Visiting a new city can be overwhelming. Whether you’re a new resident or simply on vacation, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to make your time in New York even easier, and better – straight from the mouth of a New Yorker.
1. Don’t waste your money on cabs
While cabs sometimes are the easiest option, more often than not, they’re slower and way more expensive than the subway. The NYC subway can get you pretty much anywhere you need to go in any of the boroughs, and it’s only $2.75 per ride, no matter how far you’re traveling. While sometimes the convenience of a cab outweighs the cost, taking cab after cab will quickly eat up your spending money! Download the HopStop or GoogleMaps app to your smartphone to help you easily navigate the routes.
2. Pick up a copy of Time Out
Time Out is my Bible. Each week, the release a ~free~ magazine that includes features on local restaurants, articles about upcoming events and event straight up listed schedules of stuff happening around town that week. It’s the best way to find free events and activities, along with museum exhibits, concerts and anything in between. Their website is also a great resource for neighborhood guides, restaurant reviews and listicles of pretty much anything New York-related.
3. Don’t avoid the museums because of price
I know it can get pricey visiting museum after museum with the high entrance fees. Insider tip: at most of the museums in New York, the entrance fee is a “suggested donation.” I once saw a person pay one penny to get into the Guggenheim. And while I wouldn’t recommend only dropping a penny per visit, if you’re struggling to scrape together the cash to visit spots like The Met and MoMa, you can skim a little off the top of the price.
4. Free public bathrooms are your best friend
The worst part about New York City is that you always have to use the bathroom when there isn’t one – I’ve been there many times. Here’s a hint: Almost all Starbucks have free bathroom access (though I usually at least try to buy something, but you don’t have to.) There are many other spots you can hit if you need to – most larger parks have public restrooms like Central Park and Bryant Park. The Apple Store, book stores like Barnes & Noble, and hotel lobbies are also usually a safe bet if you’re getting desperate.
5. Always make reservations – Always!
There are over 8 million people in New York City – and I can guarantee that on most given nights, the a LOT of New Yorkers aren’t cooking. (Okay, I can’t actually guarantee this, but from my experience it’s usually true). With tiny apartments and even tinier kitchens, cooking in NYC can be a huge hassle. But lucky for us, there are thousands of great restaurants right outside our doors.
Unfortunately, that’s unlucky for you if you’re visiting town. If you have your eye on a restaurant that you know you have to hit while you’re here, be sure to make a reservation. There’s nothing sadder than showing up to that spot you’ve been eyeing on Instagram for months to find out that the dinner wait is 2 hours. OpenTable is your new best friend.
6. Don’t wear new shoes
This one seems pretty obvious. But, even as a New Yorker I’ve given in to the temptation to wear the cute shoes over the comfortable shoes for a day of walking. And boy, have I regretted it. NYC is the city of steps – we walk everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE. My daily step count (thanks, iPhone) usually tops out near 8,000. And that’s on a regular day in the office. So for a day of touristing, you’re going to exceed that and you don’t want to do it with blisters. Trust me.
7. Expand your horizons
A lot of people forget that New York exists outside of Manhattan. Some of the other boroughs are hiding amazing gems. Check out other amazing areas the greater NYC area has to offer like Flushing, Queens for amazing Chinese food or Arthur Avenue in the Bronx for a true Italian experience. Of course, Brooklyn has countless attractions – the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Smorgasburg, the Brooklyn Bridge. Adventure outside of Manhattan to get the true, all-encompassing New York experience.
Do you have any advice for people planning trips to the Big Apple? Post it in the comments below!
This post contains affiliate links – if you click or make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small amount of the profit.