Our customers and blog readers are always looking for the best tips from insiders. You know, those cool spots and nice things to do that only local residents know how to get. So here are some special things to do that could give you the opportunity to get to know not just tourist attractions, but also places that locals love.
Bookmark this link now, so you can use it on your next visit to New York – and experience the city the same way New Yorkers do.
How to Enjoy New York as a New Yorker (Part II)
By Lucas Compan, a storyteller passionate about New York
You have a dream: to visit New York City. You want to plan your vacations in details because you know you'll have only seven / ten days to enjoy New York to the fullest. That's the moment when you likely get lost trying to pick the best tours and sightseeing among so many attractions. There's also another aspect: you want to experience New York as locals do because they know where to find the best spots in the city, they know how to do great things and save money at the same time – both for themselves and for visitants. So how to choose the best things to do? Well, the answer lies on your personal taste and the things you usually enjoy the most – or new things you want to experience.
This is Part II of a series of lists of tours and things to do – to help you out with fulfilling the best experience in New York ever. To get Part I, click on the image below.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
First-off: Let's have in mind that if you spent seven days in New York, you'd have around sixty hours available to enjoy tours and sightseeing in the city. Do the math: you have an average of 11/12 hours per day to take your tours and sightseeing. Also, deduct time spent with airport procedures, checking in hotels, unpacking your stuff, going to breakfasts, lunches, dinners, bars, then packing your stuff back, checking out and all.
All right, putting together transportation to and from the tourist attraction, plus the time spent on each one to enjoy them (three to four hours each), you would have sixty hours left to enjoy those places you dream about.
If you will stay in New York for a longer period of time, you could even plan a getaway. For instance, you might want to enjoy two-day extended tours in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, the Northeast, and Niagara Falls – from New York. Or maybe a weekend in amazing places in Upstate New York. So that's the spirit. It's all about options, time optimization, fulfill your dreams and, of course, having fun.
1 - ARRIVING IN NEW YORK
Save money and time with your transportation from JFK, Newark, or LaGuardia Airports to your hotel. Plan in advance when you are still at your hometown. Once in New York, just start enjoying the views from the back seat of your car with a driver. Click here to see your options, from shuttles, to limos, to private limousines.
3- FIFTY ATTRACTIONS, ONE EXPLORER PASS
After checking in your hotel, get ready. You will have a world of possibilities to explore one of the most exciting cities in the world. Before anything else, you can get your New York City Explorer Pass (or any other Pass among these options) until one day before you intend to use it. When you book it, The Welcome Hub will send you an online voucher. You print it out and exchange your voucher for the Explorer Pass at one of the Visitors Centers. You can also use it from your smartphone. Learn more watching the video below:
New York Explorer Pass
The New York Explorer Pass offers you the possibility to choose from among 50 attractions, museums, and tours in New York. Save money and get 30 days to utilize your Explorer Pass. You do not have to choose now what to do. Once in New York, just present your Explorer Pass (plastic or on your smartphone) at whichever attraction you want to visit: total freedom of choice.
You might also save money with subway rides. Get an Unlimited Ride 7-Day MetroCard for US$31, which gives you unlimited subway ride within seven days. Important tip: your unlimited Ride MetroCard cannot be used again at the same subway station or the same bus route for AT LEAST 18 minutes. To learn more, click here. Also, check out this "NYC Subway Tips, Tricks, and Etiquette: How to Use the Subway Guide"
More than 8 million people from all over the world call New York City home, and another 60 million (2016) visit it every year. And there is a reason for that. No matter what you like, you can find it in New York: food, art, architecture, shopping, sightseeing, tours, theater, music, art, iconic landmarks, adventure, romance. Here is a list of cool things to do with topics for all different tastes. Pick yours and have fun.
4 – THE STATUE OF LIBERTY CRUISE
I wonder what all those immigrants from the Old Continent would do if they faced the lines that typically greet patriots and tourists, dreamers and lovers looking to visit the Liberty Island. They would probably headed straight back home.
