London vs New York: What’s the Difference?

London vs New York: What’s the Difference?

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London and New York are big cities that attract millions of tourists annually. There are no doubts about their beauty and magnificence. Both cities are unique with their foods and beautiful in their cultures.
London, famously known as “The Big Smoke,” is famous for its rich history. On the other hand, New York is nicknamed “The City That Never Sleeps” or “The Big Apple,” and is widely recognized for its vibrant feel.
But these are just tips of the iceberg. The real juice is below! We’ll make an in-depth comparison of everything relevant in this travel guide.

Travel Requirements

Learning about New York’s amazing attractions, cultural diversity, and vibrant energy simply draws some people in. If you happen to be one of them and you want to experience its exciting energy firsthand, you’ll need to obtain some form of New York visa.
If you’re eligible for an ESTA - Electronic System for Travel Authorisation, sending a NY visa application is the easiest and quickest way to get your travel authorisation.

Culture and History

Speaking of historical backgrounds, both cities have been existing for hundreds of years. They also have very rich cultural histories that extremely fascinate 21st-century minds. But what are their differences?

London’s Culture

London has been in existence for 1975 years. It is known as the cultural capital of the world. This city has over 40 festivals and carnivals that attract millions of people annually. Its biggest carnival is the Notting Hill Carnival. It is the second most famous in the world. The Notting Hill Carnival usually has an Afro-Caribbean feel and is filled with entertaining street performers.
London has several museums and historical sites. Of all the historical places to visit, the Natural History Museum is one place that should be on top of the list. It contains the magnificent glow-in-the-dark crystals, the rare painting of the “Birds of America”, and Charles Darwin’s pigeons.
Whenever you visit London, you want to see the London Eye, Big Ben, and Tower Bridge. Other exciting things you can see in London are drawings, archaeological ceramics, and jewelry that date far back to medieval times, 3000 BC.

New York’s Culture

New York was founded in the 1600s. It is a major city in America. It has a vast and fantastic culture with famous architectural gems. Its culture is so broad that it has over 790 languages, with every neighborhood having its unique vibe and cultural beauty.
The American city is known for its richness in visual arts, as abstract painting is one of its most famous forms of art. Asides from painting and drawing, NY is referred to as the home of dance. It is widely known for salsa music, jazz music, and even the popular hip-hop sound. You can easily get carried away at the sight of street performers in NY.
The 9/11 Memorial Museum is one of its magnificent sites. It was built to remember the tragic events that happened in 1993 and 2011 in New York. This memorial museum has a twin pool made of bronze edges, carrying the names of every life lost in both incidents.
Most part of this structure is underground, and it contains 10,000 artefacts. Asides from the museum, you want to visit the Empire State Building, the Hudson River, and the Rockefeller Center in New York.
Clearly, both cities have a lot to offer culturally. They are places you would always want to make your second home. But one distinguishing factor is that London has a much longer and more fascinating history than New York City.
More so, the museums in London are free to enter, unlike in New York. So if you love visiting Museums, London is a big pro for you. Hence, in this comparison, London wins.

London vs New York: The Weather

London is usually tagged as a city with harsh weather. But surprisingly, the opposite is the case because London has a very mild climate. Its summers are moderately warm, and its winters are not as cold as thought. The city can be described as the warmest in the United Kingdom.
According to, central London is the fourth nicest place to live in the UK. It has low rainfalls, with October being its highest month (2.42 inches on average).
In the real sense, the Big Apple is a city with extreme weather. It has more rain with an average rainfall of about 5 inches in May– double London’s highest. The city freezes during the winter, and snows cause winter depressions in January at low temperatures of -3 degrees.
The cold periods in New York City will always get you stuck to your bed and covered in thick sheets. Just as the winters are too cold, summer periods are usually too hot, spanning over 28 degrees during the summer. The heat will leave you craving for the AC units every time.
London again has this round because who would want the extremes to both weather conditions?

Cost of Living

London and New York City are not low-cost cities. They are pretty expensive and beat other cities in their countries in terms of rent, wages, and daily expenses.
Generally, London costs lower than New York. Speaking of the public transportation system, a monthly pass costs about $75 in London and $129 in New York. For other modes of transport like taxis, trains, and tubes, London is cheaper by 16-30%.
If you are opting for a home between London and New York City, London might be your best bet because it will help you save money. On average, rent and restaurants in London are about 70% and 30% less expensive compared to New York. Also, basic amenities like internet, electricity, and water are relatively cheap, with a difference of about 16%.
It is important to note that the cost of living in a region affects its purchasing power. Thus, according to a statistic from, London has a purchasing power of 3.11% compared to New York City.

Parks and Green Spaces: Who Wins?

Both London and New York are well designed, with several iconic parks and stunning green spaces. Don’t be surprised to learn that each city has over 2000 parks and green spaces.

Who Has More Green Spaces?

