Visiting the Big Apple for the first time, or any time can be daunting. It’s a bustling, magical city that attracts an average of 56 million tourists every year. Most desire to see the iconic attractions like The Statue of Liberty, Times Square, and Central Park.
Did you know, in addition to these infamous landmarks, you can visit NYC like a local. Starting off with the best luggage storage in New York, and ending at a Michelin Star restaurant, here are four things to do in New York City.
1. Ditch the Luggage
In case this is your first visit to NYC, it is important for you to know that getting around can be difficult, even for locals. The last thing you need is the hassle of carrying your luggage with you. You also don’t want to “look” like a visitor and be easy prey for some of the scammers that inevitably pop up in popular tourist areas.
No matter how you enter the city, via bus, plane, or automobile, you will likely touch base at one of the central city locations such as Grand Central or Penn Stations, Barclay’s Center, The Lower East Side, or of course, Times Square.
At any one of these locations, the tourist can ditch their luggage for a secure storage option and streamline your city navigation sans the bags. This is an essential step if you opt to travel by subway, bus, or any other mass transit. NYC is very much a walkable city, but toting luggage is going to make that almost impossible.
2. Admire a Waterfall
When you think of parks in NYC, Greenacre Park doesn’t usually come to mind – neither does a 25-foot waterfall. If you really want to experience the city like a local, this is one unlikely attraction you must see. Nestled between 2nd and 3rd Streets (at 51st St.) in Greenacre Park, there’s no better place to take a packed lunch to relax and plan your site seeing. Places like this really recharge city dwellers, so there’s no better place to feel like a New Yorker.
3. Take a Class
While it could be considered “touristy” to take a master class when visiting NYC, there’s no better metropolis in which to immerse oneself in the true culture.
Cooking, painting, even music classes are available by some of New York’s finest artists. Not only are you supporting local talent, but you are also getting some of the best experience available anywhere in the world! Learn about street art with a graffiti lesson, or how to make tiramisu like a professional chef. These events are very affordable, especially in comparison to the cost of other activities in NYC.
Taking a master class as a visitor, is an excellent way to avoid tourist traps and overspending, while having a once in a lifetime experience.
4. Try a Michelin Restaurant
Almost everyone who gets to live the dream of visiting NYC should have dinner at a Michelin Star restaurant. Surprisingly, you can have an affordable evening meal in NYC without busting your entire travel budget.
If you plan ahead, you can visit a one-star Michelin restaurant that serves six courses and two drinks (for two!), for around $150. Another great way to experience this type of fine food as a visiting “local,” is to go for lunch.
5. The Classics
Although some of NYC’s finest tourist attractions may be lost on the local, that’s the benefit to the tourist. That’s why, even when experiencing the city as a non-tourist, you should still incorporate a few of New York’s traditional classics.
Consider visiting the Empire State Building, or the WTC Memorial. The visit to Staten Island to see The Statue of Liberty is necessary at least once when in NYC. Don’t forget Central Park and the Met!
There is no need to stress about a choice between seeing the city as a tourist, or a local. You can do both. It is possible to experience parts of this amazing location as someone who lives there every day, as well as someone experiencing its magic for the first time.
While you should consider ideas and recommendations from others who have traveled there before you, be careful not to absorb their opinion of their experiences as well. Your time in NYC may involve some of the same locations, but your journey will be uniquely your own.
Start with these four recommendations to explore NYC as a little bit of both a tourist and savvy city slicker.