London VS. New York City – Which City is Better for You?

London and New York City have some of the most famous tourist attractions in the world.

They’re also hot spots for people who want to live in the UK or the US.

New York City

New York City

Once the capital of the country from 1785 to 1790, NYC is the city that never sleeps. And it deserves that name.

The Big Apple’s boisterous, pushy, yet deeply engaging environment keeps its inhabitants on their toes.

Tower Bridge London

Tower Bridge, London

Fondly called The Big Smoke, London is the United Kingdom’s capital and the seat of the queen.

The city has a unique aristocratic feel – you either fall in love with it at first sight, or it grows on you.

So New York versus London, which city is better for you? That depends on your personality, present stage in life, and if you’re visiting or moving in.

Let’s compare the two cities and find out your preference.

Size of London Compared to New York

London’s land area is more than double the size of New York’s. It is 1572 square km or 976.8 square miles (607 sq mi), while NYC is 783.8 square km or 487 square miles (302.6 sq mi).

The metro area population size of the two cities is the reverse, with NYC at 18.9 million and London at 9.5 million.

This means that London has more green space. It boasts 3,000 parks and 8.4 million trees in the heart of the metropolis.

If you love experiencing nature right at your doorstep and detest air pollution, you’d love to stay in UK’s capital.

On the other hand, New York has double the population of London and half the land area.

Its population density is 29,000 people per square mile as opposed to The Big Smoke’s 5,600, making the city feel cramped.

NYC has 1,700 parks. But if you want to spend some solitary time outdoors, you can be sure that hundreds of people have the same idea and will arrive at the same location.

NYC High Rise Buildings

NYC High Rise Buildings

Not to be deterred, what the Big Apple lacks in green space, it more than makes up for in infrastructure.

High-rise buildings and wide roads ensure that the city is not too congested.

Surprisingly, parts of Central London can sometimes feel as cramped as New York because the roads aren’t as wide and there aren’t as many skyscrapers.

Is New York More Busy Than London?

How crowded the cities get

New York is a 24/7 city. You can always hear people talking, car horns blaring, music playing, and the sound of vehicle sirens.

There can be pedestrian traffic congestion around tourist sites, and Times Square is packed at night till 12 am.

London is only busy at certain times. There are quiet neighborhoods where you can wake up early in the morning and enjoy a solitary walk on the streets.

But pedestrians at King’s Cross St Pancras tube station are usually packed out during the morning rush hour.

London is a popular place to be in spring, summer, and December.

During these periods, it gets a bit crowded with both English and international tourists.

Despite how busy it gets, the city can never rival NYC’s year-round crowding and infamous traffic congestion.

Opening and closing times of establishments

New York is famous for its 24/7 services as its establishments are open round the clock.

Do you want to have fun, go to the gym, or grab a bite by 3 am? You’ll find somewhere open around the corner.



The subway is always open, ensuring you can commute to any part of the Big Apple anytime. NYC is indeed the city that never sleeps.

Almost all the street corner shops are open for 24 hours. The official closing time for bars and clubs is 4 am, but some stay open till 7 am on Mondays to Saturdays to resume serving drinks.

London, in comparison, has a much slower pace of life. All the establishments have a closing time.

Its railway system, the Tube, closes by midnight. A 24-hour service runs on some lines on weekends, and you can board some buses after 12 am.

Pubs and clubs in London have the same culture. The closing time ranges from 11 pm on weekdays to after midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, depending on the borough and establishment.

Some Big Smoke clubs will cater to customers for 24 hours, though.

Although stores are not open round the clock, you can still indulge in late-night shopping till 11 pm in some areas.

Work culture

Let’s not forget that NYC has a fast-paced work culture that suits professionals in their 20s.

Known for its bustling finance, media, advertising, and fashion industries, New York is the place to learn how to drive growth in a competitive market.

If you want a work-life balance, this city is not the place to build your career. Work consumes so much of your time that you won’t be able to focus on your family fully. Your best bet is to have an understanding spouse.

Vacations are also few and far between and usually not more than 2 to 3 weeks a year.

Under the New York Vacation Pay Law, firms are not obligated to give their workers vacation time.

Don’t expect to get paid leave, except it’s written into your contract by your employer.

London is not as cutthroat. It’s also known for its finance and cutting-edge fashion industry, but there is a better work-life balance.

There is more leisure and vacation. Getting a 4 to 5-week vacation is not frowned upon.

You also generally have more time on weekends to catch up with family.

Is New York More Expensive than London?

London and New York are expensive cities, but which will make you spend more?

Some people argue that London is more pricey but renders a higher quality of service.

Others think New York is the more expensive of the two when considering all costs. Let’s find out for ourselves.

Tourist centers

Westminster Palace Central London

Westminster Palace, Central London

London has many tourist attractions. If you want to go sightseeing, you’re bound to visit many aesthetic and historic buildings.

