New York City is a place so alive with intensity, non-stop energy, and creativity that it’s been dubbed the “City That Never Sleeps.”

It’s a place I’ve called home for the past 13 years, and a city that will always hold a special place in my heart. 

But just over the pond in London, you’ll find a city filled with as much history as breathtaking beauty. Like NYC, it’s a city that’s an innovator of art, fashion, and culture. 

After three brief holidays in London, it’s a place I know I’d love to call home one day. 

I have to admit I’ve been in love with the British accent ever since Harry Potter became a world-wide phenomenon. It’s a bit of a dream of mine to pick it up while living there.

Both cities have some of the best theater in the world, so naturally picking which city is best will be a bit more of a challenge for me. 

Read on to find out which wins my heart. Let the battle of London vs New York begin!

Year Founded

London big ben

London: 47 AD

London, originally known as Londoninium, was founded by the Romans in 47 AD, and remained under Roman control until 410 AD.

You can still check out some Roman ruins today, including sections of a Roman wall at the Museum of London, Tower Hill, and the Barbican Estate. 

New artifacts are still being found in and around the Thames, including Roman pottery, coins, and statues. They even found a sunken Roman Ship in 1963!

Now let’s jump forward in time to when the British colonized the Americas. They established the first British colony, Virginia, in 1607. 

If you’re more of a movie buff than history buff, think Pocahontas. This colonization brought John Smith into her life. 

The English, along with the Spanish, and Dutch colonized the Americas over the next hundred plus years.

In 1664 the British took over New Amsterdam from the Dutch, renaming it New York. 

By 1773, the British colonies were fed up with being ruled by a country across the sea. The final straw was when Britain imposed “taxation without representation”, leading to the Boston Tea Party, and the eventual American Revolution.  

nyc skyline empire state

New York: 1624

I’m betting almost everyone reading this has seen the Broadway show Hamilton at this point. If you haven’t, check it out streaming on Disney+. It gives a lot of insight into the U.S.’s fight for freedom from King George’s reign with the bonus of some really catchy music.

The battle between the Americans and the British began in 1775 when gunfire started in Concord, Massachusetts, between the colonists’ militia and the British soldiers. 

We call the first shot fired “the shot heard around the world” because it signaled the start of the American Revolution that led to the United States being officially created free from England’s rule. 

The American Revolution didn’t end until 1783, and New York became the capital of the United States in 1789.

Much of America’s early history took place in and around New York City. You can still visit Alexander Hamilton’s homestead, see where he and George Washington attended church, and check out some of the oldest graves in the city (including Hamilton’s).

Verdict: London wins this round because of its advantage of being ridiculously older than NYC and thus it has a lot more of a history.

Population

london population 2

London: 9.304 million

New York: 8.336 million

Verdict: I’m shocked these numbers aren’t closer. New York has less land mass than London, so that might account for some difference.

These cities feel about the same in terms of population while you’re walking around them. London wins the population round by a cool million. 

Number of Tourists Per Year

Times Square NYC vs Paris 2

London: 30 million

New York: 65.2 million

Verdict: I’m a bit surprised the number of tourists in London doesn’t rival NYC’s 65.2 million. Obviously, New York is winning the tourism popularity contest. 

Weather

Thames South Bank

London: This city is known for its foggy and rainy tendencies. Any time of year you visit, you’ll want an umbrella and jacket on hand.

Winters in London can see lows in the 30s°F, but not much snow. Every time I visit London during the winter, I try to avoid being outside for over 20-30 minutes because it’s a bit of a damp cold.

Summer is my favorite time to be in town, with temperatures reaching the high 60s. It’s perfect weather to stroll around the city, catch some outdoor theater, and spend time at rooftop bars.

Central Park NYC

New York: Summer is one of my favorite times to be in NYC. The temperature averages 85°, which is perfect for laying in the shade or picnicking in Central Park. 

The winter isn’t my ideal season. With temperatures averaging 26.6°F, walking around the city isn’t ideal. It typically feels even colder than the average once you’re on the street dealing with black ice and wind tunnels. 

Verdict: NYC is going to win this round, but it’s really down to my bias because I’m not a massive fan of the cold and rainy weather in London. While I appreciate that it rarely snows, I need my summers to be a bit warmer than what London is offering. 

Safety

City Safety Comparison 5 2

London: 145 homicides per year (as of 2020)

New York: 776 homicides per year (as of 2019)

Verdict: London wins this round. You’d think a city known for Jack the Ripper would be a bit more on par with NYC’s homicide rate. 

Public Transport 

london underground 2
London New York 
Monthly Transport Pass Cost138.70£ for Zones 1+2 = $186.41 $127 
Single Transport Pass Cost2.90£ = $3.90 $2.75 
Bike Sharing AvailableYes – 2£ = $2.69 for 24 hoursYes – $3.00 per trip 
Number of Airports
CabsReadily available to flag down. Readily available to flag down.

Verdict: The numbers don’t lie, NYC wins this one. Though, London isn’t far behind with its 6 airports!

Cleanliness

London: I’ve got to say I was pretty impressed by how clean London felt. It’s obviously still a major city, so it’s got its dirty bits, but overall it wasn’t too bad.

