You’re planning a trip to New York and want to know how to get from LaGuardia Airport to the city centre? Search no further, you've come to the right place!
If you are flying directly from Europe, you will land in New York at either the JFK or the Newark Airports.
However, if you are coming from another US city, then there is a very good chance that you will land at LaGuardia (LGA). In the following, I will detail the different ways in which you can transfer from LaGuardia to Manhattan.
Reaching Manhattan from LaGuardia Airport
There are about 15 kilometres between LaGuardia Airport and downtown Manhattan. I will now give you the different options you’ll have to reach Manhattan.
The taxi, fastest way to reach Manhattan from LaGuardia Airport
The famous yellow cab is New York City's iconic mode of transportation. It will often be the most convenient option you can find, but it will never be the cheapest. Of the 3 airports in New York, LaGuardia is the closest to downtown. It is located in Queens, just over 10 km from midtown Manhattan – so a taxi is still a relatively affordable way to get to your hotel.
The first advantage of yellow cabs is that you will have no trouble finding one at the airport. No matter which terminal you will be at, you will have no trouble at all spotting a taxi waiting for passengers. These city taxis are therefore the best way to transfer from the airport without having to make a reservation for the journey.
There is no fixed fare for transfers from LaGuardia: you will have to pay according to the taxi’s metre.
Depending on traffic, a trip will cost you between £25 and £40 once the pound–dollar conversion is done, and will take between 20 to 45 minutes. As I already mentioned, this is clearly not the cheapest option, and I even recommend avoiding taxis if you have to travel during rush hour (between 4 pm and 8 pm on weekdays). Having to pay more to travel longer is obviously not a good idea.
The yellow cab is still a very good way to transfer to and from LGA and your accommodation in Manhattan or any other district of New York, especially if you want to travel comfortably and be dropped off directly at the door of your destination. Unlike other means of transportation where you will have to buy a ticket per person, the taxi has a fixed price and can accommodate up to 3 passengers. A taxi is therefore often the best choice if you are travelling with two or three people and your destination is not too far from Queens.
In that last case, it is the fastest and least stressful way to get to Manhattan from Laguardia Airport.
The Shuttle from LaGuardia Airport
With the Shuttle, you can book your trip in advance and share a shuttle with other travellers to make the trip at a more attractive price. It's a solution that tries to combine all the advantages of the other options: it will allow you to travel to LaGuardia and back for about $20 all-inclusive (£15), while dropping you off right in front of your accommodation or picking you up at the end of your stay.
The Shuttle is only available if you are staying in Manhattan itself. The reservation is simple: from the company's website, you can book your trip by specifying the number of people and giving your flight information.
This shuttle service is particularly interesting if you are travelling with one or two people or with young children, as the trip is free for children under 3. In these cases, it is the most economical way to travel comfortably and be driven to your destination without having to finish the journey on foot or make any transport changes.
As for the duration of the journey, since these shuttles have to bring or pick up each passenger at their place of residence, the trip can sometimes be long – especially if you are among the last people to be dropped off. However, don't worry: for a return trip to LaGuardia, everything will be done to ensure that you arrive at the airport with enough time to spare.
Personally, I book a shuttle for my trips to New York very often. I have only used the shuttle once from LaGuardia airport, but I use it often from JFK airport 🙂
Underground and Bus
If you were planning to use the New York Subway System to transfer from LaGuardia to Manhattan, this will unfortunately not be possible. To be precise, this solution is so constraining that it should be avoided. There is no underground station in the immediate vicinity of LaGuardia – so you would have to take a bus to the nearest underground station on Roosevelt Avenue first. Unless you are travelling without luggage, this seems to me to be a very inconvenient solution, even if it is ultimately the most economical one.
An almost equally cheap and often more comfortable alternative is to travel the whole way by bus. From the airport you can take the M60 bus to Manhattan. A bus runs about every 15 minutes from 5 am to 1 am, and the ticket will cost you about $3 (£2.30). There are quite a few stops, although the bus goes no further than 125th Street on the Upper West Side. If your hotel is located further into Manhattan, or there are no bus stops close to it, this may not be the best option for you.
In addition to the city buses, you will find NYC Airporter buses (a company based in New York) at the airport, which provide special transfers between LaGuardia and the two main destinations in Manhattan: Times Square and Grand Central Station. These buses run 2-3 times an hour, and tickets are around $15 per person (£11.30).
They are therefore not the cheapest option, but are still a convenient and comfortable way to reach Manhattan. Once you're dropped off at one of these stations, you can easily take the underground to finish your trip.
However, I would not advise you to choose this means of transport if you do not live near the two stations, especially if you have a lot of luggage.
Private Vehicles (Uber, limousine…)
So far, I've talked about the city's taxis and public transportation. But several types of companies can also help you travel in a private vehicle to transfer between LaGuardia and Manhattan.
Uber et Lyft
These two internationally renowned ride-sharing services are of course present in New York. They operate in exactly the same way as in any other country. Thanks to their Android application, you can, from your smartphone, ask a driver to pick you up at the airport or to drive you there at the end of your stay. You can also pay for your journey and tip your driver directly from this mobile application. Thanks to Uber and Lyft services, you can travel with several people without paying more, just like with taxis. This means that fares can be particularly attractive sometimes, especially as some vehicles can accommodate more than 3 passengers.
Unlike yellow cabs, ride-sharing services often offer slightly lower fares. In addition, there will be no taxes or tolls added to the bill, and the fact that you can arrange everything from a smartphone can be a real plus for people who are not very comfortable with English. This will require internet access on your phone even in New York though, which is not included in all mobile plans. Moreover, if there is no driver available nearby at the time of your request, you may also have to wait a while for a vehicle to pick you up.
Some private car companies will offer to take you from LaGuardia to your hotel in Manhattan in a luxury vehicle or limousine. Of course, this service comes at a cost, and you will have to pay at least £125 to travel in a luxury sedan. You can expect an additional £80 – that is to say about £205 in total – to arrive in New York in a real limousine measuring over 6 metres in length.
If you are travelling with several people, these luxury vehicles can actually become quite affordable. Limousines can seat up to 8 people, so it is possible to travel in these vehicles for less per person than a single person taxi ride. To use this service, it is of course mandatory to book your journey in advance.
In New York, in addition to yellow cabs and ride-sharing services, you can use private taxi companies. Even if these drivers can come directly to the airport to offer you their services, it is best to book your journey in advance via the company's website. This will ensure that you are dealing with an official company.
As with ride-sharing services, the fares offered are often cheaper than those of city taxis (around 15-20%) and most of the time, the passenger limit is 4 people instead of 3. By booking, you will be assured of being quickly taken care of by your driver once you arrive at the airport.
And this is the end of this article! I hope it helped you see things clearer. If you know of a better way to do the transfer, don’t hesitate to share it with us in the comments! In any case, good luck to all the future travellers! 😉