The best way to see Lady Liberty is to take the Circle Line Cruise, which departs from Pier 83, down the Hudson River. It passes close by the Statue of Liberty before heading under the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge. One tip: there are so many Circle Line Cruise options, so make sure to pick the right one that fits what you are looking for.
There is also a good alternative: the Staten Island Ferry, which gets pretty close to America's First Lady – and it's free!
5 – LIVE JAZZ IN GREENWICH VILLAGE
Tell me: do you think John Coltrane is really dead? Try out one of these (or all of them) well known jazz places in New York: Smalls, Village Vanguard, and the Blue Note. The latter two venues have been around for about a century, but all three attract the very best talent and have atmospheres that make for one of those late nights to remember.
There's also another alternative to enjoy Jazz in the city: Swing46 Jazz and Supper Club. It offers dining, dancing and cocktails, and even a dance lesson, a swing DJ and awesome live bands. Every single night. Want more? How about an one-hour riding in a private limousine though midtown and lower Manhattan followed by dinner? It's an experience to remember.
6 – THE NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC ON NEW YEAR'S EVE
How about spending the New Year's Eve at Lincoln Center listening to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra? Sounds good? Yes, think Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, replete with endless bottles of champagne.
7 – CATCHING A YANKEES GAME
If you are not from New York – and even if you are – there is a good chance you're not a fan of baseball, or even a fan of baseball's greatest-ever team. Nevertheless, a trip to the house that Babe Ruth built should come before anything else. The mythic Yankee Stadium itself worth the experience.
8 – TAKE THE 7 TRAIN
At the other end of the baseball spectrum are the Mets. The Met's new Citi Field stadium has made a name for itself among foodies. All the concession stands are managed by Danny Meyer of Union Square Café and Shake Shack fame, and during the game an equal number of fans can be seen watching the action of the files and standing in line for a burger of fish sandwich. Perhaps the best thing about heading to Mets-Willets Point station or Flushing Main St. (the last stop), though, is riding the 7 train. The train traverses the borough of Queens, which has the most diverse population in the United States. Each car of the subway is a little melting pot, where you can hear 5 or more different languages spoken in less than ten minutes.
9 – HAVE A BEER AT MCSORLEY'S
If you happened to see Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York, then you know the lower part of Manhattan was once known as Five Points, denoting its five neighborhood districts. McSoley's has been serving its own amber Ale since the early 1900s. Skip weekends and get there early to avoid the lines that invariably form outside. The suds come in 8.5-ounce glasses, so order a few (usually four) at a time. And pace yourself, because once those glasses are empty, you will be asked to either order another round or to leave.
10 – GET A HAIRCUT AT ASTOR PLACE
This one-of-a-kind New York legendary hair designer shop – near New York University's campus – has been creating the latest street hairstyles since 1939. Walking into the place feels like walking through a market in Marrakesh, as idle scissorhands looking for a customer, will approach you. Don't give up to the pressure. Pick someone who gives you a good vibe or go straight to that friend's referral. Would you dare to ask your hair designer to give you a new look? Well, you may not like what you see in the mirror at first. But you will fit in nicely once you step outside and reach the streets of New York.
FLYING LIKE A BIRD OVER NEW YORK
Grand finale with style: wrap up your one-week exploration with something remarkable: a helicopter ride over New York City. Seeing the city from the skies is an unforgettable moment in life, an experience that lasts forever.
Well, I guess you have enough info and attractions to fulfill seven days in New York. There will be more insider tips coming up soon.
If you want to get to know the most traditional attractions, this blog post is for you: "How to Enjoy New York as a New Yorker – Part I."
Tip: Do not worry if you don't speak English or if you think your English is not good enough. Relax. In New York there are almost eight-hundred different spoken languages. Meaning, there will be always someone to understand you. However, if you rather fell more comfortable having a professional guide by your side, there are several options to pick.
Now, start planning your next adventure in New York. Pack up your things and dreams, and have a nice trip.