The parks were all beautifully manicured, and the streets seemed well maintained. I don’t recall ever struggling to find a bin which is reflected in the lack of trash or litter sitting on the streets.

New York: It’s common knowledge that New York isn’t the cleanest city in the States. It typically has mountains of trash on the sidewalk on any day. In the summer, the smell permeates the air as you walk by the piles. 

That said, NYC has plenty of garbage and recycling bins around the more populated areas. 

Verdict: I’ll always say NYC is one of the greatest cities in the world, but London has it beat for cleanliness. 

Entertainment

London: Right away, let me state my obvious favorites, the West End and Globe Theatre. 

Besides London’s superb theater scene, there are also plenty of delicious restaurants, museums like the Tate and Natural History Museum, shopping on Oxford Street and on Portobello Road. 

You can also catch a ride on the London Eye or hop on a river cruise down the Thames. See a show at Royal Albert Hall, or the O2.

You can check out all the historical architecture, including spots like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Palace, and Big Ben. 

And, if you’re really adventurous, you can even book a tour that lets you climb to the top of the world famous O2 Arena!

New York: What doesn’t NYC have for entertainment? It’s known for Broadway shows, street performers, off-broadway, comedy shows, SNL, and the massive amount of events at Madison Square Garden. Not to mention all of its museums, restaurants, the MET Opera, the ballet, the symphony, Carnegie Hall, and downtown jazz venues. 

Plus, all the tourist favorites like Radio City Rockettes, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, shopping on 5th Avenue, sight-seeing cruises around the island, late show tapings, and iconic buildings to tour like the Empire State Building. 

Verdict: This is a really close one in my book, but the “City That Never Sleeps” wins this round. Sure, London has plenty of entertainment, but can any place really beat all the world-class events and options that New York offers daily?

Diversity

London Racial Composition 3

London: London is a fairly diverse city based on numbers from London’s government data website, though not nearly as diverse as I’d imagined it would be.

New York City Racial Composition 2 2

New York: The chart, based on World Population Review shows NYC is a diverse city.

Verdict: Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to locate diversity data from the same years for both cities. I’d call this round for NYC, it’s a more diverse than London. 

Housing

London: The average rent for a one-bedroom is £1,934, so $2,599.20.

New York: The average rent for a one-bedroom is $3,100.

Verdict: London obviously wins this round. I won’t lie, I’m kind of pleased to see this result. I’ve been wanting to either move or spend extended time in London for a while, and this just helps my “move to London” pro’s list!

Hotel Cost

London: The average cost per night for a hotel room in London is £172.57, so about $231. 

New York: The average cost per night for a hotel room in NYC is about $300. 

Verdict: Honestly, I’m a bit surprised the cost per night isn’t closer between cities. Both cities are on the pricier side, but London wins this round by just under a Benjamin. 

Food Scene

London: London boasts 65 restaurants with Michelin stars, which is a pretty solid offering. 

It’s also well-known for its afternoon teas, fish and chips, bangers and mash, scotch eggs, and my favorite Eton mess.

I love eating my way around London while I’m visiting. Its foodie scene reminds me a lot of New York’s!

New York: NYC has 76 Michelin ranking restaurants, 5 of which have three stars. 

Besides its starred restaurants, the city has a ton of delicious food offered pretty much 24/7. The city has some of the most diverse food offerings in the world, not to mention their famous bagels and pizza! 

Verdict: This is a really tough call to make. If I have to choose, I’ll tilt the scale in New York’s favor. It’s got more starred restaurants, plus I believe the food scene is more original in NYC. 

Top Sights

london towerr bridge

London: Everyone’s first thought is going to be Buckingham Palace. There’s the London Eye, London Bridge, Kensington Palace, Tower Bridge, Hyde Park, and Big Ben.

Plus, tons of museums like the Tate, National Portrait Gallery, and the Natural History Museum. 

There’s also my favorites like Shakespeare’s Globe theatre and the West End. 

Drink with a View Empire State Building at Sunset pg

New York: Obviously the city is home to one of my favorite things in the world, Broadway. 

Besides its killer theater scene, it also has the Statue of Liberty (which is a famous gift from France), the Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square (ugh… so many tourists).

There’s also One World Trade, the MET, MoMA, The Whitney, Natural History Museum, the Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, and Ellis Island. 

Verdict: This is tough since both NYC and London are cultural epicenters. I’m calling this round a tie, as I think either city has tons of sites to see.

London vs New York: The Winner!

ALLY SHAKESPEARE

I think this might be the closest city vs city race yet, winning by just one point is London!

Honestly, I don’t think you could go wrong with visiting either city. Both have amazing theater, architecture, dining, and attractions. 

London has a slight edge over NYC thanks to its epic history and more affordable hotels. 

Which city would you pick? Tell me in the comments below! 


Check out some of these popular tours the next time you’re in London!

Save Money With Airbnb

Want to save money on your next trip? I easily save thousands of dollars a year using Airbnb instead of hotels. Plus, if you're anything like me, it'll make you feel like more of a local.

Plan Your Next Adventure
If you click this link and make a booking, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Leave a Comment