This post was most recently updated on March 30th, 2016
Last fall I was lucky enough to move to New York to attend St. John’s University. It’s been an enormous challenge but at the same time a huge blessing. Since then I’ve explored as much of New York City as humanly possible and to be honest I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of what the city has to offer. I still consider myself a “New Yorker in training” but so far I’ve done pretty well in adapting to the city lifestyle. With that said, New York is like no other city in the entire world with its diversity in people and food and its bipolar weather (from the point of view of a California native), simply the city’s grandeur is unique to NYC.
First off there is some essential knowledge that you’ll need if you plan on visiting New York City. The only variable that is consistent about the weather is the inconsistency; it isn’t uncommon to see 30-40 degree changes in the colder time of year and some extremely humid days in the warmer season, so pack accordingly. Next, you have to leave room in your suitcase for all of the extras that you will buy on your visit (believe me you’ll buy plenty of souvenirs). While talking about souvenirs, don’t buy the junk that is sold in Midtown! I can’t stress this enough: you’ll be overcharged and the items will not last, so instead save it for all of the other worthy products. Thirdly, explore all of the food that the city has to offer, it would be a sin to simply stick to pizza and chain restaurants. Lastly, do your research before coming: know the weather, what events are going on in each season, and MOST importantly adventure past midtown to other great parts of the city (I beg this of you).
Here are my suggestions on what you should spend your time doing in New York…
- What the World knows as New York:
Most people think of New York and instantly images of Times Square, Central Park, Madison Square Garden, Fifth Avenue, and of course the Statue of Liberty pop into their heads. Get this out of the way as quickly as possible because this is not true New York. Go take your pictures and only dedicate a day at the very most to seeing all of these tourist attractions.
- The Beginning of the real New York:
New York is arguably the most culturally diverse city in the entire world. Get to know what lies here; museums show a great part of both domestic culture and foreign cultures, so do yourselves a favor and become educated while here! Visit the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Natural History, Guggenheim, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. These are all world-class museums that will give you a headache from everything that you are learning (but yes, this is a good thing).
- Neighborhoods other than Midtown:
You have to visit Soho and do some shopping in the area, some of the greatest designers call it home and it is definitely part of the New York experience. Don’t limit yourself to the big brands and the stores that you can find elsewhere. As a guy who likes to dress well and loves sports, some of my favorites are APC from Paris, the Nike Lab (the two in NY are the only locations in the US), the Supreme store for all you hypebeasts, and Opening Ceremony for more high fashion wear. For women I’ve heard that stores such as Helmut Lang, Kate Spade, and Alexander Wang are highly regarded.
This neighborhood is known as the hipster capital of the world. It is made up of young artists, up and coming clothing designers, and simply “Yuppies” (young urban professionals). They get to enjoy some of the best restaurants, stores, and artists that New York City has to offer. Here lie some of the most influential people that the world will soon come to know. Visit the Williamsburg Bridge to take pictures and go interact with the cultured locals.
There are plenty of others that are worth exploring, but these are my favorite!
I am a huge sports fan so I am going to strongly advise you to attend a sporting event. New York City has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to sport clubs: New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets in basketball, Yankees and Mets in baseball, Giants and Jets in football, Islanders and Rangers in hockey, and finally the New York Red Bulls in soccer. Even if you don’t like sports, at the very least consider a Knicks game at the world-famous Madison Square Garden or a Yankees game at their new state of the art venue in the Bronx.
The fact that New York is a melting pot of various cultures is something that everyone should take advantage of when it comes to dining. Some of the most prominent types of food include multiple types of Asian restaurants, Mediterranean cuisine, and of course Italian food with world famous New York Pizza Pies. But this is not all that the city offers, there is a seemingly unlimited range of cultures and cuisines represented here. If you’re not out of your comfort zone at least half of the time that you’re dining, then you’re not getting to fully enjoy the city. Stay tuned for my 5 favorite restaurants in New York City for some suggestions!
Maddy and I love hearing from all of our readers so if you have any questions or comments for us just leave a comment on this post! Hope you guys all come and explore New York City.