by Ally Gibson | Last Updated: Jul 23, 2020

New York City is constantly changing, with new unique activities popping up every day.

I’ve lived in the city for 13 years and there are still things I haven’t crossed off my list.

Consider this the ultimate travel guide to navigating New York City like a local. I’ve included a bunch of non-touristy things to do, in case you’ve already checked out all the usual spots.

Pick a few activities that appeal to you most and focus on enjoying them. Take your time and enjoy the journey. The biggest mistake travelers make is rushing to see everything.

Sit back, relax and follow a New Yorker’s advice for the ultimate New York City vacation.


1. Take a Stroll in Central Park

Geese on Central Park Pond New York City

If you only make it to one park while in the city, make sure it’s Central Park.

From Strawberry Fields to Bethesda Fountain, it’s easy to understand why this park is so iconic.

Local’s Tip: Make sure to attend Shakespeare in the Park if you visit during the summer. It’s my favorite thing to do in the city. I love bringing a picnic to enjoy before the show.


2. See a Broadway Show


Broadway is one of New York’s most iconic streets and pastimes. You’ll never forget your first Broadway show.

I’m an avid theater fan. Scratch that. I’m a total theater nerd! I’ve seen over 400 shows while living in the city (over 30 in the last year alone).

Feel free to ask me for recommendations, I can talk theater all day.

Broadway offers a variety of plays and musicals each year. Most shows provide a wide range of ticket prices.

My favorite way to find the cheapest tickets offered is to check the blog Broadway for Broke People. It always has the most up to date information on lottery and rush tickets.



3. Drink at a Historic Bar

MCSORLEY'S BAR NYC

A select few bars have survived in the city since the 1700s.

The oldest operational bar is Fraunces Tavern, built-in 1719. You may even sit at the same stool that George Washington sat on.

McSorely’s is the oldest Irish Saloon. They even have a pair of Houdini’s old handcuffs connected to the bar rail.


4. Go to Grand Central

GRAND CENTRAL Ceiling

Grand Central is another iconic New York landmark that you don’t want to miss.

I love any excuse to venture through the terminal’s Main Concourse. The ceiling view of the constellations in the night sky is stunning.

When I have time, I enjoy taking advantage of the famous oyster bar. It’s the perfect way to snack and enjoy the beauty of Grand Central.

Don’t miss the iconic clock above the information booth. SNL modeled its opening clock after it.

The Terminal is home to the Metro-North Railroad, and the MTA’s 4,5,6, and S lines of the subway.

This legendary transportation hub has been running since 1913.


5. Take a Boat Tour


When in doubt, get on a boat and take in the picturesque views of Manhattan’s skyline from the water.

There are plenty of tours and even a sailing option (my favorite).

Manhattan by Sail offers a view of The Statue of Liberty and the city skyline from the deck of a sailboat.

I recommend booking a sunset sail for the best views of the city.


6. Attend a Concert at Carnegie Hall


Every musician and singer dreams of getting to perform one day at Carnegie Hall.

I lived in the city about ten years before I finally crossed this off my list.

I left vowing to attend a performance here at least once a year. It was a wonderful experience.

Their list of iconic past performers includes:

The architecture and prestigious acts are enough to make it a must-do on your list.


7. Visit the Empire State Building


Is there anything more iconic than the Empire State Building?

I’ll never forget my first time traveling to the top. It’s one of the best views in the city.

The art déco skyscraper, completed in 1931, is now the 45th tallest skyscraper in the world.

Both the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building were in a race to be the tallest building in the world.

Construction was expedited and the building only took one year and 45 days to be built.

Be prepared to wait at least an hour unless you splurge on Express Pass tickets.



8. Go to the Met Museum

MET MUSEUM

The Met is one of the world’s largest museums. It’s also my favorite museum to visit.

I love the view from the rooftop, and the sheer number of exhibits is staggering.

It’s Egyptian wing has the largest collection of Egyptian art outside of Cairo.

The Met also has a collection of arms and armor, fashion exhibits and of course, some of the best art in town.

Local’s Tip: If you visit during the summer, make sure to check out their rooftop art installation.

I make a point to go every year, as it always provides a beautiful view of Central Park.


9. Enjoy the View at Bar Sixty-Five


Want an incredible view without paying for it?

Take the elevator at Rockefeller Center to the Rainbow Room’s Bar Sixty-Five.

It’s two floors below Top of the Rock, giving it pretty much the same view people pay to see. 

Enjoy a cocktail and take in the view of the city. It’s best to go at sunset. My go-to cocktail is the Matcha Goddess. 



