Living in New York I love going into the city on the weekends (probably because I don’t work there). New York is my playground, and I enjoy getting to explore her ever changing scenery. When friends from out of town come to visit they often have their list of touristy things they’d love to do in the city. I often tweek this bucket list just a little so they can get the most bang for their buck, and avoid the hassle of over priced tourist traps. Here are some things to avoid in NYC and what you can do instead.
Skip Lady Liberty (well not completely)
Take the Staten Island ferry and you’ll get to see her for free. A boat leaves every thirty minutes and you’ll get to enjoy the water and a great view of the city while taking her in. I highly recommend doing this at night. Remember, you’ll be in Staten Island when you get off the boat. Be sure to ride back to return to Manhattan.
Skip the Trendy Brunch spots
Picnic in Washington Square Park, or Central Park. Don’t get me wrong I love a good brunch, but in the city they’re a dime a dozen, and they’re not all good. Grab a few of your favorite snacks from the grocery store, a pizza from Joe’s, spread out a blanket, and relax. You’ll get back to the site seeing soon, but take a moment to people watch New Yorkers in their natural habitat. You’ll find we make ourselves very comfortable in public spaces.
Skip the Museums
If your an art fan you might have a list of Museums and exhibits you have been dying to go see #cultured. If you don’t have the dough to enter every Museum in Manhattan I say go to your top pick then hit the streets. The city is crawling with street art and free exhibits. Follow instas like @fomofeed to get the latest information on what’s happening, art wise, in the city.
I have found that when my suburban friends come to visit they don’t understand what I’m about to tell you next. Skip the Uber and always walk (if weather permits). First, you came to explore and you can’t jump in and out of a cab every two seconds to peek into the cute vintage shop you just drove by. Second, the GPS might say ten min drive, 25 min walk, but what it doesn’t say is how much traffic there is. There is always traffic. In the end you’ll get to your destination faster by either taking the train or walking. Ditch the cab rides and use those feet so you can really explore. Also, this isn’t an episode of Gossip Girl. Wear sneakers and ditch the heels too.
Skip Times Square
Hit up the Highline and then Chelsea Market. If you want the iconic Times Square picture then go ahead, but then catch the train to Chelsea. You won’t regret grabbing a juice and strolling along above the city. I’ve found this is a great place during any season, but of course it will be more crowded in the summer months.
There are hundreds of things to do in the city on a daily basis. Some are worth the hype and other things are not. The best part is never knowing what you’ll run into or discover. Be open and just take it in. My greatest trips are the ones where I haven’t planned every detail and just see where the city takes me. Safe travels!
-Chantel M. Rivera