You can visit the museums for free. But expect to pay an entrance fee of $15 – $50 per person when you go to popular attractions like Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, the London Eye, and the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studio, one of the best Harry Potter stores in London.

Empire State Building 3

The Empire State Building

New York has the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Sites like Brooklyn Bridge Park and Little Island have no entrance fee.

To access museums, Bronx Zoo, 9/11 Memorial, and other tourist centers, you’ll need to pay $12 – $100 per person.


Rent is cheaper in London than in NYC. You’ll get better hotel and housing accommodation in viable neighborhoods for the same amount.

There are a variety of housing choices. You can easily find houses with a great backyard, rent furnished apartments, or get a six-month break-out clause.

The Big Apple requires higher rent. There are lots of flatshare options and pricey studio apartments. Within the heart of the city, tenant rights diminish.

But New York trumps London in real estate prices. Houses in Central London are expensive.

And rich people keep buying more real estate, driving up the prices.

New York houses are much cheaper. However, most houses in the city are made of wood, except for high-rise buildings and old family homes.

London has mostly brick houses, which are costlier to build. That might be part of the reason why you need to pay more for them.



Despite the 24-hour service, public transportation by train is cheap in NYC.

Riding on a train cost about 50% of what you’ll pay in London.

The subway covers a larger geographical area in the city, is quicker to get to, and doesn’t close down for engineering projects as much as the Big Smoke’s.

The trains are also more spacious and have air conditioning.

But the New York subway has a less luxurious feel and is not as clean. You’ll meet lots of homeless people in it.

The Tube

The Tube

London’s Tube is more costly, cleaner, and has a better design and route integration. You have more options, too.

You can ride on different railway vehicles – underground, overground, or commuter trains, trams, and cable cars.

The countdown timer shows more accurate arrival data.

However, you’ll experience more delays due to maintenance, or some lines can be closed for engineering projects.


NYC buses are a great way to ride across the five boroughs and see iconic sights. They’re a good alternative method of transportation.

The red double-decker buses are the Londoner’s secret weapon. They’re beautiful, comfy, and have a better route design than their New York counterpart.

Riding on them can often get you to your destination faster than the Tube.

But be prepared to experience the discomfort of riding with drunks after the train station closes at midnight.

Intra-city busing routes at night can sometimes be slightly different.

If you’re usually still out after 12 am, you’ll need to memorize the bus routes near where you live.


New York caters to the masses. That includes ensuring that taxi fare is affordable.

You can find cabs everywhere in this city, and they’re better regulated in favor of the customer.

The yellow taxis can be hailed on the street, while the boro taxis (green) pick passengers in Upper Manhattan, Brooklyn, parts of Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island.

Boro taxis are slightly more expensive than yellow cabs, but both taxis have the same fare structure.

They have an initial charge of less than $3 and extra charges for slow traffic and some routes.

In NYC, be prepared to converse with immigrant drivers who might not be able to speak English properly.

Some vehicles are not maintained properly and are not very safe to ride in.

London taxis are usually about double the price. There are two kinds – the black cab and minicab.

Black cabs are hailed on the street while minicabs are booked in advance.

Black taxis are more expensive than minicabs but have a higher quality of service.

The drivers have undergone the taxi knowledge test to memorize the city’s complicated road network, streets, landmarks, and quickest routes.

However, minicab vehicles are usually in a worse state than black taxis.

Both types of transportation have a minimum fare of over 3 euros and are metered.

They charge extra for booking and terminal drop-offs at Heathrow Airport.


Both cities have ferry services. The NYC ticket system is simplified – you either pay for a single ride or buy a 30-day pass.

The London system favors an international route. You can take the ferry to France, Wales, Ireland, and other parts of England.

There are several payment options, including purchasing tickets in advance from machines at the Tube and paying as you go.


The average monthly take-home pay in NYC is much higher than in London.

Expect to earn more in this competitive city and smile your way to the bank.

While Londoners earn less, they usually have nationalized healthcare, more vacation time, and fewer work hours.

Poor citizens and permanent residents also have better standards of living because of free healthcare, housing, and benefits for looking for work.

Time difference Between London and New York

NYC is 5 hours behind London. While the British city is GMT, New York is GMT -4 during daylight savings and GMT -5 the rest of the year.

This means it’s already afternoon in the Big Smoke when it’s morning in the Big Apple.

Crime in London vs. New York

New York and London have low crime rates. However, some crimes are more pronounced than others in each city.

NYC has more murder and gun attacks, but Londoners experience more muggings, violent attacks, and sexual offenses.

In both cities, some neighborhoods are unsafe and have higher gang activity. It’s best to avoid such areas at night.


Did you notice that while reading the detailed comparison between London and New York, you started to prefer one city over the other? That’s because London and NYC have distinct vibes.

A married person who has friends and family in Europe, loves the quietness of suburbs, and doesn’t mind paying more for a certain quality of basic amenities may prefer London.

A young, single professional who loves having a vibrant nightlife and thrives in a highly competitive work environment may enjoy everything NYC offers.

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