There aren’t many cities out there more exciting than the Big Apple and it’s fair to say that you could visit New York 100 times and each trip would be completely different. It’s the city that never sleeps but you’ll find you have no inclination to go to bed when you’re there anyway, there’s so much to see and do!
As a first-time visitor, you’d be wise to check out some of the main attractions as they really are tourist draws for a reason, but if you’re keen to get off the tourist track on your second or third visit, you’ll find you really get a true feel for the place and what it means to be a New Yorker… and this is what will have you coming back again and again, with the city really stealing a little piece of your heart each time.
But where to go and what to see if you do want to take that step off the beaten path? Here are just some of the very best hidden gems in the buzzing metropolis that is New York City. Enjoy!
Even if you’re not that into jazz, you’ll have an incredible night at Smalls, which opened its doors for the first time back in 1994. At first, it didn’t have a liquor licence so admission to the basement bar was $10 and punters were allowed to bring their own booze, staying for as long as they liked - many until the sun came up!
Now, it’s open till 4am and admission costs $20, but the drinks aren’t overly expensive and you’ll get the chance to hear some of the very best jazz musicians out there in a delightfully intimate environment. Sit at the bar if you can, as you’ll get a great view - and don’t worry if you don’t get in straightaway… people leave between sets so you’ll be through the doors before you know it.
No doubt you’ve been told many times that you should pay a visit to Grand Central Station even if you have no intention of catching a train outta there just to marvel at what is a truly incredible building - and perfect for lots of stunning holiday photos.
But what you might not have been advised to do is make your way to the Whispering Gallery, which can be found in the dining area just outside the Oyster Bar & Restaurant. If you stand at one corner of the arched entryway and have a friend stand at the opposite corner, facing the walls, you’ll be able to hear each other whisper!
No matter what time of year you find yourself in NYC, Rockaway Beach will always be a fun place to disappear off to for a day. If you love nothing more than Taco Tuesday, then you’ll find yourself in the right place, with food trucks aplenty out there selling fare of this kind, while vintage fans will find themselves spoiled for choice when it comes to shopping.
Rockaway Beach itself is a prime spot for surfing (great for novices during the summer, while September and October will put seasoned surfers through their paces), but you can also enjoy the likes of fishing, volleyball, swimming and sunbathing… depending on what time of year you’re there, of course!
Fashion aficionados who love nothing more than bagging a bargain and being sustainable when it comes to shopping, whether that’s at home or on holiday, will find what they’re looking for and much, much more at Beacon’s Closet. There are several locations around the city so just pick one that’s closest to you and see what treasures you can dig up.
Depending on the size of the store itself, it can be quite a daunting experience but the shops are helpfully organised by colour so if you do find yourself overwhelmed by choice, just take a few moments to regroup and you’ll soon be diving through the clothes, coming away with handfuls of items to try on… and inevitably purchase!
Walking around and about really is one of the best ways to get a true sense of what New York is all about and if you’re keen to see some seriously good street art on your travels, then you can’t go wrong with a little trek around Bushwick.
Get the subway to Gates Ave and start walking down Broadway towards Flushing Ave, keeping your camera at the ready as you’re going to be taking a lot of snaps. If you’d like to continue your stroll, make your way down Flushing Ave (which is very long, so wear sensible shoes) and you’ll eventually find yourself in Dumbo, which has some of the best views of the Brooklyn Bridge you’ll find anywhere.
If you find yourself in Dumbo, do make sure that you take a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge - but you’ll find you’re sharing the space with lots of other people at the same time. For incredible views of the skyline with perhaps fewer people around you, there’s the Manhattan Bridge to traverse...which will give you great skyline views that include the Brooklyn Bridge in the forefront.
It’s doubtful that you’ll have ever been in such a tiny museum as Mmuseumm, situated in an old elevator shaft in lower Manhattan on Cortlandt Alley. Keep your eyes peeled as you’re likely to walk past it while looking for it! It’s just 60 sq/ft so it’ll be quite the experience, home to all sorts of contemporary artifacts from all over the world.
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