How to See New York Like a Local

Unique Things to Visit in New York City

By Kelly Cronin

Ah, the big apple. If you’re visiting the United States, you’re sure to put New York City on your list of places to go. NYC has a little bit of something for everyone, but the bustling city is sure to overwhelm anyone who’s not used to the “bright lights, big city” life in Manhattan. Of course your trip to NYC will have to include the stereotypical sights like Times Square and Central Park, but there’s so much more to love about the city. After taking a few trips visiting the locals, I’ve picked up the best things to see in New York that don’t include hopping off a double-decker bus. Here’s how to see New York like a local:

Read a book in Washington Square Park

The bustling park near NYU is home to the Washington Square Arch, which is mirrored after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Add that in with a flowing fountain, multiple green areas and a lot of benches, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by ambitious new yorkers. My favorite activity is to sit on a bench here and read a book, meanwhile being obviously tempted by some of the world’s best people watching.

Around Washing Square Park are dozens of adorable restaurants and delectable eats. Here are some of my favorites:

Grab a bite at Smorgasburg

New York City goes way beyond the Manhattan. Cross the famous Brooklyn Bridge to reach the up and coming borough that’s home to Smorgasburg – an awesome food festival with a variety of vendors. An outdoor surplus of sweet and savory bites, the Smorgasburg outdoor food experience takes place in Williamsburg on Saturdays and in Prospect Park on Sundays, from March to end of October.

I dived in to a philly cheesesteak, followed by oversized mozzarella sticks that made fried cheese taste gourmet. Then, I cooled off with a Japanese shaved ice from Bonsai, complete with creamy whipped topping and sesame butter. There’s also an area for beer, wine and cocktails, as well as free water refills. While you’re there, take a stroll in Brooklyn before heading back to Manhattan.

Take a stroll on the High Line

Swap out Central Park for this modern nature stroll through the city. Plants and flowers line walkways and seating areas at the High Line – a park built on a historic freight line through the West Side. The long walk goes “above” the city with an array of beautiful flowers and gardens. The buildings along the High Line have colorful murals and give a true sense of the artistic flare of New York City.

Walk along the High Line, stop for a yummy popsicle or ice cream along the way and then head into the famous Chelsea Market just near the park. If you’re looking for unique souvenirs, this is the place. From crafty bookstores to the indoor flea market, New York inspired gifts are plentiful here, with the perfect keepsake hidden in the old brick market. Plus, while you’re there you might as well get yourself a treat at one of the amazing food stands. (My personal favorite is the Doughnuttery).

What do you love to do in New York City? Leave us a comment below!

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