I’ve traveled to New York City at least four times within the past year. Each time I go, I end up loving the city even more than before! There are a lot of clichéd places to go to and things do to in New York. For example, some of the most visited New York attractions include the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. All of those are great and I definitely recommend that you see them. However, if you are a frequent New York visitor and want to try something new, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite “off-the-radar” places or activities in the city. In no particular order, I’d highly recommend:
1. Row Boats in Central Park
Most of us like to go to Central Park anyways and there are a lot of great outdoor things to do there. One of my favorites is definitely going row boating on the Lake! You can fit up to four people per boat and row as slowly or as quickly as you’d like. It can be either relaxing or a workout! Boat rentals run April through October and cost $12 an hour, plus $3 for each additional 15 minutes. In my opinion, that is a pretty good price, especially compared to everything else in New York. And I can’t emphasize enough how fun it is!
2. Off-Broadway Shows
I got to meet the cast of iLuminate.
Broadway shows are expensive! Although most of them are amazing, that doesn’t make the dent ticket prices leave in your wallet any less apparent! That’s why I recommend you check out some of the shows that are right off Broadway. For example, New World Stages is an interesting theater that resembles a movie theater, but instead of there being a large screen in each room, there is a stage with a live show. New World Stages has a lot of fun shows that are definitely cheaper than Broadway shows, but could be just as entertaining. I watched iLuminate there, which is a dance crew that uses amazing light effects. They even performed on America’s Got Talent. It was awesome!
3. Lincoln Center
It’s time to throw in some culture! The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts has a lot of great quality shows. My favorites are the ballet performances at the Metropolitan Opera House. I was lucky to watch Don Quixote and Romeo and Juliet performed by the American Ballet Theatre. The Opera House is gorgeous and worth seeing by itself, and to top it off the productions were also, of course, breath taking (especially Don Quixote, definitely one of the best shows I’ve ever seen)! Depending on the company and type of show, ticket prices range. However, I was able to purchase student tickets to the ballet performances, and ended up spending less than $30 for one person! Keep in mind that it was cheaper than iLuminate or any other show I could have seen in New York, and definitely worth it!
4. Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum
This is a unique museum because it is located on and inside the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid. It showcases a lot of military planes and maritime history. Additionally, it contains the Space Shuttle Enterprise! If you think you’ve seen it all in New York, reconsider that because this museum is definitely worth your time!
5. Brooklyn Bridge Park
Take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and when you get to the Brooklyn side, hang out at the Brooklyn Bridge Park. I love being near the water, and the park provides you with a scenic path along the waterfront. It’s also cool to see the glorious New York City skyline, as well as play sports, kayak, or grab ice cream from the stores nearby. This park is really pretty; last time I was there, I witnessed three wedding couples taking photos!
6. Toy and Candy Stores
You should definitely visit at least one of the following locations: FAO Schwarz, M&M’s World, Toys“R”Us or Hershey’s (the last three are all conveniently located in Times Square). It doesn’t matter how old you are! The toy stores have so many toys and games that it’s fun to be around them and feel like a kid! Plus, Toys”R”Us has quite a few arcade games and a ferris wheel inside, FAO Schwarz has giant Lego statues and an ice cream bar, and M&M’s World has giant M&M’s! There’s a ton of candy at each of those stores and dressed up characters walking around. Be right back, I have to get every single color and flavor of M&M’s.
What to do on a rainy day in NYC? Go bowling at Bowlmor! True, you could go bowling practically anywhere, but Bowlmor is quite an experience. I’ll start off by saying that it is not cheap. However, the place is fancy and the Times Square location also has mini golf, boardwalk games, and an arcade. Drinks are served as well.
8. Le Pain Quotidien
New York City has so many opportunities for great dining. One of my favorite places is Le Pain Quotidien, which I would equate to a more hipster and fancier Panera Bread. The food is absolutely amazing! They specialize in brunch and everything I ate there was simply exquisite! I might be overreacting a bit, but I could not stop eating the Prosciutto, Pear, and Fig tartine, and I am certain that I had the world’s most perfect waffle there as well. Definitely check it out! (On a side note, they also have locations in Los Angeles, Washington DC, Connecticut, and Philadelphia.)
These are just a few of my favorite places in New York. Truth be told, there is always something to do in the city and I encourage you to try as much as you can!