10. All That Jazz

Jazz Player NYC

The Jazz Age in New York is legendary.

From Louis Armstrong to Duke Ellington, the city has produced some of the best jazz players in history.

It would be a crime for any music lover to leave New York without taking in a bit of jazz. 

Some of the most notable venues include:


11. Laugh at a Comedy Show

TheStandComedyVenueNYC

There’s a reason SNL is based out of New York. It’s always had a talented comedy scene.

I love the surprise element of it. You never know who you might discover. My first comedy show in the city featured an up-and-coming Amy Schumer! 

My favorite comedy clubs include:

Oh, and don’t forget to turn your phone off. You’ll thank me later.


12. Go to the Top of One World Trade

ONE WORLD TRADE VIEW

One World Observatory reminds me of how fragile and beautiful life can be. It’s also beautifully designed to pay respect to its past.

It’s the 7th tallest building in the world. Plan on going near dusk for some of the most sensational city views.

I’ve gone up twice with my Dad—it’s his favorite thing to do in the city.

On a clear day, you can see 5 different states from the top of One World Trade Center.


13. Eat Your Heart Out

BEATRICE INN BONE MARROW CREME BRULEE

If you’re even half a foodie, you’ll know that New York is known for its heavenly thin-crust pizzas, street meat, bagels, fine dining, diners, and delis.

Craving pizza? These are my go-tos:

If you’re up for an indulgent meal, check out The Beatrice Inn. They do a duck flambe that’s delicious.

Local’s Tip: End your meal with the Bone Marrow Creme Brulee. It’s one of my favorite desserts in the city!


14. Shop Til You Drop


If Sex and the City taught us anything, it’s that New York City is the shopping mecca of the world.

And that ovens really can double as sweater storage in tiny Manhattan apartments.

Stroll 5th avenue, shop the trendy boutiques in SoHo, and wander Madison Avenue.

Even if you’re only window shopping, it’s well worth the stroll for fashion lovers.

Here’s a list to get you started:

Macaroon lovers should note that L’Avenue at Saks now sells Pierre Herme macaroons.

They’re my favorite macaroons (much better than Laduree’s). It’s the only place in the U.S. that imports them (I would know).



15. Cross the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Linking Manhattan and Brooklyn, this iconic bridge is worth the walk.

It’s my favorite way to get to Brooklyn during the summer.

Take photos of the Manhattan skyline, and Lady Liberty as you cross the bridge. 

Going at sunset or sunrise provides the best views. Don’t make the same mistake I did—bring a jacket, it gets chilly on the bridge.


16. Stop by Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

While checking out Midtown, stop by Rockefeller Center, especially if the tree is up.

There’s a shopping center underground year round.

Plus, the plaza features the iconic ice rink and Christmas tree in the winter.

It’s also easy to ride the elevator up to Bar Sixty-Five at Rainbow Room for a cocktail with a view.

Word of warning: if you go during the holidays, be ready for a large crowd.

Local’s Tip: I love walking over around 11pm after seeing a Broadway show. The plaza is calm and you can actually enjoy the tree.


17. Ride a Bike


Citibike makes it easy to get your exercise while exploring the city.

I love renting a bike and riding around Central Park or over Brooklyn Bridge.

You can buy a day pass for $12 or a 3 Day pass for $24.



18. Spend the Day at Coney Island


If you’re visiting in the summertime and need a break from the intensity of the city heat, hit up Coney Island.

It took me 12 years to venture over to this area. I couldn’t believe how nice it was. Immediately I regretted not spending more summer days there.

For a perfect day trip, combine the beach with time on the boardwalk and a bit of fun at Luna Park.

Ride the famous Wonder Wheel and legendary Cyclone roller coaster for an unforgettable day.


19. Visit Trinity Church

Trinity Church in NYC

Built during the American Revolution, Trinity Church’s chapel, St. Paul’s is the oldest chapel in the United States.

George Washington supposedly went there to worship on the day of his inauguration in 1789.

It’s also the site of Alexander Hamilton’s grave.

My Mom and I wondered into this church for the first time not knowing any of its history. From the moment we entered we felt it was a special place.

In the days after 9/11, the chapel provided a place of refuge for those helping to dig through the rubble.

The church still has letters and gifts of gratitude on display from 9/11.


20. Attend a Taping of a Show


A lot of major shows are filmed in New York City. Most offer lotteries to be a part of their studio audience.

Shows that film in New York include:

Over the years I was lucky enough to get to The Tonight Show, SNL and The Late Show. Every experience has been a fun and memorable one.