London takes the lead in this category with more than 3000 parks. Its green spaces, covering up to 47% of its entire land mass, are like lush oases, fit for every eye to explore. One of the most prominent parks in London is Hyde Park. It is a 350-acre space located in West London with over 390 trees and a big lake.
New York City, on the other hand, has over 2200 parks. However, its green space coverage is lesser than that of London– spanning only 14% of its land mass. Central Park stands out as one of the most popular parks in New York City. It is a historic site with lots of attractions like the Strawberry Fields and the Belvedere Castle.
In London, you technically have more green space to yourself than in New York.

Who Has More Serenity and Comfort?

One of the reasons parks exist is to enjoy some peace and quiet in the green natural environment and have a fun time with family and friends. Right? You can enjoy these joyful activities and more when you visit the parks in London.
Remember that the city has thousands of parks scattered all over, so it is easy to find places that are as good as empty. In there, you can have as much space and privacy as you want. Also, there are parks situated around lakes, so you can even take a swim.
But the reverse is the case in New York. You can barely have a quiet day in that city; including parks. The parks in NY are usually overcrowded with thousands of people, which contributes to their rowdiness. Maybe it’s because the Big Apple is more populated with less parks.
So yeah, London wins again in this category!

Food in New York vs London Cuisine

While both cities feel about the same in terms of food quality and taste, New York is an iconic city that is dominated by fast food. There are a lot of food vendors on the city streets, so people go to buy food and take them away. They hardly eat at the food spots. However, you don’t want to miss grabbing a meal in New York City.
Dinner in this city is exquisite. What is your taste? What is your vibe? There is a restaurant for you as NY boasts of dishes from several origins. You can literally get any kind of food you want at any time. This is why restaurants in NY usually get a lot of advance bookings. It is important to note that New York is known for its Michelin star restaurants - there are over 75 of them.
London, however, has quite a different system. Unlike New York’s fast food system, Londoners would rather sit and eat their meals. Just like NY City, London has Michelin star restaurants, Indian food, fish, and chips.
Although it has fewer Michelin star restaurants compared to New York, it stands tall in producing local foods directly sourced from the farms. We should also note that London is great for its teas and scotched eggs.

London vs New York Safety: Which One Is Safer?

As far as cities are concerned, London is safer than New York City. While London may experience more or equal crime rates to New York, it records lesser amounts most of the time. Most of the crimes recorded in London are murders. Others include rape, theft, and other petty crime cases.
According to Statista, the crime rate in London is about 93 cases per 1000. There are up to 8 rape and 108 theft cases in every 1000 persons in the city, and most of the homicide cases in London are due to gang fights.
However, in New York, the numbers are way higher. According to New York City’s government reports, the overall crime index in NY is currently pegged at over 11,000 of its population. There are an average of 2200 gun arrests, 26 murder cases, 140 rape cases, and 1500 robbery cases yearly.
We can clearly see that London is relatively safe compared to New York City.

London Population vs New York

According to World Population Review, London covers a vast size of 607 square miles. It has a population of over 9.5 million people and a population density of about 14,600 people per square mile.
On the other hand, New York has a higher population of about 20.4 million. According to the NYC Department of City Planning, New York has a geographical size of over 47,000 square miles and a population density of around 27,000 people per square mile. While London can be referred to as the bigger city, NY has the larger population and density.

Getting Around: Public Transportation

The two cities have underground public transport systems that allow people to get to their destinations in no time. However, there are some advantages to transportation in New York. The NY subway is less expensive than the London tube.
This is because, in New York, everyone pays equally for a subway ticket irrespective of their destinations. Instead, in London, you pay according to your distance. So, you are bound to spend more in London.
London tube may be your preferred option if you need the utmost comfort while travelling. This is because London’s seats are upholstered and NYC subway seats are made of plastic. On the flip side, the plastic seats are easier to clean compared with the upholstered seats.
New York Subway covers more track length and has more stops compared to the London tube. Although the subway covers a small area, it functions round the clock every day, unlike the London tube, which mostly runs from 5 AM till midnight.
So, in London, you can get stuck between 12 and 5 AM without a reliable means of transport. The London tube, however, runs for 24 hours in some places during the weekend. They also run on reduced services on major holidays.
While the New York subway may be less expensive, it is usually slow. It operates with an average speed of about 17.5 MPH, makes frequent stops at waiting stations, and delays at these stops. Sometimes, walking over a short distance is better than taking the subway in New York.
However, the London Underground travels with an average speed of 21 MPH, including waiting time. According to The Guardian, London Underground stands out as one of the most reliable transport systems.
Speaking of cabs, London cabs are generally more expensive compared to NY cabs. However, they are faster than New York’s. On a general note, it is easier to move around London than it is in New York.

