Once upon a time we lived in New York City. We were residents for more than a year, but soon after we quickly realized that we were not New Yorkers. Although the city was not the environment we wanted to call home, it is still a great place to visit!
There are so many people I come across that have only stayed in Midtown Manhattan when they visit. When we hosted friends and asked what they wanted to do, the reply was:
“I wanna go to Times Square!”
This was always what I dreaded hearing and the last thing I wanted to do with my day. New York City has so many things to offer to residents and tourist alike. If you make a trip to the big apple, and not be a tourist in New York City then check out my personal favorites.
How Not to be a Tourist in New York City
Explore the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met is absolutely stunning and MASSIVE. If you are a history buff, you could easily carve out a whole day just in this stunning piece of architecture. They have some great rotating exhibits. The Met is on the east side of Central Park, so try to hit both in one day! The Met is pay as you wish any day of the week, so this is a great cost efficient way to spend a day.
Get to the Outer Boroughs
I know many tourists that have only stepped foot in Manhattan. If you don’t want to be a tourist in New York City then venture into The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island have great things to offer too! Make sure you get to another borough even if it’s just walking over the Brooklyn Bridge!
Spend a day at Wave Hill
Along the Hudson River up in the Bronx is a beautiful public garden complete with greenhouses, art, and a cafe. You can reach Wave Hill easily by taking the Metro North line from Grand Central into Riverdale Station. Go on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 12 pm for free admission.
Chill in an NYC Coffee Shop
No not Starbucks. There are so many awesome and vibrant neighborhood coffee shops in New York. So grab a latte, take a seat, and people watch the day away.
Go to the World Famous Metropolitan Opera
Sometimes opera or ballet tickets sell same day for less than $30 a piece! Feel posh for a night and head to Lincoln Center to catch a top notch performance by some of the world’s best.
Take the Staten Island Ferry
It’s free and gives you the greatest views of Lady Liberty and Lower Manhattan.
Splurge on sushi
Are you a sushi lover like me? New York offers some of the best sushi in the world outside of Japan. If you’re looking to splurge on dinner, check out some of the many great sushi spots in the city. If you’ve got the budget this is one of the few places in the world you can try true Omakase. It’s an incredible experience. My favorite sushi place in the city is Aoyu Sushi.
People watch at Grand Central Terminal
Are you an early riser? If so head to Grand Central for the morning commute and watch the fast-paced life of New Yorkers fly by.
Take the subway
Don’t waste your hard earned money on cabs – do as the locals do and take the train. The MTA runs 24 hours a day and can get you within blocks of anywhere you need to go.
Journey Through the Neighborhoods of Manhattan
Take it easy one day and promenade through the Upper West Side or Greenwich Village. There are hundreds of neighborhoods in the city and sometimes and nice and peaceful to just take a walk through them. Best part – it’s free!
Stroll through the New York Botanical Garden
Located in the Bronx, the 250-acre botanical garden boasts beautiful landscapes, lush gardens, and many events and exhibits. A must for any nice day. It’s completely okay to be a tourist though, and if you are then here are some great touristy things to do in Manhattan!
Plan Your Trip to NYC
We rely on a few trusted websites that help save us money and time when booking hotels, flights, and car rentals. Check out some of our preferred partners below:
- Accommodation in NYC: We like to use Hotels.com to compare various booking engines and make sure we are getting the best possible deal. To feel more at home we use Airbnb. Here is a coupon for your first stay!
- Flights to NYC: Compare airlines, dates and prices all in one place with Skyscanner.
- Travel Insurance: We never travel without travel insurance with World Nomads. We ALWAYS travel with travel insurance. Natasha is a bit of a worry wart and would rather stay safe than sorry. World Nomads offers incredible flexible and great plans!
- Guide Book: Sometimes it’s nice just to have a real book in your hands when traveling. We recommend a good guidebook to get you around NYC.
You Might Also Like:
- The Five Best New York Coffee Shops
- 18 Fun Things to do in Bangkok
- The 21 Most Beautiful Cities in the World
- How We Live a Life of Travel • All The Fun Details
- 30 Things to do in Wilmington, NC (From a Local)