21. Go to a Sports Game

CITI FIELD METS

If you like sports, or day drinking with lots of yelling, this is for you (can you tell I’m not a big sports fan?).

Personally, I’d choose theater over sports every time.

Both the Yankees and the Mets are iconic “New York” baseball teams to witness while in the city.  

If you’re here in the off season, I hear we have a pretty good football team called The Giants.

We also have our local hockey team, the Rangers, as well as our basketball team the Knicks.

Both teams play at Madison Square Garden.


22. Visit the Cloisters


The Cloisters is a Medieval museum in Fort Tryon Park that makes you genuinely feel like you’re stepping back in time.

It took me years to finally get to the Cloisters, and I cannot recommend them enough.

With their beautiful gardens and view of the Hudson River, it’s a lovely place to spend the day.

Local’s Tip: Save your ticket from The Met, as the ticket allows entry to both museums.


23. Enjoy a Show at Lincoln Center


Lincoln Center boasts plenty of options for an evening’s entertainment. It’s a place I spend a lot of time enjoying.

My Mom and I love going to the “Chaplin Award Gala” every year. I’ve seen them honor Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Helen Mirren.

Art lovers, take a peak inside the Met Opera’s lobby. It features artwork by Marc Chagall.

If you’re in town during the holiday season, The Nutcracker ballet is a festive must see.


24. ‘Sneak’ into a Speakeasy


Classic New York speakeasies are technically a thing of the past, but the concept has become a recent trend.

My favorite speakeasies include:

Arrive early as these bars often fill up fast.


25. Free Kayaking on the Hudson


You can kayak for free from May until October every year. It’s one of my favorite summer activities.

Set off from these piers:

It’s the perfect free workout with the bonus of fantastic views of the city.


26. Visit Hamilton’s Harlem Home


No doubt you’ve heard of Alexander Hamilton recently with the rise of mega theatrical sensation Hamilton.

Hamilton Grange in Harlem is the preserved relocated home of Alexander Hamilton.

It’s where this Founding Father lived out the last part of his life.

If you can’t score (or let’s be honest, afford!) tickets to the Broadway show, this may be the next best thing. 


27. See an Off-Broadway Show

PUBLIC THEATRE OFF BROADWAY

Venturing off-Broadway is a great option for entertainment. 

Especially with more off-Broadway shows transferring Broadway recently (think Hamilton).

Some of my favorite Off-Broadway theaters include:


28. Picnic in Prospect Park

PROSPECT PARK ENTRANCE

I don’t go to Brooklyn often, but when I do it’s normally for a picnic in the park with friends.

Designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmstead, Prospect Park is a great place to relax. These men also designed iconic Central Park.

This landmarked park is absolutely worth a visit if you end up in Brooklyn.


29. Ride the Staten Island Ferry


The Staten Island Ferry is free to ride and it passes the following locations:

Local’s Tip: Once you get to Staten Island, stop by Enoteca Maria. A different Italian grandmother is invited to cook for the house each night.


30. See a Show at The Apollo


Venture up to Harlem and attend a show at this legendary theater.

Plenty of legends have gotten their starts at the Apollo Theater, including:

It’s been around for 85 years and is known as world-renowned landmarked theater.


31. Have a Crazy Night of Karaoke

KARAOKE BAR MARU

I can’t count the number of times my friends and I have ended our night drunkenly serenading each other to Shake it Off.

Yep, I’m talking Taylor.

The city offers plenty of opportunities for karaoke. Some of my favorite spots include:


32. Explore Times Square

TIMES SQ re sized

Times Square is called one of the “crossroads of the world” for good reason.

It’s a mixture of tourists and frustrated locals all playing a big game of chicken.

After working in Times Square for over seven years, there’s one piece of wisdom I’d like to impart on tourists —Don’t stop in the middle of the sidewalk! It drives locals crazy.


33. Get Lost at Sleep No More


This unique and sexy immersive experience places you in Shakespeare’s Scottish tragedy.

It’s definitely a show I’d love to experience again.

Get there early and have a cocktail at their rooftop bar, Gallow Green, or indoors at Manderley Bar.

Sleep No More requires everyone in the audience to wear masks that they provide.

Local’s Tip: Learn from my mistakes and wear shoes that you can run in. You’ll be doing quite a bit while following the characters around.


34. Hang Out on the High Line


The High Line is the perfect place to escape the intensity of Downtown and stroll through some nature.

The walkway runs from Gansevoort Street up to 34th Street.

It’s home to over 500 types of plants and trees, as well multiple art installations.

