If you’re looking for places to stay, eat, shop, and sightsee in New York City, it’s as easy as opening a guidebook or searching the Internet. Visiting the stereotypical landmarks and attractions like Times Square, Battery Park, and 5th Avenue certainly have their allure, but so do the places and things that you won’t find splashed all over travel websites and guidebooks.
A few years ago, I spent an entire summer in New York City and made it my mission to explore as much of it as possible. Thanks to my curious nature, friends, and a few insider tips, I quickly developed a few favourite spots and activities that I otherwise wouldn’t have discovered:
1. Zabar’s Gourmet Food
Located on the Upper West Side, Zabar’s is every foodies dream come true. Specializing in smoked fish, caviar, coffee, cheese, bagels, and olives, this food specialty store has been featured in movies and television shows like You’ve Got Mail, Sex and the City, Gossip Girl, and How I Met Your Mother. This also happened to be my go-to breakfast spot for a quintessential New York egg and cheese bagel and an early morning coffee.
2. Walk Over the Brooklyn Bridge
Take a walk on one of New York’s most iconic landmarks. This 20-minute walk connects Brooklyn and Manhattan and offers breathtaking city views and endless photo opportunities. If you decide to walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn, be sure to stop in Dumbo for a well-deserved slice of coal-oven pizza at Grimaldi’s Pizzarea.
Look closely, or you’ll walk right by this tiny jewellery supply and hobby store. Metalliferous carries everything from metal to tools to metal jewellery, but you don’t have to be a professional jeweller to enjoy the 30,000 different beads, vintage jewellery, books, pendants, findings, and tools. While you’re there, keep an eye out for stylists and designers; they frequently visit this store to discover unique hardware and embellishments that you won’t find anywhere else.
4. Thrift in Park Slope
Just outside of Manhattan, Brooklyn’s Park Slope is full of funky shops, buzzing restaurants, and lively bars. Easily accessible by train, Brooklyn has a vast selection vintage and thrift stores that are chock-full of antiques, vintage designer clothing, and household items. I’ve spotted everything from gently used Chanel flats to a vintage Diane Von Furstenburg dress that you won’t find anywhere else.
Photos Taken by @estherkatzman
5. Visit a New York Beach
Although a beach may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of New York City, there is actually a variety to choose from. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city by enjoying some fun in the sun.
Want another bite out of the Big Apple? To view my full New Years in New York photo diary, click here.