This guest post was written by Elle-Rose Williams.
When you’ve been to a city 2 or 3 times, and you’ve been to all the touristy areas, and seen all the sights – you start looking a bit further afield for amazing hidden gems in the city that aren’t in the tourist guidebooks.
Now, even if I visit a city for the first time, it’s those hidden gems I’m the most interested in. Those ‘off-the-beaten-track’ places in neighbourhoods I’d never usually see, that only the locals know about.
Whilst I’m not a local in NYC (maybe one day) I’ve been more times than I can count, and in my heart, the city feels like home. It’s actually where I got engaged, and where I have some of my best memories.
I adore it, I love exploring it, and it’s one of my favourite places to spend time.
To show how great personal and local recommendations can be, here are some of my favourite alternative recommendations for New York City.
Probably the best pizza place in NYC – I dream about the food from here sometimes, it’s so delicious. The restaurant is tiny, family-run and located in an obscure downtown neighbourhood where a lot of students live. It’s pretty incredible.
The Highline Park
This is slightly more well known now, but it’s still a relatively un-touristy attraction (when compared to the big ones in NYC). It’s basically an elevated walkways that runs down the city – and has some incredible views along the way. Perfect for photographers, and ideal for seeing the city in a new way.
Another restaurant! This is my favourite steakhouse in NYC. Words can’t describe how incredible this place is, tucked away a few blocks from Central Park.
The Berlin Wall
Nestled into the small plaza on Madison are five slabs from the former Berlin Wall. One side is decorated by German artists Thierry Noir and Kiddy Citny, while the eastern side remains blank.
5 Pointz is deemed as a “graffiti mecca” in NYC and if you love street art and photography, it’s an amazing place to go and enjoy a few hours of both. Hopefully, one day this place will be preserved and made into a museum – but until then it’s free to go and view!
Take a stroll around Greenwich Village and you’ll find all these gorgeous brownstone buildings, amazing cobbled streets and winding roads (something pretty uncommon in NYC). It’s one of my favourite parts of the city and a far cry from Times Square.
Some of my favourite views of the city are from Pulaski Bridge in Brooklyn. You get this whole vista of the skyscrapers, a view you just can’t get from Manhattan itself. Go at nighttime for a romantic escape.
And finally a few “Try this, not that” recommendations:
On NYE in NYC, everyone seems to flock to Times Square to catch a glimpse of the ball dropping. Let me tell you right now, it’s so cold in December in NYC, and you’re going to freeze your bum off waiting around until midnight in the cold. It seems fun on paper – but the chance of you even getting close enough to Times Square is really slim. Instead – try going to the Central Park midnight run, it happens every year and it’s open to the public. You can turn up at whatever time you want, and not have to worry about getting a bad spot. There’s an incredible atmosphere, it’s busy (but not too crowded) and they have live music, toilets, refreshments and an amazing firework display at midnight. Oh, and it’s free!
Instead of going up the Empire State Building, go up the Rockefeller Centre instead. The view from up there is much better – why? Because you can actually she the Empire State in the view! And that’s the “money shot” to take home and show friends and family!
So that’s it from me, let me know if you give any of these a try and if you loved them as much as I did! NYC is one of those amazing cities where simply walking around can be just as fun as a museum or an attraction – so make the most of it!
Showaround: Thank you, Elle-Rose, for your recommendations for the best New York experience.
Elle-Rose is a blogger and freelance lifestyle and travel writer. Check out her blog focused on exploring London and New York, which also has many useful tips and stories that will inspire you to make travel a priority.