This almost 2 miles long elevated nature walk along an old train rail path is best in lovely weather.


35. Wander Around The Whitney

ALLYWHITNEYNYC

The Whitney boasts over 25,000 works of American art created during the 20th and 21st centuries.

Its newest home in the Meatpacking District is a modern and sleek space that offers some great views.

Keep an eye out for special exhibitions and retrospectives. I really enjoyed the Andy Warhol one I attended last year.


36. Visit the Little Red Lighthouse


This little landmark is located in Fort Washington Park below the George Washington Bridge.

Also known as Jeffrey’s Hook Light, this is one of the few remaining lighthouses in New York City.

This lighthouse was made popular by the children’s book The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge.

Each September there’s an annual festival. It includes a celebrity reading of the famous children’s book.


37. Watch a Film Under the Stars


I love lying under the stars with a picnic and a good movie almost as much as the theater.

Many parks offer free movie nights, with some rooftops offering ticketed showings during the summer.

My favorite spots to enjoy outdoor cinema include:

Local’s Tip: Book tickets ahead of time whenever possible. Arrive early to free events, as they fill up fast.


37. Check Out the Public Library

NY LIBRARYresized

The iconic lions, Patience, and Fortitude stand guard outside this New York City institution.

Completed in 1911, this landmark will be on every architecture or book lovers must-do list.

Sex and the City fans will recognize it as the location of Carrie’s ‘almost’ wedding.

They offer free daily tours. So, step inside the New York Public Library to view all its stunning architecture.


38. See the Oculus

OCULUS EXT resized

This subway hub and shopping center next to One World Trade Center is a must if you’re into architecture.

The Oculus’s Mezzanine level is filled with shops and the ceiling makes for an epic photo. 


39. Wake Up with The Today Show


If you enjoy standing around with a high probability of ending up on national TV for a few seconds, then this is the way to spend your morning.

I recommend checking The Today Show’s performance schedule and trying to go when there’s a musical act.

Don’t forget to bring a sign so your family and friends can spot you in the crowd. 


40. Catch a Show at BAM

BAMTHEATRE

Brooklyn Academy of Music offers world-class theater, music, and film. It’s a great reason to trek to Brooklyn.

BAM has multiple venues in Brooklyn, so make sure to double-check the show’s address before you go. I’ve shown up to the wrong theater more times than I care to admit.

Their programs usually sell out ahead of time, so book early.


41. Amuse Yourself at MoMA


The Museum of Modern Art, known to locals at MoMA, is a must if you’re an art lover.

Some of their most famous pieces include:

Keep an eye out for special exhibits being offered at MoMA as well as at MoMA PS1 in Queens.


42. Visit the UN


Visiting the Headquarters of the United Nations is a unique experience.

Tours are available in a variety of languages and can be booked ahead of time.

Local’s Tip: Arrive an hour early to complete their mandatory security check point.


43. Jet Ski Around the City


Sea the City offers jet ski tours in New York Harbour with views of the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge.

They also offer a longer 2.5-hour tour that goes around the entire island of Manhattan.

This is an activity I’ve been wanting to try for ages. I always see them having fun on the East River.

Either tour is guaranteed to offer beautiful views and adventure.


44. Enjoy the Botanical Gardens

CHERRYBLOSSOMS BK BOTANICAL GARDEN

Escape the chaos of the city in one of New York’s botanical gardens. It’s a lovely way to spend the afternoon.

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens near Prospect Park, are over 100 years old. Keep an eye out for their annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

You’ll find the century plus old New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. It was inspired by the Royal Botanic Kew Gardens in London.


45. Explore Ellis Island


Walk through the immigration station that millions arrived at from 1892 until 1954.

It’s estimated that nearly half of all Americans today can trace their family history to one person who passed through Ellis Island.

They offer tours and a changing exhibit on the third floor of the visitors center.

Plus it has amazing views of the Statue of Liberty!


46. Check Out the Chrysler Building

CHRYSLER BUILDINGresized

Personally, I love the art-deco design of the Chrysler Building. It’s a timeless icon in the cityscape of New York.

In 1929 it claimed the honor of being the tallest building in the world. The title only lasted until the Empire State Building was completed eleven months later. 

The observation deck closed in 1945. Your best bet is to check out the iconic building from street level or from a rooftop in midtown.


47. Spend the Day at Smorgasburg


Arrive starving and try all the food you can at Smorgasburg. You won’t regret spending time here. It’s one of my favorite weekend activities.

It’s the largest open-air food market in America, with over 100 local vendors.

