15 Places to Visit in New York – A Local’s Guide & Their Tips


Silas & Grace

A street view of the Highline Garden.

New York City is packed with must-see spots, but so many recommendations seem to come from travel bloggers who’ve only been there for 3 days max.

And normal suggestions might include hitting up Times Square, catching a Broadway show, or taking a ferry ride.

But I think you and I know that it’s the locals who really know the best spots to explore in New York city.

So with that said, I’ve gathered tips from these seasoned New Yorkers, and every single one has made it onto my personal “Things to Do in New York” bucket list.

1. Hole in the Wall Cafe

A woman enjoying coffee and a croissant at a cafe.
Photo Credit: Alie04/Shutterstock

According to Adrienne Jordan, this super cute and chic cafe is a great place to grab breakfast!

Maybe a good place to eat for your first morning in NYC?

Here are her tips:

“The venue serves favorites including avocado toast, a pulled pork Benedict, chili scrambled eggs and whipped waffles with salted caramel.

If you go for breakfast on the weekends, try to arrive before 9:30 a.m., as the neighborhood starts to wake up around then and tables can book up fast.”

2. Frick Collection

A view of an indoor courtyard.
Photo Credit: marcobrivio.photography/Shutterstock

Former home of the magnate Henry Clay Frick, you’re going to be able to spend an amazing morning and/or afternoon looking at the beautiful collection of statues and paintings.

I’d say enjoy a good cup of coffee beforehand, put some relaxing music on, and enjoy the art.

3. High Line Park

A street view of the High Line Park.
Photo Credit: rblfmr/Shutterstock

Find a quiet morning to go and relax on this elevated park. It honestly looks like such a great place to hang out, enjoy a pastry and a hot drink, and talk with a friend.

Or just listen to the sounds of the city and take photos.

4. Three Recommendations for the Conservatory Garden

Photo Credit: Linda Harms/Shutterstock

Monica Francis says…

“Not many people make it up to Central Park’s Conservatory Garden (Upper East Side), so it’s rarely busy.

There are three beautiful formal gardens here: French, Italian, and English.

Wander through and choose your favorite, or just choose your favorite bench and settle in.”

5. The Jazz Bars

Photo Credit: Chasing Foxes

New York is apparently filled with jazz bars!

Here’s what a few locals are saying…

“-I’ve been to Antique Garage in Soho that had live jazz and had a blast. The interior was so neat and since it was summer, the windows were open and you felt transformed into another place.”

Another local named John adds, “For the Jazz soaking, I would also recommend Small’s in West Village.”

And lastly, Molly says, The Blue Note is a famous spot and has wonderful shows (drinks too). Also, mentioned in the guide is Bemelman’s Bar, which features live jazz along with famous (excellent) cocktails on the Upper East Side.”

6. Explore the West Village

Photo Credit: Victoria Lipov/Shutterstock

Monica also adds this New York tip:

“The jumbled streets of the West Village are perfect for getting lost on purpose and stumbling upon plenty of classic New York vignettes. If you don’t bring a camera here, you’ll regret it.”

7. The Flower District

Photo Credit: Barbara babala/Shutterstock

“Every morning, dozens of shops in the flower district fill the sidewalks of 28th Street with fresh blooms and branches. Pick up a bouquet for your hotel room, buy armfuls of florals for a party, or just admire the scene.” – Monica

8. Balthazar

Photo Credit: Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock

Cup of Jo, a blog run by Joanna Godard, is one of my favorite places to relax and read. And because she’s a blogger who hails from New York + always has great tips, I trust her advice here…

She says this about Balthazar, “Soho’s famous, bustling, never-gets-old French brasserie, anytime of day or night.”

9. Kiki’s Greek Tavern

Photo Credit: Zoltan Tarlacz/Shutterstock

So where is this Greek tavern? A local New Yorker answered:

“… in Chinatown, where incredible food is served in an old paper shop that feels like a secret haunt.”

A Greek tavern in Chinatown with some incredible reviews, and a cool location.

It’s now on my New York to-do list.

