Although it’s one of the most mesmerizing, exhilarating places in the world to visit, there is no doubt that New York City can feel incredibly overwhelming some (most) of the time. This is especially true for visitors who are experiencing the hustle and bustle of New York City for the first time. However, there are ways to ensure your trip to the Big Apple is fruitful (no pun intended) and well worth your time. The secret is to explore the city like a NYC local. In this post, we’ll show you how to do just that.
1. Venture Into the Other Boroughs
Most first-time visitors and regular frequenters of New York City spend most, if not all, of their time in one borough only: Manhattan. And while, yes, the bulk of the sightseeing and tourist attractions are found in this high-energy island, if you want to see what the whole city has to offer, you should check out the other boroughs to visit like a true NYC local.
Many neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens are often just a short subway ride away. In Brooklyn, you can escape the concrete scenery of Manhattan and enjoy such attractions as the lush, green Prospect Park, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Brooklyn Bridge Park. In Queens, you’ll enjoy a low-key atmosphere and find a little bit of everything: great cuisine, beautiful parks, and cultural centers.
Film buffs will love a tour of Kauffman Studios, The Museum of Moving Images, and Silvercup Studios, all located in the Astoria and adjacent Long Island City neighborhoods. In terms of food, an evening in Astoria for some world-class Greek eats is an absolute must. Throughout the rest of Queens, you’ll find incredible dishes from almost every country in the world. Fill up on falafel, get some Thai takeout, and even try Kangaroo meat at The Thirsty Koala.
2. Take Advantage of All the Free Things There Are to Do
It’s indisputable that New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the world. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t also have plenty of amazing free things to do. And if there is one thing locals know how to do, it’s finding hidden gems and unforgettable experiences at a significantly discounted rate (or completely free). Visit the Museum of Modern Art by going on a Friday between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Ride the Staten Island Ferry for free and spot the Statue of Liberty in the harbor.
Head to any one of the beaches surrounding the city including The Rockaways or Coney Island and enjoy the smell of the ocean and the sensation of the sun hitting your face. Not only are there many free events throughout the city and special deals like free appetizers at happy hour, but many of the major sightseeing destinations around the city are totally free, too. Some of those attractions include the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, Time Square, and the 9/11 Memorial.
3. Eat out for Every Meal
Although this isn’t the most budget-friendly activity for anyone visiting New York, it is something New Yorkers tend to do a lot. While you’re in the city, you might as well embrace the “when in Rome philosophy.” Although New Yorkers tend to live up to the stereotype of having nothing but condiments from 2011 in the refrigerator and therefore tending to brunch, lunch, and dine in the evening at restaurants, they also know a thing or two about striking a good deal. For brunch, there are plenty of restaurants that offer bottomless brunch deals at a fixed rate.
In Queens, the cost could be as low as $15 for two hours. At lunch, keep things affordable by eating out in Chinatown or Little Italy, where you can score a scrumptious lunch for under $15. Another affordable alternative is the food truck scene, where you can munch on shawarma, street tacos, and chicken kebabs for under $10. Dinner will most likely be the most expensive meal of the day, but there are still plenty of restaurants that keep things reasonably priced. Another solution is looking on Groupon and browsing the website for any restaurant deals.
4. Hang out in the Parks
At first glance, there really doesn’t seem to be much nature in New York City. But if you venture out to the parks, you’ll find yourself surrounded by lush greenery, open spaces, giant trees, ponds, and riverfront views. Some must-see parks include McCarren Park, Astoria Park, and Fort Greene Park. And if you’re in the city during the summer, you may be able to catch an outdoor movie, concert, or festival!
Ready to explore NYC like a local? Start by buying your bus ticket from BusTickets.com today!