A free NYC Subway Map is available at most subway stations and also posted on the wall of every subway station, which are roughly nine blocks apart. The subway is the easiest and fastest way to get around Manhattan and generally very safe.
NEW!!! OMNY in NYC
OMNY (One Metro New York) is the city’s newest contactless payment method and they will phase out MetroCards in 2024. OMNY works with your current digital wallet, like ApplePay or GPay, with your contactless (chip) credit card or you can buy an OMNY card, currently $5 for the card, and load it up like a traditional MetroCard. To reload the OMNY card online, you need to set up an account at OMNY.
A subway fare is now $2.90 per ride, but the new OMNY will never cost you more than $34 in total fares from Monday to Sunday, no matter how many rides you take. You can pay using any of the payment methods above up to 4 times per hour. One payment method cannot be used more than 4 times in an hour, so groups of 5+ will need a second payment method.
Using the NYC Subway Map
A free New York City Subway Map is available at the MTA website and you can map directions on CityMapper or Google Maps, using the public transportation options. The map below is included in the NYC Insider Printable Guide and each neighborhood page includes the subways that go to that neighborhood.
NYC Subway Map Manhattan
NYC Subway Map – All Boroughs
NYC Subway Map Directions
A popular site for getting NYC Subway Map Directions is Citymapper.com, which also has several free apps. Google and Apple Maps works just as well when you choose the public transportation option (the little bus). Personally, I like Google since it provides audio directions as well as readable.
Let’s walk through an example of subway directions from the Museum of Natural History to Times Square on Google Maps. For popular attractions, you don’t need to know addresses, just the names will do.
After entering your starting and destination locations, click “Get Directions.” As you can see, this route uses the C Train for 3 subway stops and takes 11 minutes. On the Directions results page, you may click “Add Stop” and continue to navigate your city route.
Does the NYC Subway Have WiFi?
Yes, since 2017, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New York City Transit Authority (NYCT) have offered Wi-Fi and cell service in all 283 underground stations throughout Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx through Transit Wireless. Just select the network TransitWirelessWiFi. A mini-browser login page will pop up on your screen and click the connect button.
How to Use a MetroCard on the NYC Subway
To use the NYC subway, buy a MetroCard at a machine, available in almost every station. You can use credit or debit card at the automated machines, or cash at a ticket booth, to purchase an Unlimited Ride (good for a specific number of days) or Pay-per-Ride card. As a general rule, an Unlimited 7-Day card is a better deal than the Pay Per Ride if you take at least 12 rides in the 7 days.
Unlimited Use MetroCards cannot be used again at the same subway station or bus route for 18 minutes, so each traveler needs their own card. Unlimited cards are available for 7-Days ($32) and 30-Days ($121).
Pay Per Ride – Each subway ride deducts $2.75 and up to 4 people can use one Per Ride MetroCard. It allows subway-to-bus, bus-to-subway, or bus-to-bus transfer within 2 hours, but does not allow free subway to subway transfers (unless you transfer within the same station). Per Ride Cards purchased in amounts from $5 to $100, are awarded a 5% bonus for every $5.50 spent. Refill your card to use a balance less than $2.75.
Single Ticket – The cost of a SingleRide ticket is $3.00. Sold at automated vending machines only.
Up to three children 44 inches tall and under ride for free on subways and local buses when accompanied by a fare paying adult.
Using the Subway
Visit the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and their special section meant for visitors. MTA is the government organization that runs all of New York City’s Public Transportation. They have all the information you need to know about Metrocards (the card you need to pay and use the subway). There is a New York City Street Map and subway map posted on the wall of almost every subway station, so you can always check on your way in or out. If there is someone at the ticket booth, they also have a free foldable map for you to carry.
Is the Subway Safe?
Since 2005, New York City has had the lowest crime rate of the 25 largest US cities (check more interesting facts about New York City). In the main parts of Manhattan, the subway is almost always safe. I use it 24/7 and never have any issues, but if you want to play it really safe, I recommended not using it between about midnight and 5:00am or out to less crowded areas, like further parts of Queens and Brooklyn.
If you are not familar with urban cities, here are a few tips. During daylight, the subway rarely has safety issues. At night, if staying in a remote area, it might be best to avoid the subway. Stations such as Union Square or Times Square are pretty much safe all the time and have the most frequent trains. Always keep your purse and bags closed (locked if possible) and close to you.
NYC Vacation Planner: Now that we’ve covered the NYC Subway Map, let’s move on to Arriving in New York City.
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