The Airport Comparison

When it comes to the airports and the opportunities to get to other places across the globe, it’s easy to get anywhere from both London and New York. After all, they are hubs for international travel, but let’s take a closer look at what exactly they offer.
NYC has 3 major airports in total: LaGuardia (LGA), John F. Kennedy International (JFK) in Queens, and Newark Liberty International (EWR) in New Jersey. If you have to spend some time at any of these, you won’t be bored for sure as they are packed with lounges and restaurants of various kinds.
However, one drawback to all of New York’s airports is that getting into the city is difficult. Taxi is not cheap, and if you go for public transport it will take a long time before you reach your destination. Unfortunately, New York hasn’t got a simple train shuttle that would take visitors directly downtown.
On the other hand, the situation in London is much brighter for travelers. Heathrow is the largest airport, is clean, and friendly, and has the most international destinations. And unlike NY, there are 2 train options there that go to the city. Visitors to London can choose between the traditional tube or the Heathrow Express. Either way, they will enjoy a quick and easy ride in clean surroundings.
Keep in mind that the traditional tube (also known as the London Underground) is the better option. It is more affordable, and the ride takes about 45 minutes.

Entertainment & Nightlife

New York is big on late-night entertainment and partying till dawn. This is why it is nicknamed "the city that never sleeps". The bars and clubs in New York operate till 4 AM, so you can club till whenever. Gladly enough, the subway never stops running, so getting home will not be a problem for you.
But London is the exact opposite. Most times, pubs and bars close by 10:30 PM, so you may only spend a half hour in a pub if you get in by 10 PM. Only a few stay up till 3 AM on weekends and even less till 7 AM. Hence, many Londoners don’t hesitate to miss the last train.
While you may say some tubes run over the night, they run on a few routes and at weekends. The bus might seem like an alternative, but it’s not always a good choice.
Also, London is very large and has a lot of places that are only for residential purposes. So, getting around the city to a pub or club is not very easy because of the distance. This is unlike New York, which has bars and lounges littered all over. Entertainment centers in New York include Madison Square Garden and the MOMA, while London has places like Oxford Street.

Fashion & Shopping

New York has a slight advantage over London in terms of American and technological products. You can buy tech products in New York at very cheap prices, especially Apple products.
However, London has better deals on several products, from fashion items to household products. This is because it has Oxford Street and is much closer to European capitals like Milan, Paris, Amsterdam, etc.
On a general note, you are at a bigger advantage of getting fashion products if you are in a European city.

Should You Visit London or New York?

This is one question that can keep travellers a bit confused. To state the facts, both NYC and London are iconic and are great to visit. However, your choice will be based on your preference.
Are You A Night Walker? New York is one city that never sleeps and barely announces midnight. Do you want to have belly-suiting cuisine after a great time at the club? You are sure of being satisfied in New York. And once you get home, you can sleep for as long as possible because the city sleeps till 9 AM.
How Much Of A Foodie Are You? There are hardly any cravings that New York cannot satisfy. Yes, London has very lovely restaurants - in fact, world-class places. But New York beats its record on the food scene.
Are You A Shopper? New York boasts of a wide variety of American-made items, especially tech. But London boasts of more. You can find almost every product you need in London. They range from popularly sourced products to rare items like dinosaur fossils. London has close proximity to global-shopping centres like Amsterdam and Paris. Besides that, it has a broader range of shops and world-class boutiques. In addition to that, it has very cheap markets.

Are You A Fan Of History And Culture?

Remember that London is nearly 2000 years old and has a bigger and older culture than New York. Being an iconic city, its museums are huge attention grabbers in London as they have nearly 5000 years old items. You want to see the glow-in-the-dark crystals and extinct mammals in the Natural History Museum! You really do not want to miss the sight of Uncle Ben, nor do you want to miss viewing the magnificent Tower Bridge.

London vs New York: Is One Really Better Than the Other?

New York is more exciting and energetic compared to London. You can party all night long and begin your day whenever you want without missing many activities. So, if you’re a party person, then New York is for you.
London can be your best pick if you’re looking for the perfect restaurant for fine dining or favourite stores for shopping. Also, London is big on historical sites, stories, and items. You don’t want to miss out on the beauties of ancient tales, legends, and artefacts.
What is your spending budget? London is more friendly than New York. Its average rent is less expensive compared to New York.
You may also want to settle for London because of safety. London is relatively safer than New York. New York may not be bad if you can cope with incessant crime reports and incidents.
Although we have pointed out the clear differences between both cities, the better city depends on what pleases you and why you are in the city.

Written by Abisola Fikayomi

Abisola is an accomplished writer interested in US Travel, immigration, passports and visas. She’s passionate about exploring new places and cultures and willing to share her experiences, expertize and findings with others. That is her primary drive for specialising in this industry.


There are more millionaires in New York than in London. Also, NYC has a GDP of $1.5 trillion while London has $731 billion. So yes, New York is richer than London.
Living in London is relatively better than in New York. London provides you with less crowded and green spaces compared to New York. Besides that, England’s capital has a lower cost of living, more stunning attractions, and a more conducive climate than New York.
London is not only an expensive city but also the cleanest in the world. It has a cleanliness score of nearly 74.94%, while New York City has a cleanliness score of 74.89%.
England’s capital city has a land size of 1,572 square kilometres, while New York has s size of 783.3 square kilometres. So yes, London is far bigger than New York.