If you don’t know what to do in New York, a genie will tell you while you sleep. That’s because New York has so many sights within it that are often overlooked by tourists.
It can be overwhelming for those from small towns to see the intensity and how packed the city is at all hours of day or night.
But for others, there simply is no other place on Earth quite like New York, and its wonder never fades.
Now that you’re planning your trip to The Big Apple, you can save time and money by organizing what you have left to do on a list. Our New York City visitors’ guide offers insider tips from experts on how to make the most of your visit to guarantee the best possible experience.
1. Don’t Do Franchise Food
What’s the best thing to do when you’re hungry? Go for lunch. You can’t go wrong with some specialty food or finding something as unique as your taste.
Think of it as a way to discover new foods and try eating something different than what you’re used to. But if you’re on vacation and destination searching, why bother with any of that?
There are amazing restaurants all around NYC that should be top-of-mind for when traveling for work or fun.
“Remember to make a reservation if you plan on eating at a great restaurant,” he says. “New York City is known for having a lot of delicious restaurants, not just places that serve fast food.”
2. Rent a Bike
While taxis can be seen frequently in movies and TV shows, they’re not always the choice of transportation in New York City.
Walking and riding a bike are popular options too–especially if you spend some time in Central Park. Nicole Hunter, a travel blogger at Go Far Grow Close loves to ride bikes around the city.
The famous Central Park in New York City could be considered the heart of the city. This 778-acre area provides visitors with a variety of things to do.
The most popular attractions include zoos, horse stables for riding horses and lakes, ponds, fountains, playgrounds and fields, as well as numerous bike rental places.
Be careful on your journeys around the map and wear a helmet at all times if needed.
3. See the View From a Bridge
Charles Breitbart of TripTins understands what it’s like to be a tourist in New York. As both a digital marketing writer and New Yorker, he wants you to see some of the city’s “underrated piers” that are often overlooked.
If you want an awesome view of Manhattan without being surrounded by tourists, then make sure to take a stroll to one of his favorite spots: Pier 15, Pier 26, Pier 35, and PIer 57.
Plus, if you’re looking for a little less crowded Brooklyn Bridge experience, wander over to the Manhattan Bridge instead!
There are many great views of the Manhattan Bridge that are less visited than the nearby Brooklyn Bridge. While all tourists should spend some time walking across Brooklyn Bridge, I also believe they should do the same for the Manhattan Bridge.
4. Hit Up a Food Tour
There are countless ways to experience a place – and each one will be unique. One of the best ways is by having a meal at the local restaurant and getting to know its cuisine.
Just as NYC holds a rich variety of people, so does its food. Ilanie van der Horst, who has lived in New York for ten years now, recommends taking on a food tour in order to really get to know the city.
Even though she’s Australian now, that doesn’t mean this Make More Adventures writer will miss an opportunity to dish on the NYC food scene.
An ideal way to explore one city or a new-to-you neighborhood is to take a food tour. You’ll get a lot more than you would have on your own, and you’ll be able to learn about the place and its culture.
Food tours are perfect for solo travelers too as they offer a way to meet and eat with others.
5. Head to the Apollo
We’ve all heard of New York City’s Apollo Theater. But if you haven’t been, or don’t even know about it, Mile Pro CEO Tim White says to go check it out.
“If you love comedy and support the performing arts scene that no one pays attention to, you have to go see Amateur Night at the Apollo,” he said.
“Visit the Palace Theater every Saturday evening for a traditional Chinese opera event.”
6. Find Those Complimentary Breakfasts
Fewer and fewer hotels are offering free breakfast these days, but when you’re in a city like New York, where eating out is going to be costly, it’s nice to have that extra help for making that meal more affordable.
CIIC PR’s Jackie Martin suggests considering the perk options offered by your hotel before booking.
“With inflation and budgeting while traveling, we’re all trying to save a buck,” says one traveler. “Unfortunately, breakfast in NYC is pricey.
Skip the trouble of having to worry about where you’ll fuel up for the day… You can’t adventure all day on an empty stomach.”
7. Don’t Forget the Rest of NYC
New York City is made up of much more than Manhattan, more so in fact. This neighborhood has four more boroughs, including Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island.
This is something people often miss or don’t understand. Seeing the different neighborhoods in New York City provides a richer and fuller understanding of this city one can never get simply by living in Manhattan alone.
Jack Lee of TripBison and Evolve Mala agrees. He has a particular fondness for New York’s “Queens” after living in the area for almost 30 years.
The borough is home to a diverse range of cuisine, as well as a diverse range of cultures. If you’re looking for an urban environment with more accessibility, Queens is the perfect place to stay while visiting NYC.”
8. Wear Your Most Comfortable Shoes
Did you know that wearing good shoes can help ensure that your feet are comfortable at the end of the day? Of course, we recommend prioritizing stylish shoes over ugly, but it’s not worth living miserable the rest of your life when you could get beautiful shoes for a good price. Director of operations for Hawaiian Islands Nick Mueller agrees–shoes are a must-have!
Walking in New York City is a must for visitors. You’ll love it—and if you’re lucky enough to visit during the holidays, be sure to take advantage of all the festivities.
But please, avoid stepping on the sidewalk or street barefoot because random animals can come damn near anywhere and with any luck, you might just want to avoid that altogether.