16 Places to Visit in New York - A Local's Guide & Their Tips
There are so many places to visit in New York, but I see so many posts done by people who were there for just a couple of days. And here’s the kind of advice they give: visit Times Square, go see a show on Broadway, take a ferry, etc.
But then there are the locals who know the perfect places to visit in New York. They’re the experts and literally every idea that I’ve shared from these New York bloggers has gone onto my Things to Do in New York bucket list.
Side Note: Oh, and before we start, have you been to New York? And if so, what was your favorite thing to do?
I might just share it in a separate blog post (giving you credit of course). 🙂
Monica Francis honestly had multiple great ideas for things to do in New York, so I couldn’t just include one of her tips. And honestly, all three of these are on my to-do list now!
“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.”
“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.”
The Flower District
“Every morning, dozens of shops in the flower district (NoMad) 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.”
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.
Side Note: This was originally all one paragraph on Cup of Jo, but I decided to split it up to make it easier to take notes on her ideas.
“Soho’s famous, bustling, never-gets-old French brasserie, anytime of day or night.”
Kiki’s Greek Tavern
“… in Chinatown, where incredible food is served in an old paper shop that feels like a secret haunt.”
The Golden Unicorn
“… a Chinatown spot with the best dim sum and piggy buns for kids’ dessert.”
“… in Gramercy Park for an epic cacio e pepe pasta dinner — or for breakfast, as a scrambled egg dish.”
“Insider tip: Pair any of these meals with a mani or pedi at Tenoverten. You can book online, and their multiple Manhattan locations have you covered.”
One of Cup of Jo’s commenters:
Not a local, but thought I’d also include one of her commenter’s ideas since the people who read her blog always have something interesting to say.
“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. 🙂
The Loeb Boathouse
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.)”
Find Love and Travel had some great ideas for New York and the second tip she had was apparently great for the holidays as well (as per her advice).
“Next up on your New York itinerary is 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 on 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. Click here for The Edge tickets.”
The Hudson Yards
“New York Insider tip: 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.”
Bay Ridge Greenmarket
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 on 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.”
Bike Along the West Side Highway
I love bicycling and especially when I don’t have to deal with traffic, so I really appreciate this tip from The Blonde Abroad
“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.”
The Antique Garage
Dana Berez added another to-do to my list the next time I visit New York. I love incredible music in great venues and this place looks incredible.
“Jazz, and dinner is so romantic and fun with friends!
I’ve been to Antique Garage (please click the link – Grace) 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.”
Dominique Ansel Bakery
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 anyways, they have a huge assortment of different pastries and goodies curated by an expert French pastry chef. 👌
PS – Here’s the cronut down below!
PPS – This baked oatmeal recipe is the PERFECT thing to wake up to in the morning. Also, this Atlanta home is jaw-dropping.