Not Like a Tourist | Places in New York, NY

Start spreading the news—we have another New York blog post! This one is all blog and no “vlog,” but I promise it’ll be worth the quick read to find out all my favorite hotspots in the Big Apple.

New York City is obviously a tourist attraction in and of itself. I can guarantee that if you’ve never been to the city before, everything you’ve read about or heard about doing there is completely worth it the first time around. But as someone who used to live just a train ride away and has visited a handful of times since leaving the area, I’ve narrowed down quite a few places from the exhaustive list.

Take Times Square, for example. There’s a breadth of stores, restaurants, hotels and more in this bustling entertainment center. But it’s crowded, with bright lights and loud noises present all throughout the day and night. That isn’t a deal breaker for everyone, and I do want to make it clear that this area is tailored for a good time. But it’s not an area I have much of a desire to return to.

Now there are things I’ve seen and done in New York that I would definitely try again. Like Liberty Island and Central Park. The Statue of Liberty is a vision to see in real life and the island is enjoyable to walk around in warmer weather. The first and last time I went, I didn’t have the opportunity to climb up to the top of Lady Liberty’s crown. I’ve heard it’s a unique experience with some pretty nice views on a clear day. Central Park is another spot for good views. A visit here can be as simple as walking through its 840 acres or as complex as taking a park tour and learning more about the conservation that happens within the park.

But if you came here to read about my rare recommendations, then I’ve got two that you need to add to your New York City list right now. Have you ever heard of a frozen hot chocolate? As different as those words may seem from one another, I promise you, the final result works. This delicacy is stable at the iconic Serendipity 3. The restaurant serves several other desserts and was heavily popularized by the romantic comedy, Serendipity, among other media appearances. I waited hours for my, albeit larger party, to be seated the last time I was here. And it was one-hundred percent worth it.

As much as I love a chocolate and ice cream-type dessert, my absolute favorite thing to do in New York has nothing to do with food and is completely free. And that is to watch the sun set from beyond the Brooklyn Bridge. From the south side of the bridge, you can see the sun set over Manhattan and really capture the photogenic structure in all its glory. There’s just something about this view that always reminds me of how beautiful New York City can be, even with its faults and breaking points.

New York is immense. And I think that even if you lived there, there would still be things left to discover. Which brings me to my last item—something that I’ve never done in New York that I would love the opportunity to try. I’ve never been to a Broadway show. I’ve never even been to an off-Broadway show. And as a former thespian, I probably owe it to myself to take another visit and go to a show soon. If you’ve been to a Broadway show, leave your recommendations of what to go see in the comments section and I might just pick one of those!

I hope this list differed even just a little from some of the others you’ve seen before. To help you plan your travel within the city—using public transportation (ALWAYS use public transportation)—I’ve even marked all the places I mentioned above on this map! I’ve also bookmarked my latest luxury hotel stay, in case you were thinking about stopping over there.

Don’t forget that New York is expansive. So really take the time to get out and explore it!

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