Smorgasburg takes place every Saturdays in Williamsburg and Sundays in Prospect Park.

The New York Times crowned the event, the “Woodstock of Eating”.

Local’s Tip: Don’t make the same mistake I made. Bring cash, as not all vendors accept credit cards.


48. See The American Museum of Natural History

NATURAL HISTORY MUSUEMresized

The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s most distinguished scientific institutions.

I love taking visitors to see the Great Blue Whale. It’s massive and is impossible to miss, as is the T-Rex in the lobby.

Make sure to investigate the Hayden Planetarium. You’ll see hyper- realistic views of the planets and galaxies. It’s been one of my most memorable museum experiences.


49. Attend a Concert in a Catacomb


Why just tour the catacombs of New York, when you could be having Burgers, Bourbon and listening to Beethoven in them?

This is one example of the events “Angel’s Share” at Greenwood Cemetery hosts. It’s located in one of the oldest structures in the cemetery from the 1850s.

The term “Angel’s Share”, refers to a point in the whiskey aging process. As the whiskey is aging in the barrel, some will evaporate into the air as some like to think, rising to the angels.


50. Ride a Vintage Carousel

Janes Carousel under the Brooklyn Bridge

I rode Jane’s Carousel for the first time a few years ago.

I surprised my Dad with a trip to this ride. He actually grew up riding this carousel at Idora Park in Youngstown, Ohio.

My dad says they restored it to exactly how he remembered it from childhood.

This 1920s carousel operates in Brooklyn Bridge Park, next to the East River.


51. Do Yoga with Kittens


Meow Parlour Cafe offers a Yoga and Kitties class twice a month.

New York’s first cat cafe also offers reserved playtime with some adorable cats. Make a reservation early, as they take very few walk ins.

And in case you fall in love, all the cats are all up for adoption. 


52. Go to the Guggenheim


The Guggenheim museum is known for its iconic building that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The museum is made up of multiple personal collections, making it one of the more eclectic museums.

Keep an eye out for any special exhibitions or events.


53. Take the NBC Studio Tour


On the NBS Studio Tour you’ll get a view behind the scenes at NBC.

My Mom and I took this tour on our first trip to the city and had a wonderful time.

The tour will take you throughout the television production process. You’ll also see at least two TV studios.

You’ll even see studio 8H where they film the iconic SNL. If you’re lucky, you may even see the cast rehearsing for that week’s show.

I recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time.


54. Have a Night Out Axe Throwing


One of Brooklyn’s latest trends is axe throwing. Some locations even offer archery.

Enjoy a night out learning how to throw an axe like a badass. My friends and I had a great time when we went.

Check out one of the following for a fun night out:


55. Visit Riverside Park


Remember that final scene from You’ve Got Mail

The one where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks finally reunite in a garden with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” playing?

That’s Riverside Park!

It’s one of only eight officially designated scenic landmarks in the city.

Keep an eye out for the local goats the park brings in each summer to help control the weeds.


56. Go to a Drag Show


New York has lots of opportunities to see some talented ladies perform each night.

My friends and I always have a fun and memorable night out when we go to a drag show.

Some of the best venues include:


57. Explore the New York Aquarium


If you’re already near Coney Island, stop by the NY Aquarium for a day of exploration.

They have a variety of fish, turtles, sharks, and penguins. And even offer an interactive show with the sea lions.

Most of the exhibits are outdoors, so dress for the weather.


58. Visit the 9/11 Museum


The 9/11 Museum and Memorial is located on the original site of the World Trade Center.

Tours are offered for the Museum and Memorial. Each tour focuses on a different part of the 9/11 story.

The museum also offers special exhibitions and rotating galleries.


59. See Shakespeare in the Park

SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK

Shakespeare in the Park is easily my all time favorite activity during the summer.

To me, there’s nothing better than watching a well-acted play while in nature. It’s a magical experience as the sun is setting and the night sky is taking over.

The Public Theater has been offering free theater for over 60 years.

Productions generally have at least one to two notable actors participating.


60. Explore The Intrepid Museum


“I feel the need — the need for speed.”

Top Gun

Keep an eye out for special events, like film screenings of Top Gun that happen on the ship’s deck every summer.

This military and maritime museum is located on the Hudson River at 46th Street on Pier 86.

The Intrepid is a legendary aircraft carrier. It served during World War II and Vietnam and was a recovery ship for the Gemini and Mercury space mission.


61. Attend a Secret Concert


Enter Sofar Sounds’ lottery in order to win the chance attend one of their secret concerts.

This is something I’ve been trying to win for a while.

