Heading to New York for a few days, but not sure where to start? The great news is, there’s something for everyone to enjoy – whether you like shows, food, culture, New York City has it. The less great news is – there’s so much to do that it can be hard to decide what’s worth your time and money and what’s not.
On Tourist Traps
Midtown Manhattan has a ton of tourist attractions, it’s true, but it’s almost teeming with other people that getting around can be nearly impossible. The lines are longer, everything is more expensive, and there’s very likely an alternative a few blocks down the street that offers the exact same thing, but with a better atmosphere and more authentic experience. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t make a point to see Time Square or Rockefeller Center if you’ve never been! Just be aware that there’s going to be a lot of tourists, and getting in that picture-perfect photo op might take a few tries.
On Where to Eat
You can practically eat your way across the globe all while never leaving the city limits. Skip the chain restaurants, too – you’ll be grateful you did. A good rule of thumb is not to ask someone where’s good to eat, but where they go to eat. New Yorkers have the advantage of knowing their neighborhood like no one else, so if they say somewhere serves good food, trust them. And, yes, even if that place turns out to be a street vendor. They just might have the best chicken shawarma you’ve never tasted.
On What to Do
In the mood for something artsy? You’ve definitely heard of the Metropolitan, the Museum of Modern Art, maybe the Guggenheim, but there are so many more museums to check out. Go see the New Museum, the Cloisters, or the Frick, or the Tenement Museum or Ellis Island Museum if you like history. You can’t beat Central Park as far as New York icons go, but take a walk through the High Line or Prospect Park in Brooklyn for something a little different.
On How to Get Around
Cabs are not only more expensive, but a lot more inconvenient. The subway, while it may seem intimidating, is a lot easier. Just make sure to plan your route out ahead of time, which you can do with the convenience of their website. While you’re there, make sure to be a considerate passenger: don’t take up too much space by leaning against a pole. Let people get off the train car before you try to make your way on.
The city is safer than ever (just keep an eye on your belongings, as you would anywhere else). Between modern technology and a friendly native eager to show off their vast knowledge of New York, you’ll find your way around with very few problems.
Another good rule to remember? Keep up a brisk pace when you’re walking, and don’t crowd the sidewalks with a large group of people. No one will thank you for it.
New York has so much to offer; it’s only fair that visitors get as much out of their time there as possible.