New York City Tipping Etiquette: Who to Tip and How Much

NYC tipping guidelines

Tipping is always a bit of a controversial topic. No one likes to be embarrassed by not giving a generous enough tip, but there are also times when you feel like everyone has their hand out expecting a little something. This guide to NYC tipping etiquette should help make things a little easier.

For New Yorkers who work in the service industry, including hotels, restaurants and drivers, tips are an essential part of their earnings. Take into consideration the level of luxury at a place, as well as the quality of service when determining a tip. At an upscale hotel or restaurant with good service, tips should be at the higher end, while at more modest places, the lower end is acceptable. Aside from at restaurants/bars where tips can be put on your bill, most tips are expected in cash.

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    n apartment doorman watches as dance groups pass by in New York City's Dance Parade on May 18, 2013 in New York City. Tens of thousands of people lined the route in downtown Manhattan to see more than 130 dance groups representing more than 75 styles of dance at the 7th annual event.
    ••• John Moore/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    It can often feel like everyone needs a tip when you're staying at an upscale hotel. Here are some suggested tipping guidelines:

    • Hotel Doorman - hailing cab, bringing car from valet - $2-5
    • Porters and Bellhops - $1-2 per bag
    • Housekeeping - $2-5 per day, depending on services
    • Concierge - $5-20, depending on the request. More for a particularly difficult request, such as a ​hard-to-score dinner reservation.
    • Room Service Waiter - 18-22%, though this is often included in your bill, so look closely before you add additional gratuity.
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    Woman signing receipt after paying bar tab in restaurant
    ••• asiseeit/Getty Images

    Most waitstaff and bartenders are paid very little and rely heavily on tips for their income. Check your bill to be sure that a restaurant (or bar) didn't automatically add a gratuity to your bill (this is particularly common when traveling with a group) -- there's no need to double tip.

    • Waitstaff - 15-20% of the total bill
    • Bartender - $1-2/drink for drinks served at the bar; 15-20% of the total bill otherwise
    • Maitre d' - $20-50, depending on circumstances and restaurant
    • Coat check - $1/item
    • Bathroom attendant - $1
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    Walking Tour Highlights Manhattan's Financial District
    ••• Chris Hondros / Staff/Getty Images

    Like most other service providers, tour guides depend on tips. Generally, a 15-20% guideline applies, though that tipping in these situations should also reflect the size of the tour group, as well as the length of the tour. If the tour guide provides you a lot of personalized attention or gives you additional advice/assistance, your tip should reflect it.​

    • Small Group Tour (less than 15 participants) - $15-25/person
    • Medium Group Tour (15-30 participants) - $10/person
    • Large Group Tour (30+ participants) - $5/person
    • Tour Bus Driver - $5-10/person, depending on size of group
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    New York TAXI
    ••• Stefano Brivio/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Driving in New York City takes skill and know-how. The folks that drive you around New York City depend on tips to pay their bills.

    • Taxi Drivers - 15-20% of fare; for short rides, normally add a dollar and round the fare up
    • Limousine and Livery drivers - 15-20% of fare; if you pre-pay, be sure this isn't already included
    • Shuttle Drivers - $2-5/person
    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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    Woman getting a facial.
    ••• Frank Gaglione/Getty Images

    At many spas and salons, even if they accept credit cards, they expect you to tip in cash, so keep this in mind.

    • Hairdressers - 15-20%; $2-5 to the assistant who washes your hair, if applicable
    • Manicurist - 15-20%
    • Masseuse - 15-20%
    • Aesthetician - 15-20%