They host intimate concerts in everyday spaces. Venues have included apartments, rooftops or retail spaces.

Past performers have included:


62. Spot the New Year’s Eve Ball


The New Year’s Eve Ball has dropped every year since 1907.

The only exception being 1942 and 1943, because you know, the war.

The ball is created out of 2,688 Waterford Crystal and 32,256 LED lights.

Call me a New York cynic, but I wouldn’t wait around all day to see it drop at midnight when you can look up while in Times Square to view it any time of year.

But hey, that’s just me!


63. Tour Old City Hall Station


Old City Hall Station is a must for fans of history and architecture alike.

In 1904, New York’s very first subway ride left from City Hall Station.

It’s no longer an active station, although the 6 line does turn around there.

Tours are offered by the New York Transit Museum. Make sure to book early, as dates fill up fast.


64. Check In to the TWA Hotel


The old TWA terminal at JFK was recently restored into a 1960s style hotel and museum. Complete with a rooftop pool and ice rink.

The TWA Hotel is like stepping back in time and is the only hotel directly at JFK.

Their exhibits feature TWA’s history, including Howard Hughe’s ownership of the airline.

Local’s Tip: Check out the 37 full TWA uniforms they have on display. The styles range from 1945 to 2001.


65. Hang Out at a Piano Bar


What do you get when you combine liquor, performers, and a piano?

You know where I’m going with this…

Plan a night out at one of New York’s many piano bars.

Some of my favorites include:


66. Visit the Frick Collection


The Frick Collection is housed in one of New York’s last remaining Gilded Age mansions. It’s seriously a gorgeous building.

The Frick offers lectures, art, special exhibitions, and an acclaimed concert series.

They house works of art by many artists, including:


67. Fall Down the Rabbit Hole


Then She Fell is inspired by the life and writings of Lewis Carrol. The story is set in a hospital ward.

Located in Brooklyn, this Alice in Wonderland themed immersive theater experience is not to be missed.

It’s one of the most unique theatrical experiences that I’ve had in the city.

I know this is becoming a theme, but book ahead. The audience is limited to 15 guests per performance.


68. Go Ice Skating


Who hasn’t daydreamed of ice skating at one of the classic rinks in New York City over the holidays?

It was an exciting thing to cross off my list until I remembered how hard ice skating is. After making it around the rink a few times the experience felt less charming.

Make sure to arrive or book early, as the ice rinks get busy during the holidays.

Some of the best rinks in the city include:


69. Visit Edgar Allan Poe’s Cottage


Located in the Bronx, this landmarked little cottage is where Edgar Allan Poe lived from 1886 until his death in 1849.

He lived in the cottage when he wrote the famous poems “Annabel Lee” and “The Bells”.

Group tours can be booked Monday through Sunday and is by appointment only.


70. Enjoy Some Live Music


When in doubt, live music is always a good decision for a night out. I’ve seen some amazing concerts while living in the city.

From large venues to small ones New York City offers plenty of options for some live music.

Some of my favorite venues include:


71. Visit the Museum of the City of New York

Museum of the City of New York

The Museum of the City of New York offers a look into the history of New York City.

I went for the first time this year and was impressed at how it documents all aspects of the history of the city.

The museum has over 750,000 objects in its collection. They cover an array of subjects including:

  • Theater
  • Paintings and Sculpture
  • Costume and Textiles
  • Prints and Photography
  • Furniture and Decorative Art

They offer free guided tours of the museum and special exhibits, as well as private tours.


72. Play Shuffleboard in Brooklyn


This isn’t your grandparent’s shuffleboard court.

I was skeptical the first time I heard we were going to spend the night playing shuffleboard.

By the end of the night, I was converted.

If you enjoy some competition over drinks, then the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club is for you.

They have a bar and feature a different food truck every night.

Larger parties should rent a cabana for the night.


73. Dine at a Diner


There is nothing better than a bowl of Matzoh Ball soup or a greasy breakfast after a night out on the town.

If you’ve never tried Matzoh Ball soup, do yourself a favor and get some ASAP.

It’s my favorite diner order along with some fries (with hot sauce, naturally).

Here are some of my favorite diners:

Most are open 24 hours, so you can cure that karaoke hangover before it even starts.


74. Wander Down to Wall Street


The New York Stock Exchange rings the iconic bell twice per day, once to open the exchange (9:30 AM) and once to close it (4 PM).

If you’re in the area, it’s a unique experience to witness.

Get a snap of the Fearless Girl statue outside the NYSE. The famous Charging Bull statue is also close by.


75. Swing on a Trapeze


The Trapeze School has something for every level of athleticism.

