North America Travel

Top 6 things to do if you want to see NYC like a local

New York City has a vast array of offerings. If you’ve never been to NYC, you should come see the typical things that make NYC great: the Empire State Building, Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, the 9/11 Memorial and Broadway. These are quintessential NYC activities and I strongly recommend each. But on your next trip to NYC? On what to do in between these sights? Do as the locals do with six activities below.

Seek out Street Art

One of my favorite things about living in NYC is all of the street art. You can walk around anywhere to take it, but there are a few spots where it is particularly prevalent. One such street are initiative is the Bushwick Collective in Bushwick. Though the area looks kind of sketchy, there’s lot of street art. There are also buildings/blocks devoted to street art in other parts of the city including the West Village and Long Island City. NYC also has the “100 Gates Project” where a lot of gates — what businesses put down when they’re closed — are beautified with murals. Here’s some great street art we’ve seen.

As you can probably tell, I’m a huge fan. The art changes frequently, so a lot of these pieces may not even be up anymore (and some I know aren’t). So you have to go often!

Go on a Beer Tour

Two flights at big aLICe Brewery

New York City has dozens of breweries. There are breweries in every borough! Queens and Brooklyn have the most to offer and I strongly suggest my favorite tour in Long Island City, Queens for its convenience and quality. You can read about that tour here. If you choose to borough hop, it’s a great way to see different neighborhoods throughout NYC! There are also a lot of bars with a great selection of local brews, so you can cozy up at one and get a flavor of NYC’s beer personality.

Visit the Botanical Gardens

The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens are free on Fridays between 8am-noon! We had a free day, so we checked it out. It’s so much nicer than I expected! It’s a large grounds with a lot varied plants, flowers, ponds, enclosed garden space, etc. It’s really beautiful! When the weather is mild, it’s a great place to spend three or four hours.

Take in a NYC sunset

I love sunsets. I love them over desertscapes, mountainscapes and even cityscapes. If you’re in Brooklyn or Queens watching the sunset over Manhattan, you get to combine cityscape with waterscape. I love it! Gantry Park in Queens is a fabulous place to take it in.

You can even watch what they call “Manhattanhenge” if you’re here in July. This is when the sun lines up with the streets going east to west and you can see the sunset straight through Manhattan to Jersey. Like this:

Go see a Concert

New York has SO MANY concert venues. From the obvious, MSG, CitiField and Barclays to the big but not too big Beacon Theatre, Townhall, Carnegie Hall, Kings Theatre, Forest Hills Stadium, Prospect Park, and Central Park to the really small venues like Baby’s All Right, City Winery, Brooklyn Steel and Irving Plaza. We’ve seen shows at all of these and more. Hardly a week goes by when there isn’t something playing, so I highly recommend taking the opportunity to spend your night in a concert venue. We LOVE Forest Hills Stadium in the summer and Brooklyn Steel all year round.

Iron & Wine at Townhall
The National at Forest Hills Stadium

Laugh like crazy at some local Comedy

Do NOT forget to see some comedy when you come to NYC. Comedy Cellar is the obvious choice here and locals love it too. Around the corner in the West Village is The Village Underground. Both are great and host comedians big and small. You can also go to more local spots like Comic Strip on the Upper East Side, EastVille in Brooklyn or Q.E.D. in Queens. It’s always fun anytime of the year!

Comedy Cellar at New Years

So there ya have it folks, enjoy NYC like a local! It’s a great place to visit and an even greater place to live.

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1 Comment

  1. That street art is really impressive

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