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The Right Way to Do New York City

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I enjoy traveling to destinations that offer lots of nature. Whether it’s surfing the waters of Maui, hiking among cacti, or camel riding in the desert, I’m always up for a new outdoor adventure. Nevertheless, cities hold a special place in my heart. One of my favorite ways to learn about a culture is to observe directly from a city’s busiest streets. New York is no exception.

Having visited the Big Apple numerous times in the last decade, I’ve developed my own system for exploring the enormous city. Here are some of my must-dos to make the most out of any trip to New York City.

Admire the Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)

Go to a museum, pay attention to the architecture, or take a picture in front of a mural. New York City is FILLED with art. If you like museums, I’d recommend checking out the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), or The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met). If you visit the Met, just know that it’s ginormous! Spend your time there wisely or you’ll be exhausted after visiting one exhibition hall. If you’re not a museum person, there is still so much art to be admired throughout the city. There are murals (see TimeOut’s list of top spots to see graffiti) and architecture galore.

Eat at the World’s Top Restaurants

Dim Sum in Flushing

New York has some of the best restaurants in the world. Some of the staples it’s known for are bagels (check out Ess-a-bagel) and pizza (Prince Street Pizza is a favorite). If you’re looking for something a bit fancier, NYC also has its fair share of Michelin star restaurants. For food spots with a price point somewhere in the middle, here are some of my personal favorites:

  1. Her Name is Han (Korean)
  2. Boilery – East Village (seafood)
  3. Thai Villa (Thai)
  4. Barn Joo 35 (Asian fusion, bar food)
  5. Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream (ice cream)

Grab a Cocktail at a Speakeasy

A cocktail from Undercote

Speakeasies are in many major cities, but there’s something about the speakeasies in New York that feel extra exclusive. Perhaps it’s how hidden they are in a city that never sleeps, or perhaps it’s the diversity of crowds that gather at these bars. A few speakeasies to check out:

  1. Please Don’t Tell (be sure to order tater tots from the hot dog place right next to it!)
  2. Angel’s Share
  3. Raines Law Room (not as secretive as you’d expect a speakeasy to be but the atmosphere certain makes it feel like one)
  4. Garfunkel’s

Watch a Show

Keone and Mari’s Beyond Babel show at NYU

New York is a hub for artists, and that includes those in the performance arts. You can’t go wrong spending a night at a broadway show, and chances are, you’ll find other smaller shows that interest you too, whether that’s in dance, comedy, or music.

Walk and Subway Everywhere

Subway entrance

New Yorkers walk or subway to most places they go. Immerse yourself in the local’s experience by doing the same. This will ensure you don’t miss a beat of the city’s livelihood, and it’s also a good way to window shop and stumble upon something you hadn’t expected to see.

I love going to New York! The city is so big that I always find something new to do when I visit. New restaurants and shops continue to get added to the roster too. Although the city is not quite as lively as it used to be given Covid, some restaurants and shops have re-opened, and I’m hopeful it’ll find its vibrance again soon.

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