10. Lower East Side Pay-What-You-Like Walking Food Tour

Photo Credit: Daniel M. Silva/Shutterstock

Insider Tip from Briar:

“One of the best things we did was book a pay-what-you-like food walking tour around Lower East Side (where we were staying).

It sounded ridiculous at the time, but we basically ran from a delicious steaming food stop to delicious steaming food stop.

It helped us find the closest and tastiest food near us, which was an excellent motivator to leave our cozy beds, and gave us somewhere reliable to eat on our way home late, with cold feet and grumbling tummies!”

Here’s a link to the tour.

11. The Loeb Boathouse

Photo Credit: NYC Russ/Shutterstock

I had no idea that the Loeb Boathouse existed but it needs to be done. Thank you Wit & Whimsey for this idea!

“There’s something so magical about some of the first Central Park days of the season. You still need a light jacket but the temperatures are perfect for long (she’s writign this in spring), carefree strolls and The Boathouse is the ideal landing spot when you want to rest your feet and have a cocktail on their terrace overlooking the boat pond. Some of my favorite afternoons have been spent doing just that with nowhere to go afterward. It’s pure bliss. (Highly recommend going to Sprinkles Ice Cream afterward for a spring treat. I just went and am mildly obsessed.)”

12. The Edge

Photo Credit: lev radin/Shutterstock

Sam from Find Love and Travel says…

“The Edge, known as one of the best Sky Decks in NYC! It just opened in 2020 and is known as the highest outdoor sky deck in the West Hemisphere!

Make your way to the 100th story where you will enjoy unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline along with a partial glass bottom deck.”

13. The Hudson Yards

Photo Credit: emin kuliyev/Shutterstock

Another New York Insider Tip from Sam:

“If you happen to be visiting New York around the holidays, the Hudson Yards does a great light display you won’t want to miss.”

14. Bay Ridge Greenmarket

Photo Credit: Alena Veasey/Shutterstock

To Be Bright gave a great recommendation for a farmer’s market and since I love going to them, I thought I’d pass it your way:

“Dubbed “Bay Ridge’s Town Hall,” long-time residents and families who are new to the neighborhood meet to shop, share recipes and catch up with their neighbors at this Greenmarket that provides a gathering space for the tight-knit Bay Ridge community. A great selection of producers providing everything from fresh caught fish, baked goods, and a bounty of seasonal fruit, vegetables, and flowers draw shoppers week after week, all season long.”

15. Bike Along the West Side Highway

Photo Credit: Adonis Page/Shutterstock

I love bicycling and especially when I don’t have to deal with traffic, so I really appreciate this tip from  Dana Berez

“One of my favorite things to do is bike along the West Side Highway. This path spans from downtown Manhattan all the way to the Upper West Side.

The best part? There is no car traffic on this path so it’s perfect for getting used to biking in NYC.”

Bonus: Dominique Ansel Bakery

Photo Credit: Chasing Foxes

This one is my personal recommendation. I know I’m not a local, but I had to share at least one recommendation. 🙂

Celebrity chef Dominique Ansel is famous for perfecting the “cronut,” a mix between a croissant and a doughnut.

We had heard about its incredibly flaky layers and perfect flavors so we decided to give it a try. I was actually concerned that it wasn’t going to be that great, but it actually lived up to the hype.

The flavors change every so often and if I remember correctly (this was back in December of 2019), we had a cream cheese chocolate cronut.

And if that’s not something you really want, then I definitely recommend going anyway. They have a huge assortment of different pastries and goodies curated by an expert French pastry chef. 👌

Post Originally Published on Chasing Foxes.

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Chasing Foxes was started in 2016 as a way for Grace and her husband, Silas, to start traveling. However, they started to realize that they had a passion for improving themselves, and wanted to help others level up their lives as well. So whether it's with cooking, travel, or staying healthy, they want to help you better your life bit by bit, as they do the same.

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Silas & Grace

Chasing Foxes was started in 2016 as a way for Grace and her husband, Silas, to start traveling. However, they started to realize that they had a passion for improving themselves, and wanted to help others level up their lives as well. So whether it's with cooking, travel, or staying healthy, they want to help you better your life bit by bit, as they do the same.

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