Being a Queens native, I’ve learned how to move around the city with $20 in my pocket for a week. Some may say NYC is too expensive, but only when you’re a tourist. For us, New Yorkers it’s our home, where eating $1 pizzas and going to Coney Island is a regular Tuesday activity. So, from a New Yorker here are my top 20 places/ things to do while visiting my great city. I have also entered a price rating with ($$$) being most expensive and ($) being the least. Most of the things on this list are free, but to eat or do activities may cost some dollars – nothing that’ll break the bank though, especially if you’re taking the train! * I have photos BUT not of everything I’ve listed.
Please note: The Photos are my boyfriend Manuels’ please if you like the photo give him credit for taking the beautiful shots @kvnglenz
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1| 2 Bros Pizza
One of the best/ original pizza spots in NYC still selling slices for $1 in some locations. This is a go-to spot for sure. The line might head out the door, it may even wrap around the block, BUT you won’t regret it at all. When you take a bite into the deliciousness of the thin, cheesy, warm tomato filled goodness you’ll forget everything else you endured to have that moment again- and you will until you eat the crust. For less than $5 you can get 2 slices and a drink.
2| Time Square
Now we all know this is where you were heading, but once you get there, what do you do? There are so many people, cars and lights it may seem like you’re looking at it all, but nope. There’s no one great location, but if you are looking for great photo opportunities, I got you. Firstly, start at the top and work your way down! That’s the easiest way to see the whole strip and not feel like you left anything out. You should start at 50th street, walk the few empty blocks until you see the bright lights. Go for the infamous red stairs and continue to the bright lights.
3| Freedom Tower/ Battery City Park
Battery city park is the village that the freedom tower is in and the entire neighbourhood is worth seeing. Located next to the water, you have the best view overlooking New Jersey with the Statue of Liberty in the distance. Take a walk to the Irish hunger memorial and head to shake shack if you haven’t tried it too. Then go to the Freedom tower memorial and watch the beautiful fountains and architecture. The sight is truly breathtaking and makes you appreciate your loved ones.
4| Central Park
Central Park is vast! So, I’ll give you specific spots to see. Central Park zoo is on E 64TH ST, and it’s nice to take the 59th street station and walk. The Lake is on W 75th st, which is also a great area to walk around the strawberry fields, see ducks and other wildlife. The Great Lawn is another fantastic place (but will be crowded on a warm day) which is W 81st– W 85th St.
5| Union Square
This is an excellent place for people interested in the fashion world, heading to Flight Club NY, which is located here is a great place to start. No matter if you’re simply looking or shopping the store is a hot spot for celebrities. Union square park is very infamous and our version of Time Sq., without all the people. There are movies in the park, theatre and a farmer market every day during the summer months (May-September)
6| Go on a ferry
If you have a fear of boats then ignore this one, but! This is a FREE boat ride! It takes you from Whitehall station in Manhattan to Staten Island in 25 minutes. A fun trip round trip that costs $0 and you have a view of the city as well.
7| Go to Hoboken/Jersey City
This might scratch some people’s head, but it’s a cheap option and a beautiful one too. Take the path train, which is the same cost as a metro card and head over to Hoboken or Jersey City to get some views. If you go to Hoboken, you will be greeted with beautiful cobblestone roads, Carlos Bakery, and an original Rita’s Ice. Take a casual walk by the waterfront and you’ll be greeted with the best view of the NYC skyline, which twinkles at night. If you go over to Jersey City, there’s excellent food, beautiful bar scene and more aspects of NYC skyline.
8| Bronx Zoo
One of the largest and famous zoo’s have over 4,000 different animals, and nearly 160 sections to visit. Plus they’re free on Wednesday’s it is certainly a spot I suggest you go too. Take the scenic train ride to the Bronx and enjoy your whole day with the animals
9| Coney Island
This is one of the oldest amusement parks in the U.S, and it’s a beautiful site to see. You are greeted by the Luna Park, The Cyclone and the great Wonder Wheel. This whole area is a day trip, whether you want to hang out at Brighton Beach during the morning time. Then head to the Aquarium for a few hours, then walk along the boardwalk and see everything on the strip. It’s free to enter the amusement park so wandering around is excellent for couples and families.
10| Met Museum
The MET! I mean, should I say more? This museum even though I have my views on museums (racist and places where rich white people show off their STOLEN ARTIFACTS!) However, this is a nicely organized museum, regardless of your opinion on art whether you’re Plato or Wilde it allows you to see many perspectives and gain new insight on art around the world. Grab some photos and a Lil gift to remember the day.
11| Brooklyn Bridge Park
The best view to see most of the bridges that enter Manhattan. You’ll be in Dumbo, Brooklyn where cobblestone streets and ice cream is a regular. Perfect spot away from all the tourist to grasp the beauty of the Brooklyn Bridge uninterrupted. There’s an ideal spot by the water, a pizza and ice cream store and a carousel. Take this view at night time to see the bridge light up.
12| The Highline
Was once a suspended train track now naturing beauty? The Highline is a natural greenhouse, the railroad was left there to deteriorate, and when humans no longer find a need, life comes in and creates a home. That is how this beautiful raised garden was created, and it’s been an area of millions of people to come and visit. Make sure you have a camera and some allergy medicine if needed.
Once again if you’re a fashion person, this is the place to visit. We have all our high-end designer brands flocking the streets, the infamous scene for NY Fashion Week. This is also the hot spot for any thrift store shoppers or people looking to support/find any up and coming brown owned businesses.
Some stores to check out; Second Chance, street vendors, Mac Bar, Milk Bar, little cupcake bakeshop, INA designer consignment
14| Roosevelt Island
This is NYC hidden gem! Sandwiched nicely between queens and Manhattan we have this less than a 10-mile piece of land. You can literally walk around the entire area in an hour, and still be on time for the next tram. Now that is a special thing because that is the only tram still operating in NYC. Take this magnificent beauty across the river and into manhattans Eastside.
15| Hudson Vessel
The new piece of art revealed to NYC in 2019 it is merely a beautiful view and excellent photo opportunity. The building is a giant beehive structure that is open with exposed stairs.
With one of the largest Chinatowns in the world outside of China. It’s safe to say this place is worth the trip and getting some authentic Asian food. Whether you’re merely curious about the town or are interested in the history, food and culture, this is the place to be.
Museum of Modern Art! This Museum is all over the world, but no place is better than in NYC. The building is filled with amazing and constantly updating art from many ethnic artists and cultures.
18| Flushing Meadow Park
This entire park has Queens Zoo, The Science Museum, Met Stadium, U.S Open and New York’s World Fair premiering the space ships from Men in Black. It is as large as it looks and is number two in largest parks after Central Park.
19| Grand Central Station
If you’ve seen any NYC movie or Madagascar, you will know this place solely by the clock. This was built in 1913 as the centre of the NYC subway. Today multiple train lines pass through or under this grand station every day as a reminder of the past and the growth NYC continues to make to improve our train system
20| United Nations
The headquarters located right in NYC, which was founded in 1945 after the Second World War, by 51 countries committed to maintaining international peace and security. You can tour and dine inside of the U.N just ensure you get there 1 hr. before because security clearance is serious!
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