Recommended New York City Maps

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New York City Maps: The Prepared Traveler’s Companions

Which New York City map(s) would we recommend to visiting friends and family? We put ourselves in the place of a first-time or infrequent visitor to New York city to answer that question.

We not only recommend the maps below, we use them ourselves. Yes, physical maps are less popular today, but good maps complement technology, rather than compete against it.

Reasons To Have A Physical New York City Map:

  • They don’t need batteries. Less time recharging batteries= more sightseeing.
  • Help conserve your electronics’ battery life. A phone’s GPS function eats up battery life fast.
  • New York City’s overpasses sometimes confuse GPS units, sending you the wrong way.
  • Bird’s-eye-view of your destination.
  • Less eye strain compared to phones.
  • Light and portable.

Best New York City Maps By Category

A.  Best Street Map of Manhattan, New York= “New Yorker’s Manhattan Map,” by Opus Publishing

Crisp, colorful and concise, we take this Manhattan map EVERYWHERE. It’s with us whether we’re traveling by train, auto, water or on foot in Manhattan. It’s obvious Opus Publishing put lots of TLC into this map.

Take care of it and it will take care of you on your upcoming and future trips to Manhattan. We consider it the undisputed champion of portable Manhattan maps.

Why we love it:

  • Quality paper.
  • Laminated to protect against New York weather.
  • Vivid, appealing colors.
  • Easy-to-read subway stops.
  • Entire island of Manhattan on one side. Don’t see that often!
  • Highway sign numbers.
  • Includes landmarks, police stations, hospitals, libraries, post offices, ferry terminals, subway lines.
  • Arrows indicating direction of traffic flow on each street.
  • Perfect size: not too big, not too small.

On the reverse side, you’ll find:

  • Complete NYC subway map, including Staten Island.
  • Manhattan bus routes (as far north as Harlem).
  • Numbered points of interest.
  • Telephone numbers for: visitor info, transit info, airport info, commuter train info, rental car and car/limo services.

Click map image to see additional map details on Amazon.

B. Best Map of New York City’s 5 Boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island= Split Decision

The best map 5-borough map depends on your needs. Do you need portability or a panoramic city view?

B1.  Best Panoramic Map of New York City’s 5 Boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island= 

“New Yorker’s New York City Five Borough Map,” by Opus Publishing, LLC

Get this map if you need a Big Picture of the Big Apple. We call it a a “hotel room map.” It’s ideal for the meticulous vacation planner, anyone thinking of moving to NYC or a business person who needs to plan their movements around NYC.

This map, however, needs breathing room. You can spread it on your hotel bed or tack it to the wall for an expansive view of  New York City. Its size when fully opened (36.5 in. x 27.5 in./ 92.71 cm. x 69.85 cm.) and the fact that it’s not laminated make it suited for indoor use. It does, however, fold down nicely to brochure size.

Why we love it:

  • Every street in every borough? Check.
  • Every highway in the city with every exit clearly marked? Check.
  • Every stop on every subway line, including Staten Island? Check.
  • Panoramic view of the whole city? Check.
  • Zero clutter? Check.
  • Same vibrant colors as our choice for best Manhattan map (above)? Check. It’s all here.

Front side features: Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and an inset of lower Manhattan.

Reverse side features: Staten Island, a city street index, subway map, Manhattan bus routes map (up to 110th St.), inset of roads in northern New Jersey leading into NYC.

Click New York City map image to see more map details on Amazon:

 B2.  Best Portable Map of New York City’s 5 Boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island)=

2013 HAGSTROM New York City 5 Borough Street Atlas LARGE PRINT

Hagstrom’s 64-page NYC street atlas is great if you need a 5-borough NYC map in your car or for your everyday travels around the city.

  • Large print and spiral-bound.
  • Manhattan Theater District map.
  • Subway map.
  • Maps of LaGuardia Airport and JFK Airport.
  • Ferry routes and marinas
  • Beaches, parks, points of interest.
  • Street index and “street finder.”

Click New York City map image to see additional details on Amazon.

C. Best Street Map of Brooklyn, New York= “Streetwise Brooklyn Map,” by Streetwise Maps, Inc.

Visiting Coney Island’s Ferris wheel, a warehouse in Greenpoint or taking a stroll through Brooklyn Heights? Our top Brooklyn map is the “Streetwise Brooklyn Map.”

Why we love it:

  • Bold colors makes text “pop.”
  • Prominent neighborhood names.
  • Color-coded subway lines show entire routes.
  • Laminated, hard-to-bend, quality paper.
  • Index of streets, hospitals, hotels, parks, attractions and neighborhoods.
  • Major highways appear as easy-to-follow yellow lines.
  • Fits in back pocket or jacket pocket.
  • Ferry routes.
  • Helpful details about each subway line
  • Inset of Downtown Brooklyn (where tourists go after crossing Brooklyn Bridge on foot).

Click Brooklyn map image to see additional map details on Amazon.

D. Best Street Map of the Bronx, New York= “StreetSmart The Bronx Map,” by VanDam, Inc.

The Bronx is more than the New York Yankees’ headquarters. You’ll also find: the Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Garden, Fordham University, Arthur Ave., Van Cortlandt Park, Wave Hill, the Derfner Judaica Museum, City Island and Edgar Allen Poe’s final home.

Our choice for best Bronx map is “StreetSmart The Bronx Map,” by VanDam, Inc. The New York Times referred to it as “the map.” We agree.

Why we love it:

  • Street names are king: they’re LARGE and the center of attention.
  • Laminated
  • Convenient size
  • Prominent neighborhood names.
  • Highways show exit numbers.
  • Easy-to-spot subway stops.
  • Large icons for post offices, schools, police stations, hospitals and libraries.
  • Numbered squares indicating points of interest/attractions.
  • Attractive mix of colors.
  • Comprehensive street index.

Click Bronx map image to see additional details on Amazon.

 E. Best Street Map of Staten Island= ???

Our favorite Staten Island map is out-of-print and, for the moment, we could not find a substitute.

Until we do, we recommend using a New York City 5-borough map:  see choices B1. and B2 above, or…

Click New York City map images to see additional details on Amazon.

F. Best Street Map Of Queens, New York= “Streetwise Queens,” by Streetwise Maps, Inc.

The most confusing streets in New York City are in Queens. Take 113th, for example. Most places would only name one street “113.” Queens has: 113 Avenue, 113 Drive, 113 Place, 113 Road and 113 Street. Creative city planning at its best, yes? Oh, sure, the bureaucrats claim there is a logic behind this system, but we get a headache trying to understand it.

Like it’s Bronx and Brooklyn counterparts, the Streetwise Queens map shares Streetwise’s familiar easy-reading style. We also like that they attempted to explain Queens’s street-naming system in an inset.

Why we love it:

  • Clutter-free.
  • Thick, laminated paper.
  • Shows bridge and tunnel crossings into Manhattan and the Bronx.
  • Highways clearly marked.
  • Includes subway stops and Long Island Railroad (commuter train) stops.
  • NYC Airports.
  • Detailed inset of the Rockaways.
  • Neighborhood names.
  • Icons for airports, hospitals, hotels, government buildings, parks, places of interest.
  • Street index and indices for for hospitals, places of interest and shopping centers.

Map available here.

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