They offer trapeze, silks, acrobatic, and trampoline classes.

I’ve wanted to try this ever since watching Carrie do it in Sex and the City (can you tell I’m a fan?).


76. Visit Belvedere Castle

BELVEDERE CASTLE CENTRAL PARK

The Italian translation of “belvedere” is beautiful view.

And would you believe it? That’s one thing climbing to the top of the highest tower of the Belvedere Castle will give you.

I climb up every time I pass by to enjoy the view.

This petite castle also offers one of Central Park’s few gift shops.


77. Have a Drink at The Stonewall Inn


The Stonewall Inn is a National Landmark where Pride began.

Offering DJs, flip-cup, pool, and performances, this is a great way to spend a night out on the town.

The bar also operates “The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative“. This is a nonprofit run by the bar that provides assistance and support to the LGBTQ community.



78. Venture to Brooklyn Flea


Are you into vintage shopping? Look no further than Brooklyn Flea. I’ve found some great items here over the years.

Brooklyn’s largest flea market features hundreds of vendors, selling furniture, vintage clothing and antiques.

The market has been ranked one of the best Flea markets in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure magazine.


79. Visit President Grant’s Tomb


President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife boast one of the biggest mausoleums in North America.

He was a politician and soldier prior to becoming the 18th President of the Unites.

Tours of President Grant’s mausoleum are available. The visitors center also offers a gift shop and library.


80. Visit Ample Hills Creamery


Ice cream is always a good idea!

Visit the biggest ice cream factory in New York. Ample Hills Creamery in Red Hook, Brooklyn is offering tours of their factory.

Almost all of their mix-ins are homemade and they have 24 flavors of ice cream.

My favorite order is “The Munchies”, a pretzel infused ice cream that’s blended with potato chips, M&Ms, and Ritz crackers. It sounds weird but tastes incredible.

The building also offers a scoop shop, as well as an “interactive ice cream museum” party room.


81. Attend an Outdoor Concert

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The outdoor concert is another signature of a New York summer. I went to Global Citizen last year and saw tons of legendary performers for free.

There are free concerts on the plaza and in the parks, and ticketed ones like Governor’s Ball and Global Citizen Festival.

Arrive early to free events, and book tickets well ahead of time for ticketed ones.


82. Spend Time in Battery Park


Newly renamed “The Battery”, this small park is known for its famous Sea Glass Carousel. It’s well worth the trip if you’ve got kids.

Enjoy the gardens and one of the best land views of The Statue of Liberty.

The park used to house the New York Aquarium in the late 1800s.


83. Tour Brooklyn Brewery


Who wouldn’t want to spend the afternoon tasting beers?

Brooklyn Brewery tours cover the brewing process, beer history and their story. They are credited with a James Beard Brew-master.

Their beer is distributed in over 30 different countries, including most of the United States.


84. Take a Helicopter Tour


Take in the city with a bird’s eye view on a helicopter tour. It’s something I’ve always wanted to splurge on doing.

There are multiple tour companies in the city. Some of the most popular are:


85. Stop by Dylan’s Candy Bar


With two floors of candy and a candy cafe upstairs, this is every candy lover’s dream.

I love stocking up here before a movie or long flight.

Dylan’s Candy Bar considers itself the modern-day Willy Wonka. It boasts over 7,000 different kinds of sweets.

The store is well-stocked with classic, international, and old school candies.


86. See the “Portal Down to Old New York”


Step back in time to see some of the oldest remains of New York City preserved under glass panels.

“The Portal Down to Old New York” includes relics of Lovelace Tavern, which burned down in 1706.

Part of the old City Hall from 1642 is also visible. It was known as The Stadt Huys from when New York was still New Amsterdam.


87. Relax at Aire Ancient Baths


What’s a vacation without a little rest and relaxation?

Aire Ancient Baths are my favorite escape from the chaos of the city.

The Baths offer a selection of massages and rituals based on Roman bathing traditions.

Services include:


88. Channel Your Inner Spy


SpyScape Spy Museum gives you the chance to learn about the some of the world’s most famous spies.

This interactive learning experience takes you inside the world of secret intelligence.

Honestly, I was skeptical about going in after hearing it was interactive.

Once inside, my friend and I had a blast throughout the entire museum (including the interactive bits).

You’ll see artifacts used on past missions, test your lie detector skills. Plus get the chance to sneak undetected through the laser tunnel.

Getting through the laser tunnel was especially comical for us!


89. Visit the Morgan Library


This library reminds me of the epic one depicted in Beauty and the Beast. If you’re a book lover, meet your new heaven.

