For the most part, arriving at LGA is the easiest and cheapest of the three major NYC airports. You’re close to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) and the RFK bridge (previously the Tri-Borough Bridge) which takes you into Manhattan and the Bronx while the BQE takes you to Brooklyn and Queens. The only place that LGA is far away from is Staten Island and far parts of Brooklyn/Queens which are closer to JFK.
The first thing that you’ll want to do upon arriving is pick up the few and precious things that you’ve come to this fine city with. Head out of the concourse and to the baggage claim and find your bags.
Taking a Cab
Once you have your bags there are three different approaches you can take to getting to where you need to be. You can either: take a cab, take a bus or take a pre arranged car. In most cases I would recommend taking a cab, but depending on your budget this may or may not be an option. Cab fares vary depending on where you are going and how long it takes to get there. However, in general, I would estimate your total fare to be between $30 and $45 for most areas of Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan on a decent time for traffic. If you want to try and estimate how much you will be paying in a cab fare to your specific destination, I would recommend World Taxi Meter‘s site, as I have found it to be relatively accurate. Put in LGA as your starting destination and your end address and follow the steps to calculate your potential fare.
If you end up deciding to take a cab you’ll need to exit the terminal and look above you for signs to the nearest cab line. Find the sign that has a little person with it’s arm raised and “cab/taxi” written next to it. Follow the arrows and you’ll undoubtedly find a line people next to a little stand and a line of taxis in front of it. Undoubtedly you will be accosted by people asking if you need a cab and pressuring you to use them – don’t take them. While it often works out just fine, sometimes it doesn’t. Enter the line and wait your turn. LGA is one of the few places where you cannot hail a cab by standing on the curb with your arm raised. You must wait in the line. When you get to the front of the line the taxi stand person will hand you a slip of paper and ask “Where are you heading?”. The answer they’re looking for is what borough, not a specific address, so say “Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn or Bronx”. After this the taxi director will tell you what cab to head to. Walk to the cab, put your bag in the trunk and get in the car. The driver may or may not ask you for your piece of paper that the taxi stand director gave to you, and depending on this either keep it or give it to him/her. At this point you’ll give your taxi driver the specific address for your destination, and if you know it, what route you would like to take. Check out our Taxi! post for more information on dealing with cabs.
Taking the Bus
If you want to take public transit, one of the most frequently used options from LGA is the M60 bus. The M60 runs through queens and then along 125th street making stops on every avenue in Manhattan. You can view a schedule of the M60 here. Along the M60 route you can easily connect to the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, A & C subway lines in Manhattan and can also connect to the N & Q lines from the Astoria Blvd stop (the stop right before the bus hits the RFK bridge). Determine what subway you need to take before getting on the bus and know approximately what avenue or stop it is near. To actually take the bus the first thing you’ll need to do is either have three dollars in cash you can use for the bus fare or purchase a MetroCard. MetroCard machines, and spots to buy them, vary in each terminal. It’s easiest to just ask someone that works in the terminal where you can buy a MetroCard. After either getting cash or a metro card go to the bus stop, wait for the M60 and head into the city. The only direction buses go to from LGA is Queens/Mahanattan so don’t worry about which way the bus is heading.There are other buses, but many require going into difficult to navigate neighborhoods in Queens, so unless you have a smart phone telling you to go somewhere else – I recommend taking the easier but sometimes longer ride on the M60. You can view a listing of some other bus options here.
In the event that you’ve planned ahead and arranged for a car simply follow the directions the driver gives you. Good luck!