Not Entirely A New York Native

Sixth time’s a charm? Or is it seven? In the least pretentious way, I have lost count of how many times I have been to N.Y.C. And yet, there’s still SO MUCH I have left to see and do. I have done a lot of tourist things, and a lot of non-tourist things; my little 8 year-old self marking the first of many trips east for a variety of occasions. Whether it was to celebrate birthdays, judge wine competitions, or visit family members living in N.Y.C., my travels east have been more frequent than far and few between. And every time, I have a completely different experience, complete with new sights, adventures and food of course. With that said, I felt it was time that I made a mini guide to N.Y.C.

Important to note: one, New York is not just New York City. There is actually a state outside this city ( though I have yet to venture there). And two, the city is constantly changing, therefore some parts of this post may be relevant for a year, max. Nonetheless, some of the activities and sights continue to stand the test of time. With that said, in respect to length and time, here is a somewhat short and condensed guide to N.Y.C. Hope you enjoy!

N.Y.C. Travel Guide

For the Tourist:

Time Square
Grand Central Station
Statue of Liberty
Central Park
Top of the Rock (less expensive and crowded than the Empire State Building)
9/11 Memorial Museum
Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
Shop in Soho
Rockefeller Center
Highline

For the Foodie:

Get a real N.Y.C. bagel (Russ & Daughters, Black Seed, Sadelle’s, Tompkins Square Bagels, Ess-a-Bagel)
Eat pizza in Brooklyn (Roberta’s) or really anywhere good (Prince St. Pizza, Rubirosa, Lombardi’s, Paulie Gee’s)
Splurge at some of the top (Contra, Momofuku Ko, Per Se, Le Bernadin, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Daniel, Gramercy Tavern) and world’s best restaurant (Eleven Madison Park)
Try weird N.Y.C. desserts (cronut at Dominque Ansel Bakery, crack pie from Milk Bar, avocado ice cream toast, etc. )
Check out award-winning food trucks (Wafels & Dinges, Korilla BBQ, The Cinnamon Snail, Luke’s Lobster, The Halal Guys, Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Truck, etc.)
Dig your fork into a real New York steak at a classic steakhouse (Keen’s Steakhouse, Delmonico’s, Peter Luger)
If it’s summer, head on over to Smorgasburg in Brooklyn
Eat your way through a food hall like Urbanspace Vanderbilt, Gotham West Market, The Plaza or my absolute favorite Chelsea Market
Travel to Italy in Eataly or to France in Le District

*If I HAD to name 5 restaurants at the top of my list in the current moment, they would be Banter NYC, Blue Ribbon Brasserie, Seamore’s, Keen’s Steakhouse, and Roberta’s

For the Family: 

Central Park Zoo (or Bronx Zoo)
Coney Island boardwalk
Children’s Museum of Manhattan
People watch at Washington Square Park
Walk the Highline or Brooklyn Bridge
Bundle up and spend your Thanksgiving at the Macy’s Day Parade

For the Millennial

Shop at all the cute boutiques in Williamsburg
Artists and Fleas (one in Chelsea Market, Soho and Williamsburg)
Snap a photo in front of the Friend’s apartment
Take in the view from a rooftop bar
Wake up for an early morning concert hosted by the GMA or Today show summer series
Sit on the steps of Constance from Gossip Girl at the Museum of the City of New York
Get an Instagram-worthy shot at the Oculus, Dumbo (intersection of Washington Street and Front Street) or the Flatiron building
Think in Pink at Pietro Nolita or Cafe Henrie

For the Health Nut:

Run the west highway/Hudson River park
Grab a colorful acai bowl with all the toppings (Agavi, Pure Green)
Visit niche health food stores/restaurants (Brodo, Hu Kitchen, Dig Inn, Chalait, Westside Market)
Get your toast on from an Aussie cafe (Banter NYC, Two Hands Cafe, Bluestone Lane)
Take a fun fitness class (305 Fitness, SoulCycle, Barry’s Bootcamp, SLT, Phitting Room, etc.)
Check out the Union Square farmer’s market
Brunch it up (Banter NYC, De Maria, Jack’s Wife Freda, Friedman’s, Seamore’s)
Or grab a delicious farm-to-table dinner (Forager’s Table, The Little Beet Kitchen)

For the Artist:

Take in the bohemian vibes of Greenwich Village
People watch at a coffee shop like Devoción
All of the amazing museums like MoMa, Guggenheim, American Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art
Stock your dream home at ABC Kitchen
Get lost in a bookstore (Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, Strand Bookstore)
Bushwick Collective in Brooklyn
Visit the Cloisters

For the Explorer/Adventure Seeker:

Take the Staten Island ferry
Head up to Queens or Brooklyn
Hammock on over to the Hammock Grove in Governor’s Island
Kayak the Hudson River
Go on a hike outside the city
Zipline in the Bronx Zoo
Ride the Cyclone at Coney Island

For the Culture Afficionado:

Be entertained by the million magnificent Broadway shows (Mamma Mia, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Lion King, Hamilton, etc.)
Catch a sporting event (Knicks, Yankees)
Explore Chinatown and Little Italy
Listen to the sounds of the NYC Philharmonic
Kick it with the Rockettes

Other great references for what to do in N.Y.C. : NYCgo, TimeOutHarper’s Bazaar , Thrillist

New York City is definitely the city that never sleeps and the city that never runs of out things to do! From the fashion to the food, New York City’s culture is ironically no culture, as there are so many diverse yet distinct parts that make it up. I, myself, will never turn down a trip to New York… but will always know deep down that there’s a reason they say the west coast is the best coast. 🙂 If you have any other ideas, recommendations or advice on some of your favorite things to do in N.Y.C, let me know!

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