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I have been to New York City a few times with my family – once with my daughter for her birthday a few years ago and more recently a layover with my son on our way to Greece. Since we were staying in mid-town Manhattan (once at the Sheraton Times Square and once at the Wingate by Wyndham Midtown Manhattan), none of the 3 New York City airport options (JFK / LGA / EWR) were that much different than any of the others. Since LaGuardia airport (LGA) is quite a bit away from the main areas of New York City, we did a bit of research to help find the best way from LGA Airport to Manhattan. So I thought I would share with you some of my information to help you figure out the best way to get from LGA to New York City.
If you need to make this a roundtrip journey, you might also be interested in the best and cheapest way to get from Manhattan to LGA airport
Getting from LGA airport to midtown Manhattan by taxi
You can surely take a taxi from LGA airport to Manhattan but it will be fairly expensive. Unlike the taxi fare from JFK Airport to Manhattan, which is a flat fare, the NYC Taxi and Limousine commission has set up the trip to / from LaGuardia airport to be a metered fare. A taxi from LaGuardia LGA airport to Manhattan will run anywhere from $25-$40 or more, in addition to tips and tolls.
If you do want to take a taxi from LGA Airport in Queens to Manhattan, you’re likely to save money by using a service like Carmel Limo — plus you can save $4 off using this link.
Another option that many people like is using a shared express bus – there are a variety of express buses that go from LGA Airport to Times Square or various other places in Manhattan, in the $15 to $20 (one-way) range. These are large buses designed for airport runs, so most of them should have plenty of storage underneath the seats for luggage. GO Airlink Shuttle is one such bus – it costs about $21 one-way. It runs every half hour on the half hour and they will drop you off at a variety of hotels and NYC transportation hubs (Grand Central, Penn Station, etc). Try promo code SHUTTLE to save 5%
And obviously you will be in a car, so subject to New York City traffic, especially if you’re traveling in rush hour (which seems like every hour!)
LGA airport to Manhattan by Uber or Lyft
Uber has an estimated price of $50-$75 to get from LGA to midtown Manhattan, though obviously that depends on your destination in New York City and probably time of day (how long it takes)
Lyft is similarly priced from LaGuardia airport to Manhattan though both Uber and Lyft often are running promotions especially in New York City so be sure to check with them before you go
[The time my Lyft driver went the wrong way down a one-way street]
If you do sign up for Uber or Lyft, signing up through my referral code you will get you up to $10 off on your first ride.
The cheapest and best way to get from LGA airport to Manhattan
While taxi, Uber, bus and even other ride share services or limos are all options to get from LGA airport to Manhattan, in my opinion, just like the best way to get from Newark Airport to Manhattan or the best way to get from JFK to Manhattan, the absolute best way to get from LGA airport to Manhattan is by subway. Unlike at JFK, there aren’t any connections directly to the subway system from LaGuardia Airport; instead, there are 2 express buses that will take you to one of 2 different subway stops from LGA airport to Manhattan, and which one you want depends on your final destination.
The Q70 SBS express bus will take you to the 74th Street / Jackson Heights / Roosevelt Avenue subway station complex, where you can get the E / F / R / M / 7 lines, and the M60 SBS express bus will take you to the Astoria Boulevard station on the N / W line. Depending on where you’re going from LGA to Manhattan, you can also stay on the M60 bus and catch the 4 / 5 / 6 line at 125th Street.
Step by step instructions for taking the M60 or Q70 buses from LGA to the subway
After you exit the secure area of LaGuardia Airport, before you exit the airport, you’ll need to get a MTA Metrocard. There are automated kiosks near the exits as well as a shop that sells Metrocards. In the times that I have been to LGA, there has also been a LaGuardia employee near the exits that is available to help answer questions.
After you have your Metrocard, you will go outside or LaGuardia Airport and cross over one lane of traffic (the auto / passenger pick up / drop off traffic) and over to the island where the public transportation is. It’s slightly different at each terminal, and LGA Airport is undergoing a ton of construction so it may not look exactly like this, but you’re basically looking for something like this
VERY IMPORTANT! Both of the express buses (M60 SBS and Q70 SBS) do NOT let you pay when you board. You have to get your ticket BEFORE the bus comes. There are machines that look like this.
You still pay with your MetroCard. It’s $2.75 for full fare and $1.35 for reduced fare / students. There are free bus-to-subway transfers, so you’ll just swipe your same Metrocard when you enter the subway station. The system is smart enough to figure it all out. I was a little nervous when I was there with my son, but it worked flawlessly. We bought 2 tickets at LGA airport to go to Manhattan on the Q70 bus on the machines above, and when we got to 74th Avenue to ride the F train, we swiped and it registered 2 bus to subway transfers and opened up the turnstiles for both of us to go through.
Both the Q70 SBS and M60 SBS look basically like this – look for the signs on the front of the bus
At the Astoria Boulevard stop on the M60 SBS stop, you’ll be let out on Astoria Boulevard at a stop like this
You’ll need to walk around the corner and over to the elevated N/W tracks. Just follow all the people :-). For the Q70 SBS bus from LGA Airport to Manhattan, you’ll be let out just outside the Jackson Hts / Roosevelt Avenue station complex; again, just follow the people and the signs for the subway line you want to take from LaGuardia airport to Manhattan or Times Square or wherever you happen to be going.
I hope this guide has helped you travel from LGA airport to Manhattan or anywhere else in New York City – if you need to make it a roundtrip, make sure to check out my guide to the best and cheapest way from Manhattan to LGA airport
What are your tips for the cheapest and best way from LGA Airport to Manhattan?
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Thanks for the detailed overview (including pictures!!)
You’re welcome! I hope that it helps!
Best way is Juno.
Have multiple credit cards available if you need tickets for two or more travelers. On two trips, my second Metro card transaction was denied (presumed fraudulent) so I had to purchase a ticket for the second traveler on a second card.
Agreed, it is the best, cheapest and usually quickest way.
With backpack carryons, yes this can be done easily. However if you have checked luggage, it’s easier to take a taxi or Uber. Just try to fly into Ka Guardia after rush hour in late morning or early evening to avoid traffic. There are a lot of stairs with the subway, and then there is a walk to the hotel.
Yes – you’re absolutely right that the subway route is not easy if you have more than 1 bag. In that case look at one of the other options
How does an article posted in 2022 have comments from 2019? If you’re going to recycle content, at least check for factual updates. Q70 SBS has been free for months.
+1 – and also, all MTA buses now have OMNY, which accepts contactless payments, so the Metrocard requirement is no longer applicable.
Thank you for the update and apologies for the confusion. I will doublecheck the facts on this one
Is this current in 2022, when the MTA is switching away from MetroCards?
Is the Q70 the cheapest way? Yes
Is the Q70 the “best” way? Absolutely not.
It’s like saying a spirit air with 2 connections is the “best” because it’s cheaper than the nonstop (taxi/Uber)
As with most things, it depends on what you value the most
I think cheapest is the perfect description. There’s no need to say “Best” when its only best if cheapest is your goal.
It’s not the fastest, it’s not the most comfortable, it’s not the most reliable, etc.
Did uber for $60 one time. Never again. Bus and or subway after that.