The library’s collection includes artwork, rare books, manuscripts, drawings, and ancient artifacts.

The Morgan Library and Museum offers exhibitions, performances, lectures, films and public tours.


90. Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral


This towering church, built-in 1879, is among New York’s top landmarks.

Even if you aren’t religious it’s worth stopping by to see the architecture.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral took 21 years to build and is the largest Gothic Roman Church in the U.S.

It was named for St. Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland due to the large number of Irish immigrants in the city.

It’s an easy stop while shopping on 5th Avenue.


91. Laugh at an Improv Show


Improv is (usually) hilarious and always full of surprises. I love going after happy hour drinks with friends.

Some of the my favorite groups include:


92. Check Out the Vessel


Designed to resemble a 16 story high honeycomb, the Vessel opened to much fanfare in 2019. It looks cool but has caused some controversy.

It has a uniquely strict copyright policy that helps them avoid royalty fees.

The policy claims the right to use any photos or videos taken on the premises for commercial use.

Local’s Tip: Because of its popularity, you must reserve free tickets to climb the Vessel.


93. Enjoy Washington Square Park


Near the NYU campus, this park is teeming with young creatives. It’s a wonderful place for people watching.

I love to grab some of Mamoun’s famous falafel before the park. It’s the perfect food for an impromptu picnic.

Make sure to check out the famous marble Washington Square Arch. It’s locat

ed on the park’s edge by 5th Avenue.


94. Visit the Tenement Museum


The Tenement Museum celebrates the stories of immigrants through immersive guided tours.

It offers a variety of tours focusing on the immigrant experience.

The museum features a collection of clothing, household accessories, photographs and furniture.

All objects displayed tell the stories of the people who lived and resided in the area.

Using these objects and stories we can look back at history and see how its shaped our lives today.

Local’s Tip: If you’re going on a hot day, be prepared for no air conditioning.


95. Check out Columbus Circle


The Shops at Columbus Circle in the Time Warner building are worth a visit for a bit of shopping and a snack.

It’s a great opportunity to grab some take away to enjoy in adjacent Central Park.

I used to do this during all my lunch breaks when I worked in Midtown.

Stop and see the famous Christopher Columbus statue as you cross the roundabout.


96. Get Lost at the Color Factory


Brighten up your day at this interactive art exhibition.

Full disclosure—I haven’t been but I can’t wait to check this out. My friends have been loving it.

The Color Factory invited local artists, creatives and designers to tell a unique story through color.

When you arrive you’ll register to gain access to photo booths throughout the exhibit.

All photos taken get emailed to you after your visit. You’re sure to leave with lots of Instagram options.


97. Amuse Yourself at the Museum of Moving Image


The Museum of Moving Image is the nation’s largest collection of artifacts relating to the art, history, and technology of moving image.

I love wandering around this museum. It’s fascinating to see how technology has changed over the years.

The museum is home to an ongoing Jim Henson exhibit, creator of The Muppet Show.

There are over 47 puppets on view, including Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.


98. Relax at HigherDOSE


HigherDOSE at the Howard Hotel is committed to getting you hot and high in their infrared sauna.

Trust me, it’s pure heaven relaxing and listening to music in these private saunas.

Infrared saunas help detox heavy metals from your body. They promote a healthy glow and burn calories.

Consider it the perfect way to relax after a long day of sightseeing.


99. Enjoy Madison Square Park


Located in Manhattan’s Flatiron district, this tiny park is home to the original Shake Shack.

Be sure to check out the well known Flatiron Building across the street (it’s hard to miss).

Local’s Tip: If you’re in the area for lunch, walk a couple of blocks to Beecher’s. In my opinion, they have the world’s best mac & cheese (even Oprah agrees) and incredible tomato soup.


100. Visit The Museum at FIT


Fashion lovers rejoice, FIT has created the most fashionable museum in the city.

The Museum at FIT has a permanent collection of over 50,000 garments.

The museum has ongoing special exhibits. Each always covers 250 years of fashion history.


101. See the Statue of Liberty


In New York Harbor, Lady Liberty has provided an image of hope and freedom for Americans since 1886. 

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France. She’s one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks and a symbol of New York.

It’s actually a crime to leave the city without catching a glimpse of her (I may or may not be kidding).


Conclusion

“There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless.”

Simone Beauvoir
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My most important advice is to enjoy the journey.

Stay in the moment and enjoy where the city takes you.

Feel free to e-mail me with any questions or comments. I’m also always happy to help with any theater recommendations!

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