to know what’s happening in the Smoke City? Fear not! Through a careful selection process we have narrowed down the list of London’s best events to the truly exceptional top 10. These events are always internationally renowned, frequently attended by A-List celebrities, and often free or low-cost . If you’re heading to London this season, mark your calendars with these great events, and don’t forget to brush up on your London etiquette!

London Marathon

Photo of the London Marathon finish line Runners cover the final stretch in the London Marathon

Founded by previous Olympic Champions, the London marathon is a long-distance running event spanning over 26 miles (42+ kilometers). The majority of the route is over level ground along the Thames River. The course begins at three different points – the “red start” in southern Greenwich Park, the “green start” in St. John’s Park, and the “blue start” on Shooter’s Hill Road. All three routes converge in Woolwich and the finish line is on Birdcage Walk in Westminster. The London marathon is one of the top six world marathons that form the World Marathon Majors (for which there is a $1 million dollar prize). As such, it regularly attracts world-famous athletes and Olympic champions. The event is free and is usually held on a Sunday in April. Read the entire story here…»

 

Think Paris is best experienced in the summertime or Christmas season? Think again! The French capital is a perfect complement to the changing seasons, so you are guaranteed a wonderful trip no matter what time of year you visit. Here are some of our favorite annual events to guide your itinerary in the City of Light!

International Agricultural Show

Image of International Agricultural Show and other livestock are the stars of the International Agricultural Show

It’s the largest week-long farm tour you’ll ever experience. Since its origins as the General Agricultural Competition in 1870, the International Agricultural Show has grown to not only showcase France’s livestock, but the best regional, dairy, organic, and wine products from dozens of countries! Four separate sections make up the exhibition: horses, sheep, cows, dogs, cats, and other farm animals; gastronomic delights such as produce and wine; gardens of crops and greenery; and professional discussions on the ever-changing business of agriculture.

In order to accommodate its extensive display, the International Agricultural Show moved to the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Centre and has remained there since 1925. As if in accordance with the approaching spring, the fair is generally held in the last week of February, sometimes encompassing the first few days of March, from 9am to 7pm. Access to the venue is easy via public transportation; the Metro (line 12 has a station called Porte de Versailles), tramway, or bus will get you there! Tickets cost 13€ for adults, 6€ for students and children between the ages of 6 to 12 years old, 9€ for disabled individuals, and free for children under the age of 6. While you’re there, snap a photo with the expo’s current animal ambassador! Read the entire story here…»

 

Picture of London from an aerial perspective. Aerial View Of London

We all know how fulfilling it can be to escape the daily grind of full-time jobs and responsibilities through relaxing vacations, perhaps even more so during summer months when sun rays remind us just how much we have to live for! What some do not realize, however, is the ease and simplicity of booking short-term destination vacations, perfect for people on a budget or time constraint. Well, don’t fret – we’ve got a tip that might just make your weekends a whole lot better!

Short stays in the city of London are ideal for quick breaks from the hassle of real life, and many Europeans visit for a long weekend with help from high speed trains called Eurostar, located only two hours from the center of Paris. Looking to plan an itinerary? You can read all about the free events being hosted in London on our blog about the Top Ten Free Things to do in London. For a look into the neighborhood highlights of London’s many communities, check out our blog featuring London travel videos.

New York Habitat wants to help you find the home-away-from-home that best suits you from our long list of vacation rental apartments! Unlike hotel rooms, which can feel cold and empty, these furnished apartments aim to maximize the authenticity of your trip. After all, it can be overwhelming to find oneself in a foreign place – why come home to a foreign hotel room? Each vacation rental apartment presents an authentically local environment complete with nicely equipped kitchens and unique styles that offer personality and comfort. Find which one is best for you by scrolling through our list of London vacation rentals. Or continue reading to find six of our favorite, hand-picked homes! Read the entire story here…»

 

You’ve finished the paperwork, you’ve talked to the agents, and you’ve finally received the call with a request. Congratulations on your new booking! Not only do bookings mean a little extra income, (which is all yours by the way; unlike some vacation rental agencies, listing your apartment with New York Habitat is both free and non-exclusive) they also give you the opportunity to connect with and meet interesting people from all over the world. But where do you go from here? Many owners, both new and veteran, have questions about what is expected of them during this process. So we’ve come up with the following cheat sheet on how to be a great host after listing an apartment or room with New York Habitat.

1) Communication

Scheduling arrival times in advance helps put everyone at ease Introduce yourself and schedule arrival times

When’s the best time to contact your guest? As soon as the booking has been arranged by New York Habitat. It’s best if you introduce yourself right away and bring up a few points relevant to their stay. Now’s the time to give them as much information as possible about their new apartment and city, including any information they may find helpful for their arrival.

One of the most important subjects to discuss at this stage is check in time and arrival. If possible try to be flexible when it comes to check in and checkout times. Airline delays in particular are a common occurrence, especially for international or connecting flights, and your guests will be hugely appreciative if you’re sensitive to such travel mishaps. Read the entire story here…»

 

The City That Never Sleeps is a rather apt moniker for New York, given its constant activity. It’s also the perfect locale to observe the changing of the seasons in all their glory. Here’s a list of our favorite yearly events in New York – must-see items whether you’re here in the spirited spring, bright summer, golden-hued autumn or sparkling winter.

Chinese New Year (a.k.a. Spring Festival)

There’s no better way to celebrate the beginning of the Chinese calendar than in New York, home to the largest population of Chinese-Americans in the United States (sneak a peek at our guide to Chinatown here) Traditionally the merriment was established around the lunisolar Chinese calendar; with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in China, the Lunar New Year fell into late January or early February, changing annually. Initially a feast to honor customary Chinese values (ancestors, deities, duty to family) and prepare for the coming year, it now is a time to commemorate Chinese culture.

In New York, the free Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and Festival (along main thoroughfares in Chinatown, from Mott Street to Forsyth Street) and the New Year Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival (in Sara Roosevelt Park) are the biggest celebrations. The former mesmerizes parade-watchers with colorful floats, acrobatics, and larger-than-life dragon dances, while the latter sends firework displays into the sky. Don’t forget to wear red – the color symbolizes joy and good fortune in Chinese culture.

Saint Patrick’s Day Parade

Image of Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Celtic pride abounds at the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in March

New York truly is a city of immigrants, and this is never more apparent than at the massive turnout for the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, often cited as the largest in the Big Apple. Every year on March 17th (in the case of a Sunday, the event is moved to Saturday the 16th) thousands of spectators descend upon Fifth Avenue (from 44th Street to 79th Street) to enjoy the procession, which includes thousands of bagpipers, marching bands and dancers, often dressed in traditional Celtic garb. Read the entire story here…»